I hope you’re having a good weekend already, and I hope what I’ve chosen for this round-up of new songs and videos will make it even better. As usual, I had a lot to choose from based on discoveries from the past week. I thought about resorting to another “Overflowing Streams” deluge to get more of them in front of you, but decided instead to exercise a rare bit of discipline.
In making these choices I was influenced by previous knowledge about the music of five of these bands (all of whom are personal favorites) and knowledge about the past work of one of the creators, even though he’s creating under a new guise.
The first track here, “Impetus“, is a massive and unearthly song, one that takes a sledgehammer to your spine and claws at your mind. The central riff abrasively roils and darts; the ritualized drum rhythms go off like bunker-busting bombs; the yells and roars are harrowing. The song twists the tension dial, becomes sweeping, and then boils and pounds, the intensity unrelenting. You best get ready to flex your neck too.
The accompanying video made by Ulf Blomberg is as dark and unnerving as the music, but you can’t take your eyes off it.
The band explain: “‘Impetus‘ is about the harsh and overwhelming sensation of nothingness. When the void is so clear that it almost takes the shape of a beast that forces you back into bed, every motion takes a lifetime and every word is a slur. It is about when you get to the point when only pain is real and it’s the only thing that makes sense.”
The song is from Gloson’s forthcoming second album. It will be released by Indie Recordings early next year; the wait will be painful.
BLACK CILICE (Portugal)
The next song is a shattering, but transfixing, sonic cataclysm. The blaring, highly abrasive, funereally-paced riffing at the outset has a devastating impact, something like massed howls of wrenching grief on a vast scale. The sound is caustic and pierces the mind like driven knives. The vocalist’s possessed screams are every bit as unnerving. To my ears, there’s a medieval resonance to the music.
When the steadiness of the pacing changes, and the drums take off in a mad, pummeling gallop, the riffing extravagantly soars, channeling a terrible glory as the raw chords cycle over and over, an all-consuming hurricane of sound. I was left stunned by the experience.
The track is “Returning From Dimensions Below“. It’s taken from from a two-track, 7” EP named Tomb Emanations, which Iron Bonehead Productions plans to release on December 10th.
UNDER THE CHURCH (Sweden)
The music in this next song immediately leaps ahead, propelled by scampering drums and wild, frenzied riffing that channels a kind of vicious ecstasy. The vocals are wild as well — unhinged in their scorching ferocity. Grand chords flare out in the midst of the mayhem; crazed soloing increases the heat; and devilish arpeggios accent the beating delivered near the end.
“Day of Reckoning” is an advance track of chainsawing fury from a new EP named Total Burial, which features cover art by Mattias Frisk and which Pulverised Records will release on December 3rd. If you’re unfamiliar with this band despite how often I’ve written about them, it includes a very talented line-up, including two members of the legendary Swedish death metal band Nirvana 2002 (drummer/guitarist Erik Qvick and bassist Lars Henriksson).
FLESH OF ONCE DEMENTED (CANADA)
The next music I’ve chosen is a fascinating and frightening album-length demo, Slowly grinding are the mills of gods, which is the solo work of Québec-based Djötunn. The Bandcamp page for the demo includes this description:
“Mystical fusion of death metal, doom metal, eastern influences, manic vocal lines and throat singing all laced with stories about Towers of Silence in Zoroastrian religion, made for excarnation purposes, similar to ‘sky-burial’ in Far-East traditions. ‘Slowly grinding are the mills of gods’ is exactly what happens in the Towers of Silence.”
As you might guess from that prelude, the music is remarkably multi-faceted. The first song alone (“The.shores.at.the.ire.of.their.subconscious.slumberrings”) rings like tinkling chimes, grinds like a big excavating machine, becomes a dismal boiling miasma and a battering affliction, shimmers like creepy astral waves, darts about like an excited demon, and ejects lyrics from the roaring and screaming voice of a subterranean titan. The experience is hypnotizing and harrowing.
The intricate and unpredictable twists and turns of the first song establish the avant-garde template for the next two, but doesn’t exhaust the musical palette. Those succeeding tracks also exhibit persistent rhythmic dynamism (but interspersed with grooves that will get your head moving), deranged fretwork escapades (but with enough repeating motifs to become dangerously enthralling), eerie keyboard accents, horrifying vocals that echo across the void, and an atmosphere of otherworldly menace, mayhem, and desolation. They too have the capacity to mesmerize and to mutilate, albeit in different (and ever-changing) ways that bring into play all the promised genre ingredients.
The closing track is a surprise too — a bright, buoyant, multiply-layered, and completely enthralling acoustic guitar instrumental (perhaps with violin embellishments) that demonstrates exceptional skill.
As the work of only one person, this demo is all the more extraordinary.
I positioned this next song here because I thought the dancing acoustic guitars which open it might make a nice segue from the ending of Flesh of Once Demented‘s demo, though it doesn’t take long for the song to rumble, writhe, and flare like fire.
The madcap spirit of the song derives from more than its hard-charging momentum, the savage snarling vocals, and the darting and demented fretwork. Baroque harpsichord-like keys dance as well; in an interlude the acoustics mysteriously glisten as the drums tumble and pound; the guitars scissor like a sewing machine; the whole thing sounds like a glorious Dionysian orgy. Oh, it’s vicious enough, but has left me smiling every time I’ve heard it.
The song is “Conscience Mécanique“, from Eloge De l’Ombre (“praise of the shadows”), the new album by the French band Creature. On this album the mastermind Raphaël Fournier is joined by drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Solefald, Ihsahn, Borknagar, etc.), who delivers a tremendous performance. I, Voidhanger Records has set November 12 as the release date.
And to close I’ve chosen a song by this fine military-themed old-school death metal band, who’ve taken “The Hell of Verdun” as their subject matter this time. The music sounds like war too. The drums gallop and hammer; the riffing feverishly jitters like bursts of weaponry, blares like trumpets, and cuts like massed circle saws; the vocals imperiously roar, and scream in raw yells. When the ferocious frenzy abates, the music becomes grand, sweeping, and stricken with loss, and later sounds dismal and anguished. Loosen up your neck before you listen.
“The Hell of Verdun” is from an EP named Beyond a Distant Front, set for release on tape in November by Into It Records.