Obscura and their rides…
I picked songs for six bands for this hump-day roundup, and all of them come with videos. I expect moving through this will keep you on your toes, or rock you back on your heels, because the tracks move in unpredictable ways from one to the next. I got thrills of different kinds out of all of them, and hope you will too.
As the post title suggests, I have an idea for a second round-up, which includes some recently released EPs. I haven’t started writing it yet, so I’m unsure whether I’ll have time to finish it for posting today, but if not, you’ll see it first thing tomorrow.
This latest track premiere from Obscura’s new album, which is delivered through a performance video, got my motor running in a big damned hurry. “When Stars Collide” is a turbocharged thrill-ride with glorious bursts of singing by Soilwork’s Björn Strid, the kind of song geared to set arenas on fire with its pyrotechnical fretwork and blistering drum attack, and the dual-guitar soloing is a big ear-worm too.
The song is off A Valediction, out via Nuclear Blast on November 19th. No vintage muscle cars were harmed in the making of this video.
In the next video a man is tied to a chair, and something is happening that drives him into paroxysms of excruciating mental agony, though the cause is a mystery. A deformed man calmly sits and watches him, seemingly amused, and then begins to dance — and the visuals then become exceedingly trippy. Or maybe both men are the same man? Read the lyrics:
I look up to the man with the crippled hand.
He who found a way.
Not having to speak through words.
Hearing chords he can not play.
Correct the night’s mistake.
Candlelit fire, set his heaven ablaze.
Disfigured fingers and burning flesh.
From the ashes, rose lightning and thunder.
Correct the night’s mistake.
As for the music, it’s a screaming, nerve-wracking frenzy (both the guitars and the vocals maniacally scream) punctured by sudden snare bursts and sudden stops at first, and then riding a blast front. The squirming leads are equally deranged, but dismal as well. Eventually the frenzy abates, and the music just pounds and lurches, backed by creepy insectile fretwork and other weird sounds and vocals.
P.S. I urge everyone to read the comment below from HGD, who discovered the true inspiration for the song, which eluded me. Makes the track even more fascinating.
“Nuages” (“Clouds” in English) comes from There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road, an album that will be released by Century Media on January 14th, 2022 — an album that the band describe as “a definite switch from previous work, a dark turn into something unexpected and unwelcome”.
AGNES VEIN (Greece)
Presented through a mysterious yet arresting video, the next song is bleak yet hurtling and head-hammering. The chords clang and swarm, channeling desperate wildness and cold cruelty. The vocals segue from malicious snarls to singing in a classic doom vein. When the pace shifts to a stalking lurch, the emotional timbre of the music becomes even more hopeless. The chiming, glimmering lead that surfaces as the music begins to ramp up again seizes attention, as does the fieriness of the ensuing solo, and even though the song soars in its finale, the effect is more frightening than comforting.
The song is the title track from the album Deathcall, to be released on December 17th via Venerate Industries. This new album follows the last one by eight years, during which this long-running band’s lineup changed and the music evolved. It is promised to be “a brutal mix of doom, black and sludge metal”.
This next song is a long and thoroughly captivating one, and you can take your cues from the album art, which is used to good effect in the accompanying video.
“The Serpent’s Stone” blends majestically blazing and blasting black metal with sprightly and sweeping dungeon synth, creating vast visions of myth and magic. The heart-pounding music ravages, whirls, and soars; glorious power-metal vocals send the music to even greater heights when they trade off with the caustic goblin snarls. The guitar solo, though crestfallen, is also riveting. Yes, I’ll say it, the track is epic.
“The Serpent’s Stone” is one of “six majestic hymns of triumphant, cold and fierce Medieval Black Metal” encompassed by Tales of Othertime, the debut album of this Colorado band, which will be released by Ván Records on November 19th. It follows the wonderful Galdrum EP released last year.
DEATH HAS SPOKEN (Poland)
After four years this Polish melodic doom/death metal band are back with their second album, Call of the Abyss, which has a November 1 release date via Ossuary Records. The next item in today’s collection is a performance video for the new album’s arresting title track.
The song’s compelling rhythms will get your legs moving and your head bobbing. The vocals are soul-scarring, and the melodies, which ebb and flow in their intensity, are heart-breaking and hopeless — but are nonetheless completely enthralling and powerfully memorable. And at the end, the abyss does seem to call… I’ve found myself drawn back to this song repeatedly, without having its impact dulled.
Blastanus is a true blast from the past, and though I’ll never forget their name, I couldn’t recall just how far in the past I last wrote about them. It turns out that was 10 years ago, at a time when I reviewed and gave away a download of their second album Collapse (here), which was preceded by their debut album Odd in 2009 (and I also wrote about that one).
In re-reading those amusing reviews, I was reminded about just how many agreeable surprises the band were inclined to throw into their generally grind-infused brand of death metal, and I was equally surprised to hear that after all this time the band have revived and are planning to release a new album named Beyond either later this year or early next year. There are three songs from the album up on YouTube currently, and I’ve installed all of them below.
The newest of those, “Uxoricide“, really spun my head around. It proves that Blastanus are still adept at running you through a brutal barrage of blasting drums, slashing riffage, jolting and detonating grooves, and an unnerving cacophony of guttural gurgling, throat-ruining screams, and maniacal howls. It also proves the band still have surprises up their sleeves, thanks to a slithering and completely scintillating guitar solo, a brief but entrancing sax solo, and a sudden tempo crash at the end.
A second song, “Agathusia“, is at least equally insane, blending pulsating riffage, fire-bright and freakish arpeggios, skull-splintering snare attacks, bunker-busting bass drops, another discharge of over-the-top vocal madness, and through-lines of melody that are both despairing and deranged.
Moving further back in time, the oldest of these new songs (which unbeknownst to me surfaced in the summer of 2020), is “9 Years of Silence” (presented in a preview mix that will be changed before the album release). By now it will come as no surprise for me to tell you it’s another madhouse escapade of war-zone drumming, feverish feeding-frenzy fretwork, and “They’ve escaped the asylum!” vocal terrors — this time with bursts of weird tonal accents and additional unforeseen tempo changes.
All I can say further is, WELCOME BACK BLASTANUS.