We’re on “bomb cyclone” watch here in the Puget Sound area of Washington. High winds and lots of rain are expected through the weekend, though official forecasters aren’t positive how intense it’s going to be. The power at our house is likely to go out, but I’m mainly wondering about why no metal band has yet picked Bomb Cyclone as a name (a search for it on Metal Archives yields zero results).
Now that I’ve updated you on freaky local weather conditions, let’s get to the music. Today I mostly focused on bands I consider old favorites, but explored a couple of new names (at least new to me) as well, and I’m throwing a curveball at the end.
MAZE OF TERROR (Peru)
I’ve wished for a long time that the day will come when I can catch Maze of Terror in a live show. I’m not holding my breath, because they’re in Lima, Peru, and I’m 4,969 miles away from there, as the crow flies. But we can dream, can’t we? Now my dreams are even more ardent, having seen their new video for the song “Starbeast” off their latest album.
It wouldn’t have occurred to me to include footage from the Alien movies in this video, along with footage of the band slashing and burning their way through this song, but now that I’ve seen it, it makes perfect sense. Maze of Terror‘s brand of thrash is as vicious as the xenomorphs, and just as capable of pumping your blood full of adrenaline when they’re on the attack. If you’re having a dull day, this video will light a fire under it. It will give your neck a good workout too.
The track is from Offer to the Fvcking Beasts, which was released in late August on CD and digitally by Xtreem Music. Do yourselves a favor and listen to it (and then buy it).
ARCH ENEMY (Sweden)
Now that I’ve got your motor running, let’s keep giving it the gas.
I confess that I normally wouldn’t have put an Arch Enemy song in one of these roundups, because they obviously don’t need any help from a putrid little metal blog like ours, but this new single “Deceiver, Deceiver” is a damned good ass-kicker, and the video is a lot of fun to watch too (I swear that has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Alissa‘s bare midriff). Without asking permission, I’ll share here what our own Andy Synn wrote about the song in a Facebook post:
“Controversial opinion but… I actually quite like the new Arch Enemy track. The drums are predictable (but solid, as always) and you can see/hear some of the vocal/lyrical couplets coming a MILE off, but it’s got a bit of a d-beat vibe in places (not really surprising, considering they’ve been doing quite a few punk covers recently) and feels… I don’t know, more *honest* (?) than they have for quite a while.”
ARCANUM SANCTUM (Russia)
After a brief foray into a household-name category I decided to dive back deep underground again with this third video, and also to back off the gas pedal a bit.
“Ad Astra” isn’t as much of a riot as the first two songs in today’s collection, but it’s still an emotional powerhouse. Its dark ringing melodies get stuck in the head very fast, and it punches hard too. It’s the kind of song that creates a feeling of wondrous uplift despite the shadows of loss that surround it. Vocalist Ivan Beschastny‘s leviathan growl is fantastic, as is the song’s glorious guitar solo. The video, which focuses on the band, is also very well-done.
The song is the title track to this melodic death metal band’s latest album, which was released in August 2020. It was mixed and mastered at Unisound AB by Dan Swanö.
As icing on the cake for sci-fi fans like me, Ad Astra is dedicated to Soviet-era science fiction in Russia, with lyrics based on the works of Soviet sci-fi writers and the music significantly influenced by Soviet sci-fi movie soundtracks. As an enormous fan of Stanislaw Lem‘s 1961 novel Solaris and Andrei Tarkovsky‘s 1972 movie based on it, I was especially delighted to see “Solaris” as Track 7. Its jolting momentum and blazing riffs will get your motor running fast and hot again (and it includes singing and piano, as well as a haunting classical organ outro that evokes the moods of mystery in the tale).
Now I go back to another old favorite — actually two old favorites: both the band and Kjell Åge Meland, who painted the fantastic cover art for Sarke‘s new album, Allsighr.
The song below, “Grim Awakening“, is the latest single from the album (you can check out two previous ones at Bandcamp). Despite the title, the song isn’t as grim as you might suspect. There’s menace in the melodies and in Nocturno Culto‘s gritty, throaty vocals, and a feeling of the supernatural in the ethereal keyboards, but of course the song rocks damned hard, with an infectious pulse in both the chords and the skull-busting rhythms. Legs will bounce and heads will move.
Allsighr will be released by Soulseller Records on November 5th.
BENEATH THE SOD (Ireland)
I think maybe I’ve been a little too merciful to your ears and mind with the first four songs in this collection, and so next I’ve chosen something from another old favorite that’s apocalyptic.
“Expulsion of Revulsion” sounds completely enraged, utterly hopeless, and monumentally destructive. It discharges a morass of heaving and gouging bass-guitar abrasion, earth-shaking low-end upheavals, bomb-like detonations, crazed screaming, and a cruel cornucopia of other demented and demolishing noises. There are cranium-popping, spine-snapping drum rhythms in the mix too, which help keep you tied down as the rest of the band bend themselves to their ruinous ministrations.
Hey, there’s a lot to be revolted about in the world, isn’t there? This song does a terrorizing job of expelling that. I was transfixed the first time through. Still am after two more trips through the gauntlet.
The song comes from Beneath the Sod’s new self-titled EP, set for release on December 17th by Galway-based Cursed Monk Records, who describes the music as “intensely claustrophobic industrial doom”. I reviewed their debut album, Circling the Drain, here in 2017.
RAJA KIRIK (Indonesia)
This isn’t the first time I’ve thrown a curveball in one of these roundups, courtesy of the Ugandan label Nyege Nyege Tapes. But as eclectic as that label is, Raja Kirk is different from anything I’ve heard them put out, and perhaps most likely to appeal to fans of extreme metal. I’ll quote some background info about the group and then leave you with just one mind-bending track.
BACKGROUND from Bandcamp:
“Raja Kirik is Indonesian duo Yennu Ariendra and J. Mo’ong Santoso Pribadi, two radical artists who draw on Java’s rich cultural traditions and its history of struggle against colonial oppression to create music that surprises, challenges and educates in equal measure. They root their music in the sound of shamanic trance dances, specifically the Jaranan, or Jathilan, a Hindu-Buddhist-era dance from the 11th Century that symbolizes the ways common people could overcome their rulers using evasion and agility….
“Raja Kirik express this historical friction with a mind-bending fusion of traditional Indonesian percussion, digital noise and over-driven Dutch hard-style. The album roots itself in the stage of Jaranan performance where the players become possessed, connecting to their subconscious mind and the body’s collective memory and trauma”.
The song below, “DOR“, is the 10th track on Raja Kirik‘s new album Rampokan (released on October 22nd), but it’s the one that’s set to stream first at Bandcamp. It’s a wild blend of old and new, and you won’t know where it’s going at almost any point, but every twist and turn is fascinating. The rest of the songs are equally unpredictable in their movements and in their electronic and instrumental textures. I encourage you to let the player continue running after “DOR“.
P.S. After writing this I discovered that Raja Kirik released a video for “DOR“, which is very cool, albeit unnerving, so I’ve installed that in advance of the Bandcamp stream.