Given the usual massive flood of new music this past week, I was hell-bent on getting at least one round-up completed before the weekend — but I failed. I had this lined up for Friday, with all the picks made, but ran out of time before I could finish it.
About these picks: When I made the selection on Friday morning it didn’t turn out at all like I thought it would. I had been building a mental list during the week just based on the band names I added to my monstrous list, most of them at least fairly well-known, but not one of those names is included here.
What happened was that as I started listening, this group just fell into place before I ever got to the names that had affixed themselves to my mental plan. These fell into place because they are all intense assaults on the senses and the emotions, albeit in different ways, until you reach the final track, which helped me partially recover from all the music that preceded it — but that last song still haunts me.
The lineup of Redemptor includes current and former members of Decapitated, Vader, Hate, Sceptic, Sothoth, Banisher, Deivos, and more, which should be enough to attract your attention to their new album Agonia even if you hadn’t heard any of their previous works — which were the subject of Andy Synn‘s 93rd SYNN REPORT.
“Potion Of The Skies” is the album’s lead single. It was presented last week through an official video created by Chariot Of Black Moth. It provides a thundering and eerie amalgam of death-, prog-, and post-metal, packed with humongous grooves, a multitude of sinister, surreal, and scintillating guitar textures, and howling vocal vitriol. It does seem like a heart-pounding and head-spinning adventure into the skies — and then off the planet altogether.
The attention-fixing cover art was created by Michał Xaay Loranc, who is also the band’s vocalist. Agonia will be released by Selfmadegod Records on December 3rd.
Torri is the solo project of Bill Masino from Rogers, Arkansas. I can find no evidence that we’re ever written about Torii’s music before, nor does my brain furnish any evidence that I’ve previously heard any of it despite the presence of a discography that’s now seven albums long. And so, listening to “Synthetic Dust” was a huge surprise.
At more than 8 minutes, the song proves to be quite a harrowing journey, guided by ingredients of doom, death, and post-metal. Heavier than a very heavy thing, it’s anchored by bone-rattling bass patterns and skull-smashing drumwork. Around those earth-shaking rhythms, the guitars groan and quiver, jitter and jolt, seethe and slash, creating moods of cold oppression, nerve-wracking tension, and feverish fear — moods that are amplified by abyssal growls and tormented screams. Past the mid-point, the volume diminishes and a solitary bass creates an hallucinatory interlude, which then leads into music of soul-stricken misery.
“Synthetic Dust” comes from Torii’s seventh album, which is self-titled. It has a December 17 release date.
ARCHITECTS OF AEON (Germany)
After making a very impressive full-length debut in 2019 (Koloss), this German duo returned yesterday with a new single, accompanied by an official video.
“Nothing To Pursue” is quite a multi-faceted and spine-tingling affair, which brings into play shades of death and doom, with enthralling prog- and post-metal accents. It hammers like a titanic pile-driver but also becomes effervescent as the guitars throb, dart, shimmer, and sparkle. Bestial growls transform into wrenching howls and soaring song. Propelled by gripping drumwork, the music has megaton visceral power but also proves to be spell-binding — and highly infectious.
The digital single also includes an instrumental version of the title song.
Even before you read Marion Leclercq‘s comments about her new Mütterlein album Bring Down the Flags, you’ll know where she was coming from just by listening to an edited version of the album’s first single, “The Descent“. Her voice is a protracted shattering scream shaped around words. Those unnerving, throat-ruining expulsions are surrounded by a dense, pestilential miasma of sound. Bursts of percussive upheaval and streams of eerie but oppressive electronic melody cut through the seething, dismal backdrop. The combined effect is a soundtrack of unnerving and unearthly horror, yet paradoxically it becomes entrancing.
And here’s part of what Marion has said about the new album, in comparison to the previous one (Orphans of the Black Sun), and about this first excerpt:
“Musically speaking, the only thing that they have in common is their ritualistic and cathartic aspects, driven by the drums and the vocals. This is kind of MÜTTERLEIN’s red wire … the ‘rhythm and pain section’ in the orchestra, as I like to call it. “Orphans Of The Black Sun” was more shy and introspective, whereas “Bring Down The Flags” is more destructive and fearless. I just had to let the dogs out, you know?… I think that I am still searching for the ‘right place’ in music where the violence and the misery can be Siamese sisters, trying to reveal something authentic about this inner truth.
‘The Descent‘ is about a strong feeling of solitude and the awareness that no matter how loud I will shout, I will never be heard. There is a lot of personal violence and disillusion in it. Musically, I wanted some drums, heavy and straight, that could navigate a route for the vocals and the ‘useless call’ they had to deliver. I tried to remove all the ‘unnecessary’ arrangements to this song because I wanted it to be as ‘straight to the point’ as possible.”
Dehn Sora is responsible for the album’s disturbing cover art. Bring Down the Flags will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on December 30th (December 31st on streaming platforms).
SACRIFICIUM CARMEN (Finland)
Next I’ve chosen “Erakkotemppelin Ilmestyksiä” by this formidable Finnish black metal band. The music swaggers and swings, rumbles, and rocks, channeling a kind of wild, unchained, dangerous freedom. Augmented by shining synths (a first for the band) and broiling screams, the song is electric, certainly with sinister parts but with a multitude of trilling leads and blazing chords that create a sense of fiery and frightening uplift above rumbling and clattering percussive attacks. This one gets the heart pounding, and you may feel like raising claw-shaped hands to the sky.
The song comes from Sacrificium Carmen‘s third album, Nekrognosis – Avain Varjoihin. It’s described as “a two-themed album where side A (‘Varjot’) is about a psychological or even ‘psychedelic’ journey into the depths of the occult and shadow-side of the mind, whereas side B (‘Kuolemagia’) centers around the contemplation of your own death and shamanistic evolving because of that. This two-pronged thematic is further fused together with Castanedan Mysticism and spiritual-like hate against human idiocracy”.
Purity Through Fire will release the album on December 12th (CD and tape); a vinyl edition will be forthcoming next year.
Kapala’s distinctive formulation of war metal has always exerted a particular attraction to me — undeniably and ruthlessly destructive and yet usually incorporating unexpected nuances, some of them rooted in the ancient legends and traditions of the sprawling subcontinent. Their newest offering, Doomsday Requiem, is a 22-minute EP, and the first two tracks have now surfaced.
The introductory track “Raising the Tattered Banner” is a fascinating one, using a heart-beat pulse and a percussive clap to make it sound something like a primitive ritual stomp of massed congregants, surrounded by an amalgam of weird and abrasive electronic noises that add a building sense of mayhem.
“Exodus of Victory” send those congregants into a dervish-like Kali-worshiping frenzy, joining together weird and wailing melodies with an exotic resonance, piston-pumping drum rhythms (and off-kilter beats that sound like an old tribal drum), booming bass tones, slashing and jittering riffage, and savage roars to create a feeling of violent occult trance, culminating in a cacophony of harsh noise.
Doomsday Requiem is set for release by Dunkelheit Produktionen on December 31st, just in time to finish killing 2021.
This is another band (the solo project of an artist named Rats) whose music I hadn’t discovered before listening to the first single from their forthcoming second album Occult Sins, New Unholy Dimension. That song, the aptly named “Venom and Vomit“, turned out to be a surprising one.
Introduced by haunted-house synths, crashing percussive impacts, and strange ticking tones, the song then begins to race, the snare-drum clattering in a frenzy above heavy low-end turbulence, the riffage mounting a dense slashing assault, and the vocals screaming with hair-on-fire intensity. It’s a cruel and wild feeling, but also begins to sound tormented and anguished, as well as infernally imperious.
It’s also interspersed with classic thrash riffs that give the song a different dimension (and add heat to the adrenaline-fueling impact of everything else), and by crazed vibrating leads that make a piercing, pulse-pounding impact — though things get creepy again at the end.
The album will be released on November 26th via Osmose Productions
DEAD WAR (U.S.)
In under two minutes “Point Blank Penance” delivers a fast and furious sonic bombardment, driven by gut-slugging drumwork, brutally bubbling bass lines, crazed fretwork, and berserk vocal hostility. It sounds like an insane melee. The tempo changes, as does the riffing, creating bracing dynamism in this rocketing fireball of sound, which is so explosive and so fascinating that the temptation to listen again and again, just to figure out how everything works together, is irresistible.
The song is from a new EP named Grandfather Of War. It will be released by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions on December 3rd.
Think not about how trying to pronounce this band’s name may sound like a phlegmy throat being cleared. Think instead of the bands who inspired them — the likes of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Morbid Angel, and Unleashed. And then listen to “Vigo“, the turbocharged first single from their new album Front: Toward Enemy, which will be released on December 3rd via Fuel Records (LP) and Reborn Through Tapes (MC).
The song’s rapidly writhing and suddenly morphing riffs get their claws in the head damned fast. They burn with tremendous, vicious energy, but the song is heavy as hell as well, and a complete riot in its drumming. The track includes a fantastic extended guitar solo that sounds supernatural as it wails and shreds, as well as a jackhammering sequence that will loosen your joints — and the vocals are absolutely monstrous.
FIELDS OF MILDEW (Germany)
Now we come, here at the end, to the song that has haunted (and entranced me) since the first time I heard it. It’s not remotely like anything else in this collection, but might by the most memorable of them all.
I hear a faint Celtic air in “Nostalgia“, but it’s the kind of music that captures “both the cruel hardship and austere beauty of human dwelling in unforgiving surroundings”, wherever and whenever that might happen. The quote is from the album description on Bandcamp, and that also refers to “an atmosphere fit to mirror the human spirit pushed to the limits of despair”.
The voice of the project’s sole creator (R) doesn’t bowl over the listener with its force, but is nevertheless very powerful, reminiscent in its style (if not its precise tone) of Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse. His smooth and silky singing stirs the soul, and so does the music, though what’s being stirred is the stone soup of loss. As the title signifies, it’s a visitation of nostalgia, both wistful and forlorn, crafted from ethereal ringing notes, primitive hand drums, and those sad, solemn, intensely seductive vocals.
The name of the new album is The Complete Woes, which will be released by Nordvis on December 3rd. It includes the previously released three-song-EP A Triad Of Incomplete Woes plus a previously unreleased second part, also three songs (and now you understand the album title).