SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: NECHOCHWEN, SHAPE OF DESPAIR, THUMOS, SPIRITWORLD, REPENTANCE, ULTRA SILVAM, KAATAYRA, MAC GOLLEHON
Very early this morning I spent time listening to new music in order to select what I would want to recommend to you, and made the following selections. But then I unexpectedly had to spend a couple of hours on the job that pays me (advising world leaders on how to deal with problems that confound their feeble minds), and that left me with almost no time to provide my own (unnecessary) impressions of the music. So it will have to speak for itself, which is no problem because it speaks so fluently.
This is an idiosyncratic set of song choices, with very little to connect them to each other other than my attraction to them. But I think it will be a very interesting, albeit unpredictable, journey if you stick with everything through to the end.
After nearly 8 years since the release of the fabulous Heart of Akamon, West Virginia’s beloved Nechochwen have returned, unveiling the title track from their impending new album, Kanawha Black. Kanawha Black will be released worldwide by Bindrune Recordings in Spring/Summer of 2022.
Unless your heart has become a cold stone (which honestly could have been a survival adaptation in the last couple of years), this song will hit you hard and ignite some fires.
SHAPE OF DESPAIR (Finland)
Finnish funeral doom icons Shape of Despair have prepared a new album, Return to the Void, which will be released by Season of Mist on February 22nd. “Reflection in Slow Time” is the first single. “As ever, this is cheerless music for sunless days”, and it is sublime.
It is good news that Thumos also has a new album on the way. A song from it named “The Virtues” has been included as the final track on an amusingly entitled compilation assembled by Aldora Britain Records. Check out the song stream below. This is a fascinating project, and this mesmerizing song is further proof of that.
Decibel hosted the premiere of this next video, a track off this Vegas band’s debut album Pagan Rhythms, which was released in July of last year. The video is a discombobulating assemblage of old rodeo footage, go-go dancers, and occult rituals. The song will fuck with you too.
I confess I got an attack of crippling metalcore nostalgia listening to these next two songs by Chicago-based Repentance. They will slug you silly and apply an acetylene torch to your nerve endings, and they’re damned infectious too. They’re from an EP named Volume I – Reborn, set for release on November 26 (today!) by Noble Demon.
ULTRA SILVAM (Sweden)
If past is prologue, then Ultra Silvam‘s second album The Sanctity of Death will be worth paying attention to (because their debut full-length, The Spearwound Salvation, was quite good). The new album’s title track confirms those expectations, providing a very cool dose of melodic black metal with good old heavy metal accents.
I’m more distraught about my inability to comment on this next music stream than about my relative silence on everything else in this collection. I’ve written about the remarkable works of this one-man Brasilian project on two previous occasions, and those previous works have made me a steadfast fan.
This latest album ranges far and wide in its music — no pithy summing up will do it justice. You really just have to set aside the time necessary to make your way through all of it, and to suspend your expectations going in, because just picking out a song or two as a taste-test won’t give you the full picture (I’m thinking of the parable about the blind man and the elephant).
Inpariquipê was just released today, and is available as a name-your-price download.
MAC GOLLEHON (U.S.)
From my friends at Earsplit PR, I learned more about trumpet performer Mac Gollehon than I had ever known before. In their words, he “has toured the planet and recorded in studios everywhere with an endless roster of rock, pop, and jazz artists since the 1970s, including David Bowie, Blondie, Onyx, Madonna, Billy Ocean, Hall & Oates, Chaka Khan, Buddy Rich, Al Jarreau, Sheena Easton, Nile Rodgers, Patrick Adams, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Hector Lavoe, and hundreds of others, including his decade-plus run in Duran Duran.” He’s done solo work too, though I hadn’t encountered it before now.
What I’ve found now is the first single off The End Is The Beginning, a newly recorded solo EP that Nefarious Industries will be releasing in February. I was thoroughly fascinated by the surrealistic and powerfully seductive music, and maybe after you listen to it you’ll have at least an inkling about why I included it in this collection at NCS instead of making it just a private experience.