I’m going to dispense with an elaborate introduction to this Saturday’s round-up of new and newly discovered songs and videos. I’ll say only that it includes one complete album, one complete EP, and an assortment of tracks from forthcoming releases — and that the music bounces around quite a it, so don’t think you’ll be allowed to lock in to any one stylistic groove.
COFFIN DUST (U.S.)
Five years is a long time between releases, but save for a very short 2019 split, that’s how long it’s been since we’ve had something new from this enormously impressive Philadelphia band. But the ticking clock got re-set yesterday when Coffin Dust released a new album (their third), the name of which is Nightmare Vision.
I didn’t have any kind of advance peak at this diabolical new vision — I didn’t even know it was on the way, even though I now realize the band dribbled out some singles over the last two months — and so I have only a few quick written reactions, having listened to Nightmare Vision only once. But listening to it only once was all I needed to give it two big thumbs up.
The album is introduced by an entrancing instrumental (“REM/Nightmare”), which does sound like a fascinating but frightening sonic dream, and it’s orders of magnitude more interesting than most such intro pieces. Even after that, when Coffin Dust get to the death-thrashing meat of the matter, the album remains fascinating.
The music packs a heavyweight visceral punch, the vocals are as ugly as sin, and the riffing inflicts bouts of vicious butchery, but the melodies and the soloing give the songs a multitude of other exotic and enthralling dimensions. The drumming is relentlessly lights-out, the tempos in constant flux, and the band make room for grooves that are capable of hammering your head into motion, but the elaborate and electrifying guitar leads and solos (and the contributions of what surely sounds like a sax) are equally effective in spinning your head around, if not more so.
Nightmare Vision is a wild and exhilarating ride (even though it’s tightly executed), one that repeatedly cavorts and careens in displays of sinister and savage ecstasy (with a sprinkling of morbid and macabre slow-downs). Its energy and spirit are highly contagious. I’m extremely eager to spend a lot more time with this one!
EREB ALTOR (Sweden)
You won’t get a smooth segue from Coffin Dust‘s new album to the latest song and video from Ereb Altor, but I did warn you that this collection was going to bounce around a lot. And this bounce won’t come as a surprise if you’re a fan of this epic Viking metal band — you’ll know what’s coming.
What comes is a musical saga, composed of soaring vocals, ringing melodies, plenty of jolting low-end thunder (and visions of a drum kit worthy of Asgard).
“I Have the Sky” is the opening track from Ereb Altor‘s new album Vargtimman, which is set for release on January 14th by Hammerheart Records.
ASENATH BLAKE (Wales)
This next selection is not quite as dramatic a bounce as the one between the first two bands in today’s collection. The opening track from Tribeckoning Songs, “Uneducable Child”, itself includes sweeping and soaring melody, as well as old folk-ish accents that resemble the sounds of a hurdy-gurdy or organ, and intense high-flying vocals. But the rhythms have a modern bounce, which make the song a dance track, in addition to whatever else it is.
The balance of the EP incorporates similar ingredients to similarly bewitching effect, though every song is a surprise, thanks in part to changing tempos and moods and to an array of instrumental embroidery that’s hard to pin down. An amalgam of mystery and swing, of the old and the new, of the haunted and the hunted, with some scorching intensity and careening mayhem in the mix too (especially in the devilish carnival of “Map of Down Below”), the EP has clawed its way under my skin.
Tribeckoning Songs was released on October 31st. Its theme concerns the life and work of the surrealist witch Leonora Carrington (1917-2011).
In another one of these collections back in September I spotlighted this Swedish death ‘n’ roll band’s cover of “Chief Rebel Angel“, the opening track from Entombed‘s 2001 album Morning Star, and happily noted that Reek had also completed work on a new album. Indeed they did, and now two of its 10 tracks are out in the world.
“The Final Slash” fires up the chainsaws and the cannons, roiling and rumbling to decimating, nerve-quickening effect. With savage growls from a throat choked with viscera and accompanied by dark and dismal melodies that slither through the slashing and the bombardments, the song makes a striking impact.
The second song, “In the Darkest Dimensions“, is if anything more barbaric — the riffing more unhinged, the drumming more pummeling, the vocals more crazed. But it will also mercilessly jackhammer you into the ground, and the melodic accents in this one sound like the eerie radiations of crystalline ghosts. There’s also a mind-boggling guitar solo and a truly hallucinatory passage introduced by a bass solo, plus a lot more vocal variety. In a nutshell, this track turns out to be mind-boggling as well as mauling.
The title of the new album is Porn For Satan, and it will be released on December 15th by Iron Blood and Death Corporation. I believe Reek‘s core lineup still consists of Håkan Stuvemark (vocals and guitars), Rogga Johansson (guitars), and Jon Skäre (drums).
You didn’t do anything to deserve my last selection in today’s round-up, but I’m doing it to you anyway. The black-and-white video is surreal. The sound is like a howling fiend inside your head applying a belt-sander to your brain. Here and there you might hear its heart thumping in excitement. Put it all together and you get… nightmare. Only makes sense, since I started with a record called Nightmare Vision.
This track, “Deathb(r)ed“, is off an album named The Hollow that will be due out through Eternal Nightmare (of course) in early 2022. The track is also available as a free download on the subservientdominance Bandcamp in case you can’t live without it.