Whatever you did with yesterday, I hope it turned out to be a good one. In Friday’s round-up of new songs and videos I surmised that I wouldn’t post anything this weekend. But I got fidgety this morning, not like drug, alcohol, or nicotine withdrawal, but itchy enough that I wanted to scratch it, that itch that comes from having missed a day of posting something for NCS. So here I am.
The morning’s half-gone already, a function of sleeping in and then staring for a while at how the overnight snowfall changed the look of everything where we live (e.g., the photo above), so I’m just foisting a handful of quickly chosen singles at you. After this I’m going to listen to some of the black metal selections that will appear in the final installment of Neill Jameson‘s year-end lists for NCS, an installment he calls “The Top Shelf“. You’ll see that tomorrow if you come back here.
Rennie from starkweather put this first song and video on my radar. These six Latvians released it yesterday as a single, and named it “Glorious Temple of the Horned Moon“.
The haunting and eventually stunning video is beautifully made. The opening of the song is haunting as well, as lonesome notes wail in a vast space. The music swells in waves above a steady, heavy pulse, and there’s singing — which becomes screaming when the drums rumble and the sounds begin to sear. A mood of wistful remembrance becomes a blaze of yearning and anguish, and a vibrant bass performance rears up in the midst of this glorious but disturbing fire.
As the music magnificently crescendos the old man swings the scythe beneath a blood-red sky, and maybe it’s not only wheat that falls before the blade. A voice cries out a refrain when ethereal keyboards shimmer and ring, the music becoming haunting and mysterious once again.
The poetic lyrics of the song, which are an exaltation of Death (and which you can see at Bandcamp), are worth absorbing as well.
The next song was just released today, and makes for a good follow-on to the first track I chose. Dramatic but sorrowful piano chords ring out above a vibrant beat and fevered backing sounds. An extravagant voice exclaims the lyrics in wrenching tones and the doleful mood of the music becomes more unnerving as the piano melody becomes more tormented, the riffing more heavy and dismal, and the vocals more shattering.
It’s hard not to nod to the beats, and it’s hard not to be absorbed by the pain the music pours out, and to become spellbound by it — up to the finale, when the drums blast, the bass maniacally jitters, the vocals come undone, and the piano performance reaches heights of ravishing intensity.
The song is “The Rite of Blood & Dust“.
ORDEM SATÂNICA (Portugal)
I suspect by the time you listen to this next song it will seem as if my choices so far have progressively been sinking deeper into despair. I didn’t set out with that mission in mind, it’s just the way these songs came together.
“O Sacrifício Final (para Satan)” is lo-fi, raw, and abrasive. The drumbeats provide chugging and clattering grooves, surrounded by a wash of flesh-stripping grit and a cacophony of harrowing vocal extremity. In the background, wraith-like synths ride across the skies and a guitar flickers with insane fervency.
It’s a dire experience, a seeming manifestation of occult spiritual possession in which the blood has been heated to a boil — a reveling in pain, an offering of sacrifice, and a surrender to madness. Unexpectedly, for such an unnerving sensory assault, it has the capacity to induce a trance state.
The song is from an\ forthcoming album (the fourth one by these satanists) that’s due for release sometime next year by Signal Rex.
I probably could have found a way to delve even deeper into nightmares of agony, but decided instead to end this small collection with something that will chop your spine and kick your adrenaline into overdrive. I couldn’t resist it even though it doesn’t really fit the usual focus of this column.
“Plague Rages” is a new single by San Francisco’s Succumb (whose 2021 album XXI is appearing on lots of YE lists), and it was also just released yesterday. You may know the song from Napalm Death‘s original.
The jolting grooves in the song are ridiculously compulsive (the rhythm section fires on all cylinders, fueled by high octane); the riffing, which roils and rakes, is just as powerful an accelerant; and the raw, raging vocals cap off the music’s tremendous feral energy.
Just when you think the track is going to completely ruin your neck before it ends, the band really stomp on the gas pedal — drums blasting and the guitars becoming a superheated feeding frenzy. But the band also keep bringing back those electrifying grooves. The song makes a good, albeit brief, soundtrack for anything that gets you angry, maybe especially the fact that we’re nowhere close to emerging from the plague.