The high temperature in Seattle on Monday was 23 degrees, making it the coldest day in 31 years according to the National Weather Service. I live close to Seattle, and I feel like I’m in the Arctic, even though I’ve never been to the Arctic. Snow and ice have covered everything in my community and the roads are dangerous, in part because no one here fucking knows how to drive in treacherous conditions.
The upside is that there are attractive snow-covered views out the window in the forest where I live, and I’ve had enough shut-in time on my hands to compile the selections of music you’re about to encounter. If you live someplace where the temps are in the ’70s or ’80s F., or in a frigid place where local governments and residents actually know how to deal with it, please just keep that to yourself.
JUST BEFORE DAWN (Sweden)
About 10 days ago this Swedish death metal war machine discharged a new EP named In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow, as a a tribute to their fallen brothers Sven Groß and L.G. Petrov. For this EP the ever-busy JBD riffmeister Anders Biazzi wrote four new original songs and recorded them with vocalist Remco Kreft (Graceless, Soulburn) and drummer Jon Rudin (Wombbath, Pale King), with guitar solos provided by Kreft and Björn Brusse (Graceless).
In addition, the band recorded a cover of the Entombed song “Drowned” in remembrance of L.G. Petrov, and that one features Gustav Myrin on guitars and bass, with Myrin and Daniel Gustavsson doing the solos.
By now everyone should know that where JBD excels is in the delivery of absolutely crushing, neck-wrecking riffs, with a tone that makes the cliched “chainsaw” metaphor a pitiful understatement — and you’ll get a big dose of those in the new EP, matched again by Rudin‘s skull-cracking drumwork.
But JBD has also become very adept at manifesting other dimensions of mechanized war besides channeling massive tank attacks, bunker-busting bombing campaigns, and the fierce and frightened frenzies of combatants. The songs on this EP, as in previous releases, include melodies (as well as haunting, heart-felt solos) that capture misery, despair, and grief — the traumatic after-effects of bloodshed and death. And Remco Kreft‘s gritty, full-throated roars and high-flying howls are vivid in their manifestations of raw fury and torment.
JBD‘s cover of “Drowned” is also a fine homage to L-G. Kreft‘s vocals are particularly spine-tingling in this one, and the soloing is wild.
In short, this is another excellent entry in JBD‘s impressive discography and a fine way to help bring 2021 to its bitter end.
I decided to stay with Swedish death metal for this second choice, though Kattlik‘s new song (presented with a nice video) “Att Finna Och Finnas” is a different sensation than the music of Just Before Dawn.
In part the music is a heavy, lumbering beast with a weary and woozy feeling to the riffing. On the other hand, the glittering ring of the drifting guitar leads has a forlorn and eventually a desperate quality, and the raw, throat-scraping howl of the vocals deepens the feelings of depression and anguish — all of it wrapped in a bit of a psychedelic haze.
The dense grinding tones of the boiling riffage in the next song definitely connects to the chainsawing traditions of Swedish death metal, and the drumwork quite effectively hacks at the listener’s vertebrae and punches like a high-speed nail gun. The shrieking vocals add a feeling of berserk derangement to the savagery of the proceedings. Put it all together and you get a dose of mauling madness.
But wait, there’s more: When the full-throttle rhythm subsides, the music both jolts like a pile-driver and becomes a seething mass of cruel oppression and crushing hopelessness.
The song is “El 4° Jinete Sobre la Adelantadía“, and it premiered within the last 24 hours. It’s from an album named Haeresis (the fourth full-length from this Spanish black/death band) that will be released by Immortal Frost Productions on January 28th.
SENTIENT HORROR (U.S.)
Still in the death metal vein, I’m turning next to a new video for a new song by New Jersey’s Sentient Horror. This one is also in keeping with the tone of other tracks in today’s collection — and you know what kind of tone I mean.
“Till Death Due Us Rot” is a hard-charging, scampering onslaught, one that’s a bone-gnawing, gut-punching, adrenaline-inducing rampage. Accented by bursts of skittering fretwork, a freakish, face-melting solo, and barbarous growls, the song will get your pulse pounding.
The song is from an album named Rites of Gore that will be jointly released by Redefining Darkness Records (North America) and Testimony Records (EU) on April 22nd.