There was a modest but noticeable slowdown in the release of new songs and videos over the holidays, but things have kicked back up into high gear again, as evidenced by the enormous number of tabs I’ve opened up for new music and video streams just since last weekend. I’ve made my way through many (but not all) of those and made the following selections across many metal sub-genres in the hope of brightening (and darkening) your day.
HUMAN HARVEST (Sweden)
A dozen years after the release of their second demo this death metal band (now the formidable duo of Jonny Pettersson and Jon Rudin) has crawled from its crypt again and fashioned a debut album named Flesh Sermons that’s been set for release on January 31st by Iron, Blood and Death Corporation. Last Monday saw the discharge of the album’s first advance track, a macabre monstrosity called “Blasphemy“.
With ghastly growls, rabid barks, and hair-raising screams leading the vocal assault, the song further punishes and electrifies the senses with booming grooves, blistering and skull-smacking snare-work, and a cornucopia of freakish riffing. The mauling guitars scythe and slash, slither and groan, and convulse in berserk spasms. Shrill squirming leads lend the music an eerie supernatural aura, even as those gargantuan crushing grooves give your head plenty of reason to move.
I’ve already started my list of candidates for our 2022 Most Infectious Song list, and this one is now on there.
Following up on a first EP released in 2018, this experimental death metal band (which includes two former members of Flourishing as well as members of Miasmatic Necrosis and Artificial Brain) has completed work on a debut album entitled The Ailing Facade, and my next choice in today’s collection is its first advance track, “Denature“.
This is the song that opens the album, and it does so in riveting and disconcerting fashion. It mounts a furious assault, drums blasting, vocals roaring and howling, and the guitars generating a cyclone of whirring and wheeling mania. The drumming of Ian Jacyszyn gets plenty of time in the spotlight — and repeatedly threatens to steal the show — backed by skittering and soaring electronics, and the soloing is unearthly in its sound. Quite an extravagant and head-spinning experience….
The Ailing Facade will be released on March 18th by Profound Lore.
Four and a half years have passed since Arkaik‘s last album, but they’re finally back with a new one, ready to rejoin the tech-death arms race. Entitled Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts, it’s pegged for a March 11th release by The Artisan Era. Based on the album’s first single, which arrived a couple days ago in the company of a video, it sounds like these Californians are in good form.
There’s plenty of blazing and fret-leaping guitar work in “Wayward Opulence“, as well as riotous yet surgically executed drumming and howling vocal intensity. Hell, despite the fast pace of the song and the swallow-like darting in the guitar work, the whole thing is sharply executed. You also get doses of soaring and spacy melody and frantically cavorting keyboards, all of which underscores the generally off-planet (or pan-dimensional) atmosphere of the song. The video is fun to watch too.
We haven’t had any black metal in today’s collection yet, but I’m about to fill that void with the first advance song from this Dutch band’s forthcoming fourth album. But if you’re familiar with this group’s previous work, you’ll know that they tend to be unconventional in their approach, and that’s true of “Rad des Tijds” (released just yesterday), which brings other musical styles into play.
Yes, the vocalist screams like an enraged goblin, and the drums often hurtle at high velocities, but the riffing weaves joyful, witchy melodies that soar, swirl, and dance, creating a powerfully seductive spell. The guitars glisten like gold, the vocals segue into fervent spoken words, and the song also drifts away like a gently flowing sun-lit stream, even as the vocalist pours out sounds of extreme torment. Near the end, the music sweeps us up into the clouds, revealing visions of splendor, before one last electrifying whirl. Really a magical song….
The name of the album is Weemoedsklanken, and it will be released on February 25th by Babylon Doom Cult Records. It includes flugelhorn and saxophone and fetching artwork by Maya Kurkhuli.
Speaking of fetching artwork, how about the fascinating but very chilling cover art up there? Created by Namurian Visions, it adorns the forthcoming second album by Pestilength from the Basque Country of Spain. I was so taken by the band’s 2020 debut full-length, Eilatik, that I’m thrilled to have a new one on the way. Its name is Basom Gryphos.
The first advance track, “Thelegm“, is a vivid reminder of just how mind-plundering and bone-breaking the music of Pestilength is. The riffing has a deep and corrosive tone, and it gouges and brays, grinds and grimaces, creating an atmosphere of discord and horror (an atmosphere strengthened by the unhinged howling of the vocalist). The rhythmic drives of the music change, stopping and starting, pounding like a pile-driver, firing like massed mortars, and keeping this transfixing monstrosity on course with measured metronomic snare-pops.
Eventually, the mania in the music subsides, and the song crawls like a wounded behemoth across a plain of skulls, trailing misery on a vast scale.
A stunning song, and a vivid indication that the new record may be even better than the first one. Basom Gryphos will be released on March 7th by Nuclear Winter Records, in conspiracy with Sentient Ruin and Goat Throne.
The opening riff of this new Corrupter song, which has a dismal and diseased aura, seizes attention quickly, but no more so than the eruption of thunderous battery, miasma-lke riffing, and gory, gargled vocals that follow it. The guitar work has a dense and writhing quality that’s frightening, and even when they send off grand but deeply ominous fanfares of sound it’s enough to put a cold sweat on the back of your neck.
The second time the music explodes in violence might be even more exhilarating than the first time, an experience in ferocity and fear, madness and malignance, that’s not soon forgotten.
The song is “Darkest Light“, the album is Descent Into Madness, and it will be released by Godz Ov War Productions on February 11th. The stunning cover art is by Juanjo Castellano Rosado.
The cover art for this Polish band’s new single (designed by Paweł Mioduchowski of Dopelord), coupled with the name of the song itself — “With the Devil Hand In Hand” — gives you some good clues to the music, which turns out to be a brand of occult doom and heavy metal.
Lots of things about the song get their claws in a listener’s head, from the head-moving, ritualized, and rocking drum rhythms to the thick, fuzz-bombed riffs, from the piercing wail and bewitching warble of the lead guitar to the vocalist’s own high wail. And yes, this is an exception to our swiss-cheese rule about singing.
Hydra clearly aren’t breaking any molds with this song, but the sorcery in the music is strong, and when they kick up the pace near the mid-point it’s even harder to resist, especially when a guitar solo starts to cook (and it cooks beautifully). Besides, I did make it a point to spread this collection of songs across a multitude of genres, and this one suits that purpose.
“With the Devil Hand in Hand” is the contagious first single taken from Hydra‘s second album, to be released by Piranha Music. As far as I know, a release date hasn’t been announced and pre-orders haven’t started yet.
Yes, in concluding this round-up I’m again violating our rule about singing, even though this next song does include some screaming too. What it also includes, and the main reason you’re seeing it here, are some jolting and completely head-hooking drum-and-bass workouts, plus an intertwining of rambunctious guitar work, dreamy, ethereal synths, and rippling piano keys. Those contrasting juxtapositions clearly connect to the song’s title, “Dimorphous Display“.
The song is a stand-alone single, but Loathe are also working on a new album.