Demonical – Photo by Jens Ryden
For the last three weeks I’ve stayed away from hard liquor because I’d forgotten where the off-switch was. Beer and wine were still on the alcohol menu because, for whatever reason, it was a lot easier to find the off-switch. But last night I hung out at a bar with an old friend. I’d never been to that particular bar and was surprised to see a bottle of Brennivin sitting on the shelf. I couldn’t resist. This morning I’m brutally reminded why I decided to stay away from the hard stuff for a while.
Fortunately, I picked all the music for this round-up after hours of listening that happened before I met my friend. Because I’m getting a late and painful start this morning, I’m going to launch this post without any commentary about the songs. I’ll probably come back and add the commentary later today, not because anyone needs that but because I like doing it; at least I like doing it when my head is functioning.
Part of the fun in making these choices yesterday was discovering that I could present them in short blocks, creating small groups of songs that seemed to work well together. In doing that I divided the music into five Parts. Hopefully you’ll get what I was thinking, but even if you don’t get the connections I hope you’ll still dig the music. I sure as hell did.
Demonical haven’t re-built their HM-2 engine or even given it an oil change. It still rumbles and runs rough. There’s a devilish whine in it too, but the big pistons work just fine. Loosen your neck for this one.
From the album Mass Destroyer, set for release on May 6th via Agonia Records.
MALIGNANT AURA (Australia)
Malignant Aura also have a big smoke-belching engine, but it heaves and crawls. The music is menacing and miserable, the vocals a howling horror. The percussive pistons do eventually pump faster, the bass prominently throbs, and the guitars squirm like worms, everything building to crescendos of hideous calamity and madness.
From the album Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me, coming in “Mid 2022” via Bitter Loss Records.
EGGS OF GOMORRH (Switzerland)
In this next Part we’re still in realms of death metal, but it’s a much more riotous realm, as you’ll quickly discover through the full-throttle battering and frenzied fretwork-violence meted out by this new song from Eggs of Gomorrh. Lunacy reigns, from the grinding and whipping riffage to the boiling bass lines, the maniacal drumwork, and the rabid vocals.
From the album Wombspreader, set for release on June 10th by Godz Ov War Productions.
The next song, which has a mouthful of a song title, is also berserk (and bone-smashing). The tremendous vocals remind me of Aborted‘s Sven. When the band lock into a mean, jackhammering groove, let your head go how it wants to go (up and down). A vicious piece of work that ultimately becomes downright dismal before it really goes nuts. (If you let the player continue to run, you;’ll get mauled and mangled by a second preview track.)
From the album The Hierarchical Ecological Succession: Welcome to the Food Chain, which has a March 5 release date through Blood Blast Distribution.
We’ve already had some prominent bass performances in today’s collection, but the one in MROME‘s new song is especially powerful and massively groovesome. Like the other songs in this Part, “Mama” is physically compulsive, and the skittering and slithering fretwork gets its hooks in too. It’s a sinister song, thanks in part to the vocals, which are both brooding and slaughtering. As icing on the cake, the song includes a wild, white-hot guitar solo. But man, that bass groove….
From the concept album Barbaric Values, which will be released on April 4th.
BLOOD TORRENT (German)
The next song rocks out too, thanks to an excellent rhythm section, but it has an unmistakably sulphurous aroma. Vicious snarls, pungent grunts, and wild yells lead these devils in their revels. The riffs and darting guitar leads are as contagious as omicron, and the song is packed to overflowing with them, one piece of gold after another, mined from halcyon days of rock and heavy metal.
From the album Void Universe, which has an April 8 release date via Trollzorn Records.
By now you’ll understand that this Part of today’s collection is mainly about getting you to move, and this new song by Confess may be the most compulsively head-and-body-moving of them all. There’s another prominent bass performance in this one too, along with furious, scraped-raw vocals, electrifying guitar work that ecstatically skitters, slashes, and seethes, brief doses of pulsating electronics, and a scintillating solo.
This new politically charged video is for a song from the album Revenge At All Costs, which dropped on January 22nd of this year via Rexius Records.
1/2 SOUTHERN NORTH (Greece)
Part Four brings a big change, beginning with a 10 1/2 minute song from Half Southern North. Eerie, hallucinatory, and sinister in its opening movement, the real heart of the song then reveals itself through the stunning vocals of IDVex (Ifigeneia Derizioti), who also wrote the music and performed most of the instruments. Her voice is enormously powerful and wide-ranging — soulful, bluesy, psychedelic, and frightening. There’s a big beefy bass and booming drums in this genre-bending avant-garde track too, along with chiming guitars and layers of other instrumentation (including a narcotic closing solo) that build an otherworldly yet seductive atmosphere.
From the album Narrations Of A Fallen Soul, which will be released by Satanath Records and Fog Foundation on April 8th, with vinyl and digipak coming on July 1st through Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions.
There’s obviously not a close stylistic similarity between this next song and the one that you just finished hearing, Maybe the high-flying singing and the mystical music in the song’s opening created the connection in my own head, along with the fact that it too is roughly 10 1/2 minutes long.
The pulse of the music heats up, and nasty snarls trade places with the singing, but the mystical aura of the song persists. The folkloric and forlorn guitars become spellbinding when the rhythm skips and jumps. At times the song soars in haunting glory, but becomes beleaguered as well. And those aren’t all of the sensations and moods that Bhleg reveal in this multi-faceted gem.
From the album Fäghring, due for release on April 1st by Nordvis.
I admit that despite what I wrote in the introduction there’s not much connection between the two items in this final Part. I just really liked the music of both bands and didn’t want to leave them out.
END REIGN (U.S.)
This is a new two-track single released on February 11th by A389 Recordings. The band includes current or former members of Integrity, All Out War, Bloodlet, and Pig Destroyer. Those names will give you good clues about the music
“The Hunger” is bleak and bruising, gut-slugging and spine-shaking, and the vocals are incinerating. I suppose I could have put this track up in Part Three above, because it’ll get your muscles moving reflexively, and there’s some fiery, exhilarating soloing in the song too. “Divine Abysmal End” includes the same strong ingredients, but it’s often more turbocharged and maniacal, and guaranteed to get your adrenaline flooding.
A hell of a lot happens in this final song. Among other things (many other things), it includes singing (very good singing that easily earns an exception to our “rule”). But like all the contrasting instrumental movements — which are both progressive and clobbering, musing and marauding — there’s another vocal texture in the mix, for those who enjoy having their faces sandblasted. The black-and-white video is also a really good one, showing us the band performing for friends in a vast interior space (which hopefully will not be under Russian management this time next week) amidst shadows and light.
The song is based on the ancient Greek myth, and the band write: “Our reading of this eternal plot is: ancient fears and heroic victories sleeping in our collective unconsciousness sometimes determine the life and fate of people and entire nations”.
“Icarus” has been released as a single but will also be included in a future album.