I intended to complete and post this round-up yesterday, but my fucking day job rudely interfered. In the meantime I’ve been alerted to a bunch of other new songs and videos that surfaced yesterday. Trying to include them now would result in further delay, so I’ll just have to save them for later. Almost half of what you’ll find below came my way via DGR, and one more from a friend and former NCS writer, and the rest I somehow found on my own.
THE HALO EFFECT (Sweden)
“IT’S GLORIOUS. I mean this is like it fell right out of a time machine from the Colony sessions.” That’s what DGR wrote when he alerted some of his fellow NCS slaves to the existence of this first song, which is the title track to The Halo Effect‘s new album, Days of the Lost. And if you don’t know, one reason for the Colony reference is that this band includes a bunch of former In Flames members (Jesper Strömblad, Niclas Engelin, Peter Iwers, and Daniel Svensson) plus Dark Tranquillity‘s Mikael Stanne behind the mic.
Honestly, I don’t have much to add to DGR‘s comment. It really is a pretty fuckin’ glorious song — a jolting and swirling blast from the past, and Stanne‘s vocals are predictably tremendous.
Days Of The Lost will be out on August 12th via Nuclear Blast.
GRAND CADAVER (Sweden)
In order to give us a Mikael Stanne two-fer in this round-up, DGR also recommended the following video (which premiered at Invisible Oranges) for “World Mausoleum” from the Grand Cadaver album Into the Maw of Death, which was released last October by Majestic Mountain Records.
This short burst of scampering savagery is pretty fuckin’ glorious too, and pairs well with that first track above, and you get to re-live the sound while watching tour footage filmed and assembled by Albin Sköld/Illusive Illustration.
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN (U.S.)
Artificial Brain decided to self-title their new album, even though it’s the group’s third one, perhaps because it will be their final recording with original vocalist Will Smith (Afterbirth). The first advance track, “Celestial Cyst“, includes guest vocals by Mike Browning (Nocturnus AD). Other guest performers on the album include Luc Lemay (Gorguts) as well as long-time collaborators Paulo Paguntalan (Miasmatic Necrosis) and Colin Marston (Krallice).
“Celestial Cyst” is a kick in the head, a riotous death metal brawler and a bruiser for sure, but one with a ton of rapidly and adventurously moving parts, laced with queasy and quivering melodies that are mind-warping yet whose mutated hooks prove to be strangely seductive.
Artificial Brain will be released on June 3rd by Profound Lore.
Now we swing back to another of DGR‘s recommendations, which caught his attention because the band includes unidentified members of Hideous Divinity and Bedsore. Based on the first track to surface from their debut EP Apologetica, the band definitely have nothing to apologize for.
What you’re about to hear, “Praescriptio II“, strikes like an overpowering black/death storm, spitting percussive bullets at a crazed rate of speed, spinning out weird, wondrous, and tension-building melodies, and howling like a rabid beast. But then… but then it drifts away into chilling astral dimensions where stricken ghosts seem to wail… until it becomes humongous and harrowing again.
The song is capable of beating you into jellied goo while putting your teeth on edge, twisting your mind into bizarre knots, and creating nightmarish visions of towering horror. It’s really a stunning track, whose many twists and turns and elaborate instrumental escapades are as electrifying as they are unpredictable, and whose vocals are completely insane.
Apologetica is set for release on May 6th.
I had no idea that Portland’s Hellshock were back in the fray — it’s been 8 years since their last EP and 13 years since their last album — but they are indeed back, with a new self-titled album to be released sometime this coming summer via Black Water Records.
“Echopraxia” is a promising signal for the new record. Melodically morbid and sinister at first, the song stalks and slithers like a hybrid beast from the netherworld, and when the raw, howling vocals come in, it becomes more malignant and murderous. Scissoring riffs and eerie leads combine with brutish chugging riffageand skull-snapping snare work. The thing digs its blood-caked claws into the listener’s head and won’t let go.
(Thanks to Joseph Schafer for the heads-up about this new Hellshock jam.)
PREDATORY LIGHT (U.S.)
Predatory Light have a new album named Death and the Twilight Hours that’s set for release on May 20th by 20 Buck Spin. They explain: “These four hymns conceptually meditate on the triumph of death during times of plague, focusing on the psychological terror and rapture of humanity’s impending doom.” Cheery subjects for cheery times.
“To Plead Like Angels” gives us an adventurous first taste of the album, taking off in flurries of dissonant guitars, furiously battering drums, and hellish vampyric vocals. It will get your pulse pounding damned fast, but the bright ring of the quivering, channel-separated guitar harmonies sound dismal and demented, diseased and ecstatic — and they become unexpectedly charismatic. The song becomes even more strange (and strangely beguiling) at the end.
It’s easy to label this as avant-garde black/death metal from another world, which means Metal-Archives may need to adjust their own “Black/Doom” label for the band.
LAMENT CITYSCAPE (U.S.)
I wrote this about a previous single (“Another Arc“) from this band’s new album that I included in another one of these round-ups: “Sometimes we all need to have our necks jackhammered into submission and our skulls cracked like eggs, while a madman howls in our faces and hallucinogens get dropped down our throats.”
My closing entry in this round-up is the video for yet another song from this now-Wyoming-based project. This one, “The Under Dark“, brings to mind some of the same descriptions I struggled to express in hearing that other single. It delivers a methodically brutal beating but its bizarre swirling melodies and harrowing vocals are scary as hell.
The music segues into a world of urban nightmares in which the distorted vocals nearly sing. The music will bend your neck and abrade your mind with chilling visions. The accompanying video, which ends in blood and death, is a perfect visual companion to the cold night terrors embodied by the music.
The song is taken from the new Lament Cityscape album A Darker Discharge, out on April 29th (vinyl on May 27th) through Lifeforce Records.