SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: WORMWITCH, VORARE, TORTURER, SERPENT ASCENDING
If you happened to wade through my windy intro to yesterday’s small-ish roundup, then you know I had a ton of new songs and videos to check out, and hoped to pull together a lot more picks today than I managed to do yesterday.
Unfortunately, for reasons I won’t get windy about today, I haven’t been able to dig as deeply into that big pile of new things as I’d hoped, so this followup roundup will also be smallish, but hopefully still worth your time. (More to come tomorrow.)
Kyle Tavares has been a very busy man this year. Aided by some talented bandmates, his group Vital Spirits released a new album, and his band Seer released a new EP (both of which we premiered, here and here), and now Wormwitch (the third active band in which he is a key participant) just released a new digital single yesterday, along with a video that had its premiere at Decibel.
Decibel‘s premiere of “Age Of The Ordeal Of Iron” included a long statement about the song by vocalist/bassist Robin Harris, but I think it’s well worth reading and so I’ve pasted it here:
This song is about man usurping nature and becoming a self-proclaimed master over it. But the dread holiness of the sacred earth gives him fear, so he engages in rites of blood and fire to appease it, and he denies or becomes blind to his body to seek purity, while simultaneously ushering in an age of iron and death. Through this he becomes diminished, a part of a great machine that he grows to hate. He is now far removed from the garden and his own nature, he proclaims that “nature is no longer needed” while he cringes and recoils at the slightest discomfort, the slightest pain, the smallest disturbance to his Supreme Order and Total Control of a technocratic society, filled with delusions of transcendence and hatred of a world of his own making, his own flesh, and nature’s “natural evils”. By this way he comes full circle into his Primitive Dreams and—assuming the image of a thunderous and metallurgic god radiating a holy and brightly burning cancer-of-the-spirit—he bombs the entire earth into dust and erases himself from existence.
That’s quite a tale, one built around some big and serious subjects, and obviously not one with a very optimistic outlook. Like the story line, the music itself is a creature of wrath and disgust. It blazes with the intensity of feverishly hammering drums, cyclonic riffing that roils and writhes, tumultuous bass lines, and flesh-scorching vocal vitriol.
The band mix in rocking grooves, slashing, head-hooking chords, and fiery, frantic leads that seem to channel feral fighting spirits, as well as passages where the music both soars and seems afflicted by anguish, and other more doom-stricken moments when the music stalks and towers like a grim and glowering beast. It tails away into what feels like a nightmarish void.
All in all, the song is an electrifying experience. It’s available now across many digital platforms, and can be downloaded exclusively on Bandcamp.
Next I’ve chosen the two tracks that have become available so far from this mysterious Finnish duo’s new EP (or maybe it’s an album) named The Drainage Rituals.
“Pyramidal Impasse” manages to sound both primitive and futuristic, creating increasingly hard-hitting percussive rhythms whose propulsion seems more electronic than executed with something sheathed in hides, extended through reverb and backed by eerie ambient mists. It may get you moving but may also loosen your teeth, and the roaring and screaming vocals are horrifying. When the primal beats vanish (though they detonate again later), the music seems to move into frightening astral realms populated by the stuff of nightmares.
The follow-on song, “Drainage“, works a similar kind of chilling magic. The drums sound like bombs going off above the bunker where you huddle in fear, surrounded by siren-like wails and arrhythmic heart-beats. Vibrant cymbal ticks clatter, ambient tones become perilous whirlpools, the beats resume with massive impact, and crazed howls and screams radiate their extreme torment through it. The ensuing electronic collage is mysterious and disturbing, coiling the tension and building the fear factor.
The Drainage Rituals is set for digital release on May 20th through Bandcamp, with a CD edition shipping a bit later.
Next up I’ve chosen a new video for Torturer‘s song “Kingdom of the Dark“. As you’ll see in the video’s opening, the song wasn’t spawned by tales of superhuman darkness but by a darkness of human origin that continues to plague the band’s homeland. They say this beneath the YouTube clip (which I’ve rendered in English via Google Translate):
“Commemoration of 30 years since the original recording of this song in the famous DEMO 91′ in view of the social resurgence in Chile experienced during October 2019.”
And yes, Torturer have been around that long, but their capacity to bludgeon and blaze seems undiminished. This new version of that old song will give your skull a good jolting, and the thrashy riffage and hostile growls are convincingly sinister and savage.
On top of all that the song is home to a pair of exhilarating dual-guitar solos, and constant changes in riffs, rhythms, and tempos that will keep you on your toes. Torturer‘s fury turns out to be intricate and elaborate, and also highly addictive.
The song is available on Bandcamp as a digital single.
P.S. A press release tells us this: “Torturer is currently working on a new studio album which will be titled Burning Cross. The new album is set to be launched via Australis Records in Chile during the second half of 2022. This material consists in a re-recording of their previous work Burning Cross originally published in 2003, plus other rarities and an updated sound in terms of production.”
SERPENT ASCENDING (Finland)
To close, much sooner than I’d like, here’s “Growth of the Soil“, the extensive opening track off a new album by Serpent Ascending
“Growth of the Soil” is a hell of a trip. It opens with martial drum rhythms, blaring chords, and muttered words. The music creates a sense of electrifying defiance, and then begins to twist and turn, creating a rich embroidery of syncopated bass-and-drum interplay, masterfully mercurial guitar work that renders moods of ecstatic madness, morbid gloom, wistful introspection, frantic confusion, and occult peril (that’s how I translate what I hear, though you may take away different sensations).
Grim and solemn words and rabid snarls surface in the midst of the extravagant guitar performances, which draw upon lots of influences, including classic heavy metal and prog, black, and death metal, to create a ravishing spectacle of sound (all the more spectacular because this is the work of one person — Jarno Nurmi, a musician with a past in Desecresy, Slugathor, Nerlich, and other Finnish death metal bands). Yes, the song is long, but I still wasn’t ready for it to stop.
The album’s name is Hyperborean Folklore, and it’s set for release on June 17th by I, Voidhanger Records.
Yay spouses who plan outings!
I didn’t mean to complain — it was my own forgetfulness that discombobulated me.