SEEN AND HEARD: ORNÆMENTAL SHINE, ATRAMENTUM, TOMBS, NON SERVIAM
I have the freedom to do whatever the hell I want with these round-ups, which should mean an absence of any pressure but somehow doesn’t work out that way. No one tells me to pick this song or that song, no one will live or die (or succeed or fail) depending on what I pick, and I guess the only “wrong” choice is one that no one else likes. So where does the pressure come from?
Damned if I know. Some gremlin in my head that gnaws at the wiring and gibbers “You could have done better! You could have done more!” Begone you devil, I’d rather forget about you and listen to these devils instead:
ORNÆMENTAL SHINE (U.S.)
Not too long ago I, Voidhanger Records launched a flurry of new album announcements and advance tracks from each of them. Eventually I hope to touch on all of them. Today I’ll touch on Deima Panikon, the debut album from Ornæmental Shrine, an avant-garde U.S. quintet that includes members of Uada and Black Hate.
Among the flurry of new I, Voidhanger announcements, I was drawn to this one because the album is described as “an obsessive elaboration on madness and the connection it establishes with the categories of mysticism and esotericism, the album title referencing terror towards the Divine when a subject connects with it”. Turns out that those aren’t empty words, as you’ll discover by listening to the album opener “Numinous Presence“.
It’s a thoroughly hallucinatory experience, created by a weird tapestry of meandering drums, jazz-like bass permutations, whining and blaring guitar-dissonance deployed as instruments of ear-torture, and wild proclamatory vocals that veer from vicious screams to strangled regurgitations and wild singing.
But that’s only part of what happens, and there’s no predicting how the tempos and sensations will change. It’s the kind of thing that will put your teeth on edge, cast bizarre spells, and maybe put you in fear of swarming beasts in the midst of conflagrations. What you won’t be is bored.
I, Voidhanger will release the album on June 17th (CD and dogital), and Dybbuk Productions will release it on tape and vinyl.
My first impulse after deciding to open today’s collection with the sheer madness of that Ornæmental Shrine track was to find something more… straightforward. The average mind can only take so much lunacy before it instinctively runs away. But then I thought, fuck that. In for a dime, in for a dollar. And so, I picked the track denominated “VI” from the forthcoming second album by the pan-national dup Atramentum.
This track greets the ears with a fusillade of battering drums, convulsing guitar dissonance, and utterly crazed vocals. From there the song rudely shoves you through a labyrinth. The drums somersault and patter, the bass bubbles like magma, and the guitars momentously blare, viciously claw, and ring like the peals of fractured bells. The vocals remain so persistently macabre and unhinged that they might raise goosebumps.
Fevers come to a boil, and then the band stagger around like the narcotics suddenly kicked in, only to be counteracted by something that causes seizures. Bizarre, berserk, and bedazzling, the track makes a fitting lunatic companion for the first track in today’s collection.
The name of the album is Through Fire, Everything Is Renewed. It’s pegged for release by Invictus Productions on June 17th.
Okay, NOW for something more straightforward!
Honestly, I’d listen to a cover of “Killed By Death” even if performed by kindergarten kids pinging away on toy pianos and singing off-key. I mean, I wouldn’t listen to that kind of cover more than once, but the song is just so fucking good that I’d have given it one shot. Having said that, I was much more eager to her Tombs do it.
You know this glorious song of course, so I’m not sure I need to add anything more, other than to add that Tombs do put their own blackened stamp on the track, and (aided by guest guitarist Dan Higgins of Hammerfight) they furnish a guitar extravaganza at the end. Their cover comes from a new EP named Ex Oblivion, which is set for release by Season of Mist on July 13th. Hail Motörhead!
NON SERVIAM (France)
Time to discombobulate you again before I bid you adieu.
If you’ve been stumbling around our site with any consistency in recent years, then surely you’ve seen my efforts to wrestle the music of Non Serviam into suitable words. It’s been the kind of match where my adversary keeps leaping off the turnbuckles and slamming me to the canvas, or applying a folding chair to the back of my head. Now they’re doing it again.
What you’ll find in closing here are two tracks from the band’s new “mini-album” (so named despite the presence of 8 tracks and 43 minutes of music), We Are Nothing But Your Krill. These two are the title track and “O My Whale“, which in its title maintains the krill theme, whose deeper meanings I can’t yet explain.
The opener is a short little beast constructed of throbbing low-end pulses, a swirl of shining but shiver-inducing electronics, strident vocal proclamations, and eventually a groovy rhythm that might get your head moving even as Non Serviam are trying to trash its interior.
The longer second song is more flagrantly assaulting but also more bizarre. The vocals alone are an asylum filled to overflowing, with uber-distorted gutturals trading places with ghastly howls, terrorizing shrieks, ecstatic singing, and maybe a bit of mumbling. Around the voices, the drums hammer and cavort and the music blares, blazes, skitters, and spins around in mad dances.
Bowel-loosening electro-beats come and go, along with bunker-busting detonations, mercurial fretwork frenzies, tonalities that strike like ice-picks to the ear drums, and other sonic ingredients too numerous and too invasive to count. You might want to set aside some time after listening to pick up your teeth from the floor and stop your head from spinning.
We Are Nothing But Your Krill is set for release on August 5th by Trepanation Recordings.
P.S. The album includes a bonus track that features members of Agoraphobic Nosebleed, which makes some sense.