When I woke up this morning I had planned to do a big round-up of 8 new songs and videos that I’d picked during a listening/viewing session yesterday afternoon. Bleary-eyed, I found messages from Mr. Synn telling me about four other new songs and videos that had popped up overnight from bands we all favor. What to do?
What I decided to do was go with those four newer ones today, plus one of the 8 I picked yesterday, and push the others I found yesterday into another round-up tomorrow. Trust me, even with the slight delay those others will be well worth your time on Saturday.
IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT (U.S.)
“Atmospheres awash with mysterious origins. Sacred rites of passage and formidable knowledge lead to marvels of engineering. Funnelling the mass into a finite horizon all roads travel in duality. Blurred is the line between real and illusion as the last scream of truth is destroyed by evil so grotesque. It transforms into a lone rider traveling into the forbidden darkness…”
Those are the words proffered by Imperial Triumphant for “Maximalist Scream“, the first advance track from their new album Spirit of Ecstasy, which comes with this intriguing cover art:
The new song, paired with a short noir-ish film, features guest vocals by Snake from Voivod. It’s a lurching and staggering menace, but also includes manic but unpredictable drumming and crazed screams, as well as hideous snarls and freakish fret-leaping contortions. But that’s just the beginning.
The song’s hallucinatory, twisting and turning, maneuvers further include mercurial, hypnotizing bass lines; swirling, swarming, scathing, and searing anti-melodies; bursts of slashing discordance; moments of meandering madness; and a finale that sounds like sirens going off. It’s quite an intricate and elaborate mind-fuck.
Spirit of Ecstasy includes performances by a slew of other guests besides Snake: Kenny G on soprano saxophone, Max Gorelick on lead guitar, Alex Skolnick on lead guitar, Trey Spruance on lead guitar, Andromeda Anarchia with choirs, Sarai Woods with choirs, Yoshiko Ohara on vocals, J. Walter Hawkes on the trombone, Ben Hankle on the trumpet, Percy Jones on bass, SEVEN)SUNS on strings, Colin Marston on Simmons drums, and Jonas Rolef on vocals.
The album will be released on July 22nd by Century Media.
Witchery also have a new album on the summer horizon, also to be released on July 22nd by Century Media. Its name is Nightside, and along with the announcement came the first advance track, reverently named “Popecrusher“, accompanied by an animated video that gets the point across.
It’s a good thing you’re not the Pope. The current Pope can barely walk, much less run, and even you aren’t fast enough to escape Witchery‘s vicious racing ways. The drums pump like red-hot pistons, the jittery thrashy riffage is murderous, and the hate-filled vocals are scalding. Of course, this firebrand song includes a fret-melter of a solo. Time for the adrenaline to flow in a torrent….
LUNA’S CALL (UK)
This UK band’s most recent album, 2020’s Void, received a lot of praise from Mr. Synn in his review, and is still deserving of your attention (here) if you haven’t heard it. To help pass the time while we wait for their next offering of original material, the band have now released a cover song.
The one they chose is Megadeth‘s “Looking Down the Cross“, which originally appeared on that band’s 1985 debut album Killing is my Business..and Business is Good!, and they brought along Haken guitarist Charlie Griffiths for the ride.
I re-listened to the remastered original version of the song (here) before discovering what Luna’s Call had done with it. As Megadeth songs go, it’s a weirdly adventurous and even psychedelic one, though it certainly gets the toes tapping and ramps up into a headlong head-rush. And so it made sense that Luna’s Call would pick it — because they’re adventurers too.
The original certainly has its proggy influences, and Luna’s Call double-down on that, and put their own numerous twists and turns on it, beginning with the piano intro. Death growls replace some of Mustaine‘s singing (though there’s some attractive singing in the cover too), blast-beats enter the fray, and in other ways the band make the song come across as much more sinister and wondrously diabolical, and the piano and swirling keyboards make it more seductive as well.
The instrumental virtuosity on display is fabulous (and the split-screen video allows you to witness it with your own eyes). This really is a fantastic adventure….
AWAKENING SUN (Lithuania)
I’ve written on two other occasions about songs from this Lithuanian band’s new album Heaven Is Whatever. Today is the day when the album is being released, and to help draw attention Awakening Sun have released a video for the album’s opening track “Metropolis“.
I’m guessing that the preceding songs in today’s collection already got your heart racing, and with “Metropolis” taking the baton it will keep it going. The riffing is electrifying, the drumwork acrobatic, and the vocals a howling tirade of intensity.
The pace does relent in the chorus, and be forewarned that when that happens there’s high-flying singing that helps change the mood to one of soaring hopefulness. That works well, to break up all the fleet-fingered extravagance and spine-shaking rhythmic assaults, and it’s catchy as hell. The video is very good too.
REEKING AURA (U.S.)
To close today’s round-up, here’s one of those songs I picked yesterday. It’s by a NY/NJ band whose members have some attention-catching pedigrees: guitarists Ryan Lipynsky (Unearthly Trance, The Howling Wind), Rick Habeeb (Grey Skies Fallen, Buckshot Facelift), and Terrell Grannum (Thaetas, Buckshot Facelift); bassist Tom Anderer (Grey Skies Fallen, Buckshot Facelift); vocalist Will Smith (Afterbirth, Buckshot Facelift, Ex-Artificial Brain); and drummer Sam Shereck (Blame God, Stabbed).
The song you’re about to hear, “Seed the Size Of A Spider’s Eye“, comes with a creepy-crawly video, and the music itself is in some ways a creepy experience too. The riffing writhes and swirls in mysterious ways but also turns out to be damned infectious. The drumming will batter the crap out of your head, and the song picks its moments to put the jackhammer and the pile-driver to your spine too. All the while, Will Smith expels abyssal gutturals and wretched sewer-gurgling sounds.
On top of that, there’s also something about the song that seems… ominously majestic… though the ending is just bat-shit scary.
The new album, Blood and Bonemeal, is described as “a concept album centered around the caretaker of a desolate agricultural property and that person’s struggles with morbid psychosis”. It features cover art by artwork by Jon Carchelan, and it will be released by Profound Lore on July 29th.