Panzerfaust – photo by Samantha Carcasole
I got an unreasonably early start on the day. On the plus side, that gave me the time to pull together the following large roundup of new discoveries before too much daylight burned. All these songs and videos came out since the first of June.
Fair warning: I have equally exorbitant plans for tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column.
When I saw Panzerfaust at this year’s Maryland Deathfest I wrote this on my FB page: “A wizard of a drummer seated in a garden of cymbals and using all of them; a man-mountain of a frontman who by his mere presence enhances the frightfulness of the music; a pair of axe-slingers who play their instruments near-upright; the creation of an aura of ritual but with visceral thrusts: an amalgam of hallucination and hammering. Well, I’ve missed a lot of sets at MDF but the one by Panzerfaust tonight is the best of the bunch so far and it isn’t close.”
One of the songs the band played, “Tabula Rasa“, is a track from their upcoming album The Suns of Perdition – Chapter III: The Astral Drain, and that song is now available for streaming. Its eerie ringing notes, which unfold over rumbling undercurrents, are perilous but mesmerizing. The peril blooms into frightening savagery through the advent of scathing roars and screams, searing and trembling guitars, and extravagant percussive booming and battering. An exotic new melody swirls and soars, propelling the song to a gloriously cataclysmic crescendo. It takes the breath away.
The album is set for release by Eisenwald on July 22nd.
THE WAKEDEAD GATHERING (U.S.)
Last week I blinked and I, Voidhanger Records launched three more album pre-orders when I wasn’t looking. One of them is for Parallaxiom, the fourth full-length by this Ohio death metal band (the solo project of Andrew Lampe), which is based on a dark sci-fi narrative.
The first song now up for streaming, “Recessive Society“, is an ever-changing experience. It swells into fast-paced frenzies packed with an array of skittering, darting, and whining fretwork patterns, diminishes into gloomy and grumbling sounds, and slowly carries us away on a towering atmospheric river of tears. Needless to say, the drumming is equally variable, though the growls are persistently deep and harrowing.
Parallaxiom will be released on July 15th.
Next up is “Spores of Gnosis“, a new single by Nordjevel that will be included on a new album coming at some point later this year via Indie Recordings.
The reverberating guitar instrumental that opens the song is mysterious and enticing, but things soon get much more brutal and brazen. The drummer hammers and blasts, the bass thunders, the surrounding music becomes a dense sandblasting assault, the lead guitar hysterically shivers and wails, and Doedsadmiral expels the words in a savage snarling, howling, and screaming fury.
Heavy-grooved as well as unhinged, the song expands into an exhilarating spectacle of blazing chaos and subterranean upheaval, but includes an exotic closing melody that worms its way into the head as well.
BLACK ROYAL (Finland)
What are the odds that I would overlook a new song from Black Royal? Let’s just say they are vanishingly small, because I’ve been hooked hard by everything this band have done up to now. This time the new song (which arrived with a bloody video) is the title track to their new third album Earthbound, which will be released later this year through M-Theory Audio. They describe the genesis of the song this way:
“What started out as more of a tribute to one of our favourite bands, Crowbar, quickly took a turn into something with a slightly more epic direction. The lyrical story line was inspired by the ancient Scandinavian/Sami myths of the netherworld. Stories of things like ‘northern fire beliefs and the aurora borealis, which have long been associated with perceptions of the afterlife.”
The song is a shaggy, sludgy beast whose staggering and lurching momentum is a huge and heavy head-mover. The band lace the song with scorching screams and with melodies of sorrow and despair, adding to its dire and dreadful intensity. It does indeed turn in epic directions as it shakes your bones and claws at your mind.
If you know who’s in Godthrymm then you know how unlikely it is that they would trip and fall. They’re as sure-footed as mountain goats on the towering crags of doom, and their newest song reinforces that impression.
The new song, which was paired with a fascinating video by Andy Green, is a stand-alone single released by Profound Lore named “Chasms“. The combination of grim, heaving chords, booming drums, and gritty, magnetic vocals creates a captivating through-line, which the band accent with wonderfully wailing and glittering guitar solos and attention-grabbing interplay within the hard-punching rhythm section. The experience is magical and memorable.
It’s been reported that the band will be entering the studio this coming week to begin recording their follow-up to the Reflections album.
TRIUMVIR FOUL (U.S.)
The release notes for Triumvir Foul‘s forthcoming album Onslaught to Seraphim state that it will be their final release, which is a damned shame. The first advance track, “Flesh Diocese“, makes that news even more sad.
As expected, this is a savage attack, one that jackhammers as well as blisters. It relentlessly punches the pulse while the riffing seethes and roils. There’s madness in the swooping solo and in the utterly bestial vocals — and it all ends too soon!
Onslaught to Seraphim will be released on cassette by Vrasubatlat and on CD by Invictus Productions on July 29th, with a co-released vinyl version to come soon after.
This one-person death/grind band from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, released a pair of really good EPs in 2018 and 2019, and then the band’s alter ego Mike Taylor tried to kill himself in December 2020. The attempt failed, but left scars, including those visible on the cover of Endrot‘s new album, pointedly named Suicidal Failure. He wrote on the album’s Bandcamp page: “i’m still mentally unwell a lot of the time, and i generally wrote the lyrics when i was not well. so, fair warning: it’s not a nice story”.
With a back-story like that, I would have jumped into the album even if I hadn’t been familiar with the EPs, and I’m damned glad I did. Across 15 tracks, only three of which breach the two-minute mark, it provides an explosively cathartic experience.
The music strikes with megaton sonic power, and while the pacing is almost relentlessly full-throttle, the jaw-breaking rhythms and the fleet-fingered riffing change just as swiftly. There’s also emotional content to those heavyweight riffs. They quickly get stuck in the head — and they must, because Endrot doesn’t give them much time to do that — and they channel tension, despair, fury, brazen defiance, wild ecstasy, and even tragic grandeur.
Here and there, fluid and fret-melting solos erupt in startling, brain-searing fashion, and songs like the magnificent “Chronic Feelings of Emptiness” and the bludgeoning title track also give you chances to bang your head silly. Adding to the tracks’ high-octane intensity, Taylor‘s scorching screams and serrated-edge growls are as off-the-hook as everything else.
It’s extremely easy to take off with this rocketing music and get stuck in it straight through to the end, with visions of madhouse mosh-pits in your head. To be sure, the record leaves almost no room to breathe, but it’s so well-written, so well-produced, and so exhilarating that you won’t mind. It’s not what you may expect as the sequel to a failed suicide.
Suicidal Failure was released on June 3rd. I hope Mike will be well.
I’m clueless about who’s behind Telesterion or where they’re located. Knowing nothing about them or their music, I listened to this next song only because it’s from a debut EP that’s being released this coming week (June 16) by Snow Wolf Records, who’s been putting out some really good stuff. Based on first impressions, Telesterion‘s EP is going to be very good too.
“Things Said” builds gradually from a slow, eerie, tension-filled instrumental into a phalanx of deep grinding riffage, bone-breaking drum turbulence, high, ghostly guitar agonies, and vocals that soar in stricken and striking fashion. Deep reverberating tones wind their way through all the dense sonic sensations like great predatory serpents, and the piercing echoes in the high end create frightening visions of imperious but insane wraiths.
Very, very easy to get submerged in this viscerally compulsive but nightmarishly frightening track and to become lost in it.
The title of the EP is An Ear of Grain in Silence Reaped, and thematically it’s apparently based on the ancient Greek rituals known as the Eleusinian Mysteries.
I picked this final song, “Autumn“, as a bit of a segue into tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column. It’s the first of two tracks on an EP named Escapism by this Slovenian post-black solo project (the work of one Jan Oblak).
Spare and unsparing, “Autumn” is both hypnotic and deeply forlorn. The drums plod, skip, and eventually snap, while the bass hums and then bubbles in your marrow. The guitars moan and cry, drawing us into their yearning and hopelessness, and somehow beguiling us with their pain. But Oblak‘s shattering, throat-ruining screams are the most potent expressions of pain.
I’ve heard the other song on the EP, which has the name “Zorya-Pain II“. It too makes effective use of repeating guitar motifs that ring out over spine-shaking drums and bowel-loosening bass lines. Despite its name, the rumble and tumble of the drums and the vivid gleam of the guitars give the song a brighter feeling, and the melody becomes sweeping and ethereal, like an aurora borealis. Angelic tones rise within that unearthly spectacle of sound, creating mesmerizing cascades of glory that wash across a compelling back beat and a magnetic bass pulse.
If there’s pain in the music (apart from the screaming), it comes through in the song’s frenzied ending, which adds one more dimension to a beautifully tapestried experience, in which post-punk and post-metal and what some might call “synthwave” play even bigger roles than black metal.