SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: BLOODBATH, MORBUS GRAVE, HERIDA PROFUNDA, GRANDIOSA MUERTE, IRON DEATH, MONOVOTH
“Pocket” is a Mozilla app that you can easily install in Mozilla’s Firefox browser. When you do that, a small Pocket icon shows up in the toolbar of Firefox. Wherever you happen to be on the web, if you click that icon it saves the page to your Pocket list. When you then navigate to your Pocket list, you see all the links you’ve saved, along with thumbnail images of the linked pages. Even better, you can access that list from any device that includes the Firefox browser.
This is not an ad for Firefox or Pocket. I mention it because it has made my work for NCS on these Seen and Heard roundups much, much easier.
I used to make endless lists of band names with links to their new songs and videos that I was interested in checking out. Even just typing band names into an online document and copy/pasting the links was time-consuming, since I was usually adding more than a dozen per day, or much more if I fell behind. Not to mention that I kept dozens of tabs open in my browser until I had time to write those lists. Now I use Pocket, and don’t have to type a word or copy any links or keep any tabs open.
I do wonder how long Firefox will let me do this, since my Pocket list now has hundreds of song and video links in it. The only ones I delete are the ones I’ve written about, and sometimes I even forget to do that. There’s one other downside besides potentially hitting some kind of limit: Because the Pocket list includes fairly large thumbnails for every link, I only see 9 of them at the top of the Pocket list page and then have to scroll down to see more (and down and down).
And that’s how I forgot about the new Bloodbath song.
Because I didn’t get to this song immediately, it soon became buried beneath other links and thumbnails on my Pocket list, and whenever I eventually got around to checking things out for a new roundup, I didn’t scroll down far enough to be reminded of it. I guess that’s now what Saturday mornings are for — endless scrolling.
Anyway, I found the link to Bloodbath‘s (not so) new song this morning. “Zombie Inferno” is its name, presented through a motoring and mangling video. It’s a fiery and ferocious thrasher, and an organ-rupturing crusher too, a full-throttle rampage of wild fretwork and slugging grooves. Others can continue debating the relative merits of Nick Holmes‘ vocals versus those of Mikael Åkerfeldt or Peter Tägtgren, but I’m quite happy with his rounded growls and maddened howls.
The song is the first single from Bloodbath‘s new album Survival Of The Sickest. It has a September 9 release date via Napalm Records. The album includes guest performances by Barney Greenway (Napalm Death), Luc Lemay (Gorguts), and Marc Grewe (Morgoth).
MORBUS GRAVE (Italy)
Having launched this round-up with death metal, I decided to stay in that old corroded vein, turning to a band who haven’t been around nearly as long as Bloodbath but whose influences date back to a similar spawning era.
“Traumatic Malignancy” is the first single from Morbus Grave‘s debut album, which follows a handful of demos and splits. Skittering string frenzies, diseased tremolo chords, and gruesome snarls quickly create a mood of horror and madness, and the band also throw in some head-butting grooves and a down-tempo finale of queasy, crawling misery, as well as hair-raising screams and abyssal gutturals.
The album is Lurking Into Absurdity, and it has a September 16 release date through the great Mexican label Chaos Records.
HERIDA PROFUNDA (Poland)
I decided to switch things up now, with a lyric video for “War On All“, a savage dose of bleak and battering death/grind, fueled by weaponized percussion, roiling and raking riffage, and humongous roars. The bombing run builds to a zenith of madhouse mayhem, and who’s going to deny the truth of the scathing words?
The song and video surfaced overnight, so it’s hot off the presses. It’s taken from the band’s second full-length album, Power To The People, which will be released by 783punx (UK), 7DegreesRecords (GER), To Live A Lie Records (USA), and Wise Grinds Records (USA).
GRANDIOSA MUERTE (Costa Rica)
I decided to stay in the fast lane of rampant ferocity with this next song, “Sibila“, which comes with a video that’s almost as frightening and electrifying as the music. The riffing is a churning mass of insanity, the thundering drums will beat you senseless, and the cavernous vocals are monstrous, but the thrumming bass surfaces in beguiling ways and the riffs become thuggish jackhammers and blaring sirens too, all of it capped by a dose of strange electronics.
Grandiosa Muerte (the solo project of Max Gutiérrez Sánchez of Advent of Bedlam and Dusk) reveals that the song was “inspired by the persecution and death of the philosopher, scientist, and free thinker Hypatia of Alexandria in March 415 AD”. It’s a stand-alone single, but will be part of a forthcoming album named Egregor. I’ll also share this complimentary comment by Colin Marston, who mixed and mastered the album:
“One-man extreme metal from Costa Rica, simultaneously primitive and sophisticated, dissonant, atmospheric and pummeling. Focused songwriting combined with welcome variation from track to track make for a great listen regardless of whether your taste leads more toward death or more toward black/thrash.”
IRON DEATH (Belgium)
Although there are variations in the music I’ve chosen for this round-up, it’s dawning on me, particularly after this next selection, that there’s a throughline too — a throughline of punishment and insanity.
What comes next is a four-song EP that does its dirty work in just a little over seven minutes. The brute-force impact of the music is stunning, heavy and destructive enough to smash through concrete bunkers, and the feverish fret-melting guitars and crazed, echoing vocals effectively channel untreatable derangement. The songs stomp and spasm, surging from one to the next like a moving blast front of bone-breaking and brain-boiling decimation. Absolutely exhilarating!
It appears that this short but still humongous record (named Demo MMXXII and released in early May) was inspired by one or more of the wars in Flanders. It also appears that the band share a member with the formidable Gateway. This is their debut release, and hopefully more will come, because there may be a few cities that haven’t been leveled yet.
The time has come to wrap up this roundup. I decided to take a sharp turn in the road. This final song (which is entirely instrumental) opens in haunting and eerie fashion, with slow, reverberating notes that induce a reflective but uneasy mood. Eventually, the intensity magnifies as the drums slowly pound and abrasive chords shroud those ringing tones, which begin to sound like weeping (but they still mesmerize). Hurtling drums drive the music to further heights of intensity, and then it softens, and seeps further under the skin, like the ichor of grief.
The song is “Servants“. It comes from the band’s self-titled album, which will be released by Trepanation Recordings on October 7th. The label characterizes the music as “luminous and lumbering in marvelous disquietude”, and that’s certainly true of this first advance track.
Monovoth is the solo work of Lucas Wyssbrod (MOSTRO, Golden Cannibal, Hail the Invisibles). The album seems to be a conceptual work, described this way: “a speculative view of a great, dark beyond, where in a female extraterrestrial deity – a corruption of the notion the Catholic religion has of the virgin – is seen suspended in the voids of space, which, depicted on the album’s cover art, adds to the album’s aphotic alchemy”.
I was so disappointed when Bloodbath failed to get their shit together and had to pull out of MDF. Was weak. But life moved on and the video and new song are super cool. I am stoked to get another album from them (and the fact this iteration with Nick seems committed to clearing the calendars enough to get new material out every few years). And, fwiw, I think Nick sounds great.