This was a humongous week for new music, and my head is overflowing with round-up selections, so many that I decided to present them in two Parts today. Beyond those, I also have aspirations to compile another collection for publication on Saturday. Without further ado, here are the first four choices.
In case you might have forgotten, Strigoi is the band formed by Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) after he interred his previous project Vallenfyre. Joined by Vallenfyre bassist Chris Casket, he released a debut Strigoi album named Abandon All Faith in 2019, and we devoted significant attention to it, including a lavish review here by DGR.
It was thus exciting to learn that Strigoi are returning with a follow-up full-length named Viscera, which is set for release by Season of Mist on September 30th. The first advance track from it — “Hollow” — is how we begin today’s round-up.
“Hollow” arrived wrapped in a video by Dehn Sora that’s just as nightmarish and occult as the song. Menacing and ominous, the music is a brutish and towering stompfest, heavier than a very heavy thing, palpably evil, and soul-sucking in its hopelessness. It also convulses in blasting and searing spasms of sound, adding moods of violent derangement to the music’s other transfixing horrors.
THE LOVECRAFT SEXTET (Netherlands)
Debemur Morti Productions lured me into this next song in several ways, first by explaining that The Lovecraft Sextet is principally the work of Jason Köhnen, whose numerous current or former projects include Celestial Season, Bong-Ra, Mansur, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, and The Answer Lies in the Black Void, and then by revealing that The Lovecraft Sextet‘s debut album Miserere is an adaptation of “Psalm 51, one of the penitential psalms most widely known from 17th century Italian composer Gregorio Allegri”. On top of that, there was this further description:
“Doomjazz mercilessly mixed with the ambience of Black Metal, Gregorian soprano singing juxtaposed with unholy cavernous screams”.
The hook having been set in those ways, I was reeled into the album’s opening track, “Miserere [Opus I]-Occulta“. It’s as intriguing as all those descriptions suggest, but also makes for an extremely scary follow-on to that Strigoi track.
Opened by an eerie collage of ambient tones, mournful cello strings, and distraught voices, the song expands through another collage — of high-flown gleaming tones, slow ritual beats, and hideous strangled shrieks. It has a panoramic and spacious, though blood-freezing, quality, leavened with the murmuring of what sounds like a stand-up bass and the burning of a sonic acetylene torch.
I don’t know how, but I managed to remain clueless until yesterday that Krisiun have a new album coming out this year — on July 29th, in fact. Until then, I was equally clueless about the next item in today’s collection, a video for a new album track named “Serpent Messiah“.
I’ve been an ardent fan of this band for so long that my objectivity about their music could be questioned, but having said that, I really do think this is a compelling song. As the song title suggests, there’s a slithering, reptilian quality to the riffing — but it’s coupled with drumwork that makes electrifying use of tom-drum progressions, and of course those barbaric growls. As icing on the case, the bass vividly bubbles and the frenetic soloing is sorcerous. It’s a supremely sinister song, but it’s inventive intricacies are equally impressive.
The name of the new album is Mortem Solis (meaning “death of the sun”), and it’s being released by Century Media.
Here’s a blast from the past. In 2019 our friend Vonlughlio reviewed this Mississippi band’s then-latest album, Spoken In Tongues, and that was my introduction to their discography. Even by then, it was clear that the project’s alter ego Jared Moran moved in unpredictable directions from release to release, and so I was intrigued to learn what would happen on the newest Uzumaki record, an album named Examination Linguistics that’s due for release on August 22nd.
The first signs are a pair of advance tracks, “Impartial Ether Suspicion” and “Suspicious Manipulations“. The former is a high-speed brain-scrambler, packed with crazed, discordant fretwork (both gouging and feverishly fiery), extravagant drum variations, and bestial, cavernous growls. It’s heavy and mauling enough to function as a demolition machine, but so spectacular in its frantic and technically jaw-dropping fretwork and drumwork escapades that it spins the head all the way around.
The second track doesn’t afford any more room for breathing. It’s equally mind-boggling and body-mangling, but also includes bursts of soloing that piece the mind like sirens in the midst of all the percussive mania and guitar insanity, and it also punishes the neck like a jackhammer. As in the previous track, the multi-layered intricacy and turbocharged, superheated energy of the music is astounding.
I guess if I were forced to put a genre label on this, it would be something like avant-garde technical death metal. Whatever you want to call it, it deserves to hit people’s radar screens (which will then fracture).