SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: LIGHTLORN, OFFERNAT, RESIN TOMB, , SEVENTH STORM, MAAHES, LUSTRE
This makes three days in a row where I found enough time to compile a roundup of new music and videos. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but it was surely long ago. And not only was I able to do this three days in a row, but time also allowed me to pack an extravagant amount of music into this third compilation.
I also think it’s fair to say that what I picked ranges far and wide — and I’m not just talking about the bands’ global locations. I suppose it’s possible there’s someone out there who won’t find one damn thing to like among these seven songs, but I’d be surprised if that were true.
I don’t usually lead off these collections with an unknown band’s very first published song, but this one dropped my jaw. I became so enthusiastic about such a welcome surprise that I would have been ashamed at myself if I hadn’t put it in the starting position.
The name of the song is “Unmapped Constellations”. The Lightlorn duo describe the lyrics as conveying “a sense of alienation, loss, and solitude, all against a sci-fi backdrop”. They use the word “cosmic” in describing their amalgam of black metal and post-metal, too.
The song’s extended intro section includes eerie and somewhat futuristic elements that link up with those references, but it also unexpectedly includes a moody but entrancing piano melody. That just makes the sudden explosion of blasting drums, searing riffage, soaring symphonics, and larynx-shredding screams all the more surprising.
The sweeping grandeur and visceral force of that experience is breathtaking, and the band come back to it again and again, but they also interweave dark, heaving melodies, enthralling chime-like arpeggios and vivid syncopated beats, and bright organ-like ambient passages and punchy electro-pulses, all of which make those vast, nova-like explosions even more spectacularly ravishing.
“Unmapped Constellations” is one of four tracks on Lightlorn‘s forthcoming debut EP, These Nameless Worlds. The song is available now as a single on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple, and Tidal.
I decided to follow Lightlorn with the music of another pretty new band. These Danes did release a self-titled EP last summer as their first offering, and on September 9th they’ll follow it with a debut album named All Colours Retract. Since I haven’t heard the previous EP, what I know about Offernat‘s music comes down to the first song they’ve released from the new album, one that runs for a whopping 14 minutes.
It may seem that “Winds” is in a constant fight to escape any kind of conventional confines. You may think you’ve figured out what the Offernat trio are up to, and then they do something else.
The song undeniably packs a wallop. Galloping from the start, the hurtling drums providing the racing undercurrent for immense heaving riffs. But change comes, and the changes keep coming. The rhythm section pound like massive hammers, the chords dissonantly ring and seethe, and dart about in a kind of bleak madness, while the vocals veer from torrid screams to tortured snarls and anguished roars (the song credits three different vocalists).
Feelings of tension and turmoil build even as the grooves work your neck, and those feelings overflow into feverish violence and descend into music of abject grief and moaning despair, which is nevertheless enthralling.
But the band still aren’t finished throwing listeners off-balance. Sudden softness brings in slowly musing notes and ethereal synths that become increasingly disturbing as a collage of strange sounds intrudes and they build in volume and intensity. After a pause, the music changes again, becoming brighter and even jazzy. Clean guitars ring, and the rhythm section engages in a beguiling interplay.
At the end, the song hurtles and blazes once again in a heart-pounding crescendo, again intensified by wrenching vocals, and finally the song growls and pounds, punctuated by an extended expression of shattering vocal agony that’s the last thing you hear.
Offernat throw so damned many ideas and genre ingredients into this song that it may prove to be confounding to some listeners, but I think it works powerfully well.
RESIN TOMB (Australia)
Two years ago I premiered a track fittingly named “Bestial” from this Aussie band’s self-titled debut EP. It was a challenge coming up with words that would accurately explain just how vicious the music was, but I sure as hell tried — three long paragraphs of trying, devoted to a single track. The rest of the EP was equally unchained and terrorizing.
Of course, I’m a big fan of unchained terrors, and so it was good news to see that the Brilliant Emperor and Total Dissonance Worship labels will be jointly bringing us something new from Resin Tomb. It’s not a lot, just a two-track 7″ EP, but we’ll take what we can get. The next song in today’s collection is one of those two songs, the one named “Ascendancy” (the other one’s named “Unconsecrated“).
It’s no wonder they picked a detail from a Bosch painting for the new EP’s cover art. Like the artwork, the music’s hellish. It combines big booming beats, riotous blasting, riffs of scathing dissonance, and frightening screams. The drums change course repeatedly but are always electric; the rabid shrieks turn to voracious roars; the abrasive guitars whine, slither, and seethe like a serial killer lying in wait, barely able to contain his lust for violence.
As bludgeoning as the song is, it’s also hallucinatory, like a waking nightmare. I expected nothing less.
Just for the hell of it, I check Metal-Archives every time I write about  to see if the MA overlords have yet become satisfied that  are metal enough (or “the right kind” of metal) to gain admission. As of today the gates are still barred. Maybe it’s because a “DJENT” placard got hung around this band’s neck long ago, or maybe it’s because they’ve veered off in so many unpredictable directions (including, but not limited to, the incorporation of weird electronics and industrial grooves) that it’s too difficult to come up with even a multi-hyphenated genre label. Here’s a new case in point:
The latest  release is a single that bears the perplexing name “[FA8RIKER]“, so-named because it seems to involve a  track titled “” that’s been remixed (or “renoized”) by a German project named Fabriker  (whose Bandcamp page is here). The result is an experience in brutish thuggery and ruthless mind mutilation.
The clanging, mega-ton grooves make the track sound cold and cruel, primitive and punishing, but fires are lit within it too. The guest vocals of Marcin “Mały” Brzeźnicki of Mass Insanity are completely rabid (muttered words do little to lessen their unnerving impact), and shrill guitar frenzies light a flame of insanity.
After an unsettling pause, the tortured solo guitar in the final minute of the track sounds nightmarish and queasy as distorted spoken words bounce between the channels.
Speaking of fires, the song was released through a video accompanied by this humorous statement: “7500 matches sacrificed their lives to make this video.” This matches up (I couldn’t resist!) with part of the song’s inspiration — the concept of “crowd manipulation”, which is defined as “the intentional or unwitting use of techniques based on the principles of crowd psychology to engage, control, or influence the desires of a crowd in order to direct its behavior toward a specific action.”
SEVENTH STORM (Portugal)
I went into this next song and video (“Gods Of Babylon”) out of sheer curiosity, knowing nothing except what I read in a press release about the band’s just-released debut album Maledictus — a writing that made reference to influences ranging from Bathory to Paradise Lost, Dead Can Dance, and even Van Halen. And some skepticism surfaced when I realized that the vocals were going to be singing instead of growling and screaming. But man, as the song began to unfurl like a magnificent and exotic banner, I got thoroughly hooked, and felt compelled to share it here.
Among other things, Marco “Rez” Resende has a spine-tingling voice, full of emotional power, grit, and impressive range. For another thing, the recurring Persian melody in the song (expressed through different kinds of instrumentation) turns out to be a potent ear worm. And for another, the song both rocks damned hard and also feeds a metalhead’s need for blasting percussion and fierce tremolo runs, as well as offering up big burly riffs that jolt the spine, bursts of darting keys, sparkling and molten fretwork, and soaring synths.
I hate to use such an overworked term like “epic”, but that’s the word that kept springing to mind as I listened. By the end it left me with wide eyes and a pounding heart. It’s easy to imagine Seventh Storm performing the song with pyrotechnic displays in some giant festival arena packed with fist-pumping fans. I hope they’ll get that chance.
The video accompanying the song, which shows the band members in the studio and in a variety of other settings, is well-made and a lot of fun to watch. FYI, the lineup includes long-time Moonspell drummer Mike Gaspar, who is credited with pulling this project together.
After taking a chance with your tastes in that last song, I decided to move back into greater extremity with this next one, which also comes with a video.
“Invincible” is not a completely abrupt left turn, because it also includes some melodic elements that are exotic (or perhaps more accurately, “occult”), and the music soars as well as savages. Rippling keyboards and sinister swaggering grooves provide digressions, but in the main the song is a full-throttle sonic firebrand that pumps like a big engine and spins fast and high, with its intensity amplified by maddened snarls and shrieks.
“Invincible” is from from Maahes‘ 2020 debut album Reincarnation (released by MDD Records). The video consists of live footage filmed during the band’s performance at the Dark Easter Metal Meeting in April of this year.
To close today’s collection I decided to bring the musical temperature (and your heart-rates) down a bit.
Meaning no criticism, you almost always know what you’re going to get with Lustre‘s music. Nachtzeit found a very appealing formula, and for the most part has stuck with it (though the newest album is publicized as involving a different production quality that’s less lo-fi). It just happens to be a formula that I (and a lot of other people) have found winning — a good accompaniment for particular kinds of moods, or a good way of producing desired mood changes.
The newest Lustre song to surface is named “Thirst“. As is true of many Lustre songs, this one is built around a simple repeating melody, which tinkles and rings here as if hybridized from harpsichord and xylophone, against a backdrop of strings and swirling tonalities. Sometimes, in the far distance, it seems like a voice is howling.
Apart from the innate allure of the lustrous (I couldn’t resist!) repeating melody, what keeps the song from becoming monotonous are periodic sonic upheavals that are stunning in their heaviness, and probably seem even heavier because of their juxtaposition with such a bright and airy melody. (Forgive me for spoiling that surprise.)
The track is from the upcoming album A Thirst for Summer Rain, which is due for release on August 26 by Nordvis.