SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: MORTUOUS, KEN MODE, GRÁ, ACAUSAL INTRUSION, CODESPEAKER
I’ll dispense with the usual long-winded introduction to this Saturday round-up and just say that to assemble today’s collection I picked five songs from forthcoming albums, and chose them not only because I think they’re all extremely good and very intense, but also because the twists and turns from one to the next (and sometimes inside them individually) will keep you on your proverbial toes.
It’s difficult to pick out the most memorable aspect of the first song (“Graveyard Rain“) that I’ve chosen for today’s round-up, but it might be the spectral ring of mournful guitar (and perhaps piano) arpeggios that create a mood of haunting sorrow during the track’s slower and more magisterial movements.
But a stupefying death metal maelstrom surrounds those moments — a massed assault of maniacal riffing, thunderous drumming, and truly abyssal growls that sound like the fury of an ancient crocodile god. However, despite the breathtaking power and ferocity of the barrage, the song is also home to some killer riffs, and a magnetic solo, and the tornado of sound doesn’t obscure them.
It’s a fantastic and fantastically multi-faceted track, and a great preview for the band’s new album Upon Desolation, which will be released by Carbonized Records on September 16th. The stunning cover art was created by Marald Van Haasteren. The album also includes violin performances by Andrea Morgan (of Exulansis) on two tracks.
KEN MODE (Canada)
If you’re feeling bitter or hopeless, you might want to skip this next song and video. Or maybe you’ll embrace it as a useful catharsis for those feelings.
The raw torment in Jesse Matthewson‘s voice (and in his expressive face) is wrenching, and the primitive, plodding, and crawling music around him is oppressive. The drums pound with bone-cracking force. The chords claw and heave. Eerie skittering tones rise like sudden fevers. The flurry of press releases we received called out the song as “harrowing”. That was no lie.
“Unresponsive” is from KEN Mode‘s new album Null, which will be out on September 23rd via Artoffact Records. You can check out two more tracks at the album’s Bandcamp page.
The next song, “Flame of Hephaestus“, moves with a steady thumping and thrumming beat, which allows the bright menace of the feverish, swirling riffage to stand out and to both dig its claws into your head and set the stage for vicious vocals of scorching intensity. The drums do kick into blasting gear, signaling the eruption of guitar bonfires in the midst of the song’s sinister maneuvers, which sound even more sinister and freakish as twisted arpeggios ring and convulse.
The music swaggers and stomps, as well as boils and blazes, and it’s home to some truly terrorizing extended screams. It also proves to be addictive as well as threatening. It comes with a video, in which Heljarmadr‘s facial expressions are just as frightening as his voice.
“Flame of Hephaestus“, which draws on Greek instead of Scandinavian mythology for a change, will appear on Grá‘s next album, but it’s being released by Avantgarde Music on August 26th as a 7″ single, with a B-side instrumental track called ”Stella Polaris”.
ACAUSAL INTRUSION (U.S.)
My friend Mr. Synn gave Acausal Incursion‘s 2021 debut album Nulitas a very favorable review, but little did he or I expect that the band would be back with another full-length the very next year. Some might be inherently skeptical about the quality of so much new music coming in such short order, but one listen to the new record’s first single should banish any such doubts.
“Mnemonic Confabulation” is one of those songs that just makes me shake my head in wonder at the combination of technical extravagance and chaotic construction. After an introductory section that both rattles your skull and creates an aura of alluring mystery, everything goes wild, in a riot of cavernous growls, off-the-hook drumming, and dissonant guitars that dart, mutate, and scream at high speed.
The song doesn’t proceed in anything resembling a straight and steady path. It slows and towers, shivers and quivers, races and roils, bludgeons and broils, becomes celestial in its splendor and delirious in its madness, and drifts into eerie other-worlds. The drums will keep popping your head long after the song ends, and it will take some time before your head stops spinning too. It truly is a mind-blowing spectacle that demands to be heard over and over again.
The name of the new album is Seeping Evocation, and it will be released by I, Voidhanger Records on September 30th.
After that last song I decided to end things today with something less brain-scrambling and more crushing, and to do that I have a video for a bruising new post-metal song named “Pyrrhic“.
The music rings in gloomy yet enticing tones at the start, but even then you can detect a hulking presence that looms and moans — a presence that then reveals itself in all its Brontosaurian heaviness through redwood-thick riffs and gut-plundering bass lines. The shadows of gloom remain, and pain spews like a torrent from the vocalist’s screaming intensity.
Feelings of tension and turmoil build, through jittering fretwork and increasingly manic drumming, and that shrieking voice becomes emotional napalm. The upheavals in the music seem like earthquakes, and like pile-drivers operated by someone experiencing convulsions. The accompanying video made by by Black Mass Productions makes for a riveting visual companion to a riveting song.
“Pyrrhic” is available now as a digital single but will also appear on a Codespeaker album that’s supposed to be out in November.