SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY (PART 2): MACERATION, FLIEGE, DEFLESHED, VATHR
Lo and behold I got Part 2 of today’s round-up finished, so I didn’t completely embarrass myself. I may still be embarrassed if I can’t complete Part 3 before having to turn to personal chores and begin thinking about tomorrow’s Shades of Black column. I guess it will be like having my pants part-way down but not showing the full plumber’s crack in all its hideous glory.
In a time when metal re-births seem increasingly common, the resurrection of Maceration still seems worth an extra measure of attention, in part because for their new album Dan Swanö has again stepped in to fill the session vocal role, as he did under the name Day Disyraa for Maceration‘s first album 30 years ago.
Original guitarists Jakob Schultz and Lars Bangsholt are also back, together with bassist Robert Tengs and drummer Rasmus Schmidt (Illdisposed, ex-Myrkur).
Given that three decades have passed between full-lengths, it’s no wonder that the first single from Maceration‘s come-back album is named “Epiphany of the Past“, but it’s a grim and gruesome memory, this one. The heaving chords are dire and dismal at first, and then there’s a convulsion of circle-saw riffing madness and bullet-spitting percussion. The music still sounds like illness, but it’s a disease spreading at the pace of contagion.
Swanö‘s voracious growls and ravenous howls add to the fear factor of these traumatic audio visions. He apparently hasn’t done growled vocals since the Edge of Sanity days, but you couldn’t guess that from his performance here. On top of that, you get a freakishly weird and warping solo to go along with guitars that sound like a huge mass of squirming and feeding maggots, or alternately like a gouging and grinding demolition machine.
In short, no self-respecting fan of old school chainsawing death metal is going to turn their nose up at this thrilling horrow-show.
The name of the new album (also a fitting one under the circumstances) is It Never Ends… It was produced, mixed, and mastered by Mr. Swanö, and it’s set for release by Emanzipation Productions on November 25th. The fantastically grotesque cover art was made by the great Ola Larsson.
Speaking of horrors, the New York City duo Fliege chose to honor the 40th anniversary (has it really been that long?) of John Carpenter‘s film The Thing with their new album One Day They’ll Wonder What Happened Here. And it’s not just that Fliege were inspired by the film, their album is actually a scene-by-scene retelling of it. Knowing that, how can you resist? I sure as hell couldn’t.
The album’s first single “Jaws of Life“, released with a creepy 3D-animated video, retells the movie’s “autopsy scene,” wherein a detached human head sprouts spider legs. But there’s some metaphorical meaning embedded in this exercise too, as the band’s Coleman Bentley has explained:
The song is about the human body as a cage – imprisoning oneself in chains of illness and infection. In The Thing this is treated literally, with the invasion of a parasite turning the body against its owner. In our song it is a metaphor for the effect of any corrupting influence – stress, substances, sickness, pollution. Sometimes those influences are so great that over time we begin to change and evolve. One day we wake up and realize we have become something other. A thing.
As for the music in the song, well it’s damned creepy too, but turns out to be quite a stylistic kaleidoscope. The changing amalgam includes eerily swirling synths and jolting low-end turbulence, pulsating riffs and torrid screams, encircling sonic mists that gleam and bouncing dance-floor grooves, gothy singing and double-kick bursts.
One Day They’ll Wonder What Happened Here is set for release on November 4th.
Are you feeling off-balance yet? After all, unbalancing people is one of my missions in pulling together these round-ups. Just in case you somehow feel you’re still steady, have a go at the title track from Defleshed‘s new album Grind over Matter, presented through a video that allows you to see Defleshed in action.
Prepare for full-throttle drum fusillades, gut-punching and bowel-roiling bass lines, riffage that slashes, swivels, and devours, plus torrents of howling vocal vitriol. Your head will want to move, but it better be capable of moving damned fast, because this is a Grade A adrenaline rush.
Defleshed‘s new album, like the one from Maceration, marks a return from a distant past, because Grind over Matter is the band’s first new full-length in 17 years. It’s scheduled for release by Metal Blade on October 29th.
I have time for just one more entry in Part 2 of this Saturday round-up, and I decided to pick something that might function as a segue into tomorrow’s Shades of Black column. What I chose was a video from last week for Vathr‘s “March of the Dead“.
The vocals that launch the song are the sounds of mind-ruining agony, though there’s something enticing (yet menacing) about the ringing guitar arpeggio that backs them. Of course, things get heavier, thanks to neck-snapping drum beats, nimble bass maneuvers, and riffing that’s dire and dread-filled. The video is loaded with occult hallucinatory imagery, and an aroma of the occult also wafts from the high-flown melodies that begin to burn like a sweeping conflagration in the music.
There’s no relent in the frightening, wide-ranging insanity of the vocals, and the music itself, though head-moving, becomes increasingly demented as well. The lead guitar re-asserts itself near the end, creating a feeling of unearthly spectacle. Come to think of it, the whole song is a hellish spectacle, evil through and through, but somehow spellbinding.
The song in the video is one of three on Vathr‘s debut EP, which was released yesterday by Edged Circle Productions. (It’s a debut, but the line-up is reportedly made up of veterans with histories that go back to the early ’90s black metal scene.)