I know I sound like a broken record, but this has been yet another week when the job that pays me (not NCS) has rudely interfered with my ability to recommend new music via round-ups such as this one. Even today it will interfere, and so even though I’ve decided to fill this round-up with full releases rather than advance tracks, I’m unable to say as much about them as I’d like. But fortunately, you can heed the wisdom of your own ears.
To begin, here’s a new album named خماسين الوباء from Nuno Lourenço in his guise as Salqiu. We’ve already learned that although Salqiu is prolific, we’re not going to get the same thing twice from album to album, a conviction reinforced by this new one, which has themes drawn from places far away from Nuno‘s homeland. He explains:
This time around [the album] is based on some ethnicism from the Middle East. From Turkish Alaturka guitars to Arabic sounds and flutes. There was this calling inside me, since I visited Ankara, Egypt and especially the Sahara desert in Tunisia. I tried to sketch the opulence, vastness and sheer mysticism of the desert.
The album is itself opulent, vast, and mystical, delivering a broad array of auditory experiences. Some of those experiences are crushing and harrowing (like the operation of a giant excavating machine), crazed and severely daunting, and others are soft and sublime, bright and buoyant. The intertwining of more exotic and mysterious ingredients within that changing framework makes for an extremely multi-faceted and very interesting journey.
PALE KING (Sweden)
This “supergroup” surfaced again on November 1st (via Iron Blood and Death Corporation) with a new album named We Are But Memories. As you probably already know if you follow our ramblings, the band features the talents of Jonny Pettersson (songwriter, guitar, vocals), Håkan Stuvemark (guitar solo’s), Jon Rudin (drums), and Hannah Gill (bass).
This newest album follows the band’s debut full-length (Monolith of the Malign) by five years, but of course the members have been busy with other projects in the interim. It’s fortunate that they found time to make this second record.
Much like Salqiu‘s album discussed above, this one is a changing experience, even though you could brand the whole thing as melodic death metal. For example, the title track which opens the album has an exotic Arabian influence that makes it a good segue from that Salqiu record — and it also becomes vast and splendid as well as heart-pounding.
From there the album continues to range widely in its melodies and moods, unified by the band’s talent for giving your head and spine a good jolting and your pulse-rate a swift kick, and for putting chills on the skin through the unchained savagery and torment of the vocals. It hits with a lot of visceral power, but is equally capable of becoming spellbinding, and keyboard-driven visions of sweeping splendor are never far away
BAD MANOR (U.S.)
I had delusions of compiling one of these round-ups on Halloween, that most metal of holidays. This next album, The Haunting, was to be a part of that. My day job caved in that plan, but I didn’t want to forsake the album just because events took an unfortunate turn.
The Haunting is based on a horror-ridden tale that’s summarily described at the album’s Bandcamp page, a story about the protagonist’s burning of a house where he once dwelled and conducted seances that was a place of evil.
I enjoyed the description of the music delivered by Rennie (of starkweather):
“…possessing a Hammer Horror meets Edward Gorey phantasmal calliope of deliberately ramshackle raw black metal, synth patches submerged with Carnival of Souls’ Mary Henry, theatrical vocals in a funhouse mirror’s warping reflection and refraction of Bethlehem, A Forest of Stars and nouveau gloaming Code.“
The Decibel premiere of the album dropped more references — to the likes of Lamp of Murmuur, Akasha, Mütiilation, and… wait for it… Deep Purple.
So what can I add to that? Given my rapidly expiring time, not much, but I will say that this is a continually surprising and fascinating album, frequently riotous and unhinged but also genuinely diabolical and devilishly creative. It’s also a very easy way to make every day Halloween.
The Haunting was digitally released on Halloween by Ordo Vampyr Orientis, and on CD as well as digitally by Avantgarde Music. It will be released on LP by Labyrinth Tower in early 2023. Both editions will include the fully illustrated story that’s the basis for the music.
The participants in the making of the album have not identified themselves publicly, except through pseudonyms. I truly hope they don’t make The Haunting a one-off thing. Gifts like this need to keep on coming!