Once again I’m racing due to diminishing time, but still determined to continue posting an installment of this list every weekday, especially because the number of weekdays left before I call a halt is now down to a very small number. And so the only preview I’ll give you about the three I’ve chosen today is that they are all black metal songs that are all glorious in different ways. (I wrote about each of them when they surfaced last year, and I’m generously borrowing from those write-ups in the introductions below.)
The first song in today’s collection, “Au Blason Brûlé“, is one I premiered at NCS in the run-up to release of the new Véhémence album Ordalies. In that context I explained why the song had such a strong impact — and that impact hasn’t diminished over the year that’s passed since I first heard it:
“This newest song begins in glorious fashion, with massed instruments soaring over electrifying percussion. Yet even in that brazen introduction there’s a feeling of turmoil and anguish intertwined with the sensation of grandeur. The music then races, the drums hurtling and the guitars rapidly jolting and swirling in displays of sky-high extravagance. To hold their own in the midst of such fiery splendor, the vocals must be equally extravagant, and in their feverish ferocity and wild yells, they are.
“The blazing spectacle created by the song is both breathtaking and spellbinding, but the song affords a modest time for breath in its mid-section, where dancing medieval arpeggios, pulse-pounding drum acrobatics, and fervent spoken words take the stage. Yet in its own way this digression, enlivened by old instruments, is just as exhilarating as what precedes it. A bracing drum pattern, vibrant bass lines, and skirling, fire-bright guitars then propel the music back toward visions of banners waving in glory atop castle-crowned hills.”
NEBULA ORIONIS (Russia)
The next song, “Halcyon“, is off this prolific Russian project’s 2022 album Ephemeral. As I wrote when I first heard it:
“The song is just fucking glorious. I can’t think of a better word for it. Mystical and entrancing at first (and again after the mid-point), it explodes in intensity and begins to sweep you off your feet and put your heart in your throat.
“The music swells and cascades in towering immersive waves, and it sounds like a banjo (though it’s probably just a clever keyboard tone) that takes the lead. As stunning as the guitars and synths are, the drum-and-bass work is every bit its match. Just utterly captivating in every way….”
At the outset I said that I thought all three of today’s songs were glorious in different ways. You may wonder why I would say that about Wiegedood‘s “FN SCAR 16“, because it’s so damned unnerving, and so was the utterly insane video it came with. But it’s precisely because the song and the video were so crazed that I think both merit that term. And as much as I get the creeps listening and watching, the whole experience is one that’s been stuck in my head for the full year since they came out.
The frenzied swarms in the video really are creepy as hell, and the music is also a maniacal, screaming frenzy. But that superheated swirling riffage does get stuck in the head. Also check out the inspirational lyrics:
Smoke and ash.
Holy rats crawling in filth
Cosmic cockroaches die by the dozens.
Cough and shiver
Come together in disease.
I know my kind,
Trapped in my own fucking species.
Desperate to dream once again
Of the same nightmares they curse.
Come together in disease.
Now come together in death.