SEEN AND HEARD: NIGHTMARER, BONE WEAPON, GRAND CADAVER, VADIAT, ANZV
This has been a rare week when we didn’t have at least one premiere on the calendar every day. That gave me the time to do not one, not two, but three round-ups of new songs and videos, including this one. And I ought to have time for a fourth one tomorrow.
The timing has been fortuitous, because the past week or two has been jammed with new singles and advance tracks from forthcoming records that have piqued my interest (and should pique yours), including the following four, with news of a new reissue at the end.
This tremendously impressive band moved from strength to greater strength over the course of their Chasm EP (2016), their debut album Cacophony of Terror (2018), and their Monolith of Corrosion EP (2021), and now they’re returning with a second album named Deformity Adrift that’s set for release on May 5th via their label Total Dissonance Worship in the US and Vendetta Records in Europe.
The band’s line-up has been attention-grabbing from the start, even as it has changed, and continues that trend on the new album with new bassist Brendan Sloan (Convulsing) joining vocalist John Collett (ex-Gigan), guitarists Simon Hawemann (ex-War From A Harlot’s Mouth) and Keith Merrow (Merrow), and drummer Paul Seidel (The Ocean Collective).
And if that weren’t enough, the album includes guest vocals by Christian Kolf and Jan Buckard (Valborg) on “Taufbefehl”, soundscapes and noise by Eeli Helin (Fawn Limbs) on “Taufbefehl”, and orchestration, soundscapes, and samples by Jesse Zuretti (Binary Code) and Robert Bruckmayer on “Obliterated Shrine”.
The first advance track is “Throe Of Illicit Withdrawal”, and the band explain it this way:
“This song is about having to give yourself up entirely, in order to function as a cog in a machine that exploits every last bit of your body, mind, and soul. It’s a constant battle between oppressive tension and the promise of a release that never comes. The result is a misery so deep, any attempt at disassociating from it is futile. ‘Throe Of Illicit Withdrawal‘ embodies that musically and lyrically.”
In line with that harrowing and haunting subject matter, the music delivers twisted guitar dissonance whose unnerving contortions might put your teeth on edge, backed by bludgeoning rhythms, bursts of turbulent blasting, and terrorizing growls.
The oddly shaped riffs create moods of confusion and agony with unnerving power. When the chaos subsides, and the pounding becomes even more methodically traumatizing, the mood cowers in hopelessness. The gruff growls then ignite into maddened howls, the guitars wail like lacerated spirits, and the end furnishes a glimpse into the void.
The macabre cover art is the work of Jeanne Comateuse. Perhaps its a rendering of what has happened to a well-formed figure after listening to this album.
BONE WEAPON (U.S.)
Next up I’ve chosen the first track revealed from the 3-song debut demo of Bone Weapon, a trio consisting of drummer/vocalist Fred Grabosky (of Philly fungal death bringers Blood Spore), guitarist Isaac Ryan (ex-Hyve), and bassist Will Hersh (ex Hyve). “Paleolithic Death and Doom” is the name of their game, drawing influence from the likes of Cianide, Derketa, Rippikoulu, Autopsy, Coffins, and Undergang.
Listening to “Spoils of Savage War“, it’s not hard to imagine “stomping like warriors around a fire after the victory of a hunt”, which is one image the band have conjured up. The heavy-as-hell, distorted-as-hell riffs do indeed stomp and writhe while the drums rumble like an avalanche and Grabosky growls and howls in a blood-lusting fury.
The madness in the music spills over in bursts of roiling and gnawing fretwork, bone-busting drum convulsions, and even more bestial and berserk vocal expulsions – right up until the bass starts slowly clanging, the drums begin staggering around, and eerie wails waft overhead to put a cold chill on the skin, as a prelude to one last dose of primitive thuggery and ravenous howling.
The name of the EP is Thrive or Starve, well-chosen to summon a time (in the band’s words) when “survival was the only thing that mattered and war was imminent… when tools and weapons were constructed by only natural elements, and danger was everywhere….”
Thrive or Starve will be released on February 24th by Transylvanian Recordings.
GRAND CADAVER (Sweden)
Next up is the well-named “Serrated Jaws“, the first track taken from the forthcoming second album by the cadaverous but star-studded Grand Cadaver (whose veteran line-up features Mikael Stanne, Stefan Lagergren, Alex Stjernfeldt, Daniel Liljekvist, and Christian Jansson).
This one sounds like a lurching HM-2-toned monstrosity trailing the ichor of anguish. A big bass and a cracking snare keep the monster on course while Stanne vents serrated screams. To keep things lively, the song includes an eerie ringing arpeggio followed by a dose of jackhammering brutishness. The ring of the guitar elevates and soars, lifting the song onto a plane of traumatizing grandeur.
The album title and release dates haven’t been announced yet, but it will be coming out on Majestic Mountain Records. Decibel had the premiere.
The vivid cover art created by Thomas Haywood and Nestor Carrera for the debut album of Cleveland’s Vadiat drew me to this next song, the first track revealed from that record.
The thick, rapidly undulating riffage, a feverishly swirling guitar solo, and viciously hammering drums quickly create a vision of macabre ecstasy. The gruesome gutturals add to the song’s bestial personality, while twisted lead-guitar maneuvers make it sound morbidly wretched.
The pulse-punching momentum doesn’t abate until just past the halfway point, signalling a move from a kind of brazen imperiousness into even more frightening realms of wraithlike melody, dragging bass lines, and an overarching atmosphere of blood-congealing horror and soul-splintering agony.
The name of the album is Spear of Creation, and it’s set for release on April 28th by Redefining Darkness Records.
Last September I had the pleasure of premiering a song from Gallas, the debut album by the mysterious Portuguese band ANZV. Fashioned around an incredibly chilling conceptual vision, which I summed up as “a journey into an underworld of nihilism and despair, a free-fall into the surrender of will and self, becoming nothing at all”, the band intertwined death metal and elements of classic and post-black metal in tremendously powerful and gripping fashion.
Thanks to a recent notice in starkweather‘s most recent substack article, I learned that Gallas will be reissued on March 10th by Alone Records in a CD edition, and that’s good enough reason for me to urge that you investigate Gallas if you haven’t already, especially because the new edition will include a previously unreleased bonus track. I’ll leave you with the links, as well as what starkweather wrote about the album:
Well, it seems Gallas graduates from digital self-release to physical release via Alone Records. The physical release will have one additional song – one I’ve not yet heard. What I do hear is maniacal blackened death metal tinged with middle eastern scales. When these guys lean into their death metal bag of tricks it can be informed by Vigna’s Immolation school of off kilter, noisy riffs or Zos Kia Cultus Behemoth crush. The guitar tones have a harsh brittle mids up quality to them and they are wielded as weapons particularly when they forcibly crash offsetting atonalities against each other as they do during “Inane” and “Lethargy.”
I’m genuinely impressed with the cacophony on display. The guitar sound is simply designed to do damage with jagged, abrasive quality rather than using an oppressively heavy death metal tone. Solid songwriting throughout. Generally an economy of motion in terms of riffs per song and arranging with traditional song writing. Great vocal delivery and tight, thunderous backline as a foil for the dual guitarists to weave their riffs around as well as bounce off of.