I used to type lists of new songs and videos I wanted to check out, pasting the links below the band names. Now I use a Firefox thingy called Pocket. When I’m on a web page for a song or video, I tap the Pocket icon on the Firefox browser and it automatically saves the link in Pocket.
Much faster than what I used to do, but the downside is that when I go to Pocket I see endless rows of thumbnail images for all the links I’ve saved. I fear my fingers will cramp from the scrolling, down and down and down… and my mind starts to cramp up on me too.
The result is that I tend to focus on stuff at the top (the links I saved most recently), especially when I’m hurrying. That phenomenon explains most of the choices in today’s round-up.
THECODONTION (Italy) / CEREMENTED (U.S.)
“Two no-guitars death metal bands conspire to create a crushing split album of bass-only subversion of metal music’s six-strings-centric conventions.” That is how I, Voidhanger Records begins its introduction of a forthcoming split release by Thecodontion and Ceremented, but there’s a lot more linguistic previewing to follow, all of which is worth reading at the Bandcamp page for the record (linked below).
So far, one song from each band’s side has surfaced. Thecodontion‘s “Trilobite” merits the label’s description as “an ethereal, atmospheric death metal sound colliding with their double bass grinding clangor.” The music is bright and dreamlike, but those beguiling shimmering and ringing tones (courtesy of the band’s new keyboardist Stefano Allegretti, from Bedsore) are paired with full-riot drumming, growling and thundering bass arpeggios, and ferocious lycanthropic snarls. The result is a head-spinning song that both levitates and will escalate your pulse-rate.
Ceremented‘s song “Ultra Mystischizmatic Terrors” is a very different beast, one of four tracks that I, Voidhanger profiles as “an in-your-face, stripped down death/doom metal approach,” “a dripping horror voyage into primal landscapes of annihilation”, and “a coarse sonic drape”. The clawing and clanging of the bass is a filth-ridden experience, sounding cruel and ravenous. The lively snap of the snare drum creates an interesting contrast, but the reverberation of hideous growls, gags, and howls remind us that we’re in the presence of a foul beast from beginning to end.
Today this German band released their debut album, the aptly named Manifestation of Chaos, and simultaneously released a short animated film called “Upheaval“. I was pointed toward both of them by starkweather, and I followed that direction with curiosity, and a bit of trepidation because he remarked that Zephid sound like a melding of Immolation with djent (but better than that description reads).
The “Upheaval” video is a fascinating animated rendering of a tale of cosmic horror, with a chilling spoken-word preface and afterword by Laura Fish. The music isn’t a song, but a frightening (and occasionally explosive) symphonic/ambient soundtrack to the terrors being revealed in the imagery, embellished with an assortment of hideous voices. The visual nightmare fuel was written and animated by the band’s drummer Robin Zeeb. The music would be nightmare fuel all by itself.
“Upheaval” doesn’t really provide any comprehensive clues to the music on the album, other than perhaps a conceptual thematic connection. And the album is so massive — 12 tracks and an hour-long duration — that it would be hard to forecast with mere clues anyway, especially because Zephid do enjoy bamboozling listeners with unpredictable twists and turns.
In the songs they do make brief use of chilling ambient embellishments, and the guitar-work that itself creates sensations of creepy and crazed cosmic horror, coupled with monstrous roaring and gurgling and screams of spine-tingling extremity. The djent reference becomes relevant principally as a result of brutish clanging chords and other punishing grooves making regular intrusions, but don’t put too much weight on that reference, because the music is downright maniacal in its conception and execution.
The songs include plentiful stops and starts and unforeseen tempo changes, explosive doses of utterly deranged (and technically impressive) fretwork, and constantly mercurial drumming that has an eye-popping effect. Sometimes the music sounds cold and machine-like or even weirdly dream-like, but quite often like some insectile alien race swarming in vicious frenzies as their hive-mind goes mad.
Zephir sum up their music as “A technical, brutal death metal with a black metal soul and a grindcore attitude”, but that still falls short in capturing the relentless, mind-boggling lunacy of these tracks. It sure doesn’t seem like the kind of song-writing that begins with a riff. How any of it began and evolved into such thoroughly mind-scrambling adventures is a befuddling question.
Is a full hour of this too much? You might think so, but Zephid do include other kinds of strange curveballs, the seductively melodic and sinister “Realm of Zephid” being a prime example, that allow you to breathe slightly easier before being thrown into the next nuthouse nova. Well, it still might be too much. It’s not immediately evident that these songs have their own distinctive “personalities”, even though each of them is dazzling (in very demented ways). I guess you’ll just have to decide for yourselves….
Nethermancy brandish their devotion to evil black metal right in the title of their new album (their fourth in a quarter-century career), not to mention the cover, and they do a damned effective job carrying their devotion into the hellish nightmare realms their music creates.
The new album’s first single, “Tyrants | Usurpers Of Light“, brings forth rolling waves of fiery yet freezing riffage and eerie yet grandiose keys (or maybe those are just more guitars) over a steady, skipping beat — which periodically erupts in booming flurries and ends in the pounding tones of a grand ritual.
The song does sound like the sanctified rise of some ancient evil, reveling in its hideous might, but the atmosphere is also as chilling as tombs. It sounds poisonous and imperious, and the shrieking and roaring vocals channel the unhinged fury of demons finally freed from their chains.
The album, Worship Evil Sacrifice, is set for an April 21 release by Helldprod Records.
Three years after their debut album, we have a second full-length on the way from this impressive California-based collective, whose members each have a massive number of other bands on their resumes (among them, Atramentus, Worm, Mournful Congregation, Chthe’ilist, First Fragment). The first advance track, “Writhing in the Facade of Time“, is the one I chose to close out this Saturday’s roundup.
After the first album, I was expecting a mind-bender of progressive/technical death metal, and that’s what we’ve got here. It does have a plethora of hook-filled elements for sure, the skittering opening riff being a prime example, but this is more a spectacular mental whirligig than a head-banger.
All the performances are intricate, elaborate, and relentlessly fascinating — way too much to digest on a single listen. But I think what’s likely to stick in your head after even a single listen are the guitar solos, which spiral out in glorious brilliance — and maybe the very surprising finale, which I won’t spoil.
The name of VoidCeremony‘s new album is Threads of Unknowing, and it will be released by 20 Buck Spin on April 14th, adorned by the cover art of Juanjo Castellano.