What is it about music which inflicts humongous levels of near-physical sonic punishment, coupled with moods of abject hopelessness or unchained rage, that generates an urgent kind of magnetism for metal listeners? Doom-drenched earth-shakers aren’t comforting, and at pitch-black levels of intensity they aren’t the kind of thing that leaves you humming a tune. So what is it?
We’re pondering these questions after repeatedly listening to the harrowing song we’re premiering today off a new album entitled Monoceros by the unforgettably named Norwegian band Forcefed Horsehead. Even for metalhead whose ears and minds have been roughed up by years of sonic abuse and thus become de-sensitized to crushers, “The Black Sun” is a special kind of ruination capable of leaving people slack-jawed.
For you readers who are familiar with the previous releases of the band, what we’ve just written may come as a surprise. Forcefed Horsehead are better known as “Norwegian grind punks”, more given to death-metal-infused chaos than brutal stomping.
On the other hand, the band have already proven that they’re quite willing to bring in all sorts of genre ingredients, including black metal, post rock, prog, and hardcore, to make their conceptions come too life. As for the conception of “The Black Sun“, the band explain:
“The Black Sun is what happens when a death metal inspired grindcore band ventures into doom metal territory.
It`s a bleak and gloomy song about the moments before eternal sleep sets in.
“On this song we wanted to do something different from the fast paced and in-your-face stuff we usually do and it is also the first song we have done where we incorporated electronics. The additional hell drones and drips of electronic soundscapes were made by our good friend Saint M from Serenity Trace.”
As “The Black Sun” begins, strikingly heavy, roiling and raking guitars lead into cataclysmic percussive detonations, and the song then proceeds in a massive, lurching stomp as the melody moans in utterly dismal tones and vocalist Audun Mehl expels the words in senses-abrading howls and screams.
The music’s crushing oppressiveness is inescapable, and so is the bone-smashing impact of the rhythm section. They methodically apply brutal jackhammer blows that you can feel in your teeth and bone marrow, they crack the skull, and they mercilessly slug the guts. And when you might least expect it, they convulse in obliterating bursts as the guitars create seizures of madness.
The whole song sinks deeper into agony, the riffing becoming a harmonized whine of pain and pleading, as the drums pummel with a cold will and the vocals reach planes of torment where it seems the vocal chords must be self-destructing. The massive beast of sound staggers forward toward some horrific burial ground, smashing everything in its path on the way toward unsalvageable doom and endless night.
To give you a further idea about how many whiplash twists and turns you’ll experience on Monoceros, we’re also including a stream of the album’s opening track, “Every Death You Take“, which premiered at Invisible Oranges, where it was described as “pure mayhem”.
The band explained: “Every Death You Take is about self-proclaimed prophets who use lies, deceit and fearmongering to justify their own crude and hateful behaviour”.
Monoceros will be released by Owlripper Recordings on March 24th. It’s a 12-track sonic uppercut that thematically explores “the notion of human decay as an entity and how much self-destructiveness and collective annihilation comes from apathy, greed and self-proclaimed prophecies”.
The record was recorded during the pandemic in Vakuum Studio in Oslo, Norway with Pål Gauslaa Sivertzen behind the levers. For more info about the release, keep an eye on these locations: