Guess who forgot to jump the clocks ahead one hour before bedtime last night? Yeah, that would be me. Thought I was getting a good head-start on the day when I crawled from the covers at 6:30 a.m., and then took my sweet time making coffee, catching up on all the dismal news, shaving more minutes off my life with smokes, stretching and rubbing eyes, and then suddenly realizing it was 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 and I hadn’t done shit on this column.
Well, who would care but me? I’m not sure, but all that really matters is that I care, and the only way to avoid feeling like a failure today was to rush ahead with a few things I had in mind, or that were messing with my mind. The hour-late clock is ticking, and other chores plus a lunch with family and friends lie ahead, so like yesterday’s roundup this one must be brief. But it’s all really good!
Hard to resist checking out this first song, since Hardiesse is the project of Hyver (from Véhémence, Hanternoz, Régiment, Grylle, and more), and includes Wÿntër Ärvn (from Aorlhac) on bass and some of the vocals and Torve (from Ascète) doing the drum programming and the mix/master.
What we have in “Fougue” is glorious bedlam, with guitars flying high in a fever, non-stop percussive riot, humming and pulsating bass, and growls, howls, and screams to wake the dead. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the participants, the music feels like a sea of banners extravagantly whipping in the wind above some ancient sunlit castle redoubt. It has that kind of mythic, medieval, time-traveling majesty, conjoined with head-spinning, heart-exploding passion.
The song is from what seems to be an EP named Rêverie Féodale, which will be released by the Antiq label on March 31st. (Google Translate tells me that “Hardiesse” means “Boldness” in my native tongue.)
NEO INFERNO 262 (France)
Don’t be dismayed or misled by the child-like tinkling tones that open “Bleak Revolution“. Soon enough the music becomes a madhouse, with more twists and turns in the moving parts than a big kaleidoscope being spun by fast hands.
Blistering drums drive beneath a blizzard of riffing and stormy seas of synths. Horrid growls transform into ruinous screams and crazed yells. Skittering electronics match up with undulating low frequencies and throbbing electro beats. Dense swarms of noise ensue around haughty roars and light-speed drum programming. Gleaming synths swell to world-ending proportions and someone wails in agony. Gruesomely distorted words radiate around big industrial pulses. Haunted-house whistling tones and rippling keys permeate, and there’s gloomy and pestilential singing as well as celestial sonic spectacles.
And oh hell, I should stop, because if I continue attempting to map all the maneuvers it will take longer for you to read than to listen. And I haven’t even mentioned the mind-blowing animated video.
What’s it all about? There’s this at YouTube:
“Pleonectic,” meaning “having more and always more,” is the monstrosity of technology that has become the master of all and everything. The mysterious black box that governs every decision, every action. Its algorithms are the forbidden language. Its outputs are commands. It is the motherland, it is God. For the good of all.
Combining all kinds of extreme music (Metal, Electro, Indus…) and new technical processes (AI-generated), Neo Inferno 262 questions the place of man in art, and more generally the role of humans in a world that is being emptied of its flesh and meaning.
Who’s behind it? Also from YouTube:
A.K. (Merrimack, Decline of the I, Vorkreist, Eros Necropsique…) is the main organizer, and has collaborated on this opus with L.Helheim (Ex-Moonreich), Déhà (Wolvennest, Silver Knife…), MKM (Antaeus , Aosoth…), Saint Vincent (Seth, Blacklodge, Vorkreist…), Bornyhake (Borgne…), BST (Order of Apollyon, Sotherion, ex-Aosoth…), Heimoth (Seth), Krys ( Ophe, ex-Demande à la poussière), Berzerk (Sektarism, Faction Senestre, Malhkebre…), S. (Ars Veneficium), Dehn Sora (Treha Sektori, Throane…), L. (Mourning Dawn…), Arnhwald (Deathcode Society…), S. (Owl cave), NRK (Blacklodge).
Talk about star-studded!
The album (Pleonectic) will be released on March 31st by Ars Longa Vita Brevis. The song is available now as a digital single. Thanks to Miloš for linking me to this spectacle.
DEVOURING FAMINE (U.S.)
To conclude this all-too-short Sunday collection I picked a two-track EP named The devouring phantoms by this one-man project from California, which has been putting out music at a blistering pace since last August (at Metal-Archives I count four demos, a debut album, and two EPs since then, including this new one).
Anchored by a big, nimble bass and compulsive drumbeats, the title track delivers torrid shrieks and vibratory riffs that continually switch up the moods. But the moods are all dark, ranging from the dismal to the deranged, from cold and predatory sensations to moments of confusion and despair.
The creator classifies the music as raw black metal, but those guitars have a piercing quality notwithstanding the coating of abrasion, and there comes a point when the pace slows and the guitars ring with even greater clarity (there, it makes me briefly think of urban noir and dimly lit jazz clubs hidden in dingy back alleys).
That title song is remarkably inventive and packed with gripping twists and turns, right up through the finale’s completely frightening madness. Could this happen again in the second track? Yes it does.
The opening of “Being thrown into the land of beasts” once again conjures an atmosphere of urban noir (for want of a better term), like wandering alone through grimy, fog-shrouded pavements lit dimly by scattered street lights, with an eerie feeling that something sinister is shadowing you.
Once again, Devouring Famine turns up the heat and packs the song with pitch-black but electrifying riffs, pulse-punching beats, gravel-toned bass, and harrowing shrieks. And once again, the song moves among different moods. It even becomes strangely seductive, especially when a morose piano melody takes the lead, but mainly it’s disturbing and even disorienting, a paradigm of preternatural peril.
Well, dammit, these two songs are so fucking good that I will have to go backwards in Devouring Famine‘s rapidly expanding discography and find what I missed, just as soon as I buy this one (it’s a “name your own price” download at Bandcamp).
(I heard from the band four months ago, but must have been too scatter-brained to follow up then. It took a recent SubStack article by starkweather, which included this EP, to remind me.)