Mar 252023

Demonaz – Photo by Leander Djønne

How long did I sleep last night? Hey, thanks for asking, it was 10 1/2 hours. You’d think I’d dug a mile-long ditch by myself before collapsing in exhaustion, but I did little more than sit on my ass and peck at a keyboard all day. It’s probably just a sign of how long I’d sleep every night if I didn’t have some binding commitment to keep early every morning (looking at you, NCS). I like sleeping.

Anyway, late start today, and therefore not as many picks in this roundup as I thought I’d have. I decided to pull in some bigger names, whose songs surfaced fairly early in the week, and then round things out with some hard-scrabble fighters from deeper underground.


Dark northern armies go to battle across the ice under blood-red skies in Immortal‘s blazing and bombastic new song “War Against All“. It’s a hot-blooded scorcher, packed with both brazen and febrile fretwork, berserker screaming, and rumbling thunder in the low end. If you’ve just hibernated for 10 1/2 hours it’s as welcome and as effective as a jolt of pitch-black caffeine.

The song is the title track to Immortal‘s next album, due for release on May 26th by Nuclear Blast. Demonaz does most of the work, with guests whose names I haven’t yet seen. For an Enslaved connection, the album was produced by Arve Isdal, and recorded by Isdal and Herbrand Larsen.




Next up is a video for Night Demon‘s “Beyond the Grave“, which is off their new album Outsider, released just a week ago by Century Media. As you’ll probably know, there’s nothing but singing in the vocal department, and there’s naught but gloom and mystery in the anthem-like melodies that form the song’s first phase, but I found all of that spellbinding.

I should also mention that at right about the halfway mark, when drummer Dusty Squires walks away from his kit and into a candle ring, bassist Jarvis Leatherby and guitarist Armand John Anthony create an intriguing bridge that leads into a new, hard-rocking phase that gets the blood rushing as everyone in the band cut loose — though the song culminates in another spell.

Sad to say, I haven’t listened to the rest of Outsider, so I have no thoughts about the album as a whole. I do intend to make up for that oversight.




Back to Bergen we go.

I’ve made no secret over the years of my persistent fandom for the oddball antics of Vulture Industries. “Expect the unexpected” is the mantra for their music, and the process of discovery is usually its own reward.

So now they have a fifth album on the way, and the first preview is the next song in today’s collection, “New Lords of Light“. It too comes with a video, which interweaves footage from the 1962 horror movie Carnival of Souls and scenes of the well-dressed men rocking out on stage.

And yes, you can rock out to “New Lords of Light” while thrilling to the sinister vocal permutations and wild-eyed expressions of Bjørnar Nilsen. If you can sit still while the big bass pulse (in which I detect a New Wave/Post-Punk influence) and the whipcrack drumming do their thing, you might need a defibrillator. And, well, the song as a whole is a sinister affair, and the guitars and keyboard also infiltrate the mind with audio psychedelics and narcotics.

Whoever had the idea of using the Carnival of Souls clips in the video for this fiendishly addictive song deserves a round of applause.

The name of the new album is Ghosts from the Past. It has a release date of June 16th on Dark Essence Records. Its theme is to “reflect fear of a world spinning out of control, and a sense of powerlessness in the face of a world order falling apart”.




I suspect that after those songs from Night Demon and Vulture Industries more than a few of you are hungering for something nastier, and to feed that need I’ve selected the first song revealed from All Hail the Night, a new EP by All Hell from North Carolina.

The EP consists of six songs, three of them new ones that feature a guest solo and additional vocals by Nate Garnette from Skeletonwitch, and three of them described as “re-imagined, re-invigorated songs from the band’s earliest days”. This first single, “Black Leather Wings“, is one of the new ones.

It will get your motor running in no time at all, thanks to the rhythm section’s invigorating rattle and thump, the vicious braying quality of the riffage, and the lycanthropic snarls and howls in the vocal department. The song’s got loads of feral, bat-winged energy, and it does also include bursts of scintillating and slithering guitar soloing that adds to the music’s aura of hell-spawned menace and mayhem.

Once again, if you somehow sit motionless through this nightside escapade, a defibrillator might be what the doctor would order.

All Hail the Night was mastered by Joel Grind, and it will be released on April 14th by Terminus Hate City.




To wrap things up for today I’ve chosen a new EP named Abhorrent Entity by Toronto’s Phantom Lung. I enjoyed this linguistic preview of the experience at Bandcamp:

“From the opening notes in the brand new EP, “ABHORRENT ENTITY”, PHANTOM LUNG does not ask you to take a seat and listen, instead, you get tied to a chair and proceed to be audibly assaulted. Either you’re in or you’re in the way”.

True to those words, the EP is a violent discharge, covering five tracks in less than 10 minutes (including a few well-chosen vocal samples). The opener, “The Idle Mind Is the Devils Playground“, wastes almost no time rudely roughing up the listener with massive, mauling, HM-2-toned riffage, blistering and wildly romping drum mania, screeching string tortures, and hair-on-fire vocal madness. In part it sounds like a wrecking ball relentlessly smashing tall buildings into rubble, and in part like big shaggy beasts that have discovered the joys of a hardcore-punk moshpit.

From there, Phantom Lung explode into “Heel“, a grindcore-infused burst of explosive lunacy, climaxed by a disorienting start-stop jolt-fest, and then you get another convulsion of high-speed mangling in “Mea Culpa“, which includes its own bits of start-stop punishment along with lights-out drum munitions, magma-like bass permutations, another fanatical high-low vocal assault, and the kind of ruthless guitar abrasion that scours the skull clean.

This leaves you to the un-tender mercies of “Leave No Doubt“, which becomes brutally thuggish before the bitter end, and “Ennui“, which is a grim monster-stomp of a song.

The EP is so ugly and unhinged, so combative and confrontational, so ruthless and so exhilarating, that I can’t help but love it, even if the attitude might be interpreted as “fuck off and die!”. It’s only the band’s second release, and I sure as hell hope there will be more, and soon.

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