The Infernal Sea – Photography by Jay Russell
Well, this was another ridiculous week for the release of new music and videos designed to tease forthcoming records, not to mention the release of complete albums, EPs, and splits. Sadly, it was also another week when I couldn’t manage to catch up to them in other round-ups. At least I got a bit of a head-start today on the usual Saturday and Sunday collections, when more catching up will occur.
THE INFERNAL SEA (UK)
Oh hell, where to start? Well, how about with a new single from NCS favorites The Infernal Sea?
“Apostle of Gehenna” is a nice surprise, since about 2 1/2 years have elapsed since the band’s last release (the Negotium Crucis album, reviewed here), though there’s nothing “nice” about gaping jaws of the hellhound in the artwork (the work of Rob Gould).
The music’s not “nice” either, but that’s not what we look for in this band’s music. What we look for, and what we get here, after an eerily exotic intro, is music that’s menacing and mauling, and spring-loaded with hooks, though this new track is also a highly addictive rocker. The opening heavy metal riff, which is both brazen and serpentine, is a damned big hook, that’s for sure, and so are the subterranean bass undulations and the neck-snapping snare grooves.
The shrieking and howling vocals are A-grade nasty, and go quite well with the reptilian hazard and rocking swagger of the music. Eventually, the band bolt into a thrashy surge and spin out a spectacular fret-melter of a solo before returning to that ear-worm riffage. (I got flashes of Mantar and Goatwhore when listening to this, which are good hot flashes to get.)
P.S. I saw a press release saying this is the first of two songs the band will be releasing.
The last time we devoted attention to Nervosa was back in 2021, when we published not one but two adulatory reviews of their fourth full-length, Perpetual Chaos (here and here). Now they too have a new single, unchained by Napalm Records through an exhilarating video earlier this week.
“Endless Ambition” is the name of the new one, and it’s an adrenaline-fueled, highly infectious spectacle. A full-throttle thrasher for the most part, it also includes musical elements of sinister tension and diabolical delirium, as well as some segments that trigger the good ol’ headbang reflex, and of course the screaming and roaring vocals are venomous and vitriolic. Nervosa bring the percussive thunder and cannon-fire, bursts of fast-scissoring and rapidly darting fretwork, and gloriously swirling guitar-leads too.
(As you might now realize, guitarist Prika Amaral has taken over the vocal duties, and the lineup is now rounded out by Michaela Naydenova on drums, Hel Pyre on bass, and Helena Kotina on guitars.)
WORM SHEPHERD (U.S.)
Sticking with new singles, the next selection is one from the symphonic blackened deathcore band Worm Shepherd, which follows up their 2022 album Ritual Hymns (reviewed in detail here). Like that album, the single was issued by Unique Leader, and it too arrived with a frightening and disorienting video.
The name of this one is “The Frozen Lake, Pt. II (The Ruined)“, which by its title connects to a track called “The Frozen Lake” off the band’s debut album In the Wake ov Sòl. Haunting and meditative at first, the song becomes a dark crusher with monster roars, and then a harrowing surge of blast-fueled drums, jarring riffs, tormented synths, and even more tormented screams.
To keep you on your toes, the band throw in quick celestial keyboard interludes, sorrowful arpeggios, bunker-busting detonations, ruthless pile-driving stomps, doom-stricken clangs, and moments of symphonic splendor. You can’t really get into a consistent groove in this song because the stark changes come so relentlessly, but by design the band don’t want to let people settle into any kind of comfort zone.
PAVOR NOKTURNUS (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
All of the bands whose music I chose for today’s first three entries are pretty well-known within their genre-niches, and so I thought I’d close with a nearly complete unknown. In fact, as far as I can determine, what you’re about to hear is this Sarajevo band’s first release. Entitled Sleepless... Breathless... Dead, it’s a single 17-minute-long track that was released via Bandcamp just four days ago.
I won’t try to carefully map the song’s long and changing course, for fear of inducing tedium, but I’ll say that it includes waves of searing and slowly slithering riffage, bone-bruising rhythms, and vocals of such shattering intensity that they’ll put their hair up on your neck. As well, the whirling guitars climb to brilliant heights and there are arpeggios that ring like celestial bells; the very prominent bass meanders and bubbles along sorrowful, seductive, and even hopefull paths; and the drumming is wonderfully nuanced.
As you might already be guessing, the moods in the music are many. It carries feelings of depression and despair, confusion and regret, but it also blazes with a kind of defiant resilience and eye-opening wonder. And the reverb-drenched riffs that channel all these moods, most especially in the most fiery passages, are magnetic, compelling listeners like iron filings. At times, the music becomes absolutely panoramic and spellbinding (even when it’s disturbing)… but shit… those vocals… they are terrifying in their extremity at all times.
As on so many other occasions, I owe thanks to Rennie from starkweather for the tip on this remarkable discovery.
P.S. Metal Archives identifies the band as the solo work of an artist with a very long resume, which includes work with Cave Ritual, Nigrum Ignis Circuli, Void Prayer, and Wolfdoom (among others), and a multitude of other solo projects.