My track record of posting new-music roundups on Bandcamp Fridays is spotty. I probably fail as often as I succeed. I know that people save up Bandcamp wish lists based on things they’ve discovered in between those Fridays, including music they’ve found through our reviews and other roundups. But those Fridays still seem like good days to spread the word about enticing new metal because lots of people are making purchase decisions right then, when Bandcamp has a moratorium on its 15% and 10% revenue grabs.
I did manage to pull together a roundup on yesterday’s Bandcamp Friday. I didn’t have much time to do it (I again blame my fucking day job), which resulted in fewer choices than I had in mind and a lot fewer words, but I hope it was better than nothing. I hope it gave those six bands a bit of a push for their forthcoming records.
Now we’re back to the in-between period. I hope some of what I picked today will wind up on new wish lists or result in immediate pick-ups. Or maybe you’ll just get pumped up listening, like I did this morning. (P.S. If you wonder why I give a damn about Bandcamp as a platform for music, scroll to the very bottom of this article.)
I’ll forewarn you that this collection is going to be a very twisty and turny trip. To begin the adventure I’ve chosen the second album by this death metal band from Osorno, which was released on April Fool’s Day. It’s self-titled and follows their debut album Obscuras aguas del caos by a long seven years.
If you check out Metal-Archives for the band you’ll see a listing of these themes: “Madness, Desolation, Death, Extermination”. Apart from the lyrical subject matter, those words also provide a pretty good preview of the music.
Sounds of spine-tingling horror provide the album’s prelude, and what follows is a mad and mauling experience that in itself has plenty of twists and turns. While monstrous, gravel-gargling gutturals roar out the words and the larynx gets blown out by hair-on-fire howls, the band take turns beating the shit out of the listener and tying their brains in knots.
Which is to say that while the songs are brutally jolting and punishing, the guitars constantly go off at high speed in demented, channel-separated directions — swirling and screeching, darting like swallows and seizing up in violent tremolo-picked spasms, or burrowing through rock like high-speed tunneling machines.
The sounds are grim and grisly, but also spawn visions of demon dervishes who’ve been cooped up in hell long enough to lose what shreds of sanity they might once have had (“While My Body Laid Asleep” and “I Kill for Lust” being prime examples of that, but definitely not the only ones). The rhythm section are also prone to rapid variations and bursts of their own instrumental fireworks, as digressions from their primary missions of thuggery and obliteration.
Moreover, when you least expect it (as in the second track “Conarium” or the album closer), the bottom drops out and you find yourself wandering through a weirdly twisted instrumental diversion that rings and weaves, or (as in “Repudiation, Excess & Monotony“) trudging through a thick trough of viscera. “Madness, Desolation, Death, Extermination” indeed….
(The fantastically ghastly cover art is by Joan Rigo.)
EASTWOOD (France/Germany) / Chadhel (Canada)
Now for the first big twist in the path of today’s music. What’s next is a new 6-song release that appeared on Bandcamp yesterday by this multinational grindcore/powerviolence band. I wanted to listen to it just based on the song titles:
1. Zero Tolerance for Porngrind Sympathy
2. Entitled to Exploitation
3. Atheistic Liberation Front (Until Every Church Is Empty)
4. Don’t Waste Time Optimizing Your Time
5. Irreducible Stupidity
6. The Cruelty Is the Point
7. FULL SIDE
By the way, that last track is called “FULL SIDE” because it’s the entire preceding six songs running through you without pause. And “FULL SIDE” is two minutes 17 seconds long because that’s how long it takes for those six songs to run their course.
This is one of those times when if I write much more it will take longer for you to read than to listen to the whole release. So I’ll just say that this shit is as bewildering as it is blistering. Yes, it will mangle and rip you up, but that’s not what makes these 2+ minutes stick out. It’s the berserker inventiveness and spring-tight execution, and the overarching WTF DID I JUST HEAR?!? impact. Moreover, it’s so short that it’s very easy — indeed irresistible — to keep looping it until your mind has completely melted.
Those songs are part of a 5″ Eastwood split with the Québec grind band Chadhel. Chadhel‘s side is very short too. I’ve included a full stream of both sides from YouTube below, as well as a Bandcamp stream of Chadhel‘s three tracks. They’re less freaked-out than Eastwood‘s songs, but they’re damned berserk and destructive in their own right, and just as tightly executed.
Why did I pick these next four songs? Because, in a nutshell, they’re bloody red meat for headbangers. The first of them, “Irreligious Fallout“, proves that damned fast. A punishing, heavy-grooved gallop, it packs a mean punch, and the vocals are a ravenous riot. And on top of that, the quivering and blurting riffs effectively channel a kind of crazed exultation that dials up the adrenaline factor, and there’s a deliciously swirling and screaming guitar solo in the mix too.
The other three songs that have been published from this new Delyria album so far are in line with that first one. Delivered with a powerhouse sound and turbocharged speed, they administer vigorous beatings; they’re loaded with hooks and grooves; and they’re thoroughly savage. They also channel different moods, including grim sensations of menace, cruelty, and hopelessness, but the fireball ferocity is never far away.
“Republic of The Obscene” might be my favorite because of its start-stop instrumental and vocal bursts of eye-popping belligerence, but the fret-melting solo that opens “Gazmasked Reaper” is a hell of a thing too, and that’s not the only feature of that song which makes it a shitload of vicious fun.
Oh hell, all these songs are vicious fun, and I expect the rest of the album is too. Delyria aren’t pushing the boundaries of innovation with their brand of melody-tinged death/thrash, but they’re really good at what they do.
The songs come from an album named III; Oracles And Tentacles, which is set for a May 26 release by the French label Great Dane Records.
MAN AS PLAGUE (Netherlands)
Those Delyria songs put me in a certain kind of mind-frame that made this next song a natural follow-on choice. To be more specific, it whetted my appetite for getting bludgeoned senseless, and that sure as hell is what Man As Plague do on “Titanomachy“.
As they say in the trade, there’s enough bombastic bludgeoning in this deathcore song to level tall buildings. Along with bursts of pile-driving destructiveness, you also get a rabid man howling and growling right in your face, wisps of high-flying ethereal melody, delirium seizures of insectile fretwork, attention-grabbing drum-fills, and bits of darting electronica. But mainly this is a jackhammering neck-ruiner — and the performance video it comes with is a great match for the music.
The song is the title track to Man as Plague‘s new album, which will be out in June. It’s available as a Bandcamp single now. The song’s lyrics portray a tale of apocalypse that draws upon Greek mythology (the war between the Titans and the gods they spawned).
IZROD (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
I think now I ought to take another turn in the forked path of today’s roundup, and to do that I picked an album named Sarajevski Odisej that was just released yesterday by this Sarajevo band formerly known as Void Prayer, whose music we’ve covered on three previous occasions here. (The members are also scattered among many other bands, including Cave Ritual, which seems to be both a precursor and another successor to Void Prayer.)
I’ve seen the album described as “a story about a region, a city and their own people with impact on modern days, struggling itself in a post war environment”. The music is less easily described.
Raging and riotous black metal is one of the through-lines, but from the very beginning of the very first song you’ll notice seductive, proggy bass arpeggios, which play a prominent continuing role, and you’ll further notice sharp changes in the tempos and drum patterns, fire-bright riff-swarms and soloing that are glorious (and gloriously demented), and overlays of eerily swirling ambience that create an atmosphere of sinister menace. And let’s not overlook the panoply of ugly and deranged vocal expressions, which hold their own in the midst of a dazzling instrumental labyrinth.
The rest of the album will keep you on your toes, perched on the edge of your seats, and I could use other analogies intended to convey that these songs are constantly surprising. The instrumental talent of Izrod is top-shelf, and their approach to songwriting is wildly adventurous and elaborate but mapped out with care. They pull from lots of genre influences within their framework of black metal, most obviously including prog, but also hard rock, death metal, and industrial, and that bass gets jazzy too.
While giving your head a swift spin seems to be the main mission, Izrod also pick their moments to brutishly pound away in passages designed to feed the headbang-hunger. And sometimes the music sounds futuristic. And sometimes it sounds like a peasant dance or a post-punk bounce. And sometimes it sounds like a venture into spooky and sorcerous places where witches and warlocks reign and beckon. And sometimes the music is capable of flying toward the heavens in exhilarating splendor.
Believe it or not, I could say more, but it’s better to just get out of the way and let you explore all the thrills and chills for yourself. (This is stream-only at Bandcamp; whether you choose to give your money to Signal Rex for a physical edition is up to you. I’ll wait for a future digital release.)
(Big thanks to Miloš for pointing me to this new album.)
Why I give a damn about Bandcamp as a platform for music: Because it’s a record store rather than a streaming service. Bands and labels can actually sell what they make, and not just high-quality digital files but physical merch that they can ship themselves. And while almost no extreme metal band or label makes enough money to leave their day jobs, the opportunity to make some money on their creative efforts is nonetheless vital.
Sure, Bandcamp takes its cut, and every cut hurts, but as a consumer who wants to support the people who make music possible, it’s a hell of a lot better than streaming services like Spotify, who don’t pay shit. Rather than elaborate further, I’ll leave you this link to an article from three years ago that does a very good job comparing and contrasting these two business models: