Saturdays are usually days when I pick a handful of new songs and videos to recommend, accompanied by some of my own peerless prose (HA!). But as I waded through possibilities this morning it quickly dawned on me that there was just way too fucking much stuff for me to pare down to a handful without experiencing some mental agony in making the choices.
So, I’ve thrown up my hands and resorted to this “Overflowing Streams” format, where you will find a lot more music than in the usual “Seen and Heard” columns, a lot fewer of my own words (dry your eyes), and very little cover art — other than Yoann Lossel’s stunning artwork “Les Fleurs du Mal”, which is on the cover of the new album by the first band in this roundup.
Today the musical arrangement is alphabetical by band name (heavily weighted by the A’s). I’m deferring most of the black metal discoveries until tomorrow.
Wonderful news to see that this Greek melodic death metal band are returning with a new album, six years after their fantastic full-length debut, The Untamed Wilderness. They say this marks “the start of a new era for Aetherian“, and it appears that they’ve added a couple of new guitarists to an already formidable lineup. The first sign of what the new album brings is a lyric video for the song “Army of Gaia“.
Photo by Giannis Manthos
Prepare for music of melancholy grandeur and furious passion, both sweeping in its scope and fiery in its defiance, with tremendous vocals and doses of gloriously darting riffage. It pounds the heart, causes it to swell near to bursting, and brings an inspirational message.
The new album, At Storm’s Edge, will be released on July 14th by Lifeforce Records.
APHONIC THRENODY (UK)
Next up is “Death Obsession“, an epic-length song from Aphonic Threnody‘s new album When Death Comes Again, which itself seems death-obsessed. It’s a re-working the original When Death Comes release, and includes the contributions of lots of new artists (they’re listed at Bandcamp).
Prepare for a 16 1/2 minute odyssey that’s worthy of that Homeric reference. Aphonic Threnody‘s majestic ship, flying the death’s head flag, sails us (spellbound) through glimmering oceans of grief and harrowing tides of torment. The music is elegant and instrumentally elaborate, finding many ways to pierce the soul with its manifold tragedies as the swells ebb and flow. (There is, for example, a guitar solo just past the 11:00 minute mark that put my goddamn heart in my goddamn throat; and later there’s a violin solo that did the same thing.)
When Death Comes Again is slated for release on May 5th.
Next I’ve chosen an extravagant occult-themed video for an elaborate song called “Kob’“, which is the title track to Arkona‘s next album.
Prepare for an experience that’s sinister and supernatural, menacing and mesmerizing, ferocious and frightening, and it pulls from different stylistic wells than the band’s hallmark pagan metal core, to very good effect. Masha Scream, of course, is still a primal force to be reckoned with, both visually and vocally.
The record will be released on June 16th by Napalm Records.
ASCENDED DEAD (U.S.)
I’ve already said some things about “Ungodly Death” (is there any other kind?), the maniacal first preview track from this California band’s new album Evenfall of the Apocalypse, and now there’s another single for your mangled ears — “Inverted Ascension“.
Prepare for monstrous and mind-mauling death metal driven by electrifying drumwork, a plethora of freakish fretwork contortions (bass as well as guitars), and rabid vocal bestiality, plus what sounds like a delirious saxophone. You won’t be bored in the slightest.
The album will be out on May 12th from 20 Buck Spin.
Last week brought an Invisible Oranges premiere written by our friend Tom Compagna for a new song named “Rain” from Ashbringer‘s yet-to-be-announced new album, which will be released later this year on Translation Loss Records. It was presented through a gripping video.
To quote Tom: “‘Rain‘ starts off chaotically and ends up as a great combination of disorder and tranquility, as evidenced by the split between the herculean Barney Greenway-styled gruff vocals and the ethereal cleans. The balance works well within the confines of the track’s three-minute length, as you get plenty of both while feeling satisfied by track’s end. If you like variety with your heavy, you’ll appreciate the dichotomy all the more”.
The reinvigorated Dååth decided to do a cover of Death’s song “The Philosopher”, and they brought along Rafael Trujillo of Obsidious and Dan Sugarman of Ice Nine Kills for the two guitar solos.
Prepare to get slugged hard, ruthlessly howled at, and have your head spun around in an exhilarating instrumental centrifuge. If Chuck‘s spirit survived, I suspect he’s smiling. Those solos, by the way, are terrific.
DEATH OF GIANTS (Norway)
Here’s a very intriguing animated video for a song called “Distance” that caught my eye in a YouTube side-bar while I was watching and listening to that Arkona video above. It’s the first single from Death of Giants‘ debut album Ventesorg, which will be released on May 12th.
Prepare for beautifully heart-breaking doom splendor, coupled with ravaging death growls (as well as brief bits of impassioned singing), a burst of vicious spine-jolting momentum, and a soulful intro and outro (cello at first, piano later).
HOLY DEATH (U.S.)
This California band have been through some harrowing times over the last year, because of guitarist/vocalist Torie John’s cancer diagnosis and neck surgery. Yet they are managing to play live again and have recorded an album fittingly named Neck Wound Session, which consists of previously released songs that the band tracked live on November 5th, 2022. My next selection is the opener “Nailbat” (a track that originally appeared on the band’s 2021 album Separate Mind from Flesh).
Prepare to get pounded into jelly by HM-2-powered crushers while the drummer furiously takes an ax to your neck and the vocals come for the throat with bloody teeth bared. After that ruination, the band will drag your crushed corpse behind them into some ghastly meat locker for subsequent consumption.
Neck Wound Session will be released on June 16th.
Fame undeniably influences the reception of music for better and worse, causing some fans to slobber without good cause and leading others to scoff with no greater cause. Which is to say that it’s hard for me to divorce the name Immortal from their new song “Wargod“, which you’ll find below with a lyric video.
Well, I’m no more immune to such influences than anyone else, but I’m also not immune to the head-hooking power of this big neck-wrecking stomp. The reptile brain likes what the reptile brain likes. The instrumental interlude is also a nice diversion, and though you could guess, it’s followed by a feverish war charge, which has its own pulse-palpitating allure.
The song is from the new album War Against All, which will be out on May 26th through Nuclear Blast.
NOCTURNAL TYRANT (U.S./Spain)
For my next selection I decided to pick just one song from an album named Drowned in Eternal Desolation that was just released on April 15th by Pest Productions. Why just one song? Because I haven’t had time to consider even a brief review of the album (though I really like it), and this one song — “The Way of the Abyss” — has put me in an unbreakable head-lock.
Prepare for a fiery, dervish-like black metal whirl, absolutely exultant in its mood and thoroughly exhilarating to hear. It’s not just the vibrantly trilling harmonized guitars that have that effect. The bassist and drummer are going hell for leather too, and the album is produced in a way that gives everyone equal attention. The music does get despairing and despondent before it ends. Oh, and I should mention that the vocals are absolutely terrifying.
Sadly, I must close this gigantic round-up, and to do that I picked a video that premiered this week at Toilet Ov Hell. It’s for a song called “Tet” from Sarcoptes‘ newest album Prayers to Oblivion, which was released by Transcending Obscurity Records this past February.
It happens that the song is one we ourselves premiered here in advance of the album’s release. Forgive me for just repeating what I wrote before:
Apart from showing just how extravagantly Sarcoptes interweave their many genre influences, which range across a broad soundscape of black metal and far beyond, the album is also designed to keep listeners on their toes, and off-balance. And so “Tet” follows the haunting conclusion of “Dead Silence” with another heart-pumping, full-bore eruption. Frenzies of bright guitar work pulsate within a tornado of obliterating percussion, jittery and jolting riffage, and grandiose symphonics — and the band pick their moment to deliver the most vividly headbang-able sequence of all three songs revealed so far.
For the video, Sarcoptes rounded out their roster to feature Marc Nocerino (Abhorrance, Forsake the Flesh, etc.) on bass guitar and Gabe Seeber (Decrepit Birth, The Kennedy Veil, etc.) on drums. It’s a blast to watch all these dudes cut loose.