Apr 302023

Even on Sunday mornings my paying work can rear its ugly head and steal away my time (world leaders looking for advice on how to clean up the shit they’ve made tend to be impatient). This happened to me today. The result is a more abbreviated roundup of blackened tonalities than I had hoped for, but I’m still enamored of all of it. You’ll see that it’s all pretty adventurous as well.

IFRYT (Poland)

Doom metal bands don’t have a monopoly on 10-minute tracks. Sometimes black metal bands make them too, especially when the bands are inspired by a bushel-full of music from well beyond the traditional boundaries of black metal, as Ifryt clearly is.

After releasing an 11-minute demo on Christmas Eve, 2017, this Polish solo project (the creator is Bartosz “Kuna” Mokr) now has a record named Płuca (“Lungs”) set for release on May 12th via Godz Ov War Productions. The first song to be revealed is the 10-minute “Straszne Rzeczy” (“Terrible Things”). It’s so utterly wild that if I had any sense (which I don’t), I wouldn’t even attempt to describe it.

It’s got more twists and turns than an average person would take to solve a Rubik’s cube, and they’re all unexpected. Moreover, the music ecstatically pulls from multiple genres, like a child (albeit a very precocious and possibly evil one) thrown into a room full of colorful toys (and possibly devilish ones). Kuna was also very fortunate to find a vocalist (Przemysław “Szrama” Kuskowski) who obviously invested himself fully in this lark; no conventional performance would have been satisfactory.

The opening chords and bursts of percussive hammering create a feeling of menace. The menace briefly becomes mayhem, and then the stabbing pulse resumes, but this time joined by crazed yells and a seductively glimmering guitar — which then steals away the song for a time, joined by a companionable bass and a singing voice that trades off with wolfish snarls.

It might be silly of me to continue trying to map the song’s demented course in detail, but I’ll say that they include: blasting drums and blistering riff-frenzies; thumping back-beats and magically swirling and wailing guitar solos (the work of Kuna‘s ally Kamil Smolarz); skipping rhythms and doses of vividly darting fretwork; conversational statements and pattering hand-drum sounds; bubbly bass tones and glittering piano arpeggios; start-stop blares of guitar discordance and channel-shifting vocal derangement which eventually gives way to mind-ruining screams; and a vibrant strummed finale.

The Polish lyrics are extensive, but I really had to find out what they mean. Spending time I really didn’t have on Google Translate, I was glad I did.

The words tell the tale of a priest and his disciples who find an image of the devil outside their temple door. The priest somehow becomes convinced that he has exactly three nights to understand the meaning of this image or he will die. So he locks himself in the temple with his disciples and begins to meditate.

The remainder of the lyrics describe his bizarre and often frightening visions and thoughts, including pornographic ones, night by night. Of course, the priest does not survive.

I encourage you to translate the words for yourselves. The music really does sound like the rendering into sound of what you read, and vice-versa. I really can hardly wait to hear the other two tracks on Płuca and to read their lyrics.




PA VESH EN (Belarus)

New music from Pa Vesh En is always welcome around here, though you can’t expect the music itself will be welcoming. The new music now is a song named “Following the Pestilent Maiden“. If you were the protagonist, you would know that following that maiden is a very bad idea, or at least you would know that if you had heard the song first.

The guitar rings and warps in queasy tones above immense subterranean movements. Higher still, a voice screams like a furious ghoul. Drums manage to be heard popping and battering through those abyssal and abysmal undulations and upheavals. Increasingly shrill and frenzied guitar vibrations magnify the feeling of lunacy-inducing fear that the song generates, though the possessed vocals won’t need a lot of help in accomplishing that goal (those screams are truly terrifying).

Hard to know what might happen first as you listen — your mind being torn apart or the floor beneath you collapsing into a massive sinkhole caused by the movement of that giant beast that inhabits the low end.

Following the Pestilent Maiden” is from an album named Martyrs that will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on May 19th. I’ve also included a stream of a track called “In the Torment Cell“, which is also a mind-bender and mind-mauler.





Given the nature of the first two songs in today’s collection, I was inspired to add the next two right after them. These two are the first and third of four tracks from a new EP by the Italian band The End of Six Thousand Years that will be released in mid-May by Hypershape Records.

The first of them, “Collider“, struck me as well-named, in part because the song is a collision of different genre ingredients, including post-metal, prog, death metal, punk, and black metal. But to quickly emphasize, it’s not the kind of collision that leaves the parts mangled and randomly strewn about the pavement, but instead leaves the vehicles still moving, now blended into an intriguing new shape advancing in a different direction.

The performers are obviously talented, and the song is mixed in a way that allows inspection of all their contributions, including the riotously screamed vocals. They create an amalgam of dissonant and disorienting (but chime-like) guitars, bowel-loosening bass maneuvers, rapidly changing drum patterns, and a general atmosphere of derangement.

Disharmony and intricacy brand the layered guitars as they screech and swirl, jitter and jolt, but together with the superb drumming, the prominent bass, and those larynx-shredding vocals, they do kick the adrenaline levels way up.

“The other song, “Voidwalker“, is equally eye-popping, but as the name suggests, it’s more sinister and eerie, though no less elaborate and intricate. It too is a blend of dazzling, deranged, and disorienting sensations, but more frightening and bleak than “Collider“. Let the player below run, and you’ll hear it too. (Check the songs on Bandcamp for the dire lyrics, which are worth absorbing.)

This EP, by the way, is the first new music from the band in 11 years.





Well, having gone this far down the rabbit hole today, I decided to go deeper still, with a second choice from the roster of Godz Ov War Productions. This time it’s the Polish band Wilczyca and two advance songs from their forthcoming fourth album Magija. Here, the core duo of vocalist Nidhogg (vocals) and Louve (vocals, guitars, bass, synths) are joined by young drummer extraordinaire Krzysztof Klingbein.

These are two more songs in today’s collection that seriously challenge my always-challenged descriptive powers (you might guess that even from the album cover). The second song in particular left me feeling exhilarated, even joyous, ad thinking that not for naught is the album named for the Polish word meaning “magic”. These are also songs where the production permits all the instruments to stand out as they collectively create an experience that’s plenty heavy, thanks largely to a very big bass, but also witchy and head-spinning.

You probably won’t think joy is the impression you’ll be left with by the end, in light of the extremely sinister and bone-bruising opening of the title song and the hungry-vampire vocals that levitate from their coffin. It very effectively creates a dangerous, supernatural atmosphere — but the song does begin to swirl like magical mists and to spin up into frightening splendor.

Oh don’t worry, Klingbein continues to pound like a sledgehammer and the bass throbs hard and will also give your guts a good rumbling, but the riffing and synths spear up like exultant sirens, and the guitars swirl in manifestations of diabolical glory, though they also take on the guise of a slithering serpent, forked tongue flickering.

The second song, “Święty Ogień” (“Holy Fire”), is immediately more energized and dervishlike. Klingbein rapidly chops at your neck and smashes the cymbals with electrifying effect; the bass is brought to a vivid boil; and the riffing there is also glorious, indeed whirling like a dervish. The vocals still fanatically want your neck in their teeth, but the guitars and synth make it sound like a hellish celebration, which reaches orgiastic (and orgasmic) heights before the end — and don’t blame me if the grand finale gets stuck in your mind like a spike.





And finally, I have a selection that’s more of a reminder than a proper review, and it’s here in part because it also fits very well in the context of what’s come before it in today’s column.

Only last week in this column I ejected a volume of words about “Magma Stigmata”, the fascinating three-part opening song from a forthcoming debut album by Démonos named Anno Daemonium. I was left intrigued about where the rest of the album might go, but now we can all find the answer, because the album was released in the last 24 hours.

Perhaps needless to say, it doesn’t follow a straight and steady path, and all the surprising twists create an elaborate trip. That trip sometimes feels like being caged with a feral beast and no way out. At other times it feels like someone slipped acid under your tongue without your knowing until it kicked in. At still other times, you might feel teleported into a burial ground as a piano plays a hopeless lament, with the wails of mourners in the background, or into a sonic aurora borealis that glitters and drifts in wondrous colors while the bass throbs.

And all I just tried to describe happens in only the second song, “Vesper Evocation“, which further includes the solemn tones of a church organ at the end.

There are still five more songs after that one. They are just as kaleidoscopic as the first two. With each one, Démonos manages to bring in something you haven’t heard in the preceding tracks, both vocally and instrumentally, and in their moods. In other words, there are surprises galore, some of them like sorcery, some of them scary as shit, some of them spellbinding, some of them ugly, none of them dull.

And the fourth track “Oneiric Proselytism” is a piano instrumental that sounds like George Gershwin in a depressive episode. And the guitar soloing in “Flesh Born Land” is completely exotic. And the scratchy strummed closer “Sol Daemonium“, itself exotic and demon-voiced, will stand up the hairs on the back of your neck maybe more than anything else.

Don’t miss this album. It’s kind of astounding.



  1. We are the knights who say, “WILCZYCA!”

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