Less than a week into May and it’s already damned hot in many places around the world, even in some far northern latitudes. A news report yesterday said that at least 78 wildfires are burning across the Canadian province of Alberta, 19 of which are burning out of control, and that more than 13,000 people have already been evacuated from where they live.
Where I live, near the 47th meridian in the Pacific Northwest (and about 800 miles southwest of the Alberta fire zone), it’s now 47° F and the gray sky is drizzling rain, as it did all day yesterday. I love it. It might have influenced some of the picks in this large roundup of new songs and videos, though some sonic firestorms and a few vigorous beatings found their way into it too.
Actually, I’m very proud of how varied this collection turned out to be. Which means you probably won’t like all of it.
Despite my opening commentary about the weather, the new single from Erdve sounds like a different natural phenomenon — like a mid-paced avalanche of stone, with giant boulders rumbling down. Along with all the jarring jolts, the sizzling riffage is also frightful, creating tension and fear, while the raw yells channel rage.
The accompanying video, however, creates unnatural scenes, though its impressions are as bleak and unnerving as this big boiling post-hardcore bruiser of a song. Even when the creepy figures dance and embrace, they’re left crawling and splayed out on the pavement.
The name of the song is “Neigti“, a Lithuanian word for “Deny”. Hilariously, Metal-Archives still won’t admit Erdve. The song was released last week by Season of Mist. The band describe its inspiration thusly:
“The song and video is about denial as a collective mindset, where fundamental moral beliefs form the basis of a social identity. In this case, those beliefs cannot be challenged, otherwise the whole understanding of one’s existential identity is at stake. Facing the truth would mean the loss of that identity, therefore considered a threat by itself. This poses a great challenge and lack of judgement of current geopolitical problems and is one of the reasons why, for example, an unjust war is not being seen for what it is by the majority of society of the country who started the war.”
Adversvm didn’t misspell “fiend”, though their new song is fiendish. Instead, “Feind” is the word for “enemy” in their native tongue.
This is where the weather might have influenced me, because the song’s eerie synth-waves and glimmering guitars sound cold and distressing. But I placed the song here because it too sounds like an avalanche — albeit one that’s crushing with megaton power in slow-motion.
When the music gets its groove, it’s a heavy, heaving lurch, though strange musical lights still ethereally swirl up in the high end, creating a spectral contrast with the immense pulverization and ragged growls down below. Gloomy, brittle guitars and spooky whispers create a lonely interlude, like a chilling diversion into a barren desert of the soul, right before an even more distressing finale where the guitars wail in misery and the rhythm section devote themselves to smashing skulls with renewed force again.
The song is from Adversvm‘s new album Vama Marga, which will be out on June 23rd on Moribund Records.
COFFIN MULCH (Scotland)
I hadn’t planned to include this next song in the roundup because I didn’t know about it. But YouTube served it up right after that Adversum monolith, and the gritty whir of the chainsaw riffage hooked me, as did the song’s opening rhythmic thump.
The vocalist’s high rabid howls, the livid snap of the snare, and the heavy slug of the bass add to the song’s marauding appeal. When the pace slows, it becomes a gruesome slog-and-stomp, though the throat-ruining vocals sound even more unhinged. And speaking of unhinged, when the band start to cavort and chug again, there’s a brief burst of soloing that’s exactly that.
The song is “Into the Blood“. It’s off this Glasgow band’s debut album Spectral Intercession, whose CD version is due out on June 30th through Memento Mori. Looks like the song was first released as a digital single last December.
Back I go to dark and dreary weather, though the new EP by this band also strikes like sleet storms. It’s really the melodies of the songs that are often dark and dreary (and frantically anguished). The sorrow they carry is counter-balanced by blistering drumwork, fierce riffing, scorching shrieks, and bestial growls.
Korpvs very quickly demonstrate the moving power of their piercing riffs, as well as their explosive fury, in the opener “Into the Northern Woods of Sorrow“. The follower “Alone in the Frigid Cold” is in line with that, a memorable (and breathtaking) combination of full-bore riot and emotional despair in full frenzy.
Interestingly, the band reveal that those first two intensely gripping songs were written in 2010, while the next two were written in 2023. Are they different? Well, not so much in their moods, but if anything the screamed vocals are more paint-stripping in their maniacal intensity. Moreover, the riffing in “Hidden in the Light” seems even more frantic and jolting, and the drumming is electrifying in its variations and execution.
On the other hand, the riffing in “Into the Mire” is the slowest and most steeped in misery of these four songs — at least at first. Eventually, the sleet storm opens up, and once again Korpvs throw in some stabbing, head-hooking, heavy metal chords, swirling leads that sound desperate, and ugly growls. In both of the newer songs, Korpvs also manage to give their distressing melodies a powerful sweep
The name of the EP, which is the band’s debut release, is Desolate Winter Landscapes. It was digitally released just yesterday. I’m curious about where in the U.S. this band is located and who is in it, but I can’t find that info anywhere.
KILL DIVISION (U.S.)
I checked out this next song because I saw that the recording line-up included Dirk Verbeuren on drums and Jeramie Kling on bass, but guitarist Gus Ríos (from Gruesome, and ex-Malevolent Creation) and vocalist Kyle Symons (ex-Malevolent Creation, ex-Sickness) are no slouches either. Following up on their 2022 debut album Peace Through Tyranny (which I overlooked), they’ve already got a new EP on the way.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the EP (Thoughts and Prayers) only includes one new song — the title track. The other three are covers of songs by Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer, and Minor Threat. I’ll happily listen to those when I can, especially after reading this comment from Gus Ríos: “The cover songs put an emphasis on what I consider the roots of grindcore, which is hardcore punk. But, of course, we did blast them up pretty good too!”
The new original song by itself is damned good. It’s a bruiser and a belter, hard-fisted and mean as a junkyard dog. Speaking of which, the vocals do sound like some big enraged mastiff that hasn’t been fed in a week. The riffing is jolting and jackhammering. It also jitters like an industrial-sized sewing machine, and drags you by your hair.
The rhythm section powerful augment the beatings that the song delivers, and wouldn’t it be great if every time some politician calls for thoughts and prayers after the latest massacre they got this kind of savage beating, for real? Then they might shut the fuck up (it would be too much to expect that they’d stop dodging their responsibilities and actually try to save a few lives).
Thoughts and Prayers will be released on June 9th by Redefining Darkness Records.
THE NEANDERVERBS (U.S.)
Don’t roll your eyes when you see the name of this band or the cartoonish caveman cover art on their new EP, which came out in mid-April. I mean, you might roll your eyes if you’re only looking for black, death metal, or doom metal, because this Virginia duo (Tim Gutierrez and Richard Johnson from Drugs of Faith) dedicate themselves to rocking the fuck out — and they’re damned good at it.
Old school punk rock fuels some of the songs (especially “Consumed“, “Breaker“, and of course the fantastic cover of L7‘s “Drama“), and the yelled vocals definitely draw on punk influences, but the music also tastes of whisky-soaked roadhouse southern rock (“T Wrecks“), surf rock (“Bad Girls Go To Hell“), and red-eyed fury (at the end of “Sleazy“). The bouncing grooves in the songs are ridiculously compulsive, and so are the riffs — the EP is a fucking goldmine of riffs.
Well, even though I enjoyed the hell out of The Neanderverbs, I guess I shouldn’t end the column that way,, since I know most of you come here for extremity. And so to close I picked the self-titled debut album of Mnajdra, which was released on May Day.
The music isn’t easy to sum up, because it draws from scattered wellsprings of black metal, death metal, sludge/doom, post-metal, and psychedelia — whatever works to create wide-ranging sensations of catastrophe.
The vocals may take some getting used to. The acidic screaming, which seems distorted but may only be insane, is unusually ruinous to both ear-drums and sanity. At full power, as in “The Worshipping Stones“, with drums blasting in a fury and the guitars coming in dense incendiary waves of freaked-out violence, the music is also a terror. Even when the band pull back a bit on the throttle in that song and let the chords slash and the bass and drums bound and smack, it’s still fearsome.
But you’ll figure out right quick from the opening of “Giantess” that Mnajdra‘s music is difficult to predict. There (and again at the end) the guitar has a spooky near-psychedelic twang, or maybe like something for the soundtrack to a gothic horror tale set in an Old West ghost-town. And from there, the song stays slow and steeped in horror, a horror that swells as the lead guitar throbs and flickers and the music begins to tower. The riffing writhes like a devil-serpent, the bass gets down into the bone marrow, and of course those vocals are still scary as shit.
At other times, as in “Place of the Echo“, the music becomes immense and sweeping in renditions of world-spanning collapse — extremely frightening on a vaster scale. That song also provides a great example of the album’s exceptional drumming and frighteningly unhinged vocals, though it’s far from the only one. And on the other hand, the mesmerizing “Illumination” interlude is completely spectral and astral.
It’s hard not to continue commenting track-by-track, because the songs are so varied and elaborate, but I’ll confer mercy upon you and not do that. I’ll just urge you to settle in for the whole thing, all 44 minutes and change, and be prepared to have your head spun and your dreams disturbed.
As in the case of Korpvs, I’ve been unable to find any info about where in the U.S. this band is located or who’s in it. The album certainly doesn’t sound like anyone’s first effort.