SEEN AND HEARD ON A SATURDAY: HALIPHRON, WAR LULLABY, CATTLE DECAPITATION, GOSFORTH, IN MOURNING, PERILAXE OCCLUSION, DRONES FOR QUEENS, KOLLAPS\E
Happy Saturday the 13th. The alternative title for today’s collection is Mental Scatter.
I think I mentioned in the recent past that I’ve been indulging sleep on the weekends to an unusual extent. This seems to work better on Friday nights than Saturday nights, possibly because I tend to drink more on Friday nights to put the work week behind me. Friday-night drinking is also a little reward to me for mostly staying away from alcohol during the work week for the last two months, trying to correct for what happened during the depths of the pandemic when booze became one of my best friends.
Something else has enhanced the bear-in-a-coma nature of the sleep-ins: I’ve started weight-training again, which used to be a best friend but got rudely shoved out the door by seclusion, alcohol, and general malaise during the pandemic. The downside is that now I hurt all over when I wake up. It’s easier to stay in bed when you know that you’ll feel crippled if you start trying to move in an upright position. Man, do I hurt this morning.
Now you know something about my state of mind in trying to decide what songs and videos to recommend this morning — fuzzy-headed, distracted by aches and pains, very tempted to crawl back under the covers even after 9 hours of hibernation. Which is one reason why I think of this collection as the product of Mental Scatter. The other reason is that it will probably scatter your own mind if you make your way through all of it.
My NCS co-conspirator DGR wants to start a “Human Inferno” club. He wants to print stickers for the members. He might also want to set people on fire at club meetings. I’m not sure what else would happen at club meetings other than putting Haliphron‘s “Human Inferno” on a continuous loop.
DGR liked the rest of Haliphron‘s new album Prey (he said so here), but it’s pretty clear from what he wrote that “Human Inferno” is his favorite track. What he failed to point out to me when his review arrived out of the ether was that the band had made a fantastic video for the song.
I discovered that video this morning when it popped up in my Facebook feed. Turned out to be a pretty good way to distract from my aches and pains and to begin clearing my fuzz-bombed head. It brought to mind Samuel Johnson‘s wonderful quotation about the prospect of being hanged, though you’ll need to substitute immolation for hanging:
“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
Time to go up in blazes! And bang your head til it pops off and bounces across the floor. (Prey, by the way, is out now on Listenable Records.)
WAR LULLABY (U.S.)
Have you got your head screwed on again? I hope so, because I want to imagine it becoming unscrewed again.
This next video also popped up this morning, this time in an overnight e-mail from whoever is behind the grind band War Lullaby. They wrote: “I’m losing the ability to walk but still kicking it hardcore and making grindcore, check it out….” Well, I felt compelled to watch and listen to the lyric video for the song “Lethal Liver Failure“, which was linked right after that quick message.
The words will tell you what inspired the song. As for what you’ll hear, it sounds like a big garbage disposal being fed fragments of sheet metal, coupled with pulse-pumping drum-kit annihilation, a red-hot fury of roars and screams, and a convulsive shrieking guitar solo.
War Lullaby just released an EP named Shi earlier this month. After you listen to “Lethal Liver Failure” it probably won’t surprise you to learn that it’s a goddamned freaked-out wrecking machine.
The lyrics for the four songs are at YouTube (here) along with the stream I’m including below. There’s even more rage in those words, a harrowing fury pointed like a flamethrower against many of the world’s oppressions. (“Lethal Liver Failure” isn’t one of those four songs, but seems to be a new single. There’s more releases at Spotify, but I haven’t found how to get them digitally.)
CATTLE DECAPITATION (U.S.)
Andy Synn‘s review of Cattle Decap‘s new album Terrasite has racked up an eye-popping number of page hits at our site. I’m not objective, but I do think he did a great job with it. But lots of our best-written articles still don’t get this kind of attention. I don’t know why this one has, but we’ll take it.
Yesterday the band released a frightening video for one of Terrasite‘s tracks, “A Photic Doom“. I thought it would make a good follow-up to War Lullaby‘s violence. Of course, it’s not as intentionally abrasive or as generally berserk, but it’s still very fucking vicious, and the battering is the kind of thing that feels like a weapon capable of razing tall buildings.
What did Andy say about it? Well, he didn’t specifically mention this song, maybe because it’s just such a furious full-on attack – though it does become more haunting and harrowing before it ascends toward the end (that’s where the vocals change). We are all fucking doomed!
Terrasite was just released yesterday by Metal Blade.
I promise I’ll eventually switch gears into something less ruinous — but not yet, not until you’ve felt Gosforth‘s “Funeral Lust“.
This one is a full-tilt hammerer too, a brazen and bombastic assault that also includes grim circle-saw riffing, sky-flying sensations that sound like humanity consumed in blazing bonfires, and scorch-the-earth vocal vitriol. But it also transforms into a primitive swaggering beast, armed with jolting heavy metal riffs, gut-slugging bass, and spine-snapping drums.
The song is from Gosforth‘s upcoming album Scourge of Dark Dominion (their first new record in 17 years), to be released in June by Underground Kvlt Records (a new sub-label of Odium Records). The band’s two current members also play together in Black Oath, which has been more productive over the last decade (check out their 2022 album Emeth Truth and Death on Sun and Moon Records here).
IN MOURNING (Sweden)
Well, I guess I really should switch gears. The switches are part of the mental scatter too. What better way to do that than with a new song by In Mourning?
I don’t mean to suggest that their just-released single “The Broken Orbit” lacks in intensity. It’s laced with obliterating percussive eruptions, jackhammering jolts, frantically darting fretwork, and the kind of raw snarls and howls that bring to mind some wild animal that’s screamed itself hoarse after a week of trying to escape a cage.
But grief-stricken melodies flow through like rivers of tears and crest in episodes of tragic grandeur, and soulful vocals find their place in the spotlight too. The mid-song guitar solo, by the way, is a thing of wonder, and you’ll get another taste of it at the end.
There’s a video for this same song set to premiere tomorrow (Sunday). You’ll find it here on that day. I don’t know whether it’s a sign of a new album or EP to come. One can only hope.
PERILAXE OCCLUSION (Canada)
The self-described “Rasterized Death Metal” band Perilaxe Occlusion from Canada is no more, but Debemur Morti Productions has given them a Viking’s funeral. Yesterday that label released Vapor Chamber, a compilation of the band’s entire discography. As a sweetener, Vapor Chamber includes two new songs from the band, and I’ll let their mastermind XT describe them first:
“The ideas for the two new songs were written years ago. We were compiling everything that was thought up into a potential album. But as life caught up to us, we realized a lot of material was stretched thin just for the sake of creating a full-length release. We decided to prioritize quality over quantity. We took the best parts of all the songs and ended up writing two of our best tracks yet.
“‘Procedural Proscriptions‘ was a title coined by our drummer/cello player XE. It’s our shortest song with guitar solos, bass solos, and drum solos. It features atonal riffing and mid-tempo sections within blast beats, and it is our only song with a tight ending. ‘Dithering Anisotropic‘ is our longest track, with plenty of doom, dissonance, atmosphere, and cello. It has some of our grooviest riffs, our heaviest breakdown, and most climactic ending. A fitting send-off to conclude our run as a band”.
Do I need to add anything? I don’t think I do, other than to note that the stunning cover artwork on Vapor Chamber was created by Brian LaFrance.
Just joking, well of course I’ll add something else: “Procedural Proscriptions” is a raging monster, but will spin your head as well as maul and masticate it. “Dithering Anisotropic“, on the other hand, steadily leads us on a venture into a cold and heartless void. Feeding monsters indulge their mindless frenzies there too, and the stench of death becomes suffocating, but yeah, you’ll find times to get your groove on as well (though the grooves come at a skull-crushing price).
I’ll miss this band.
DRONES FOR QUEENS (U.S.)
I think you’ll agree that this collection so far has included quite a lot of musical destruction. But if I were awarding a prize for demolition, I think it would go to the opening track “Dusk Yellow” on Drones For Queen‘s well-named new album Scraps of Mercy (released last week).
That opening song is a crusher of ruthless proportions, tank-like in its momentum and loaded with detonations of percussive dynamite and pile-driver riffage. You can feel the agony of people caught in its path too. The music wails as well as wrecks, and the vocalist’s burn-ward screams are hair-raising. Where is the scrap of mercy here? Well, even as the music wails in agony the bull-necked grooves will also give you a chance to rock the fuck out.
That album opener left me greedy for whatever punishment the next 9 tracks might administer. They are indeed punishing, but in different ways. Spinal trauma is still very much on the menu, but the band also indulge episodes of crazed mayhem and mind-blowing despair. They create fretwork whirligigs in electrifying fashion, and the iron-shod rhythm section turn out to be just as capable of giving your head exhilarating spins — when they’re not beating the living shit out of you.
It’s tough to give this adrenaline-packed mayhem a tidy genre label. These two Philadelphia-based home-wreckers (guitarist, vocalist, bassist Shane Madden and drummer Evan Madden) litter the bottom of their Bandcamp page with references to death metal, grindcore, hardcore punk, and thrash. They probably could have added a few more stylistic influences, including noise rock. Pick your poison, just make sure that when you listen to this you’ve got defibrillators handy and a good orthopedic surgeon on your speed dial.
This one was an easy purchase for yours truly.
We’ve almost always got our eyes on forthcoming albums. With the notable exception of DGR, our reviewers tend to write up records that haven’t come out yet. In my own role as writer of premieres and compiler of new songs and videos, I’m also usually teasing interest in things with future release dates. And so, we don’t go a very good job of reminding people when albums or EPs we’ve written about have actually come out. So, to close today’s round-up, I thought I’d do a little of that.
This reminder is for Phantom Centre, the new album by the Swedish post-metal/sludge band Kollaps\e. I wrote a very enthusiastic review of it back in January, around the time of its release by Trepanation Recordings. The occasion for this reminder is that Kollaps\e have just made the album available on Bandcamp as a “name your price” download. It would still be nice if you throw some money their way if you dig it: