Jun 242023

False Gods

Excess is best?” Well, sometimes it is. In fact, given how much music NCS throws at people every day, one might even say that should be this site’s sub-header (remember when we used to change the sub-headers every week?). But today the latest edition of Rennie Resmini‘s starkweather SubStack, which landed in our in-box overnight and which asked that question in its title, made me think, “No! Not this morning!

I already had some ideas for this round-up, and then saw Rennie‘s recommendations and bookmarked a dozen of them that I hadn’t been aware of — too many to explore in full, unless I was willing to delay this collection for many more hours, which I’d be anxious about doing. I did investigate a few of them, and you’ll see two of those below, followed by a few I’d previously found in other ways.

Hope you find something to brighten, or ruin, your weekend, even including the astonishing curveball I’ve thrown you at the end. More selections of a blackened variety coming tomorrow….



I’m beginning with one of Rennie‘s picks, a pair of songs by NY’s False Gods that I managed to miss when they were released as singles earlier this year. According to the Bandcamp page where they are combined, they seem to be destined for a split release with the Japanese band Abiuro.

Of the two songs here, “Time Poisoning” gently glistens at first, and then pulverizes with punishing force. Ethereal shimmerings persist, in tandem with enraged growls and searing screams, rapidly writhing riffs with the girth of pylons, and the intriguing maneuvers of a bass you can feel in your marrow. The guitars begin to boil in despair as the drums tumble and the bass magically burbles, ratcheting up the tension. Spinal trauma ensues, along with the mental trauma.

The other song, “0% Success Rate“, has its own interesting start, an ominous organ prelude before the pounding, the slithering, and the screaming begins. This one quickly kicks up the adrenaline levels, chopping at the skull and sending thick reptilian riffage swimming through the bloodstream, with the vocals turning into raw braying exclamations as the guitars bray as well. While the song delivers a furious, white-hot beating, False Gods also infiltrate it with wisps of bleak melody, a haunting overlay to a heavyweight slugfest.





And here’s another of Rennie‘s picks, a pair of tracks from Writhing Tomb Amongst the Stars, a new album by Venomous Echoes (the solo work of one Benjamin Vanweelden from Kettering, Ohio). Here’s what Rennie wrote about them (and from this you’ll understand why I gravitated to the music):

“2 molten strikes from a portal to the void. Absolutely maniacal vokills and everything and the kitchen sink death metal with blackened flourishes. If Choir meets Portal and Impetuous Ritual in Strapping Young Lad’s City is in your wheelhouse you can’t go wrong with this onslaught brought to you by Benjamin Vanweelden.”

The extraterrestrial concept of the album, which you can read about at Bandcamp, is horrifying yet fascinating. So are the two songs — “Manifestations of Manic Bestial Visions” and “Tomb Amongst the Stars“. The vocals are indeed maniacal — gruesome and gagging in the guttural end, and hideously strangled when screeching — and the freakish brain-spearing and fire-borne tones of the lead guitar are equally insane.

If that weren’t enough to un-hinge your mind, the music also veers between full-tilt demolition in the low end and spell-like alien wailings that seem to reach our shores from deep space. There’s an unsettling busyness in the ambient tones that close the first of these tracks, and cold, mutilating abrasion in the abysmal sonic collage that begins the second one, before it begins to bounce and convulse. (The soloing in that second one, by the way, is a true piece of fret-melting dementia; I don’t want to think too long about what’s feeding in its aftermath, or what’s being fed upon).

The album is destined for a CD and digital release on July 30 via the band and the Panama label Jaibanà Records.





Fair warning, the next song is apocalyptic. It begins with faint thrashings of sound chasing machine-like thudding, and builds toward searing synth-swaths, megaton detonations, and crazed screaming. Then it builds further, into assaults of violent chaos, a convulsion of rapidly writhing riffage, derangement in the high end, and obliterating drums.

Feverish swirling tones freakishly roil the senses, piercing through the ruthless growling and hammering excavations down below — elemental madness in the skies and things chewing through concrete on the streets — and the vocals never pull back from their larynx-shredding intensity.

The song is “Closed Timelike Curves“, the first advance track from Order, the third full-length by these mechanized black metal futurists. I urge you to pop over to YouTube or Bandcamp and read the vividly nightmarish descriptions of the album and its conception provided by Sentient Ruin, which will release the album on July 28th.





The next song is “The Glimmering Landscape“, the opening number and first advance track from a new album named Seagrave by this one-man band from Zimbabwe (the work of Gary Stautmeister). I thought it would make a good follow-up to that Decoherence track. If you’re not in the mood for something even more over the top, you might want to skip it.

It’s a hard charging song, but sweeping in its scale, a piece that brings together divergent ingredients — mauling/jolting chainsaw-toothed riffing and high-flying symphonic grandeur; skull-smacking snare-beats and boulder-heavy bass lines; rabid bestial growls and soaring choral voices (plus extravagant singing); and a fluid guitar solo that seems to bespeak agony in the soul.

The name of the album is Seagrave, and it’s set for release on July 21st by the Cape Town label MMD Records.





I’ll venture to say that no one who has spent serious time with Leonard Cohen‘s songs has been left unaffected, left the same on the other side as when they went in, and the memory of them lingers a very long time. I’m certainly one of those people, and so I felt compelled to listen to this next song, a cover of Cohen‘s “Waiting for the Miracle” by a group of very talented people from the world of metal (and other worlds).

You’ll see the credits at the end of the lyric video below. The participants include members of the Vancouver band Ritual DictatesJustin Hagberg (ex-3 Inches of Blood, ex-Allfather) on vocals, synthesizers and organs, and Ash Pearson (Revocation, ex-3 Inches of Blood) on drums and percussion — along with guests Sammy Duet (Goatwhore) on lead guitar; Rory O’Brien (at one time in the lineup of Ritual Dictates, and maybe still is), Kris Schulz (West of Hell) on acoustic guitar, and Anthony Sirianni (ex-Temple of Abandonment) on guitar.

Cohen was a remarkable poet, and the words here are haunting, harrowing, and by the end hopeful. But it’s Hagberg‘s voice in this cover that makes their impact astonishing. When he extends his voice into the stratosphere as the song advances, in a way that Cohen‘s natural baritone couldn’t reach, it raises goosebumps. Up there at the summit he’s joined by Sammy Duet‘s soloing, and the goosebumps get even bigger.

I went back and listened to Cohen‘s original (from his 1992 album The Future), and of course it’s still a great song, but Ritual Dictates‘ cover is orders of magnitude more emotionally intense, converting a kind of dreamlike meditation into an experience that verges on frightening. I hope like hell they release this digitally.

Cohen wasn’t known for providing a lot of explanation for the meaning behind his songs, but he did discuss “Waiting for the Miracle” in an interview:

“Well, I think that the miracle is the vision from the other side of waiting. There is a miracle that we are all waiting that somehow goes along with the construction of the human heart, of the human psyche. We seem to be waiting for a miracle; it seems we don’t have to dig too far to experience that waiting, that anxiety. There’s another position, where you move across the waiting, to the other side of waiting, where you recognize or acknowledge or affirm that you’re waiting for the miracle, but this is a position of freedom rather than a position that is imprisoned or fixed. Waiting is fixed; the other side of waiting is free.”


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