Happy Hump Day. To help you celebrate the crest of the week before we all fall down the other side, here’s a very short but pretty damned sweet roundup — just three brand new songs, but one of them is long.
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM (U.S.)
To begin, here’s “Twin Mouthed Spring“, a breathtaking new track from a new EP by WITTR named Crypt of Ancestral Knowledge.
Prepare for a stalking and pounding march, urged onward by a big bass and scorching snarls, swathed in high shimmering tones, and elevated by ancient ringing melodies, like a lute brought forward into the current century.
The vocals are savage, but what goes on around them is beguiling and majestic. When the drums leave their solemn march behind and begin to hammer like pistons, and as the vocals become even more intensely tormented, the music elevates even further in a ravishing blaze and sweeps forward in vast grandeur.
The album will be released by Relapse (in the U.S. and Canada) and Century Media (everywhere else) on September 29th.
I’m now following one well-known band with another that’s even better known, and a Primordial song called “Victory Has 1000 Fathers, Defeat Is an Orphan“.
Like the song, the accompanying video tells an old tale from the 17th Century, which is explained at the outset of the video. As the tale begin, the guitar delivers a vibrant reel (or a jig, I can never remember the difference) and the drums tumble like hands delivering the beats on old hide. It does sound like an old peasant dance, but the harmony that’s soon created brings a more sinister mood, and there’s a martial mien to the new drum rhythm.
Nemtheanga‘s extravagant, one-of-a-kind voice is as potent as ever, and its torments, both ragged and soaring, add to the music’s feelings of encroaching darkness and peril, though that electrifying opening whirl resiliently surfaces again.
A soft interlude provides a respite, a time for reflection, and when the guitar whirls again the mood is more melancholy. When the harmony rises again, it’s not difficult to hear those guitars as pipes and flutes. The hunted combatants who sought refuge seem doomed, but they advance anyway.
The song is the closing track on Primordial‘s new album How It Ends, which Metal Blade has set for release on September 29th (coincidentally the same date as that new WITTR EP).
Now for the long song I mentioned, and I do mean long — 7 minutes more than Reign In Blood. But it’s epic in more ways than simply its length.
This one, named Requiem, is the follow-up to Permadeath‘s 2019 debut album Vermillion, and it draws inspiration from Edge Of Sanity’s Crimson albums. As on that earlier Permadeath album, Wombbath‘s Håkan Stuvemark leads the way, but even more so than before, because on this new one he’s responsible for the screamed vocals as well as nearly all the music, joined on Requiem by additional vocalists Lars “Lerta” Palmqvist and Lisa Rieger and by Ludvig Johansson providing “Super guitar kung-fu solos”.
As album-length songs usually do, and especially one inspired by Edge of Sanity, Requiem changes as it unfolds. It has a most momentous opening, thanks to explosive drum-bursts and grand chords, and with that brief announcement it charges ahead, a gritty voice roaring, the drums battering, and the guitars feverishly rushing to the chase.
The first changes comes when power-metal vocals soar, wild screams attack, and an epic solo spins up. The phase is still warlike, still geared toward getting the blood rushing, but the furious combatants now seem to be embroiled in a conflict on a mythic scale.
Of course, more changes come. Briefly the music softens, becoming more heavenly as angelic choirs seem to call out, but the assault resumes, and now the tremolo’d guitars, jolting chugs, blasting drums, and bestial growls make it sound even more frantic and desperate — though the reappearing clean-sung vocals, sweeping keys, and glorious soloing still sound heroic.
Other changes arrive — a lilting acoustic guitar instrumental paired with more haunted singing that lends the music an atmosphere of the ancient; beautifully winding dual-guitar solos that sound like sorcery; funky bass lines and rocking beats; pairings of the vocals that provide added intensity; sorrowful keys; and riffs that writhe, swarm, and pound — but always the music comes back theatrically to exalted planes of glorious, heart-hammering charges, where you can feel hooves galloping and blood boiling and see blades slashing and banners waving.
Well, that’s what I feel and see. You might experience something else from this grand extravaganza — but you definitely won’t be bored.