Aug 182023

It’s been a very long time since I was able to compile roundups of new music three days in a row, but lo and behold I have done so, mainly due to the absence of any premieres on our calendar for today. Barring some unforeseeable calamity I’ll add a fourth one in a row tomorrow in the usual Saturday Seen and Heard spot.


To spice up the musical fall, and just in time for Samhain, Malokarpatan will release a new album named Vertumnus Caesar through Invictus Productions (EU) and The Ajna Offensive (NorthAm) on October 27.

We never really know what devils will come out to play when this band records something new, and that’s probably not entirely clear from listening to the first single from the album, which just surfaced. But that’s all we have so far, so what does it show us?

The song’s name is “Kočár postupuje temnomodrými dálavami na juhozápad“. I couldn’t leave it at that, so I ran it through the google translator and what came out the other side was “The carriage moves through the dark blue valleys to the southwest”.

The song does kind of raucously rattle like a carriage whose horses are being driven dangerously fast over stony mountain roads that twist and turn above precipices. But the glittering guitars aren’t blue. They sound kind of supernatural as they flicker and twist, but also ecstatic.

Growly snarls and high shimmering keys bring menace, but old-school galloping riffs and hammering drums add to the song’s devilishly electric energy. Those riffs also have sharp hooks, complementing blaring chords and delirious leads.

The song does sound like witches and warlocks have come out to frolic, but there’s also a digression, a mysterious and beguiling one that provides a setting for spoken words I wish I could understand. It feels midnight blue. But afterward the song races again, whipped by a glorious guitar solo that again sounds fiendishly exultant. What fun this is!

We do have this further information about the album as a whole: “Mapping the mysterious life of Emperor Rudolf II, infamous for his involvement in the esoteric arts, the album is an adventurous ride through the days of late renaissance hermeticism, an occult rock opera dimming the lines between first-wave black metal, classic heavy metal, and progressive rock.”



KALA (Indonesia)

Just minutes apart, I saw a Bandcamp alert about a new digital single from this Indonesian band and then saw a link to the same track that Rennie (starkweather) sent me. Of course, I soon gave it a listen.

After Malokarpatan‘s wild gallop, “Constant Hollow” takes us in a different direction. It too sounds wild, but Kala‘s mayhem feels more dangerous. The speedy drums come in alternating blasts and riot-fills. The bass spawns visions of fiery magma bubbling. The screaming and snarling vocals are themselves scorching. And the constantly mutating guitars, which dissonantly shriek, spasm, and wail in non-stop derangement, are the wildest ingredient of all.

Don’t be misled — the song includes some big punchy grooves and earthquale upheavals along with everything else, but the instrumental intricacies and constantly morphing patterns are thoroughly head-spinning.

As they change, and as the vocals transform into wrenching cries, the song also brings in moods of desperation and hopelessness, especially when the madhouse instrumentation settles a bit and blankets the sounds in oppressiveness.

But mainly this track is a mind-bender of a very high order, viscerally gripping yet so bewilderingly elaborate that it demands repeat listens, and rewards us for it (though I only heard it once before buying it).

P.S. The song’s lyrics tell a tale of a human vessel anointed by a Black Queen to become “the wrath of doom”, to become chaos, to ascend and “bring the hollow to the blackest heart”.



HIEMS (Italy)

Very hard to know how to follow the first two songs in this collection. Very hard for anything to compete head-to-head with those. So I didn’t choose a head-to-head match, but something different.

A Night on the Bare Mountain“, which comes with a video that sets the band (actually only one person – Alessandro “Algol” Comerio) in stunning landscapes and torch-lit caves, is a sinister piece of music to be sure, but the kind of thing whose writhing, hammering, and blaring riffs and big rumbling drums are more calculated to lure the reptile brain.

Which is to say, the menace here is feral and swaggering. The vampyric vocals have hungry teeth, and the demons in the music turn out to be lustful as well as cruel. Things get feverish, but also narcotic, and then infernally triumphant.

Be forewarned: this song is highly addictive in addition to being venomous and spooky — and it’s another one that seems tailor-made for Samhain night. It’s from an album name Stranger In A Wasteland that’s set for release by Agonia Records on September 8th.




Well, now that we’ve gotten your reptile brain interested, we wouldn’t want it to get bored, would we? Of course not, and when it listens to this next song it will remain alive, active, and unwilling to bow down to your higher faculties.

Pressure Me” will jack up your reflexive muscle twitches right away, thanks to a big rocking groove, riffing that’s both cutting and thick, jittery and woozy, and vocals that go from livid yells to blistering screams.

This one’s very fucking addictive too, it comes with a video that adds to the voltage, and we have Filth Is Eternal to thank for it. More detailed credit goes to Lis Di Angelo (Vocals), Brian Scott McClelland (Guitar), Rahsaam Ahkeem Davis (Bass), Mathew Chandler (Guitar/Drums), and Emily Salisbury (Drums/Percussion).

The song is from the band’s next album Find Out, which drops on September 29th via MNRK Heavy.




Where to go next? Well, I decided to go back to demonic domains with a song from Shadowspawn‘s forthcoming album Blasphemica.

It’s not just the words of “Bonesong“, expressed with serrated edges, that invoke hellish, death-worshipping imperiousness (which you’ll see in the lyric video), it’s also the brimstone sizzling of the guitars, the song’s hulking stomps, and its slithering melodies, which ooze misery and stink of rot.

Eventually, the song also convulses in the violence of rapidly battering percussion, crazed screams, and frantically surging guitars, but leaves enough time for more pile-drivers and seeping agony.

Blasphemica will be released be Emanzipation Productions on October 27th — yet another one well-timed for Samhain.



OBSCURA (Germany)

As I did in yesterday’s roundup, I decided to close with the biggest name of all the bands in this grouping, and to say very little about what’s coming.

What’s coming is a live recording of Obscura‘s “The Anticosmic Overload“, which is included on their new album A Celebration I – Live in North America. The album will be released by Nuclear Blast on… wait for it… October 27th!

The album was recored mainly in the USA, Canada, and Mexico between 2022 and 2023 as part of the band’s A Valediction World Tour.

The performance audio of the following song is paired with a tour video that also includes clips of Obscura on stage and happy audiences. Enjoy the spectacle! (In which every performer gets a chance to shine, and to show they really can execute their bamboozling maneuvers on stage as well as in the studio.)


  1. Came here via Malokarpatans facebook post. I love the song and am excited about the new album AND love, love, love your writing about it! You just gained a new follower. Hopefully you‘ll be reviewing the whole album as it comes out!

    • Thank you Thank you Thank you! Glad to have you with us, and I think it’s highly likely we’ll be reviewing that entire album whenever we get our hands on it.

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