I have a vague memory that when “blogging” began in the late ’90s most of them were personal diaries, presumptuously based on the notion that other people cared what you ate for breakfast or what you read while falling asleep or the great laxative you just discovered. Or what you thought about some music you’d listened to.
It’s obvious that on the weekends I regress to those early days, because no one can stop me. Like yesterday, when I complained about how early I woke up, or today, when I’m revealing that I made up for that by sleeping really late. I’m still writing thoughts about music I just listened to, just not as much today because… I slept really late.
I’m happy to have been an “early adopter” of the “cosmic black metal” of Lightlorn, which is another way of saying that I raved repeatedly about the songs on their independently released 2022 debut EP These Nameless Worlds, which was then picked up for a physical release earlier this year by Black Lion Records.
I’m also very happy to see that Lightlorn will now be releasing a debut album, especially because the first two advance tracks from it are so damned good.
Of those two tracks, “Amongst Stellar Remnants” came out about a month ago, and “Dimensionless Blackness” surfaced over the last week. Like the music on the EP, both songs reveal the duo’s interests in musical influences beyond black metal and a knack for bringing them into play in ways that are appealing.
Both songs include big rumbling lo-frequency undercurrents, piston-pumping percussion, dense swaths of piercing stratospheric sound that shine and sear, scorching vocals, and mood-altering digressions.
In “Amongst Stellar Remnants” those vast rolling waves of high, blazing melody are successively awe-inspiring, delirious, wrenching, and melancholy. The digressions include the sudden advent of astral ringing tones, a slow trudge through gloom, and synth-wave visions of stellar splendor — just brief and beguiling diversions in the midst of all the turmoil, turbulence, and breathtaking panoramic sweep.
“Dimensionless Blackness” also drives hard and fast, but the dense low-end riffage sometimes sounds heavier and more savage, though accented with swirling and shimmering glory in the high end and other ingredients that invoke synth-wave and post-punk. It too creates changing sensations of uplift and anguish, and it too has its digressions, this time suddenly veering into plaintive piano melodies or slowly ringing and shimmering keys of a different tone.
I’m still engrossed by what Lightlorn are doing, and eager to see what else the new album brings us as soon as time allows.
That new album is entitled At One With The Night Sky, and it will be released on September 29th via Black Lion Records. The label says: “If you enjoy contrasting song structures and the interplay between light and dark, between stirring and gloomy, and between serene and aggressive, then At One with the Night Sky is an album you need to hear.”
DEATH SHROUD (U.S.)
In yesterday’s roundup of new music I included a pair of songs that I described as “metal anthems” of very different kinds. I had originally intended to include three songs in that “anthem block”, but ran out of time before I could scrawl some words about the third one. This next track was the one I had to leave behind yesterday.
This song is the title track to a new album named Parhelion by the Virginia-based duo Death Shroud, which was released by the band in June of this year and will receive a further digital release on September 8th via Wormholedeath. Death Shroud‘s output traces back to a debut EP in 2009, but the two current members are also part of a band named The Ziggurat, whose origins go back even further — to 1998. So they’ve been metal addicts for a long time.
The whirring riff that launches “Parhelion” (the song) rises and falls with a slightly fuzzed sound that’s unearthly and consuming, quickly creating a sweeping feeling of despair. But just as the vicious fanged vocals come in, the song starts punching, jolting, and jabbing — a different kind of darkness that’s more feral and warlike (the imagery in the accompanying video includes abundant scenes of medieval warfare).
Back and forth they go, and along the way they throw in still more head-gripping riffs, massed vocals of utmost belligerence, grooves that punch the pulse hard, and arena-ready soloing that spirals up into glory. Near the end, however, the band also lead us into a beleaguered trudge, eventually paired with a somersaulting drum-fill and a feeling of grim determination before one final outburst of violence.
There’s something about the scale of the song (and that magnificent solo) that makes me think of an anthem, though it’s often more like an anthem of travail and desperation rather than triumph. It intrigues me about the rest of the album, and later today I intend to discover the rest, which all of you can also do via the first link below.
My first exposure to this anonymous one-person project was a startling demo named unbinding sacred writings, which was released in 2021 by the Kentucky-based Snow Wolf label. I wrote about it here, and then, dumbass that I am, I overlooked the two Glyph albums that quickly followed it — 2022’s remind us of the sun and 2023’s the time of peril.
I was reminded of those oversights when I came across a new Glyph single named “an imposter’s folly“, which includes a B-side remix of other Glyph songs by an experimental electronic/noise project called The Bleak.
“an imposter’s folly” is a thoroughly exhilarating reminder of how wild and head-spinning Glyph‘s music can be, and how many things fight for your attention as the spinning happens. Here, one of those things is what sounds like a fretless bass darting around in ecstasy. Another is the swift shifting between moving walls of boiling riffage, grand slashing chords, and frantically berserk leads.
The wonderfully morphing drums are in the thick of the competition too, as are the possessed screams and all their blood-letting, plus a slowly slithering melody that seems like a viper carefully making its way through dervishes madly cavorting in a large hall of mirrors with fireworks bursting overhead.
That B-side concoction, “Deteriorate That Which Was“, undergirds the music with rapidly hurtling electro-beats and frantically skittering pulsations, and the remix causes the music to smash and crash as well. It’s not as if Glyph‘s own music needs any extra insanity, but it gets it here.
I don’t know which Glyph songs were fed into this blender, but there are tendrils of engaging, moody melody flowing through parts of the thunderous and screaming maelstrom, and tendrils of pain as well.
By the way, just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post I figured our that “Deteriorate That Which Was” first appeared on an EP named Deteriorator that The Bleak released a year ago — you’ll find that here.
Also by the way, I noticed that the Snow Wolf label will also be releasing an album by The Bleak, hilariously named Everything is Great Being Alive is Wonderful. There’s one song streaming from it now, also hilariously named — “This is the most fun I’ve ever had.” It’s too far beyond the admittedly amorphous boundaries of this column for me to feature it prominently today, but I do think it’s cool (in a very unpredictable and unsettling way) and I’ve included the stream below.
The atmosphere here in the Pacific Northwest is still moderately choked with smoke and warmer than usual. I’m longing for shorter days, cold grey skies that obscure the sun without smoke, and drizzling rain. Until all that eventually arrives, I can turn to Grift.
The final song in today’s relatively brief column is the second single from Grift‘s new album Dolt land (I already wrote about the mesmerizing first one here). Like the first one, it was presented through a video.
This new song, “En hemskog“, is beautifully melancholy. As the strummed acoustic chords ring, the words roll out in baritone proclamations and song, mixed with gasping roars. Erik Gärdefors‘ performance on the melodica adds to both the sadness and the music’s atmosphere of old folk music brought forward.
Near the song’s midpoint the thump of the drum, the clack of wood, and the dancing twitter of the melody briefly make the music more animated, a small portion of joy within the moodiness. At the end one can imagine gazing at the flow of a glimmering stream, lost in inner thoughts with only birds as company.
The video is grey and gorgeous, and a very fine match for the music.
Dolt land (“Hidden land”) will be released on September 22nd by the Nordvis label.