A week that ends with a Bandcamp Friday is a terrible week for the NCS in-box. During just the 24 hours of September 1st we received 310 e-mails. The count for the week was significantly more than 1,000.
Such weeks are also terrible for roundups like this one, because so many bands and labels release new music in an effort to capitalize on the attention that Bandcamp Fridays tend to attract — terrible because it results in so much music to choose from.
I sure as hell didn’t read all those 1,000+ e-mails. I did skim the subject lines, skipping over the ones that seemed geared toward selling merch and others that arrived because (annoyingly) we’re somehow on mailing lists for music that has nothing to do with metal, and others which hinted that the metal was of the kind that would hurt my head if I listened to it (e.g., power metal). And eventually I just ran out of time, so I’m sure I overlooked some things that might have been gem-like if I’d discovered them.
But the skimming process still left me with a giant pile of new music I thought might be interesting, and on top of that were other sources of recommendations outside of our e-mails that I pay attention to. Nothing more than instinct and impulse led to finding the following needles in that haystack.
Only in metal could a come-on like this make people eager to listen:
“Gowanus Death Stomp compounds the cruelty displayed on 2021 debut Methods Of Human Disposal into an ever more gritty and primal barrage of violence. At the crossroads of criminal depravity and urban malaise GRAVESEND utilizes many tools of the trade. Black, death, grind, and war metal all meld seamlessly into a tar pit of scathing back-alley sadism and acid-tongued vocals.”
Well, I don’t mean all people would be eager, just people like me. But people like me will also need more than well-crafted nastiness in the come-on. We’ll need it in the music too. Fortunately, “Even a Worm Will Turn” brings that in abundance.
More specifically, it brings ruthless percussive beatings, violently berserk riffing with a toxic tone, blood-letting screams, and careening tempos that convulse and stagger, along with bursts of chugging that might make you think you’re a flimsy doll being shaken by an angry brat, or maybe getting clubbed by a tire iron wielded by someone who’s got groove.
As noted above, the song is from a new Gravesend album named Gowanus Death Stomp, coming out on October 27th from 20 Buck Spin. Gowanus, by the way, is a neighborhood located in a former industrial zone around Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal.
Among the learned in the dark arts of malignant and mutilating black/death metal the name Kolkata looms large on the global map. And Kolkata is home to Tetragrammacide, who are now surfacing (their lineup reduced to a duo) with their second album, six years after the first one.
As a preview of the exhilarating ruination to come, we have the song “Nuit Arches Over The Neither-Neither City Of Cubes; Hadit Meditates While Hanging Upside Down Inside A Tesseract-Ka’aba“. Perhaps that will remind you of Tetragrammacide‘s fondness for song titles of extravagant length and perplexing meaning.
As for the music, prepare for a creepy symphonic intro followed by hyper-speed discharges of automatic drum-weaponry and bowel-loosening bass frenzies, corrosive riffing that swarms and writhes in monstrous madness, and words discharged in equally monstrous roars.
The song is mostly blazing fast and riotously frenetic, but it’s as intricate and technically impressive as it is freakishly violent. If you pay attention, the fretwork also gloriously swirls and moans in agony, and it manages to radiate an aura of the occult, in keeping with the title. The song also comes with a suitably frightening occult-themed video.
The title of the new album is Typho-Tantric Aphorisms From The Arachneophidian Qur’an. It will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on November 3rd.
DEN SAAKALDTE (Norway)
For those of us familiar with the past music of Den Saakaldte this past week brought the very welcome news that the band have re-surfaced after a very long absence, and will have a new album named Pesten som tar over released near the end of this month by Agonia Records. Google Translate says that title means “The plague that takes over” in my own native tongue.
Nine years is a long time between albums, and so it’s not surprising to see that founder Sykelig has been joined by a few new but well-experienced members since the last outing. What they’ve done together is exemplified by the next song I chose for this roundup, “Av Satans Ild” (which means “Of Satan’s Fire”).
The song arrived with a video that’s suitably panoramic when it’s not giving us film of the band in action — suitable because the music is itself sweeping and brilliant in its tones. The raw intensity of the snarling and screaming vocals and a full-throttle rhythm section do their part to drive the listener’s pulse rate high, but the music is itself so vast and splendid that it does that all by itself.
The electrifying expansiveness of the music never really diminishes, but its mood does change as the tempos change, becoming more bleak and then also channeling confusion and despair. As a snake slithers in the video and the drums vividly rumble and tumble, the music also becomes more sinister and hallucinatory — Satan rears his head after all.
KAUNIS KUOLEMATON (Finland)
Given the nature of the first three songs in today’s collection, I thought I ought to insert something a little less storming and incendiary, and so I picked this next new song by an old favorite of mine, Kaunis Kuolematon.
Please don’t get the wrong idea: “Peilikuva” (Reflection) and the lyric video that presented it this week aren’t dull, but the music is of course very different from what precedes it here, beginning with the elegant but sorrowful piano melody that introduces it and the somber singing which follows (after the kind of summer most of us have endured, it’s nice to imagine a cold October on our skin).
Mikko Heikkilä‘s sung vocals are, as expected, quite striking, and the song becomes mesmerizing as the rest of the band pick up that gentle, forlorn piano melody and carry it forward as the dancers slowly waltz. The words speak of the beauty of suffering, and the melodies convey that as well.
But things do get much heavier, thanks to the gravitational pull of the bass, the burning agony of the guitars, and the harrowing intensity of Olli Suvanto‘s growls. Mikko sends his own voice sky-high, and the song gives us a few big jolts before the piano surfaces again within shimmering mists — just a brief reminder before the music becomes a vortex of turmoil, brutally pounding and dismally roiling as Olli screams and roars.
The song is off a new album named Mielenvalta, which will be coming out on October 13 via the Noble Demon label.
After that last song of heartbreak I thought I should switch things up again here at the end, and to do that I latched onto a feral, exhilarating song that gets its hooks in the reptile brain very damned fast, and then doesn’t let go.
“Necromante” quickly embeds the hooks with a feverish, thrashy riff, the big thump of a bass drum, bursts of crashing chords, and a riveting drum progression. From there, the drums kick into a rocking groove, the guitars slash and skitter, and a goblin (Andreas Kaucic from the band Aitvaras) expels his vocal venom.
The drumming continues seizing attention through its variations, the big-toned bass appreciably adds to the song’s visceral punch (and seductively slithers and murmurs as well), and the guitars blaze and magically swirl as well as whirling like a demented dervish.
Oh wait, there’s more… the soft ripple of an acoustic guitar… and then a jolting, highly headbangable finale accented by a freakish solo and some wraith-like gasps.
I don’t know how to pronounce the band’s name, but it seems to be the work of one Eugen Klammsteiner (the drummer from the afore-mentioned Aitvaras), who is joined by a trio of guest vocalists on the album that’s home to this song. The album’s name is Madrelingua, and it’s set for release on November 3rd by Anthrazit Records.