Sep 092023


A lot of new music came out over the last week. All I can do today is lightly scratch the surface, like a friendly cat who touches their human companion’s skin with claws that let you know they’re there but without drawing blood — though some of the music here might feel like blood is being shed.

I got a very late start this morning, and so depended on late-breaking alerts from some of my NCS compatriots and a couple of other acquaintances rather than methodically clawing through my immense list of links and letting my own impulses determine the choices.I’ll probably be more self-directed in assembling tomorrow’s blackish column.


CELESTE (France)

Celeste recorded some songs during the sessions for their most recent album, 2022’s Assassine(s) (reviewed here) that weren’t included on the record. Nuclear Blast is now releasing three of those in an EP named Epilogue(s). Last week brought us a video for one of those.

Nuclear Blast reports that “‘With Idle Hands‘ might be the most tender song Celeste have ever written, and its English title and lyrics set it apart from anything the band has done previously.” It also includes vocals by Tim from the U.S. shoegaze metal band Grivo.

“Tender” is of course a relative term in the context of a band as heavy and frequently harrowing as Celeste, and so while the haunted crooning and gentle but equally haunted instrumentation in the song’s first phase might merit that adjective, the abrading whine of the guitars and the percussive detonations in the next phase call for another term.

The gloomy crooning continues, but the music, even when marked by the moody murmuring of the bass, channels turmoil and a kind of needling pain. Very interesting cinematic video too.

If that song was too tender for you, you might check out “Il se Vide Lentement“, another song from the EP that came out a few weeks ago, and you’ll find the excellent video for that one below. On this one, Celeste bring out the broiling black knives and a rain of bombs. “Harrowing” is the word for this one.

Epilogue(s) is due out on November 17th.




Fans of Fuming Mouth (which includes many of us here, witness all these previous articles about them) know that vocalist/guitarist Mark Whelan was diagnosed with leukemia in 2021. I’ve read that he spent nearly a year being treated with chemo and a bone marrow transplant, and emerged in remission in 2022. That is happy news indeed — as is the news that he and the rest of Fuming Mouth have recorded a new album that will be released by Nuclear Blast on November 3rd.

Next up in today’s roundup is a cool video for the first single from that album, “The Silence Beyond Life“. Here’s what Whelan has said about it:

“‘The Silence Beyond Life’ is our most melodic and heaviest song to date drawing influence from God Macabre, Gorement, and other melodic Swedish death metal acts of the time like Therion and Cemetary. It’s a song about trying to live while longing to die and overcoming that.”

Consistent with those comments, Fuming Mouth bring out the chainsaw tone of the guitars and bass on this song, along with snare-work that slaps the skull and a continuing pivot from raw, damaged snarls in the verses to stricken singing reminiscent of post-punk in the chorus.

In this song of many hooks you’ll also encounter grim earth-heaving chugs but also turbulent fretwork frenzies, and a general mood of desperation.




When I premiered Uranium‘s debut album An Exacting Punishment in January of this year, I wrote that the project had set particularly bleak and horrifying thematic goals for the record, and achieved them by chaining together and weaponizing “power electronics, industrial noise, and black metal”, and then shrouding everything “in a hellish atmosphere of awe, terror, and degradation”.

Well, at least for some of you that might have been a tempting come-on. I hope it was. I also hope I can tempt you to check out the next song in today’s collection, an insane new Uranium track named “Black Knight Satellite” that premiered at Invisible Oranges two days ago.

Prepare for a head-twisting experience, one in which gruesome growling grunts trade off with agonized singing, and in which bunker-busting rhythmic explosions combine with swarms of demented sizzling tones that do seem radioactive. Eventually, everything convulses in dense cataclysms of violent ruination.

The bizarre call-and-response of the vocals continues, but begins to sound more drugged. The cornucopia of surrounding sounds also begins to resemble a frightening sonic hallucination, an otherworldly experience of searing madness… though the bombs continue detonating with devastating effect, until the music drifts away at the end into a paranormal realm.

Black Knight Satellite” is from a new Uranium album aptly named Pure Nuclear Death, and it will be released by Sentient Ruin in many formats on October 6th.




When I heard about this next band located in the West Midlands via a message from Cursed Monk Records, I knew I’d have to investigate their music sooner rather than later because of their utterly unpretentious name (go ahead, slowly sound it out for yourself). It didn’t hurt that Tumanduumband describe their music as “ultra heavy Satanic Doom”. (I obviously failed to check them out when Andy Synn said some positive things about them here last year.)

What I investigated are the two songs from the band’s debut album Throne of Grief  that are now available for streaming — the title track and “Black Ritual of the 25th Moon“.

They are definitely satanic, but definitely not your parents’ or grandparents’ doom. Both songs sound infernally supernatural, and they are for damned sure ultra heavy. I’m not sure any guitars were used in the making of them, only bass and drums used as weapons and electronics geared toward the ruination of sanity.

The title song lures the listener into a chilling haunted house and then shocks the senses with ruthlessly distorted clawing tones and spine-fracturing drum-blows. Things get blurry again as eerily distorted voices speak, and then the music begins slowly but ruthlessly gouging through bedrock again, aided in the ruination by shrill siren tones, ear-ripping electronic shrieks, and jolting percussion. It all sounds absolutely massive, and absolutely terrorizing.

Black Ritual” has its own horror-influenced intro but doesn’t wait as long before assaulting the senses. Surprisingly, the booming drums in this one give the song a bouncing groove, though everything around them is just as abrasive and mauling.

I think there are gruesomely distorted vocals in this one too, though I’m not positive, as well as sinister spoken words. Weirdly writhing electronics and a Sabbathian riff surface as well, though the main mission is again the use of grotesque distortion, shrieking radiations, and pavement-splitting percussive impacts to inflict maximum damage.

I can see why someone with a caustic sense of humor might read the band’s name and call this music dumb (though I think “duum” is really another word for “doom”) — in some ways it’s so primitive and punishing as to induce muscle damage and paralysis — but it’s sonic sadism is also freakishly inventive.

Throne of Grief will be released by Cursed Monk Records on October 27th.




Yesterday Mechina dropped an 18-minute song and video named “Blessings Upon The Field Where Blades Will Flood“. I learned this via a message from my NCS comrade DGR. If I had patiently waited, he probably would have sent in a review, since I think he has written about everything else the band have released, or close to everything.

But then I thought he must have alerted me to the release last night so I could include it in this Saturday roundup. It would have been easier this morning for me to confirm that explicitly, but DGR works nights and sleeps days and so I had to go with my gut.

DGR‘s only comment about this long piece when he mentioned it was to say “dual vocalist shenanigans abound.” True enough — the music includes cauterizing screams, soaring melodic singing, and livid, teeth-gnashing snarls.

But my main takeaway from the music, an impression strengthened by the extraordinary visuals in the video and the visible lyrics, is that it’s a soundtrack to a frightening yet frequently wondrous sci-fi film of alien conflict.

It includes eerie, gossamer-light atmospheric elements and whirling off-planet highs, as well as bludgeoning rhythmic jolts so hard you can feel them in your bones. The music is capable of lighting up your fast-twitch muscles, and also sending your brain off into sweeping celestial realms of magnificent splendor, and it embarks on some very prog-minded excursions too.

At times the music made me think of the band Yes. At other times, of Fear Factory or the movie Blade Runner. At others, of the discharge of massed automatic weaponry or the strike of rail-guns from orbit. Or to sum up, it’s a hell of an extravagant trip.

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