Code (December 2022)
Today’s collection will be somewhat shorter than usual. I have a mid-morning appointment for some cosmetic work. The forked tail keeps growing back and needs to be cropped again, and the cloven hooves need trimming. The price one must pay for wearing pants and shoes.
Of course that’s not true, but I do have a mid-morning appointment and the work is analogous. I hope the following selections will ruin your day, in the best ways. I’ve presented the choices in alphabetical order by band name.
Last Friday Code (a favorite among the denizens of our putrid site) released a two-track single named Hunting For Caesar, “two brand new tracks of bile and intrigue”, another way to help fill the space between their last album and their next one.
The title song comes second. The first one, “The Long Drop“, is another fine example of Code‘s mercurial propensities, delivering both blistering screams and drugged singing, both shrill riffing that whines and cavorts and bass undulations that sound massively heavy, all of it backed by drumwork that booms and clatters with riveting effect.
And so I suppose it is sort of like the infamous long drop, like the hallucinatory experience of your entire life passing before your eyes in the frenzied second before the big jolt.
The title song has a more dramatic and momentous overture, but quickly becomes diabolical and a lot more punk through a segue into feral skipping beats and crazed yells (still backed of course by a wall of whining guitars and subterranean bass maneuvers).
The singing this time is less woozy and more fiery, and the band bring the jolts too. They also cause the song to sweep into sulfurous realms, and cap it with a shrieking solo spectacle.
Code have provided the digital download as a “name your own price” opportunity, though they say a physical manifestation will follow later. Thanks to Rennie and Andy for alerting me to this release.
The next song is an example of me pushing out the usual boundaries of this column because I want to help spread the word about a song and don’t want to wait for another chance to do it. The rationale, if I needed one, is that “Abhorrence Evangelium” has a black spirit even if it’s not black metal.
The song’s tremolo’d chords create a blistering and swarming whir, the drums batter and bludgeon, and the vocals are monstrously abyssal (though we do get some rabid howls and pleasingly noxious gagging sounds too).
The music sounds rabidly mad, most of all when delirious soloing freakishly spins out of control, but the band also segment the swarming with doses of brute-force pounding and manic jackhammering. They also morph the mood of those sizzling guitars into sensations that are more dismal, accented by a solo that wails.
The song is from an album named Obsidian Refractions that will be out November 24th from Profound Lore, a very long eight years after the band’s full-length debut. The eye-catching cover art is the work of David Glomba.
HASTURIAN VIGIL (Ireland)
Before providing my own essential commentary (ha!) on the next song, I’d like to share the preview that appears on the Bandcamp page for the record that includes it:
“Formed in the Dimension of Chains, with cosmic chaos and deathmagick, HASTURIAN VIGIL seek to relinquish mortal ignorance with their brand of black metal, inspired by Mortuary Drape, Absu, Mercyful Fate, Negative Plane & Zemial, as well as a dose of classic heavy metal.
“The Irish two-piece walk their own path, conceptualising an entirely original mythos, inspired by authors such as Lovecraft, Machen, Lord Dunsany & Yeats; this ‘Yith-Melle’ mythos is embraced with their fascination for cosmic dread, deranged pantheons and unspeakable curses! Striking as the power duo of Cxaathesz and Shygthoth, now hear the preachings of HASTURIAN VIGIL!”
Based on the record’s first advance track, “Nine Bellowing Howls“, those other band references make sense. It masterfully weaves together ferocious snarls, unhinged screams, blazing and malignant riff-swarms, completely freaked-out soloing, and hammering drums — but also pulse-pumping and glorious heavy metal riffs, head-nodding beats, and sinister serpentine arpeggios.
Depending on where you are, the music sounds feral, delirious, sulfurous, and savagely exultant. It will quickly get your heart pounding and keep it going, and you can bang your head silly in the finale.
The album’s name is Unveiling the Brac’thal. It has a December 8 release date through Invictus Productions.
The next song isn’t new, but the video is, and it’s a fine reminder of what a stupendous album Inferno released two years ago. Back then I wrote this reaction to a different song, but much of it holds for the one in the new video too:
“The Wailing Horizon” is a magnetic combination of typhoon-strength storming, chilling eeriness, and plague-bearing majesty. Like flashing images on a panoramic screen, with us in the front row, the music constantly changes, and you may need eye drops because if your orbs are like mine they’ll be wide and unblinking from start to finish.
The drum work is extraordinary. So are the vocal arrays. And so is the unusual amalgam of styles — black metal of course, but infiltrations of post-punk and lysergic acid diethylamide.
The song in the video is the most recent album’s closing track, “Stars Within and Stars Without Projected into the Matrix of Time“. Beneath the video is a long passage that seems to evocatively represent the inspiration, and it’s worth reading:
Cosmologically, moments in time weave together like vines on a trellis, forming the transient fabric of reality. Here, in this nexus of days gone by and those yet to be, unnameable colors transform and collide along their neverending continuum of those moments, and irrespective of tone or spectrum, they change their forms again and again. Death and rebirth, opposing dualities merged and separating endlessly, personified as revenants of a timeless duel. Conflict of dimensional wounds doesn’t present itself in the monochromatic, it rather flashes in the universe a supernova of iridescent symbolism and interpretive dream-states. In the viewpoint of the audience, the challenge to ascertain meaning is broadened in the passage of those aforementioned moments, to revelation of cyclic unity between the starry night and the passions set aflame by the break of dawn, rendered in the shades of their respective metaphors.
The video, created by by Esoteric Tradition, is a wondrous feast for the eyes, and a very suitable accompaniment for the extravagant and extraterrestrial mind-warping wonders in the music. The universe is unfathomably immense, daunting, awe-inspiring, mysterious, and destructive, and this stunning song does a powerful job representing all of that.
The album is Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity), still available through Debemur Morti Productions.
This German band, whose name is the Czech word for wolf, is following up an impressive 2021 debut EP (Transdescendence) with an album named Solastalgia I that will be released on November 3rd by Grrrow! Records/SPV. I’ve read that it’s a concept album and the first part of a trilogy:
“Solastalgia is a made-up word, formed from Latin (solacium – consolation) and ancient Greek (algos – pain), which was first used by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht in the 2000s. Solastalgia refers to the pain and grief of losing our environment: emotions driving to despair, which we bring upon ourselves through our greed and hubris. As a result, the climate and biodiversity crises are intensifying the destruction of the environment and nature.”
The first advance track is the cleverly named and powerfully dramatic “Indigenuity“. It arrived with a striking black-and-white video that in principally features Vlk‘s visual collaborator Sara Zaddach, who also created the album’s cover art. Like the music, it creates a gripping narrative.
Consistent with the implications of the song’s title, the music includes tumbling tribal drums and tribal chanting. Consistent with the album’s themes, it also includes big reverberating chords and ringing notes that simultaneously channel gloom and despair; furious crackling snarls; and an eruption of thunderous, raging drums and dissonant, incendiary riffing.
The agonies and furies of the video’s protagonist in a ruined landscape are matched by the eerie agonies in the music, and its boiling frenzies. It’s a disconcerting experience, just as disturbing as the developments that inspired the album.
Yet in the video the protagonist’s appearance and her setting suddenly change. A shaman places hands upon her as the music dramatically swells, sears, and sweeps — though it’s still desperate and depressive in its mood, and interspersed by startling sonic cataclysms. At the end the chants return, and the backing orchestral strings are mystical and mesmerizing.
The protagonist’s movements and transformation in the video are open to interpretation. If she symbolizes a ravaged Nature, it may seem that retribution and rebirth lie ahead.
Vlk is the solo project of Wolf-Georg Zaddach, though the band has also performed live in Germany. The album was mixed and mastered by Tom ‘Fountainhead’ Geldschläger. I haven’t yet seen any pre-order announcements.
Thanks go to Milos for passing me the link to this.