Oct 142023

This would have been an outstanding week to compile a roundup of new songs and videos before now, to make a dent in the towering wall of new music that’s arrived since last Saturday. Alas, I couldn’t manage it.

The wall still towers, even higher now. This is a very small dent, though a lot of the music will likely put a big dent in your skull — though not at first.


Based on their past work, which we’ve lauded repeatedly around here, the news of new music from A Hill To Die Upon would be eagerly welcomed, but the interest level has gone up even further because of the guest appearances on their new album, The Black Nativity, which include Karl Sanders (Nile), Ole Borud (Extol), Bruce Fitzhugh (Living Sacrifice), and Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ).

Perhaps surprisingly, the first advance track from the album, “Left Handed Wizard (My Eyes Look West)“, includes none of those guests. Even more surprising, this first single is a haunting acoustic folk song, clean-sung and somber, though with esoteric lyrics (narrated by the left-handed mage of a war god), backing shimmers that give it a mystical aura, and a bit of a lonesome high-desert twang in some of the picking.

It’s entirely possible that nothing else on the new album sounds like this, hence the daring nature of its choice as a first single. We’ll wait for something more assaulting, and in the meantime come back to this one when in the mood for spells.

The Black Nativity will be released by Rottweiler Records on November 24th, so we’ll have at least one thing to give thanks for on that holiday weekend.





That AHTDU song wasn’t just an unusual choice as a first single for their new album, it was obviously an unusual choice as the lead selection in today’s roundup, what with all that singing and gentle instrumentation. But have no fear, things are about to get a lot more belligerent, courtesy of the first preview song off a new Phobocosm album.

From its first moments, “Infomorph” booms and batters, brazenly blares and feverishly skitters. The words arrive more slowly, in abyssal gutturals, but the music becomes even more frenzied as the drums furiously hammer and the guitars frantically whine and sear like out-of-control blowtorches.

There does come a point, almost five minutes in, when the racing percussive avalanche pauses and the deranged fretwork goes into a straitjacket. There, the music becomes oppressive and steeped in misery (the lead guitar seems to wail in agony), but Phobocosm don’t end the track that way. Instead, they push the song to a closing zenith of madness and destructive mayhem.

The song is from Phobocosm‘s new album Foreordained, which is the last chapter in a trilogy that began with Deprived and Bringer of Doubt. It will be released by Dark Descent Records on December 8th. The cover art is the work of Lauri Laaksonen (of Desolate Shrine, Convocation, and Pestilent Hex).





Like the first two bands in today’s collection, Vastum is another that has earned ardent fandom among those of us who slave away at this site, not only because of their recordings but also as a result of witnessing some fantastic West Coast live performances over many years.

Now they’ve got a new album ready to escape from the lair of 20 Buck Spin. Inward To Gethsemane is its name, and “Indwelling Archon” is its first single.

In this song Vastum give it the gas right away, surging ahead like a hellish tank-phalanx, with all corroded pistons firing, guns blazing white phosphorus, and drums inflicting a merciless beating, while Dan Butler savagely roars and Leila Abdul-Rauf maniacally screams.

The song kicks adrenaline levels way up, and adds even more fuel with a berserk guitar solo, doses of both viciously stomping punishment and scampering ecstasy, and another quivering solo that sounds like black sorcery.

I can think of many places where I’d like to point this demolition machine and let it run riot and ruin what’s in front of it.





I decided to check out this Galician band’s debut album because of its intriguing cover art, and because it was released by Avantgarde Music, and not because I had any idea what it would sound like. As it turned out, the first song from the album that’s set to play at Bandcamp makes for a fantastic follow-up to Vastum‘s sonic marauding.

That song, “Death·Chaos·Void“, is the album’s title track, and it’s hell on wheels, a full-bore assault of munitions-grade drumming, frenetically cutting and writhing riffage and mercilessly slashing chords, lunatic soloing, and utterly wild (and bestial) vocals.

“Decimating” is too mild a word for this bone-wrecking, head-whipping mayhem. Even when the drums slow down and the guitars slowly moan and quiver in agony, it’s decimating in a different (exsanguinating) way, and closer to the end it becomes occult in its sensations, towering in its hideous might, and poisonous in its frenzies.

The album only came out yesterday, and I didn’t know enough to listen to it in advance of release, so I’m in no position to attempt a proper review of the whole thing. I’ll just say that a lot of the other songs also deliver thoroughly obliterating and exhilarating storms of black/death savagery, coupled with more of those insane vocal performances and fret-melting solos.

But I’ll also say that Akouphenom also continue down-shifting the speeds and moving the moods into abysmal and occult territories, and the album includes one very long song (“Upper Cycle of Infinite Tails“) that shows off that songwriting dynamism, and the band’s eye-popping performance skills, to maximum advantage. It also includes a psychedelic solo near the end which leads into a closing phase that’s entrancing, hallucinatory, and emotionally stricken.

Straight through to cataclysmic closer “Incorporeal“, this album proves that Akouphenom can hold their own with much better-known practitioners of the most devastating and deleterious death metal arts, and I hope more people discover that, as I just have.





So far in this roundup, I haven’t dipped my toes or yours into the acidic waters of black metal, so I’d like to do that before closing.

So far this year The Infernal Sea have released a single named “Apostle of Gehenna” (reviewed here), and another one named “Elixir of Death“ (reviewed here). And just yesterday they released a video for a third one, “Bastard of the East“.

In the accompanying video, set in the 17th century, a cross-wielding Puritan chases a terrified young woman into the woods, apparently bent on murder. There she finds an ally against whom the cross is no ward.

As for the music, it drives with pulse-punching percussive momentum, and the horrid, sulphurous screams seem scorching enough to burn flesh. The abrasively clanging and swarming riffage and the flickering solo are likewise evil and electrifying, diabolically demented and dismally cruel.

Near the end, at the pivot point of the video, the pace slows to a lurch, and the music becomes more primitive and swaggering, and even more menacing and sadistic. In both phases, the song packs lots of visceral hooks.

Along with this newest single, we received the announcement that in January The Infernal Sea will release a new album named Hellfenlic (reportedly an Old English translation meaning “a Fen of hell”) via Candlelight Records. It features cover art by Khaos Diktator Design. “Bastard of the East” is on the track list, but the other two 2023 singles aren’t. A press release reports:

Hellfenlic centres around the brutal persecution of men and women by the most infamous Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins who was most active throughout the East Anglian area. It tells of his obsession, his religious fervor, his brutality, and ultimately his downfall.


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