Islander

Jan 202019
 

 

Well, here we are at the final segment of today’s extensive column devoted to black and blackened metal. If you’re still with me, I applaud your perseverance and endurance. I’m sure the bands would applaud, too, since I’m about to shower three more with praise. And of course I fervently hope that you’ve found some exciting new discoveries along the way.

VANANIDR

I’m now turning to the first of three bands who’ve pleasingly seized my attention in the past. This one is the Swedish group Vananidr, whose 2018 debut album I briefly reviewed in another one of these Sunday columns (here). Vananidr is essentially a solo project of Anders Eriksson (on the album, he was aided by Karl Thunander for the drum performance). On January 11, Vananidr released a new two-track single entitled Bleak and Desolate. Continue reading »

Jan 202019
 

 

I didn’t divide the music in today’s column evenly between the two Parts that I’d originally planned. There was significantly more in the second Part than in the first one, not only because there were two more bands there but also because many of the items were full releases rather than advance tracks from forthcoming records.

I’m using the past tense, because, as you can see, I’ve decided to divide Part 2 into two parts as well, which means there will be a Part 3 of this Sunday’s column. I hope the total magnitude of what I’m spreading before you today won’t deter you from checking out everything, because everything here is well worth the time.

ÆRA

“At speed, the songs embody cold yet chaotic ferocity. In their slower movements, they reach for haunting grandeur and wintry melancholy. Emotionally evocative and immersive music in an icy Norwegian style that’s well-suited by the drifting mists and ancient forests depicted on the cover.” That was my summing up of this pagan black metal duo’s 2017 debut EP, Of Forsaken Vows. It was a very good beginning, and inclined me to pay attention to their new full-length, The Craving Within. Continue reading »

Jan 202019
 

 

As you can see, I again had enough time this weekend to round up, and write up, enough recommendations to justify a two-part column. I’ll dispense with further introductory comments and get right to it. (P.S. – I’ve added all four of the following tracks to my list of candidates for our 2019 edition of Most Infectious Songs.)

1349

This opening song (which has an interesting background story) took me by surprise twice. First, I had no idea it was coming when it surfaced to considerable fanfare five days ago; it comes a long five years after 1349‘s last album (Massive Cauldron of Chaos). And second, the music itself is a surprise. Continue reading »

Jan 192019
 

 

(In this week’s edition of Waxing Lyrical Andy Synn elicited thoughts from Soreption vocalist Fredrik Söderberg.)

If you don’t know, and love, Soreption, then you don’t belong on this site.

There, I said it. Now get out.

Of course if you’re still reading this then you’ve clearly either a) realised I was joking with the above statement, or b) are a total contrarian who has decided to carry on just to spite me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it was just over a decade ago when I stumbled across Soreption‘s debut EP, Illuminate the Excessive, in my local record store, and I’ve been an avid fan of the band ever since, following their progress through all the ups and downs of their career, even to the point of selecting their second album, Engineering the Void, as one of the best albums of 2014.

The band’s latest release, last year’s Monument of the End, continued their run of top-notch, high-octane Technical Death Metal mastery, so I’m particularly pleased to have been able to get hold of the group’s long-time vocalist Fredrik Söderberg for this latest edition of Waxing Lyrical. Continue reading »

Jan 182019
 

 

Welcome to the 9th installment of this growing list, in which I’m turning back toward death metal with the two songs added today. To check out the previous installments, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.

THE CROWN

The title of The Crown‘s latest album — Cobra Speed Venom — is so damned good. I’m not sure it really means anything, but the combination of those three words, especially in the context of The Crown‘s brand of music, just sounds metal AF. Very cool cover art too. Continue reading »

Jan 182019
 

 

Within the world of heavy metal, the new year is in full swing. I’ve noted more than four-dozen new songs, EPs, and albums that have been released just this week alone and that, at least on a superficial level, seemed worth checking out. But for me it hasn’t been the best week to go exploring. With multiple premieres to write each day, and the time required to compile new installments of our evolving 2018 Most Infectious Song list (one more of which is coming later today), almost all my free time has been consumed.

By chance, however, I woke up at an even more ungodly early hour than usual this morning, and got far enough ahead on today’s planned posts that I spent a bit of time digging into that giant list of new things that appeared this week. I didn’t get far, but, serendipitously, everything I checked out proved to be appealing. All those new discoveries are collected here. Be forewarned: this list includes a healthy dose of clean singing, and one not-metal track.

SWALLOW THE SUN

Swallow the Sun threw more than a few people off-balance when they released the single “Lumina Aurea“ last month. But since then they’ve followed it with two tracks from their next album, When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light, which will be released by Century Media on January 25th. The first was “Upon the Water“, and then more recently they debuted a video for the song “Firelights“. Continue reading »

Jan 182019
 

 

The New Jersey blackened death metal band Hath made an impressive advent in 2015 with an EP named Hive, but their debut album Of Rot and Ruin is nevertheless an enormous (and enormously good) surprise, not a step forward but an extravagant leap ahead. The news that Willowtip Records will release the album on April 12th is being announced today, and to help spread the word we’re premiering the first advance song from the album, the name of which is “Usurpation“.

This new track is a powerful preview of Hath’s songwriting approach on the new record, which turns these songs into richly dynamic and emotionally intense experiences. “Usurpation“, in particular, is an ever-changing yet completely electrifying rush that, by turns, is pulverizing, incendiary, gloom-drenched, and glorious. Continue reading »

Jan 182019
 

 

In September of last year we reviewed and premiered Slaves & Snakes, the new album by the French band Nuisible, which was released later that month by Deadlight Records. In describing their brand of brutalizing heaviness the band make references to Tragedy, Darkthrone, and Entombed. Crust and hardcore form the backbone of their assaults, which are undergirded by massive low-end weight and driven to heights of murderous blackened frenzy. The music is as merciless as the open mouth of Hell and meaner than a pack of rabid dogs, and yet on this album the band display a knack for embedding both rhythmic and melodic hooks in its ten mauling tracks, and of switching gears often enough to keep you in harness for the whole bruising ride.

In attempting to describe the album’s crippling physicality, I wrote: “Delivered in different ways, it’s a bone-breaking, body-mangling demolition job. The drumwork is punishing; the bass lines sound like the gnashing of granite teeth; the rhythm guitar is tuned to a gritty, bruising tone; the sounds of the lead guitar are almost always unnerving, And the jugular-ripping vocals are raw, berserker manifestations of unbridled rage.”

Slaves & Snakes is definitely a demolition job, but one that doesn’t wear out its welcome despite the music’s unvarnished and often painful intensity. And in case you missed it, today we have an excellent reminder of why you should fix that oversight, because we’re premiering an engrossing music video for the album’s third track, “Evil Still“. Continue reading »

Jan 182019
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the debut album by North Carolina’s Mo’ynoq, which was released on January 11th.)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… but precisely what it is that separates a “Good” album from a truly “Great” one isn’t always clear. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling, an instinctive response which tells you that this… this is something really worth shouting about.

If you’re been paying attention then you’ll quickly realise that this is exactly the same intro spiel I used for my recent review of the new Barshasketh album, recycled here with good reason.

Because not only have I frequently seen the two records compared, contrasted, and (occasionally) pitted against one another in single combat, but they also happen to quite concisely demonstrate just how razor-thin the line between being a “Good” album and a truly “Great” one really is. Continue reading »

Jan 172019
 

 

As forecast yesterday, I’ve decided to stay in blackened realms for this next installment of songs for the 2018 list. The following three tracks are very dark in more ways than one, and they all made a big emotional impact when I first heard them. They’ve stayed with me since then, and although you could easily pick other tracks from each album for the list, the vivid memories of those first experiences have inclined me toward these.

GAEREA

In the run-up to the release of this Portuguese band’s debut album, Unsettling Whispers, I wrote about no fewer than five of the tracks as they were made available for public listening, ultimately trying to capture what the band had done on the songs in these words: Continue reading »