Islander

Jan 212021
 

 

In early December we got a big but very welcome surprise when Debemur Morti Productions announced that they would be releasing a new album by the avant-garde Australian death metal band The Amenta (the band’s first full-length in almost eight years), and sprung upon us a video for the album’s first advance track, “Sere Money“. And now we’re springing upon you a video for the album’s second single, “An Epoch Ellipsis“, along with an interview of the The Amenta’s Timothy Pope which focuses on what you’re about to see and hear.

The name of the new album is Revelator, and Debemur Morti has set February 19th as the release date. As DMP rightly reports, it is “the culmination of nearly 20 years’ collective experimentation in nonconformist, dissonant, dynamic and electronically-lacerated Death Metal”. And although we typically resist just copy/pasting promotional texts written by others, the following passage does a very good job as an introduction to the manifold experiences the album presents: Continue reading »

Jan 212021
 

 

We’ve been following the music of the Italian death metal band Valgrind for many years, and for good reason. But if you happen to be discovering them for the first time, despite how often we’ve written about them, they released four demos and an EP between 1995 and 2002 — and then seemed to go into hibernation until the appearance ten years later of their debut album, Morning Will Come No More. Another four years passed, and then Valgrind’s second album, Speech of the Flame, was released by Lord of the Flies Records. The wonderful 2017 EP Seal of Phobos tided over Valgrind fans until the 2018 appearance of the next album, Blackest Horizon, via Everlasting Spew Records.

And then last year brought us a new full-length, Condemnation, which was released in July through the Spanish label Memento Mori, who rightly characterized the record as “poignant, crushing and classy”. It was further proof of what the band’s discography had already revealed, i.e., that Valgrind aren’t content to remain stuck in one place. Even after all this time, they have continued to evolve, to challenge themselves, and to let their interests and ambitions lead them to create music that’s mentally and emotionally engrossing for listeners — as well as frequently eye-popping in its ferocity.

And now Valgrind will be independently releasing a new EP named From the Viscera of Darkness, and today we’re pleased to present a video for the title track. Continue reading »

Jan 202021
 

 

Hulder’s debut album Godslastering Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry is a transportive experience. To be sure, it’s loaded with contagious riffs and head-moving rhythms, but it’s greatest success is in spurring the listener’s imagination, spiriting it away to settings that are far away from the mundane world. Many of those settings are the stuff of nightmares. Others are beguiling and bedazzling, but even then are beset by menace.

In your mind you may walk the halls of ancient castles inhabited by hellish princes and hostile wraiths, or wander through haunting midnight forests under a crescent moon. Your blood may be chilled by the emergence of vampiric creatures from an unsettling gloom, or quickened by the whirl of dancing — witnessing both peasants cavorting ’round a roaring blaze in a freeing moment, and minuets in imperious ballrooms long lost to the ages. But none of it seems real, and almost all of it feels sinister and perilous.

The combination of all these sensations makes the record electrifying, and one there’s no temptation to leave after you get into it. It’s thus with great pleasure that we present a full stream of it in advance of its January 22nd release by Iron Bonehead Productions. Continue reading »

Jan 192021
 

 

In a new year that has already brought an over-sized share of awfulness in very short order, we bring you good tidings: By the coming spring, Panopticon will release a new album, through its steadfast partner Bindrune Recordings.

The name of the album is …and again into the light. It consists of eight songs encompassing 70 minutes of music. And today, in addition to the good news, we’re presenting a video for one of those eight songs. Entitled “Know Hope“, it’s the extensive track that brings this stunning album to a close.

We will have much more to say about the album in the coming days, but for now we’ll provide a brief preview, as well as an interview with Panopticon’s Austin Lunn which sheds further light on what inspired the album, the collaborators who were involved in making the music, and other details that ought to pique your interest (as if you weren’t plenty interested already). Continue reading »

Jan 192021
 

 

Take a good look at the cover art for Grabunhold’s debut album Heldentod, because it provides a few pertinent clues to the music. In elaborate fashion, the drawing depicts a blending of the supernatural and the medieval. A castle looms in the distance, banners flying in a cloud-cloaked mountain fastness. In the foreground a hellish king, surrounded by ghastly creatures emerging from the earth, gazes over long columns of dread warriors marching toward that distant fortress. And above it all, a crossed sword and mace adorn the ornate lettering of Grabunhold’s name.

Like the fantastical cover art, Grabunhold’s formulation of black metal is itself a blending of the supernatural and the medieval. It is itself cloud-cloaked and majestic, warlike and elaborate. It often rings with the resonance of ancient music, and it reaches spectacular heights, but it is also persistently shadowed by dread and sorrow. It merits the well-worn term “epic”, but there is an earnestness and sense of devotion in the music that prevents it from sounding calculated or “cheesy”. And its multiple facets are so memorable that it’s likely to have staying power over years to come.

Thus it’s with considerable pleasure that we present a full stream of the album in advance of its January 22nd release by Iron Bonehead Productions — preceded (of course) by a bushel of additional words. Continue reading »

Jan 192021
 

 

(What follows is Wil Cifer‘s review of the latest album by the Atlanta-area band Prime Mover, which was released near the end of December 2020.)

This band from Atlanta has kicked around the southeastern metal scene since 1997. Their second full-length unfurls the sound of a band fully realizing their sound and have sharpened it into a keen weapon.

Their arsenal of riffs are supported by smart songwriting. They know the value of a hook. Their melodic guitar lines work best when they are not charging full speed ahead. Despite being referenced as a black metal band in some corners of the internet, death metal seems to be their primary influence. Very melodic death metal at that. There is also a hefty dose of thrash in what these guys do. Continue reading »

Jan 192021
 

 

(Here we have Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Rune Bæk, vocalist and lyricist of the Danish band Uddød, whose debut self-titled EP was released last November.)

To say it shortly – Uddød is a sludgy doom band with Danish lyrics, a straightforward approach, and one self-titled EP released in November 2020. Actually I know it because of Rune Bæk (guitars, vocals), a guy who did an amazing job as a frontman in a killer local act Plöw some time ago.

You can check Plöw’s video ‘High Tide’ or just find the ‘Captain Fungus’ track. Such was their anger! Such energy! And for me Uddød remains Plöw’s spiritual successor despite the fact that Rune’s companions Jeppe Birch Friis (bass), Jacob Lau (drums), and Frank Sørensen (guitars) seemed to enter the magic world of the metal underground not long ago. But all together they leave a strong impression of a professional, motivated, and powerful band.

Thus it was my duty to introduce Uddød with Rune’s help to NCS readers. Continue reading »

Jan 182021
 


Havukruunu

 

I’ve grouped together many of the preceding installments in this list (all of which you can find here) by various organizing principles that made sense to me. I don’t really have one for today’s Part of the list, other than the fact that both groups here are black metal bands and both make distinctive music, albeit in markedly different ways. One made a very big splash with their 2020 album, and the other is still beneath many people’s radar screens, though they deserve more attention (and maybe this post will help produce a bit more of that).

HAVUKRUUNU

This Finnish band just keeps getting better and better. They were a worthy choice for one of The Synn Reports last year (here), in which Andy meticulously traced their growth over three albums into becoming “masters of a scintillating brand of Black Metal which fuses the epic extravagance of their countrymen in Moonsorrow with the swaggering, riff-centric approach of Immortal and the fearless melodic mettle of Bathory“, while also making the sound something they could rightly call their own. Continue reading »

Jan 182021
 

 

(Here’s Todd Manning’s review of the new album by California’s Black Sheep Wall, which will be released on February 26th by Silent Pendulum Records.)

To say that the Sludge and Doom genres are oversaturated might be a bit of an understatement. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but there’s only so much Sabbath-worship and weed fetish one can listen to before it all starts to blend together. On the other hand, L.A.-based Sludge band Black Sheep Wall have always stood apart, with a sound that pulls from a wide range of influences.

Songs for the Enamel Queen is the group’s first full-length in nearly five years and it’s a motherfucker, there’s just no other way to put. The album depicts a band and a mind on the edge, haunted by depression and addiction, and the 60-minute run time is nothing short of a harrowing journey. Continue reading »

Jan 182021
 


Redemptor

 

(As the title suggests, Andy Synn prepared the following list of some of the albums (though certainly not all of them) he’s eagerly awaiting in the coming year.)

Well, it happened, it’s now the third week of January and I’ve already fallen behind when it comes to reviewing new albums.

Honestly, I can think of at least five records from the last week or two that I really want to write about and that a big proportion of our readers would probably get a real kick out of… but instead of doing that I’m going to publish a list of some of my most anticipated new releases of the year still to come… because logical consistency and common sense were never my strong points.

Now, as it so happens the final version of the article you’re reading is slightly different from the first draft, as I managed to get a hold of new albums from Stortregn, Autarkh, and Suffering Hour while I was writing it, and since I’m definitely going to be writing about each of them in full at some point soon I decided to switch them out for three other selections instead.

Obviously this list is in no way comprehensive. There’s a lot more than ten artists/albums I’m really looking forward to hearing over the next twelve months But I’ve tried to purposefully avoid many of the bigger names in order to focus in on a bunch of bands who I personally love but whom many of our readers may not have been aware were going to be bringing something out this year. Continue reading »