May 112021


Sometimes in our song premieres (in this case one that’s presented through a lyric video), it’s best to cut to the chase and then come back and fill in the back-story. This is one of those times.

The song here, which is as fascinating as it is unnerving, is “The Augurs of Spring (The Burial of the Dead)“. It’s the second movement in a rendition of excerpts from Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 orchestral work The Rite of Spring, and the people responsible for this rendition have taken the name 30 immolated; 16 returned. The lyrics, which seemingly appear as random words, were inspired by T.S. Eliot‘s great poem “The Waste Land“.

A compelling rhythmic pulse runs through this performance, executed in different ways, from primitive, titanic pounding by all instruments to brittle chords or a popping snare (and more). Around that reflex-triggering pulse (which occasionally changes in jarring ways), madness ensues — a cavalcade of burbling bass notes, dissonant slithering, seething, and screeching guitars, frantic drum acrobatics, insectile fretwork fevers, and an array of caustic growls and howls whose lunatic vehemence is almost as unsettling as all the bizarre instrumental intricacy.

It is, in a word, wild. Stravinsky may be spinning in his grave, almost at the speed your own head will spin. Continue reading »

May 112021


In the neverending musical combat between catharsis and comfort, byzantine boundary-stretching and banal convention, Cloak of Altering continues to leave no doubt where its allegiances lie. In the band’s eccentric and perpetually experimental maneuvers, it seems dedicated to rooting around in our subconscious in a way that makes it difficult to keep certain things buried that perhaps we’d rather remain hidden, just as it provides a necessary outlet for its creator’s own unsettling and unpredictable impulses.

Yet every new excursion by the band provides a multitude of fascinations, no matter how disorienting they may become, further proof of which is provided in Cloak of Altering‘s new album, Sheathed swords drip with poisonous honey (set for release on June 4th by Brucia Records).

We have the premiere of a song from that album for you today, “The Jesuscraft“. The opening line of our introduction, which is a few paragraphs below, is this: “The song seems diabolically calculated to keep listeners continually off-balance.” Perhaps, then, there is some hilarity to be found in the comment about the song from Cloak of Altering‘s alter ego Mories (the fiendish mind also behind Gnaw Their Tongues, The Sombre, The Night Specter, Hagetisse, and Golden Ashes, among other projects): “The Jesuscraft is the most straightforward song on the album.” Continue reading »

May 102021


In its lyrics, the title track to Eclipser‘s new EP, Pages, reflects the dismay, despair, and disgust of a religious believer who has reached the shattering realization that what he has been promised in biblical pages are lies, and were instead only a means of indoctrination whose hollowness has left him hopeless, frightened, and enraged. As Eclipser themselves explain: “‘Pages‘ is the tale of a weary soul in search of faith. He seeks out God but finds only empty words and misery.”

In its amalgam of black and death metal, the song is equally shattering. It channels sensations of torment and turmoil in unnerving ways, plumbing the depths of a mind coming apart as its foundations fracture and become rubble, with nothing left to take their place. Continue reading »

May 102021


Take a moment to contemplate what black metal might sound like if created by a band named Winter Eternal on an album entitled Land of Darkness, with song names that include “The Illusive Wings of Death”, “Isolation”, and “Shaped By Grief”. Add to that the fact that the band’s sole creator chose the name “Soulreaper”, and then absorb the vision captured in the Land of Darkness cover art created by Joan Llopis Doménech.

You might then naturally have expectations of music that portrays oppressive gloom and snow-bound desolation, and perhaps even an icy and depressive indifference to life. It’s indeed true that Land of Darkness is home to a fair share of dark moods, but what might surprise you if you’re unfamiliar with Winter Eternal is that the music is also bright and poignantly beautiful, and capable of weaving immersive and wondrous spells. And the emotional core of the music is anything but lifeless and cold. Continue reading »

May 072021


Phoenix-based Thorn (the solo project of Brennen Westermeyer) made its advent last year with an EP entitled The Encompassing Nothing, revealing itself as a musical monstrosity dedicated to the creation of cavernous, ominous, and dreadful death metal. Thorn followed that auspicious debut by joining forces with Toronto’s Fumes for a fearsome split release in January of this year. We hosted the premiere of songs from that split, summing up Thorn’s contributions as “an amalgam of crushing brutality, freakish mayhem, and eerie supernatural frightfulness”.

Now we’re helping spread the word that Thorn has completed work on a debut album. Entitled Crawling Worship, it’s set for release in multiple formats on June 18th by Gurgling Gore and Life After Death Records, and once again we have the ghoulish pleasure of premiering a new Thorn song — “Drowned Serpents” — which is presented through a lyric video. Continue reading »

May 072021


The self-titled debut album of Finland’s Crimson Dimension consists of four tracks, but it’s more than an hour long, with each of those songs ranging in length from 12 minutes to more than 18. Two of those epic-length excursions have already been revealed (the first one as far back as 2017), and today we present a third one — the longest and perhaps most astounding of them all — “Age of Awakening“.

The length of these songs should not be a deterrent, because notwithstanding their duration they are all tremendously captivating. They represent a union of wildly adventurous song-writing ideas and jaw-dropping instrumental skill, and trust us when we say that it’s very easy to lose track of time as you get caught up in them.

If there is a genre label to be applied to music of such high-flying and wide-ranging ambition, “blackened progressive metal” seems to be the one preferred by the band. And that makes some sense, because although the music does incorporate sinister and ravaging elements of black metal, it is absolutely the kind of record that should prove powerfully appealing to ardent devotees of progressive metal. Continue reading »

May 062021


We’ve been given hints that the members of T.O.M.E. are veterans of the Finnish metal underground, but apart from the drummer (whose identity can be discovered through Metal-Archives), they’ve hidden their names and pedigrees, preferring to let their music represent itself. And what it represents, through their debut album I-III, is a strange and formidably frightening experience, a form of black metal that reveals the members as sonic alchemists, capable of creating creepy spells that take us into some “otherworld” far away from the one we live in, while simultaneously seducing a listener’s reptile brain — the part that makes us move without thinking.

The album will be released by Spread Evil on June 4th, and what we have for you today is the second of its three long tracks, which are denominated only by Roman numerals. But we encourage you to set aside the 14 minutes required to listen to the previously released track “I” first, before moving into the second track that we’re premiering today, which will take 11 more minutes of your time. Trust us, it will all be time well-spent. Continue reading »

May 062021


When I saw the description of Gosudar’s debut album provided by Rotted Life, the Maryland-based label that will release it on May 28th, I figuratively smacked my lips in anticipation:

“With gut-churning vocals and seasick serpentine riffage, Gosudar wind their way through twisted, psychotic arrangements, while never sacrificing their oppressive heaviness for technicality, nor disregarding the sheer power of a razor-sharp hook. It’s a cyclonic style of death metal chaos crucial for fans of Dead Congegration, Mortiferum, and Incantation“.

But of course one can never know how well such enticing previews will match up with the actual sounds until diving into the music itself. Fortunately, in the case of Gosudar’s Morbid Despotic Ritual, they turn out to ring true. This Moscow-based trio have created something special that really will appeal to fans of the afore-mentioned groups, and the song we’re presenting today, “Insurrection of Nephilim“, is powerful evidence of that. Continue reading »

May 052021


Those of us who toil at this site draw pleasure from what we do in many ways, but perhaps the most fun comes from presenting explosive surprises — helping to spread the word about new, unheralded bands whose appearance turns out to be something like a big meteor blazing through a night sky. And that’s exactly what we have for you today, in our premiere of the debut EP of the multi-state U.S. band Empty Throne in advance of its release this coming Friday by Wise Blood Records.

This EP, Glossolalia, really is a spectacular experience, one that’s perhaps best enjoyed after hyperventilating, because you may need the extra oxygen. In a nutshell (to borrow the label’s words), “this is hellish and ornate blackened death metal with thrashing rhythms and an epic scope”. It draws upon “the violent propulsion of ‘80s thrash, the agile savagery of death metal circa 1994, with Gothenburg adornments and rabid vocals”, blended with an ambitious scope and the dark atmospherics of late-stage black metal.

And it must also be said that the high-speed instrumental pyrotechnics are likely to find fans among devotees of technical death metal too. Continue reading »

May 052021


It would seem like a paradox to most people (though not to many of the fiends who visit our site) that music which violently and ruthlessly assaults the senses can fuel a feeling of outlandish fun (as well as triggering a big discharge of adrenaline).

When riotous, high-speed brutalization is inflicted with no care for restraint or mercy, it can become terrifically exhilarating rather than repellant — at least when the experience is created by technically skilled executioners and diabolical songwriters. Even better when it becomes apparent that subtle structures and seductive accents exist within the explosive chaos, so that you feel the compulsion to have the experience again and again — and find even more to like about it with each renewal.

All of that is true in the case of “L’Abomination“, the song we’re premiering today from the forthcoming third album by Nephren-Ka, From Agony To Transcendence, which will be released by Dolorem Records on June 25th. Continue reading »