Nov 252020


A soothsayer is a seer, a speaker of truths enabled by visions, an oracle enabled by magic, but perhaps just as likely to be ignored as to be believed. Soothsayer is also the name chosen by an Irish quintet whose visions are very much rooted in the desperate reality of the here and now, but who defiantly refuse to succumb. Their music, as represented in what we’ve heard so far from their forthcoming debut album, is harrowing in the extreme, and also transportive. It’s not “easy listening” by any stretch, but it makes such a transfixing and mind-bending impact that it’s very hard to forget, no matter how unreal and disturbing it can become.

This debut full-length, which follows a small handful of excellent short releases (for which we’ve done premieres in the past), is named Echoes of the Earth. It will be forthcoming from Transcending Obscurity Records. The first two tracks bear the names “Fringe” and “Outer Fringe“, and we’re presenting them to you today for the first time, accompanied by a video prepared by Irish drone artist Ruairi O’Baoighill that enhances the mind-altering impact of the sounds. Continue reading »

Nov 252020


Even the best of times can become shadowed by dark days, but these are obviously among the worst of times for almost all of us, the kind of times when music that uplifts the spirits can be most welcome. But few of us are in search of cheep thrills, naivete, or shallow pandering. In rotten times, the most welcome uplift comes from genuine passion, and from music that doesn’t forget the darkness in our midst even as it soars.

These thoughts have come to mind thanks to the spectacular title song we’re premiering from the debut EP by the Swedish band Maestitium, which will be released on February 5, 2021, by Black Lion Records. Maestitium is a studio project started by guitarist, vocalist and composer Elias Westrin (Tomb Dweller, ex-Voices of Vengeance) in the fall of 2019. The idea for the EP was born while Westrin was attending a music production course at Hola Folkhögskola outside of Kramfors, Sweden, and drew inspiration from the music of such bands as Insomnium, Sentenced, Wintersun, Hinayana, and Wolfheart. Continue reading »

Nov 242020


According to Metal-Archives the Finnish death metal band Revulsion first took shape 15 years ago, but they took some time before releasing a debut demo in 2010 and then a debut EP in 2011. With the exception of a single in 2016, more than 9 more years passed between that EP and the now-established release date for their self-titled debut album, which will be brought to us on February 1, 2021, by Transcending Obscurity Records.

And so Revulsion clearly aren’t a band concerned about rushing things. And based on their new album, they’re also not chained to the past. Although they obviously have a healthy devotion to old school traditions, their music doesn’t sound dated at all, but instead draws into play stylistic ingredients that give it the impression of a big turbocharged engine driving forward, with some twists and turns along the way.

Today we’re bringing you a song from the album named “Last Echoes of Life“, which turns out to be a thrilling (and addictive) amalgam of livid derangement, voracious ferocity, and neck-wrecking groove. Continue reading »

Nov 242020


The distinctive Ukrainian band White Ward should need no introduction to our regular visitors, or for that matter to any attentive and adventurous metalheads. Their 2017 debut album Futility Report (which we premiered and reviewed here) introduced many new listeners to the band’s ingenious, genre-splicing musical alchemy and immediately put them on the global metal map. Two years later their second album, Love Exchange Failure, only solidified their reputation as an unpredictable but completely beguiling musical force.

To borrow the words of our own Andy Synn from his review of that most recent album, it presents an “unusual mix of biting riffs, moody jazz inflections and neo-noirish vibes that purposefully eschews the more ‘traditional’ aspects of Black Metal – the nature worship, the rustic spirituality – in favour of a sound that’s distinctly urban in both tone and texture, all neon and glass and cold concrete”.

“It’s the soundtrack to the world outside your window, a world of digital prophets and ephemeral profits, social media sirens and vicarious virtual violence. A world where what we put in no longer equals what we get out. Where what we give no longer balances what we take. A world on the brink of total Love Exchange Failure.”

But those two remarkable albums were not White Ward‘s first creations. Those were preceded by a sequence of shorter works that began in 2012 with the release of their first demo. Many of those earlier works were collected in an album-length compilation named Origins that the band digitally self-released in 2016. But now Debemur Morti Productions, who released the band’s two albums mentioned above, will also be releasing a physical edition of Origins on January 22, 2021. Continue reading »

Nov 232020


On December 18th Brilliant Emperor Records will present the debut album from the Australian black metal band EOS, whose three members first began laying the foundations for it over a decade ago. Entitled The Great Ascension, it reflects four years of intense work completed in 2018. Lyrically, the seven songs are described as painting “nightmarish visions of man. The solemn journey through spiritual ecstasy, blood lust and pride. A stone to the face of the gods”.

What we have for you today, presented through an official video, is the premiere stream of a shattering song called “Draugur“. The band tell us this about the track’s narrative: “‘Draugar‘ tells the story of the again-walker. A revenant possessed by revenge without Mercy after he is Burnt alive. A distant voice heard only in the nightmares of man. Pestilence and famine are brought to his enemies. He swells the tongues of children. There is no end to his torment until all feel his isolation and pain”.

Unsettling words to be sure, but as you’ll discover, the music itself is even more unnerving, and yet spellbinding as well. Continue reading »

Nov 232020


Irreversible Mechanism made a strikingly good impression on us in 2018 when Blood Music released their second album, Immersion. For one, my comrade DGR lavishly reviewed the album and then positioned it at No. 8 on his year-end list. In his assessment, the band moved from “the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ style of writing in their debut album” toward “something that sounds like a head-on collision of Fallujah, Rivers Of Nihil, and a handful of other post-metal groups currently working on the fringes of the tech-death scene”.

And for another, I added a track from Immersion to the 2018 edition of our Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. It wasn’t an album that I initially expected to be a contender for that award, because it’s such a massive record, not only in its length but also in its near-constant all-out assault on the senses, so densely packed with ideas that it lends itself to new discoveries every time you dive back into the hurricane. Given that the songs also tend to flow into each other, it’s also an album that’s probably best experienced in a single session, and it’s tough to carve out individual tracks from the one that preceded or followed it. Nevertheless, the more time I spent with the album, the more addicted to it I became and the more convinced I became that something from the album belonged on the list.

And now we have the opportunity, two years later, to revisit the music of this talented group from Minsk, Belarus. They’ve made a play-through video for a song named “Footprints in the Sand” that appears dead-center in Immersion’s track-list, whose lyrics have an eerily prescient connection to our current pandemic age, and it’s our pleasure to share it with you today. Continue reading »

Nov 202020


High above the Earth an astronaut drifts alone, abandoned by the destruction of the rocket that sent him there. Eyes wide and stricken by fear, he witnesses visions, of the natural spectacle below him… and of other possibly unnatural spectacles, or perhaps only the dissolution of his own mind.

Those are among the harrowing and mesmerizing sights to be seen in the video we’re premiering today, accompanied by a song that in itself is harrowing and eerily captivating in equal measure. The song is “Orbit“, and it comes from a debut album named Conceive by Chicago’s Hypervolume. Get ready for countdown… and loosen up your neck too. Continue reading »

Nov 202020


As you all know, we spend most of our time here immersed in sounds of metallic extremity, and maybe that’s why I experience a bit of glee whenever I have a chance to surprise you — especially when the surprise is as thoroughly captivating as the music we’re presenting in this post.

The authors of that music are an Austrian trio named Gjoad, who draw inspiration from majestic visions of their native alpine surroundings. They channel those inspirations into a formulation of atmospheric rock that’s beautiful and enthralling, but also dark in ways that can become unsettling. And in creating that music, the band enhance the richness of the atmosphere through the use of instruments such as jaw harps, singing bowls, horns, and bells.

Gjoad‘s debut album is named Samanōn, and it will be released by the always-distinctive French label Antiq on December 15th. What we have for you today is a song from the album named “Hagazussa“. Continue reading »

Nov 192020


XLIX, the new second album by the Italian death metal band Crawling Chaos which is set for release on November 20th 2020 via Time To Kill Records, is a concept album inspired by a book that remains widely read and widely cited five centuries after it was written, and in its concept is a departure from the more usual subject matter to be found within death metal, including this band’s own full-length debut from seven years ago, Repellent Gastronomy. The band have explained:

“While Repellent Gastronomy was some sort of anthology of Lovecraftian horrors revisited in a death metal fashion, XLIX is a concept album in all respects. To write it we were inspired by “The Prince”, the famous book written by Niccolò Machiavelli in the Sixteenth Century. The narration is a kind of parable, a chronicle out of time and space that traces the story of a nameless and faceless protagonist. All the lyrics are penned in the first person by this sort of ‘new Prince'”. Continue reading »

Nov 182020


To paraphrase a favorite columnist’s words from a piece published today, the autumn’s coronavirus surge was as foreseeable as fall’s fading light, and we are looking at a deadly December nearly everywhere. It becomes easier and easier to think of Nature as sentient, and as having found a new way to revolt against the greedy plundering of humankind and to extract a costly penance for what we have done to it, and to ourselves.

And it is thus a synchronicity of timing that in the midst of this particularly awful fall, in a year already ravaged by disease and ever-increasing weather extremes, Transcending Obscurity Records will be releasing Rotten Human Kingdom by the French band Subterraen, because the album stands as a powerful, unvarnished condemnation of that planetary destruction, and as a harrowing vision of the vengeance that has come and will continue to come in ever-more inventive and terrible ways.

This album, which are are premiering now just days before its release, consists of only four tracks, but each in its own way is monumental, not just in the track-lengths of three of the four, but also in the magnitude of the songs’ emotional impact and the varied ways in which the band have created them. Continue reading »