Feb 152019


In the most rudimentary sense, split releases provide a vehicle for the participating bands to each release new songs in between more extensive releases of their own music, while allowing listeners the chance to sample the works of more than one band at a time. But of course there’s no assurance that the combination of songs from different projects in a single release will do any more than that. Whether the songs actually complement each other, and combine in a way that creates a holistic listening experience that’s greater than the sum of its parts, is a very different issue.

The split release we’re premiering today, entitled Vortex, is one that does go beyond a mere bolting together of singles from more than one group. The two up-and-coming black metal bands who are involved — Ophidian Coil from Serbia and Septuagint from Greece — do not follow identical paths in the music you’ll find here, but there is a “chemistry” between them. The songs of each band, though different in their strategies, exhibit a kind of “spiritual” union in which the different dimensions of Luciferian sound combine in a way that creates a near-30-minute experience that’s immersive — and chilling.

We invite you to listen to these four songs below, an opportunity that coincides with the release of Vortex by Deathhammer Records. And of course we have some thoughts about the music to share as well. Continue reading »

Feb 142019


When we encounter new music, it is the quality of the compositions and performances that always comes first, and remains paramount, but when a new release has been conceived and crafted with a deep guiding aesthetic that permeates the spirit of the music and the lyrics in a heartfelt way, especially when that aesthetic is an unusual one, it inspires even greater admiration. That’s what we have before us in Empyrée, the superb new EP by the French black metal duo Cénotaphe (multi-instrumentalist Fog and vocalist Khaosgott).

We have learned that in creating this new work, Cénotaphe drew inspiration from “a constellation of 19th-century French literary and artistic figures, such as Aloysius Bertrand, Théophile Gautier, Charles Beaudelaire, and the painter Odilon Redon,” but most especially from the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé. As I am unfamiliar with Mallarmé’s writing, I’ll quote from the press materials announcing this new EP: Continue reading »

Feb 142019


On a superficial level, the title of Wired Anxiety‘s song “Heavily Sedated” is ironic, because, as you’ll soon discover if you haven’t heard the song before, there’s nothing sedated about the music or about the effect it will produce on your nervous system. In fact, the opposite is true. Among the antonyms for “sedated” are “aggravated”, “agitated”, “disturbed”, and “excited”. Some or all of those adjectives would be suitable.

And so, while the title of the song makes sense in the context of the narrative portrayed by Wired Anxiety‘s EP, The Delirium of Negation — which revolves around the concept of mind-controlling monsters who develop a race of subservient humans — as a piece of death metal the track might have been more accurately titled “Heavily Excited” (or any of those other words, but “heavily” definitely belongs as well).

The Delirium of Negation, which includes this song as one of four, was released in 2016, but to help spread the word about it and about Wired Anxiety, today we’re premiering, as a Valentine’s Day present for lovers of death metal, a guitar playthrough video of the track that features the performance of guitarist Naval Katoch. Continue reading »

Feb 132019


Par le Sang Versé is one of the most thoroughly entrancing and gloriously vibrant metal albums I’ve heard in years, regardless of sub-genre. It seizes ancient folk traditions and hurls them forward into the modern age, but without letting go of the intense devotion to the centuries-old well-springs of inspiration that gave birth to this record. I do think it’s impossible not to be moved in some significant degree by this fervent music, and likely that most listeners will simply be swept aloft and carried away, as I’ve been.

I wrote the preceding paragraph as part of an introduction to our premiere two weeks ago of a single song from this new album by the French medieval black metal band Véhémence. Since then, my conviction has only grown stronger that this record is a rare and marvelously multi-faceted achievement. At the time of that previous premiere, three other tracks were also available for listening, but today it’s our great pleasure to present a stream of all the music in advance of its February 18th release by the French label Antiq Records. Continue reading »

Feb 122019


As the title of Oldd Wvrm‘s new album suggests, the music is an exploration of dark and obscure dimensions, dimensions that seem beyond the perception of a mundane mind grounded in what passes for “reality”. It carries our imaginations into a desolate and haunted dream world where shape-shifting avatars of misery dwell, in the company of wraiths that have lost their memories, and any path that might lead them to another, more welcoming, place.

The album is composed of five unusually long tracks, and as might be expected of such extensive journeys, the feelings in the music change over their courses, revealing both moodiness and mounting tension, inconsolable grief and aimless anger, glimmering wistfulness and extravagant, even magisterial, anguish. The power (and volume) of the sound also ebbs and flows — dramatically, but fluidly — but never really shows you a way back to the waking world.

Codex Tenebris will soon be released (on February 15th) the Irish label Cursed Monk Records, but you won’t have to wait ’til then to become ensorceled by the album, because we have a full stream for you now. Continue reading »

Feb 112019


The looming approach of a massive new Ataraxie album should be enough to cause some fragile listeners to cower in fear, and even to lead stronger souls to gird their emotions for a catastrophic assault on all hope and joy, to prepare for total immersion in madness and pain.

Ataraxie’s world-view is implacably bleak, just as their music is unsparing in its daunting intensity. Almost five years ago, in the aftermath of Ataraxie’s last album (2013’s L’être et la nausée), the band’s vocalist/bassist Jonathan Théry told our interviewer (here): Continue reading »

Feb 112019


DunkelNacht’s last album, 2014’s Revelatio (reviewed here), was an explosion of creative exuberance, an extravagant combination of diverse styles that defeated easy summarization, perhaps something like a three-way orgy among Belphegor, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and The Black Dahlia Murder, with Dissection and Blut Aus Nord in the mix, too. Since then this part-French, part-Dutch band have released a pair of EPs, and have incorporated both a new vocalist and a new drummer into the line-up, and now have a new album set for release by Non Serviam Records on February 28th.

Like the last album, the new one — Empire of Mediocracy — has a unifying conceptual underpinning, one that continues to explore the stratification of society and the sources of true power.  Musically, it represents a further progression of the band’s sound (which has been evolving all along), yet is still a source of extravagant creative exuberance , which is abundantly on display in the song we’re premiering today: “Amongst the Remnants of Liberty“. Continue reading »

Feb 082019


Pune, India, might seem like an unexpected place to find a melodic death metal band whose songs are based on pagan Viking cultures, with an affinity for Norse and Celtic melody and lyrical narratives based of the escapades of mythic warriors. But Pune is indeed where Ragnhild are based, and those are indeed the interests that have helped shape their songwriting so far (though they’ve said that their future plans will likely include writing songs based on ancient Indian culture).

After seven years of work as a band, Ragnhild‘s first album, Tavern Tales, is projected for release on March 10th, and today it’s our pleasure to host the premiere of a lyric video for a savage but glorious song called “Under the Red Sky“, which also includes footage of the band’s fiery performance of the track. Continue reading »

Feb 072019


Wondrous natural landscapes encircle the earth at almost every latitude, but it seems that every one marked by the footprints of humankind has been marred by legacies of violence and shame. Beneath the ground, at depths both shallow and deep, the soil is salted with bitter graves and crumbling bones, and the recorded histories preserve chilling memories, both haunting and horrifying, no matter how much living peoples might wish to brush them away like annoying flies or permanently erase them.

Within the boundaries of New Mexico are many such wondrous landscapes; much of the State is so beautiful it takes your breath away. But it too, like most of the southwestern United States (and almost everywhere else in the world), has been defaced by the footprints of humankind and scarred by its own legacies of human abomination.

New Mexico’s Heretical Sect disclose almost nothing about themselves (though we’re told they’re also members of more prominent bands, and that they live in one of that State’s most stunning locales, Santa Fe), but we do have some insights into their musical vision, thanks to an introduction provided by the three labels who are jointly releasing their self-titled debut EP on March 1st (Redefining Darkness Records, Caligari Records, and Vendetta Records): Continue reading »

Feb 072019


When I first heard “System Failure” back in September 2017, I had an immediate and overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction. The rest of the album launched by that opening track turned out to be just as wild, and every bit as good. We did our own part in helping spread the word about the record by hosting the premiere of another ferocious track, which further demonstrated the band’ ability to deliver bone-breaking, organ-rupturing punishment while creating mood-altering melodies that gave their brutalizing assaults an atmospheric quality.

The band in question are a group of explosive and technically adept death metal juggernauts from Gatineau, Québec, named Insurrection, and the album was Extraction, the band’s fourth full-length campaign against the human race (released by Galy Records). Today we have the chance to host another Insurrection premiere, and this time it’s a music video for that first track I encountered from the album — “System Failure“.

The song has lost none of its blood-rushing appeal since it first surfaced 18 months ago, and the video only makes the music more electrifying by giving those of us who’ve never seen Insurrection on stage a taste of the way in which the band and their audiences feed off of the riotous intensity of each other’s energy. Continue reading »