Jul 032020
 

 

I’m mindful of the fact that today Bandcamp is waiving its revenue share, which means that more of the money you throw at Bandcamp releases today will land in the pockets of bands and labels. So I’m trying to make a lot of recommendations, many of which were included in Part 1 of this post. But I’m also mindful of the fact that time is running out. And so although this Part 2 of today’s collection consists of complete releases rather than individual songs, I’m not attempting anything close to reviews, just a few words of description and recommendation.

Needless to say, there are dozens of other recent releases I could have included here (2020 has been ridiculously strong for metal, IMO), so there’s more than a bit of randomness in the choices I made. Nevertheless, I back each of these wholeheartedly. (I should add that this collection is heavy on the black and blackened metal, because that’s where I’ve spent a lot of my recent listening time.)

ADORA VIVOS / AMIENSUS  (U.S.)

A beautiful and ravishing split that includes not only a great Amiensus song but also the magnificent return of Adora Vivos after a 7-year silence, a band that includes former Amiensus multi-instrumentalist J. Waller (on both Restoration and Ascension) and Amiensus vocalist/guitarist James Benson. This one won’t leave you the same way it found you. Continue reading »

Jul 032020
 


Ars Magna Umbrae

 

This is a great day for metal fans to support bands with their money. It’s a harrowing day for metal bloggers like myself.

It’s a great day because Bandcamp is again waiving its share of revenues from sales on its site, which means more money generated from purchases and donations goes directly to bands and labels, some of whom are in turn donating proceeds to charitable causes.

It’s a harrowing day because bands and labels have been releasing a HUMONGOUS AMOUNT OF MUSIC to take advantage of the occasion. Beginning yesterday and continuing today, my in-box has exploded with Bandcamp alerts and press releases, and that’s on top of the usual flood of other new music appearing earlier in the week. There’s no way I can sample all of it. But I’ve sampled some of it, and you see the results in this post — or at least some of them.

What I’ve done here is to collect individual songs and videos for new releases (and a few older ones), arranged in alphabetical order by band name. Many of those releases, but not all, can be purchased or pre-ordered on Bandcamp to take advantage of the revenue-share waiver. In Part 2 I’ll quickly throw out recommendations for complete new releases that would also be good candidates for your Bandcamp purchases. Continue reading »

Jun 272020
 

 

This is a follow-on to another gigantic round-up I posted yesterday, and almost all of the songs and videos below were released during the last five days.

I may have mentioned that although my day-job (which still hasn’t reopened) is in Seattle, I live on an island in Puget Sound. Living here has lots of pluses and a few minuses, one of which is that whenever one of the weather gods so much as sneezes the power and the internet go out, which is what happened this morning.

So, I’ve been using my phone as a hot spot. That has slowed me down, and has made doing this tedious enough that I’ve not only cut back on my words but also largely left these items without the usual purchase links, Facebook pages, and other info about the records. I’ll try to go back and fill all that in when doing it is a less annoying process.

CIRKELN (Sweden)

An epic musical narrative, both gloom shrouded and frenzied, melancholy and murderous, haunting and majestic. Seemingly a Tolkein-esque tale told by an orc bred in the subterranean halls of Utumno and raging against his enslavement, the dramatic song blends numerous heavy metal styles to very good effect. Continue reading »

Jun 262020
 

 

On Sunday I mentioned that I had a big block of time over the weekend that I was able to spend listening to new music. Almost everything I’ve selected for the following set of recommendations came out of that listening session. I resisted the impulse to replace a lot of those selections with things that came out this week, but I did add three of the tracks that surfaced during this week. Hopefully I’ll get to more of those in tomorrow’s round-up. The music today is presented in alphabetical order by band name.

ANOPHELI (U.S.)

I’m starting with something that’s not entirely new. It’s a debut album by Anopheli from Oakland, California (and other places), that was originally released in 2o15 (and I wrote about it here at that time). But the band had the album re-mastered by the same man who mastered the original release — the veteran producer Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden. He explained the changes: “”Things to listen for. It’s less overloaded and everything is more articulate. The overall low end is deeper, the high end is clearer. The drums snap better and interfere less with the other instruments.” Continue reading »

Jun 232020
 

 

(So far, Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood) has shared with us (here,  here, and here) three playlists of musical suggestions to help us get through the current plague time, and today he follows those with a fourth selection.)

As I said before, I wanted to do four of these things, with the intent that they would help people stuck indoors find something new to listen to and to help the artists involved since our world was basically put on ice for a bit.

Through the first three of these it seemed, for the most part, that people were being responsible and doing their part to get through this shit as painlessly as possible. But, this is America and people somehow think every small inconvenience is an affront to their freedom. And our fine fellow citizens seem happy to protest science like it’s a goddamned wizard’s spellbook and raise their concerns until something actually happens worth raising a ruckus for, but seems a lot of the same people bitching that a mask somehow makes them less free button the fuck up. Continue reading »

Jun 202020
 

 

In many weeks the title of this round-up hasn’t been entirely accurate, because although I post them on Saturdays, sometimes I’ve listened to the songs before Saturday has arrived. Not this time.

This time I let the entire week go by without listening to much new music other than what I had agreed to premiere. My day job has been unusually annoying this week, and I continue to be distracted by the unnerving daily news of what’s happening in the world around us. This time, after gulping a couple of cups of coffee, I started the day by trying to catch up, and these selections survived that Saturday morning sifting process.

Needless to say, I didn’t make much headway in my giant list of things I wanted to check out from the past week (and the weeks before), but I had really good luck with what I did decide to check out.

PRIMITIVE MAN

I contend that there’s no better “intro” to a Primitive Man song than the gashing of ears with feedback, because what usually happens next is an ugly and unnerving experience. Why sugarcoat it? Continue reading »

Jun 192020
 


The just-discovered original handwritten “Juneteenth” military order informing thousands of people held in bondage in Texas that they were free

 

Today is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. To help celebrate the day, Bandcamp has announced that “from midnight to midnight PDT, and every Juneteenth hereafter, for any purchase you make on Bandcamp, we will be donating 100% of our share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.”

To be clear, this isn’t the same as what Bandcamp did on June 5th (and will do again on July 3rd), when it waived its share of sales of digital music and merch on the site. Today it will still collect its share, but it is promising to donate that share to a cause that aligns with the Juneteenth celebration. And that provides an added reason to consider purchases on Bandcamp today.

It also provides a reason for me to do what I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of weeks — to spread the word about some recently released compilations of underground music on Bandcamp. I know that I probably overlooked some, but these are the ones I made note of when I saw them. If you know of others, please leave a Comment. (Some of these are name-your-own-price downloads, but if yoiu kick in some money for those, Bandcamp’s pledge will still apply.) Continue reading »

Jun 132020
 

 

I am always behind in listening to what I want to explore, but have fallen further and further behind this week, chiefly due to the malaise that many of us have felt from the protracted lockdown, which is only just beginning to lift where I live.

In genuinely random fashion I decided to listen to only two releases this morning out of the hundreds I could have chosen, both of them peaking my interest for different reasons. And I made the gamble of recording in words what I was hearing as both releases unfolded, not knowing in advance whether that effort would be worth the time, because I wasn’t sure going into them how I would feel about their worth.

It was a gamble that paid off. Both of these choices proved to be very good ones, and well worth recommending to you. As it happened, both are also very dark and dolorous, albeit in very different ways. Along with the recommendations, I’ll share the notes I made, not that you need them, but because I generally hate to throw anything away.

HOLY DEATH

The first release I chose is a 20-minute song named Celestial Throne ov Grief by the death/doom trio Holy Death, who came to us out of the Nevada desert by way of Los Angeles. It was digitally released on June 5th. I picked it because (as I explained here) I was so impressed with the band’s second EP (released in March), Supreme Metaphysical Violence. And now for my notes: Continue reading »

Jun 102020
 

 

To borrow the words of Mark Twain, reports of the death of melodic death metal are greatly exaggerated. Granted, there have been times over the last decade when it seemed the genre was on life support, but every now and then a band will come along and slam on the defibrillators with exhilarating effects. Meridian Dawn are one of those bands, a small collective of experienced musicians with differing nationalities who’ve been united by a passion for that hard-to-kill genre, and with the talent to give it a high-voltage kick-start.

Originally formed as a side project by vocalist Antony Hämäläinen (Nightrage, Armageddon, Crystal Tears) and guitarist/bassist Nick Ziros (Into The Moat, Remembering Never), Meridian Dawn released their debut EP in 2014, and now, six years later, they’re returning with a debut album. Entitled The Fever Syndrome, it will be released by Seeing Red Records on July 10th, and today we’re in the fortunate position of presenting a lyric video for its electrifying first single, “Iconic“. Continue reading »

Jun 082020
 

 

If you’re seeing this before seeing the first two Parts of the round-up, I hope you’ll check out Part 1 and Part 2. After a lot of singing in Part 2, we’re moving back into music that’s more in line with the site’s name.

BLACK CROWN INITIATE (U.S.)

The kaleidoscopic opening track in this collection moves from mystical and mesmerizing sounds into the embrace of humming low tones and head-hooking beats (and singing), and from there into a grim, ravaging, bullet-spitting attack, augmented by doses of vocal ferocity (as well as flaring melody and soaring song). Skittering, darting, and delirious fretwork and blaring chords propel the song to fiery heights, and the singing becomes spine-tingling. A welcome return from these talented dudes…. Continue reading »