Jul 222019
 

 

As forecast in Part 1 of this round-up (here), Part 2 goes in very different directions from the four songs I chose for the opening installment yesterday. Hopefully, you will find the variety appealing. I’ll forewarn you (though it’s really intended as an enticement) that despite the variety, it’s all pretty damned destructive.

WITCH VOMIT

Just a few hours down the highway from the NCS headquarters in the Seattle area is Portland, Oregon, home to many sources of potent metallic extremity, including Witch Vomit. Originally a two-man operation, the band eventually expanded, and the current quartet includes people who are current or former members of other Portland death- and black-metal decimators. Witch Vomit‘s new album, Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave, will be released by 20 Buck Spin on August 30th. The great cover art is again the creation of Matt Stikker. Continue reading »

Jul 212019
 

 

We missed a day yesterday, dammit. I spent too much time listening and not enough time writing — so much time listening that I have many things I want to recommend across many heavy genres. I liked the way the following four tracks flowed together, so I’ve collected them here. The plan is to post a second installment of this round-up tomorrow. It goes in very different directions than this one. I’m not posting it today because I want to make time and room for the usual SHADES OF BLACK column, which will arrive soon(ish).

MIZMOR

I spent an hour yesterday listening to Mizmor’s new album Cairn, which is how long it takes to proceed through the record’s four long tracks (they range from 10 minutes to 18 in length). It’s an emotionally overpowering experience, as stunning as the Mariusz Lewandowski painting (“Time Immemorial”) that Mizmor’s alter ego A.L.N. commissioned for the record. Of the album’s four tracks, the opener “Desert of Absurdity” is the first one out in the world, and the first one in today’s collection. Continue reading »

Jul 182019
 

 

I nearly finished this collection in time to post it yesterday before I had to turn to the job that pays me. The delay turned out to be fortuitous, because in the meantime I found something else I was excited to include. As usual, my aim in this selection is to showcase the variety of extreme metal, and to do some extravagant globe-trotting as well.

SEMPITERNAL DUSK

First up is a track named “Spears of Pestilence” from a new album by Portland’s Sempiternal Dusk, set for release by Dark Descent on September 27th. The album title is Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation, and it features cover art by D. Desecrator. Continue reading »

Jul 062019
 

 

In pawing through new music yesterday, like the digital-age version of what I used to do in record stores, I found myself thinking that the music of the following four bands belonged together. I wouldn’t know how to label them if I put them together in a section of the record store in my head, because their musical styles are different. Maybe “DOOMY METAL, BUT OTHER THINGS GOING ON”. Or maybe just “HEAVINESS (AND OCCASIONAL HEAVENLINESS)”.

MADDER MORTEM

The first song I’ve selected is a big exception to our Rule about singing, all the way up until near the end, when Agnete M. Kirkevaag does something shocking with her voice. Until then, as always, she’s bewitching.

But before we get to the song, I should share some important details about the new Madder Mortem album that includes it. Continue reading »

Jul 042019
 

 

I have mixed feelings about the Fourth of July, especially this year, and I’m not the only American who’s feeling torn today. While there are migrants in the midst of a humanitarian crisis on the southern border, the country’s most famous Independence Day celebration has been turned into a taxpayer-funded militaristic political rally for a man who not only could care less about what’s happening to people in Texas detention camps, but actively tries to score extra political points among his supporters by doubling down on the prisoners’ misery. And that’s just today’s most visible one-two punch to the nation’s ideals. There will be more battering tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

On the other hand, I still feel fortunate to have been born here, and still take pride in much of what the country has achieved, and in much of what it stands for when it’s at its best. I also recognize that even though I’m not feeling particularly celebratory today, the Fourth is for many Americans a day of joy, even if it’s just because the day is a good excuse to be in the company of good friends or family, to gorge on comfort food and too much beer and booze, and to watch pretty explosions in the night sky. To all those people, I wish them a fantastic fucking day. Continue reading »

Jul 022019
 

 

Surprise! After a busy June in which I was only able to complete four of these round-ups over the entire month, I’ve now finished two, back to back, in just the first two days of July. One must make hay while the sun shines, although in my case I treat that proverb as less of a command than a suggestion, and one that I don’t follow much more often than “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow”.

As in the case of yesterday’s post, I’ve culled these selections to provide variety, in the hope of appealing to a range of tastes, and mixing at least one widely known name with others that should be better known and still others that are brand new.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES

Milano” is the name of the second advance track from this powerhouse instrumental trio’s new album Blood Year, which will be released on August 2nd by Sargent House. As compared to previous releases, the album is billed as “Russian Circles at their most brutalising”, “fully embrac[ing] the most forceful aspects of the band’s repertoire”, in which “blissful respites and ebbs of calm are fewer and farther between”. Continue reading »

Jul 012019
 

 

To get this new week off to a rousing start I have a round-up of new music from six bands, culled from the good, the bad, and the ugly sounds that found their way to my earholes this past weekend. As is often the case, part of my design in this culling was to provide a selection of metal that might appeal to a range of tastes.

SORCERY

2019 has already proven to be another banner year for death metal, but the news that Sorcery will be releasing a new album still lit up my head like a Roman candle. I know it seems like my enthusiasm overflows on a daily basis around here (the appearances, by the way, aren’t deceiving), but Sorcery still occupy a special place in my black-hearted affections. (The fact that their new album is adorned with another fantastic piece of artwork by Juanjo Castellano is sweet icing on the cake.) Continue reading »

Jun 212019
 

 

Since it’s the summer solstice today, it seemed important to commemorate the event with a selection of new songs. And since festival-binging and assorted other commitments have prevented me from preparing a round-up for the last nine days, it seemed all the more imperative. The array of choices that have surfaced in recent weeks has been extravagant. From my efforts to make a dent in my listening-list last night, I chose these five, with hopefully more to come this weekend.

BLOOD RED THRONE

September seems very far away, but patience will undoubtedly be rewarded because that month will bring us a new album by Blood Red Throne. Their ninth full-length in a career that began in 1998, Fit To Kill will be discharged by Mighty Music on the lucky 13th of September, and includes cover artwork designed by Giannis Nakos.

Struggling with the challenges of patience have been eased somewhat by the appearance earlier this week of a new track named “Skyggemannen” (which premiered at DECIBEL), accompanied by a video clip of the band performing the song for the first time together, at the Grabbenacht festival in Germany. Continue reading »

Jun 122019
 

 

I had grand ambitions for this post, with many more selections than you’re seeing here. I also had the goal of posting it yesterday before I left for the airport to begin a trip to Iceland. That’s where I am now, having arrived foggy-eyed and fuzzy-headed at Keflavik Airport this morning after a red-eye flight. I obviously didn’t get this done in time for yesterday, and had to cut it back to finish in time for today,

TAU CROSS

I’m a huge Tau Cross fan, and therefore was excited to see yesterday’s announcement by Relapse Records that a new album named Messengers of Deception will be released on August 9th. Equally exciting, the band rolled out a video for a new song to mark the occasion. Continue reading »

Jun 082019
 

 

I managed to get Part 2 of this Saturday round-up finished in time to actually post it on Saturday, leaving the field wide open tomorrow for a SHADES OF BLACK column, which also might be a two-parter, and a Sunday premiere. The five songs I chose for Part 1 were consistently high-energy, full-throttle attacks, but the songs I’ve selected for this second installment are much more variable. There is also (gasp!) a healthy helping of clean or almost-clean singing to be found here, but I think you’ll find that it earns the exceptions to our Rule.

HEILUNG

I thought for sure I had written about Heilung before today, but can find no evidence of it. I know that I meant to, because I have been fascinated by their past music. But if this is the first occasion, it’s a worthy one, because their new song “Traust” is simply fantastic. Continue reading »