Jul 082019
 

 

Sometime around 2011, we are told, guitarist and composer Charlie Eron burned a CD with a couple of demo tracks on it and handed it to vocalist Max Phelps (Exist, Death To All, Defeated Sanity, ex-Cynic) and bassist Alex Weber (Exist, Defeated Sanity) at a metal show in Frederick, Maryland. They apparently thought it was pretty cool, and things evolved from there. We are further told that many song iterations, revisions, and years later, the concept that “time is starkly linear and unrecoverable” came to Charlie Eron while working at a desk job “staring vacantly into a computer screen”. And thus, WAIT was born — rounded out by the participation of drummer extraordinaire Anup Sastry (Jeff Loomis, ex-Intervals, ex-Monuments, ex-Skyharbor).

Actually, all the members of WAIT are extraordinary at what they do, and their first release as a progressive death metal unit — the three-track EP We Are In Transit — is, in a word, a marvel. And we present the chance for you to hear it in advance of its July 12 release by The Artisan Era. Continue reading »

Jul 072019
 

 

As you can see, I’ve planned a two-part SOB again. I doubt I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today, and even if I do, I think I’ll defer it to Monday anyway. With so many new-music round-ups lately, I’m afraid we’re at risk of overloading people already, especially because this Part 1 includes four full releases in addition to the two advance tracks I’ve placed at the beginning (and there are additional complete releases in what I have in mind for Part 2)..

NOCTEM

We’ve been closely following the progress of the Spanish band Noctem since 2011, when they released their second album, Oblivion. Four of us have written about the band over the years since then, amassing 16 different posts about them (including two interviews). Obviously, we are fans. But we have equally been persistently curious about what they would do next.

Noctem’s music has always been a blend of death and black metal, but the sound hasn’t remained stagnant. It might go too far to say there has been a continuous trajectory over time, but in general it seems like in the earlier years they were more death-metal focused, whereas the last album, 2016’s Haeresis, leaned more toward the black metal elements in their sound. Based on the title track from their new album, The Black Consecration, it sounds like they’re leaning even harder in that direction, and have in other ways made shifts in sound from their last record. 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 052019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new second album by the Chicago-based, sci-fi-themed death metal band Nucleus, released last month by Unspeakable Axe Records.)

If I’d been able to spend a little more time with this record before now I’d undoubtedly have included it alongside Fuming Mouth and Towering in my recent double-review, as not only does it display a similarly striking blend of old-school influences – marrying the meaty, malevolent riffosity of Morbid Angel to the proggy, proto-brutalism of Death – but it does so in a way that’s so vibrant, so visceral, and so thrillingly vital, that, even now, it still sounds as fresh as when Azagthoth and Schuldiner first set finger to fretboard. Continue reading »

Jul 032019
 

 

(Andy Synn discusses the new album by the Swedish band Oro, which was released on March 1 of this year. And you’ll notice that we dispensed with a genre reference in this introduction, for reasons that will become apparent.)

The term “Post Metal” often inspires a surprisingly strong, and strongly negative, reaction from certain members of the Metal community.

Some people feel that, as a genre-tag, it’s too nebulous and ill-defined (an opinion which, as you’ll soon see, I have some sympathy with), while others feel that the entire claim of being “Post-“ Metal reeks of an unearned sense of arrogance and superiority, as if the band (or bands) in question are putting on airs and claiming themselves to be “beyond” or “above” the rest of the Metal scene.

The truth, of course lies somewhere in between. As a development or subset of “Post Rock”, which itself reflects an attempt to reject the standard strictures and expected dynamic of guitar-led music in favour of a more expansive and expressive approach, there’s definitely still a lingering whiff of hubris surrounding the whole “Post” part of “Post Metal”, even while people continue to point out that trying to do something different with (or within) a genre doesn’t necessarily mean you think you’re too good for it.

But while “Post Rock” has developed, to my ears at least, a relatively clear and unambiguous identity, the term “Post Metal” still seems to get thrown around a little bit too liberally (and randomly) for my tastes, being used to describe bands who basically just play “Post Rock” with some extra distortion, Sludge bands who happen to have a sharper guitar tone than usual, and even Doom artists who opt for a crisper production job than might be considered traditional.

What does all this preamble have to do with Oro, I hear you ask? Well, quite a bit actually… Continue reading »

Jul 022019
 

 

We are told that *dʰg̑ʰm̥tós, the title of the new album by the Swiss band Arkhaaik, is a representation of an ancient Indo-European language that dates to the Bronze Age, and that the same language is used in the song titles and the lyrics. The music itself seems equally to be an attempt to penetrate the barriers of time, to unearth and reimagine primitive rites that might link our modern selves with more primal incarnations of humanity — and with inhuman spirits.

The music’s ritualistic aspects are never far away, especially in the album’s title track, in which the reverberating rhythms sound like the beat of a hide drum, and the tones of other ancient percussive instruments and deep, droning horns join together — along with an array possessed voices — to create a mystical (and frightening) feeling of supplication, ecstasy, and enlightenment.

But while the sense of participating in ancient rites runs through the entire album, the other two tracks portray the rituals through a powerful (and often terrifying) hybrid of “sepulchral death metal, blackened bestiality, and lava-like doom” — to quote the spot-on words of the publicist for Iron Bonehead Productions, who will release the album this coming Friday, July 5th. Today we present a full stream of the album in advance of that release. Continue reading »

Jul 022019
 

 

(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the latest release by one of his favorite bands, Australia’s Disentomb, which is set for release on July 12th by Unique Leader Records.)

This time around I have the opportunity to review the new release by one of the my favorite BDM bands from Australia, the amazing Disentomb. This project formed back in 2009 and released a demo the same year. Late in 2010 they released their debut album, entitled Sunken Chambers of Nephilim. I discovered the band in 2011, as did many others — that debut took the whole BDM scene by storm, a massive slab of pure raw and filthy BDM with Disgorge influences.

That release quickly took its place among my favorite debuts in the genre. Their musicianship was impressive even though the guys at that time were (I believe) still in their teenage years. Regardless of their age, this is one album that every BDM fan is aware of, and it’s time to recognize it as a classic that will pass the test of time. 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 282019
 

 

(In this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn focuses on the albums released to date by the Swedish band This Gift Is A Curse, including a review of their most recent album A Throne of Ash, released by Season of Mist on June 14th.)

Recommended for fans of: Dragged Into Sunlight, Celeste, The Secret

The type of Black Metal meets Sludge meets Hardcore hybrid championed by Swedish spitfires This Gift Is A Curse has always appealed to me on a deep, dark level. I can’t necessarily tell you exactly why, but it’s true all the same.

There’s just something about the sheer, bloodthirsty intensity of the music, the absolute refusal to pull any punches or offer any quarter, that makes it impossible to resist.

It’s an ugly, nasty, nihilistic sound, make no mistake about it, but it’s also thrillingly visceral and alive. And the three albums produced by This Gift Is A Curse (the most recent of which was only released a couple of weeks back) are three of the very best examples of the style in all its grim and gruesome glory. Continue reading »

Jun 272019
 

 

With their second album, released in 2005, the Greek band Order of the Ebon Hand began drawing Tarot cards from an unholy deck, embarking on a plan to explore the signs of each card drawn through the perspectives of black metal. The plan has been slow to evolve. That second album, XV: The Devil, followed the band’s 1997 full-length debut by eight years, and their new album, VII: The Chariot, is now arriving a long 14 years following the second one. It is so sweepingly powerful that we can only hope the next card in the deck will be revealed much sooner.

Today marks the official release of VII: The Chariot by the Russian labels Satanath Records and More Hate Productions, and coinciding with the release we have the good fortune to debut a full stream of this tremendous album — preceded by a flood of thoughts about the experience. Continue reading »