Sep 292021


In writing about new music I sometimes become intrigued by the titles of records or songs, or by conceptual themes or cover art, even if none of that may have anything to do with the experience of listening. Driven by nothing more than intellectual curiosity, I find myself tunneling down internet rabbit holes to satisfy that curiosity, and maybe to learn something new along the way. That happened in spades with Allegoresis, the forthcoming second EP by the Tucson-based death metal band Exsul.

There were already manifold hints of Exsul’s unusual intellectual interests in the song titles on their 2020 self-titled debut EP, and even more so in the titles strewn across their new one. Consider the name of the first song that was revealed from Allegoresis: “How in the Land of Satin We Saw Hearsay, Who Kept a School of Vouching“.

At first I thought this might just be clever wordplay, substituting “Satin” for you-know-who and “Hearsay” for “Heresy”. But my researching revealed that it is instead the title of Chapter XXXI of The Fifth Book by the French Renaissance writer, physician, humanist, monk, and Greek scholar François Rabelais.

And that isn’t the only reference to a Rabelaisian work in the songcraft of Exsul. There’s another song on the new EP named “Pantagruelion“, which I discovered is a name given by Rabelais to “a magical plant capable through its many applications of furthering the progress of the human race”. It appears in The Third Book (Le Tiers Livre in French), yet another book of the heroic deeds and sayings of the giant kings Gargantua and Pantagruel.

And then there’s “Psychomachia“, the name of the song we’re premiering today. Here’s what you’ll find about “Psychomachia” in The Font of All Human Knowledge: Continue reading »

Sep 082021


The usual deluge of new music is already under way this week, but for the most part what I’ve pulled together in this round-up is music that surfaced last week. As I was making my way through a gigantic list of new tracks over the past weekend, I squirreled these away because I thought they’d make a good compilation.

All the music leans hard into death metal, though not without some other ingredients, and the three sensations that come to mind when I think about all of this after the fact are these: Violence, eeriness, and derangement.


To begin I’ve chosen a split released last Friday by Xenoglossy Productions and I, Voidhanger Records. Entitled The Permian​-​Triassic Extinction Event, it includes two tracks by Thecodontion and one long one by Vessel of Iniquity. Thematically, it is based on “the titular Permian-Triassic extinction event (commonly known as ‘The Great Dying’), and life emerging anew afterwards”. To quote further from the introduction on the Bandcamp page: Continue reading »