Sep 122018
 

 

Heavy metal’s fascination with the occult has deep roots and shows no signs of weakening. It is manifested in many ways, not all of which can be reconciled into some philosophically consistent gestalt, running the gamut from sorcery and witchcraft to elaborate schools of satanism, from the Dark Lords of Middle Earth to the horrors conceived by Lovecraft.

To this day, the embracing and channeling of evil cuts broad swaths across metal genres (white magic fell before the power of black magic within heavy metal in its infancy), though how we should understand the concept of “evil” and why it’s such a persistent feature of metal are subjects beyond the scope of this post. The subjects are on my mind simply because they had something to do with why I chose the following five new songs for this round-up, all of which appeared (in many instances without warning) over the last 24 hours.

CIRITH UNGOL

The first bolt from the blue took the form of the first studio recording by these Kings of the Dead since the release of Paradise Lost in 1991. It’s a single named “Witch’s Game“, which was recorded for inclusion in the forthcoming animated movie The Planet of Doom (more info about that here). The B-side of the single is a live version of “Doomed Planet” as performed at Germany’s Hammer of Doom festival in 2017. As you can see, it comes with stunning cover art by Michael Whelan. Continue reading »

Jan 142017
 

 

There was a time not so long ago, relative to the entire span of my life, when I wouldn’t have considered any of these four songs to be infectious. Certainly 10 years ago, and maybe even 7, I probably would have considered them almost unlistenable. But my own tastes and appreciation for metal have evolved, and now I would get depressed imagining life without these songs. For me, they are all so compelling that I go back to each of them repeatedly, even with as much time as I spend listening to new music. And that’s kind of the main criterion for this list.

To hear the other songs that were added before these, go here. After you listen to these songs, I don’t think there will be any mystery why I grouped them together.

CANTIQUE LÉPREUX

As you know, I get very excited about new music on almost a daily basis. But this song… this song nearly made my heart explode the first time I heard it, and it brings my heart near to exploding every damned time I hear it. How many songs do that to you? Continue reading »

May 252016
 

Gevurah-Hallelujah_Cover_750

 

The Montreal black metal band Gevurah made deep and lasting impressions in these quarters with their 2013 debut EP Necheshirion (discussed here) and their 2015 two-song demo Dialogue of Broken Stars (reviewed here). In less than 10 days the band’s stupendous debut album Hallelujah! will be released by Profound Lore Records, and we bring you the chance to hear all of it today.

The album is the creation of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter X.T. (who also recorded and mixed the album) and guitarist/bassist A.L. It consists of seven tracks and more than 60 minutes of music. As described by the band, “Hallelujah! is a seven-step spiritual journey of Alchemical transformation, through the death and rebirth of the Self as a pure entity of praise, a vessel for the powers beyond. It is an exhalation of worship, a humbling vow of unwavering devotion to the Lord of unbound Light.” Continue reading »

Mar 262016
 

Sorcery-Garden of Bones

 

I blogged like a blogging fool last week, shirking my fucking day job to an embarrassing extent. Now I have to pay for all the shirking by working this weekend. Or at least that’s the plan; I wouldn’t bet a lot of money on that if I were you. But before I attempt to make good on that noxious plan, here’s a collection of news and new music that’s not noxious, except in a good way.

SORCERY

I discovered yesterday that Xtreem Music will be releasing a new Sorcery album named Garden of Bones on May 15. I’m as excited as a springbok being chased by a cheetah. Continue reading »

Nov 222015
 

Nachash-Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse

 

As you can see, I decided to give the “Seen and Heard” title a rest for today, but that’s still what this post really is — another selection of music I’ve come across in recent days that I thought you might enjoy as much as I have. Most of what’s in here is new, some of it only newly discovered by yours truly. As is usually the case, the featured music is stylistically diverse. And because this is a birthday weekend at NCS, I decided to really load up this post with a lot of listening.

NACHASH

We’ll start this collection of music with the debut EP from Norway’s Nachash, a four-track offering entitled Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse. Though it was released in February of this year (through Unborn Productions), I only discovered it recently, and what a discovery it has been.

The four long songs on the EP are rich and multifaceted. The final track “A Necromancer’s Lament”, which is set to play first on Bandcamp, is like a melding of stoner doom and black metal; the riffs are so goddamn delicious that I got pulled headfirst into the rest of the EP as if I’d been sucked into a whirlpool. Continue reading »

Mar 242013
 

We’re sitting on a cornucopia of promos for forthcoming releases by relatively high-profile bands such as Amorphis, ArsisChildren of Bodom, The Dillinger Escape PlanFinntrollHeaven Shall Burn, and Hypocrisy. We will be reviewing some of those, and more that I haven’t named. But this morning I felt like exploring new music from more obscure bands whose music I’d never heard. As usual, there’s no rhyme or reason to what I picked.

GEVURAH

The obscurity of this two-man Montreal band is likely to be short-lived since they’ve now been signed by Profound Lore. PL plans to release Gevurah’s five-track debut EP Necheshirion (Hebrew for “snake-like”) on May 28. I haven’t yet seen much publicity about this news, but I did find a stream of one song from the EP, “Flesh Bounds Desecrated”.

That song is an unmitigated aural assault of blackened death metal (or deathened black metal). With almost overpowering force, the band deliver a fast-moving wave-front of blasting drums and harrowing guitar and bass licks, with raw mid-range vocals that scrape like sharpened nails on skin. Continue reading »