Jun 182022
 

 

A Friday night spent carousing followed by a lazy Saturday morning doesn’t make a good predicate for a Saturday music roundup. And yes, I was languid this morning, rather than hungover, after exercising rare restraint on the alcohol last night. But though functional today, I wasn’t feeling motivated. The cool, gray, damp weather outside may have had something to do with that. While the rest of the country seems to be an oven, I was luxuriating in a Pacific Northwest gift.

And then, and then, I still spent an hour and a half flitting through a list of new songs and videos I’d made in as the week went by. Finally, I made these picks.

MANTAR (U.S./Germany)

Mantar have a new look, at least for the video you’re about to see, and new stylistic ingredients in the music too, but they haven’t forsaken their visceral intensity. It pours out through the vocals, which reach shattering zeniths (and also bring Kurt Cobain to mind at times), and through the angst-ridden but soaring riffs and keys, and the booming and battering drums. It’s also damned difficult to get out of the head once you’ve heard it. Continue reading »

Jun 072021
 

 

Today’s roundup of new music and videos is a real hodgepodge (or perhaps you would prefer mishmash) of metallic creativity. At least one of the entries is a massive hodgepodge unto itself. A full trip through all of them may leave you shaking your head — hopefully in wonder.

SKEPTICISM (Finland)

2021 marks the 30th anniversary of this pioneering funeral doom band, remarkably with its original line-up still intact. To celebrate their long survival, they have a new album named Companion that’s ready for release on September 24th by Svart Records. The first single, “Calla“, emerged last week with a beautiful and haunting video made by Tuomas A. Laitinen that perfectly suits the music and the equally haunting words, which incorporate references to pale calla lilies in a story of longing and closure. Continue reading »

Dec 092020
 

 

Before listening to the song you’re now about to hear, I had some expectations about what it might sound like, but the expectations were based solely on the previous musical output of one of this new Swedish band’s members rather than any advance descriptive information about the music — of which there was none. What I found turned out to be an electrifying surprise.

The band is Merger Remnant, and it’s a collaboration between Björn Larsson (who performs vocals, guitars, bass, and drums) and his friend Jonas Ström (keys, samples, ambience, guitars). Larsson is best-known to me and to many others as a member of the death metal bands Mordbrand and God Macabre, and that’s what formed the early expectations. Ström, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any kind of metal pedigree.

What they’ve created together, as represented on their debut EP Dregs, is difficult to pin down in genre terms. Based on the song we’re premiering from the EP today — “All-out Violence Upon Life” — death metal is in the mix, but so are strains of black metal, doom, and ambient music, and the song also has a powerful and multi-faceted atmospheric quality. Continue reading »