These columns are always difficult to put together. There are just so many worthy candidates to choose from. But this weekend seemed even more difficult than usual. In an effort to call attention to as much new music as I could, I’ve made this a two-parter. To get things started, I chose advance tracks from four forthcoming records and sandwiched in a new video for a song we’ve praised before. Part 2 will be devoted to a few complete new releases.
First up are a pair of stunning advance tracks from Temple of Khronos, the second album by Australia’s Spire. “Harbinger” is an immediate storm of reality-rending chaos, a conflagration of blasting drums, massed, maniacally swirling guitars, and a choir of vocalists who seem to be in the throes of a mind-scarring out-of-body experience. The intensity will suck the wind from your lungs, but the glimmering, otherworldly melodies, which become stricken with grief and despair when the momentum slows, and the ominous chanting, which adds an element of solemn and haunting grandeur, make the song even more compelling.