Oct 222014
 

In this post, we’re premiering the title track to Random Cosmic Violence, the new album on Relapse Records by Usnea from Portland, Oregon. If you’re smart and/or impatient, you’ll scroll down and just listen to it. But I have some things to say about the album as a whole, and I will have my say.

Almost everything about the album is huge. The human skeletal structure is sturdy, but it wasn’t made for the utterly crushing force of this music. It’s enough to collapse bone like an accordion. And the parts that aren’t cataclysmic are mostly disturbing, except when they’re entrancing.

The music is kindling for metaphors, if you’re given to that sort of thing, which I am. The album was named for a line by Carl Sagan in his book The Demon Haunted World, a line that explains our existence and that of the cosmos itself. We and everything around us, out to the limits of the universe, are the products of violence on a titanic scale. The music imagines all that cold, careless, destructive vastness. Continue reading »

Sep 292014
 

 

(As explained over the weekend, I’m taking a 10-day hiatus from rounding up new song and video premieres in order to focus on reviews, but fortunately we have at least one volunteer stepping up to fill the void. Here’s a post by Leperkahn that focuses on two recent premieres.)

Hey guys! Since Islander is taking a sabbatical from daily round-ups, I figured I’d take a stab at being his fill-in for a few days here, or at least until I realize that my problem sets won’t do themselves and Wealth of Nations won’t read itself. This shall serve as part 1, with future parts coming at likely very irregular intervals. If you feel like I’ve overlooked something that the peoples of the NCS universe should be cramming into their ears, feel free to shoot me an email at brendan@sdmetal.com. Anyway, herein we have two new song premieres, from opposite corners of both the globe and the metal spectrum.

TREPALIUM

A few weeks back France’s Trepalium unleashed upon us “Moonshine Limbo” (featured here), a glorious little ditty that was easily the best swing jazz/metal combo I’ve heard since Diablo Swing Orchestra’s last album back in 2012. It came replete with a bitchin’ horn section and the first time I’ve ever truly heard scat-screaming. I mention this because the group have now released the second song from their forthcoming EP Voodoo Moonshine, “Fire On Skin”.

The song is perhaps a bit less overtly jazzy than the title track – I didn’t hear the aforementioned bitchin’ horn section this time – but the arrangement and progression of the song is still rooted pretty firmly in jazz territory, only remaining death metal because of the instrument choices and Cédric Punda’s eviscerating roars. The jabbing verse riff in particular gave me the sensation that I was in the ring with Muhammad Ali at his prime, jolting left and right with each nasty hook the chugging riff planted into my sides. Continue reading »

Jun 082014
 

Maybe sometime soon I will attempt to review a full-length album by someone, but this weekend I’ve been trying to catch up on shorter works. I have two recent split releases to recommend, with full music streams accompanying the following reviews.

RUINS / USNEA

This two-song split makes for an interesting juxtaposition of styles and a good introduction to two bands who deserve more notoriety.

Ruins make their home in Bielefeld, Germany, and this split is their most recent release following a 2013 album (Incidents) and a couple of other shorter recordings. Their track is named “Discrimen”. The band start ratcheting the tension immediately with a buzzing hornet swarm of guitars and the rhythmic thunder of a heavy bass line and tumbling drums. It’s a galvanizing start, and the music grows even more energized and potent as the song progresses and the vocalist’s gritty howls join the fray. Just as the slashing riffs start to really get their hooks into your head, the music veers off the road briefly before getting traction again in an intense finish.

The music fuels a blood lust, but the fist-swinging hardcore aggression is balanced by the band’s talent for interweaving rhythmic dynamism and subtly infectious melodies that have a way of hanging around your head after the song ends. Good stuff.

*** Continue reading »