Nocturnal Convocation to Release Mors Omnia Solvit on Cursed Monk Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

‘Italian necro doom,’ huh? Yeah, I’ll check that out. Nocturnal Convocation aren’t quite what I’d expect though when it comes to actually listening. I was thinking standard fog-laced cultistry perhaps with a Paul Chain flourish, but actually hearing “Capitulum II,” it sure sounds a lot like black metal. Enough so that I went back and made sure I had clicked the right link. And looking at the art? Yeah, that kind of looks like it could be black metal. And the whole anonymous-band-unnamed-songs-releasing-on-the-darkest-night-of-the-year thing? Well, that could definitely be black metal too.

I think this one might just be black metal. At least in the one song, if not the full record. I don’t know what might be going on elsewhere with it as yet.

Where does the line draw between one style and another? What is to be gained by transgressing one genre for another? I’m nerdy for these questions, and I know not everyone is, but if you might be, it’s something to think about what you check out the song in the video below. Seems like the band might just be one guy, but whatever/whoever/however many, it’s pretty nasty stuff.

Dig:

nocturnal-convocation-Mors-Omnia-Solvit

Cursed Monk Records are thrilled to announce that we will be releasing Nocturnal Convocation’s debut album “Mors Omnia Solvit.”

This mysterious Italian Necro Doom band has entered a pact with one another to not disclose their photos, nor information about their members, nor even information about the lyrics of their songs. Their ritualistic necro doom speaks for itself.

Mors Omnia Solvit will be released on CD and DD during the Winter Solstice, December 21st, when night is at its longest.

You can check out a video for “Capitulum II” which is the first track to be released from the album, here.

“Mors Omnia Solvit” is available for preorder here: https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com/album/mors-omnia-solvit

Tracklisting:
1. Capitulum I
2. Capitulum II
3. Capitulum III
4. Capitulum IV
5. Capitulum V
6. Capitulum VI

https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/
https://www.instagram.com/cursedmonkrecords/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com/

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Blutbad to Release Alcohodyssey Jan. 31; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

blutbad

You like stoner rock chicanery? You like dudes in space? You like charm? Well, here you go. Blutbad waste no time in tapping into stoner rock’s timeless, silly and generally-intoxicated appeal, and their beery Alcohodyssey — which, man, I’m having trouble with; I keep leaving out the ‘ho,’ so it’s just ‘alcodyssey’; these are the things that plague me — is set to release at the end of January through Argonauta Records. In honor of launching preorders, the video for “Alcohodyssey Pt. 1,” which is subtitled as “Alcohodyssey Pt. 1 (The Space Adventures of the Hopshunters)” — because of course it is — the has also come out and, well, my sincere appreciation and maybe sympathy for the dude they decided should dress like a robot for it. Everyone else got to show up mostly casual, or maybe with a little cyborg implant here and there, but my man went all out. Someone had to. Had to be done.

The art is comic style, again, because of course it is, and can be found below, with album info, preorder link, and the aforementioned video. All came down the PR wire and magically turned blue:

blutbad Alcohodyssey

BLUTBAD Signs With Argonauta Records + Unleashes Album Details & Music Video!

They are fast, loud and rude, and they will be coming for you: Italy’s heavy groove and stoner rockers, BLUTBAD, have inked a worldwide deal with the ever-growing Argonauta Records, who will release the band’s first, full length studio album, titled Alcohodyssey, on January 31st 2020!

Following their 2017, self-released Extrarock EP, BLUTBAD continue to burst into the scene with an authentic sound that mixes Rock’n’Roll’s fast guitars, heavy Stoner riffs, Punk’s Tupa Tupa and the attitude of Motörhead-alike 90s metal and heavy rock prototypes. While the band successfully manages to create a sound that is different from the usual, they are especially a lot of fun to listen to and experience live – and will be highly recommended for fans of Red Fang, Municipal Waste and alikes! Today BLUTBAD have not only announced the signing with well-respected underground label Argonauta Records, but have also unleashed the first details of their upcoming debut album plus a first and fun video to the single Alcohodyssey Part.1. Get on a space trip with BLUTBAD and watch the video HERE!

Album Tracklist:
01 Lost in Space (feat. Kristallo)
02 Alcohodyssey part.1 (The space adventures of the hopshunters)
03 Die Alone
04 Sunday of Living Dead
05 Space Trumps
06 I want to believe
07 Alcohodyssey part.2 (The great escape from Bikini planet)
08 Steam Road
09 Interstellaris 0042
10 Flash Goldon (feat. Niko from Own Paw Thee Die)
11 Arcade Mood (feat. Kristallo)

The Alcohodyssey will be taking place on January 31st 2020, on CD and in Digital formats with Argonauta Records – the pre-sale has just started at THIS LOCATION!

BLUTBAD is:
Tomi Versetti – Vocals
Manu Il Bello – Guitar/Vocals
Michael Deon – Bass
Davide Tonin – Drums

www.theblutbaden.wixsite.com/website
www.facebook.com/blutbadnoise
www.instagram.com/blutbadnoise
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/argonautarecords

Blutbad, “Alcohodyssey Pt. 1” official video

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NAGA Premiere “Thanatou” from Void Cult Rising; Album out Nov. 15

Posted in audiObelisk on October 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

naga

Business is getting nastier in Napoli. Since Italy’s NAGA released their self-titled debut EP in 2013, their trajectory has consistently been a downward spiral — atmospherically speaking, not in terms of the quality of their output — into an inflicted and charred morass of grim post-sludge. As was manifest on 2014’s HEN (review here) and its 2016 Lay Bare Recordings-issued follow-up, Inanimate, the trio have only grown darker as they’ve moved forward into this realm of intended extremity, and their latest manifestation, the six-song/44-minute Spikerot release, Void Cult Rising, takes cues from spacious black metal on opener “Only a God Can’t Save Us” and uses them as a foundation from which to conjure post-metallic ambience in pieces like “Melete” and “Thanatou” — the latter serving as their “Stones from the Sky”-moment; can’t be post-metal without one — while keeping the bite in the screaming vocals of guitarist Lorenzo De Stefano. Through a lumbering churner like “Bedim the Sun” and higher-register-tension-into-utter-noise-wash of the penultimate “Pyre,” NAGA demonstrate the willfulness of their creativity and the purpose of their aesthetic evolution, the progressive mindset that’s brought them to the near-lightless place they now reside.

Void Cult Rising is the kind of album that reviewers plaster with hyperbolic warnings about not being “for the faint of heart,” and while I’ll spare you that — adding as I do that I hope this post finds you in good health generally; thanks for reading — it’s nonetheless true that anything so extreme is going to be all the more select in who can approach it on its own merits. If you can’t get down with vocal scathe, you might not find your place in NAGA‘s void cult — which, given the progression of the 14-minuteNAGA Void Cult Rising title-track that closes, seems all the more like their very own incarnation of Amenra‘s “church of Ra” — and that seems just fine by the band. Clearly their exploration is about more than locking in maximum audience appreciation or they’d be a pop band. As it stands, Void Cult Rising is the most outwardly heavy and the most intentionally brutal thing they’ve done, as De Stefano, bassist Emanuele and drummer Dario — all three of whom have been on board since the debut EP — find sense in what to so many no doubt sounds like pure chaos. It isn’t, in fact, chaotic. It’s thought out, rife with expressive drive and uncompromising force.

As they move through the last march and noise-soaked abrasion of the title-track, with the song finally tearing itself apart past 11 minutes in en route to a long fadeout of static and feedback and other residual sounds, NAGA come across like they’re letting go into the void in question, but even giving that impression is a purposeful drive on the part of the band. Void Cult Rising is full of these kinds of realizations, and whichever end to which a given song might tip the balance of their aesthetic between post-metal, black metal, doom or sludge, the fact remains that all of it feeds into the central identity that becomes NAGA‘s own by the time they’re done. A third album, traditionally, is where a band finds the path that they’ll continue to talk as they go forward (those that do), and NAGA could certainly do a lot worse in terms of direction, but they don’t at all seem like they’re finished pushing themselves into new territory either, and that’s just as much a part of who they are as any individual riff, scream or crash presented here. They may be cohesive and sure of what they’re doing, but they by no means come across as settled or ready to settle. No. They’ll try to outdo this, and given the places Void Cult Rising seems willing to go, they just might do it.

You can watch/listen to the premiere of “Thanatou” below, followed by a quote from De Stefano about the song and more PR wire background, including the preorder link for Void Cult Rising, which is out Nov. 15 on Spikerot Records.

Enjoy:

NAGA, “Thanatou” official track premiere

Singer/guitarist Lorenzo De Stefano on “Thanatou”:

“‘Thanatou’ is part of the climax of Void Cult Rising and represents together with ‘Melete’ one of its most intense passages. In general the album is a meditation on death (melete thanatou for the ancient Greeks) given by a series of events in our lives that have left a mark in this regard and therefore inspired most of my lyrics. ‘Thanatou’ wants to depict a soliloquy of a dying man forced to be silent, he can hear his beloved ones around him but can’t express what he feels because of a sensory dulling, and he let himself go in a consideration on the human finitude, on his own life, in the inability to rely on any transcendence whatsoever. Toward the end there’s a quote from a Eugenio Montale verse that I’ve always loved: ‘Yet it remains that something has happened, perhaps nothing that is everything,’ which summarize in just a few words what I think remains of our lives from an atheistic point of view: the memory, nothing compared to eternity and yet for us all that matters.”

Italian Blackened Doom monster NAGA is ready to make their comeback in November with a new obscure effort called ‘Void Cult Rising’ following up the fortunate ‘Hen’ and ‘Inanimate’. Deeply grounded in the sulphurean atmosphere of their land, their aim is to deliver the biggest amount of distortion, heaviness and nihilism to your ears. No concept, no bullshits, no happiness, just sound anger and frustration to exorcise and reflect the greyness and despair of contemporary world.

Using the words of frontman Lorenzo De Stefano”Void Cult Rising is a meditation on death from a personal perspective, like for example losing someone dear, but also a global one like the end of all things”.

The Naples-based three-piece pick up where they left off, shaping a masterpiece of grief and nihilism.

Void Cult Rising will be coming out November 15th via Spikerot Records and is now available for pre-order RIGHT HERE

NAGA is:
Lorenzo – (Vocals and guitar)
Emanuele – (Bass)
Dario – (Drums)

NAGA on Thee Facebooks

NAGA on Bandcamp

NAGA on Instagram

Spikerot Records website

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BBF Stream New Single “Sun”; Outside the Noise Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

bbf

So, the promo stuff for BBF‘s second album plays up a psych-funky aspect to their sound, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m concerned. When I listen to the new single “Sun,” though, which you can stream below, I get even more of a grunge vibe. Yeah there’s some acid funk shimmer in the lead tone and the vocals are surely carrying a good bit of soul — again, always welcome — but if it’s funk, it’s definitely not just funk, if you know what I’m saying.

While I’m refusing to disparage things, however, I’ll point out two considerations. One, the song rules. Two, diversity of sound is nearly a universal positive. So it’s a win either way. The release date for their record is in December, but I’m going to try not to let this one slip through the year-end cracks — there are so many — and will hope to have more to come before the record is out, though if you don’t want to wait, preorders are up now.

Info from the PR wire:

bbf-outside-the-noise

Psychedelic funk rock trio BBF reveal album details + first single!

Outside the Noise coming December 6th on Argonauta Records!

After rising label Argonauta Records have announced one of their recent band signings by welcoming Italy’s psychedelic, stoner and acid funk rock band BBF to their eclectic artist roster, today we finally get to hear some first tunes taken from the band’s upcoming, sophomore album Outside the Noise! Set for a release on December 6th 2019, you can now stream a first single to the soothing track Sun. Dive into the sound landscape of BBF right HERE!

BBF were formed in 2016 by Pietro Brunetti, Claudio Banelli and Carlo Forgiarini, who all share a deep-rooted passion for the sound of the 60s, 70s and everything that springs out of its creative sound and the world of rock. After the release of BBF’s first studio LP, Beside Everything We Need 70s, the band went through a period of great introspection, which helped them to become much more aware of their possibilities as musicians; new songs came to life, with a new and much more sophisticated and mature sound. In November 2018, the trio barricaded themselves in the studio to record their second album Outside The Noise, a psychedelic conceptual LP that wishes to help bodies and minds develop a greater sense of awareness and connection.

“This album was recorded entirely on tape, in an isolated home in the middle of the mountains of our region, in an environment which was completely deprived of any kind of noise.” BBF explains. “Our band was going through a pretty difficult time – things were not at all going smoothly between us and our personal life as well was going through quite a rough patch. This work therefore wishes to reflect this tough period of time and, especially, wishes to reflect our own willingness to escape all of the damn noise that was – and still is – surrounding us and flooding our minds. These 8 songs came out spontaneously, they were not planned, and they are the representation of all the difficult moments that each of us went through. They were conceptually similar to one another even before we developed the main conceptual idea of the album. The passing of time and a newly-developed awareness allowed us to align our minds and to embark upon the journey that would then become Outside the Noise.”

Outside the Noise Tracklisting:
1. Apollo
2. Third Eye
3. Time
4. Outside The Noise
5. Into The Light
6. Kaleidoscope
7. Sun
8. Harvest Moon (Ghost track)

Outside the Noise is available to pre-order via the Argonauta Records store at THIS LOCATION!

BBF is:
Pietro Brunetti (Electric bass, synth, vocals)
ClaudioBanelli (Electric and acoustic guitar, vocals)
Carlo Forgiarini (Drums and percussions)

www.facebook.com/BBFtrio
www.instagram.com/bbftrio
www.argonautarecords.com

BBF, “Sun”

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Zolfo Sign to Spikerot Records; Delusion of Negation out Jan. 2020

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m not entirely sure what Italian sludgers Zolfo are going for in titling their album Delusion of Negation, in terms of what that means or is intended to signify, but hey, I like phonetics, so what the hell. The full-length will serve as their debut, and it’s been newly announced that countryman imprint Spikerot Records will stand behind the release. That’s a good vote of confidence for the five-piece, who issued the Phosphene/Floaters two-tracker in 2017 that you can hear below and with it offered no shortage of brutalist riffing. It won’t take you long to get where they’re coming from, but that hardly makes the experience less enjoyable, you know, as much as it’s meant to be enjoyable in the first place.

Pummel pummel pummel and whatnot.

No real details on the record yet, but the announcement of the January release through Spikerot arrived thusly from the PR wire:

zolfo spikerot

Doom Metal unit ZOLFO sign to Spikerot Records!

New album “Delusion Of Negation” to be released in January 2020

Italy’s Doom underworld is somewhat fervent environment lately and ZOLFO has rightfully earned a place in such realm.

Spikerot Records is stoked to announce the signing of the Apulian Sludge/Doom-mongers for the release of their debut album ‘Delusion Of Negation’, due in January 2020. As the monicker suggests – it’s the Italian for “Sulfur” – the band evokes a smoking creature that will utterly please fans of Ufomammut, Yob and Bongzilla alike. Huge riffs and loud amps proceed hand in hand with the slow-paced yet unmerciful drumming while the vocal delivery is harsh as hell, non-human at times.

The band has stated:
“Our firstborn represents for us an essential point of balance between the many artistic and musical entities that dwell within the band’s core, brought into our sound by each member’s previous experiences. ‘Delusion Of Negation’ is a warning for the future that urges us to experiment and evolve what we are. It’s not everyday you find insiders with the same passion and dedication as our friends at Spikerot Records, and for this reason releasing our first work with them is going to be truly gratifying.”

While waiting for this beast of an album, you can listen to a couple of older songs on their Bandcamp profile, a great foretaste of what’s to come!

ZOLFO is:
Dave – Vocals
Nicolò – Guitars
Fabrizio – Guitars
Saverio – Bass
Piero – Drums

www.facebook.com/ZolfoDoom
www.instagram.com/zolfodoom
zolfo.bandcamp.com/releases
www.facebook.com/spikerotrecords
www.spikerot.com

Zolfo, Phosphene/Floaters (2017)

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Suum Post “The Silence of Agony” Video from New Album Cryptomass

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SUUM

Roman doomers Suum made their debut last year with Buried into the Grave, and they’re getting ready to follow that seven-track outing — which was issued on CD through Endless Winter and tape through Hellas Records — with the new album, Cryptomass. “The Silence of Agony” is the second cut they’ve unveiled from their sophomore long-player, behind the song “Cryptomass” itself, which they made live on Bandcamp back in March. Not much about the full-length is actually known at this point in terms of the timing for the release, what other songs are included, or even who is putting it out, but all of that is reportedly in progress, and if the band are eager to get the material out there, the fact that March was seven months ago already means they’ve been sitting on at least some amount of a finished LP for the last seven months. If you’ve never been in that kind of situation before, take my word for it — you’d be eager too.

In “The Silence of Agony” and “Cryptomass” alike, one finds the four-piece dug deep into an atmosphere of classic doom. Echo-laden vocals cry out alongside burly but not chestbeating riffs, and both pieces give a sense of atmosphere that the rest of Cryptomass according to vocalist Mark Wolf — also of Bretus, whose new record, Aion Tetra (review here), came out in August on Ordo MCM — will work to likewise reinforce. Dark, cryptic trad doom with the occasional bit of claws-up screaming and choice heavy roll pushing it along? No pretense? A willful lack of bullshit? I’ll take that almost any day of the week. Happily.

Or, you know, at least as happy as one should be with all the fog-filled cemeteries and whatnot around.

I’ll hope to have more on Cryptomass to come as we get nearer to the release. Wolf‘s comments on the track follow the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Suum, “The Silence of Agony” official video

Mark Wolf on “The Silence of Agony”:

This is the first extract of Cryptomass, our second album. This is an old school doom metal song with occult and Mystic lyrics. Of course all songs are pretty darker and obsessive like this. With the use of the metaphors I describe the horror that surrounds us every day. I have always been interested in the dark side of the things. Is an introspective theme and have been influenced by some things happening in my life during the last year.

With the video we wanted to create a scenario representative of the music we express. We are proud to share with you the first extract of our new album.
Soon the details about “Cryptomass” release.

Suum are:
Mark Wolf – Vocals
Painkiller – Guitars
Jos Grave – Bass
Fed Kemper – Drums

Suum on Thee Facebooks

Suum on Bandcamp

Suum website

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Lee Van Cleef to Reissue Holy Smoke Nov. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

300 copies is not a lot of copies, especially for a record that got the kind of response of Lee Van Cleef‘s Holy Smoke (review here), and with the band having a couple festival dates and other shows lined up following the Nov. 1 release through Vincebus Eruptum Recordings, I’d be surprised if there are many left by the end of the year. Originally issued in late-2016 through White Dwarf Records, the offering was rife with tonal warmth and drift, consciousness underlying an exploratory vibe that proved hypnotic over the span in only the most welcome of ways. It was a record to melt your brain to, in other words, and it thrived in that. Along with its standout cover art, it set up Lee Van Cleef as a band to watch in Europe’s psych underground, and though they haven’t had a proper follow-up as yet, giving the first offering another look hardly seems unreasonable. Especially as it gives me an excuse to put the record on again.

Which is really what it’s all about, when it comes right to it.

Info from the PR wire:

lee van cleef holy smoke reissue

LEE VAN CLEEF “Holy Smoke”

After the first edition on White Dwarf Records (soon SOLD-OUT!), the first album by Italian heavy-psych band LEE VAN CLEEF is now again available on a new ultra-limited edition of 300 copies on red vinyl.

Issue date: 1st of November 2019

Limited edition vinyl (VELP027): 300 copies on red vinyl

Track-list:
A1 – Heckle Yuppies
A2 – Banshee
B1 – Hell Malo
B2 – Mah?na
B3 – Towelie

The project LEE VAN CLEEF was born as a joke at the end of 2015 and is the result of long jam sessions between Marco Adamo, guitarist (La polvere di Bodélé), Guido Minervini, drum (Efesto, Lamarck) and Pietro La Tegola, bass (Whiskeycold Winter). Influenced by bands like Earthless, Black Bombaim, Harsh Toke (to name a few) The first work “Holy Smoke” was recorded mixed and mastered in the Godfather studio of Naples.

Lee Van Cleef live:
NOV 8 HEADZ UP FEST 2019 Zukunft am Ostkreuz Berlin, Germany
NOV 13 The Black Sheep Montpellier, France
NOV 14 La Cave à Rock Toulouse, France
NOV 16 Which Mountain? Samhain Trial Festival JH SOJO Kessel, Belgium

Lee Van Cleef is:
Marco Adamo (Guitar)
Pietro Trinità La Tegola (Bass)
Guido Minervini (Drums)

https://www.facebook.com/leevancleefjams
https://leevancleefjams.bandcamp.com/
https://vincebuseruptum.bigcartel.com/
http://www.vincebuseruptum.it/

Lee Van Cleef, Holy Smoke (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Ufomammut, Horehound, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Glacier, MNRVA, Coroza, Noosed, zhOra

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. Earlier this week — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and yes, even Wednesday — the alarm went off at 4AM as usual and I got up, got coffee going and a protein bar and sat down to write, starting basically around quarter-after with a quick email check and whatnot. In terms of basic timing, this last morning of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review is no different. I even have the baby monitor streaming on my phone as I would most mornings, so I can keep an eye on when The Pecan gets up. What’s changed is I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Oslo, Norway, having just arrived on an overnight flight from Newark. Managed to sleep some on the plane and I’m hopeful adrenaline will pick up the rest of the slack as regards getting through the day. That and caffeine, anyhow.

Although, speaking of, my debit card doesn’t work and I’ll need to sort that out.

First thing’s first, and that’s reviews. Last batch of 10 for the week. We made it. Thanks as always for reading and being a part of this thing. Let’s wrap it up in style, and because I like working on a theme, three Irish bands in a row close out. Hey, I went to Ireland this year.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ufomammut, XX

UFOMAMMUT XX

Five years ago, Roman cosmic doom masters Ufomammut took a reflective look back at their career for its 15th anniversary with the documentary/live-performance DVD XV (review here). And since one might define the arc of their tenure as constantly trying to top themselves, for their 20th anniversary, they’ve issued a 12LP boxed set, titled simply XX, that compiles their nine albums to-date and tops them off with the mostly-subdued-style XX itself, which reimagines past cacophonies like “Mars” and “Plouton” in a quieter context. That part of the mega-offering issued through their own Supernatural Cat imprint comprises six songs recorded live and makes highlights out of the hypnotic strum and incantations of “Satan” as well as the rumbling drone of “Lacrimosa,” which takes on new emotional resonance for the shoegazy treatment it receives. I’ve said on multiple occasions throughout the years that Ufomammut are a band to be treasured, and I stand by that 100 percent. The XX box should be perceived by fans as an opportunity to do likewise.

Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks

Supernatural Cat website

 

Horehound, Weight

horehound weight

Less than a year after issuing their second long-player in the form of Holocene (review here) through Blackseed and Doom Stew Records, Pittsburgh atmosludgers Horehound align with DHU Records for the two-song 8″ EP Weight, which brings “Unbind” and “The Heavy,” two new cuts that, while I’m not sure they weren’t recorded at the same time as the last album — that is, they may have been — they nonetheless showcase the emergent melodic breadth and instrumental ambience that is developing in their sound. Even as “Unbind” rolls toward its low-end tempo kick, it does so with marked patience and a willingness to stay slow until just the right moment, which is not something every band cane effectively do. “The Heavy,” meanwhile, builds itself around a Crowbar-style dirge riff before Shy Kennedy‘s verse arrives as a standalone element, all the instruments around her dropping out from behind. That moment alone, frankly, is worth the price of admission, as whether it’s through that extra inch in diameter of the platter itself or through the audio of the tracks in question, Horehound continue to distinguish themselves.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records BigCartel store

 

Lingua Ignota, CALIGULA

LINGUA IGNOTA CALIGULA

I’m not sure I’m qualified to write about Lingua Ignota‘s CALIGULA (on Profound Lore), but I’m not sure anyone else is either. Like a self-harmonizing mega-Jarboe turning existential horror into epic proclamations of “I don’t eat/I don’t sleep” on “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR?” amid bass throb and terrifying melodic layering before making bedroom black metal sound like the lightweight self-indulgence it’s always been on the subsequent check-out-the-real-shit “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” Kristin Hayter‘s work is little short of experimentalist brilliance. She is minimal and yet over-the-top, open in creative terms but unwaveringly dark and rife with melody but severe to the point now and again of true aural abrasion. She weaves a context of her own into “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” as she recalls the lyrics to the aforementioned “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” while the outright brutality of “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” is married to a piano-led meditation that, even without the noise wash from whence it comes, is enough to recast visions of what heavy is and can be in musical terms. I won’t pretend to get all the references like “kyrie eleison” (“lord have mercy”) worked into “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” and the violent strains surrounding, but it’s impossible not to realize the power of what you’re hearing when you listen.

Lingua Ignota on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Zentrum

valborg zentrum

With an intensity born out of a history of industrial music and focus on tight rhythms making an impact in even-tighter songwriting, Valborg are neither beholden to death metal nor entirely separate from it, but their style has taken on a life of its own over the course of the last 10 years, and their latest offering, Zentrum (on Prophecy Productions), is the German trio’s most individualized take yet, whether that’s shown in the unbridled melodicism of “Anomalie,” the sludgy riff that drives the barking “Ultragrab” or the seemingly unrelenting snare pops of “Kreuzer” that, even when they finally release that tension, still make it only a temporary reprieve. Valborg‘s sense of control through the epic “Nonnenstern” should not be understated, and though the track is under four minutes long, yes, “epic” very much applies. Suitably enough, they close with “Vakuum” and throw everything at the listener at once before resolving in relatively peaceful atmospherics that could just as easily serve as an introduction to the next round of malice to come, whenever it shows up.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions webstore

 

Sageness, Akmé

sageness akme

Spanish trio Sageness — also written SageNESS — conjure smooth Electric Moon-style soundscapes on their second album, Akmé, and yes, that is a compliment. The record brings forth six tracks of easy-rolling instrumentalist jam-based heavy psychedelia that offer much and take little in return, the richness of the guitar tone from Dawyz and Michi‘s bass given jazzy fluidity by Fran‘s drumming. “Ephemeral” touches most directly on a Colour Haze, as it would almost have to, but even there, the feeling of spaciousness that Sageness present in the recording is a factor that helps them come across as more individual. Earlier, “The Thought” is a little more directly space rock, but opener “Andromeda” seems to be charting the course with its liquefied effects and somehow-even-more-liquefied groove, and if you can’t get down with that, I’ve got nothing for you and neither does the rest of the universe.

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Spinda Records website

 

Glacier, No Light Ever

glacier no light ever

It’s not exactly true, about their being no light ever on Boston post-metallers Glacier‘s latest full-length, No Light Ever. Sure, it’s plenty dark and heavy and brooding and all that fun stuff, and the riffs get loud and the drums break stuff and all that, but it’s certainly colorful in its way as well, and more than just shades of black on black. Comprised of four tracks cumbersomely titled in keeping with the traditions of the likes of Red Sparowes and the band’s own past work, cuts like “O World! I Remain No Longer Here.” and “The Bugles Blow, Fanned by Hysteria.” stretch themselves out along a scope as massive as the tonality the band emits, and as the wash of “We Glut Our Souls on the Accursed,” — the comma is part of the title there — gives way to feedback and the onset of “And We Are Damned Amid Noble Sound.” the sense of immersion is complete and clear as the priority under which they’re working. It’s about the whole album, or at least the two sides, as a unified work, and about crafting a world through the atmosphere evoked in the material. It works. If they say there’s no light in that world, so be it. It’s whatever they want it to be.

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Wolves and Vibrancy Records webstore

 

MNRVA, Black Sky

mnrva black sky

Not-entirely-bereft-of-vowels South Carolina heavy trio MNRVA make their debut with the three-song EP Black Sky, a beast of a short release led by the riffs of guitarist Byron Hark on a stretch of ’90s-style crunch and sludge, with bassist/vocalist Kevin Jennings and drummer Gina Ercolini adding to the weight and shove of the proceedings, respectively. “Not the One” has the hook, “No Solution” has the impact and the title-track has both, and though I’m by no means saying the issue of their sound is settled 100 percent and they won’t grow or find their way from this — again, their debut — EP, they do prove to be well in charge of where their songs head in terms of mood and the atmosphere that comes through elements like the blown-out vocals and the rumbling bass beneath the lead guitar in the second half of “Black Sky” itself. Indeed, it’s those harsher aspects that help MNRVA immediately establish their individuality, and the vibe across these 18-plus minutes is that the punishment is only getting started.

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Coroza, Chaliceburner

coroza chaliceburner

Just because Irish four-piece Coroza — guitarist/vocalists Ciaran Coghlan and Jack O’Neill, bassist/vocalist Jonny Canning and drummer Ollie Cunningham — might write a song that’s 18 minutes long, that doesn’t mean they forgot to actually make it a song as well. Thus it is that extended cuts like “The Plutonian Drug” (18:24) and closer “Iron from the Sky” (19:30) have plenty of room to flesh out their more progressive aspects amid the other three also-kind-of-extended pieces on Chaliceburner, the group’s ambitious hour-plus/five-track debut full-length. Each song essentially becomes a front-to-back movement on its own, with shifts between singers arranged thoughtfully from one part to the next and hooks along the way to serve as landmarks for those traversing, as in the opening “Chaliceburner” or the gruff winding moments of “Mountain Jaw,” which follows the nine-minute sax-inclusive centerpiece “Scaltheen,” because of course there’s a saxophone in there somewhere. All of this is a recipe for a band biting off more than they can chew stylistically, but Coroza manage pretty well the various twists and turns of their own making, particularly considering it’s their first album.

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Noosed, She of the Woods

noosed she of the woods demo

Encased front and back by witchy samples and creepy vibes, Sept. 2019’s She of the Woods is the second demo in two months to come from Cork, Ireland’s Noosed. And you know it when they get around to the closing seven-minute title-track because it’s just about the only thing other than “Intro” that isn’t raging with grind intensity, but that stuff can be fun too. I don’t know how much witch-grind-doom is out there, but Noosed‘s first, self-titled demo (released in August) had a sludgy edge that seems to have separated out to some degree here into a multifaceted personality. Can one possibly be certain of the direction the band will ultimately take? Shit no. It’s two demos with basically no time differential between them. But if they can effectively bridge the gap between “Fuck Up,” “Wretch” and “She of the Woods,” or even play directly with the contrast, they could be onto something with all this noise and fuckall.

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zhOra, Ruthless Bastards

zhora ruthless bastards

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it such that Irish four-piece zhOra wanted to do something less complicated than was their 2017 album, Ethos, Pathos, Logos (discussed here), so they went ahead and wrote a song that’s five minutes long and purposefully hops between subgenres, going from sludge to doom to a deathcore breakdown, with a snare-pop count-in, to blackened death metal and then back to a lumbering chug to finish out. Okay, zhOra, “Ruthless Bastards” is a an awful lot of metal and an awfully good time, but you missed the mark on “simple” by a considerable margin. If indeed the band had been plotting toward something, say, easier to play or to compose, “Ruthless Bastards” ain’t it. They’ll have to settle for being brutal as fuck instead. Something tells me they’ll survive having made that trade, as much as anything will.

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