By Brad Sanders September 27, 2021
As summer gives way to fall in the Northern Hemisphere, many metalheads will find themselves swapping sultry death metal riffs and window thrash vocals for the cooler atmospheres of black metal and doom. . September straddles both seasons, and the best metal of the month on Bandcamp features records that will sound great whether it’s still warm where you are or you’re pulling out the denim jacket.
The dreamers and the dead
Too few modern metal bands know how to play in the back room or, if they do, they are not interested in doing it. That’s why my heart swells every time an album like Doctor Smoke’s The dreamers and the dead comes along. The Ohio band play heavy metal, no subgenres required. Anyone who’s ever turned on the radio when “The Boys Are Back in Town” is going to fall in love with them. The 10 songs on The dreamers and the dead are all self-contained engines perfectly constructed of vocal hooks, riffs and solos. Matt Tluchowski and Steve Lehocky’s double-guitar attack belongs to the glorious lineage of Lizzy, Maiden and Priest, and Tluchowski’s gruff melodic vocals offer a lower bar on entry than, say, someone imitating the falsetto. from King Diamond or Mark “The Shark” Shelton’s barking. “Accessible” is a word that some groups treat as a black mark of shame. Doctor Smoke understands that the opposite should be true. They play at the back of the room.
Sermon of the Flames
I saw the light, and it was repulsive
Lots of music on Me, Voidhanger Records seems designed to confuse. Relatively few of them aim to disturb. The first album of Sermon of the Flames, an anonymous duo from Ireland, are as intentionally and viscerally scary as anything the label has ever released. I saw the light, and it was repulsive is a multi-car stack of death metal, black metal, noise, industrial music, and the kind of seasick electronics that could make the soundtrack of a club night in hell. “Chords Wrung from the Ribs of the Earth” uses what looks like a dentist’s drill to adopt a similar sort of torture, while “Cauldrons of Boiling Piss” drapes Incantationhollow growl in seemingly endless layers of static pulsation. The band’s only true peers for this kind of omnivorous sound torture are artists like Anaal Nathrakh and The Body, artists who understand that metal instrumentation alone can only destabilize a metal-trained listener to some extent. . It’s the most outraged sounds that Sermon of Flames uses that make I saw the light so devilishly effective.
Submission and slavery
Since early 2019, the one-man black metal band Murmuur lamp blessed us with what feels like an uninterrupted deluge of music. Amid the sea of demos, splits, and EPs, Lamp released two full albums, each a snapshot of where Project Manager M’s head was when it was released. Last years Heir to ecliptic romanticism stood out from the raw black metal boom recorded in the bedroom with its majestic songs and 80s goth touches. Submission and slavery, those touches turned into a total grip. The cover is a nod to the essential 1987 Sisters of Mercy album, Flood lands, and the closing song is a searing version of Christian Death‘s “As evening falls.” (Lamp also covered Dead Can Dance.) These benchmarks fit perfectly into the set which, to be clear, is unmistakably black metal. Submission and slavery is certainly respectful of Norway’s Second Wave, but he imagines an alternate timeline where Euronymous and Dead hung out at the Batcave. The songs oscillate between black metal fury and deathrock bounce, fearlessly indulging in long melodic solos whenever the need arises. The album ends up sounding like a love letter with two sounds that are clearly also close to Mr.
Finland Skepticism helped invent the sound that would become known as funeral with the infamously beautiful 1995 Stormcrowfleet. Unlike their stage peers in Thergothon, which made only one LP before fizzling out, Skepticism has regularly released new music since this iconic album. Companion is the group’s sixth feature film, and it’s their most focused and refined work to date. In a surprisingly compact 48 minutes, they invoke the same emotional depth and primordial heaviness that they first perfected. Stormcrowfleet, but with a crystal-clear production that more fully reveals the inner workings of the songs. The piano and organ played by Eero Pöyry remains the emotional core of the sound of skepticism, sometimes laying a canvas for Jani Kekarainen’s heartbreaking guitar, and taking over as the main instrument to others, moaning what cannot be described. as funeral melodies. Yes Companion is devastating listening, it is also perversely uplifting listening. It sounds like both the acceptance of inevitable death and the urge to create beauty despite – or perhaps because of the impermanence of life.
How are you following the greatest comeback album of all time? This is the challenge that Carcass took up when they set out to make Torn arteries, their first feature film since 2013 Surgical steel have dropped all their skeptics into a meat grinder. The Liverpool band hung up their guitars (and scalpels) for the first time in 1996 after releasing their death ‘n’ roll weirdness, Swan song. They came back with what could be convincingly argued is their best album. Torn arteries does not have the same burden of proof as Surgical steel did, but Carcass still looks hungry. The new album is home to some of their most catchy hooks (“Eleanor Rigor Mortis”) as well as their most ambitious song structures (“Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited”), and the 35-year musical relationship between co-leaders Jeff Walker and Bill Steer only goes deeper. Torn arteries is not the obvious game changer who Surgical steel was when it landed eight years ago, but the continued existence of a sturdy and reliable carcass can be even more valuable.
The bone key
The bone key is Pete Rodway’s first real album alcohol project, but the Mainer is already showing impeccable mastery of his craft. Over the course of seven black metal songs and a dungeon synthesis track, Rodway builds a richly rendered world that serves as the backdrop for a grim tale of a fulfilled destiny, a usurped throne and the rise of a new tyrant king. Stepping out the door with a heavily narrative concept album is a bold move, but Rodway succeeds with his outright commitment. His black metal is less sonically raw than many of his peers, and the relatively clean production style of The bone key really brings out the catchy, rock’n’roll nature of so many of his riffs. They’re usually underpinned by atmospheric synths taken straight from the Norwegian black metal playbook from the 90s, and they give the whole thing a nostalgic and faux-epic sparkle. One album less, Alghol is already a band to follow.
I will go out right away and say it – I tried to understand the Afro-Brazilian religion of Quimbanda while turning my head Mehenet‘s Ng’ambu, and I failed. Lots of black metal bands use their music to explore esoteric philosophies and ritual magic and things of that nature, and I never understood what the hell any of them were talking about. What I can to say about Mehenet’s engagement with Quimbanda is that he feels deeply rooted in their culture, and that it gives their album a sense of belonging. The group hails from New Orleans, a city with a rich history of occultism, and Ng’ambu feels alive with this energy. “Horse to the Earth” opens with the sounds of a Zydeco band playing to the din of barking dogs, plunging the listener into the French Quarter before offering him a paroxysm of black metal howls with wild eyes. Elsewhere, on songs like “In the Garden of Suicide”, traces of the city’s punk heritage are found in sweaty passages that are on the verge of collapse. I still don’t know what Quimbanda is, but Ng’ambu is good enough that I keep trying to learn.
Nihil riversthe last album of, Where the owls know my name, surprised many people. Suddenly, the melodic death metal band from Pennsylvania could effortlessly fall into a Dream Theater-style prog, or deploy a jazz saxophone solo in the middle of their songs. How did it happen? Owls was a blast, but it could be a bit shocking at times as the band found their place on their new musical path. On his follow-up, The work, Rivers of Nihil doubles, pushing further from death metal and deeper into prog. It’s a better record than its predecessor, precisely because of its deep commitment to its streak of adventures. Ostensibly a concept album about the importance of devoting time and energy to what you want to excel – “Do the work” is a refrain that appears on several songs –The work often feels like a well-deserved celebration of the musical growth of its creators. Frontman Jake Dieffenbach sings cleanly at least as often as he shouts, and guitarists Brody Uttley and Jon Topore now seem as comfortable creating soundscapes with effects as they do to blast sounds. melodic riffs. They did the job, and now they can reap the rewards.