Welcome to EMV’s first edition of “Audiofeast Aftermath”. This is the section where I’ll be posting my own little Spotify playlist résumé of albums consumed over the past month while also casting off some campy deliberations on the songs, releases and bands as I see fit. As always, you can follow me on Spotify (extrememetalvoyager) and stay updated on what’s circling the ears of the Extreme Metal Voyager and hopefully get acquainted with exciting music in the process. Anyway, let’s embark on the first playlist.
The first month of 2016 has already brought quite a few positive surprises! Let’s round off the classic bands first. Megadeth’s “Dystopia” obviously is a major release. Say what you want about Mustaine but out of the “big four” of thrash metal, his band has been the most consistent in delivering new music. In my opinion, “Dystopia” is the best album since “United Abomination”; shredtastic, riff after riff, without mercy and with an acute edge to the guitars this time and Kiko Loureiro (Angra) adds his neo-classical touches to the solo front. You wanted riffs, just listen to “Bullet In The Brain” and it’ll paint that silly metal grin on your face in no time.
Dream Theater also employ the word “dystopia” on their latest album “The Astonishing”. A concept album with a story set in the year 2285, where music is an obsolete art. An interesting idea spread across two acts, 30+ tracks, over two hours of music, nothing is small-scale with this band. It’s not their heaviest work, there’s a much more theatrical feel to the album, as you’ll hear on the track “Ravenskill”. Naturally, this is an album made to be enjoyed from beginning to end. Even with their grandest concept and most ambitious production to date, Dream Theater remain successful at what they do, creating unmatched musical art, working without limitations, ensuring that their music isn’t going obsolete anytime soon.
The death metal sickos in Aborted issued a fun little EP in “Termination Redux”, probably serving as a way of killing time before the next album onslaught, which the band has hinted at, is coming out later this year. “Vestal Disfigurement Upon The Sacred Chantry” destroys even if you’re giggling at the over-the-top title and lyrics.
“Winter Thrice”, what can I say, progressive black metal excellence as expected. Mixing up vocal arrangement between four vocalists of such high calibre might sound like a risky thing to do, but the results are fantastic. The track “Erodent” mainly features Vintersorg on vocals with Vortex coming in at the end adding some northern epicness. The music has always has always been beautifully constructed, the real challenge has been how to get the various vocals to blend in, and on “Winter Thrice” you can definitely hear just how much effort is put into arranging the vocals.
Rhapsody Of Fire never disappoint. They’re slightly more aggressive on their newest album “Into The Legend”. What’s more important is that they don’t sound like a stagnated band after numerous albums spanning two decades. “Winter’s Rain” demonstrates firmly that these italian storytellers can engulf you with huge, dramatic atmospheres, the riffs in this song are savage. This is as close as I’ll get to enjoy power metal pomposity.
The spotlight has been increasingly more aimed at Norway’s treasured winterdemon. Abbath severing the ties with Immortal and going solo naturally had a lot of people asking questions. The album has now finally dropped and there’s no big surprise in store for those who dreaded changes. It pretty much sounds like a mix between Immortal and I, with audible bass-lines, an added “fuck you” attitude and a sound mix caught in a Blashyrkh snowstorm. “Winterbane” unites the three trademark of Abbath; pounding black metal, acoustic breakdowns, hard (arena) rock.
The Resistance are the perfect quick fix of brutality. There’s no beating around the bush with this band. Straight to the point death metal that you can just headbang to while having a beer. No need to complicate things. Marco’s vokills still sends shivers down my spine; he might not sound that brutal but christ there’s some serious aggression in his delivery.
Named after an October Tide instrumental, the debut recording of Thenighttimeproject has already secured a place in whatever type of end-of-the-year lists I’ll be putting together. Fredrik Norrman has really found his own niché with this album mixing introspective electronica with atmospheric rock. It’s hard not to associate this with his previous band Katatonia, the addition of Tobias Netzell (In Mourning) on vocals gives way to delicate contrasts. “Oneiros” is one of the electronic tracks, a gloomy seven minute meditation, love this song. Recommended.
Lycus’ second album had me floored! The four compositions that make up “Chasms” draw you into a dirgeful maelstrom of death/doom metal with astral ambiences. I’ve been spinning this album a lot since it came out, if you’re into classic doom and death metal as well as the more obscure approaches of bands like Esoteric and Mindrot, you’ll definitely get something out of this album. Still sceptic? “Obsidian Eyes” should seal the deal.
Next up we have Chasmbound, a one man project from New York. You’d be tempted to label this an “untrve black metal” because it doesn’t sound Norwegian (wink). This album paints a different kind of darkness, urban misery, observed from a dreary apartment in the big city. The album title, “Sourpop”, describes the song’s aura nicely. I’ll admit it’s strange hearing black metal in a different atmospheric register yet there are some very harsh moments to be found, like the title track.
Now here’s a stellar debut. “Our Father” by UK hopefuls The King Is Blind, I’ve waited for with great anticipation and it did not disappoint. I thought the term “monolithic metal” seemed a bit too presumptuous, but after hearing the album a few times, I get what they’re doing. This is a clever album with extremely varied songs and an exquisite sound production, especially the vocals are striking. “Mors Somnis” sums it all up.
Chthe’ilist (try saying it three times fast!). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Canada, particularly Quebec, is a potent place with lots of metal swirling in the underground. “Le Dernier Crépuscule” is a full blown crazy death metal album, but it also adheres to a murky old school production. I really appreciate this kind of combination, super technical music with an organic sound. I’ve posted “Voidspawn” before and I’ll do it again, such a badass track and the rest of the album is equally wicked.
Osmose Productions has a knack for signing quality extreme metal music. Nordjevel are the latest of the bunch. The Norwegian black Metal scene has seen one too many recyclings of worn out ideas, useless and without any grit. This band is out to prove a point. A collection of songs with surging power, a rejuvenating spark of brutality spearheaded by a black metal foundation. I’m hearing a lot of swedish melodic aggression as well. The final track of the album, “Norges Sorte Himmel”, is worth its ten minute cascades of epic blackness.
This month’s playlist ends on a necro-worship note. Some days are just full of hell and all you want is to close the curtains, pull out the bottle of absinthe, light a candle or two, kvltify yourself and in a truly grim fashion ponder if life indeed is a happy song. The Fog’s debut album is the soundtrack for such occasions. Filthy and minimalistic but very efficient in creating despairing atmospheres. This is misanthropic art coming from the deep in the vein of Hellhammer. There’s only perpetual blackness ahead.
I hope you enjoyed this zany narrative here. Next one will be in march. If you think there’s too much talk (that’s probably true but then again, this is my blogspace, so I´m pretty much my own editor here), I’ve summoned the whole playlist below for you to enjoy.
EMV playlist – Audiofeast january 2016
Extreme Metal Voyager digital domains: