Some great stuff you might have missed.
The Metal as Fuck overlord (Lord Adams of Marlow) asked me, an embarrassingly long time ago I hasten to add, to do a semi-regular column of sorts. Perhaps I could recommend some emerging talent or impart some industry related wisdom? Why not, eh? The former is a bit more fun and wisdom is pushing it, so I shall just dive in with a selection of bands that I have stumbled upon that may have possibly passed you by up 'til now.
Oranssi Pazuzu from Finland are that rare breed, an original black metal band! Well, I say orginal. You can hear influences of sorts but they're not from the traditional black metal spectrum. I've seen them described as psychedelic (by the band themselves even), but lately that seems to be a convenient byword for anything with a few ambient whooshty noises thrown into the mix. Oranssi Pazuzu do more than that, creating an almost otherworldly atmosphere, dense and claustrophobic and every bit as dark as the black metal tag would imply. Well worth a listen.
Check their Myspace page here for more: http://www.myspace.com/oranssipazuzu
Old Wounds are a new band from New Jersey with only a 7" and an EP under their belts so far. While not exactly breaking new ground, their mix of NOLA style sludge and early 90's power violence is both authentic and incendiary. If you need something to liven you up at the gym, or perhaps prompt a particularly angry wank then you can download the EP on a "name your price" basis and hear some stuff here:
I shall have to proclaim a personal interest in Xerath since it was me that signed 'em to Candlelight, but so far they remain a fairly unknown quantity outside of the UK. While their debut album I with it's orchestral djent style, or 'chugscore' as the band themselves describe it, showed a band with a great deal of promise, the imminent album II (I wonder what the next one will be called...) has managed to blow it out of the water. No longer reliant on the polyrhthymic palm muted technique that seems to be fast becoming old news through overuse, Xerath have managed to create a very modern metal album without pandering to the clichés that seem to beset current scene. They also have a great self-effacing sense of humour, as witnessed not only at their live shows but also on this cover of Rush's 'YYZ' :
Visit the band's Myspace here for more: http://www.myspace.com/xerath
Ahhh, Nails. I could scarcely believe the savagery exploding from the speakers the first time I heard these guys. Their album (EP?) Unsilent Death blasts through 10 tracks in just 14 minutes and yet it's more than anyone could possibly take in one sitting. I did my best to sign 'em but the ever on-the-ball Southern Lord had beaten me to it. The album, originally self-released, has now been reissued and you owe it to yourself to track it down. An utterly relentless, Neanderthal cross between Drop Dead and Napalm Death. I hope they manage to maintain the intensity they already show on future releases.
They don't have a Myspace page or anything similar, so hopefully this YouTube link will do:
Lets mellow things out a bit. I've got another vested interest here with Sweden's Wolverine. Sue me! They're hardly new either but again they seem to be sorely overlooked for the most part. Starting life as a respectable prog metal band of the Fates Warning mould, Wolverine have evolved into something else over subsequent albums and are now a highly polished and accomplished progressive rock band that can compete with any of their peers on the world stage. Their forthcoming album Communication Lost is a case in point, a masterpiece of melancholic, introspective and occasionally uplifting rock music. While they can be miserable buggers there's always a sense that there's light at the end of the tunnel...
Anyway, check this new track Embrace and prepare to develop an overwhelming urge to mate with the chorus:
A Forest of Stars from the UK are still pretty much an unknown quantity on their own shores, despite being two excellent albums down the line. I guess having their records released by foreign labels might have something to do with it, as well as only a few rare live ventures. Either way, they have an excellent spin on black metal that works very well. A great mixture of doom, black metal, Victoriana and general cosmic esoterica that's unique to my ears at least. It's certainly nice to see a band toying with these stylistics without coming across as convoluted or contrived.
Check their website at http://www.aforestofstars.co.uk or a video here:
Liverpool's Dragged Into Sunlight are really starting to make a name for themselves. Their debut album Hatred For Mankind is an utterly unrelenting barrage of hilariously extreme and sludgy death metal that verges on grindcore. Originally released on Mordgrimm records (Nihil from Cacophonous' more underground venture), it was picked up by Prosthetic for wider distribution and deservedly so. Their long songs cover a lot of ground and all of it is good. If you need to annoy your neighbours then I heartily recommend you pick up the album. You can hear samples at their Myspace page here:
Kvelertak from Norway are really picking up speed now in the metal world, thanks to their startlingly fresh eponymously titled debut album and their combustible live performances. Take some mid-period Turbonegro, heavy it up and add a pinch of black metal and that's what Kvelertak are all about. In short, they fucking rock. I shall put my cards on the table and predict these guys to grow far bigger in coming years, no doubt spawning a host of imitators on the way. Catch the early bus and claim the kudos later!
Deafheaven from California are perhaps yet another band fusing black metal with post rock that seems so beloved of the so-called hipsters at the moment, but they do it so well the snobs will have to get off their high horses and take notice. As is the norm with this style the songs are long, build slowly, rise to a crescendo and then peter out to the end. So what makes them stand out? I think it's the fact they appear to have come to this from the post rock side and then added the black metal influences as opposed to vice versa. It gives the ambience an authenticity that's usually lacking. The band recently released their debut album 'Roads to Judah' on the Deathwish Inc label (a surprising choice given their usual signings) and is well worth investigating further.
Finally I shall present Grey Waters, a duo from Wollongong that may have escaped your notice despite being right under the noses of most of you folks reading this. The fact they're on a German label (Eisenwald) probably wouldn't help. Formed (or at least they appeared) after the demise of the much-missed Austere, Grey Waters basically expand on the template of mid-period Katatonia's depressive, stripped down metal to great effect. There are a number of bands who have attempted this style over the years but none quite so successfully to my ears. Only a four track EP 'Below the Ever Setting Sun' is available at the moment but I'm salivating at the prospect of a full length and hope it arrives soon. In the meantime do yourselves a favour and check out some samples here:
Okay, that's me done for now. I hope you check out some of these acts if you weren't familiar with them before. Next time I'll be doing some stuff about the demise of the traditional record label and how a band can actually push themselves on a DIY basis. Stay tuned :)