Welcome to Crack’s monthly metal round up
We hope you’ve got your feet up and your eyes half glued to Terminator 2 and half glued to your laptop for the latest edition of In It For Life.
This month we’ve gathered together some of the most depraved, debauched and downright disgusting metal we could find. There’s black metal from Poland, doom from Sweden and a British trio with one of the best (and worst) names we’ve ever heard. So sit back, relax and get ready to throw up the horns.
In It For Life is back and we’re here to bring a little darkness to your otherwise family fun-filled festivities. Expect satan, church burnings and more. It’s Chriiiiiiiistmaaaaaas.
Batushka - LitourgiyaWitching Hour Productions
Ecclesiastic oms, liturgical trills and Ukrainian-by-Byzantine elegies formulate the splintered backbone of Poland’s Batushka. Names of the band members are currently undisclosed, however it is fervently reputed that Batushka are somewhat of a metal supergroup.
This, their debut album on Witching Hour Productions, etches the emblematic virtues of black metal with chants pilfered from the Church Slavonic – an ancient language used in the Orthodox churches of Poland, Russia and the Balkans. Litourgiya (Liturgy) staggers with typical pitched up rasps swilled with ominous Galican chanting; a combination familiar to the form yet rarely executed so successfully.
Each of these eight songs, all titled Yekteniya, trample on the paves of doom yet gallop at the percussive pace of black metal. Piercing guitar tremolo is employed purely to supplement the cathedral toppling bass peddle work. On aesthetic and canonical motif, Litourgiya is a taste of the divine.
The Body - No One Deserves HappinessThrill Jockey
Shelter is Illusory, the first released track from The Body’s forthcoming 2016 feature length No One Deserves Happiness is an uncategorised exercise in sonic perversion. Both Chip King and Lee Buford, renowned for their practices in the blackened arts of sadistic experimental metal, have decreed their next project as ‘the grossest pop album of all time’.
With Shelter is Illusory, we are permitted a soured morsel of what, exactly, that sounds like. Yet, instead of honing their craft on accessibility and toying with conceptions of the pop song format, King and Buford demolish the middle ground, throwing every metal tinged extreme in their arsenal at it. Set for release in three months’ time, No One Deserves Happiness is already defying expectations and redefining what it means to be truly challenged by extreme music.
Poseidon - Prologue: OmegaSelf-released
Despite this being their first and only release to date, there’s a tenacious heritage careering through Poseidon. Lead guitarist, Matthew Bunkell, was the driving force behind London’s recently defunct sludge outfit, Light Bearer; a band that began forging a retelling of Lucifer, the fallen angel, before allowing this conceptual arc to collapse prematurely. On second guitar is Roland Scriver of Serpent Venom whose Of Things Seen and Unseen is an agonising metaphysical splurge of a record. Even Ben Ward of Orange Goblin offered his kindred chordal husks to the recordings. And from this amalgam of metal stalwarts is a group young in material yet separating the seas with potential.
Prologue: Omega is the first instalment of what the band define as The Medius Chronicle. Here, over sixteen torrential minutes, Poseidon’s doom fettered sludge gurgles with droned out riffing and stoic snare work. Only their next imminent instalment will decide whether Poseidon will sink or swim, but we’re certainly glad they’ve started treading water.
Åra Krâ - Åra KrâThrough Love Records
Through asymmetric guitar work and imbalanced time-signatures, Germany’s Åra Krâ carry more than a prod of post-hardcore along with their technically angular take on death metal. Adrian Schler’s vocals momentarily wail tinges of Touche Amore’s Jeremy Bolm or La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer. And by no means is this a back-handed compliment for while the utilisation of brighter and distinctively decipherable vocals is unfamiliar territory in this genre, Schler’s crackly inflections spasm with the utmost of control.
This, their debut EP on Through Love Records, contains members of War From a Harlots Mouth and Fuck Your Shadow From Behind, but it’s the budding aptitude of this collaborative effort that makes Åra Krâ one of the more qualified metal acts to traverse the darkest of genres.
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Noeth Ac AnoethNew Heavy Sounds
While the doom-by-numbers flamboyancy of their boiler plated metal band generator name is on the more acute side of infantile, welsh outfit Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are alarmingly suited its comical majesty. Noeth Ac Anoeth, loosely translated as a druidic phrase pertaining to an ungodly abode of existence, is a three tracker spanning over 50 minutes of Ufommamut shaded stoner rock. But it’s the freedom to diversify and augment ideas over three separate opuses that enables MWWB to hawkishly burrow deep within the scrolls of doom-inspired heaviness. There are omnipresent references to the more cosmic side of prog paralleled to the early work of Amon Düül or the slower grooves of Hawkwind. Emphasis on detuned riffing is a constant. Psyched out atmospherics are immutable. Noeth Ac Anoeth may be the handiwork by an indiscreetly named band, but the result is steeped in sincerity.
Goatlusting Chaos - Sadogoat IlluminationNarrowards Records
Malaysia’s Goatlusting Chaos’s style of grind is reminiscent of the scene in Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Blue in which Juliette Binoche’s character is so overwrought with grief that she starts to wrack her bare knuckles against a pebbledash wall. Skin starts to shred away and flecks of blood sprinkle against the rocks. Harrowing and gut-wrenching in one single turn. And that is exactly what Sadogoat Illumination is.
Here, Goatlusting Chaos’s tape release on Narrowards Records makes a Disembodied record sound like Stars of the Lid on an infinite loop. It’s disgusting. It’s offensive. It’s perfect.
The Moth Gatherer - The Earth Is The SkyAgonia Records
It’s been two years since A Bright Celestial Light, The Moth Gatherer’s debut record. This would suggest that as cultivated their former efforts were, we should anticipate something all the more resounding, all the more accomplished, all the less safe. And to a great extent, The Earth Is The Sky achieves this.
Opener, Pale Explosions, collides with planetary soundscapes exposing a curt nucleus of prog-doom. Opposing vocal techniques intersperse with riff shifts. Attacus Atlas wobbles from one passage to the next, glued together by simple yet sufficiently sludgy melodies. In all, it’s progress for the Stockholm trio. And while The Earth Is The Sky’s flawed moments are inescapable, there is a palpable ambition here. One that will hopefully galvanise their resourcefulness for at least another two years.
KVLTIST - CatechesisWorld Terror Committee
You don’t actually have to plead for the unearthing of Beelzebub’s infernal regions to enjoy KVLTIST’s debut Catechesis, but it sure does help.
In accordance to many releases on World Terror Committee, the newly signed German duo are bedevilled by, well, the devil. This sort of satanic worship is as much a farcical display of hellish infatuation as it is gravely convincing. The arduous association with occult activities both multi-instrumentalist MZI and vocalist Amon Xul exhibit is almost poisonous. It’s maniacal intent surpasses even that of Behemoth’s The Satanist which is scarily accessible in comparison.
Guest vocals from the likes of Hellchrist Xul of Funereal Winds and Necrosodom of Azarath further seal this group’s unremitting dedication to Lucifer’s army. Their devotion is laughably real making Catechesis’s traditional take on black metal a contemporary classic.
Tombstones - VargariisSoulseller Records
The subtle combination of stoner drone and fuzzy doom to Tombstone’s Vagariis is what separates them from the deluge of all too familiar acts. This, the successor to 2013’s Red Skies and Dead Eyes, was recorded by the Norwegian trio live over three and a half days. What this has enabled Tombstones to do is forcibly drive their instruments straight through the mixing desk and deliver something absolute and tangible.
The way Helstad, Godtland and Støle govern themselves as a three-piece is genuinely laudable as they teeter between nihilistic Eyehategod freak outs and composed Electric Wizard guitar grooves. Only to actually witness Tombstones in a live setting would surpass the hedonistic carnality of Vargariis.