Mournful Congregation, The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I (20 Buck Spin 2022)

On the cusp of thirty years in, Mournful Congregation begin their two-part EP series with The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I.

Australian doom band Mournful Congregation is a pillar of the funeral doom mausoleum. From the very beginning with the Weeping demo in 1994, they have set their own boundaries. A second demo appeared the very next year then, a few years on, Tears From A Grieving Heart, their first full-length album. Since then, there has been a steady, well-paced flow of much-needed doom. The band is peopled by Damon Good (vocals and guitar), Justin Hartwig (guitar), Ben Newsome (bass), Ben Petch (guitar), and Tim Call (drums).

Exuviae Of Gods will be released in two parts, the second appearing later this year. Part I contains three long tracks starting with “Mountainous Shadows, Cast Through Time.” An organ fades in playing sinister tones leading in short order to a confrontation with a massive wall of guitar riffs. The vocals that ensue have a sound of distance in them, gruff and croaking. Slow and deliberate. The guitar solo enters in its own time and, when it does, it is genuinely enthralling.

“The Exuviae Of Gods” is a deeply moving instrumental piece soaked in sorrow. At merely seven minutes long, it is sandwiched between two behemoths. The vocalizations in “An Epic Dream Of Desire” are spoken word, offering unmuddled direction in the narrative. Halfway through, a lead guitar embarks on a deeply emotive dirge of mystical wonder. Beyond is the eventuality of existence and nonexistence. The space that Mournful Congregation inhabits in the land of funeral doom music is most compelling. Recommended.

The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I is out on Friday, May 27th through 20 Buck Spin digitally and on CD, with vinyl to follow a bit later on. Osmose Productions is handling the album outside of North America.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mournfulcongregation.bandcamp.com/album/the-exuviae-of-gods-part-i

Website, https://www.mournfulcongregation.com

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/mournfulcongregation

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Mournful Congregation, The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I (20 Buck Spin 2022)

Creeping Death at The Vogue, Indianapolis, May 19th

Carcass, Immolation, and Creeping Death came to Indianapolis this week in the final days of their Spring tour. I have an article and photos coming up in Ghost Cult Magazine describing the whole affair. Meanwhile, here are a few Creeping Death photos that will not be in the article to tide you over. I’ll post separate galleries tomorrow then the next day for Immolation and then Carcass, anticipating the future. I will put a link to the Ghost Cult article as soon as it goes up.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine article,

Creeping Death, https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/creeping-death

The Vogue, https://thevogue.com/calendar/

© Wayne Edwards

Creeping Death at The Vogue, Indianapolis, May 19th

Cities Of Mars, Cities Of Mars (Ripple 2022)

Heavy fuzz doom trio Cities Of Mars self-title their third long-player.

Sweden’s stoner doom band Cities Of Mars began in 2014, releasing an EP, Celestial Mistress, a couple year later. The music falls squarely in the land of doom, but the subjects and trajectories of the compositions align with the stars. Joining their first two full-length albums, Temporal Rifts (2017) and The Horologist (2019), the new record continues the sure-footed journey. The band is Danne Palm (bass, vocals), Johan Kuchler (drums, vocals), and Christoffer Norén (guitar, vocals).

“Before The Storm” is a beautiful spacey opening for the album. Patient, building slowly, the song introduces an ethereal voice signaling the beginning of the journey and, importantly, the need for it. Gentleness gives way to heavy doom guitar riffs on “Towering Graves.” The vocals are still mysterious but much more menacing now. The massive riffs continue on “The Prophet,” growing tall enough to block out the dim setting sun on the red planet.

“Song of a Distant Earth” is an acoustic piece; a mood shift before the devastating “A Dawn of No Light.” The tempo picks up and the rhythm is more assertive, and the lead guitar freer in its explorations. “The Dreaming Sky” has a forlorn quality to it. Harmonizing vocals and melancholy guitar lines waken suppressed feelings. “Reflected Skyline” is an airy piece, and sad, too, in my hearing.

“The Black Shard” is the twelve-minute final word on the album. In some ways you could see it as a reinterpretation of the ideas earlier expressed. You could also see it as a furthering of those notions. It is an exceptional piece and, if nothing else, you should listen to this one. It has many powerful moments, and regular returns to altered pace, attitude, and sentiment throughout. Much like the album in its totality. Recommended.

Cities Of Mars is out now through Ripple Music. Bandcamp is always a good place to pick up the goods.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/cities-of-mars

Website, http://www.citiesofmars.se/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/citiesofmars

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCavaUFPTEDKYjAxJ8Qapbeg

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Cities Of Mars, Cities Of Mars (Ripple 2022)

Septicflesh, Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The new album from Greek symphonic death metal band Septicflesh is Modern Primitive, their eleventh.

Beginning in 1990 with the slightly different name of Septic Flesh, the Greek death metal band released six albums in the next many years. Taking a break in 2003, they returned four years later as Septicflesh, and since then have been back to their founding premise, continuing and expanding the scope of the their dramatic music. Modern Primitive is Septicflesh’s first album in five years, following Codex Omega. The band is Seth Siro Anton (vocals and bass), Christos Antoniou (guitar), Sotiris Anunnaki V (clean vocals and guitar), Psychon (guitar), and Kerim “Krimh” Lechner (drums).

There are nine tracks on the new album. “The Collector” is an ominous beginning for Modern Primitive, with its frightening melody. Even the clean vocals are paired with a crackling dark side. Full, rich compositions, a hallmark of symphonic metal, are on display establishing a theatrical presence and framework, really, for the album. “Hierophant” is a storm rolling across the Adriatic with unstoppable menace. Growls and punishing percussion burn off any remaining illusion, plunging you into “Self-Eater,” a state where you cannot hide from yourself. These songs are tied together in the narrative and, by themselves, create a classical drama.

The album continues with elaborate constructions and emotive metal. Stand-out songs for me are “A Desert Throne” with its stabbing guitar and aggressive footing that the melody is laid over, and “Modern Primitives” because of its pervasive heaviness tag-teaming with royal flourishes. The final track is “A Dreadful Muse.” This song is among the most energetic of the entire bringing a strong finish to an excellent album. Once things got started there was no slowing this metal down. Recommended.

Modern Primitive is out now through Nuclear Blast Records in the usual variety of formats.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://septicflesh.bandcamp.com/album/modern-primitive

Website, https://www.septicflesh.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/septicfleshband

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/Septicfleshoffcial

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/item/groups/51000.1.html?article_group_sort_type_handle=rank&custom_keywords=septicflesh

© Wayne Edwards

Septicflesh, Modern Primitive (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Black Void, Antithesis (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The flipped coin lands on the Black Void side with Antithesis.

Norwegian band White Void plays a luxurious sort of heavy music; bright and melodic. Black Void is looking at the world from a different perspective. Not like Janus, not to me anyway. These two forces exist together. I read this description of Black Void: “a musical equivalent of a punk with a Mohawk fighting a dude in corpse paint.” I’ll take that one, too. White Void put out a successful album last year, and now we have this alternate look on the world from Black Void, Antithesis. The band is Jostein Thomassen (guitar), Tobias Øymo Solbakk (drums), and Lars Are Nedland (vocals, bass).

The music is described more formally as a combination of black metal and punk. Whenever I hear those two mentioned together my mind immediately skips to Venom, but that is not where Black Void goes. There is a punk sensibility throughout, and you can hear black metal twinges, but they are much more subdued. There are many hooks and catchy moments, and there are also frequent melodic passages. The perfect example is “Tenebrism Of Life,” which has gruff vocals and an aggressive guitar attack. I also offers singable moments and toys with pop-punk catchiness. It is an excellent hard-edged song that gets right in your head.

Top picks for me on the album are “It’s Not Surgery, It’s A Knife Fight” and “Void.” Both of these have the kind of punkitude that brightened me up and made me want to punch the air. The final two songs on the set are heavy hitters, too: “Nihil” and “Dadaist Disgust.” The band has talked about the nihilist aspects (Nietzsche) and the influence of Dadaism on this set. If you are looking for it, go to the end and work your way back toward the beginning. You will not be disappointed. I don’t know what White Void fans will think of Black Void, but I think this record is great. Recommended.

Antithesis is out on Friday, May 27th through Nuclear Blast Records. More info at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blckvod.bandcamp.com/album/antithesis

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/BlackWhiteVoid

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/black-void-antithesis.html

© Wayne Edwards

Black Void, Antithesis (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The Native Howl at Piere’s, Fort Wayne, May 19th

The Native Howl is opening for Gwar on the Black Death Rager World Tour.

The Native Howl is a murder folk band that likes to refer to their music as thrash grass – a combination of thrash and bluegrass. They do have a harder edge than, say, Amigo The Devil, with the same general vibe. This band from Detroit had a lot of fans showing up for them last Thursday at the Gwar show, judging from the people I talked to in the long line waiting to get in.

This photo gallery completes the trilogy from that night. Go out and see The Native Howl, Nekrogoblikon, and Gwar this May and June. See the tour poster below for cities and dates.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Gwar, https://gwar.net/

Nekrogoblikon, https://nekrogoblikon.bandcamp.com/

The Native Howl, https://www.thenativehowl.com/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

The Native Howl at Piere’s, Fort Wayne, May 19th

Nekrogoblikon at Piere’s, Fort Wayne, May 19th

Nekrogoblikon joins Gwar on the Black Death Rager World Tour.

We are adding this photo gallery to go along with the Gwar article from a couple days ago. Nekrogoblikon is traveling with Gwar on the May and June leg of the new tour, warming the crowd up right before the mighty warriors take the stage. Nekrogoblikon is an LA band that creates music concerning goblins. Heh-heh. It is fascinating guitar-based tongue-in-cheek hard electronic goblin folk rock with twinkling keys. They even have a goblin running around the stage during the live shows. The band released their fifth album just a few weeks ago, The Fundamental Slimes and Humours. Check out the link below to hear it on Bandcamp.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Gwar, https://gwar.net/

Nekrogoblikon, https://nekrogoblikon.bandcamp.com/

The Native Howl, https://www.thenativehowl.com/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Nekrogoblikon at Piere’s, Fort Wayne, May 19th

Gwar at Piere’s, Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 19th

Gwar kicked off the Black Death Rager World Tour on Thursday at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The mighty Gwar. Come on, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a show to see. There is always a lot of deranged mayhem going on at a Gwar show. The Native Howl opened, and Nekrogoblikon middled. There will separate photo galleries for them going up soon at FFMB. Today let’s talk about Gwar.

Gwar started in Richmond, Virginia in 1984. They are a heavy metal band focusing on intergalactic warrior themes and expressing themselves theatrically. The band members have changed considerably over the years, and still the band continues its mission with just as much fervor as ever. They have a new album coming out in a couple weeks – their fifteenth – The New Dark Ages.

The lead-in Black Sabbath music got the crowd ramped up before the interplanetary warriors stepped on the stage. Looking around, you can’t help but notice that most of the speakers have been covered with clear plastic, and there is plastic draped over the soundboards. If you have ever been to a Gwar show, you know why – we were all about the get sprayed with theatrical blood, goo, and other fluids as part of the elaborate stage show the band has developed over the years.

Filled with political satire and tongue-in-cheek social commentary, heavily costumed actors were ravaged on stage during and in between the bands heavy metal performances. Fans were treated to decapitations, eviscerations, and depraved moments better experienced in person than described on the page. Truly, it is an experience.

Opening with “Let Us Slay” and then “Sick Of You,” Gwar rolled through the hits and made room for new songs from the The New Dark Ages, notably the new single “Mother Fuckin Liar” and “Berserker Mode.” This was the first show on the tour and Gwar was already slinging metal in top form. Get out there and see them – check out the tour poster below for dates.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Gwar, https://gwar.net/

Nekrogoblikon, https://nekrogoblikon.bandcamp.com/

The Native Howl, https://www.thenativehowl.com/

Piere’s Entertainment Center, https://pieresentertainment.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Gwar at Piere’s, Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 19th

Predatory Light, Death And The Twilight Hours (20 Buck Spin 2022)

The second full-length album from Predatory Light will shatter your expectations about technical blackened doom: Death And The Twilight Hours.

It has been six years since Predatory Light released their self-titled debut long-player. That is a tough wait for fans, but they have truly come through on the new one, which is one of the best albums I have heard so far this year. The musicians in the band seem to prefer going by initials alone, so we don’t know that much about them, except what we can discern by listening to their compositions. When we do we find elements of black metal, doom, and technical expressions that cannot be achieved by just anyone. The alchemy they practice is rare indeed.

“The Three Living And The Three Dead” is like a walk through a deadly carnival. Bright lights and dark delights splash at you at first, but eventually you see deeper in and the doom descends. The metal does not relent despite the nearly fourteen minute running time. This is a decadent suite of sinister wonders. The next track, “Wracked By Sacred Fires,” is very different in tone and execution, even though the first bars seemed like a callback. It is more explicitly in the black metal mold, and still the differences that Predatory Light own are astonishing. The music is aggressively engaging, but not with hooks or even riffs, really. Still, it is the construction of the guitar parts that pushes the songs to the next level.

“Death And The Twilight Hours” rolls out the doom at the front with sweeping, lead-heavy riffs and ponderous percussion. A minute and a half deep, the growling comes in and that indefatigable guitar, asserting and claiming new ground. The doom does return but does not overtake the established reality for long. And then there is the final track, “To Plead Like Angels,” which commits at the jump to pace and ingenuity. This exceptional album surprised me at every turn, on each and every one of its four tracks. Excellent. Highly recommended.

Death And The Twilight Hours is out today, Friday, May 20th through 20 Buck Spin. The quick snap is Bandcamp, and you can also get it at the label’s website. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/death-and-the-twilight-hours

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Predatory Light, Death And The Twilight Hours (20 Buck Spin 2022)

Assumption, Hadean Tides (Sentient Ruin 2022)

Death-doom metal band Assumption return with a tale as old as time on Hadean Tides.

Beginning ten years ago in Palermo, Sicily, Assumption is a doom metal band that works with death metal intonations and classic metal influences to produce thought-provoking and sometimes esoteric heavy music. The release of a demo and subsequent EP lead finally to the debut full-length album Absconditus in 2018. Hadean Tides is their second long-player.

The concepts behind the music are indeed hoary and mysterious. The band comments about it on their Bandcamp page as follows. “‘Hadean’ is the informal name given to the first geological era of our planet. It can be seen as a non-time of continual accretion, liquefaction, destruction and dissolution of a barely formed globe. Today only a few, 4+ billion years-old zircons from the Hadean have been found. These represent a silent witness to a mysterious eon that no sentient being would ever endure, in no way, on a physical plane. This ancestral magmatic dimension, intertwined with the symbolic influence of poems by William Butler Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Stearns Eliot and Rainer Maria Rilke … informs the ideas, sounds and intentions contained within this new album.” If you are looking for meaning, this is the place to start.

The music is as advertised: doom and death metal. In the slower, doom-oriented moments that dominate the album, the compositions place size and scale in priority positions, ladling drama heavily upon the boiling stew. This is evident from the very beginning with “Oration” and is demonstrated repeatedly throughout. “Submerged By Hadean Tides” is created particularly adeptly, lacing classic metal homages in the layers and building mighty walls with granite riffs. “Daughters Of The Lotus” is set at a funeral doom pace in its first half. At the five minute mark the music breaks loose in an overwhelming flood energetic emotion, then folds back into the doom. Darkly, beautifully done.

“Breath Of The Dedalus” is a mood piece, and what a dreary mood it sets with the effective use of eerie choral. “Triptych” is creepy and bizarre, with spare, clear spoken words that stands in contrast to the usual gruff vocalizations on the record. The final song is the fifteen-minute epic “Black Trees Waving.” It is an unsentimental journey into the abyss of distant time. The expressed ideas cling to you as they roll along, laying claim to your attention and consciousness. It is a wakening experience. Highly recommended.

Hadean Tides is out on Friday, May 20th. Many formats are available from Sentient Ruin Laboratories in the US and Everlasting Spew Records in Europe. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://assumption.bandcamp.com/album/hadean-tides

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/assumptiondoom/

Sentient Ruin Laboratories, http://sentientruin.com/main

Everlasting Spew Records, https://everlastingspew.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Assumption, Hadean Tides (Sentient Ruin 2022)