Dead Void, Volatile Forms (Dark Descent 2022)

Danish doom band Dead Void bring their debut album to the surface, Volatile Forms.

Dead Void is a band of mystery. There is virtually nothing about the personnel in the press materials. The band appears to be a trio – guitar, bass, drums – who started off at some indeterminate time in the past. The Metal Archives does list three demos from them having been released in 2017, 2018, and 2021, respectively. And now we have the new one, a full-length album that is probably the band’s long-player debut. Let’s give it a blind listen.

There are five thunderous tracks on the new album. “Atrophy” takes off with a slow, ominous strum, matched in time by bass and percussion. It is a dark, heavy doom that turns into funeral doom, deepened by treacherous vocals. The song is a warning of an eventual, slow-moving catastrophe. The strum does pick up and the music turns fast and fierce, almost avant-garde at times. Then it winds down and fades out. Contrariwise, “The Entrails of Chaos” starts like a hail of missiles with savage intensity. The doom comes in later, and a kind of groove walks in and out.

“Sadistic Mind” plays like slowed-down Black Sabbath. Absolutely crushing. Death metal tags in toward the middle then bows out. Similarly, “The Reptilian Drive” has a familiar overall arc, but no guiderails at all. Again, the groove in the middle is killer, and it offers a look you almost never get in this manner of music. The final track is “Perpetually Circling the Void.” How’s that for a title? Oh, this eleven-minute opus delivers on its titular promise, have no fear.

This album is excellent. I am a doom fan, and so I appreciate how well those elements are executed in the music. The additional layers of death and groove are what raises the compositions to the next level. Recommended.

Volatile Forms hits the streets through Dark Descent Records on September 15th in CD form, with vinyl provided by Me Saco Un Ojo.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://deadvoid.bandcamp.com/

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

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/product/dead-void-volatile-forms-cd/

Me Saco Un Ojo Records, https://www.mesacounojo.com/shop/dead-void-volatile-forms-lp/

© Wayne Edwards

Dead Void, Volatile Forms (Dark Descent 2022)

Lucid Grave, Cosmic Mountain (Electric Valley 2022)

Stoner doom band Lucid Grave release their debut long-player, Cosmic Mountain.

Situated in Copenhagen, Denmark, Lucid Grave has been haunting stages for a few years. After a demo and an EP, they have now put together an impressive full-length album for their ever-expanding fan base to groove on. Heavy psych, doom, ritual, and stoner vibes infiltrate every nook in this music. The band is Malene (vocals), Jon (drums), Alex (bass), Casper (guitar and synth), and Kriller (guitar and synth).

There are six tracks on the new album, three long ones and three very long ones. The title track kicks the set off with opening ambient tones and an eerie, emotive vocal. The voice is mesmerizing, having the effect of a chant in this context, rather like ritual metal. It is nearly three minutes in before the first big guitar riff lands, and when it does the impact is titanic. The pace is slow but determined and meaningful. “Old Spirit” follows in a completely different way, reminding me at times of a Nina Hagen – digging in with punk attitudes and contemporary sentimentiation [I made that word up just now]. The lead break toward the end is very trippy.

The differential existence of both faster-paced and slow-paced songs works exceptionally well on this record. “I’m Still High” is next and it has an arc the other songs largely avoid. “I Feel The Fire” is somber and not at all sober. “Stay Away” is a Pink Floyd tonic and the closer, “Curse Of the Crow,” digs in deep. The massive natural musical weight of the composition gains access to your deepest inner self if you have prepared for it properly and if you are open to the experience. The ramp out could be effective in an Ayahuasca exploration. This song, and this album, could change you. Recommended.

Cosmic Mountain is out on Friday, July 15th through Electric Valley Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://lucidgrave.bandcamp.com/

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

Electric Valley Records, https://www.electricvalleyrecords.com/category/electric-valley-records-releases

© Wayne Edwards

Lucid Grave, Cosmic Mountain (Electric Valley 2022)

Chaotian, Effigies Of Obsolescence (Dark Descent 2022)

Death metal trio Chaotian renders their first full-length album from the depths, Effigies Of Obsolescence.

From Denmark, Chaotian is a fairly new band having come together in 2017. They released a couple of demos in the ensuing years, and fans have been on edge for a long-player as time has passed along. And now here it is: Effigies Of Obsolescence. This is death metal music turned up past ten. Prepare yourself before dropping the needle because this band leaves nothing on the stage. Chaotian is Søren Willatzen (guitar, vocals), Jonas Grønborg (bass), and Andreas Nordgreen (drums, vocals).

There are seven tracks on the album, each one a new revelation. A sense of suffering and hopelessness is established immediately with “Gangrene Dream.” The feeling of chaos hits hard on “Into Megatopheth” with the unpredictable guitar injections ripping into the status quo. The title track seals the tomb with its irrepressible growling vocals and crushing guitar riffs, its pulverizing percussion. If you are a death metal fan and you hear this song you know you have reached a pinnacle. It is stunning.

“Adipocere Feast” inveigles you with its speed and misdirection, its stabbing guitars. “Etched Shadows” plays a longer game in a deadly slow pace at the front that gets paired with breakneck speed that sends you over the edge of the abyss. “Fustuarium” and “Festering Carcinolith” are the final two turns on this wheel of devastation. The presentation and combination of elements are delivered with expert hands, ultimately leaving you without breath.

I have not enjoyed an album this much since the last Tomb Mold record. Chaotian has changed my expectations for death metal, ratcheting the bar up. Highly recommended.

Effigies Of Obsolescence is out on Friday, June 24th through Dark Descent Records and Me Saco Un Ojo Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/effigies-of-obsolescence

Chaotian store, https://chaotian.storenvy.com/

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

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/

© Wayne Edwards

Chaotian, Effigies Of Obsolescence (Dark Descent 2022)

Volbeat, Servant Of The Mind (Republic Records 2021)

Danish heavy groove metal band Volbeat shows creativity and ingenuity with their new album, Servant Of The Mind.

With twenty years of rock and roll under their belt, Danish band Volbeat is known far and wide in the heavy music world. Their music is usually described as groove metal because it is heavy while being loaded with catchy riffs and choruses. Servant Of The Mind is their eighth studio album. The band is Michael Poulsen (vocals, guitar), Jon Larsen (drums), Rob Caggiano (guitar), and Kaspar Boye Larsen (bass).

I have seen Volbeat many times live and I have listened to all their albums. Musically, you hear strong Rockabilly influences and, as the years have rolled on, there are more pop-oriented songs, too. Poulsen’s unique and powerful voice is a mainstay throughout it all. When the vocals are combined with memorable riffs and a persistent theatrical flair, the band consistently produces music with a lasting impact.

There are thirteen songs on the new album and the set displays the band’s customary dedication to variety. The opener is a big fantasy anthem, “Temple of Ekur,” with riffs big enough to reach the clouds. The second song is short, just over two minutes, and has a single feel to it: “Wait A Minute My Girl.” It is super hooky and lays on a heavy REO Speedwagon homage. And then there is another sharp turn with “The Sacred Stones,” an eerie, doomy piece with carefully allocated rhythm and an unsettling presence.

All along this ride canyons and plains and mountains appear offering new and different vistas with enough familiar callbacks to remind you what train you are on. There are pop-leaning ballads like “Dagen Før” that preserves excellent guitar moments, and there are heavier stompers like “Shotgun Blues” and pushy punchers such as “Becoming.” Volbeat has put together another album their fans are going to love because it is everything they are looking for. Recommended.

There is a deluxe version of the new album with four bonus tracks on it: “”Return To None” and “Domino” plus alternate takes on “Shotgun Blues,” and “Dagen Før.” It is definitely worth it to upgrade in order to capture these. More music is better.

Servant Of The Mind is out now and available everywhere.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards from the Louder Than Life festival in 2021.

Links.

Website, https://www.volbeat.dk/us/

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

Republic Records, https://www.republicrecords.com/artists/volbeat

Volbeat, Servant Of The Mind (Republic Records 2021)

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

The first full-length album from Danish Funeral Doom duo Funeral Chasm is a rueful contemplation.

Funeral Chasm is Morten Lund and Danny Woe. The two have known each other for many years but this new band was created only last year. Omniversal Existence follows an EP from 2020, I, and lays the groundwork for future self-reflective excavations. Unlike most bands in this subgenre of doom, Funeral Chasm finds its lyrical content in contemporary questions and personal issues rather than having a preponderant emphasis on death.

There are eight tracks on the debut album, averaging in the six minute range. Each song is inspired by, or discovered through, Psilocybe cubensis, or a closely related cousin. Danny Woe describes it this way, discussing the way he deals with the symptoms of chronic insomnia…

“When those emotions are peaking, I have learned that the most effective way to break that thought loop is to visit my forest cabin with a friend and eat some magic mushrooms, which help me from spiralling further down into the abyss. I have tried to describe these monumental trips in every song, and what I’ve learned through them. Sometimes you just get a nice relaxing visit into another dimension, but other times you can experience deeper knowledge about yourself (often referred to as a ‘bad trip’ or ‘ego-death’), and that is the moment where you listen and get the opportunity to evolve.”

This makes sense when you listen to the album because it is so immersive. Consider the first song “Embellishment Of Inception.” There is a clear progression through a journey – a trip – which has many stages. The slow, dire music accompanied by both clean and coarse vocals can be experienced as revelatory. There are spacey moments and frightening ones. “The Truth That Nevers Was” is like a dark, forbidding tale of excruciating suffering that is elevated toward the end, rising out of complete hopelessness. Then the very next track, “Mesmerising Clarity,” has a lighter touch while still being dramatic. There is nuance and fully-formed, complex ideas at every turn.

In the land of Funeral Doom, Funeral Chasm has created a unique place that clearly belongs while it simultaneously stands apart. Recommended.

Omniversal Existence is out on Friday, July 2nd through Aesthetic Death.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://funeralchasm.bandcamp.com/album/omniversal-existence

Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician/Funeral-Chasm-103662204549338/

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Artillery, X (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Danish thrash masters Artillery come back for another round with their tenth full-length album, X.

1982 is the place in history when the formative machinations coalesced into a recognizable construct for Artillery. The released a number of demos in the next couple of years, leading up to the first full album, Fear Of Tomorrow, in 1985. They have been rumbling and shaking the metal world ever since. After a slow period in the 1990s and aughts, Artillery has been cranking out skull-rattling thrash on the regular for the past twelve years. The current lineup is Michael Bastholm Dahl (vocals), Michael Stützer (guitar), Kræn Meier (guitar), Peter Thorslund (bass), and Josua Madsen (drums).

There are eleven tracks on X, starting with “The Devil’s Symphony” and ending with “Beggars In Black Suits.” Better bookends would be hard to find. Dahl’s theatrical, soaring vocals are juxtaposed against the relentless riffery and ripping leads in a synergy that produces amazing results.

Most songs have a short lead-in bit before setting the guitars on attack, but then it is all metal and thrash. The vocals are the feature (as in Dio, say) while the fortress is the guitars and they are also the musical weapons. Catchy hooks and riffs and technically expert light-speed leads are the hallmarks of this band. This is exactly the kind of construction that has appealed to me since the very beginning.

There is one slower piece, “The Ghost Of Me,” but the album is mainly a study in adrenaline. In every song I can find something that really stands out, like the dizzying lead in “Varg I Veum” or the very complex but somehow still memorable lead-in guitar on the very next song, “Mors Ontologica.” There are mystical moments, tongue-in-cheek passages, and lines of aggression, all told in heavy metal. This is one to save so you can hear it over and over. Recommended.

The album drops on Friday, May 7th and you can snap it up everywhere. Hit the Metal Blade Records link below to see the varieties available.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://artillerymetal.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Artillery Website, http://www.artillery.dk/home.php

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/artillery/

Artillery, X (Metal Blade Records 2021)