Black Math Horseman, Black Math Horseman (Profound Lore 2022)

Regathering after more than a decade, Black Math Horseman release a new album.

Black Math Horseman is a band from LA comprised of the musicians Sera Timms (bass, vocals), Ian Barry (guitar), Bryan Tulao (guitar), and Sasha Popovic (drums). They originally got together in 2007 and released a demo. More importantly, their debut album, Wyllt, came out in 2009 and cast an entirely different light on the heavy music scene with the way it created hypnotic expressions in such a chaotic space. A few years later, they parted.

In 2020 the group came back together. Sera Timms says about the re-meeting, “At first, the conversation was about how we were all in different places now, and could we even go back to being that band that we were? … Maybe we’d write completely different music now—and we were all open to that.” Instead, “When we started jamming again, we didn’t sound any different. We discovered that the music that comes from us four together is something that we have no control over. It just happens. It’s a recipe that’s beyond us.”

Fans know what to expect from this new album. It is composed as a single musical piece. Although it is split into four parts, it is meant to be heard all at once. It does work best that way. “The essence of the album is overcoming a great enemy, a great adversarial force, and reaching a place of harmony that has never been found before,” Timms says. “You go to a dark place and destroy relationships that you love, all based on ego. Eventually, you have nothing. And when you have nothing, you have to find a new way of doing things. That’s where we’re at now as a band and family, and that’s also the theme of the record.”

The four movements are “Black Math Horseman,” “Boar Domane,” “The Bough,” and “Cypher.” As described by Timms, this is indeed a journey. The music is trance-inducing post-rock, and it has a clear ritual feel to it at times. I hear elements of black metal come through, especially in the lead guitar passages, while the vocals are beautifully lyrical. The coexistence of these near-opposites is an important aspect of the music and its achievements.

The entire cycle runs about twenty-five minutes, and while the separate movements do have their own feel and structure, you are missing something if you do not listen to it all straight through from the beginning. Let the music envelope you and get lost in the story and emotion. Recommended.

Black Math Horsman is out on Friday, October 21st through Profound Lore Records.

Band photo by Travis Shinn.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blackmathhorseman.bandcamp.com/album/black-math-horseman

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063492333782

Profound Lore Records, http://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Black Math Horseman, Black Math Horseman (Profound Lore 2022)

Hissing, Hypervirulence Architecture (Profound Lore 2022)

Hypervirulence Architecture is the new album from Hissing.

With three EPs and a long-player under their belt, Seattle’s Hissing brings out a new full-length album, Hypervirulence Architecture. Having begun only in 2015, this is a notable record of musical creation from the highly respected death and black metal band. The musicians are Zach Wise (bass, vocals), Joe O’Malley (guitar), and Sam Pickel (drums).

This new record is noticeably different from their debut album, Permanent Destitution (2018). The press release gets it right when it notes that, on Hypervirulence Architecture, “the trio take their sound into more nightmarish, trance-inducing, mercurial, and mind-altering sonic dominions.” They achieve a delicate balance between what we might think of as death metal and black metal, while making concerted use of ambient/noise moments constructed sometimes almost ritualistically. It is a sinister blend.

“Cells of Nonbeing” is the first of seven tracks. It sounds for all the world like a frantic casting about in a dark cave that might very well be an abyss. The farther in you go, the more mysterious it becomes. The guitars lean toward dissonance part of the time, and the vocals are not meant to be reassuring. “Hostile Absurdity” further loosens the moorings you thought were secure, leaving you to drift into dangerous regions. “Operant Extinction” is then unleashed, and it is the most impressive track on the album. An epic piece, running over ten minutes, it is fascinatingly doomy and filled in every space with dark and frightening looks.

The second half of the album starts with a transition piece, “Hypervirulence,” then kicks in the door with “Intrusion,” a song that builds tension to the bursting point. “Identical To Hunger” and “Meltdown” are reflected images – visions distorted by a warped onyx glass. Listening to these last two tracks, I began to feel appropriated by some existential object that could not be clearly discerned. This album will affect you. Recommended.

Hypervirulence Architecture is out now through Profound Lore Records. Have a look at the label’s website and/or pick the album up at Bandcamp.

Band photo by Marena Shear.

Links.

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

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

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Hissing, Hypervirulence Architecture (Profound Lore 2022)

Bog Body, Cryonic Crevasse Cult (Profound Lore 2022)

Bog Body brings forth their first full-length album, Cryonic Crevasse Cult.

Not your typical death metal band, Bog Body is made up entirely of vocals, bass, and percussion generated from two musicians. Putting out a demo in 2018, Through the Burial Bog, and a split with Primitive Warfare in 2020, The Gate Of Grief, you might wonder if they have anything else to say. It turns out that’s a yes.

Think about it for a minute. Bass and drums and vocals. Is that enough? It is certainly a lane, and the limiting choice of instruments narrows the avenues for expression. Then again, it requires the composers to be especially creative if they are to achieve anything fans want to hear. I think they have done it.

The music is death metal, heavy on the sludge, and it leans toward black metal sentience, metered down a bit. The bass lines are doing some heavy lifting here, as you might expect. Speed comes from the percussion first in the absence of guitar, and the bass line keeps up. The vocals exist in a muted blackened doom metal realm.

There is a welcome variety in the music as we roll through. “Ice Stained Kurgan” has a deep, mysterious formulation to it, while songs like the title track are high velocity poundings. The set opens on “Paralytic Pit of Swallowed Graves” and closes with “The Graveyard Of Dead Cratons,” two songs that, musically, stand well apart. Indeed, while “Paralytic” is a mood-setter and serves to orient expectations for the rest of the album, “Graveyard” is my favorite track for its firm stance on its own identity. The commitment to heavy music is present throughout, and I can say no other band sounds quite like Bog Body. Recommended.

Cryonic Crevasse Cult is out on Friday, May 20th through Profound Lore Records in digital and on CD.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bog-body.bandcamp.com/

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

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Bog Body, Cryonic Crevasse Cult (Profound Lore 2022)

Haunter, Discarnate Ails (Profound Lore 2022)

Texas death metal band Haunter pull out the stops on their new album, Discarnate Ails.

Centered in Austin, Haunter came together in 2013. The music they make is a fusion of black and death metal elevated by progressive percolations. Combining subgenres is not new, of course, but the level of success achieved depends on the way the mixing is done. Haunter always gets it right, and they are top-of-the-line experts if their last record, Sacramental Death Qualia (2019), is any measure. There is an arc to the band’s career that, given Discarnate Ails, appears to be heading upward. Listed musicians on the new album are Bradley Tiffin (vocals, guitar), Enrique Bonilla (guitar), and Cole Tucker (bass).

There are three long tracks on the album. “Overgrown With The Moss” opens the set with gentle discovery. It is as if you are wandering through a forest that slowly turns darkly magical as you pass through it. You notice a raised placed in the earth. You go over to investigate and, brushing aside the overgrowth, you unleash something unimaginable. The black metal is there, and the wonder of progressive ingenuity is too – that is what supports the ten-minute-plus running time and maintains your interest through all the valleys and crypts and plains.

“Spiritual Illness” clangs out brusquely, and has the feeling of an attack. “Chained At The Helm Of The Eschaton,” on the other hand, is filled with mystery and wonder in its opening melody and has a resonating cooldown that is beautiful to hear. All three tracks have their own unique postures and progressions, and they all are mesmerizing. Recommended.

Discarnate Ails is out on Friday, May 6th through Profound Lore Records. Take note also that Haunter is scheduled to perform at Fire In The Mountains this year, a unique music festival held at the Heart Six Ranch in the Tetons. If you can get there, definitely do it because it will be an experience like no other. Links to the record and the festival appear below.

Band photo by Oscar Moreno.

Links.

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

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

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

Fire In The Mountains Festival, https://fitmfest.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Haunter, Discarnate Ails (Profound Lore 2022)