-(16)-, Into Dust (Relapse 2022)

California sludge masters -(16)- face the blurring void on Into Dust.

The story begins in 1991 when the early moments of -(16)- coalesced. Their music is usually referred to as sludge metal, which it certainly is, but it also exists in a confidence interval that includes hardcore, punk, and stoner inclinations, to name only a few. Over the past thirty years, they have made a critical ascent. During this time, they have released a formidable amount of music, with multiple EPs, splits, and nine full-length albums, including Into Dust. The band is Bobby Ferry (guitar, vocals), Alex Shuster (guitar), Barney Firks (bass), and Dion Thurman (drums).

“There’s a story arc in the lyrics that start with an eviction notice served amid the ruins of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys, to running aground metaphorically and drowning in midlife, bearing witness to the modern suffering of hunger and poverty on the Mexico California border,” Bobby Ferry says about the latest record. That covers a lot of ground. When I listened to the album the first time, I got involved with each song separately, and the arc did not sink in. That is not meant as a criticism, but rather as a declaration of how compelling each individual element is.

The first track is monster, “Misfortune Teller,” leaning heavily on the rhythm and regiment to put you on the path. There is more of a presence for the lead guitar on “Dead Eyes” and, especially, “Ash in the Hourglass,” where we get a tasty groove, too. “Scrape the Rocks” downshifts a might and has a sorrowful feeling to it as a result. It is also quite grungy. In the very next space, “Null and Eternal Void” tugs the eclectic ear and hits grating and coarse elements hard. You really feel it all coming together by now if it hasn’t hit you before.

Other tracks that stay with me after the second time through are “Never Paid Back” for its dark and elegant gloominess, and the comprehensive closer, “Born on a Barstool.” It opens with quiet flittering lounge jazz then splits your skull with a titanically heavy drop about a minute in. It brings the proceedings to a finish a in a way you won’t forget, back at that jazz bar. Recommended.

Into Dust hits the streets on Friday, November 18th through Relapse Records. Touch the links below.

Band photo Chad Kelco.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://16theband.bandcamp.com/album/into-dust

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/16theband

Relapse Records, https://store.relapse.com/

© Wayne Edwards

-(16)-, Into Dust (Relapse 2022)

Incantation, Tricennial Of Blasphemy (Relapse 2022)

Incantation releases a massive album of rarities to celebrate more than thirty years of menacing metal, Tricennial Of Blasphemy.

Incantation came together in 1989, formed by John McEntee and Paul Ledney. McEntee has stayed with the band throughout its entire history, seeing a dozen full-length albums come to fruition, along with a rugged smattering of splits and EPs. Along the way, some of the tracks have become rather obscure and hard for fans to find. Tricennial Of Blasphemy solves that problem. It is a three-record / two-CD set that houses thirty-one songs, including a couple that have never been published before.

The unreleased first. “Pest Savagery” is grinding, punishing death metal. Unhallowed growls and charging rhythms reign. “Ordained by Night’s Will” has a good cook and a nice groove. It breaks out periodically into a blitz, and there are downshifted tempo moments, too. There is a lot infused in these four minutes. Either song would have fared well on an Incantation album, so it is a shame they never made it on one – until now.

After these two openers, there is a long list of songs from disparate places, like long gone compilations and the Decibel Magazine flexi-released song “Degeneration,” that would take some time to run down and, without this new album, could easily have been lost in the shuffle. Instead of me just repeating it all here, check out the link below to the Incantation website and there is a complete list there. There are many songs I have never heard, like “Emaciated Holy Figure” from the Corporate Death compilation, for example, and on and on. It is a genuine treasure trove for fans.

The set ends with a few live cuts recorded in Switzerland, France, and Cleveland a decade or so ago. I hadn’t heard these, either, but I have seen Incantation live several times and hearing these recordings takes me back to those experiences. Sometimes rarities records fall short and have a lot of fluff in them. Not this one. This one is the real deal. Recommended.

Tricennial Of Blasphemy is streaming now, with physicals and merch out on Friday, October 7th through Relapse records.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Incantation website, https://www.incantation.com/

Bandcamp, https://incantation666.bandcamp.com/album/tricennial-of-blasphemy

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

Relapse Records, https://store.relapse.com/incantation-tricennial-of-blasphemy

© Wayne Edwards

Incantation, Tricennial Of Blasphemy (Relapse 2022)

Nile ~ Incantation ~ Sanguisugabogg ~ I Am at Piere’s, March 1, 2022

It was a night of death metal devastation at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana when Nile, Incantation, Sanguisugabogg, and I Am rattled the rigging of reality for fans from far and wide.

It was my first time at Piere’s Entertainment Center. I think I am going to be there a lot during my residency in the Midwest because so many heavy music acts make this stop in Northern Indiana. It is an excellent venue with plenty of room for fans and it offers an intimate proximity to the stage.

First up was I Am, a band from Texas. They have an EP and a couple albums out, the latest being Hard 2 Kill. They hit several songs from that recent record and it sounded like there were a couple of new ones in there, too. They got the night off to a great start with some heavy-hitting death metal.

Sanguisugabogg comes from Columbus, Ohio. They are currently touring in support of their latest album, Tortured Whole. I had never seen them live before, and I still don’t think I am pronouncing their name right. I can tell you this: they are formidable. Their songs are filled with savagery and the delivery is razor-sharp. Take the chance to see them whenever you get it, even if you don’t know how to say their name.

I have followed Incantation for many years. I can’t even remember the number of times I have seen them play, and I always come back for more. Their newest album is Sect Of Vile Divinities, which we reviewed very positively here at FFMB (link below). Thirty years in and their music and performance is stronger than ever – my favorite set of the evening.

I think we can all agree that Nile has forged an unforgettable place for themselves in the annals of heavy music. There is not a ton of music out there themed around Egyptian mythology at the jump – it might just be Nile. They have honed their presentation to an unswervingly precise delivery, and the music seeps into you like an ancient curse. The band’s most recent album is Vile Nilotic Rites, and in the live show at Piere’s they didn’t miss a beat.

At first pass you might not have thought to put these four bands together on the same ticket, but their music, in fact, worked exceptionally well together. The tour continues through for a few more stops so if you are in their path make sure you catch this show.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Nile, https://www.nile-official.com/

Incantation, https://www.incantation.com/

Review of Sect of Vile Divinities, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/08/18/incantation-sect-of-vile-divinities-review-relapse-records-2020/

Sanguisugabogg, https://sanguisugabogg.com/

I Am, https://iamtxmusic.bandcamp.com/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Nile ~ Incantation ~ Sanguisugabogg ~ I Am at Piere’s, March 1, 2022

Red Fang, Arrows (Relapse Records 2021)

The fourth studio album from Portland, Oregon irregulars Red Fang is a grungy cavalcade of heavy music idiosyncrasies and discoveries.

I started listening to Red Fang closely with their self-titled compilation (c. 2009) that put the earlier two tour EPs together and added a new song. The spirited swagger comes through in the multiplicity of influences and outputs you hear. Murder The Mountains (2011) was like that, too, and so is the new one. You never know what the next song will be like. The last studio album from Red Fang was in 2016: Only Ghosts. Fans have been on the edge for this one and they are going to be pumped when they hear it.

There are thirteen tracks on the album including an on-ramp and two shorter bits. Want to know what the album is like? Here is a summary. From “Two High” we get: “Whatever you think I am / think again / whatever you thought I’d be / ain’t me.” That is the guiding principle at work on Arrows.

There are noisy transitions and peculiar wobbles here and there mixed in with the more linear compositions. The music pushes hard on tracks like “Anodyne” and on songs like “Fonzi Scheme” the construction is more laid back – still heavy, of course, but told at more of a stoner pace. “Why” is solemn and creepy while “Funeral Coach” is unexpectedly light hearted and “Dr. Owl” is more gruff than wise. I think you see what I mean. Be ready for anything and that is what you’ll get. They’re not coasting on this album. Recommended.

Arrows is out now and available everywhere. Red Fang has a big tour coming up including a stop at Psycho Las Vegas in August.

Links.

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

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

Relapse Records, http://relapse.com/red-fang-arrows/

Red Fang, Arrows (Relapse Records 2021)

Ilsa, Preyer review (Relapse Records 2020)

Washington, DC doom metal masters Ilsa unveil their sixth full-length album, bringing feral certainty to a world of indecision.

The first music of Ilsa’s I heard was Corpse Fortress (2018), well into the history of the band. What a great album. The music is Doom Metal in a very active sense, with no dragging or overdrawn moments. It is intense, and I expected the same from the new one, Preyer. It is all that and more.

“Epigraph” has a voiceover for the entire song where a Satanist discusses killing someone as part of what appears to be an interview. This is about Sean Sellers, a convicted murderer, and the album has this notion as its starting point. The music is heavily distorted and begins in the background. By the end of the song the positions are reversed with the voice becoming more distant and the music taking the forefront. “Poor Devil” is next and it is the first step after launch. The fully formed doom vision of the band is instantly in play and there is no looking back.

The pace is variegated but the filling line is not. The vocals on every track sounds like the world depends on the message getting through. The lead work is penetrating and the rhythm sets solid steel railing. The Punk intentions are plainer on some songs, like “Shibboleth,” and on others, like “Mother of God,” Doom lays it hands on heavy and presses hard. The title song is like a mad monk’s manifesto and the closer, “The Square Coliseum,” slides the stone lid over the sarcophagus of ruin in a final, terminal jolt. The place where solace lives is not accessible from this musical world.

Preyer is out this Friday, November 20th. It is a welcome addition to the band’s burgeoning canon. Recommended.

Band photo by Maire O’Sullivan.

Links.

Ilsa Bandcamp, https://ilsa.bandcamp.com/

Ilsa Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/ILSADC

Relapse Records, http://www.relapse.com

Relapse Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Ilsa, Preyer review (Relapse Records 2020)

Incantation, Sect Of Vile Divinities review (Relapse Records 2020)

Death Metal legends Incantation return with their eleventh studio album, Sect of Vile Divinities.

It would be hard to overestate the impact Incantation has had on heavy music, and on Death Metal in particular. One of the early entries in the field and among the giants of the New York scene, their first album, Onward to Golgotha (1992), was a pivotal moment in music history. Guitarist John McEntee has been there since the beginning, directing the progression of the band and channeling a path that helped shape the landscape of Death Metal today.

There have been many big albums from veteran bands this year like Testament, Vader, Ozzy, Sepultura, My Dying Bride, Cirith Ungol, and others that were highly anticipated. I am every bit as excited about the new Incantation release because the music on Sect Of Vile Divinities shakes the planet.

We are told in advance that each song on the new album is about a different ancient evil from various places in history around the globe. That sounds like a good place to start and it fits in well with the band’s style and legacy. A good example of a representative song from the set is “Entrails of the Hag Queen,” which has the primary elements of musical creation: heavy decadence, massive riffs, driving percussion, and guttural growls flowing in a thick river darkness. The song slows down and speeds up as the story is told and the theme demands. Some songs are dirge-like throughout, like “Ignis Fatuus.” Others establish a blistering pace at the front and never relent, like “Chant of Formless Dread” and “Fury’s Manifesto.” The song I have listened to the most so far is “Shadow-Blade Masters of Tempest and Maelstrom” because of the way the lead guitar acts like a second voice forming a sinister, twisted duet, and because of the relentless nature of the driving momentum in the rhythm. The closer is “Siege Hive,” and it is an all-out assault on your senses that will make you question your place in the universe. This is a great album.

Out on Relapse Records this Friday, August 21, there are many formats and bundles to choose from that you can grab at the Relapse site or Bandcamp, and the band has their own webstore, too. The new music is as fresh and relevant today as their original work was back then. Highly recommended.

Links.

https://www.incantation.com/

http://incantation666.bandcamp.com

http://www.relapse.com

Incantation, Sect Of Vile Divinities review (Relapse Records 2020)