Any time we get a promo from I, Voidhanger records, we very grimly giggle in frostbitten excitement. Mark February 5th in your calendars now, because we have excellent releases from The Wakedead Gathering, Ecferus, and Voidcraeft coming.
The Wakedead Gathering – Fuscus: Strings of the Black Lyre
Before hearing a second of music, the artwork alone (courtesy of the immensely talented Karmazid) had me sold. The Great Grey Witch haunts an unforgiving swamp, extending her horrifying reach to the pathetic creatures in her capture. The Wakedead Gathering’s thick, ponderous style of death metal brings the artwork to life, telling the tale of “a witch hunt that turns hunter into prey and the children of those so-called “righteous” perpetrators into something… not entirely human!” While death metal may be the root of the band’s sound, its branches spread boldly into black metal and sludge, weaving through a swampy mix of the styles beneath a hazy atmosphere. Everything from cavernous growls to garish shrieks follow the music as it twists through the murk.
Sole member Andrew Lampe does a magnificent job handling all aspect of the band, to the point that I wouldn’t know how to begin guessing what his primary instrument is. I was woefully unfamiliar with The Wakedead Gathering before this, their third full-length. Catch up with me at his Bandcamp and Facebook pages, and keep your eye on I, Voidhanger’s website for a preorder before the February 5th release date. In the meantime, stream “Lungwort” over at No Clean Singing.
Ecferus – Pangaea
In case you wanted something else to make you feel bad about your productivity, here’s another one-man band releasing a magnificent album. Rather than coasting for a bit on last February’s debut full-length Prehistory, August’s excellent split with Sea Witch (not to be confused with Sea Bastard or Old Witch, who did splits with Keeper), or September’s impressive solo EP The Tourniquet Hemisphere, the lone member Alp decided to push forward with his most ambitious material by a long shot. Pangaea powers through a sprawling narrative that I’m not going to explain better than the promo:
“Pangaea uses a mythological point-of-view to tell the story of a planet at war with its occupants. The tortured main character, Pangaea, is ripped apart into separate continents by Earth so as to prevent the begetting of creatures with potential too powerful to be trusted. Acting out of spite, Pangaea nurtures humanity’s rise to power until their passive occupation mutates into indefensible planetary malice. Using wide dynamic shifts and changes in meter, with “Pangaea” ECFERUS creates the musical equivalent of an accelerated planetary evolution, depicting the fury o the elements and an Earth painfully coming to life.”
Musically, Ecferus fitfully resides in black metal territory. The swirling, miasmic depictions of a planet developing a seething hatred for its occupants bring a distinct progressive and dissonant edge to the band’s sound. This isn’t a “progressive” tag that’s synonymous with “prog,” but a distinction that’s true to the meaning of the word. It’s forward thinking, outside the box, and unconcerned with anything but its own vision. “Creation of a Planet” writhes in primordial chaos, slowly coming to order over the 10-minute track to life on Pangaea. Swirling, furious riffs and dramatic changes in pace continue masterfully through the next three tracks to the declaration of war in “Storms Continue On.” There is never a moment in this expansive chronicle that lacks tense, genuine drama, and the cover art by Luciana Nedelea perfectly suits the scope of the album. February 5th will be here in a hurry, so keep tabs on Ecferus’s Facebook, their Bandcamp, and I, Voidhanger’s website for preorders and forthcoming singles.
Voidcraeft – Ἕβελ
We’re probably all feeling bad about never getting that solo black metal project off the ground by now, so here’s another one-man band to really drive our failures home. Voidcraeft is a helmed by an enigmatic individual from Germany specializing in dissonant, angular, relentless black metal. I use the term “enigmatic” a touch loosely here, as he’s actually very candid in speaking about his music and even his own odd life. I would highly recommend spending some time on his website for more information. However, it seems that the more you learn about this individual, the more densely layered the world of Voidcraeft becomes.
This album is sung entirely in Biblical Hebrew and Greek, as evidenced by the title, and recounts the struggles of Job as Satan tests his faith in God. I am not a good writer who can paraphrase well and I want to avoid copying/pasting a massive amount of text, so I would strongly urge you to read his explanation of the impetus behind the album. Musically speaking, I can tell you that this will greatly please fans of Deathspell Omega, Portal, Nightbringer (three bands he cites as influence), and Thantifaxath. The tense rawness of the compositions adds an undeniable weight to the album. It’s dense and ponderous, and can slip by in a blur if you’re not paying attention. However, for listeners with a penchant for layered, furious complexity and anxious chromaticism, this album delivers in every way. While he self-released it in August, it’s due for a physical release on February 5th. In the meantime, jam a couple tracks off the album below. Oh, and one more thing to make you feel bad: he started playing drums in 2014 for the first time because he was sick of using a drum machine.