Upcoming releases from some sinister Hellenic black metal bands and a debut album from Turkey’s future death metal kings.
First up today is the unique Greecian band Acrimonious. Not too long ago the Athenian group announced that the follow-up to 2014’s Sunyata will be titled Eleven Dragons, unveiled some fucking awesome cover art along with the track-listing (found below), and beset a powerful pre-release track on us.
The Northern Portal
Elder of the Nashiym
Qayin Rex Mortis
Ominous Visions of Nod
Stirring the Ancient Waters
Litany of Moloch’s Feast
I was introduced to the band through their aforementioned second album Sunyata. Checking it out based on the cover alone proved to be quite an interesting surprise as the vibrant colour scheme and quasi-psychedelic style led me to expect the music to follow suit. The sombre sound that carries the intro along did nothing to change this preconception, then the stirring fury of the second track “Lykania Hekate” kicks in and shatters the peace into a thousand splintered uhh… pieces; from this moment on, Sunyata takes you into much darker territory.
The band’s strength certainly lies in their song-writing style. Rather than having individual players fighting for the listener’s attention, the parts interweave quite amicably, which is not typically the case for many of the bands holding sway these days. The overarching melodic motifs possess an almost anthemic quality, not in a jubilant victorious sense of the word, but rather like a series of cabalistic musical mantras used in clandestine rituals. While the guitarists rarely ever venture into what you would typically dub a solo, the fragments that do emerge hint at the serpentine leads most would associate with the nascent Icelandic scene. Traces of dissonance pervade the upper register, coiling around the central themes and threatening to strike, with glimmering beads of venom dripping from exposed fangs.
Similar to those of their countrymen Acherontas, the vocals utilise a welcomed amount of variation for the genre. Among the customary black metal growls are a plethora of pained pangs and choral chants often used to espouse support for their dark deities. The ceremonial sounds have quite an alluring effect, which (as with many of the Hellenic bands) really help to give the songs a thoroughly engrossing mood. Throughout the album it becomes quite evident that the spiritual aspect of the band’s music is not simply a façade, or even a mere source of inspiration; the compositions exude a devotional quality that most contemporaries lack. I’m not going to claim to know the inner details behind the belief system they adhere to, if that makes me a “fucking poser” or whatever, so be it, I just really enjoy their music and will continue to be excited to hear what Eleven Dragons has to offer regardless.
Next up we’re heading over to Turkey to tackle some demonic death. Engulfed are a ripping four-piece band from Istanbul who are about to drop their debut album. Having only an EP from way back in 2012 to their name prior to this upcoming release, you might assume these dudes don’t get much done, and you’d be wrong. The band’s drummer and guitarist are members of Diabolizer (whose EP I covered earlier this year), Decaying Purity, and Burial Invocation, just to name a few of their efforts; but it’s Engulfed that I think hold the most sheer destructive potential. If the intensity found on the Through the Eternal Damnation EP is any indication (see/hear below), Engulfed In Obscurity promises complete annihilation.
Hear that intro riff? It’s undeniably killer. Well, I say undeniable, but I’m pretty sure I used it for a Riff ov the Week here once, and you fucks managed to find a way to deny it victory. Someone probably submitted that same Ghost Barf riff for the seventeenth time, or just lazily plonked in whatever Bolt Thrower song they had on that day and snatched the popular vote. Normally, this would have bothered me, but then I remembered that Trump also won and you all suck at voting. Whatever the case, now you have to give Engulfed the time they deserve; you won’t be disappointed. The riffs shred with unhinged malevolence, the vocals are coarser than a bag of gravel undergoing dermabrasion therapy, and the drumming is akin to a relentless onslaught of kicks to the teeth. If you enjoy Dead Congregation and/or Cruciamentum (if you answered “no” to that, you’re late for work, jabroni) then Engulfed will fit nicely between Graves of the Archangels and Charnel Passages on your “EVERYTHING DIES NOW” playlist. So far the band have announced that the album will be released on CD in February through Hellthrasher Productions, with a vinyl release to follow in April through the perennially dominant Blood Harvest Records. Engulfed In Obscurity will feature 9 tracks and cover art by New Zealand’s amazing artist Nick Keller, whose work you might recall from the simultaneously epic and sludgy Beastwars album I reviewed earlier in the year. Looks like this cover features a big-arse bird too, which is apt as this album is likely to shit on everything from a great height.
Thy Darkened Shade
We’re heading back across the Aegean Sea to Greece again now to check out the cryptic black metal duo Thy Darkened Shade. The band is self-described as Acausal Necrosophic Black Metal. Semjaza, the sole guitarist/bassist from this band is also a member of Acrimonious (who you might remember from 6 minutes ago), and as you might expect, some similarities between the two bands can found. However, where Acrimonious play a more orthodox form of black metal, Thy Darkened Shade have a certain technicality that very few BM bands exhibit. The riffs change direction with such frequency and unpredictability that they make a writhing pile of ADHD-afflicted snakes suffering from tapeworms seem tame.
The above track is the only new material they’ve released so far, and considering the band have mentioned that not only are they working on their third album (Liber Lvcifer II) but also a split with Chaos Invocation, and a 4-way split with Abigor, Mortuus, and Nightbringer, they’ve got a lot on their plate. They also recorded a 2-track cover tribute to King Diamond and Devil’s Blood during this time. And to think here I am trying to find time to play a single fucking riff. As with Acrimonious, the devotional aspect of their music is clearly paramount. The production is of a high quality, allowing each of the rapid fire notes to pierce your skin and mark out their esoteric insignia like a vicious join-the-dots puzzle. If you like what you hear above, I sincerely recommend giving their 2014 album Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet a shot. The 78-minute run-time might seem excessive but once you step into the mysterious realm you’ll find time becomes irrelevant. Keep your eyes on the W.T.C Productions page for more info.
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