Over the last few years World Terror Committee have a built an incredibly strong roster, centred predominantly around quality black metal. Some of my favourite releases of the last few years have been through the label, so when they announce a bunch of new albums, you can pretty much be guaranteed of being able to find something awesome that will force its way onto your Winter playlists*.
On their first release since 2013, German four-piece Paria return on January 13th with Knochenkamp. The five track EP rekindles a little of that punkiness found in the seminal black metal acts in both vocal tone and raw aggression. Overlaying this historic charm is that kind of nightmarish menace we all know and love. The vocals are predominantly snarled with disgruntled retch, sometimes reaching a near-hysterical climax with pangs of pure pain. Despite this not really matching my preferred style, the interesting interplay between the guitars and the bass is often what kept my (notoriously weak) attention in check. The final track is a rendition of the early Bathory track “Call From The Grave”, the cover sees Paria slow the original down from a stomping military march into a tar-drenched sludgy lumber. Dousing the original in a pool of doom, the band exhibit what I imagine Black Sabbath releasing if their formative years were set in the present rather than during the 60’s/70’s and subsequently had access to some more insidious modern designer drugs complete with their often ghastly side-effects. Having only heard their previous album from 2013 once, I’m not really qualified to offer much of a comparison to their previous work, but for now I will tentatively say that it seems like Paria are progressing into more experimental territory, for better or for worse.
January 13th marks Fides Inversa‘s first release since 2014, the 2-track EP titled Rite of Inverse Incarnation also sees the Italian duo enlisting the help of two extra recording members (filling out bass and some vocal duties). Again, I’m not familiar with their previous material whatsoever, so this release is my first impression of the band. During the first three minutes the band meander around introducing a kind of odd combination of ideas, some that are commonly exhibited by your typical dissonant-tinged black metal bands mixed with some fairly incongruous psych-styled lead work. It is only after this plodding intro that the band show their true colours, through some more conventional aggressive black metal riffing. The vocals bellow in that familiar Hellenic style, and while it may not muster the kind of grandeur I’m sure they’re capable of, it is enjoyable enough to maintain your interest from section to section. Some of the riffs have a certain Scythian vibe about them, however they focus less on the medieval and more directly on plain old evil. The second track bursts out of the gate with what is probably the most furious riffing found on this release. Both tracks hover around the 10 minute mark but (aside from the somewhat extraneous introduction) don’t seem to drag on at any point. Overall the EP is definitely serviceable but probably not something that’s going to blow your mind on the first listen. I’m sure with subsequent visits the tracks will start to grow on me, but for now it’s on to other things. Give it a shot and see if it’s more you thing.
By far my favourite release of these three here today is from San Diegan/German ensemble Crimson Moon. Although I wanted to cover this album a month ago and didn’t quite find the time to do so, I found it quite surprising nobody has really mentioned it here since its release. Oneironaut (their first full-length in over a decade) is an interesting hour long trek through some familiar territory but with just enough adornments to make it feel fresh and enjoyable. If you told me that a black metal album contained sermon-esque bellowing combined with demonically rasped invocations, contemporary death metal guitar and drum production, ephemeral middle eastern style passages, snappy changes, some backing synth, and layered melodies, I’d assume the worst. To Crimson Moon’s credit, they manage to incorporate all of those elements, sometimes a few at a time, without it sounding dischordant. While the execution may not be flawless in every instance, I am much more inclined to give them respect for attempting something a little more grandiose than your standard contemporary black metal album. The similarities to label affiliates Acherontas that you’re hearing in the album’s standout track “Weaver of the Web” (Track 4) are not just skin-deep, as Scorpios Androctonus (who rather incredibly performed all the instrumentation on this album) has been a member of the Greek band for the past 5 years. The 6 track album ends with the monumental 20 minute title track, leaving no stone unturned as it drags you along for a saga-length ride through essentially all the themes that make this album simultaneously intimidating and engaging.
* Toilet ov Hell does not officially guarantee this.