The apocalyptic powers that be over at Nuclear War Now! Productions have seen fit to bless us with plague, famine, war and death once again. And metal. A full metal colonoscopy. It’s coming out my backbutt as we speak—and after you’ve reveled in these gifts it’ll be coming out of yours too. Want stuff coming out your butt? Get in here.
We might as well dispense with the pleasantries and get right down to Necrosic. I ain’t no death metal connoisseur, so I’ll keep this short and sour. Released on April 15th of this year, the Putrid Decimation 12″ MLP is your one stop spot to clot and rot (this sentence sucks, sorry). You’ve got riffs inside of riffs inside of riffs—a riff Turducken, if you will. You’ve got melody oozing out of myriad suppurating wounds. You’ve got production straight out of that 90s sweet spot. You’ve got a surgically removed cancerous lung on vocals. If you prefer your death metal to \m/^. .^\m/ rather than to swallow your soul, give Necrosic a stab below.
Now for some death metal that will swallow your soul: Howls of Ebb. Earlier this year some stranger named W. highlighted Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows for This Toilet Tuesday. I am just now getting around to taking a crack at it because, while people often tell me what to do, nobody tells me when to do it. And the verdict is that Pendlomic Vows is a fantastic record. When all the buzz was initially going around about that Pyrrhon album, this is kind of what I expected. Boy, was I let down (sorry Edward). The Mother of Virtues was certainly chaotic and deranged, but it sounded willy-nilly to me, not thoroughly composed. Which I guess is what fans like about Pyrrhon’s free-metal sound. Where Howls of Ebb excels is in taking base-level experimentation and drenching it in outré atmospheres for an altogether chthonic experience. Their play with language and sonic textures goes hand in hand: just as they seem to prefer evocative word-pairings to logical ones (get a load of those song titles, eh?), they select sounds that create tension and vertigo rather than those which simply sound correct. At times jazzy and brainsick, at others vast and exalting, Cursus Impasse contains nary a dull moment. If you’re into weird death and you still haven’t snatched this thing up—YOU ARE LIVING YOUR LIFE ALL WRONG.
Next up is a not very good band that you can skip unless of course the cup of tea they’ve prepared is just right for you, in which case you should feel free to not skip them, and even like them if you are so inclined. Cauchemar hail from some country north of the U.S. that doesn’t matter, and they are in possession of a time machine. They’ve used it to go back in time to find the very first metal band ever, learn their riffs, kill them, feed their bodies to pigs, and travel back to 2016 to… uh… well, the plan really doesn’t make any sense from a logistical or financial angle. But hey, metal is all bloated and newfangled and doomed these days anyway, right? Only retro is real. Cauchemar’s new LP, Chappelle Ardente, will be released on June 5th (you can jam the title track here and band an older album below). Fans of Blue Oyster Cult‘s rehearsal tapes or “proto-metal” should find something to toke along to here.
I’ve saved the last for last: Necromantic Worship‘s The Calling… Can you hear it? Necromantic Worship is calling you, and it’s coming from inside your house. At least the vocals sound like they might be. They might be issuing creepily from a closet upstairs, at the end of a darkened hallway. Or someone might be whispering loud murder fantasies at you from the other end of a shitty land-line. Or they might have been harvested from an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon derrrrrrrp no such thing but whatever) recorded by that monarch of all Affliction-apparel-wearers, Zak “I Fight Ghosts with a K” Bagans.
Translation: the vocals are delivered exclusively in a distorted, hissy whisper. It’s a bit off-putting at first. And also upon repeated listens. I thought I would eventually learn to tune them out, as the music around them is pretty great, but this never came to be. They are a distraction, pure and simple. I just wish someone in the band had thought to consult me before voting on what vocal style to go with.
Moving on. Where Necromantic Worship truly shines is in their inversion of the classic bass and guitar roles. On The Calling…, the dry and understated guitar distortion plays second fiddle to that beautiful bass tone. The band builds around this backbone with succulent guitar leads that are both dark and emotive, the liberal application of keyboards, and an overall sound that is murky without obfuscating anything. I guess my only prevailing problem with the album is that it contains only two original songs, accompanied by two synth interludes and a not entirely necessary Necromantia cover tune. I won’t go into Necromantic Worship’s Hellenic connections because I don’t know jack squat about Hellenic black metal so I’ll just say that this sounds pretty refreshing to me. Out now on tape!