Witchy Japanese Doom band BlackLab will release a new album this spring, Abyss, due out May 8th via New Heavy Sounds. You can catch them at their first show ever outside of Japan at Desertfest London! The group has shared a new video for their new single ‘Insanity’, and you can watch it right now!
As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have Bidi van Drongelen, Dutch booker and manager who has worked with the likes of The Devil’s Blood, Saint Vitus, Ghost, In Solitude and many more. Every year a multitude of his bands get booked at the excellent Roadburn festival, and we have asked him what he feels were the best releases of 2015.
1. Klone – Here Comes The Sun
Great songwriting, amazing vocals, and a crystal clear though heavy production blending prog and post metal.
2. Ghost – Meliora
Ghost has it all to become one of the leading melodic heavy rock bands in the world
3. Bliksem – Gruesome Masterpiece
If you like Metallica’s Master of Puppets of Death Angel’s ACT III….with the a raw female voice like Doro.
4. Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors
Great atmospheric rock album with the amazing voice of Mlny Parsonsz
5. Tribulation – Children of the Night
Melodies of occult rock like The Devil’s Blood drenched with a satanic black voice which reminds of Satyricon.
6. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss
Refreshing approach of doom & drone. ART with capital A!
7. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
8. Steak Number Eight – Kosmokoma
9. Melechesh – Enki
10. Enslaved – In Times
11. Clutch – Psychic Warfare
12. Thy Catafalque – Sgurr
13. Amorphis– Under The Red Cloud
14. RAM – Svbversvm
15. BRING ME THE HORIZON– That’s The Spirit
16. Mgła – Excercises In Futility
17. Baroness – Purple
18. Leprous – The Congregation
19. Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence
20. Hangman’s Chair – This Is Not Supposed To Be Positive
Over the course of her career singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe has hardly given what you would call conventional output. Drawing influence from a distinctly varied and wide range of influences, her music has had a chameleon life effect of changing its style and colours over the years, always proving impossible to pigeonhole. On the path of further mind-fuckery, latest album Abyss (Sargent House) offers perhaps the most surreal and abrasive album of her career to date.
Abyss upholds the dark, gothic tinged atmosphere and tone of previous releases but also shows a greater embrace of orthodoxly heavier genres such as doom metal, drone and noise rock. Always one for sounds of mystery and unease, at times this proves downright terrifying, for example on ‘Iron Moon’ which contrasts between pummeling, sludge like passages with her powerful wail to cleaner, folk like parts where she sings with almost fragility, as eerie effects pierce the background.
Her vocals prove a real ace on Abyss working as both a perfect accompaniment at some parts and providing a perfect contrast to the sheer heaviness of the music at others, heightening the unsettling feel. Far from becoming an entirely metal album however, her varied range of influences from folk and elsewhere still show huge prominence, from the creepy Cello on ‘Grey Days’ to electronic noise throughout, through to the spine chilling string section that draws the album to a close on the title track. Even moments of delicacy pierce through showing beauty throughout the album’s cleaner passages.
As ever Chelsea Wolfe gives us another challenging album that will prove near impossible to categorise, but with Abyss it is certainly her most conventionally heavy and perhaps darkest thus far. Showing more in common with the likes of SunnO))) than ever before, contrasting with her soft vocals and other influences and Abyss is a deep, at times unsettling album that reveals greater nuances, layers and depth with every listen. Without a doubt one of the year’s highlights.
When a new band pops up containing members from a variety of diverse backgrounds, it’s always worth checking them out. Toronto five-piece Abyss boasts veterans from the Canadian death, thrash and powerviolence scenes and have pooled their collective knowledge and experience into Heretical Anatomy (20 Buck Spin), a ripping tribute to old-school extreme metal that contains plenty of sneering punk attitude and knows how to hold your attention as well as bludgeon your ears into submission.
Clocking in at a mere twenty minutes in length, Heretical Anatomy wields a nasty, serrated guitar tone that could cut through flesh with ease. Aided by a bulldozing rhythm section and a vocalist who sounds like he’d stab your eyes out after robbing your wallet, the smattering of tracks on offer here draw heavily from late 80’s death and grind with Repulsion being a clear influence, especially in the shorter tracks such as the deranged violence of ‘Flesh Cult’ and the pounding, mutant punk battering of ‘Nightmares in Skin.’ Elsewhere, the rotting corpse of Carcass looms large in the feral Symphonies of Sickness (Earache Records) worship of ‘The Atonement’ which is tailor made for a surging pit in the Maryland Death Fest parking lot.
It’s not just knuckle-headed, gore obsessed fare either; several raucous guitar solos flare up to prove just how much fun the members are having, while the doomy dirge of ‘Thrall of the Elder Gods’ is pure old school death metal with a penchant for mood and menace. Whatever your pleasure, there’s plenty on offer here for seasoned death and grind lifers and while Heretical Anatomy has only come out this month, it sounds like it’s been thawed out of the Canadian ice after being entombed since the late 80’s.
More of this soon, please.
Recorded and engineered by Chris Hegge at Audiolab, Toronto in the grip of Winter 2014, Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust adds his touch to the production of Heretical Anatomy, mixing and mastering Abyss’s malformed death metal and the horror of its Lovecraftian persona. The frenzied blasting of early American and UK death metal and grindcore, before a distinct separation between the two existed, is a hallmark of Heretical Anatomy, yet the overwhelming speed scattered throughout the album’s duration is expertly applied, never descending into a one dimensional space where only velocity is the basis for existence. Songs are crafted with the care of the elder gods, rigorously refined with a seasoned sophistication, always maintaining a sharply primitive ferocity.
Stream “The Atonement” here.
The second of eight grisly passages bound into the album erupts with a whirlwind of debilitating and utterly sadistic grinding, percussive, death metal and never relents, much like its seven counterparts, which collectively burn all modern metal trends to a sulfuric, insignificant dust.
Exploding with a tenebrous style of Stygian, grinding death metal, witnessed through two prior demos including The Reins Of Horror via Dark Descent Records, Heretical Anatomy documents the first fully realized glimpse into the dark surging Abyss. Hideous shapes and bloodthirsty rites of the Old Ones are viciously summoned upon the bones and bowels of the Earth, through eight odes to nameless terrors and protean revulsion mercilessly ripped from the flayed life of the cosmos and dripping with crimson adoration. The frenzied blasting of early American and UK death metal and grindcore, before a distinct separation between the two existed, is a hallmark of Heretical Anatomy, yet the overwhelming speed scattered throughout the album’s duration is expertly applied, never descending into a one dimensional space where only velocity is the basis for existence. Songs are crafted with the care of the elder gods, rigorously refined with a seasoned sophistication, always maintaining a sharply primitive ferocity. Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust adds his touch to the production, mixing and mastering this malformed death metal and the horror of its Lovecraftian persona.