Currently overhyped and soon to be flavour of the month Finnish band Lantern release an insipid seven minute song titled “Strange Nebula”. Atmospheric hipster Black segments meet stolen riffs from Purtenance in a musically cohesive but thematically disparate mess that is held together due to the harmonic poverty found here. Vocals attempt the Finnish bellow but end up sounding like NYHC pseudo-rapping. The formula has now fully shifted to a combination of lazy atmospheric passages mixed with stolen riffs from a forgotten “gem” which is in reality any middling band from the 90s.
French Death metal stalwarts Catacomb return with an underwhelming single after a twenty year break. Hoping to capitalize on the fading “OSDM revival” trend but only managing to catch it during its dying days. “The Great Dreamer” features obvious riffs taken from more recent bands, simple cyclic arrangements and a weird synth lead break.
The big three of French Death metal were Massacra, Agressor and Loudblast. Behind them and unfairly discarded were Mercyless. The band’s early output featured Death metal of a spontaneous nature that took the high octane elements of Pestilence and Morbid Angel and pushed them against dissonant chords that culminated into soaring melodies. Their late 90s material saw the band experiment with various sounds in a confused Post rock derived mess. The band has somehow managed to return to form and continues to release a slow stream of enjoyable yet confused albums.
Promising Forest Rock/Power metal band Tales of Dhvaras release new song “Slay” in preparation for an upcoming record. “Slay” starts with a bluesy introduction before slowly touching on the arpeggiated style of early Immortal and arranged in the style of blue collar USPM à la Iced Earth. Extended harmonized passages before returning to the simple yet uplifting chorus. While many will categorize this under Black metal it is closer to Power metal with the Black metal elements used to colour certain passages and as an aesthetic tool. Though the song’s main riff does border on cliché as it has been overused many times, Tales of Dhvaras might not invent anything new but there is a lot of potential in this “Blackened” Power metal style.
Metal is very unique as a genre in that the creative prime comes very early in one’s career and often for some bands that means that the first demo in a long career will be their crowning achievement. For Rob Darken this would come much later as there were many missteps on the road to Thousand Swords.
Even if the main part of the work was composed between 1822 and 1824, the Symphony n°9 is the fruit of a long maturation which lasted more than thirty years. Thirty years for the idea of a symphony with choir to progressively take hold in the mind of Beethoven. Thirty years during which the music and the text of the “Ode to Joy” will evolve in parallel, each one gradually taking shape over the course of Beethoven’s compositions, before finally being reunited in their last symphony.
Internal Decay are a Swedish band that can be categorized as part of the microgenre famously mixed by Dan Swanö but actually recorded at the legendary Sunlight Studios. While sounding like a lot of the later imitators, Internal Decay’s full length precedes that of Dissection’s, Dawn and Sacramentum’s full lengths. The band exist in a bizarre paradox where taking from the Speed elements of the past pushes them closer to the rehash bands of the future rather than the originators.
Impiety return silently with Versus All Gods that finds the band treading more or less the same territory but without much of the flair that made this band an enjoyable curiosity. On Ravage and Conquer the band displayed some fascinating ideas like the contrapuntal yet intense ending of “Weaponized“. While these moments were rare, there was potential for the band to realize that such fleeting moments if fully exploited could open much more possibilities for them.
La Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) took the world by surprise in the late 1950s with its defiance of what was referred to as Cinéma de Papa (fatherly cinema). The innovations in both technique and narration changed the face of cinema. The “New French Extreme” appeared in the early 2000s and like La Nouvelle Vague challenged the notion of French cinema that revolved around ideas and relegated the body to a metaphor for an idea. The body was now the central theme and fantasy that was once avoided was now openly embraced. All this is shown through acts of incredible violence and sexual debauchery. Irréversible is one of the more popular films of the movement and is commonly referred to as “the most shocking movie of all time”.
Hosts of Lord are an interesting curiosity, a Christian Black metal band hailing from the USA but rather than taking standard Noregian second wave and adding Christian lyrics, sole member Μαθθίας takes influence from the short lived and for the most part left alone French scene. While current the French Black metal scene has discarded its greats in favour of more commercial strands or Deathspell Omega like dissonance, Hosts of Lord attempt to channel the self-destructive and truly misanthropic tendencies of their influences into eschatological predictions of the future.