ENDTYMER is the inevitable weekly “music news blog” series I’ve been working to avoid for some time. It hits at the end of every week with the intent of covering notable new releases, sharing news of new releases, and musing over various personal listening habits. It is a largely informal blog, has opinions, etc. so chill out a bit. I do my best to cover as much of everything I receive in some form regardless of genre or representation, don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way: email@example.com
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Some of last week’s news will spill over into this week. The ~fifth week of March is yet packed with interesting enough records but the only real value I’d found lasting came from black metal. Spirit Possession caught everyone’s ear with their second full-length ‘Of the Sign…‘ for its violent energy and strong guitar work, Outlaw truly impressed me with their third LP which now incorporates more boldly melodic and atmospheric ideas into their classics inspired sound, and no doubt Thron‘s ‘Dust‘ would have been on my best of the month list if they’d sent me a promo of their album as I’ve just heard it today and it was even better than the last. Otherwise the album of the week is Italian atmospheric/folk black metal band BLAZE OF SORROW‘s ‘Vultus Fati‘ which I’d felt like addressed all of the issues I’d had with ‘Absentia‘. While I unfortunately do not receive -every- record I’m interested in for review, especially from well known/popular labels (per Eisenwald, Napalm, Debemur Morti, Season of Mist, Metal Blade, etc.) I definitely keep up as a fan, anyhow this is an entertaining record and I’d say their best to date:
GIVING UP THE GHOST(S)
Too often the conversation with the ‘self’ reaches its seeming logical point of insolvency, a personal ahistorical state of unwavering stump wherein self-preservational modus develops into frictionless settlement beneath the wheel. The fear-based programming of the human brain finds its comfortable pudding consistency as the identity of the individual becomes necessary to brand, sell and set. The choice to embed versus maintaining interactive presence in the ever-challenging present is unnatural, against the inquisitive plasticity of the mind. Unerring satiation with the past is a forced farcical fetal state of mind wherein any number of golden-shining moments are positioned as the raison d’être to keep one’s chin strapped over their shoulder, looking back and tripping nostalgic. Too often this sort of running-in-place translates all to well to the realities of ‘art as a product’ rather than an enriching experience. One can choose to swim upstream, to float downstream, or, to stand and admire both potential directions without movement… A roundabout way of suggesting I will start making more “retro” revisionist features since An Exhaustive Study and Retro Tuesdays were never all that popular but they were inspiring to me. So, I have a list of about fifteen records which won’t feed direct nostalgia for many but should represent strong gem-like items which present interesting conversations, insanely good songs and such. The first on the list is Chateaux‘s ‘FirePower‘ from 1984, so keep an eye out for that written + video feature once I’ve put it together early next week.
Dissonant death metal project NIGHTMARER have announced their upcoming second full-length will release by way of Total Dissonance Worship [NA] and Vendetta Records [EU] this coming May 5th. ‘Deformity Adrift‘ follows their acclaimed yet challenging 2018 debut LP with even bigger production and they’ve a’ready got three singles out at this point so you’ll have a good idea what it is all about. If it greases the wheel for you this band features current and former members of The Ocean, Convulsing, Gigan and such. A big and modern sounding dissonant death record for folks into that sort of thing:
“One gate to hell is in the desert. Another one in the oceans” — War Anthem Records have announced May 1st as the release date for Spanish quartet BALMOG‘s latest mLP which continues along the crucial thread of their ‘Pillars of Salt‘ record from back in 2020. The new record will be titled ‘Covenants Of Salt‘ and once again feature one behemoth of a song. You might recall that’d been a huge record for my taste (along with their latest LP ‘Eve‘) and of course I’m stoked on this as they’ve suggested this was created with continuity in mind. “From a conceptual point of view, “Covenants of Salt” follows the path of “Pillars of Salt”, diving into religious passages from Judeo-Christianity and Islam and the relationship between the human condition and its confrontation with divine creation. “Pillars of Salt” was about how mankind walks towards the abyss through fiery deserts despite knowing his tragic end; “Covenants of Salt” is about how humanity seek knowledge denied by divinity and how we are capable of drowning in the vastness of the ocean for a single drop of knowledge.” They’ve also announced a vinyl version through Blackseed Productions, and a tape from In Pulverem Mortis Productions. No single but you can go and listen to Pillars of Salt to get an idea of where they will pick up from:
Although I definitely said I’d lost interest in ESOCTRILIHUM after their last few self-released EPs felt rushed and run-on at the same time I don’t think I can manage to avoid the allure of ‘Astraal Constellations Of The Majickal Zodiac‘ a recently announced triple LP release from French musician Asthâghul‘s avant-garde exploration of black/death metal. I, Voidhanger Records will release this album on May 12th and, sure, unpacking what this record is all about will take a while. LP number one ‘In The Mystic Trance of Tȃimonh Ѳx, The Cosmic Bull God‘: “[…] synthesizes the occult-psych tendencies.” LP number two, ‘In The Presence Of AlŭBḁḁl, The 5-Eyed Star Beast‘ “is the most aggressive, majestic and brutal chapter.” LP number three, ‘In The Mouth Of Zi-Dynh-Gtir, The Serpen-Time Eater‘ harmonizes both the psychedelic and brutal souls two long, doom-tinged progressive suites.” I’m curious about the quality/quantity ratio here but I believe the album’s master was in good hands with G.G. (Cosmic Putrefaction) that it’ll be listenable. Anyhow, will be ripping into it this weekend a bit.
Purity Through Fire have announced April 22nd as the release date for MAVORIM‘s fourth album. ‘Ab Amitia Pulsae‘ will release on CD, A5 digipack, and vinyl LP. If you are not familiar with this band you’ve missed out on an intense songwriter who only becomes more tunefully bold with each release. If you’re enjoyed my recommendation of Eisenkult last month, or if you’d liked what Minenwerfer did on ‘Alpenpässe‘ this should be right up your alley. I’m already sold after just this first single “Ein Zerrbild aller Leiden”:
Hells Headbangers have announced April 28th as the release date for VAULTWRAITH‘s third album which is already available to stream. ‘Decomposing Spells‘ will finally arrive on CD format. If you are a fan of horror themed black/heavy metal with a strong melodic element you can’t go wrong with these folks and they only improve with each release. Again, check out the full album over on Bandcamp:
Fear the mark of the beast, fear the hexed number… eh, literally? Caligari Records have announced May 4th as the release date for the debut demo tape for HEXAKOSIOIHEXEKONTAHEXAPHILIA, a solo project from Tiúval whom is best known for Israthoum, Half Visible Presence, Merihem, et al. ‘Demo DCLXVI; will arrive on cassette tape format and you should go in expecting some wilding shit. For now check out the preview track “The Burning of a Temple”:
New Terms Productions have announced WINO: The Documentary, the story of SCOTT “WINO” WEINRICH (Saint Vitus, The Obssessed, Spirit Caravan, Place of Skulls, et al.) an important figure in the United States doom, heavy rock and stoner music spheres of auld. The documentary DVD and a digital version will release this coming May 13th. Created and directed by Sharlee Patches of New Terms Productions this documentary will also be premiered on March 25th at the Maryland International Film Festival, and on April 20th at Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock, NY, with additional acoustic show + screening dates TBA.
Iron Bonehead Productions have announced May 19th as the release date for Galician black metal band ARA SOLIS debut album, ‘Ashvatta‘ which will arrive on vinyl LP by their hands. Greek label Zazen Sounds will release of the CD version. You’ll just have to listen to the song provided here for additional context, I know nothing about this record thus far, but here is a quote which provides the setting for the work: “An altar of golden sacrifice mightily arises ashore the tempestuous waters of Finis Terrae. At the sylvan realms of frost, the holy gate of light and darkness appears erected stone by stone to safeguard the transdimensional portal of heroic resurrection. The Garden of the Hesperides grows around. The ancient tree of life and death [Ashvattha, Yggdrasil] pours the sap of eternity in the ritual copulation of oxygenic and anoxygenic photophosphorylation. Mortals bow their heads toward the arch of heavens. The sword of the warrior reflects the light of the midday amidst the eternal dust of warfare. The moon reflects the light of the sun at night, lightening the hidden paths of the forests beyond reincarnation. War is the Essence. Living souls are reaped where the Phoenix is reborn.” The first preview song from the album “Ara Solis” can be listened to on SoundCloud:
Fresh off signing with From The Vaults Danish epic doom metal band ALTAR OF OBLIVION have announced the release their upcoming mLP, ‘Burning Memories‘. It turns out these five songs have been in holding since 2016, right after they’d recorded their most recent LP. I am completely stoked to hear it since I’d loved that record but this also marks the end of the past, they’ve had some line-up changes and it sounds like they’ll switch things up as they continue work on their fourth LP which arrives in 2024. No preview songs yet, just a pre-order link for more info:
Purity Through Fire have announced April 22nd as the release date for NACHTIG’s third full-length album ‘Eisig’ Romantik‘. The record will arrive on digipack CD and vinyl LP. This project comes from V.V. the German artist behind Valosta Varjoon and Cosmic Burial, and you’ll hear a bit of his signature in the melodies here, though this is a decidedly more atmospheric record overall. Check out the latest preview track, “Ewig Kalt”:
Blood Harvest Records will reissue CRYPTIC SHIFT‘s 2016 EP ‘Beyond the Celestial Realms‘ in the form of ‘Return to Realms on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette this coming May 4th. The vinyl version includes the bonus track “Entombed in Flesh,” from a 2016 demo recording session. The digital, CD and tape versions will include the entire 2016 demo recording session otherwise. Blood Harvest also be releasing a vinyl re-press of ‘Visitations from Enceladus‘ (2020) with different cover art, also on May 4th. Looking forward to what they end up putting out for Metal Blade once they’re done touring their last record, which still rules.
Barbagia (Inner Sardinia) based black metal band trio KRE^U will self-release thier self-titled debut, ‘Kre^u‘, this coming May 9th on digibook CD and special edition CD. Tenor chanting and lyrics performed in ancient Sardinian highlight this unique band’s approach to extreme music and if you’re not sure what that’d entail, check out this first single, “A Sos Antigos”:
Chicago-based stoner doom group HIGH PRIEST have released a video for “Divinity” an impressive first single from their upcoming debut LP ‘Invocation‘ which releases on June 23, 2023 by way of Magnetic Eye Records. Guitarist John Regan discusses the lead single: “We had eight songs written and decided to do one more push to see what we could come up with. I started playing some iPhone riff demos and when Dan heard ‘Divinity’, he said, ‘that one is a banger’. We started working with it and the full song pretty much came together in one day. It’s probably the most energetic song on the record, and we feel like it gives every piece a moment in the sun: huge drum fills, harmonized guitar solos, and a vocal hook. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to get in your car and drive down an open road, only your car is a spaceship and the road is the galaxy.” It certainly makes a good first impression:
Former Mayhem guitarist and Vltimas founder Blasphemer has announced the debut full-length from RUÏM, a triumphal black metal project immersed in Brazilian witchcraft and the left-hand path of the Umbanda tradition, have prepared a debut full-length titled ‘Black Royal Spiritism – I.O Sino da Igreja‘ which is set to be released this coming May 26th on Peaceville Records. Maestro Eriksen is joined by drummer César Vesvre (Agressor, Thagirion) on this journey which was initially inspired by the rediscovery of a long lost tape of old and unused Mayhem-era riffs from ’98/’99. No preview track yet but perhaps we can at least assume this is going to be fast and violently aggressive per his track record. Pre-order details:
British heavy metal legends RAVEN have announced album number fifteen, ‘All Hell’s Breaking Loose‘ will arrive by way of Silver Lining Music this coming June 30th. This is a classic band with a very conscious grip on their signature and they make good on it as they present this energetic first single “Go For The Gold”. Bassist/vocalist John Gallagher says of the single: “‘Go For The Gold’” is our first single as it really represents the new album mission statement… 100% full on RAVEN lunacy!!!! […] If you’ve got an initial great riff, you just build from it, you try not to milk it to death. You want a good structure. You want a good verse with hooks, a good pre-chorus with hooks, a great chorus, and then you want little left turns here and there to spice it up. Otherwise it can sound boring. And if you have too many left turns then it turns into jazz fusion, so it’s a funny line you gotta dance on to have structure but also the chaos part as well.” Pure respect for these wizened men and their still energizing passion for a proper heavy metal song.
Texas-based death metal band FROZEN SOUL have returned with a second full-length album for Century Media Records. ‘Glacial Domination‘ will arrive on May 19th on all relevant formats bye way of the mega-corp German label. They’ve made a video for the first single, “Arsenal of War” which features Creeping Death vocalist Reese Alavi. Vocalist Chad Green speaks to the meaning behind the song: “This song is special to me as it’s about my late brother. We used to play Everquest and when I stopped, I gave him my character named ‘Swiftarroww.’ He played Swift for 20 years until he passed. The song reflects on his life, referencing the game and how he never let darkness change who he was. He shone bright and made everyone around him shine. Now that he’s gone, we carry his light to keep the darkness at bay.” Not a huge fan of their first record but I like the change in guitar tone and production sound overall so far.
Swedish stoner rock band DOZER have released yet another impressive single + video from their upcoming sixth album ‘Drifting in the Endless Void‘, to be released this April 21st on Blues Funeral Recordings. “Dust For Blood” seems to be, visually speaking, a type of animation that uses AI images in varation? I’ve seen this a few times now and it is pretty cool. Guitarist and vocalist Fredrik Nordin comments: “Dust for Blood follows the main theme for the whole record. Where we give this earth to the next generation, and it’s basically in ruins. Some care, some do not. Is it all an illusion? Or is it real? Is it all too much to grasp? Is all hope lost? No, it never is and never will be. Even if you’re in the deepest darkest hole, don’t give up because eventually, things get brighter.” Really looking forward to talking about this record now that I’ve had it for a week or so.
SPIRIT ADRIFT have announced their latest full for Century Media will be titled ‘Ghost At The Gallows‘ and based on the first single “Death Won’t Stop Me” this whole anthemic heavy metal thing is still working full steam for their gig. The album will be released August 18th. Vocalist/guitarist Nate Garrett suggests: “Spirit Adrift’s gimmick is simple: there is no gimmick. Just great songs, great heavy riffs, catchy parts that make you want to bang your head and uplifting parts that make you want to fly into the sky.” And really he’d realized this some time ago, it seems, that effective songwriting can be simple as long as it is connective with the audience and means something to him, we saw this really happening on the third album or so in full. I’ll be interested to check this one out since I’ve not kept up with the more recent stuff.
Italian stoner rock group BLACK RAINBOWS will return with their ninth studio album ‘Superskull‘ on revered Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds this coming June. The first single for the album is eh, “Superhero Dopeproof” and they’ve got a video readied for the occasion. Guitarist and frontman Gabriele Fiori comments: “This album gives you not only incredible heavy stoner rock gems but it also contains one space acoustic song, one super psychedelic suite, and one trippy melodic ballad that all make a perfect mixture for what is sure to be our best album so far!” Check this band out if you have nostalgia for the early desert rock scene and its offshoots like I do.
THIS WEEK’S VIDEOS / REVIEWS
Catch up with the latest YouTube video review/features and written reviews here. New videos post Thursday/Friday of each week for the most part. You can click on the link provided to read the review, each review has the related video embedded in the original post as well. Videos are fairly casual and meant to accompany the written review with some extra context and generalized notes.
The Top 20 Albums of March | 2023
The Top 20 Albums of February | 2023 [Forgot to finish/post this video last month]
Short Reviews | March 30th, 2023
SPIRIT POSSESSION – Of the Sign… (2023) | REVIEW
MEGALITH LEVITATION – Obscure Fire (2023) | REVIEW
SHAKMA – On Tenebrous Wings (2023) | REVIEW
CATACOMB – When the Stars Are Right (2023) | REVIEW
BLODTÅR – Det förtegna förflutna (2023) | REVIEW
UNPURE – Prophecies Ablaze (2023) | REVIEW
COMING UP NEXT WEEK:
Here is a tentative list of what is coming up next week in terms of reviews. The following records have been listened to extensively, a preliminary review has been drafted (or completed), and I’ve locked them in for coverage. In terms of the “Short Written Reviews + Video” column, these are more tentative, some of them may be cut if I do not have enough time to get around to everything. This week some of these might swap around since a lot of April’s releases are bottlenecked mid-month on the 14th and 21st.
LONGFORM WRITTEN REVIEWS / VIDEO REVIEWS:
FAERIE RING – Weary Traveler [April 14th, King Volume Records]
BLAZON RITE – Wild Rites and Ancient Songs [April 14th, Gates of Hell Records]
ATHANATHEOS – Cross. Deny. Glorify [April 14th, Lavadome Productions]
MESMUR – Chthonic [April 14th, Aesthetic Death/Solitude Productions]
PUTRID YELL – Consuming Aberration [April 14th, Pulverised Records]
VOIDCEREMONY – Threads of Unknowing [April 14th, 20 Buck Spin]
1782 – Clamor Luciferi [April 14th, Heavy Psych Sounds]
SHORT WRITTEN REVIEWS + VIDEO:
GESSO – Nunca os Céus Se Tornarão Lugares [April 12th, Slowdriver Records]
KAAL NAGINI – Refracted Lights of a Blind God [April 14th, Iron Bonehead]
WITTE WIEVEN – Dwaalicht [April 14th, Babylon Doom Cult]
SEVER – At Midnight, By Torch Light [April 14th, Iron Bonehead]
THE INFINITY RING – Nemesis & Nativity [April 14th, Profound Lore Records]
EXTERMINATION ORDER – The Siege of Ascalon [April 14th, War Anthem Records]
MORIBUND MANTRAS – …Of Fathomless Depths [April 14th, Argento Records]
DEATHGRAVE – It’s Only Midnight [April 14th, Tankcrimes]
MAULÉN – El Miedo De Amar Pero Igual Lo Hago [April 14th, Icons Creating Evil Art]
CHAT PILE / NERVER – Brothers in Christ [April 14th, Reptilian Records/The Ghost is Clear]
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