Selections of noteworthy metal.
It’s June! It’s hot, again, but that never stopped anyone from moshing. Also – I shouldn’t need to tell you to listen to the new Darkthrone. It’s good.
Kval – Laho
Exceptional atmospheric black metal that layers squelchy guitars with a host of other instruments, creating overwhelming but clear sheets of sound. The title track starts with a scratchy Cure-esque acoustic guitar passage; harmonics and keyboard drift over the mid-tempo riffing on opener “Valosula.” This is, apparently, a record about the “human mind” via the metaphor of the “rot of the forest floor.” Maybe! Laho’s wealth of rich textures and musical dynamics does have a fertile, vegetal quality; patient and obscure and hardy.
Nüè gui – Mi jobutsu
Barely six minutes of filthy, guttural grindcore from Tokyo. As gaudy and horrifying as the cover art.
Andavald – Undir skyggðarhaldi
Despairing, lush Icelandic black metal with tremendous vocals. The control and modulation on “Afvegaleiðsla” – from open-throated gnashing to tighter, painful howls and screeches – is impressive stuff. The density of guitar lines reminds me at times of a less frantic (and less virulently racist) Deathspell Omega, with dissonance bursting out of nowhere. The melancholic, tormented mood Andavald have created on this record is something really special.
Necronomidol – Scions of the Blasted Heath
Rejoice . . . for the healing presence of a new Necronomidol EP has entered your life. The five-song Scions of the Blasted Heath (a “The Colour out of Space” reference, naturally) picks up where last September’s superb Voidhymn left off: blistering, elegiac black metal (“Salem”), clubby darkwave (“Phantasmagoria Cosmos”), bouncy goth rock (“The Festival”), and gleefully over-the-top King Diamond-esque power metal (“Children of the Night”) are all represented. Closer “Lament Configuration” is new wave pastiche with appropriately Barkerian lyrics like “A mural in flesh/Arousing the senses.” This is the group’s first recording with new members Michelle (already a style icon; I love her) and Kenbishi Kunogi; cover art is by repulsive ero guro artist Jun Hayami. The EP was also promoted with a photoshoot where the members were tied shibari-style to posts; on the group’s website, you can purchase acrylic standees of the shoot, which I think means Necroma are officially a real-deal idol group. You can put the girls next to Shinee! We made it!!
Rotted – Dying to Rot
Death metal with the flesh hanging cold and putrescent off its bones. Ignorant down-tuned guitars and burbling growls – everything is thick and squelching and gagged with decay. Summer bops.
Astrid Budgor is a writer and editor living in Florida.