Anthems From the Abyss #7
While the better part of the Western world has barely just emerged - in almost Christ-like fashion - from a four-day long bender of chocolatey, artery-clogging excess, we at Dark Matter HQ have been busily toiling away compiling the latest round-up of blasphemous beauties for this, the 7th edition of 'Anthems From the Abyss'. Presented here in all its pitch-black, eardrum-pulverising glory, for your delectation…
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN FROSTBITTEN GRIMNESS
SETH ‘La Mosure Du Christ’
Season of Mist
Whether simulating blood-drenched feats of crucifixion, torching wooden chapels or shredding ‘the good book’ into holy confetti in front of a live audience, it’s fairly accurate to say the black metal community has got it pretty well covered as far as attacking toxic Christianity goes. But with a searingly aggressive and intoxicating sound that’s paired with some of the most exquisitely rendered, fire-stricken artwork we’ve ever had the pleasure of feasting our morbid little eyes on, French genre icons Seth bring a new level of class and artistry to the time-honoured tradition of unholy blasphemy.
Sourcing rich inspiration from the fiery inferno that famously laid waste to Paris’s iconic Notre-Dame cathedral back in 2019, ‘La Mosure Du Christ’ is the first darkly explosive offering to be unveiled from the band’s hotly-anticipated (pun entirely intended) new album. Due to drop on the second anniversary of this globally lamented catastrophe, ‘La Mosure…’ sees its creators rejoice in this seizable, symbolic step toward the liberation of man from the oppressive shackles of organised religion. And from insanely paced episodes of pummelling aggression to densely entangled layerings of riffage that seethe and contort like a nest of agitated vipers, this is a composition utterly drenched in diabolical horror. With every battering blast and deliciously bristling accent of tremolo showcasing impeccable levels of tautly executed precision, Seth’s trademark knack for crafting coldly immersive atmosphere is richly illustrated throughout. Take, for example, the airy flurry of choirs that spill forth in an icy profusion beneath a white-hot expanse of lacerating tremolo, or the elegantly tinkling piano notes that find darkly suspenseful placement in amongst grandiose slabs of bone-splintering guitars. Suffice it to say that, on the strength of this majestic, brimstone-scorched beast of a single, we cannot wait to savour the record in its deliciously blasphemous entirety next month. Magnifique!
'Sea of Trees' Over the Under
What do you get if you cross members of Ubiquitous and Vulvodynia? Some savage and technical slam death perhaps? Well no actually, you get some unbelievably well-crafted, melancholic and, to be quite frank, beautiful atmospheric post-black metal. Corps Fleur sprouted out of nowhere during last year's first blast of lockdown hell with their self-financed and released debut EP. Some clever social media work helped gain them some exposure (I was watching a Møl live streamed show when someone posted cheekily that Corps Fleur were even better) but they are worth every single second of your time and are fully deserving of any hype that they may have generated. The EP was so good that Over The Under records decided to give it a limited vinyl release. The first track (if you discount the intro track), 'Sea of Trees' is a perfect slice to show you what they are all about. Lush yet furious guitar work, harsh emotive vocals and a fabulous sense of songcraft. If the riff after the interlude doesn't blow you away, I have no idea what will. Absolutely fantastic band who I hope don’t disappear after one release! Let’s hope they take this show on the road once live music returns!
We are just about a quarter of the way through the year and already we’ve been swamped with quality music. Indeed, there has been so much thrown out of late that you’d be excused for missing the odd gem. I’m so glad I stumbled upon Svdestada's latest album 'Azabache' though. Hailing from Madrid, the band spew forth a fiery brand of blackened crust-punk. Fans of the likes of Martyrdod, Ancst and Anopheli will find plenty to enjoy here. They attack the neo-crust style in a very different way to many; a lot of bands take the epic post-metal inspired route, but here you get something much more direct and to the point (don’t get me wrong, however, the epic style is one of my favourites, it's just nice to have the punch in the throat occasionally!). 'Fuga' demonstrates this all perfectly in a sub-three minute aural firebomb. Savage, pissed off and totally without compromise, exactly what punk and its subgenres should be all about.
‘Don’t Come Back’
It’s that time of the year when we see if the gods have been pleased by our sacrifice in the wicker man, and they gift us that strange hot yellow ball in the sky. You know the one - it languidly slopes its way above the horizon with all the haste of a hungover student heading to an 11am lecture. Given the circumstances, I’m not ashamed to put on something a bit more upbeat, so I was naturally delighted to find this guy, who puts the power into power pop with his experience in crust hardcore merchants Caged Animals. Come on, admit it, we’ve all bopped along to Weezer’s better tunes, and Tony Molina is a prime example. Picking a single track out of an album that’s 11 minutes long is a tall order, but thankfully ‘Don’t Come Back’ has a riff that could match Crowbar’s work for sheer malevolence, before sliding into a joyous riff. It’s all over faster than a teenage quickie, but infinitely more satisfying.
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
‘Bend It Like Bender!’
Thank fuck for Devin Townsend and his utterly bonkers take on metal. His is quite the storied career, from the ultra-macho joke posturing of Strapping Young Lad through his solo work and then this Project, he’s the go-to guy for quality metal. Big riffs? Yup. Soaring operatic vocals? Yup. Bubble gum pop choruses? Yeah, why not! Wall of sound production? OH, FUCK YES. If there’s one thing Devin knows, it’s how to write a whacking great riff, and build it into a Wall of Sound production technique that would blow Phil Spector’s wig to wherever Ziltoid comes from. Coming hot on the heels of ‘Addicted!’ and ‘Universe In A Ball!’ in a triumvirate of triumph, and complete with the sublime vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen on a chorus that’s catchy beyond compare, it’s a big technicolour glob of bouncy excitement. And...and...and...it has a quote from the Superking himself, Bender Bending Rodríguez!
THE JESUS LIZARD
‘Postcoital Glow’ Capitol Records
With the release of Tomahawk’s latest, it’s always a great time to dig into their storied members’ back catalogues, and Jesus Lizard might oft be overlooked. In the best tradition of punk rock, they were ultra-tight (don’t be fooled by the bullshit theory that a punk band should be loose like New York Dolls), the perfect canvas for the absurdity and surrealism exemplified in vocal and lyrical hand grenade David Yow. Duane Denison, the driving force behind Tomahawk, is this link man on this. He slots his six strings across both camps: the ultra-disciplined, pummelling rhythm section of David Wm. Sims on bass and drummer Jim Kimbell (slotting into this record in place of Mac McNeilly, and equally as rock solid as his predecessor), and whatever the fucking hell David Yow is on about. It made Jesus Lizard utterly unique, and this catchy sniping cut off their last studio album is just as driving as any other in their career. The desperate howl of Yow is a paean to the joy of catalogue shopping, delivered in the desperate tones of someone who might have spent just a touch too long indoors. It might be a bit too much on the nose given we’ve been stuck indoors long enough, but you cannot argue with a bridge that goes “A-wop bam boom a-boop bop a-what to do...”
Check out our team's favourite tracks now over at the official Anthems From the Abyss playlist