PICK OF THE WEEK: Coldness falls as Silence in the Snow freezes bones with ‘Levitation Chamber’

At the beginning of a strangling heat wave here on the East Coast, it seems an odd time to talk about music that feels like it ushers in coldness and atmospheric dampness. But that’s just what we have, and while it might feel a little more fitting to hear on a chilly October evening over dark ales, perhaps it can offer to soothe our skin while it breaks out hearts.

Oakland-based duo Silence in the Snow even have a name that can put a chill down your spine, making like a Nordic black metal band with ice in its veins. But the band’s second record “Levitation Chamber” doesn’t deliver the tremolo-picked heaviness or spine-shattering shrieks and instead serves up frosty post-rock-style power mixed with dark psychedelics on a piece that plays tricks with your mind. The duo of guitarist/vocalist and Cyn M and drummer Trevor DeSchryver (he plays live drums for Wolves in the Throne Room and also plays in Lycus) put their shadowy hauntings together over seven tracks that are arresting and freeze your cells in place. It’s a record that took me a little while to get to know, but once I did, I’ve gone back and revisited the music, getting a different feel every time.

“Time Will Tell You Nothing” opens the record by slowly leaking in, letting melody loose, and spreading aching strings. “Shadows dance in the light, illuminating cold, hard ice,” Cyn M calls, with her vocals quivering and mixing with the fog. Drums tap as strings scrape, and Cyn M urges, “Lift me into the night sky,” repeatedly as the song fades out into murk. “Smoke Signals” has punchy drums and a deathrock feel as the music and singing are more aggressive. “And in the dark, I see nothing, a little spark can take me there,” Cyn M wails, letting the emotion build and the shadows spread, ending in a dreamy pocket. “Crystal Spear” has a heavy post-rock vibe, as Cyn M prods, “May the crystal spear pierce the light, seeing through an empty lie.” The chorus is rousing and cutting, always returning to bruise again, as the admission of, “I feel so alone now,” dealing the heavy hand.

“Garden Of Echoes” begins with music pulsating, creating a thick haze of confusion with the playing raining down and thickening the fog. Dreary keys add to the dark texture, while the drums pace, and the melodies splatter over the end. “In the Dark” has guitars gently melting, while Cyn M belts, “In the dark I hide, all alone tonight, lost in my head, everything’s on fire.” The inky waters let keyboard lines sink though them like a knife, while the sounds bleed out, and the charging subsides. “Cruel Ends” is punchy and gothy, with deeper, gritter singing. Cyn M belts, “Spirit is guiding me, slow decay in the mind, wearing down walls that bind,” as the strange waves splash around. The gloaming essence reaches around, streaming and slowly bleeding down the drain. Closer “Dread the Low” starts with guitars leaking ashy drips, as the slowly delivered words leave you numb and disoriented. Sounds slowly spiral, as the feeling of longing and desire sink into the veins, and Cyn M ends with, “The waves come crashing in, I dread the low,” with her repeating the last line over and over as the song disappears into a thick haze of organs.

Silence in the Snow’s thick shadows and cold embrace might not be heavy in its purest sense, but the emotion and bloody tears that soak this thing make “Levitation Chamber” a strange, ghostly experience that could pulverize you. The music is ethereal and feels like a spirit traveling next to you, with you catching the movement out of the corner of your eye now and again. The music might make you think you’re locked in a spiraling dream that chills your flesh and makes you wonder where you are once you finally come to again.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/silenceinthesnow/

To buy the album, go here: https://us.prophecy.de/artists/silence-in-the-snow/

For more on the label, go here: https://en.prophecy.de/

Steel & Bone Volume 1 features Horrendous, Tomb Mold, Daeva, Immortal Bird among others

It wasn’t very long ago that a lot of really good underground metal shows (for lack of a better term) would pass over Pittsburgh regularly. But slowly over time, that whole thing changed, and we have a veritable riches of shows each week in which to indulge. This week alone there are four heavy music shows in our area, and Steel and Bone Vol. 1 is one of them.

Steel and Bone Productions is a group that has grown out of Winterforge Promotions, run by the gentlemanly Christopher Woodford, who is taking a much-deserved break from promoting. To really signal their arrival, Steel and Bone will present an unreal seven-band fest Saturday at Cattivo that has a lineup that is unstoppable. There are three bands that have brand-new records out, all of which are some of the best of the entire year, plus we have the Pittsburgh debut of Horrendous and a slew of other bands both national and local who will make this an event you’d have to be an asshole to miss. Things get started at 5 on Saturday (doors are at 4), and along with these monster bands, there also will be tons of merch available (Season of Mist will be there as a featured vendor), as well as Cattivo’s pizza that is some of the best in town. Here’s a quick rundown of every band you’ll see that day.

ABYSME (5-5:25): This Pittsburgh death metal band has been an institution the past 15 years, and their 2012 debut album “Strange Rites” was reissued in 2016 by Our Ancient Future, and they put out an EP last year called “Acrid Life” on the same label. If you haven’t caught Abysme and you’re a local, what fucking shows have you been going to see? This band will destroy your life, so best be prepared.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/abysme/

RITUAL MASS (5:45-6:10): Ritual Mass is a Pittsburgh band that has a 2017 demo that is one song and 14 minutes to their credit officially. But they bring way more than that. They’ve been destroying audience on shows locally for the past few years, and they’re a band you really need to pay your mind, because their power and chaos will smother you.

For more on the band, go here: https://ritualmass.bandcamp.com/releases

DAEVA (6:30-7): Black thrashers Daeva played their first live show ever in Pittsburgh at last year’s Migration Fest, and they return to the scene of the crime (well, at least when it comes to the city) nearly a year later with another serving of vile chaos. 20 Buck Spin delivered their debut EP “Pulsing Dark Absorptions” which is a five-track, 20-minute mauler (including a cover of Mayhem’s “Deathcrush”) that only hinted at the madness ahead. Not sure what they have in store for Saturday, but chances are it’ll split your face in two.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/daevablackthrash/

SUPERSTITION (7:20-7:50): Vile and heathen death metal your thing? Then, by all means, let Superstition lure you into the darkness, where you have no idea what awaits. They just released their debut full-length “The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation,” and this band contains members of Ash Borer, Predatory Light, and Vanum amongst them. But what they do as Superstition goes even beyond what they do with their other bands, delivering scary, relentless, punishing death that feels like it pays homage to the pioneers of the genre but delivers and smears modern blood into the mix.

For more on the band, go here: https://superstitiondeath.bandcamp.com/

Photo by Andrew Rothmund

IMMORTAL BIRD (8:10-8:50): If you’ve read this site for an extended time, first of all thank you. Second, you’ll know we have a soft spot for Chicago death grind mashers Immortal Bird. But look, it’s not just us. Their new album “Thrive on Neglect” has been getting praise left and right, and it’s for good reason. This is the best thing they’ve done to date, and just like Tomb Mold, they’re even better live than on their recordings. Rae Amitay is a fire-breather as the vocalist and lyricist for this band (spend time with the words if you want your soul to bleed) and the rest of the band is just as ripping, making this a formidable unit that’ll break you.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/immortalbirdband

Photo by Jake Ballah

TOMB MOLD (9:10-9:50): Speaking of death metal, Toronto’s Tomb Mold have made some of the best music in that sub-genre over the past three years, when they have released three records, the latest of which is the wicked “Planetary Clairvoyance.” There are few bands doing it things as effectively as these guys, and the amazing thing is as good as their records are, they’re even better in the live setting. Their new one only will have been out for 24 hours by the time they hit town, but that should give you enough time to overindulge in this album before they start up and tear out your throat.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tombmold/

HORRENDOUS (10:10-end): Not many bands are twisting death metal to their ill quite the way Horrendous have the past decade. Their latest album, 2018’s “Idol,” saw them take their art even further, mixing more progressive elements into their sound and again challenging what it means to play death metal in the first place. “Idol” was the band’s first record for Season of Mist after years recording for Dark Descent, and it’s an album that firmly cemented them as one of metal’s most interesting bands.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/HorrendousDeathMetal

To get tickets, go here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4233224?fbclid=IwAR2dtFOS3SXkCxjH8fmhMGo6NbYT02DfiLUTBLPORF5BHO-9wPfePBSAGHE

Cable return from ashes with renewed anger, frustration on punchy ‘Take the Stairs to Hell’

These are dark times, and in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of people are having a really tough time navigating the waters. Not that that’s anything new, really, as personal problems have existed for as long as there have been people. But it feels like the wounds are deeper, bloodier, and more painful, and finding the right salve is goddamn frustrating.

That leads us into the first fresh material from Cable in a decade, their new full-length “Take the Stairs to Hell.” You have what you need to know right there in the title, but as bassist/vocalist Randy Larsen notes, the songs you hear on this new nine-track basher were bred by anger, hatred, negativity, and depression. Maybe that seems obvious, especially once you tear into this thing, but it’s an important thing to point out. You’re hearing the result of what is feels like trying to make your way through the world the past few years, and the future doesn’t seem much brighter. Larsen, along with bandmates Peter Farris (vocals), Bernie Romanowski (guitars), Chris “Fish” Harding” (guitars), and Alex Garcia-Rivera (drums), deliver on that fire and frustration on a record that pushes into elements of sludge, southern-style grit, hardcore, and noise, making it one hell of a full-bodied Cable experience.

“Forest Dream (Intro)” has footsteps crunching through brush, setting the stage for “It Cost Me Everything” that opens with sludgy riffs, howled vocals, and psychological slashing. “Struggling to keep up, I’d rather drop out,” Farris howls as the bass slinks, sounds hang in the air, and everything comes to a smashing end. “Black Medicine” features Mike Hill from Tombs on vocals and Graham Brooks from Barishi on guitars, and it slurs and growls along like a wounded animal looking to strike. “Rise up from the ground!” is wailed while guitars burn, and a scorching solo rips out and leaves bruising. The title of the track is wailed over and over toward the end, while the back end is treated to some outright nasty doom stomping. “Low Man” is punchy and riffy, as Farris shouts, “Low man, you’re already dead.” The song is simple but devastating, ending in smearing violence. “Rats on Fire” has a thick bassline rumbling, speak-shouting landing body blows, and an angry-as-fuck chorus that should be a rallying cry at their lives shows. The track ramps back up at the end, laying waste to the scenery and leaving the stench of burnt flesh behind.

“Eyes Rolled Back” has more sludgy riffs and an approach that’s just heavy as fuck The track smothers whatever is in front of it, as Farris howls, “I am nothing with you, I am a knife in your back.” The track smears the senses as it draws closed, ending with a fiery assault. “Rivers of Old” has wild howls and a punishing exterior, with slide guitars bringing some Southern smoke. A cement-thick bassline drives itself through your chest, while the track pounds away, and the guitars stab manically before the track fades out. The title track has Christian McKenna of End Christian and Hill again on vocals as the guitars dizzy, and softer singing turns talky, with the delivery of the jabbing line, “You’ve always got a story to tell,” as the track amplifies its rumble. Closer “Come Home (Outro)” is performed by CRONE featuring Jeff Caxide and Aaron Harris, both formerly of ISIS. The track trickles in with murky synth and a strange feel, tricking your mind and convincing you you’re somewhere in outer space. The music soothes your psyche as everything dissipates in a strange haze.

Anyone who has lived through and paid attention to the past few years will find at least a corner of “Take the Stairs to Hell” as something they recognize and with which they relate. Having Cable back in the conversation from a heavy music standpoint is refreshing, as their voice has been missed, and they have plenty to offer. We all feel pissed and frustrated sometimes, and having an outlet like this record in which to dump some of that can be good for anyone’s mental health.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.instagram.com/cabletheband/

To buy the album, go here: http://translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.translationloss.com/

Wreck and Reference switch up sound, keep warping the senses on damaged ‘Absolute Still Life’

Not all musical experiences are meant to be enjoyable. Let me explain this. Yes, ultimately music is a form of entertainment that people tend to enjoy passing time or indulging in art, but that doesn’t always mean it should be a comfortable time. Feeling agitation and anxiety and concern is just as legitimate as something that makes you forget yourself, and often these are the records that really stick.

No one ever will accuse duo Wreck and Reference of being easy listening. Obviously, they musically don’t fit into that category, and the music that makes up their sometimes-upsetting albums won’t make for a letting loose and vibing out. Unless your vibe is sado-masochism. Their fourth album “Absolute Still Life” is their strangest, bluntest, most confrontational yet, a fact that greets you like a harsh slap right out of the gates and stays with you like a continually spreading rash over its 10 songs. I’m making this sound bad. The music is relentless and captivating, and you won’t be able to take your ears or ears off what’s going on here. Just looking at the strange cover art the band—Ignat Frege and Felix Skinner—chose for this record already gives you a taste up front. Then you dig into this music that peels back a lot of the harsher noise and screaming elements of past and goes more for a head trip right into a trauma you cannot easily slip.

“A Mirror” begins practically in the middle of a breakdown with keys blurring and creaky vocals caving in, with the admission of, “These painful memories are stacking up.” The track corrodes along with telling you just how low things have gotten. “Sturdy Dawn” has beats charging, an electric spine, and the hopeless call of, “I’m trying to remember my lines for a play I didn’t ask to be in,” conveying the frustration. Crazed vocals sit behind, and the song feels emotionally drained. “Eris Came to Me at Night” is soft and solemn at first, as warbled vocals note “the smell of burnt toast, the blood in my nostrils.” The music gets psychologically horrific from there as sounds blurt, insects swarm, and the track comes to a frustrated end.  “Stubborn Lake” has beat and zaps, with Skinner’s singing autotuned for effect as tortured cries are layered behind the madness. There’s a desperation to remain alive amid chaos, as noises turn and cause a nauseating twist. “What Goes in and Comes Out” has keys dropping and deliberately delivered vocals, with Skinner wailing, “These are Armageddon dreams, they are nothing more than that.” Howls snake and signal the further unraveling, while chirps and signals drown everything out.

“What Is a Gift” has growly singing, beats punching away, and raspy misery as Skinner calls, “I’m trying to forget all my lies.” Keys simmer before boiling up for an attack, letting the fury peak and finally melt away. “In Uniform” has the music slinking with scraping speak singing as Skinner points, “You say you won’t, but you will,” hammering home his disappointment. Haunting keys take over as detached cries reach out while the sounds and world crumble. “Dumb Forest” has dream-inducing sounds, putting a heavy chill over your flesh, while Skinner practices self-flagellations over past transgressions as he begs, “Hit me again,” over and over again. There’s an oddly R&B-flavored vocal sample looped into this that brings chill where there should be none. It’s an interesting clash. “Amends” is quiet and eerie, as Skinner sings, “I always say death to those above us,” as he seeks punishment that, while it hurts also is bittersweet. Sounds jettison as the track comes to a loud, fiery finish. “Irony of Being Something” is the closer and opens with beats cutting and blistering shrieks and singing combining into one force. “Which future haunts you the most?” Skinner asks as the music ruffles the brain, and things come to a warped ending.

Clawing at your flesh and writhing in your seat is a normal reaction to Wreck and Reference, so if you’re there, that means this is computing, hard as that may be to understand. “Absolute Still Life” is a mentally punishing document to handle, so imagine what must have gone into creating it. This band never is going to go down easily, so if that’s your thing, this group and this record will be dark companions for you as you delve deeper into your own darkness.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wreckandreference

To buy the album, go here: https://nowflensing.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://theflenser.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Tomb Mold jam cosmic insanity into death cycle on mad ‘Planetary Clairvoyance’

Photo by Jake Ballah

As weird as this is going to sound, there’s likely not another metal sub-genre bursting with more life than death metal. As black metal and doom remain kind of stagnant right now with bands coming in to freshen the sound, there have been plenty of death metal bands and records the past few years that are making the sound more exciting in the deadliest of manners.

One of those is Toronto smashers Tomb Mold, who are on an impressive clip, delivering three devastating records in as many years, the latest being “Planetary Clairvoyance.” This seven track, 38-minute record is more smothering goodness from a band that is a force both on record and live. The power is relentless, and the twists and turns on this album could jerk your neck out of place, which would hurt real bad, but it would be worth it, right? I’ve had the music for about a month now, and I’ve maybe heard it 40 times? That’s a lot considering I have to listen to a lot of stuff for this site, so that’s a testament to how nasty and good this album is. It’s arguably the best thing they’ve done so far. The band—vocalist/drummer Max Klebanoff, guitarists Derrick Vella and Payson Power, and bassist Steve Musgrave—have truly come into their own as a unit, and the display they unleash on this beast is overwhelming and so goddamn infectious you can’t help but keep coming back.

“Beg for Life” starts the record in a cloud of space haze before the guitars light up, smashing bodies and letting riffs devour everything. The playing is spindly and savage, as the drumming begins to decimate, and the guitars chug through the gates. The track halts as classic acoustic guitars slip in, and as the song rambles back to life, things crush anew. The drums destroy bones, the growls scar, and the guitars shoot off into space. The title cut rips through as riffs play tricks on you, and filthy guitars spread soot over the chorus. The leads chew while the growls boil, sending the track into dust. But wait! A fucking nasty new riff comes in and lays waste to everything, killing everything as the track comes to its end. “Phosphorene Ultimate” basks in mystical noise as a synth fog settles over the picture, making things uneasy, and then an alien transmission begins to crackle, as the instrumental track slowly drips into a fog.

“Infinite Resurrection” utterly wrecks shit as massive, nasty growls pummel the earth, and the band starts to decimate everything. The pace thrashes and stomps violently, while the guitars melt through rock, the drumming crushes wills, and everything ends in a delirious assault. “Accelerative Phenomenae” smashes bodies when it starts its run downhill, as the growls suffocate, and mean thrashing eats away at your rib cage. The playing then speeds up dangerously with the attack smothering, chaos erupting, and the track blasting to its end. “Cerulean Salvation” punishes as the guitars heat up and land heavy jabs, and the infernal approach makes it impossible to breathe. Guitars spill their guts all over as the growls sink their teeth into muscle, the leads soar, and everything disappears into a sound basement. Closer “Heat Death” does a good job living up to its name with its melodic violence as the guitars go for the jugular, and gruff growls hulk their way toward you. The guitars twist and shift, the playing rearranges faces, and the song is sucked into a gross vortex of sound that ends the record in disgust.

Tomb Mold are at the top of their game right now, firing up some of the best death metal on planet earth, which makes itself known on “Planetary Clairvoyance.” Considering this band fucking rips live, it’s fun to imagine what these songs will sound like in the flesh, but just settling with the record at home also is a devastating experience. Tomb Mold are operating on a level very few other bands could even find, much less try to achieve, and this album will bloody faces for years to come as they continue their campaign in interplanetary chaos.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tombmold/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/planetaryclairvoyance

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

Hayter hammers back at power structures on Lingua Ignota’s explosive new record ‘Caligula’

Fuck the patriarchy. It’s a saying you’ve probably heard quite a bit the past few years, and it’s one that speaks to the amount of power that’s disproportionately distributed among the upper echelon of society, and it hammers people to the ground who are not in the upper crust. It’s a push back against the idea of heavy-handed rule that never stops.

Kristin Hayter’s art has reflected some of the abuse and pain she has experienced in her life and has become a torch of sorts for those who has experienced sexual assault and abuse and refuse to shut up about it. That was the focus of her debut full-length “All Bitches Die,” but on her second record under the Lingua Ignota name, “Caligula,” she takes on that idea of power. Not that it’s necessarily limited to the patriarchy, but let’s face it, who are most of the people in charge of this world, especially this country? On these 11 tracks that span about 66 minutes, Hayter pours her rage, disgust, sorrow, and fire into every ounce of this album, and it’s impossible to turn away. This is a declaration of war, one Hayter will wage with words and fire, and while it’s not as abrasive from a noise standpoint as her debut, it’s a scathing shot to the top. Her aim is to see the power structure crumble and turn to powder.

“FAITHFUL SERVANT FRIEND OF CHRIST” begins with noise floating as Hayter’s singing emerges, numbing and haunting, dragging you by the hand toward “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR” that has keys dropping and her asking, “How can you doubt me now?” The corrosion comes fast, as she wails, “Every vein of every leaf of every tree is slaked with poison,” as the bloodbath flows, and the psyche of the song is damaged further, with Hayter insisting, “I don’t eat, I don’t sleep,” as a way of breaking down. Pianos crush and noises shakes every corner of the room, as Hayter delivers a morbid warning, “Bitch, I smell you bleeding, and I know where you sleep,” which should leave any soul unsettled. “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD” continues her aim to melt power, as out of eeriness Hayter cries, “Rise up, and I’ll cut you down.” The music has a dark imperialism to it, as a strange calm settles, pianos splash, and Hayter’s singing sounds serene but is anything but, especially with her wish of, “May your days be few.”  “MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE” is solemn as it begins, with Hayter asking her subject, “Who will love you if I don’t? Who will fuck you if I won’t?” Piano and noise combine and buzz, as the south meanders further south, and her singing reminds of Tori Amos in spots, as she ends the song observing, “Everything burns down around me.” “FRAGRANT IS MY MANY FLOWER’D CROWN” has keys pounding, as Hayter examines the compassion shown by men toward each other and wonders why that doesn’t carry over elsewhere. “Brothers in each other’s arms,” she sings as the song goes further into the darkness, coming to a quiet, painful finish.

“IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” is ominous and scary from the start, as it is influenced by Jim Jones’ death tape, and the journey is harrowing as expected. Piano quivers, as Hayter sings, “If you lay your life down, no man can take it, will you join me?” A deluge of screams wells up as the sing rumbles and shakes, leaving your psyche scarred. “DAY OF TEARS AND MOURNING” has liturgical organs creating a deep fog, while the bottom drops out and pounds, screams come terrifyingly to life, and the melodies instill the track with old-style horrors, the black-and-white style that make it feel like you’ve slipped into a different era. “SORROW! SORROW! SORROW!” delivers on what its name promises, as Hayter stretches and drags her voice, creating weird inflections as simple keys drip, and Hayter realizes, “Nobody knows my sorrow,” as the music slips down the drain. “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” begins in a serene, cold part of the room before shrieks erupt and destroy peace, with Hayter calling, “All who proclaim their love betray me!” Animalistic cries follow, as things continue to crumble to the ground, walls melt, and Hayter demands, “Kill them all!” as a choral swarm takes the song out. For all its violent intent, “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” actually feels like an emotional comedown on purpose, as music chimes and Hayter points, “I am the butcher of the world.” She promises it would be foolish not to fear her, and the music bleeds right into closer “I AM THE BEAST” that fills the space with heartache as Hayter demands, “Come claim me.” The track gets heavier and nastier from there, a final burst of scraping fury, where Hayter howls, “All I know is violence,” as bursts surround her words, vicious screams follow, and everything collapses into a doom wormhole that surges and brings things to an abrupt end.

Hayter’s passion, rage, and taste for bloody revenge make “Caligula” a record so powerful and scathing, it should be able to bring any world leader to the knees. The record is a bit more varied than “All Bitches Die” and it’s a richer, even scarier experience for the variety and nuance. There is no voice out there anything like Hayter’s, and she may be the death angel we all anticipated who would arrive and burn our oppressive structures to the goddamn ground.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/linguaignotamusic/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.hellomerch.com/collections/lingua-ignota?fbclid=IwAR2xdNgH3XPbeQ676LgMFUz3QGM17kkqrgoZRDQ2lS9E_4AbhELOZ2bgag8

For more on the label, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.com/

Falls of Rauros keep pumping humanity’s, nature’s heart on moving ‘Patterns in Mythology’

I’ve only been to Maine once, a few years ago with a former SO who took me there for the hiking and natural aspects. It was an amazing adventure, a place where we walked to so many different heights, saw things far different from what’s here in Pennsylvania (itself a magnificent state), and felt a connection to the Earth for which I often long.

So, I’m rather envious of long-running black metal band Falls of Rauros who live there and splash as much of the majesty of their surroundings into their breath-taking records. Their latest is “Patterns in Mythology,” their fifth full-length release overall and their first for new label home Gilead Media. If you’re already a disciple of their spacious, atmospheric power, prepared to get bowled over yet again with their art, as they pack explosive fire and humanistic energy into these six tracks. You also can’t help but indulge in this band—guitarist/vocalist Aaron, guitarist/vocalist/keyboard player Jordan, bassist Evan, and drummer Ray—and feel the forces of the Earth in everything that they do, from their volcanic heaviness that feels like a massive stormfront coming on to their rustic folk moments when nature takes a step back and lets us ease into her arms. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed, but that’s a good thing as you’re forced to absorb every drop of their music almost for nourishment.

“Detournement” opens the record with noise rising, feelings beginning to well up, and the momentum slowly building toward glorious heights, pushing its way into “Weapons of Refusal,” the longest track on here at 11:11. Riffs chew as shrieks emerge, as the band unleashes its black metal fury, punching into a cavalcade of chaos. Leads splatter as the song goes into a melodic rush, then acoustics brings winds of change before the song soars again into ferocity. The band brings with it a whirlwind of sensation, as a practical deluge of sounds erupt, ripping at your heartstrings, while the band keeps toppling minds as the track comes to an end. “New Inertia” has a clean start that revels in elegance before the lid is torn off, and growls and shrieks rush down like a mad rain. That madness gives way to serenity for a stretch before a molten solo tears its way out, and a proggy, exciting run begins to take place. That brings with it guitars that feel like they’re ushering in a warm summer day, while the band keeps things on high before the song comes to a smashing end.

“Renouvellement” is a breather from the blazes, and a really hearty one at that. Acoustics stoke the fires, while clean singing adds a different texture to the record, and gentle harmonizing toward the back end feels organic and calming. “Last Empty Tradition” then comes in with guitars bursting at the seams, growls crushing, and the power being injected all over again. Layered leads combine to create a singular force as guitars pull back and let echo wash over them. An explosion brings us out of our trance as savage vocals do significant damage, the sounds hammer down with unreal force, and melodies blast out, ending things on a high note. “Memory at Night” closes the album, as the bass jars, darkness spreads over the land, and the vocals open up some new wounds. The leads begin to glimmer before spiraling away as harsh, urgent shrieks rip open sleepy eyes, and the playing absolutely hammers. Suddenly, the track takes on a cosmic feel, as noise fills the room, senses are tested, and graceful playing pushes the song to its final gates as everything is allowed to bleed away.

I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever get back to Maine, but Falls of Rauros always remind me of what I felt when I was there for those few days, absolutely in awe. “Patterns in Mythology” is another bold step in their journey to bring us and them closer to our essence, and it’s an album that pushes and pulls you through so many different emotions. Falls of Rauros remain one of modern black metal’s most special bands, and this new entry only cements that further.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fallsofraurosOfficial/

To buy the album or for more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/