Don’t Miss This! Vol. 5
If you missed out on the last four segments of Don’t Miss This!, then you missed out on not missing out on some things you might have missed out on this year. You idiot!
Our dear, dead friend Stockhausen brought this instant classic to the toilet a few weeks ago before passing the torch to W. They cordially introduced you to a few of their favorites among this year’s sleeper albums. Then, last week, our resident literal know-it-all Christian Molenaar held your pitiably mainstream hands and led you through a magical land where Impetuous Ritual is considered mainstream radio dad-rock and bands are executed on the spot after reaching 50 Facebook likes.
Now, it’s my turn. Here’s the deal. You guys have missed out on a lot of Power Metal this year. I know that shit for a fact. You know that shit for a fact. But, out of respect for the dead (i.e., Stockhausen), I’ve chosen to go against everything I’ve been taught in the hall by giving you all a break from that most glorious of genres. Thank me in the comments below.
Nasheim – Solens vemod
The Swedes in Nasheim have been together for 13 years now. Apparently they’ve spent most of that time releasing a handful of splits and demos that nobody really cared about and participating in other similarly Swedish activities. They finally got their shit together and dropped Solens vemod (their first full-length) this year, and it currently stands atop the icy peak of my year-end list, battling Death and Power for the top spot.
It got a little bit of attention leading up to its release, but not nearly as much as it deserved. Solens vemod is a blackened ebb and flow through four tracks of perfectly balanced atmosphere. While more traditional and not nearly as folkish as Agalloch, there just might be enough acoustic strumming and clean background chanting to give you the fix that The Serpent and the Sphere couldn’t.
Lastly, I have two letters and two numbers for all you audiophile boners: DR12. That means smooth, audible bass. Mmmmm. Buy this.
Castle – Under Siege
The darlings of the heavy metal sub-underground are back again this year with another old-school jaunt full of killer riffs, quick solos, occult tendencies and denim vests. Under Siege (which, when coupled with the band name, is essentially un-Googleable) totally rules. Clocking in at the succinctly kickass run time of 34 minutes, it rips from the very first second to the very last. This trio doesn’t want to waste your time with indulgent intros or outros, they just want to riff and solo your brains out. If you’re savvy to their previous album, Blacklands, you might notice that they’re stripping down most of their experimentation here, setting their sights instead on the tried-and-true.
Some might consider Elizabeth Blackwell to be a poor singer by traditional standards, but sewn into the fabric of occult heavy metal she sounds right at home. It’s raw, it’s gritty, it’s undeniably metal, and it wouldn’t be Castle without her.
My Castle shirt is one of my most valued possessions. Part of that is because there’s a wizard sitting on a skull-throne on it. But the other part is because Castle is tight.
Ea – A Etilla
Funeral doom isn’t for everybody, and I fully realize that. Enjoying it requires patience. And probably host of psychological disorders. But even if you have neither of those things (and who are you kidding?), you still ought to check out Ea. They’re a mysterious bunch from Wyoming. The band’s identity is unknown, but whoever the hell they are, they’ve solidified their status as funeral doom masters since their 2006 debut.
According to their Bandcamp, “Ea is based on the sacral texts of ancient civilizations. Ea uses a dead language which was recreated according to the results of archaeological study.” Spoooooky.
A Etilla is a single 50-minute song. It’s an emotionally exhausting back-and-forth between faint hope and not-faint despair. You need to spend some quality time with this one. Wait until you have a free 49 minutes and 12 seconds and get lost in the wash of distortion, choir and roar. You will not regret it.
TrollfesT – Kaptein Kaos
To put this weirdo group in a bit of perspective, TrollfesT is what Finntroll turns into when it forgets to take its Ritalin. They call themselves “true Norwegian Balkan metal.” They sound like a dirty caravan of Balkan gypsies that traded stolen jewelry for some electric instruments and a shitload of amphetamine. And I mean that in the best way possible. Fill your tankards with laced mead and romp along. If you hate TrollfesT, you hate fun. Bonus points for having one of the best music videos of the year.
Don’t Miss This! is an ongoing feature where each of the ToH writers explores a few releases you may have missed this year.
(h/t to Stockhausen for the cover image)