Give Me More October (Before I Keel Over)
Denial ain’t just a tech death band who love sphinxes.
Daylight savings, my ass. Before I even knew it, I stopped seeing the sun on my drive home. Couldn’t even get my job to pick up some ultraviolet mood lamps for the break room, and the big S.A.D. is already bearing down on me. The frigid wind is getting serious now, not playing around with any gentle chiming action, it’s out for your neck. Looks like my only respite for now is good old reliable denial. I say it’s still October, and the oncoming chill is still charming and relieving, like when you hit up your ex for a quickie before it starts snowballing into something smothering and stifling just like the last time. I’m swallowing shot-on-video horror drek (hello Street Trash and Ninja Vixens) and keeping my candelabra well-stocked for midnight creeping about. I barely got myself on track for Thanksgiving, I’m not ready for the big X yet. I never am. I’m Spooky all year round, lovelies.
Green Lung – Black Harvest
Reasons this made my Top 10:
1) Big ol’ chord slides
2) Big ol’ pentatonic blues descents
It’s doom you can croon, your new karaoke favorite. Even if you’re late to the party and didn’t catch their enchanting first record, the night is always young with Green Lung. Just as swinging and groovy as its predecessor, Black Harvest is devil rock with a romantic flair, sometimes as sappy as it is heavy, not unlike mid-years Type O Negative. As played-out as this particular idiom feels, Green Lung bring a serious sentiment to it, which rejuvenates a lot of the flavors at play. It’s good romantic doom metal, and honestly great party tunes. You could slip in “Upon The Altar” at a Halloween shindig and have a ball with all your normie friends. They’d probably just think Ghost suddenly got really good again.
Sometimes metal really needs singalongs.
Best for when: You roll up to the Friday night dance at the outskirts of town, and find out that your cohort are into something more occult than you’d envisioned.
The Night Eternal – Moonlit Cross
Germany’s The Night Eternal have put together a satisfying debut, Moonlit Cross, with all the bells and whistles to summon up the spirits from your catacombs. Plenty of old-fashioned punch courses through these riffs, staying firmly on the rock’n’roll end of simplicity. Even the longest chapter, “Son Of Sin”, has a light step and brisk beat for all its 6 minutes of glory. I don’t even bother trying to grade Maiden-style harmonies, a band either knows how to write them or they don’t, and Night Eternal are that first one. But solid lyricism and songwriting are what really make these songs flicker in the candlelight. When the guitars are riding in the pocket, Ricardo’s vocals provide the melodrama and prestige to take the basics of gallops and blues bars, and make them seem like tapestries of musical lore. Well done all.
Best for when: you steal away into the night, laden with sacramental reagents pilfered from the old fortune-teller’s caravan ere she wakes and discovers your treachery.
Galaxy – On The Shore Of Life
A duo from down under, Galaxy zoom past laden with starry trad-metal dazzle, and a shelf of full-fledged paperbacks to page through. The dominant influence is Mercyful Fate, but Galaxy seriously retool the formula, eschewing the gothic melodrama for more Maiden-style sci-fi operatics. I can’t fault them their vision, but I have to say the effect is more diminution than expansion. On the Shore of Life doesn’t pull off a great impression of either band’s distinctive strengths, and so fades into the crowd of their imitators, but we can give credit for what Galaxy manage to find in the overlap.
Each song has time to bake, ranging in pulse and feeling giving many an emotional arc, and there’s definitely something to enjoy in each. “Valentine” and “Firelight Palaver” show off some choice chord work, stretched and ominous, to dial up the drama beneath wailing falsetto vocals. Those vocals, in turn, get some mystical space to themselves in “Gemini,” an inventive highlight. Every song features a strong idea or two, but they don’t always flow well. Surprisingly, “Daughter in The Distance” had the moment that impressed me most, maturing from pitiable yearning to seeking and striving resolve.
It’s a commendable experiment, even if it doesn’t quite gel for me. It’s not quite as splendorous as Haunt or Spell, who have both had fine outputs of ornate traditional metal in the last few years. But Galaxy are working with fine tools and have the sense to know a quality hook when they reach for it.
Best for when: you stand astride your trusty star chariot, gazing at a mural of planets writ across the alien sky, rearing to see which holds your next prize.
Sometimes, in this stubborn cloak of winter black, I wonder what point there is in resisting. My shrivelled black heart may not grow three sizes, but eventually I must cut away from my lifeblood season and accept what’s at my doorstep. Forsooth, cutting aside predilection for mere cosmetic, what is Halloween to Christmas if not a twin brother, a festival not truly of spirit, but of hollow edifice? A chance to buy and adorn and reap the social recognition of your peers for doing and buying what everyone else has already agreed is momentarily fashionable. I bet your costume this year was some pop culture garbage, wasn’t it? You thought of grabbing a Squid Game tracksuit with your friends? You’re everything that’s wrong with this world. As am I. So at least we’re not lonely accomplices in that. Holiday denial turns to holiday nihilism, at last. The war on Christmas becomes the war on everything, because everything turns into flattened transaction. Horned God, I am finally in the mood for a black metal winter.