New Music Roundup Again: Steven Wilson, Archgoat, Skelethal, Satan’s Host, Usnea & Ascension


Two roundups in one week? Do you see the hours I put in for you? My schoolwork suffers, my poor wife feels neglected, and I seldom get around to taking my bi-monthly shower anymore. But the gratifying thought of even one of your precious little heads banging along to one of these songs makes it all worth it.

Let’s get to it, then.

I’m not going to fawn over Steven Wilson every time his name is mentioned, no matter how much my body is telling me to. Plus, I’ve already done it here and here. Still, you should probably know that the second installment of Lasse Hoile’s series of Steven and the band recording at AIR Studios has been released. Like the last video, this studio update doesn’t disappoint. You’ll hear new music from the album and some interesting commentary about the inspiration behind it and its driving concept. Just like the rest of the 1,275,875,431 concept albums he’s been a part of, the story is sad as shit. So go figure. Check it out below. As far as I know, the album is yet unnamed and unscheduled, but we’re to expect it early next year. PS — Guthrie Govan’s beard is just awful.

Finland’s imaginary legends ov non-imaginary war metal Archgoat just released a new song that’s actually called “Nuns, Cunts & Darkness.” In no way is the name a joke, which is, ironically, exactly what makes it so funny (much like their age-old demo… wait for it… Penis Perversor). My dear mother always told me that you’re never too kvlt to laugh at the word penis. “Nuns, Cunts & Darkness” is from their upcoming release The Apocalyptic Triumphator, which is set for release through Debemur Morti Productions on January 26th of next year. It’s oppressive, it’s raw, it’s bestial, it’s all those other overused words associated with this type of black/death. Imagine what a song called “Nuns, Cunts & Darkness” might sound like. It’s probably this exact song. You get blasting drums, muddy riffs, demonikk hellburps, and funeral bell tolls. It’s gnarly.

Would this be a roundup without a band on Iron Bonehead Productions? Technically yes. But it wouldn’t be a very good one now would it? Skelethal released their first LP (Deathmanicvs Revelation) in April and they’ve already got a new EP (Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity) planned for released before the year is over (November 28th, to be exact). Skelethal does a damn good job at reminding me why the oldschool Swedish death metal revival is one that I can get behind, one grimy and impossibly catchy riff after the other. CVLTNation premiered the first track from the new EP a few days ago. It’s an atmospheric intro track, so releasing it kind of seems like a weird move. But check this out: Skelethal has the second song streaming on their Bandcamp, and I’m going to put them together for you. I’m going to pamper you like the princes and princess(es) you are. Where else are you going to get this sort of treatment?

Satan’s Host have had a weird career. Apparently they formed way before my time in 1977 and didn’t release a single thing until Harry “Tyrant” Conklin joined in 1986 (after contributing vocals to one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever made and subsequently leaving Jag Panzer). They released Metal from Hell (now a USPM staple), then broke up. Then their guitarist reformed the band with a new lineup. Then, Harry Conklin rejoined in 2011. And here we are. Satan’s Host play an ever-shifting blend of no-frills power metal with some blackened/deathened influence. It’s power metal for those who prefer black knight’s armor to silver and would rather sacrifice a horse to Satan than train it for LARPing. Last year’s Virgin Sails was killer and I urge you to check it out. Now they’re planning to release a 80+ minute double LP in early 2015 entitled Pre-Dating God. If you can stomach what may be the worst video ever created, you can hear a preview of the music. Old people, dude…

Our very own SMOHLG turned me on (to this next one). Usnea is late to the Doom party this year, but they’re making up for their lack of punctuality with real quality. Random Cosmic Violence is out via Relapse Records on November 10th, and missing it would be a mistake. Unless for some reason you don’t like having your entire world crushed to dust by sludgy funeral death doom. There’s striking disparity between the mournful, lamenting dirges and the devastating heavy passages, but it all flows together with the cohesion necessary to really draw you into the slow-moving storm. They’ve got two tracks streaming on Bandcamp. Here they are.

*If you like what you hear, you can stream the entire album over at Stereogum. I recommend that you do this.*

Let’s close things out with some orthodox black metal from Germany. Very recently, Ascension was picked up by Season of Mist, who will now be releasing the band’s upcoming full-length The Dead of the World on December 24th. Yesterday they released a video for the album’s first single, “Deathless Light” (also featured on a recently released EP of the same name). The song kicks off at pretty high speeds but eventually settles into the smoldering, mid-paced seethe that’s become their métier. Slowing things down and allowing the music to breathe, brood, and build steeps the music in a rare type of darkness that the stubbornly everblasting black metal bands never touch on; cold-blooded, deliberate, ritualistically focused. Think Ofermod or Ondskapt. Listen below. Summon something.

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