Singled Out is our new weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
Caspian – “Darkfield”
Caspian have long been considered one of the best post-rock/post-metal bands in the world, and its no just hyperbole. Their last two albums, particularly their opus Waking Season, saw the band experiment with both more positive-sounding songs, as well as dealing with the typical post-whatever stuff you’re sure to encounter. However, after the passing of their founding bassist Chris Friedrich, many were left wondering if the band would continue on. Luckily for us, they decided it was appropriate, and have prepared 10 new songs in the form of their upcoming album Dust And Disquiet. “Darkfield” is the second single off of that album, and it has probably the most apt title of any Caspian track before it. It starts with some spooky, pulsating beats that build into a wall of distorted bass noise and is further complemented by the guitars that enter shortly after. It then builds and builds on the initial dark soundscapes to crescendo all at once, with beautiful guitar harmonies overlapping vicious drums that carry a primal tune. The further into the track you get, the heavier it gets. The outro riff is arguably the heaviest the band has ever written, and has some killer grooviness to it, which the band has never really done before. If this is a taste of things to come, prepare for the darkest, most eerie album the band have ever done, one which would likely reflect the band’s thoughts after the passing of a dear friend and bandmate.
Gorod – “Celestial Nature”
French tech death masters Gorod are known to never disappoint, and latest track “Celestial Nature” off forthcoming record A Maze of Recycled Creeds continues that long streak of incredible releases. An angular, jazzy riff kicks off the song, which covers ample ground during its four minute runtime, even by Gorod standards — there’s everything from Exivious-like chord work to furious tremolo picked riffs all in one cohesive little package. New drummer Karol Diers keeps the proceedings as groovy as ever, while guitarists Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny still maintain the standards that the brilliant twin guitar work on preceding album A Perfect Absolution had set. Not a second is wasted as the band jump from one fantastically tight sequence to another. A Maze of Recycled Creeds‘ October release date can’t come fast enough.
Loma Prieta – “Love” + “Trilogy 0 (Debris)”
Loma Prieta’s brand of wildly emotional, atmospheric skramz is something that’s easily capable of becoming too much in large doses. Their sound, built on plumbing the saddest depths of human thought, is a noisy combination of emo, post-hardcore, and a dash of atmospheric black metal influence that pulls a listener into their expertly-created sonic landscapes with ease. They’re never afraid to let raw emotion run entirely rampant in their music, and on these two new singles, it shows more than ever.
Their upcoming album, Self Portrait, is produced by Jack Shirley, the man responsible for the sound 2013’s emotional tour de force Sunbather (by Deafheaven), and it shows here: the guitars ring with a level of clarity that doesn’t detract from their power, the drum sounds shine and sparkle, and the vocals are perfectly placed in the middle of Loma Prieta’s emotional cacophony. Bright, clean, yet still able to convey total desperation, if these two tracks indicate the quality of the album’s content, then we’re in for a real treat. The second of these tracks, “Trilogy 0 (Debris)”, is actually not on the upcoming release, just “Love.” But, again, if it remains stylistically consistent with the album’s sound, this could be one of the most emotionally engaging releases of 2015.
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Rivers of Nihil – “Sand Baptism”
The second single from the upcoming album Monarchy, this track once again finds death metal all-stars Rivers of Nihil dealing in their brutally heavy and technical brand of death metal: tremolo picked melodies stand as counterparts to buzzsaw chugs and blast-beat-backed techy riffs. Once again adding the perfect melodic touch with their use of arpeggiated leads and small doses of keyboards, this band is getting ready to release a bomb and nothing shows it like this single. The grooves are neck-snapping, the guitars are quick and wild, and the vocalist, as usual, dominates everything with his cavernous throat, unleashing quick bursts of lyricism over brutally heavy riffing. The band’s formula is efficiently destructive, and on the third single from Monarchy, it’s as powerful as ever: their combination of incredibly heavy groove, technicality, and melody works wonders, and frankly, it’s got me to the point where this is easily my most anticipated album of the second half of the year. Monarchy comes out on August 21st, and that can’t come soon enough.
The Sword – “The Dreamthieves”
Another week, another new track from The Sword. This is the fourth single from the stoner/doom band’s upcoming High Country, and, well, if you weren’t already on board with the band’s stylistic changes and lighter touch by now this sure isn’t going to reassure you. With all the makings and trappings of a Pink Floyd-like laser light show, “The Dreamthieves” plays out more of the same ZZ Top on weed riffs we’ve heard from the previous three singles. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. This sounds like it’s going to be a nice chill-out album to play in the background. But if you’re looking for traces of The Sword that tears shit up, then it seems you will be sorely disappointed. But who really needs that anyway? You just need to relax, mannnnnn.
TesseracT – “Messenger”
With their first full reveal from Polaris, TesseracT are offering one of the more aggressive tracks from their upcoming album. Following more in the footsteps of One than Altered State, “Messenger” soars high with Dan Tompkins‘ return to the band, his angelic voice sounding fuller than ever, even outside of his more recent work in Skyharbor. A powerful track, but it only cycles through some of its best moments once instead of repeating them for enjoyment later in the song. “Messenger” is quite exemplary of Polaris as a whole, offering a definitive taste of what’s in store—powerful grooves, thick-sounding guitar and bass, and Tompkins leading the charge with his own personal brand of lion’s roar. Polaris is out on Kscope Records on September 18th, 2015.
Windhand – “Crypt Key”
Windhand are not a name to be trifled with anymore; their moniker rings out through the Doom Revival™ and sings loud and true the sounds that we associate with it. Dorthia Cottrell, lead vocalist, has been gathering power of her own, with a solo release late last year. Expectations are high then for the upcoming album Grief’s Internal Flower. We already tasted some of it with the previous single released, “Two Urns.” However, if that earlier track was great , it was also expected, classic Windhand.
This one, “Crypt Key,” is anything but. This sounds like Nirvana sent into overdrive, with Cottrell embracing to their full extent the drawling vocals of Cobain’s brief youth. The guitars are more drowned than abrasive, thick and smooth. This track is in no hurry, taking almost four minutes to reach some sort of crescendo. It’s powerful as all hell, dragging you slowly along to its own, crumbling lair. If this track is any indication, Windhand are not content to simply reiterate; we should expect new things from Grief’s Internal Flower. I, for one, am stoked.