And now, for something completely different! I’m no stranger to literary experimentation. I took creative risks when I published my very first Lyrical Analysis (now a recurring segment), or took a leaf out of Gertrude Stein‘s book, and other leaps of faith. After writing my first ever Albums of the Year list, I realized it’s quite fun – and easy- to write about several albums in the same article, instead of burning myself trying to write half a dozen unique reviews in the same month or so. Therefore, in an unprecedented bold move, I’m going to cover five new releases, of vastly different genres, from bands of diverse nationalities and backgrounds.
I was already crowning myself with laurels, when I realized that many blogs also have a mid-year list, and other publications have already been consolidating multiple albums into a single review, for a while now. But it’s still new to me, which makes it a novelty! The main thing that these releases have in common, is they dropped fairly recently, in the last year or so, and I happened to enjoy them. Otherwise, they are in no particular order.
Glaciation – Ultime Eclat
The first thing I noticed about this phenomenal album, was the unmistakable cover art designed by the one and only Dawid Figielek. The second thing I noticed was that the vocalist does growls and gutturals in French. Goddamn, that is truly the hottest thing I’ve ever heard. Admittedly, the album gets off to a slow start. The intro of a traditional funeral march was a bit out of place, with the anachronism of baroque brass sections and militant drumming, clashing with the modern atmospheric black metal. But once the album picks up the pace and becomes heavier and heavier, it’s relentless. Find it here.
Lake Of Tears – Ominous
There are a few really good singles on this album: The title track, Ominous, and the sequel, Ominous Too. However, many of the songs, sound too similar to each other. Lake of Tears are the same as ever, but they are just weird and unique enough to keep me intrigued. The devil is in the details.
For example, the album cover is profoundly morbid. The monolithic plague doctor or bird-like creatures symbolize the massive, slow-paced dread of the passage of time, fate, and mortality. Despite their gigantic statures, their hunched shoulders and crouched postures betray their defeatism. In contrast, the tiny figure in the foreground represents the relative insignificance of human life. Yet, the small, weak, worthless man stands upright, in defiance of his impending doom. Available on Bandcamp.
Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined
If Metal Twitter is to be trusted, then this album supposedly shreds. My peers gave me high hopes for this release. Like Lake of Tears, Cannibal Corpse reliably delivers on what I expect, with just enough innovation to pique my curiosity. This latest offering may be just a tiny bit overhyped, but it’s still pretty good. I mean, the name says it all. For being so “unimagined”, I feel like I’ve seen all of this violence before. Spooky album cover, gory lyrics, brutal instrumentation, heavy screaming. Not exactly a game changer, but as a fan, I’m glad they delivered on the classic Cannibal Corpse aesthetic that we all know and love. Get it at this link.
Unleash the Baboon – Reanimated
This is a solid example of death metal, as always. Wretched Vile is my favorite track. However, the music somehow sounds different than I remember from a few years ago. Bassist Joshua Franks confirmed my suspicions of a line-up change. He said:
“Yeah. Ernest, who originally founded Unleash the Baboon with me, decided he no longer wanted to play music. So I write and track everything. Memphis Rines did lyrics and vocals and Dion Elliot did drums. These song were written when I was still touring in A Malicious Plague. But when we went on hiatus, I just finished them under the Unleash the Baboon flag. Only 3 of the original songs remain on the set list. We have another single I’m going to release around July. Its slow jam. Also got a bunch of grindcore songs that need drums tracked. All the songs moving forward will be more towards the roots on the band.”
Wow! Sounds like they’ve been busy. Album available here.
Cassovita – Beneath the Slime of Ages
Currently comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Jacy Oliver and drummer Ben Durfee (but mayhaps with a surprise third member to be announced?), Cassovita has been a dynamic duo in the Santa Fe metal scene for years. Who else but Cassovita could virtually cram an entire concept album into a 5:30 minute long track? Jacy Oliver explains the premise:
“Cassovita means: To make void or destroy a way of life. There could be many angles of reflection on the context for the name. To me, it speaks to any force, large or small, which makes a way of life impossible. Some possible examples are: energetic or spiritual growth which no longer promotes or gravitates toward a certain life style, a mental health issue that prevents a way of living, a massive natural disaster which destroys a way of life for people or animals, or a precipice crossed where too much damage has been done and there is no possible return, perhaps environmentally or even metaphorically.”
“The song is called Beneath the Slime of Ages, and it is about a race of seemingly dark and divine garuda-esque bounty hunters, that are tasked with reconditioning the earth after a long period of negative human consumption and miss-use. Essentially, a cosmic wizard God summons them, and they thoughtlessly carry out the task. All the human souls are then recycled and collectively gain new perspective of oneness, and become cosmic light workers to help usher the earth into its next evolution. It’s a mash up.”
Damn, even after reading the lyrics and delving deep into the lore, my mind is still blown, and I’m as perplexed as ever. This is a very involved storyline, a fitting addition to the Cassovita saga. Check it out here.
I hope you enjoyed my Frankenstein article, stitched up from bits and pieces of my fragmented monster brain. We will return to your regularly scheduled programming, approximately whenever I feel like it. As we all know, 2020 was one hell of year, and so far, 2021 is not much different. Good thing time is subjective, a societal construct, an eternal punchline to a cosmic joke, and the past, present, and future forever blend into each other. No, seriously, I’m reading into string theory, quantum mechanics, and general relativity, and it also corresponds to the music I love. Whether they’re ahead of their time, or stuck in 1988, my favorite bands seem to defy the time/space continuum, and the very laws of physics. Or maybe that’s just my Michelada talking. Who knows.
In all seriousness, the music industry and the writing industry have both been affected by a post-Covid world. As such, I’m keeping an open mind to experimentation with different music genres, writing styles, and communication methods. Until next time, see ya when I see ya!