None – Life Has Gone On Long Enough (Hypnotic Dirge Records, 11 April 2018)
Yesterday, Hypnotic Dirge released the second album by None. The label describes them as a “two-piece Depressive Black Metal entity from the Pacific Northwest.” Digging a bit further reveals that they are in fact from the northwestern USA (to avoid confusion since the label itself is from Canada). And that is literally all we’ve been able to uncover, as “none” also accurately describes how much of an online presence this band maintains.
But that’s fine: it doesn’t require any background information to be able to listen to something and appreciate it. So without any further extraneous introductory remarks, let’s jump straight to the music.
Ruby the Hatchet – Planetary Space Child (Tee Pee Records, 25 August 2017)
I’m putting the finishing touches on writing this article during breaks between watching Philadelphia’s hockey team getting demolished during the first game of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Entirely by coincidence, that city (a place whose biggest claim to fame is striking a beloved holiday character with snowballs) happens to be the home base of psychedelic ensemble Ruby the Hatchet. But I’ll implore you not to hold that against them.
As you may recall, we wrote about this band’s 2012 debut album Ouroboros when it was reissued back in 2016, and then last summer we mentioned that they would have a new album out soon. Today we’re discussing that album, as RtH prepare to head out on a whirlwind tour of the country over the next few weeks (kicking off this Friday, 13 April 2018). Check out the full list of dates at the bottom of this page.
Today we’re digging really deep into our pile of stuff to write about and share with you. It recently came to our attention (via Patricia Thomas Band Management) that Ukranian death metal troupe Rattenfänger have started work on a new album, a follow-up to their debut which came out a little more than five years ago. The forthcoming second album, expected to be recorded during summer and fall 2018, has quixotically been described as “more ambient, but heavier and more aggressive” than the first had been.
This news was very exciting to us here at Valley of Steel, and if you haven’t reacted the same way, it’s probably because you never heard Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum. Let’s fix that straight away!
Harakiri for the Sky – Arson (AOP Records, 16 February 2018)
Hey! Remember a few months back when we passed along the news that the Austrian post-black metal twosome known as Harakiri for the Sky would be returning soon with a new album? If not, it was here (November) and here (December), each time with a video of a new song from Arson.
Well since that time, they put out another video in January (see below to check that out), and — oh yeah — the album itself dropped via AOP about a month and a half ago. For those who have been paying attention to the updates, this record is every bit as good as you would have expected from the preview tracks. Which you probably already know because you already got yourself a copy. But for the rest of you…
Harlott – Extinction (Metal Blade Records, 07 April 2017)
Melburnian thrashers Harlott have been preaching the good word about apocalyptic destruction for well over a decade years now, and starting tonight they’ve made the trip from Down Under in order to rampage all across Europe, where they’ll be sharing stages with Havok, Darkest Hour, and Cephalic Carnage throughout the rest of the month.
Further information on that tour can be found down at the bottom of this page, but before we get there, let’s talk about Extinction, which was released exactly one year ago this week — the band’s third full-length album but their first for iconic label Metal Blade.
Black Anvil – Hail Death (Relapse Records, 27 May 2014)
Black Anvil – As Was (Relapse Records, 13 January 2017)
Recently I was reminiscing about the last Winter’s Wake festival in Pittsburgh, partly because we’ve been reporting the news about this summer’s Migration Fest which will also be taking place in this area, but also because we’ve just (well, a little over a month ago) hit the five year anniversary of Winter’s Wake. This also had me thinking about Black Anvil.
They’d been around for a few years by that time and had already released a pair of albums, so I’m sure I had heard a song or two at some point, or at least was vaguely aware of their existence within the realm of domestic black metal bands. But that show — which was immediately preceded by a series of “getting to know you”-style interviews I’d conducted with nearly all of the performing bands (I’d missed a couple, due to timing issues or communication breakdowns, but as I recall, Black Anvil were the only ones who had outright declined to participate in the interview process) — was the first real exposure I’d had.
I can just vaguely remember that night — this was Friday, the first of two days full of music, and they were the second-to-last band to play, after we all had been standing for hours in this cramped loft-sized space breathing in the toxic fumes rising from the nail salon down at ground level. That was the atmosphere through which the band members pushed and shoved their way, each dripping with blood, to ascend to a stage hazy and thick with fog machine discharge — and instantly exploded into a maelstrom of blackened death fury.