Opera IX – Back to Sepulcro (Dusktone, 01 November 2015)
This year marks three full decades since guitarist Ossian started Opera IX in Biella (Piedmont region, in the foothills of the Italian Alps). The band has put out an extensive discography in thirty years, and undergone numerous line-up changes, as they gradually morphed into the titans of occult black metal they would become known as.
One major shake-up occurred back in 2014 with a wholesale replacement of the entire band (other than its founder), including the departure of bassist Vlad who had been around since very early on, and vocalist of the previous decade-plus M. the Bard (who sadly departed permanently late last year).
With a brand-new ensemble — including M:A Fog (drums), Alessandro Muscio (keyboard), Scùrs (bass) and Abigail Dianaria (vocals) — in tow, Ossian proceeded to put together an album (in late 2015) that featured brand-new recordings of several songs from Opera IX albums past.
In today’s post we’ll check out Back to Sepulcro — as well as discussing what the band has been up to since that time. (Spoiler alert: a new album anticipated later this year, plus an appearance at MDF later this month!)
Tethra – Like Crows for the Earth (Sliptrick Records, 11 February 2017 EU / 23 July 2017 US)
In recent years, many small and medium-sized clubs dedicated to metal music have closed or changed their genre because of the low attendance at the concerts.
It’s a global phenomenon that, if it does not have a clear turnabout, will oblige all industry employees to make drastic decisions.
We would like to raise awareness among all fans of this genre about this topic, assuming a catastrophic scenario for the next future: what will happen when the last live club will also close? Will emerging bands play no more or will they totally rely on aseptic live streaming from rehearsal studio and improvised venues?
For this reason, Thursday 8th June at 22pm (Italian time), we’ll play a full set Live Streaming show in a real live venue open just for us; furthermore, to give everyone the opportunity to participate in this event, we’ll keep the video online for 24 hours.
This is our particular contribution to the cause, hoping to be able to induce a reflection before this catastrophic scenario becomes a reality, because that night we will create a paradox that more than one band has had to endure in its career: playing in an empty room … will you be with us?
With these words, Italian doom metal band Tethra (who formed nearly a decade ago in Novara) have announced that they will be playing a show in an empty room, to be broadcast live on Facebook TONIGHT (actually, THIS AFTERNOON if you live in the U.S. — click here to see when, in your own time zone) as a scheme to draw attention to the trend of falling attendance levels at shows. Which is kind of an interesting concept, if you think about it — if the event ends up being wildly successful it will definitely get their message across, but at the same time, it seems like that would only be reinforcing the band’s dire assessment of the current live music scene?
In any case, I did want to share this information with you, so that you could watch the performance and take part in this grand experiment. And I also wanted to take the opportunity to talk about Tethra‘s new release, which has been out a few months in Europe by way of Sliptrick Records in Latvia, while the label’s American division is scheduled for a release next month.
Earth and Pillars – Earth I (CD/digital via Avantgarde Music 25 November 2014; vinyl via Fallen Empire Records/Eisenwald, 21 February 2016)
Hey! Hope you’re having a good afternoon, everyone. Or at least, as good as can be expected on a Monday. As usual, I feel like I’ve been pretty much sleepwalking through work all day. I’m about to go grab another cup of coffee, then I’d like to tell you about this amazing album of transcendent, otherworldly black metal — Earth I, the debut by Italy’s Earth and Pillars. It’s got a lot of nuance and detail buried inside, and on repeated listens you can really dig deep and get lost in there. But if that’s not the sort of mood you’re in, you can just as easily just unfocus and let the overpowering waves of sound just rush over you. Either way, just don’t miss this record!
How about this: the Italian blackened death metal band Mortuary Drape is nearly finished working on their new album — their first since 2004, and (if my math is correct) their fifth overall in a career that spans all the way back to the late 1980s!
Did you know Mortuary Drape was working on a new album? If not, then you do now! Throughout the month of October, they were updating their website with studio reports about how things were progressing — and it appears that the recording phase has been completed for pretty much everything except the vocals.
If you aren’t excited about the idea of getting some new material from these guys soon, then you probably just haven’t heard them yet. Try this on for size. Then take a peek below, where I’ve assembled a selection of photos from their various updates over the past few weeks — and keep your eyes right here, because I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve learned any more details about the upcoming album!
The mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, for all its over-the-top ridiculous storylines and dialogue, nevertheless must have been extensively researched prior to being written and produced. So often do touring and recording artists encounter similarly ludicrous situations (or similarly terrible luck) resembling the fictional band from that film, that “a Spinal Tap moment” has basically entered our lexicon as a widely-understood descriptive term for such an event. In fact, I’ve heard that many longtime music industry veterans don’t even see the movie as a comedy, because so much of it rings just a little too true-to-life.
Having said all that, I’d like to share a bit of news with you, which honestly can only be accurately described as “a Spinal Tap moment.”
Northern Italian modern folk metal octet Krampus recently found themselves temporarily reduced to a septet, as they are currently finalizing the process of replacing their drummer.
Effective immediately, the band announced, former drummer Carlo is no longer a part of the band, due to the fact that he has been struck by lightning.
Well, good morning! I’m still half-asleep, or perhaps even less-than-half, but this little piece of news grabbed my attention anyway…
Italian folk-metal band Krampus, whom we’ve discussed in terms of their two EPs from 2011 (here and here), have been working on putting together their first LP. Today they’ve unveiled the cover art (see above) as well as tracklist for the upcoming album!
Survival of the Fittest, which seems aptly named when you consider their typical subject matter of the eventual reassertion of nature’s dominance over humans and their technology, will be available on CD and digital download through NoiseArt Records on 24 August 2012.
Krampus – Shadows of Our Times (Self-released, 31 March 2011)
Happy May Day! Also, happy International Workers’ Day, for those readers lucky enough to live someplace that celebrates that holiday — I hope you’re enjoying your day off work as much as I am not enjoying my day not off work. Which is to say, quite a lot. But there’s nothing to prevent me from imagining I’m someplace else; I do it pretty much any other day, anyway!
Now, to be honest, as an American I really don’t know anything about May Day celebrations except for what I’ve seen in movies, so basically I am picturing a bunch of people in old-fashioned clothes, dancing in a circle with a bunch of ribbons tied to a pole, while playing some folk songs. There’s lots of flowers and happy shit all around, and people are celebrating springtime and nature and generally acting like a bunch of hippies. Actually, that sounds pretty fucking lame.
So naturally, in my imagined celebration, I need to make some serious modifications. First of all, any hints of happiness and dancing has got to go. That would just make me more depressed, and frankly, I’d be better off just being here at work, totally miserable. No thanks. We can swap out the folk music for some folk metal, and instead of the springtime celebration of nature… well, I don’t mind the pro-nature sentiments, but I need everyone to be all pissed-off about it, like they’re ready to smash someone’s face in.
Then it hit me — some really angry folk metal that’s rooted in pagan celebrations and violently pro-environment while being equally anti-humanity, that sounds awfully familiar. Time to break out some Krampus!