To further strengthen our black metal roster, we’ve signed an exceptional band from Croatia called Bednja. They will be playing hard-hitting black metal mixed with hardcore and atmospheric elements. We can’t wait to put it out but the album will most likely see a release very early next year. Here’s the album artwork of the full length ‘Doline Su Ostale Iza Nas’ –
Transcending Obscurity Records owner Kunal Choksi says, “We’re proud to sign our first band from Croatia. The deal however had been finalized well before the world cup so it has nothing to do with this. The reason such a fresh band is on the label is because their music is an exceptional blend of black metal with elements of hardcore and progressive black metal. It’s a rare treat to come across such a band and it was hard to resist despite our extremely busy schedule. Watch out for their release which will be on multiple formats and box sets.”
Bednja adds, “After years spent on the underground scene, we were very enthusiastic about this new band we started and the music we began to make! Getting in touch with Kunal turned out to be the best thing, and we’re very happy to sign a deal with Transcending Obscurity! As the world around us (and especially here in Croatia) keeps spiralling downward, we hope to get our message across to as many people possible – and what better way than through a label with such a big and diverse roster!”
I knew it wouldn’t take long until I found another reason to revisit ye olde Soda Bar in sunny San Diego. Though the weather was fair, the night’s music would be bringing plenty of gloom ‘n’ doom in the form of Cryptic Languages, Void Omnia, He Whose Ox is Gored, and Samothrace. After circling the block for twenty minutes trying to find parking, I entered my new favorite venue and took the pole position (literally, it’s a pole that has the baffling honor of being located right in front of the stage). Ideal viewing conditions or not, I was ready.
Speakin’ My Cryptic Language
One good thing about seeing a shit-ton of recent shows is the routine exposure I get from the local metal scene. I can directly support hometown acts and get a taste for genres I normally wouldn’t seek out myself — a win-win for this metalhead who’s always looking to expand his listening horizons with new jams. So it was with Cryptic Languages (San Diego), an instrumental psychedelic/stoner-doom metal trio with some seriously tasty parts.
Right away, I was quite taken with their huge bass sound, which employed phaser and other effects to add texture and fullness in absence of a vocalist. The guitarist’s tasteful solos were a treat for the ears and not one bit overused in the way some bands do to compensate for a lack of vocals. I’ll also say that the drummer had among the best live tom sound I’ve ever heard — thick, full, with the perfect amount of thud. The band’s foray into stoner/psychedelic territory led to a good mix of energetic, uptempo parts that contrasted nicely with backbreaking doom passages. All in all, way more enjoyable than most opening bands have a right to be. Liked, followed, shared, and subscribed, gents.
Void Omni-YEAH, BABY!
I can’t quite remember where I’d first come across black metal quintet Void Omnia (Oakland), but I’d always been curious of their live potential. Their 2016 release “Dying Light” has only recently been demanding a lot of my attention, but what I’d heard was reason enough to make the trip south solely for them. As the band set up, the Soda Bar crowd had turned noticeably more grim, their t-shirt logos more illegible. A couple Void Omnia devotees wormed their way to the front, blocking my view, which spurred me closer to the stage as well. Since missing Taake last month, I was eager for some blackened barraging up close and personal.
Once the levels were set, Void Omnia’s vocalist hopped off the stage to let the rest of the band open up with the ominous, plodding intro for Of Time. I’ll be honest, the slow-paced opener wasn’t what I was expecting, but all my feelings were laid aside once the spark of the song ignited into a full-fledged flame. Their second song, Remanence of a Ghost Haunt, spread the flames even further, the flames of which were fuel by the vocalist. Upon his return, the man was positively unhinged and blazing across the stage with a fervor granted to him from some dark, cosmic force. A few songs later he left the stage to scream and rage right in front of the crowd, elevating the insane vortex the rest of the band were unleashing behind him. Their live sound cut through with furious clarity, this in stark contrast to the unfortunate muddiness of Ghost Bath, the last band I’d seen at the Soda Bar. Bear in mind the guitarists were still whirlwinding with tremolo black metal ferocity, but I could finally enjoy hearing the riff changes rather than guess at them. And the drummer — that poor guy! — his limbs were mostly a blur of 32nd notes for the entire show. Someone give him a medal.
Void Omnia carried their level of vigor and vehemence on until the end, closed out by the obliterating Emptied Heartless, an utter black hole of despair with a multitude of fakeouts that left me wondering if there’d ever be an end in sight (I would have been willing to be punished by a few more songs, but alas — the show must go on). As a whole, the band was searing, complete annihilating energy incarnate — the proximity certainly helped, but these were musicians that knew their instruments and knew how to use them in a way that infected the audience without any trite bullshit. I’d see them again in a heartbeat.
Sludged, Progged, and Gored
After the all-consuming force of nature that was Void Omnia, I wasn’t ready to get proggy — but He Whose Ox is Gored (Seattle) wasn’t going to wait for me to catch up. The vocalist/keyboardist came right out and plopped her rig right in front of the stage, and it wasn’t until I saw her start plugging cords in that I realized there was no room on the stage for it. I’d listened to a bit of the band beforehand and found them interesting — but bands always shine when they’re live and have you as a captive audience.
And captivate they did! He Whose Ox is Gored plays a pedigree of synth-assisted prog that is both wildly like and unlike heavy hitters like Dream Theater and Between the Buried and Me. Maybe it’s their bleak sludge metal bits that makes their prog parts seem more weighty — either way, their comfort in using twisting time-signatures while maintaining melody at the forefront made a lot of the music of the aforementioned bands seem almost pedestrian and uninspired. He Whose Ox is Gored didn’t shred for shredding’s sake — they preferred to prog along with an acute sense of emotion and mood; the vocalist embodied this as she gesticulated wildly with passionate vocal delivery. I was also impressed by their amazingly clean guitar tone (although I’m a drummer who doesn’t know more than two things about guitars, so take that however you want).
He Whose Ox is Gored is one of those bands that gets more rewarding the more you listen to them — and that’s even more true live. Before closing out their set, they thanked Samothrace and their tour manager in a moment of pure, genuine feeling that reflected the passion in their musicianship. They left us with a new song — Ache or Egg, I’ve been unable to discern which — an intense, dazzling track with a simply stunning conclusion. If ever there were an indication that a band is reaching a new height in its creative career, it is Ache/Egg for He Whose Ox is Gored. I believe I uttered an earnest “holy shit” after it ended.
Not Quite a Winged Victory for Doom… But Close
Let me be frank — I didn’t have a pressing need to see Samothrace. I’m not a big fan of doom, and although what I’d heard from them wasn’t bad by any means, I couldn’t see how they could follow up the previous two acts of the night. But I stuck around because the other bands spoke very highly of Samothrace, and I saw this as an opportunity for me to try to “understand” doom. With their extra-high cymbals and super-low mic stand, I was already a bit puzzled before they even starting playing.
Their set seemed pretty standard doom to me — long songs with lengthy open chords, punctuated by crash cymbals and low, cavernous roars. But around the second song, I thought I began to “get it” — it seemed that, to me at least, doom metal was all about building toward this great, big, cathartic climax. As the undulating waves of toms, cymbals, and cacophonous chords rolled over me, I had to admit the release was satisfying. But by that logic, it felt to me like most of each song’s duration just didn’t matter, especially when it went on for several more minutes after it had reached its big peak. This was most apparent to me on their last song, the end of which they drew out for what felt like five minutes with the same percussive pattern. Samothrace didn’t make me a believer, though they were potent doomsayers/players, but I’m glad I stuck around and saw what they had to offer.
As I walked back to wherever it was I parked my car, I reflected on what a strange lineup the bands had been. Doom seemed to be the uniting factor, save for Void Omnia, but each band sounded too distinct from each other. What struck me was how none of the bands announced who they were, or where they were from — it didn’t matter. These were four groups of talented musicians just doing their thing — listeners and audience be damned. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t come there for Samothrace — they knew what they were there to accomplish, and they believed in that to their fullest. Several times throughout their set, their drummer would bend over and rest his head on his snare drum — I couldn’t really say why, but for some reason it made me think of how music means more to some people than it does to others, and it may mean the most to the artist most of all. All music is subjective and deeply personal — it’s capable of pulling a small unit of highly creative, sometimes highly reclusive musicians miles away from their homes to express themselves to crowds of strangers. And whether that’s in some rundown bar or an enormous theater, that’s a hell of an amazing thing.
As we draw towards the end of 2016, we have the penultimate round up of the year’s best music videos in extreme music. It took us a while to get this list together (almost 6 months, to be exact), but there are more than enough videos to put together another list before we move on to 2017. Maybe over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll come up with a final round up. For now, enjoy the following 15 videos. ~ Shrivatsan R.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Code Orange (previously known as Code Orange Kids) are all set to release their third full length ‘Forever’ early next year. Their music video for the title track hints of great things to come from this band as it gives us a glimpse into their sludgy, hard hitting brand of hardcore. The video cuts between the band playing and weird images of entities clad in red latex suits and women climbing out of buckets of blood. As expected, it is weird, chaotic and downright destructive towards the end as the band continues to rock out in fields of fire and explosions. This is a kick ass way to get fans like me excited for the new album. ~ Shrivatsan R.
One of the most exciting bands from the country, The Minerva Conduct, are on the verge of releasing their debut full length and it gives us pleasure to offer a unique deal to put it out officially worldwide. Moreover, all logistics and products which are a part of the band’s crowdfunding campaign, will be taken care of by the sub-label of Transcending Obscurity Records, meant specifically for the region, called Transcending Obscurity India.
Extended album artwork which will be used for a 4-panel digipak in matt finish –
About the announcement, owner Kunal Choksi states, “Everyone knows that The Minerva Conduct is virtually a supergroup playing experimental/progressive metal like no other here. After witnessing several performances by this highly ambitious band, it made sense to offer them a deal that would take their music to new territories especially outside the country and also look into the logistics aspect in a way that would go hand-in-hand with their crowdfunding campaign to cover their enormous recording/production costs. Their new album will come in a lustrous digipak format and will also be distributed throughout Europe via Plastic Head Distribution (UK). The release date is most likely to be early 2017.”
The Minerva Conduct founder/guitarist Prateek Rajagopal adds, “Everyone associated with the Indian metal circuit knows of Transcending Obscurity India and Kunal Choksi – dude has helped a bunch of old and new artists distribute and market music world over. We’ve cut a great PR+distribution deal, and are on the same wavelength with regards to quality. We’re glad to have him on board and help us take our music further!”
Pre-order links and official date of the album will be revealed shortly. The tentative release date is early 2017.
UK progressive death metal band De Profundis, who released their latest album titled ‘Kingdom of the Blind’ on Wickerman Recordings, have released an official video for their song All Consuming. It can be viewed over here –
We interviewed the band in detail over HERE. Read on and learn more about their 2016 release.
Info about ‘Kingdom of the Blind’ –
Track list: 1. Overture 2. Kult of the Orthodox 3. Illumination 4. All Consuming 5. Kingdoms of the Blind 6. Beyond the Threshold 7. A Strange Awakening 8. The Antagonist 9. Thrown to the Wolves 10. In Solitude
Back on January, one man black metal project Titaan released 'Kadingir'; an album that still stands as one of the best in the genre this year. In review I described its sound as mysterious, " the pendulum swinging between violent night terrors and eerie visions." Its union of aggressive 2nd wave and ominous ambient is matched perhaps only by that of Schammasch's 'Triangle', though each album has its own unique take on the style. Mastermind Lalartu took the time to (in his own way) answer our questions about the album, influences, and black metal in general. His responses are some of the most interesting, and at times puzzling, content I have received to date.
Transcending Obscurity Records is proud to have yet another extremely talented and innovative band to its roster. Playing atmospheric black metal with progressive/post-metal elements, Seedna are a breath of fresh air and remain unpredictable as well as mesmerizing.
Transcending Obscurity owner Kunal Choksi says, “I was blown away when I first received an email from Seedna, and got to check out their songs. The kind of black metal that Seedna specialize in is hard to come by, one that is sincere, emotive and also very atmospheric. It’s fortuitous to have found a band worthy to be on the main label and I can’t wait to release their upcoming full length this year titled ‘Forlorn’. It’s destined to be special.”
Seedna collectively add, “We are happy to announce that our third full length album will be released through Transcending Obscurity. This is our first album to be released through a record label. We are really looking forward to work with Kunal, both with the label and his promotion agency. Our new record is a concept album named ‘Forlorn’ and shows a strong development compared to the previous album. It is very dynamic; from heavy doom sounding parts via faster, rather chaotic melodies to more ambient and calm passages. We want to create music that takes us, and the listener, on a musical journey through different soundscapes. If you are looking for some new dark, heavy and atmospheric music you must give ‘Forlorn’ a spin in your player.”
Here’s the album artwork for the upcoming Seedna release titled ‘Forlorn’ –
Gaia’s Throne is a sci-fi themed heavy metal band from Pune that’s pushing the envelope when it comes to the music and even thematically. Although the debut full length is coming out next year via the Transcending Obscurity India sub-label, the band has just completed recording for its new song Crisis I: Bereavement and it became necessary to throw more light on this effort, and while we’re at it, also talk about the band’s progress and future plans.