Well, this is awkward. You’d think I’d slip up due to a dearth of content. Instead, three albums came out alongside my normal reading, and it comes with commentary on gaming, too, because why wouldn’t it?
First, the music:
Released [last] week were Hate Eternal’s Infernus, Ghost’s Meliora, and The Sword’s High Country. Either you’re into modern metal of some kind,¹ or I just spewed a bunch of gobbledygook. In the simplest of terms: we’ve got death metal, heavy metal (nice and specific to most people, in the sense that it isn’t at all), and stoner metal. I don’t know how three metal albums I was looking forward to all came out on the same day, but, it is what it is, right?
Anyway: Hate Eternal was, unsurprisingly, the least surprising in their approach. The death metal bands I still follow actively can mostly be described like this and tend to have mutual appreciation amongst them. Indeed, Hate’s Erik Rutan named the other two–Immolation and Suffocation–in an interview I read recently. There’s a kind of comfort in that. Which is essentially how one responds to a Hate Eternal album, even if it is somewhat confusing to non-death metal-ers: comforting. Hate Eternal is, was, and forever shall be, well, Hate Eternal. There will be tilts and shifts, but the fulcrum stands firm.
The Sword is similarly reliable, but still young enough (Hate Eternal’s hardly orders of magnitude older, but Rutan’s history in Morbid Angel works in there, I think) to continue to reform the barriers on their work. “Seriously Mysterious” is recognizably The Sword, from Cronise’s lyrical choices and voice, but it’s still pretty shocking, appearing in the middle of the album (and being, I must say, pretty awesome). Otherwise, it’s a solid set of grooves and riffs about which I have zero complaints and in which I find plenty of enjoyment.
Ghost (now allowed in the U.S. to be called that, too) I came at backward compared to the others: my first exposure was a friend mentioning being in the video for lead single “Cirice”:
I really dug the track and recently listened to the much more “musical” (I’ll explain) predecessor, Infestissumam while I waited for Meliora to be released. So: more “musical”. Well, the band’s clearly not interested (and have admitted as much) in hewing close to metal tropes in sound, and this album is no exception–well, neither album is, but Infestissumam even more so. There’s something perversely delightful in the choral recitations of “Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub
Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer…”
Meliora, though, scratches the itch that “Cirice” gave me openly a lot better, with a crunch of a swing that is more what I’d hoped for in the first place after being so drawn to “Cirice”–and the kind of band that would make a video that is deliberately modeled on 1980s horror and immediately made me think of the similarly retro-fied House of the Devil. If you must, they’re a band that deliberately eschews personal identities, being entirely characterized by a series of vocalists all named Papa (as in Pope) Emeritus (we’re on III) and then “The Unnamed Ghouls” who play (in matching masks) behind him.
I’ve been very happy with these albums, though I’ve also found myself sidling back regularly toward Fake Problems’s Real Ghosts Caught on Tape again, too…
¹Or know someone who is, but don’t necessarily like all or even any of the above. Still, the names are likely to have flitted about your ears and/or eyes.