News from the Ash Borer & Fell Voices Camps, and the debut Lychgate LP

These fine gentlemen of the West Coast of the US have several treats on the horizon, and it's high time I fill you in on exactly what is coming. First, Arcata, Califiornia's Ash Borer have two vinyl releases coming very soon. First, the vinyl issue of the album Cold of Ages, previous only available from Profound Lore on CD, will be released on a glorious double LP, complete with all the various deluxe trimmings (heavyweight gatefold jacket, embossed and spot-printed, with two different vinyl options) on May 27th by our friends at Pesanta Urfolk. It's an increidble album, and has been specially remastered for vinyl, with a heavier and more aggressive mix. If you're on Pesanta's mailing list (to get the physical mailer through the actual mail, rather than email), you should be able to pre-order this now. The deluxe edition comes on 200 gram vinyl, so that's what I will be grabbing once I get my mailer.

Also coming from Ash Borer is the EP follow-up to Cold of Ages, titled Bloodlands. At nearly 35 minutes in length, it's quite an impressive EP, eclipsing, in terms of time, what some bands would call a full-length. Two tracks total, recorded live to tape, and featuring a more raw sound than some of the band's more recent recordings. The songs here are two of the highlights of the entire Ash Borer catalog. Though I can't say that either of these tracks are as heavy or punishing as "Convict All Flesh," from Cold of Ages, there is a dynamic on the songwriting not previously heard on any Ash Borer release in great abundance. The band continues to grow, exploring different sounds and evolving, as any band should, and it's really tough to be disappointed with any of the results. Ash Borer is simply one of the best young black metal bands, proving that fact yet again with this terrific EP. Bloodlands is a split release between Gilead Media and Kyle from Ash Borer's own label, Psychic Violence, and features great cover art by the renowned Timo Ketola. You can preorder it here or here.

Also available from Psychic Violence is the first full-length from Ruin Lust, who also saw their demo tape issued on Psychic Violence. At one point, Ruin Lust consisted of members of Ash Borer and Fell Voices, but outside of Fell Voices' Michael Rekevics, who now lives in NYC, I'm unsure of the present lineup. Regardless of who makes up the band, this LP is fucking crushing. I liked the demo tape well enough, but it really didn't stick with me for any significant period of time; I don't go back to it that often. This LP will be an entirely different story. A raw and punishing blend of black and death metal, Ruin Lust have really amped it up for their first vinyl release. These songs are clearly better than those on the demo, and the performance of the material is markedly better as well. The guitar work, riffs and vocals on this would be the highlights if I had to pick parts that impressed me the most, but the whole is more than the sum of the parts; intensity is the key. I can't stress enough how good this is. Fans of HSS should really dig this, and I'd honestly be shocked to hear from anyone who wasn't really impressed by it. Comes on black vinyl and is limited to only 300 copies. Order it now here.

While on the subject of Fell Voices, it would be criminal for us not to bring up the amazing new 2xLP from these guys. I've been a huge fan of Fell Voices since the 2008 demo tape, often referred to as In the Hands of the Blind God came out on Featherspines, and it's safe to say that they've only gotten better with time. Still playing a very raw, highly intense, fast-paced style of black metal that at times borders on all-out chaos, they've managed to incorporate new levels of heaviness into their sound. "Dawn," the third and final track from this double LP (with hand-screenprinted etched D-side) titled Regnum Saturni (the first Fell Voices release with a true title), is by far the heaviest thing the band has recorded and released, and still maintains the all-consuming, impassioned psychedelia that has become the band's signature sound. This is a vinyl-only release; the European pressing has been handled by Vendetta Records, and has been out for a couple of months, while the North American release, split by Gilead Media and Antithetic Records, is available for preorder here or here. (Note: the Euro pressing and North American pressing are a bit different; the Euro pressing comes in a fold out cover, while the Gilead/Antithetic release comes in a gatefold sleeve and is available with a t-shirt. Both, however, are pressed on 180 gram black vinyl.)

And while we're talking about great releases on Gilead Media, I cannot in good conscience fail to put a good word in for the forthcoming self-titled Lychgate LP and CD. Lychgate is indeed a unique entity, originally started by one man but now consisting of G.A. Chandler (from Esoteric), Aran (from the now-defunct Lunar Aurora, one of my favorite black metal bands ever), and Tom Vallely (of Omega Centauri and Sanctus Nex). That lineup will give you an idea as to what you'd think the album sounds like, but whatever that notion is, erase it from your mind and prepare to be blown away. Indeed, elements of doom and black metal are prominent here, but I've honestly never heard anything like this. The atmosphere is incredible, the songs are epic and progressive in their composition and scope, and the melodies are electrifying, grand, and  very memorable. This is another album that will always be greater than the sum of its parts, no matter how impressive those parts are on their own. It's only one track, but listen to the track below and get a better idea of what this album is all about.

Now, I'm hoping you're ready to buy this, because I think you'll seriously come to regret it if you don't. This album has grown on me immensely since I first heard it, and I'm dying to have the vinyl in my possession. If you're a CD person, you can order it from Mordgrimm, but if you'd rather get the 180 gram vinyl (and perhaps the t-shirt that goes with it), you can pre-order it now from Gilead Media.

This is a lot to take in on one post, but the connections are obvious. Do what thou wilt.

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