One of my favorite aspects of covering metal is that just about every time you put your headphones you’re likely to discover something fresh and epic. There is just so much high-quality heavy metal out there it’s almost embarrassing how little of it you actually get to absorb as a fan. It’s one of the reasons that I’m glad that I work for a magazine that specializes in metal. I get this stuff mainlined into my inbox now, baby!
One such release that I’m pretty glad found its way to me is the new EP Nocturnal Transmission from Ontario’s The White Swan. This feathery beast is essentially the solo project of Mercedes Lander, former drummer of the late 90’s groove metal band Kittie. Landers steps out from behind the skin-fortress to handle just about everything but play bass on this release. Bass duties are taken by Lander’s friend and bandmate Kira Longeuay, with Shane Jeffers providing additional guitar to help fill out the sound. With their powers combined, they have created a heroic swell of atmospheric sludge and gothic cascades that will chill you to the bone and leave a patch of frost lingering between your toes.
Nocturnal Transmission opens with the languid and blustery “In Love and Ritual,” which, despite its Mastodon like ruinous rumble, appears to be a genuine exploration of love and fealty. A refreshing jolt of earnestness and sincere appreciation that is scarcely found on comparable releases. The following track dips into spiraling psychedelic doom, whipped into shape by shoegazing guitars and ascendant, mountain conquering vocals that scale the song to great heights so that it can unleash a tempest raking, thunder-clap solo in the bridge. “Purple” takes things down a notch with a folky, glacial groove and a breathy, frost melting chorus. And encase you forgot what era Lander came up during, the EP ends with a searing, arena-wall blasting cover of Tracy Bonham’s bitter and triumphant rebuke, “Tell It to The Sky.”
There are a million metal releases dropping this week, but take 20 minutes out of your day to plug into this one. You’ll regret it about as much as a deep tissue massage and a hot fudge sundae.