Visual Rhetoric – February 2019

Tuesday, 5th March 2019

As we move into a very jam-packed March, it’s clear that 2019 is already off to a fantastic start. Lots of big names and new introductions to dive into in the coming month alone. But before we get there, have a preview at some of those (along with some tracks from older albums). This month we cover Blackbriar, Ben Blutzukker, Continuum, Enemy Inside (pictured above), Immortal Guardian, Queensrÿche, Psychopunch, Starkill, Venom Prison, Walk in Darkness.

Blackbriar
“Arms of the Ocean”
We’d Rather Burn
Self-Released

In celebration of 100,000 YouTube subscribers, Blackbriar released this video, which does an excellent job of taking the lyrics of the track and twisting them into a visual display that offers an intriguing take on the song. Blackbriar’s unique and eerily whimsical music naturally lends itself to images and the band’s dark, gothic flavors shine brightly, from the decor of the house and the costumes involved. There’s an almost Victorian feel to it all. All the more impressive knowing the band did this without the aid/backing of a label. They truly offer the complete package, and are rightly beginning to make some waves with quality material like this. – Kyle McGinn (Blackbriar on Facebook)

Ben Blutzukker featuring Liv Kristine
“Queen of the Nite”
Single
Self-Released

Is there anyone out there that doesn’t like LEGOs? Ben Blutzukker has made a number of LEGO music videos (of the metal variety of course), and for his latest, he was able to grab Liv Kristine for a duet. It’s a lyric video, but the background are all LEGO set pieces and the result is really impressive. If you couldn’t tell from the title, it’s vampire-related and the scenery has that flair to it along with some little LEGO rockers. The gothic rock sounding track fits perfectly, and nicely leans into some of Kristine’s work back in the day with Theater of Tragedy. – Kyle McGinn (Ben Bluzukker on Facebook)

Continuum
“A History Denied”
Designed Obsolescence
Unique Leader Records

Technical death metal act Continuum have a strong sci-fi leaning to their breakneck material (of which “A History Denied” is an apt introduction to), so it should come as no surprise that this video takes full advantage of. It feels like it was pulled straight from The Twilight Zone/The Outer Limits in its tale, in which a man comes across a box, hooks it up in his house, and strange and eerie events begin to occur. It goes further as the song progresses, and contains an interesting ending that is open to some interpretation. A very cool change of pace from the usual band thrashing in the basement type (not that there’s anything wrong with that from time to time). – Kyle McGinn (Continuum on Facebook)

Enemy Inside
“Phoenix”
Phoenix
Rock of Angels Records

Occasionally a band gets left in the wake of a busy fall music season, and it wasn’t until checking out “Phoenix” that this scribe fell upon Enemy Inside. The song is a straight-up rocker with plenty of energy and some potent vocals from Nastassja Giulia. A track about turning pain into strength is suitably uplifting (with a chorus sure to stick in your head for a while), and the dark background with candles and some intricate wardrobe choices help to really set the mood. Better late than never on this one, which hopefully means there’s more people in the same boat. – Kyle McGinn (Enemy Inside on Facebook)

Immortal Guardian
“Stardust”
Age of Revolution
M-Theory Audio

Given Immortal Guardian’s epic and over-the-top stance when it comes to modern metal, the video for “Stardust” should come as no surprise. A bit of a mini-movie with some band shred added in, it takes an equally over-the-top view of some of those disaster movies (like say, Armageddon) and runs with it. For a six minute track, they manage to accomplish quite a bit, and some of the hokey-ness of the whole thing blends perfectly, and also features an ending that subverts the expectations (though fits well in line with the name of the track). Well done. – Kyle McGinn (Immortal Guardian on Facebook)

Queensrÿche
“Blood of the Levant”
The Verdict
Century Media

A poignant video that showcases the band outdoors in performance sequences against a few hostage/battle sequences and black and white stoic measures with faces from multiple cultures, Queensrÿche have come full circle in their transformation back to their melodic progressive metal roots on this song. Todd LaTorre’s upper register confidence and the killer rhythms/ twin guitar sequences make the listener think of early years with a modern production uplift. The song’s message regarding the human race and the unnecessary divides that are clashing due to different cultures, different religions, differing viewpoints is very necessary – and given a powerful uptick through the quick visual movements. Sure to help sales when the album drops for early March. – Matt Coe (Queensrÿche official website)

Psychopunch
“Stranded”
We Are Just as Welcome as Satan’s Drink
Massacre Records

Twenty years in the business, Sweden’s Psychopunch celebrate with a re-recording of “Stranded” for their 20th anniversary edition of this album. A band that mix up a punk attitude with a hard rock n’ roll/metal aesthetic, the opening sequence of the video makes you think of older 50’s style movies. Intertwining band performance footage with Jack Daniels and two ladies who appear off screen and in the rehearsal room as the song progresses, it’s as if the lyrics speak to a love going astray output. In the end, the ladies take the singer out in his hot rod old-style car, only to leave him ‘stranded’. Raw, abrasive, and catchy all the same – the melding of genres works very well here. – Matt Coe (Psychopunch on Facebook)

Starkill
“The Real Enemy”
Gravity
Self-Released

Starkill have been releasing some independent videos with some interesting concepts over the last year, and “The Real Enemy” makes it official that the band is funding their upcoming album, Gravity. Launching in tandem with a crowdfunding effort (for the band and a touring van), it boasts some performances from Coen Janssen (Epica) on piano and Olli Vänskä (Turisas) on violin. The track takes a suitably epic vibe, running with multiple vocalists, melodic atmospheres, and plenty of guitar fireworks. In short, Starkill working at maximum capacity while attempting to bring even more to the table. – Kyle McGinn (Starkill on Facebook)

Venom Prison
“Uterine Industrialisation”
Samsara
Prosthetic Records

It seems that Venom Prison were featured in one of these for another ‘red’ video a while back, but “Uterine Industrialisation” gets a bit bloodier as well. Some stomach-churning moments await as the band tackles issues of abortion and religion while the band rages on in a grimly red church. Some powerful images abound, particularly as vocalist Larissa Stupar holds her child with a crown of thorns while several nuns’ hands are reaching for the baby. It’s a video that’s sure to make you think, while you are sandblasted by an onslaught of punishing and memorable riffs.- Kyle McGinn (Venom Prison on Facebook)

Walk in Darkness
“Time to Rise”
Single
Self-Released

Continuing the February 17th tradition for the third year in a row, this time we have been given a new single from Walk in Darkness (as opposed to full-lengths the last two years). The slow building track is an excellent addition to the band’s discography, with a darkened feeling that mirrors the somewhat bleak opening scenes of the video. There’s a dreamy quality to both the music and video, and while the darkness doesn’t really fade, it’s interesting to see/hear more uplifting (and lighter) images move ahead as the song picks up steam. Hopefully album #3 is right around the corner. – Kyle McGinn (Walk in Darkness on Facebook)