Saturday, February 8, 2014
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
With that out of my system, here it is.
1) Caladan Brood - Echoes of Battle
2) Seidr - Ginnungagap
3) the Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults
4) Gorguts - Colored Sands
5) Gris - À l'âme enflammée, l'äme constellée...
6) Horn - Konflikt
7) Progenie Terrestre Pura - U.M.A.
8) Portal - Vexovoid
9) Inquisition - Obscure Verses for the Multiverse
10) Panopticon / Vestiges - Split
Each album at some point lifted the hair on the back of my neck, gave me tingles all over my body and made my ears gaze in wonderment. These albums gave me what keeps me happy as a rabid music maniac.
Honorable as fuck Mentions:
Abysmal Grief - Feretri
Abyssal - Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius
Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury
Arckanum - Fenris Kindir
Arsaidh / Saor - Roots
Begrime Exemious - Wasteland of Damnation
Burzum - Sôl austan, Mâni vestan
Csejthe - Réminiscence
Coffins - Fleshland
Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane
Ephel Duath - Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness
Falkenbach - Asa
Finnr's Cane - A Portrait Painted by the Sun
Galdr - Ancient Light of the Stars
the Howling Wind - Vortex
Hypocrisy - End of Disclosure
Incursus - Adaestuo
Kawir - Isotheosis
Magic Circle - s/t
Njiqahdda - Serpents in the Sky
Nocturnal Graves - From the Bloodline of Cain
Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu
Paysage d'Hiver - Das Tor
Peste Noire - s/t
Prosanctus Inferi - Noctambulous Jaws Within Sempiternal Night
Red Fang - Whales and Leeches
Sacriphyx - the Western Front
Skagos - Anarchic
Skogr - In Obscure Darkness
Summoning - Old Morning's Dawn
Thou Art Lord - the Regal Pulse of Lucifer
Ulcerate - Vermis
Vali - Skogslandskap
Voivod - Target Earth
Warlord - the Holy Empire
Wedrujacy Wiatr - Tam, gdzie miesiąc opłakuje świt
When Bitter Spring Sleeps - Coven of the Wolves
Witherscape - The Inheritance
Carcass - "Fart Blood" I cant forgive one of my favorite bands for releasing a mediocre, forced, uncohesive mess of an album to make $, and luckily I don't have to. This sounds like a Carcass tribute band playing medleys of the worst parts of their past songs at the grand opening of a nail salon.
Germ - "Grief" This band had one redeeming quality to it that made me love the first two. Its hard to put into words, but whatever it was, its absolutely gone from this hot mess of an album. What a shame, I was really looking forward to this.
Horna - "Askel Lähempänä Saatanaa" Maybe I need to give this a third chance, or maybe I'm just burned out on this band, but this album seems like the exact same song over and over and over.
Satyricon - "Satyricon" Not a huge fan of this band but I usually find a minute reason or two to listen to their recent albums, but this is just totally out of left field and they forgot to write any cool parts.
Ihsahn - "Das Seelenbrechen" - This is what emptiness sounds like. I'd rather listen to paint dry.
Morbosidad - "Muerte de Cristo en Golgota" - I was once a big fan of these guys, but this sounds like my entire Revenge collection being flushed down a toilet for 40 minutes. BARF.
Deafheaven - "Sunbathsalts" - Not only is this band uninspired, unimaginative and a bunch of posers, but they are getting shitloads of accolades for completely ripping off Panopticon. Fuck these nerds.
Ulver - "Messy Curtains XXX" - I find Tangerine Dream fascinating, but I seriously cannot stand more than 6 minutes of this without being bored to tears. This is devoid of anything interesting, what the fuck is with all the hype?
Darkthrone - the Underground Resistance
If you've read this and you think I've forgotten or omitted anything...youre probably wrong. I've spent countless hours sampling the heaps of shit that came out this year and that is why I feel a duty to be the voice of reason here. See you next year!
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Luckily, in his latest release "The Absent King of the Earth," I am very pleased to hear a less distracting accompaniment and a more focused and tasteful production lifting these great songs where they deserve to dwell. This isn't one of my preferred genres of music because I often get a bit dragged down by the "sad sack" attitude of some singer-songwriters. In contrast however this EP has a comfortable length and enough variety and personality to keep me pretty much glued whenever I put it on. I tend to be a sucker for catchy melodicism and hooky song craft, and I find that the core of Arlen's songs possess a mindfulness of his ability to take advantage of that skill. Though I like the EP quite a bit, the highlight for me is a spoken word track called "I Want a Life" where he speaks pointedly about what he wants out of life. Though not technically a song, I think that the accompanying music, the mixing and recording on this track -clicks- the way I think all of his songs should, and can.
"The Absent King of the Earth" is not only a joy, but also a heap of evidence that Old Man Charlie is clearly heading for brighter horizons. I like to think of this EP as his parting gift to Iowa City, as the talent pool here is severely lessened by his departure to Los Angeles.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Whats been keeping me afloat lately:
Suhnopfer - "Nos Sombres Chapelles" Devastating, unrelenting, pummeling french black metal. I havent heard anything this aggressive in a long time. Makes me feel old. This was a great find by my friend Kurt.
Gorguts - "Colored Sands" A maelstrom of whirling and intricate death metal from these legends. This is a monument of human capacity to say the least.
Warlord - "The Holy Empire" Here is an enthralling take on the classic Warlord sound. Its so rare to hear traditional metal done so tastefully well. Its a bit too cheesy at times but hey this is Warlord we are talking about here.
Michael Perkins "Mr. 666 - GA008" This could easily be the score to a eerie 80's horror movie. Akin to Goblin and that ilk but done remarkably well without being too overly kitschy.
Eclipse "the Act of Degradation" Sort of a more symphonic and more adventurous version of what Lord Kaos was trying to do. Very complex and well arranged.
Lonndom "Viddernas tolv kapitel" Fairly ragged and charismatic folk from Sweden by guy from Lik. Very accessible.
Allegiance "Blodornsoffer" & "Hymn till Hangagud" I always overlooked these albums because of my hatred for Peter Tagtgren's lifeless production, but they are actually very good. Kind of hard to categorize even though people often think of them as viking metal.
Alcest "Les Voyages De L'ame" I've had a problem listening to Alcest ever since Les Discrets sorta beat them at their own game. After giving this a second chance I'm really enjoying it. This is an album that I will spend years devouring.
Watain "the Wild Hunt" After the single they released I feared it was the downfall of one of my favorite bands, but if you omit that track "the Child Must Die," this album is impeccable. If you're not expecting another Casus Luciferi or Sworn to the Dark, this holds its own quite well. This is more leaning away from the Dissection / Nifelheim influence in favor of a good helping of Bathory influence. What I find enjoyable about it is that its a near perfect commercial black metal album. This should please a lot of people and with proper touring I think Watain will be tops in black metal for many years.
The Howling Wind "Vortex" This is a great snarling album of straight forward black metal with excellent riffing and memorable songs. I'm really excited about this band.
Arch Enemy "Black Earth" I bought this in a dollar bin expecting to hate it, thinking it would be worth some $ down the road. It really caught me off guard and takes me back to 1998, a time when Swedish death metal was modernizing and commercializing. A sad eventuality, but a few choice albums stood the transition.
The Knife "Shaking the Habitual" This band has never quite done anything for me but Karin Dreijer Andersson has made me a fan with her work with Fever Ray, Honey is Cool and Royksopp. With this album I feel like they finally locked it in place. This has a lot to offer.
Peste Noire "Peste Noire" These guys are really starting to get fun. Its great to hear them further and further abandoning the trappings of the black metal genre and carving their own identity. This album seems to be where they grow their wings and really take off. It has a prevalent Mr. Bungle influence to it that I find addictive.
Supplicium "Magna Atra Missa" Another killer French band that I'd describe as a more raggedy Annthennath. I love this french style of guitar harmony.
What have you been listening to?
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Albums I have been playing a lot lately:
Hypocrisy - End of Disclosure
Blaze Foley - Cold, Cold, World
Horn - Naturkraft
Progenie Terrestre Pura - U.M.A.
Seidr - Ginnungagap (this will blow your fucking mind)
Darkthrone - all the albums with commentary
Bethzaida - LXXVIII
Demigod - the Slumber of Sullen Eyes
Caladan Brood - Echoes of Battle
Virus - Oblivion Clock
Erasmus - Alpha demo 1998
Come to think of it, please check out the aforementioned Erasmus demo. Its extremely rare and infinitely inventive. Its YEARS ahead of its time. You are welcome to download it for free here: http://319dude.bandcamp.com/album/alpha-demo
Friday, January 25, 2013
Sometimes I feel like I can be pretty wishy-washy on this subject but I have a lot of experience and insight on the subject and therefore I have a lot of opinions on this "hot topic." A friend of mine once said to me "I don't believe in MP3s, they hurt musicians." I'm not ashamed to admit it: I download a SHITLOAD of mp3s illegally, and I have since the days of Napster in the late 90's. I would estimate I download around 20 new (to me) releases a month, mostly metal. A large portion of it is stuff that I will never in a million years find physical copies of. Should that fact bar me from ever hearing it? If I went by that logic, then I would have to pay $119 (currently on discogs) to hear Emperor's "As the Shadows Rise" seven inch. While I think that is a decent price, not a single penny of that money will ever go to Emperor.
Last night I was really enjoying listening to a 7" by the Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud in my car (on my mp3 player of course). This likely was limited to 267 copies and came out in 1996, years before the wonderful voice of Alzbeth ever graced thine stubborn ears in 1999. This and other music is worth keeping available, and we have an inexpensive, simple and easy way to make sure that we, and other newcomers are able to enjoy this stuff for years to come. Its name is "the internet". The digital posterity of music is important to me because our generation is solely responsible for overseeing the inevitable progression of music technology from a tangible format to a virtual one. This is arguably the hugest thing to happen in the history of music. It affects every single musician on the face of the earth who wishes to compile a publicly available release.
Back before the internet, everything hung on an 8-14 word description in an obscure catalog or zine. In 1998 I knew that Lunar Aurora were an up and coming band because I had seen their debut "Weltenganger" mentioned in a playlist in a magazine, and it was a brief description (whose verbiage eludes me now) but I imagine it was something like "Great atmospheric BM from Germany" that was enough for me to spend $12 plus shipping on it back then. We now have the luxury of hearing everything before we buy. So I take full advantage of that opportunity, and consequently through the years, I have bought easily hundreds MORE CDs, LPs, shirts, etc from bands that I never would have known about were it not for the digital availability of so many releases. Obviously I am somewhat of an exception to the norm here, but my point here is that just because you download MP3s doesn't mean you HAVE to be a douche bag and never support artists. its certainly not one or the other.
I fully support bandcamp, soundcloud, and all these other services, they somewhat circumvent the need to illegally download albums. Ultimately though the days of buying a CD or LP without having heard it first are long behind us and its time to rethink some ideals about MP3s and such. Lastly I have said it before and it bears repeating. Music is meant to be heard, enjoyed and shared with others. The exploitation and objectification of music is what leads to even more terrible music, ALWAYS. If illegally downloading MP3s means the collapse of businesses that operate to do this, then all hail the new dawn.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
First lets get a few things out of the way to make this easier for both of us. This isn't epic, melodic, retro, goat-y, necro, and doesn't sound much like any other black metal band I've ever heard.. Musically, this is quite original and scratches an itch that only Lugubrum, and maaaaaaybe Vediog Svaor have even begun to scratch in the past. Not to toot my own horn much either but the riffing is also reminiscent of my old band "Satan's Almighty Penis." Of course there are some familiar tenets of black metal found here: varied but frequently blasting drums, fairly typical but notably well performed vocals and a typical overall production value that does the music justice by being somewhat dry and pallid with a bit of snarl to it. You should be able to dive right into if you've listened to ten or more black metal albums before.
Ok so now that I have cleared all of that out of the way: THE RIFFS! The guitar work of Darvulia's Kobal is out of this world. The riffing is HIGHLY imaginative, often grinding, completely disharmonious and dissonant as all fuck. If you are looking for riffs that make you think about mountains, trees, lakes, pirates, castles, vikings or pretzels, DON'T ENTRY!! All I can say is that musically this stuff is very obnoxious and therefore insanely hellish and challenging. Half of what makes "Mysticisme Macabre" so enjoyable and refreshing for me is that it is what it isn't. The other half is that there is some highly challenging and obtuse music composition found here, and Darvulia have become highly productive within this style. The composition is about as untraditional as you can get. The varied ebb and flow of their 5-7 minute long songs keep me enthralled more than a lot of records of this ilk ever do. Its disgustingly awkward enough to keep me interested and yet not so unrelenting that it gets boring. I often find myself listening to it three or four times in row.
I haven't been able to peel myself away from this album for a long enough time to check out the rest of Darvulia's catalog, but I really look forward to seeing where else they can take this band.
Friday, December 14, 2012
1. Panopticon - Kentucky
2. Germ - Loss
3. Demoncy - Enthroned is the Night
4. the Kill - Make 'em Suffer
5. Nekromantheon - Rise Vulcan Spectre
6. MGLA - With Hearts Towards None
7. Blood of the Black Owl - Light the Fires!
8. Licht Erlischt - ...and Below, the Retrograde Disciples
9. Wodensthrone - Curse
10. Blut Aus Nord - Cosmophy
Alcest - Les Voyages de l'ame
Antediluvian / Adversarial - Split
Ash Borer - Cold of Ages
Asphyx - Deathhammer
Autolatry - Of the Land
Avenger - Bohemian Dark Metal
Bestial Holocaust - Into the Goat Vulva
Borknagar - Urd
Bound by Entrails - the Stars Bode you Farewell
Brulvahnatu - Descending Divine Worth
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
Christian Mistress - Possession
Coffins - March of Despair
Deathspell Omega - Drought
Desecresy- the Doom Skeptron
Drapsnatt - Skelepht
Ebonylake - In Swathes of Brooding Light
Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
Evoken - Atra Mors
False / Barghest - Heavy as a Church Tower
Genocide Shrines - Devanation Monumentemples
Hell - III
Katatonia - Dead End Kings
Love Sex Machine - s/t
Lunar Aurora - Hoagascht
Morbus Chron - A Saunter through the Shroud
Master's Hammer - Vracejte konve na místo
Moss of Moonlight - Seed
Muknal - Muknal
Mutilation Rites - Empyrean
My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
Napalm Death - Utilitarian
Nefarious - The Universal Wrath
Revenge - Scum.Collapse.Eradication
Sanguinary Misanthropia - Loathe Over Will
Sear Bliss - Eternal Recurrence
Weapon - Embers and Revelations
Worship - Terranean Wake
Yakuza - Beyul
Things I still need to listen to:
Anglagard - Viljans Oga
Árstíðir Lífsins - Vápna lækjar eldr
Azaghal - Nemesis
Corsair - Corsair
Dammerfarben - Herbstpfad
Elffor -Heriotz Sustraiak
Into Oblivion / Cromlech / Shoor - "Under the banner of the Serpent Sun"
Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées
Maveth - Coils of the Black Earth
Rahu - The Quest for the Vajra of Shadows
Svartidaudi - Flesh Cathedral
Urkaos - I
Venus Star - ep / full length
Verge / Charnel Winds - Two Serpents
Vomitor - the Escalation
Winterfylleth - the Threnody of Triumph
Anticipated in 2013 (somewhat speculative):
Swallowed debut full length
Hunter's Moon full length?!?!?
Inquisition (confirmed !)
Incursus (confirmed !)
Sadomator (This band is currently on hold, but Seventh is working on a debut full length for his other band Odgru Jahad)
Paysage d'Hiver - Das Tor (AMAZING!)
Cultes des Ghoules (RULES!)
Pensees Nocturnes (confirmed!)
Manzer "Light of the Wreckers"
Hatespawn "Abyssic conquerors"
Panopticon / Vestiges split (confirmed!)
Drowned - debut LP (confirmed !)
Big time let downs:
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Two years ago I hadn't been to Kentucky, and I hadn't heard Panopticon's album of the same name. Today, the state and the album represent each other boldly in my eyes, and they both have become some very dear things to me. Such has the friendship Austin and I have found this year. I wanted to finally offer my take on this album because I think I offer a unique and closer perspective on the album than most, and maybe what I have to say will help some folks understand it better if they care to listen to it and learn from it.
Panopticon is a very different band than a lot of people are used to. The ever-trodden path of black metal since 1982 has been to portray a guise that you are not. To use emotions and urges to give a theatrical and exaggerated voice to thoughts. To step outside of the human shell and personify metaphorically certain emotions and ideals that seem somehow larger than life. In stark contrast, Austin lets absolutely nothing stand between his music and who he is. When you listen to Panopticon, you are experiencing the pure unadulterated heart and soul that he is offering you. you can take it or leave it. Austin plays black metal and blue grass because that is who he is, and this is how he speaks to you. Austin and others argue that this fact invalidates the label of "black metal" from Panopticon, but I make this comparison sonically, and not politically. Some reviewers have had the gaul to say that the blue grass isn't to their liking and that it should be different or not present at all. Some have even gone as far as saying that the blue grass should sound more like European folk. Or that the metal sections aren't "folky enough", etc. As fucking outlandish as this is, I won't address it specifically. Asking that of any artist is preposterous. Lets be honest folks, we are all grown ups and you wouldn't know about this album if you didn't have the capacity to fully understand Panopticon's effective language of metal and blue grass.
I am proud of my friend Austin for so many reasons but here I should note that Kentucky is an album Austin should be proud of. It speaks vastly of a place he loves and does so in such a heartfelt way that it evades criticism by standing above it in a place where this type of dialogue contains no dishonesty, or insipid cruel humanity.
Kentucky the album successfully acts as a conduit between you and the topics that Austin holds dear enough to write about. Instead of acting as an end all authority upon the topic, it verily tells a story and then asks you confrontingly "Which Side are You On?"
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Without regard to the term's definition I had some poignant thoughts in reaction to its use to label me. If I seek out music that isnt popular, that would mean that I would have to know what is popular, to be able to avoid it. Therefore I would be paying the same attention to popular music as most people are, if not more. So in a way the term accuses me of doing what everyone else does only to portray that I am in fact only interested in everything but that which is popular.
Am I wrong here or what?
Saturday, October 27, 2012
As expected the Iowa two piece utilize a murky, indistinct overall tone and production quality to paint the veil between their performance and your imagination. As a black metal listener I appreciate when this is understood and I often require this quality of a band for me to be drawn into a recording (due to my fervent A.D.D. and tendency to listen to black metal bands that I already know are good.) Producing an unfavorable, "necro", or murky black metal sound hard is enough to even achieve, let alone harness and have it enhance everything about the craft of black metal song. This is Altarnihil's strongest element yet. While all too many bands today have taken a reliance upon this much too far, I still believe that teetering upon this balance is where much of the magic of black metal lies.
I do not feel that Altarnihil rely all too heavily on this quality, but I do see great potential for a more musical direction for the band, mostly in the guitars, but I think some synth would work nicely here as well. There is a staunch and unwavering style to the music, and I think some more evocative riffing is where I look for the band to head. The riffing is simplistic and unmelodic but nothing I could draw comparisons to.
Overall I give this a 7 out of 10. The band was gracious enough to give me a copy of the demo, and gracious enough to offer it to you on their bandcamp page http://altarnihil.bandcamp.com as a pay what you want download. Look for a tape release soon, and I will look forward to future output from one of Iowa's rare black metal bands.
Alternately I thought I'd mention that this entire demo reminds me fondly of the last song "Einsamkeit" from Zorn's 2002 demo "Terror Black Metal" which is just absolutely stunning. Tell you what, heres a download link for that entire demo: DOWNLOAD
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The personality of the songs on these albums is so refined and honed that to try to find comparable musical influences has always proven difficult for me. Of course a heavy Bathory and Venom element is there in the forcibly driven pace of everything, but the riffing seems to call upon very noodly and cantankerous buzzing kraut rock. At age 22 Nocturno Culto's style of playing repetitive dissonant chords and harmonizing with lead guitars to achieve a memorable, vivid melody is remarkable in its own right.
The production value on this album mirrors the song writing in this sense. At first listen I'm always forced to take a step back to remember how to listen to this album. Its got an obscure, glossed over and murky hiss to it all. At the end of some of the songs you can hear the instruments all brought to silence, and all that is left is the extreme tape hiss that lends so much to the atmosphere. The lack of clarity beckons you to focus your ears upon the droning subtle melody. The more you tune your attention to its permanent barrage of darkness, the more you enter its despicable realm of utter satanic majesty. One of my favorite characteristics of black metal is the interplay of rhythm and lead guitar to achieve complex harmony and melody.
To think that frantic, buzzing, clashing, racket can be so evocative, enigmatic, ethereal and beautiful is a challenging notion. The fervor that these 19 year old Norwegians found use for over the course of three years will never be equaled again. The greatest black metal albums of all time have already been written, fortunately one of them is Transylvanian Hunger.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
So here is Death Grips. I'm impressed by it and I applaud it for it's ingenuity, but I'm still on the fence about the album as a whole.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Midlake - the Courage of Others [ Lush and extremely well written folk. Has a real 70's vibe to it, but far from boring and really really catchy ]
Lugubrum - De Ware Hond / Albino de Congo [ One of my favorite black metal bands, still as original, contorted and relevant as ever ]
Isengard - Høstmorke [ This is a huge classic, always worth singing along to]
Melechesh - Epigenesis [ Headbanging fun for all ]
Merkaba - Bones of the Sacred Forest [ Undeniably powerful and evocative modern black metal, i'll be listening to this for a long time ]
Horn - Naturkraft [ Traditional raw german black metal. Well written from start to finish ]
Yearning - Plaintive Scenes [ I've always liked this band, nothing too ground breaking but an album definitely worth owning ]
M83 - Hurry Up, Were Dreaming [ This give me a raging 80's hard-on. Wonderful album ]
Septic Flesh - Esoptron / Temple of the Lost Race [ I've always been kinda tepid with this band, but i found these releases to be a little more "gorey" than the other more greek romantic sounding stuff ]
Cry of Silence - Wandering Through pagan Times [ THIS is the new Xasthur. Xasthur who? ]
Friday, September 23, 2011
I discovered this band years ago when I was doing some research on the amazing Eucharist. Technically somewhat unrelated because the guitarist of Cromlech only played in Eucharist for a short bit after Mirrorworlds was released in 1997, but the two bands styles can be easily compared. They may not have made much of an impression having never released a single album, but Cromlech leaves behind a handful of absolutely blistering melodic death / black metal songs spread across 5 releases totalling 15 songs. I want you to download them below and listen to them all. If listened to properly they will cause blistering in your groinular region. The performance, creativity, and intensity are unmatched.
DOWNLOAD HERE PLEASE
Friday, September 9, 2011
Performing music on stage for humans is an act. It is a portrayal, a visual and human interaction of the medium whose subject matter and demeanor can often be the exact opposite. It relies on many people and a lot of money to be able to fall into place. The relevance of the audience when creating music pales to that when speaking about performing music on stage.
Would you really want to see Deathspell Omega's "Paracletus" album performed on stage? I for one like the album so much that I would hate to subject the music to such potential scrutiny. Would you want to listen to early Mortiis or any of Arcana's discography on stage? If you can find a reason to say no, then so can any artist.
Friday, August 5, 2011
I was talking about how I wanted to achieve optimum audio quality with a music project I'm working on, and I presented my goals to him. I feel like my goals were somewhat rendered irrelevant by what he then said. The audial fidelity of any recording (actually EVERY recording) is entirely subject to representation that it is being given; ie listening to it on a burned CD on a small stereo, listening to it on vinyl with nice speakers, or streaming it online with a pair of ear buds. No matter what the recording sounded like when it was created, it will invariably sound very different with every other listener's listening configuration and setup. Therefore this lend a lot of validity to the idea of performing music live, and listening to it in person as the artist intended it to be heard.
So the idea that every person hears every album differently, and largely different from the artist has had me in a lot of ponderous moods this week.
Thanks for reading.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
After reading Chris Grigg's open letter to Liturgy's Hunter Hendrix, I was compelled to give Liturgy's album an honest listen. All politics aside, there is probably some music here and I'm compelled to listen to it and reflect upon it, mostly because I'm really bored.
Though I encourage an open minded approach to black metal, several upheld traditions make the genre a very reliable and enjoyable style to many of us. When a less thrash oriented, more atmospheric type of band attempts to build some sort of tangible emotive atmosphere, production value lends a lot of credibility to the overall communication of said atmosphere. Regardless of whatever intentions this band has with their style of music, the recording quality and overall fidelity is shit. It sounds like a bad mastering job pressed to vinyl then played through my mother's "vintage looking" wooden record player that she got at K-Mart. The guitars are annoyingly hard panned and tinny, buzzing and unpleasant. Zero cymbals are heard and all Im getting out of the drummer is constant blastbeats that make me want to go to sleep. If you pay close attention there is a monotonous bass tone that isn't really offering anything musical to the album. Oh and the vocals, well I almost forgot about the vocals. I guess they sound ok. Take all of that and unnecessarily compress the hell out of it all out of habit and you have what this album sounds like. Its probably what our parents all think black metal sounds like only this really sucks to listen to. Its seriously taxing on the ears. Maybe that's what they were going for, who knows?
I'm going to give Liturgy a hell of a lot of credit here and go with the assumption that they have engineered an entirely new mode of chaotic black metal in that all musical idealism has been shed. Liturgy have said "Fuck melody, fuck composition, fuck any goal of making memorable music having character, personality, structure or originality. Lets just take all the sonic qualities of black metal and do whatever we can get away with." Renihilation is the musical equivalent of clicking on an internet advertisement promising you a 55" HD television only to come up with a trojan horse that infects your computer with shitty fucking music. So in that respect...sure, the album is really chaotic and has all sorts of "not good" floating around just meandering, stumbling, tumbling and crashing into a picnic table like a drunk bum.
You know how sometimes bands will play a really powerful song (usually in the live setting at the end of a set) and then outro with that syncopated slowing down type of thing? I could be wrong but I believe its called "trash cans." You'd know what I mean if you heard it. Anyways this whole album feels like that, only I guess it sorta sounds like black metal. I honestly hope not a single human being lets this album at all represent the black metal genre to them.
I want my 40 minutes back :-(
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Like showering at my moms house, stepping into a genre I don't normally pay attention to just feels really weird, but I really liked the new video from Red Fang. I liked it so much that I decided to check out the album. I didn't buy it, I downloaded it because Relapse owes my label a serious amount of money. Which is honestly too bad because if anyone in the underground deserves yours or my money, its this band. I put these hard working fellas up for the night a few years ago and we shot the shit and drank PBRs til 4 in the morning on my porch. I feel more inclined to send these champs a box of frozen hot pockets rather than giving money to a label that earns its way on the backs of smaller and less fortunate labels.
Hey, this is about how rad Red Fang is, so I'll do my laundry at my mom's instead of here. On "Murder the Mountains" these beards show a great stature of maturity and songs nailed to the fucking wall with 8 inch spikes. They sound like they're having a fucking blast playing these songs and it exhudes throughout the album. What I feel sets these guys apart from their counterparts of the genre is that they never quite let you get bored, which I easily do both with this genre (Indian, Electric Wizard, Reverend Bizarre) and even other genres. There are no token "tripped out" bong rip breakdowns, no silly witch intros, and not a bunch of generic Maiden riffs mucking about, basically this album contains zero bullshit. I'm really liking how playful and experimental they've gotten with some interesting and innovative second guitar work, use of piano, acoustic guitar and synth / atmospheric parts. Each member totally shines as an instrumentalist for the majority of the record. Their playing really drives these songs forth with a solid live sound and a familiar fervor.
Two strengths that Red Fang bring to the table: groove with more power than most metal bands are achieving today, and GOOD FUCKING RIFFS. If you don't believe me check out the song "Number Thirteen" at about 2:26. That riff is like an airplane full of coffee smooching your prostate right in the fucking brain stem. The riffs are not cheesy and rather memorable. I'm sure I'll be humming the riffs along with the record by my fourth listen. In fact what initially brought me the point of giving the whole album a listen was that after seeing the video for "Wires" only one time, I was singing the chorus to myself in the kitchen a few days later.
As always, a band jumping on with Relapse is a big step. With Murder the Mountains they have taken it in stride and shown that this was a wise move for all parties involved. I hope Relapse really pans out for Red Fang because I know they deserve everything they achieve.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
In 1999 I was literally pining for the new Immortal album "At the Heart of Winter" to come out on a daily basis. Demonaz was then and still remains my favorite guitarist based solely on what he did on the first four Immortal albums. I had spoken to Harald (Demonaz) on the telephone earlier that year after I had heard he had quit Immortal due to carpal tunnel. He assured me the he would be back playing guitar in no time and all would be fine for us die hard Immortal fans. What happened after hearing the album was nothing short of a breakdown. I hated it. I pretended that it didn't exist for 5 years or so. To this day it takes a bit of a memory jog to correct my notion that Immortal died in an ice storm in 1998. After Damned in Black and Sons of Northern Darkness came out...and I heard them, I was further proven that this band was unrecognizably disfigured. In recent times I have become a tad more forgiving, and I can listen to At the Heart of Winter once a year or so without puking. Though laughable I thought the "I" self-titled album was somewhat fun and the newest reformed Immortal album was the better of the "era 2" albums.
To me the new style that Immortal (and this album) dons is cruel and criminal due to the overwhelming amount of creativity, ingenuity and character that the earlier days had. March of the Norse sounds like something straight out of 1986 only with far worse and more flaccid, underwhelming production than bands were achieving those days. March of the Norse could pass as an embarrassing Bathory album on any day of the week. The arena rock solos and leads are just about enough to give me the runs. The only redeeming quality found on March of the Norse is decent song-craft. Two riffs per song played in two different alternating keys for dramatic effect, acoustic interludes, alternating between chugging electric guitar riffs and ring out type riffs, then choruses about mountains and trees repeated until the song fades out. If that sounds like a good time to you nine times over, then you're in for a party, man!