Saturday, December 20, 2008

2009? Anyone?

The coming year may usher in some new gems within the metal genre. It already looks better than 2008, but only time will tell. Furthermore, I wish to enumerate the reasons here.

- First of all Gorgoroth. BOTH OF THEM. I'm more excited about Infernus' version due to the recent re-installation of once former vocalist Pest as well as former guitarist Tormentor. While the legal dispute drags on for the namesake of the band, Gaahl's version of Gorgoroth will also release new material. Despite this, let me just go on record as saying that this band has always been an abortion that gets lucky half of the time. Why the hell cant Infernus secure a real line-up?

- Though I'm a huge fan of their early work, I highly doubt any new material from Immortal will even be worth downloading, but you never know. When is the last time you heard a decent re-union album? Then again, when was the last time you heard a decent Immortal album? 1997 is the correct answer.

- Though I'm getting a little sick of hearing about it without having an actual product for several years now, there is still talk of a new Thorns album being unearthed.

- Elysian Blaze will darken thy path with some new stuff next year. If their contribution to the previously reviewed split is a competent glimpse, I will be very pleased.

- Supposedly Finland's Warloghe is working on new material. I'll believe it when I hear it.

- With new drummer Dirge Rep (enslaved, gehenna), Sweden's Craft are working on a new album entitled "Void".

- According to their myspace, Lamented Souls are working on a debut full length. After eleven years of not having new material I wonder how different this will be.

- Fungoid Stream? These criminally underknown Lovecraftian doomsters were supposed to release "Oceanus" this year but I guess 2009 will be the year for it to happen.

- After hearing Absu's side of a split 7" with Rumpelstiltskin Grinder out on relapse this year, we are in for a maddeningly thrashful opus from the new line-up. Let's hope they debut a few new tunes at the next Maryland Death Fest which I hope to attend.

- Nokturnal Mortum are supposedly gearing up for new stuff and also playing a few first ever gigs in Finland with Temnozor.

- Filling recent years' lack of good doom will be Mournful Congregation if all goes as planned. This will be out January 20th

- Following VVORLDVVITHOUTEND is something I wouldn't wish upon any band, but if any band can top it, Katharsis is the band for the job. I really look forward to this with curiosity.

- Wolves in the Throne Room tell me that March is when we will see a new album from them. Expect longer songs, and more dying.

other notable possibilities (because this is getting boring):
Black Death Ritual
Darkwoods My Betrothed!!!!
Clandestine Blaze!
Ruins of Beverast
Dawn?? (Pffft probably not)
Funeral Mist
Beherit? (we shall see)
Negative Plane
Necros Christos
Altar of Perversion

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Deathspell Omega - Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum

Ahhhh, this band is such a giving band. I hadn't heard a word about this release until a week before it's release so it was a very pleasant surprise. After umpteen utterly satisfying listens to the song "Chaining the Katechon." I am able to put it into words here.

Furthering their notoriety as purveyors of abandonment, even more morosely sour and disheveling harmonies are strewn about here, molding a capable and colossal pyre of intricate yet obscure morsels of sound. While there are certain negative things that can be said about this release, which I will get to later on, I am most happy with it because I feel like its the most fluent and lethal display of the arsenal of characteristics that they have mastered since their transformation on the "SMRC" album. Where virtually every other band in the black metal genre illuminate a facade or portray a pre-determined mythological demon with dull and worn out fervor most of the time only to live up to what has been done well in the past, Deathspell Omega have flayed another dimension in which their discordant tones and murky harmonies bind in an elegance mastered singularly by these strange fellows. Most note-able on this song is that intensely fast tempos are far more frequent and possibly a little less spurty. There's a lot less drawn out slower minimalist moments to get caught up in as was seen in their "Fas.." disc. The incredibly unique guitar work found on here is moreso the threshold upon which this song works from. While the rhythms are pretty vanilla albeit fucking furious, you'll find a plethora of strange riffing utilizing an all too perverse style of harmonizing that I don't think Ive heard anything similar to.

Apart from all the worshipful things I could spew about this band and disc, I want to point out a negative thing that could be said about this stuff. I only want to bring it up because I feel that it is arguably justifiable. Consistent with, and infinitely empowered by Deathspell Omega's abandonment of all things prior and known, I feel compositionally speaking that this song can be characterized a meandersome smattering of brilliance. In some ways it reminds me of the aural mind fuck that Blut Aus Nord's "Mort" album was. Some more lead headed metal fandom of the traditional ilk might find this sort of album a chore to listen to, what with the vapid air of renewal and innovation that I feel makes this such a unique and challenging listen.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Great Kat is a FAKE!

I feel like I've been lied to for a long time. The Great Kat is this not so famous guitar player that really wants your attention for playing top 40 classical songs on her guitar in a very fast thrash metal style. Sort of like Joan Jett meets Yngwie Malmsteen I guess. Shes never played in any "band." Apparently she was just born famous with a scrunchee around her wrist, worthy of being worshiped. She has apparently won all sorts of accolades from dorky guitar magazines and such. My friend rented this DVD from netflix to satiate his curiosity about her, and hopefully see some impressive guitar playing. Given the circumstances you would think this wouldn't be hard to find on this dvd but it is in fact exactly what the dvd is devoid of! There's 5 shoooooooort videos which are ridiculous and don't show any footage of her playing guitar. Its pretty apparent that they are waving cameras around her enough that you cant see her fumbling about the fretboard in a severely amateur fashion. I didn't actually count, but I think there's more footage of her tits than there is of her playing guitar. The "live in Chicago" footage is a laughably faked performance that also doesn't have any footage of her playing guitar. So we resorted to youtube, figuring there's gotta be something there. I invite you to check out her official channel there:

The longest video contained there is :15 in length. Rather telling, eh? The only footage we were able to find is this: As you can see her stage antics are way more important than actually playing music, and all the music she actually does play is conveniently simple thrash stuff with some tremolo picking but definitely no "shredding." At the end of the DVD you'll find the toll free number for the Great Kat Hotline! I called it and its been disconnected. I tried the long distance number too, its her work number! Some agency, the message said "press 4 for Kat." So not only is this dvd worthless, but I am also calling the Godawful Kat out on feeding us nothing but lies for years. Great Kat I'll believe youre a shredder when you come to my house and play guitar for me. Until then, you are total bullshit.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

S.V.E.S.T. - Urfaust

I have to admit the only reason I am giving this a second listen is in anticipation of the forthcoming split with Deathspell Omega. I remember listening to this a long ago and being apalled by it, but I forgot to note specifically how and why. I am initially offended because I feel like someone, maybe more than one person, expects me to listen to this without immediately turning it off. Usually when I read a review of someone calling an metal album "unlistenable" or "total garbage" Im instantly dying to hear it. Usually I find it to be decent at least. People say Beherit sounds like total shit. Some people like me are aware that it sounds the way it was supposed to sound. So please understand that I do know how to listen to and enjoy music that sounds like static to other people. I'm a big fan of World (jap), Masonna, Rehtfa Ruo, Paysage d'Hiver, and so on. This is an album where it is clear to me that the audio fidelity or lack thereof was more important to someone than the music that was written for the album. It sounds like listening to the radio between three different stations. One of them is playing old Mutiilation rehearsals, another is the 24 hour crappy guitar solo channel, and another is playing hearts of space. Ignoring the sound quality, the music isnt anything special. S.V.E.S.T. play chaotic sort of fast obnoxious black metal with some thrash elements involved, somewhat typical for French stuff of this era. Theres a few somewhat clever guitar / synth harmonies strewn about but certainly nothing that makes it worth listening to this album for any length of time. Its not often that I will thoroughly dismiss a underground black metal album and regard it as having zero merit, but this is an exception. If its any advice to someone who has yet to hear this album but is curious to do so: move on, nothing to see here, NEXT.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lyrinx / Elysian Blaze / D.O.R. - Universal Absence

Here is a three way split between three very similar bands. All playing a type of black metal that I've been hearing a lot more of lately. Its really thinly produced spacious and laden with reverb. The music is really mid-paced to slow and often quite dirgey. Almost like doom's aesthetic only on a higher intonation. Anyways Lyrinx kick it off with some really repetitive material that relies moreso on its tinny production that the music being played. Its decent at times, but more forgettable than anything. Elysian Blaze offer us a glimpse into what may perhaps be somewhat of a new direction for them, furthering what they displayed with prowess on their "Levitating the Carnal" opus. The track "Black Hole Euphoria" takes on a much more grueling and agonizing pace, drudging along like an night fog. The sound here reminds me a lot of newer Nortt only this tends to keep my attention a bit better. This song has such an ethereal and downtrodden pace to it, I really cant get enough to it. I cant imagine how awesome there forthcoming double LP is going to be. By the time D.O.R.'s material rolls around, i'd be surprised if anyone is in the mood to listen to them. Which is sort of a shame because they're not all that bad, but again, relying too heavily on the lack of production value here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Weird Fate / Membaris - Conspiracy split CD

Its easy enough for me to say that this split is noteworthy because it is a lot better than bad black metal.  Though that wouldnt really be fair, its strength lies somewhere between that truth and the fact that some fairly remarkable German black metal can be found on this release.  Coming straight at you with a most vaguely unmenacing moniker, Weird Fate's music reminds me a lot of Lunar Aurora's "Weltenganger" in that the guitar work is intricately played but vastly written.  Some similarities could also be drawn to the mighty Nightbringer of the U.S.A.  Weird Fate's modus operandi runs the gamut anywhere from a somewhat dry "violent" nature to a more developed and mature atmospheric melodicism.  They do so rather fluently, but this band really shows their novice tendencies when they do the somewhat redundant violent stuff, which is where I tend to lose attention.  The production on this is top notch and I feel it does a great justice to the bands ability to harness the power of black metal and convey their emotion and atmospheric strength vividly.  Aside from a few rather long winded passages and the occasional non-metal meanderings (see: fruity piano parts, exhaustively synth laden dirges, frolicky acoustic interludes) This stuff is realy good. Weird Fate are great at playing their instruments and with any luck they will be a band to keep an ear on quite soon.  
Membaris have a somewhat similar demeanor as Weird Fate but have a way more speedy galloping tempo to their stuff.  Im finding their half of the split to be more on the forgettable side because I've heard heaps of bands playing in this fashion.  Its all decent but only as good as the rest of it.  The riffing is a lot less musical, the vocals are a barely even a noticeable element, and the drumming is predictable.  This sort of reminds me of Orcustus.