Saturday, April 29, 2017
Yeah, I know we already did a top 10 break up songs, but this is my fucking blog so I do whatever the hell I want. Toxic Love are chemicals still in motion, making the difference being these songs the end result is not as clear cut and in the dysfunction there is the hope for a light at the end of the tunnel which may or may not be the train. I think this rings true because even when things go wrong there are always layers of feelings, so that what I am going for here, so this is almost more of a playlist for exploring the range of feelings. The songs are selected as what has hit my current mood this morning rather than me going through ever song I own to make sure this is the definitive list, after all love is more of in the right now than the forever. I'll let the lyrics of these songs do the talking rather than throw my to cents in as we count these down , which are not in the strictest order so if you are ocd, then get over they have just been arranged the way they are.
10- the Magnetic Fields- "All My Little Words"
Now that you've made me want to die , you tell me your're unboyfriendable"
9- the Used - "Buried Myself Alive"
"I guess it's ok I puked the day away, I guess it's better you trapped yourself in your own way"
8-Chris Isaak - "Things go Wrong"
"Trying to remember , what I know I should forget"
7-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - "It Gonna Rain Anymore"
"Once there came a storm in the form of a girl It blew to pieces my snug little world "
6-Morrissey- "the More You Ignore Me"
"I now an essential part of your mind's landscape , whether you care or Not"
4- Emma Ruth Rundle - "Furious Angel"
If I send you my army only you can disarm me If you won’t have me or bring me your love Furious angels reign death from above onto me
5- The Postal Service - "the District Sleeps Alone Tonight"
"I am finally seeing, I was the one worth leaving"
3- the Drums - "Blood Under my Belt" I am scared of the child that lives in me I don't know if he learns You left your t-shirt under the bed we shared together I put it over my face
2- Sunnyday Real Estate - "Song About an Angel"
And all the time I tried to let you know Discomfort comes clearly
1- Chelsea Wolfe- "The Waves Have Come"
I made you queen and you forgave me we'll be given the world in the right time but we made our own and left it empty
While the chorus about him putting a blanket over his face stuck with me, I had to play "Shoot the Sun Down" to absorb the full impact of the song. "Head of the Horse" seems to be about the aches and pains of coming out of the closet. The hooks are very sleepy. I do like how the guitar rings out on this song. I can hear the hooks hiding in "Under the Ice". The guitar is more intangible and while there is a more organic feel to the instrumentation the vocals are very multi-tracked. 'Are You Fucked" has a lighter heart to it than the lyrics might suggest. The bass line adds to the drone of the song. The electronics threatened to smother "Your Tenderness" . At the end of the day despite what experimentation they delve back into it's Jonny's melody that makes this interesting. The sax gives things more of an organic glaze.
"Rich Kids" bounces around enough to merge post-punk meets early R.E.M. The ballad "If All We share" has some really nice guitar work. There is something much more soulful about the title track that closes the album. For a few seconds he sounds like Bono. IT takes the more post-punk qualities of indie rock and marries it to some with layered pop. The vocal parts feel like they are arranged like something from Paul Simon's "Graceland" album. I will give this album a 9 as it's emotional output is pretty impresses.
Friday, April 28, 2017
The opening track meets in that dark alley created in 90s by the likes of Skinny Puppy and pre-metal riffs Ministry. It has a beat the hammers you as it makes you dance. Things get even darker on "Black Walks Eternal" Fade offers a wider range of vocal flavor some of these more tortured and almost death rock like. The samples are clever and well placed. The vocals are used to set the tone to "Crooked Line" has do so with a smart syncopation that compliments the rough beat under it. "Talons Teeth" comes much closer to being the more typical brand of industrial that blared in most of the clubs during the genre's peak. The vocals are shouted in the cyber-drill Sargent manner, but a few other vocal colors are injected. There is more of a creeping synth slither to "Adrift". The vocals are more of a croaked narrative. It does find it's groove like the others and works of a more droning pulse.
"Feel the Flesh" finds Skinny Puppy's long lost "Rabies" drum sound. They had a somewhat more angular glitch to the pattern and the vocals take on a lower murmur. I like the more sung vocal moan that the 2:30 mark. It took me a second listen before I paid attention to "Mortuary". It is a little more formless than the rest of the album. The vocals are in a low whispered underneath the formless shift of the beat that never takes on a groove. "Nigredo" not only has a beat, it has one that pretty much slays the rest of the album, and this song might have my favorite lyrics as well.
The synth pulse in "Pale Lust" feels like a theme that is being continued from the previous song. It is almost like the outro for "Nigredo" if it was allowed to drone out more. The albums closes with the chaotic epic "Phantom Eye". The songs starts off with samples colliding into the beat and ambient noise smacking you around a bit. The song never takes form like the others. It flirts with many of the elements that I have like throughout the album, but here they are thrown against the wall for the sake of seeing what sticks. When the beat builds by the end of the song it does gel more for me. Overall the songs he decides are going to be songs are all excellent. I will round this one up to a 9 and see how it sits on me.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The first thing that hits me about the Philly act's new album is the depth and maturity. By the second song it's apparent there is more of an electronic thing going on here. It's less Sisters of Mercy then their previous releases though the vocals are still uttered from a coffin. There is more of a new wave synth sound at the beginning of the title track which darkens considerably when the vocals come in. The low baritone croak is mixed back behind the synths.Some of these tones are brighter than what you might expect from them leaving the vocals to keep things creepy. All the songs are within range of the three minute mark.
They do find a more organic sound with reverb ringing guitars on "Enamored and Nailed Shut". The vocals seem to be sinking back further with each song. There are some punchy accents in place that help give this more balls than your average dark wave band.I didn't even notice the guitar solo in this song until the second listen. There is a harsher noise tone to the beginning of "Schizoid Ice" which is more of an interlude than a song. "Daisy Chain" has more of an old Depeche Mode feel, think 'Black Celebration". "Spire and Ecstasy" dips back into a sound that you might find more typical of this band, a cavernous cold wave. There is a upbeat tone to "Heaven's Eyes" the only problem is the vocals are once again buried.
This album has the most experimental edge to it.It really begins to grow on me with repeat listens and will not disappoint any one who is already into them though they stick pretty true to who they are up to this point so I don't see it really wining over a larger audience either. I will round it up to a 9. My only complaint is the production and how I would like more clarity from the vocals.But aside from that the third time is the charm for this Philly based band
Monday, April 24, 2017
Jasyn Banger of God Module is releasing the debut album from his newest project Hexheart, that backs away from the more electronic propelled edm industrial of God Module. This project is more dark wave. The guitar sits low in the mix and I had to listen for it pretty closely as it is almost mixed behind the synths. There is more of an edm/ dance current running through the back bone of "Nothing" almost making this seem like more of a re-branding of God Module. His low raspy voice is not as heavilly altered with distorted filters as it is with the other project. He says in more of a static spoken narrative than singing. While 'Stars In Your Eyes" is a turn in a darker direction, I think "Falling" a better song. The purpose of the vocals is much clearer and hooks me in.
He comes closer to singing on "Second Sight" which is a very well put together song. Banger's range is very limited and he manages to make the most out of where he puts what he does manage to get out in his sing song whisper. There is more of an epic new wave hook to the synth lines adorning " Problems and bigger ones" . There is an almost aggro tech aggression to the synths on "Lunatix' and he slips back into his more comfortable industrial boots. "Hollywood" is darker, but doesn't do as much for me as it sounds like it is not a fully realized as the other songs. Though when I pay more attention to the lyrics and the reverb heavy guitars it grows on me a little,
A similar problem plagues" Never Understand". It has more atmosphere , but all the moving parts don't feel like they are really screwed into one another soundly. When this is the case the flaws in his voice are exposed. There is a bigger industrial feel to the last song. Its a big finish so you can't fault him for that. I will round this album up to an 8, which means I am considering loading it onto the iPod. If you like God Moduile, then this album is different, but still a must. If you like darkwave with a heavier electronic edge then this is also on your to do list. It comes out June 9th on Metropolis.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
This band from Finland might not be black metal in how kids today think of the genre. The vocal somewhat spoken and declared from behind a veil of effects. The pace picks up on " Of Ordeals and Triumph". This brings them into a more black metal territory, the vocals gain some grit. They are not screamed and remind me of a less dramatic version of what Urfaust does. I like the fact that they put such a hypnotic throb into their music. The song builds but hangs in similar dynamic footing. The ten minute "Hate Revelations" finds them taking on more of a Venom like stomp. The vocals are delivered in a more dramatic fashion with a hateful sneer to them. Less punk influenced by Venom they are clearly metal in their intent. Things get more melodic around the six minute marks as the vocals take on more of a croon and the drums slow into a more graceful gallop.
They return to a more hypnotic throb once again for "Against the Worlds that Bind Us" . His vocals here to take on more of a Cronos like harshness. Not a flat out growl, but increased aggression in the way the lyrics are spat out above the pulse of guitar. Four minutes in the most overt form of black metal comes in by way of the blast beats. The albums reaches it's climatic end with the 12 minute "Through the Marrow of Human Suffering". At this point in the album I have already decided these guys are a bit of an enigma when it comes to Finnish black metal as they are rough around the edges but care about the songs rather than throwing a bunch of raw an reckless blast beats at you. They hold off until two minutes into the song to break them out.
If you are looking for black metal that combines the balance of grit and songwriting from the genres early days with a more sonic swell then this band is who you have been looking for. It generally kept me engaged, I am not sure how often I would listen to this , but appreciate it for what it is , which is enough for me to give this album an 8.
This hard-core band is no stranger to this blog as we love them here because just like any other form of music I want my hard core dark and tortured. This is the Swedish band's third full length and even in the opener they drop down into the shadows to let things breathe with some atmosphere as the chords rings out midway into things. There is also a more metallic power, that is sonically similar to black metal in some ways. Despite some of the more heady guitar tones "Phobia" embraces the more punk tendencies. While I can't fault them for being who they are or where they come from in this regard, it's not my favorite side of the band. "Misgiving" falls out of the fade from the previous song into something more brooding that carries greater appeal to my personal tastes. Though when the song kicks in it goes into a more straight forward punk thing that has the rather stiff snare beat I'm not a fan of.
At times though the ride the line between hardcore and screamo when they go into a more indie rock guitar jangle. As the album progress we continue to hear more of these melodic clean intonations. "Autoimmune" finds such lighter notes used as the calm before the explosion. They do get pretty brutal and battering on songs like "Cogs". This almost feels neanderthal in comparison to some of the moments they have already shown us. "Agora"finds them darkening back into the place that I prefer them to be in. Their lead screamer asks the listener if they know what its like to be treated like a stranger. So there is a very emotional current to these songs. They have an interesting trade of of dynamics on " Unsociable". This may or may not been embraced by the hardcore crowd who is trying to keep their scene underground as this song could appeal to a larger punk audience in the same way as early stuff from the Refused.
They get rowdier on "Within, Without". This has more of the punk recklessness and abrasion. There are some punches that get my attention. It's the moments that just don't sound like temper tantrums that get my ears peaked. "Contortion" is a more straight forward punk fueled song. The vocals on "Safe" are more barked despite the guitar at times providing room for more. The builds on this one are pretty powerful. They return to a cleaner strum at the onset of "Feral Houses". This one finds an angular groove in the syncopation they employ here. I like they more screamo juxtaposition of melodic guitar being screamed over, as they guys do it with a little more class, The album closes with the angry pleas of "Resignation". This one works off more piss and vinegar than thoughtful song writing. I'll give this album an 8.5 it's pretty solid the more punk side of this band typically just has me waiting for more of the dark brooding stuff, but fans of hardcore might have more of an appreciation for them.
I first came across this band when their music appeared on the second season of True Detective. The opening track off their new album "Death Song" holds all the qualities that originally attracted me to their sound. It's dark and sonic with a exotic pulse. There is rawer rambling rock kick with a touch of western to "I'd Kill For Her ". The vocals are sung in tentative tenor that reminds me of many of the psychedelic garage rock bands from the 60s. There is a more relaxed feel to the almost ballad "Half Believing" . The drumming on "Comanche Moon" reminds me a little of Hendrix's "Manic Depression". The vocals are more languid as an almost Stone Roses like haze is cast over the collection of swirling sonics.
The comparison's the Stone Roses era of Brit Pop could still be drawn in regards to the groove propelling "Hunt Me Down". They admit to being dope fiends on "Grab as Much". This song does have a drugged sluggishness to it despite being somewhat upbeat. They come back stronger with the more honest and intimate drone of " Estimate". There is a more snake like motion to the more upbeat "I Dreamt". It comes closer to rocking out than some of the albums more drugged out earlier moments. The pace gets marginally brisker with another ode to drugs on "Medicine". The keyboards bring another shade from the 60's into what they are doing.
The vocals drop into a lower effected murmur on "Death March" . I like it a lot as is it's much darker almost to the point of sounding like some of Psychic TV's more death rock like moments. There is the lazy space dirge "Life Song" that ends the album by floating away with it. This album recreates a mood I haven't heard since I used to get stoned to the Stone Roses senior year of high-school,so I'll round it up to a 9.
The band from southern Sweden is not trying to emulate Entombed. There are some guitar passages that work together to breathe a sense of melody into things. The solos often lingers past the allocated sections. This is done with a very organic sense to both the tones on the album and the arrangements. They walk the line between death metal and black metal in a manner not unlike their country men in Tribulation. "Liberator of Eden" . Reverb coats the guitars. They hold onto the sense of melody when "Chants for the Black One kicks in. The arrangement doesn't stick as solidly and this sounds like it devolves into jamming. Some of the punches and accents towards the end of the song have their thinking caps more firmly intact.
Speaking of jam , they do that on "Hin Hale" and instrumental that works off feeling more than trying to dazzle you with prog chops. They attack "Sculptor of the Future" with renewed fury. This song is a little more straight forward, though manages to touch upon some sonic frequencies more kin to black metal. The vocals remain in their dray mid-range rasp not only for this song but the bulk of the album. "Of Fiery Passion" finds the band allowing them to finally ebb down into some atmosphere, which I think is important as it keeps them from being monochromatic. They stir things back up into more of a black metal frenzy, but this is black metal that more in common with Krallice or Mutilation Rites than Watain or Bathory. You can hear the bass amid the blast beat which gives them more balls and the subtle hook to the riff when they come out of the blast beat section at the 5 and a half minute mark also caught my attention.
The album closes with the title track that starts off with them basking in atmosphere and giving themselves more space to invoke the calm before the storm. There is more melody and grace in the build that majestically rises up from the atmosphere giving it a gleam of a slight post-rock influence without sounding like they are tying to jump on the Deafheaven bandwagon. Over all this album is pretty solid and manages to not sound like everyone else while staying true to it's blend of death metal and black metal, I'll give it a 8.5. This album comes out May 27th on Iron Bonehead Records.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Of all the old school dark wave acts Clan of Xymox continues to prove they still have it. The title track that opens the album is just a intro. When they actually kick into things they do so with a smart bass line and s a pop skip to "Loneliness" that doesn't sound all dark at first. The vocal melody is well thought out and adds just enough darkness to the rest of the song. The synths sound like they could have come from "Disintegration". "Vixen in Disguise" works but is not their best work and would get filed under alright filler. There is more drive to "Leave Me Be" which melts into more of a introspective slink. At 55 Ronny's voice sounds great. In the lower register it still holds rich resonance and slides up into his more emotive whine. He is really what brings life to these songs , though "Leave Me Be" is dark enough to satisfy my goth cravings. "Rain Will Wash Away" is more electronic based, to the point that it feels more like an interlude.
They go into more a traditional dark wave for "Set You Free". Not dialed in, but nothing new. There is a very emotional and Cure like vibe to "I Couldn't Save You". Reminding me the guitar tones on this album when they crop are are very nice. "What Goes Around" should get the dance floor of any good goth club writhing. The beat is not overbearing, but slinks in just the right way. There is a more aggressive drive to "I Need to Be Alone". Not the album's strongest song , but not bad either. The guitar continues to get amped up, this time in a darker more Sisters of Mercy like direction for "Loud and Clear". There is a soft more electronic touch to "Your Kiss" which has drive , but not of the rock variety more synth wave.
I'll round this up to a 8.5 and see how it grows on me. The second half of the album feels a little like they are playing too close to expectations , but what we do expect from them is delivered. They do it better than most of their peers so I am not sure why some songs just connected with me more on the first half and more of the songs later in the album were just kinda "Ok, this works fade into the background" sort of things. Anyway if you are a hard core fan of the band round it up.
Monday, April 17, 2017
I am always surprised when I forget these guys are from Chicago. They sound like they are from either England or Sweden. This band opens with a song that makes you think they are melodic death metal band that doesn't have aspirations to be anything other than that, though they wield some well crafted guitar melodies and the vocals are placed with great intention to make the most of every growl in the same way singers use every note. This album is very well produced with an excellent guitar tone as by the second song it's easy to hear the kind of love that they were tracked with. Clean vocals come in on the second song. "Plague Bird" brings in clean vocals with kind of a Katatonia feel the only problem is the melodies are not as focused as Katatonia's. They regain a little more of the focus with "Ghost" which goes in a more My Dying Bride like direction.
The sung vocals come back and this time fall somewhere between the Katatonia sound and My Dying Bride. The vocals are a mixed bag as the come across a little weak on "Ever After" as the drummer really begins to steal the show. The title track finds the vocals dropping to a more dramatic whisper. At first it feels like Wall era Pink Floyd. Its an odd ballad that never really settles into it self. "Apostasy" is more balls to the wall with death growls and double bass driving it into your face. It is one of the album's stronger songs and makes better use of the clean vocal trade off. They drift off into a more sorrowful My Dying Bride like tone on "Miasma". This has one of the albums better guitar solos on it. Lyrically it's a little to romanticized. "Zephyr" feels like it walks more of a middle ground and balances out the aggression with the more dramatic tone of the vocals.
There is a more mainstream metal hook to the guitar riffs of "Waves in the Red Cloth" the vocals could be more intense to hold the groove of the guitar. So while it sounds like the put a little more thought into making this one more compact, the vocals don't do it any huge favors. They go back into a more bland take on Katatonia that I am ot sure they are even convinced of. I'll round this one up to a 7 as they are typically good at what they do with the more driving songs that roared more being the cream of this year's crop.
This two piece out of Oakland has returned with a moodier yet more feral vision of black metal mixed with crust. "To Leave" places more emphasis on atmosphere and ringing guitar melodies than the more deliberate opener. They do blast off towards the end of the second song. One thing they have going for them is their songs are very concise and streamlined never feeling like bloated drones. The two longest songs are six and a half minutes.
These gals prove they are capable of hitting you with varied colors and tempos. Lyrically I had heard they were angry about the state of politics. This presented with a haze of metaphors rather than going the more punk route of shoving their bitching down your throat. There used to be more of a neo-folk element, that is gone though there are some clean vocals going into the song "Winter's Light". This is interrupted by a blast of black metal that races into the song.
I like the more sludged out melancholy of "Destroyer". The vocals are screamed with even more menace here. Her delivery on the chorus is one of the more effective uses of harsh vocals that I have heard recently as the cadence still accents everything as needed. The guitar riff to the verse of "Somewhere" is more like indie rock. The way the vocals urgently plea against the riffs makes this one of the albums strongest songs. The album ends with the title track that is ominous and darker than most of the previous songs which already have a gray shroud over them. Vocally there is more of crust calling out to the void. There is a little bit of a drone to this one , but it is effective as the song keeps moving and the change of the vocals toward the end really make a difference. I don't care about what inspired this album only that the song writing has really stepped up and even though it might not be as black metal as their earlier releases its quality songwriting that counts. I'll give it a 9.5 The vinyl version of this album is already sold out but you can buy the digital version on places like their Bandcamp.
Friday, April 14, 2017
This band cranks out something that is very loud and is not what typically comes to mind when I think of French black metal, if you told me these guys were from Finland it would have made more sense. It' the break of clean guitar that leads to the songs more impressive sections that show you they can do more they just come at you like wild animals. The guitar players have chops and are not just lashing out with density. The high impact battery of "Tredeciman Blackfire" at times reminds me of "Hell Awaits" era Slayer.I would give the drummer props but how can he not be great and play in this kind of band. The title track is pretty hit or miss. The vocals are this band's weak spot for sure as they make all the faster heavier sections sound the same.
The blur continues to blast past you with the others songs and forces me to start listening for parts that don't sound like everything else that is being thrown at me. Like I often say these guys are good at what they do , what they do just happens to be one dimensional. "Bestial Rites" should be the title track as it sums up the over all sound of this album. By the time I am at "Cure of Blasphemy" I have already begun to lost interest as there is nothing all that unique about what is going on here . So on "Verses From the Depths" what is the band thinking ? That they just need an 8th song? It goes into the more death metal blast beat that I don't like because it sounds to stiff.
So what do you need from metal? If you like heaviness with no other need for songwriting and melodies just pounding into at 140 bpms, then this might be that album for you. I need a little more from music than that as I have been there done there got the t-shirt . I'll give this album a 5.5 , if you just want heavy then round it up to a 6.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Haven't covered much post-punk lately as none of it has really been of any note. In some regards these guys remind me of the Violent Femmes if Brian Richie was not such a champ on the bass. If Gordon Gano did not like gospel and got really depressed there might be a similar result. Two songs that follow run into one another. There is more energy to "Stupid Cherub" which is the first half of this collision. So it's when the song breaks down and then builds back up that the stage is set for "Song For My Sister". This montage of songs in collision occurs again with "Nice Cafe" which turns out to be more of an interlude with "Civil Song" serving as the actual song. It reminds me of 90's indie rock.
The first song that really moves with the punk side of post-punk is "Topanga Keepsake" The frenetic energy of the song works well and the jangle of the guitar has more purpose at this brisk pace. "Birdsong" is more disjointed like if King Missle got to high to be quirky, though this is the kinda shit I got high to senior year of highschool. The lyric "your a pain in the ass my beloved" is very timely in some ways and is also the best part of "My Melancholy Baby" this might even vault it into being the best song on the album.The album ends with the more straight forward garage rock of "the Settlers Song". I think it is fair to give this album a 7.5. IUt is not going to win any album of the year lists , but they have their own sounds and s bit just Joy Division worship.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Life of Agony used to be one of my favorite bands when "Ugly" came out. Keith Caputo, who goes by something else now, has seen his voice evolve over the years . But things have changed. Let me stop you right here and say, I do not care what lifestyle choices he has made, I do care about can he sing like he once did . "Right this "Wrong" is better than the opener which sounds like a song that didn't make the cut on one of the post- Layne Stayley Alice in Chains albums . The instrumentation sound like them even if it's stuck in the 90s. The problem might be the hormones he took, sometimes the intervals being sung are what he might have sung in his past life, but the cool trembling vulnerability to his voice which was always juxtaposed by a more aggressive croon is gone making this sound like someone else. "Dead Speak Kindly" would have been a decent Life of Agony riff at one point. Even with the effects on his voice it lacks the balls he once had.
You can hear a little of who he used to in " A New Low'. The chorus of "World Gone Mad" really shows how little aggression he can manage to get out of his pipes these days. "Bag of Bones" is the first song that hits me as being half way decent. He also comes close on "Walking Catastrophe" , this is a song that would have nailed it if his voice still had the punch. Right now it sounds like I Mother Earth, but I guess it makes sense that if you turn into a woman you are going to sound like Perry Ferrell. "Song For the Abused" would not sound out of place on "Ugly" it's also one of the better songs on the album with the band beginning to rally in the third act. The well layered vocals give Keith more tools than he has used before.
The album ends with the piano ballad that is more of an overdone outro. I'll give this album a 7.5 , from a band that up until "Soul Searching Sun" kicked out 10s on their first three this is a let down, but better than shit like Volbeat or what ever radio rock you are jerking off to these days.
Friday, April 7, 2017
John E Bomher of the Chicago based band Yakuza released a solo album where he is a one man sludge band. He blends bleak melodies and layers the vocals on the first song so the more droning sung vocals sits over an almost black metal rasp. I like this much better than the typical gruff bark most sludge bands rely on. The song builds into a stompier more metal section that expands the dynamic journey he takes you and makes this the eps strongest moments. It more progressive than your typical sludge act , but doesn't over do it like say Mastodon. The song does go into more typical territory of what you might normally expect from sludge with big lumbering riffs.
There are some St. Vitus like doom moments on the more stream lined "Victims" tears" The song drones on the same almost grunged out groove and reminds me of Warrior Soul in the nuances of the vocal phrases where he sings about squandering the years."Waterweapon" starts off as a subdued ballad like melodic piece. When it kicks in things stick to pretty much what you expect from a sludge band though with a slight transcendental sense of soaring. The guitar melodies are more metal and very thoughtful. This guy doesn't wast many notes and I think the guitar solos here really add to the songs.
I'll give this album a 9, I am unsure if it will make the transition over to the iPod as it's more coasting on a sea of bong smoke as nightfall comes sort of album rather than something that is upbeat on the go kinda music. If you like sludge this is an album that is worth your time.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
The Colorado black metal horde has returned with their 5th album and continue to slay by summoning some of the most legit black metal to come out of the States. The snarl takes you back to the golden years of the 90's for some classic hateful screaming. There is a cool angular section in the latter half of "Misrule". These guys have all the grandiose venom, but taper it with some eerie and unhinged moments. "Midnight's Crow " reminds me a little of older Dimmu Borgir. The production on the album is the shit it sounds pretty massive.The effect on the vocals on "Of key and crossed bones" further pushes it in the Dimmu direction. Which I am fine with as it's not really ripping them off but using a blueprint they perfected and working off of that.
A piano starts of "Let the Silence be..." before throwing them into a rapid fire blast beat. The drums sound like a wall that is rolling over you. They have a very dramatic and orchestrated sound without being symphonic. The songs is just well layered and arranged though it doesn't snake through the same dark maazes as Dimmu. /The use of synths is a card well played on this album as they push the dynamic intensity forward with adding an element of cheese. They do not rely on them as much as Dimmu and fall on the side of earlier Emperor when it comes to this. The vocals on "Inheritor of a Dying World" remind me a little of the more dramatic exclamations of Watain. This song slows things down a little and allows the double bass to speed up around it rather than trying to keep up.
The dark dissonance to "the Lamp of Inverse Light" sets a pretty powerful tone. They layer samples over the extended chords as the song creeps to life. While it sounds cool enough I am not sure it deserves to stand along as an instrumental. They end things on a more brisk note It is a more typical take on black metal but these guys do it so well that it doesn't bore me like a thousand other bands who might attempt this with a more rough hewn production value and less precise playing. I'll give this album an 8.5, it's really good, I don't have any complaints about it some of the songs just grab me more than others and the ones that run off pure aggression don't speak to me as strongly , other than that this is a must for fans of black metal. This is being released April 14th on Season of Mist.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
This is an interesting project sometimes reminding me of Tombs older albums. They balance out the post rock parts rather than get lost in it. Some times the heaviness is done in a more typical blast beaten way and sometimes they are handled with a darker creepiness. If you have read this blog before then you know which side I prefer. The vocals are more of a hoarse death metal roar. This band out of Italy does even on first listen get a few things right. The songs are fairly compact, though they could have turned into mammoth drone fests. At the three minute mark a more atmospheric side is shown. This fore shadowing opens a door to a side of the band that I think is their strong point. They really delve into the darker side to the best of their ability on "Irriconoscibile". I would not say it is in and of itself dark wave or industrial, but there are dark electronic elements to it.
"Attesa"finds them really bathing in the atmosphere, until it drowns the song and becomes more of an interlude. There is a wonderful darkness to "Eclisse" . This might be one of my favorite songs from the album. The angular breaks show these guys could turn this around into something great at any moment. In so doing they would be wise to dip deeper into these murkier shadows. Their potential is somewhat squandered on the raw barbarism they beat their instruments with on "Silenzio". With multiple listens some of the roughness begins to make a little more sense and you can hear where the song is within all the coarse barking. As it approaches the midway point things take a shift when it goes into Cure like clean guitar.
The last song picks up where some of the moodier atmosphere of the previous song went into droning noise. The vocals are whispered and the instrumentation swells into more of a post-rock dream sequence. I'll give this a 9. It works really well and often finds itself entrenched in a very solid atmosphere. While black metal is one of the predominant metal ingredients this has a whole lot more going on.
I have only kept a half ear open to their work outside of "Ultra", there have been moments I have liked and could stand to delve back into that era. Lyrically they are going way to the left. Things are not far removed in Britain from where they are in the states so I can see where they are coming from and it's not like with songs like "People are People" they haven't touched on this before. It think it makes the song fall a little flat though. We have some real guitar on play, while it's not as dark as "Ultra" there is a steamy pulse to "Going Backwards". There is more of a electronic quality to "Where's the Revolution" This song is working pretty well for me until they start chanting the train is coming. So it looks like my issues with this album are going to lie more in the lyrics than the quality of the music, which sounds like Depeche Mode. Dave's voice is fine , he is not really trying to throw his pipes around that much yet.
I like Depeche Mode's ballads, but "the Worst Crime" felt dialed in. I do think the groove of both "Scum" and perhaps even more so with "You Move" takes them in a better direction. It does feel like they are a little all or nothing when it comes to guitar these days and that added texture is what keeps this from sounding like a re-mix rather than real Depeche Mode songs. They drop down a notch on "Cover Me". The guitar on this sounds like it's lifted from a Lana Del Ray song. It doesn't really take form until the beat comes in. His voice sounds great with his almost androgynous croon on "Eternal". But I am going to need these guys to do more than just croon over some synth chords.
We are back to a more Lana Del Ray like lounge on "Poison Heart". They are actually playing their instruments here and the song takes on a more rock like slink. There is an interesting mix of sound on "So Much Love". The guitar comes in right where it is needed. There is a more "Speak N Spell" like beat to "Poor Man" with gospel undertones returning with the vocals. The manage to get some unique guitar tones to layer over this.The get their groove back in a manner more fitting of their legacy on "No More". They end things on a darker more somber note with "Fail". It sounds like Dave's tribute to latter day David Bowie. I'll give this album a 9. The lyrics are the only real problem and even then there are maybe three songs where they throw the worst turd in the punch bowl.
If you were to ask me who is the heaviest band out today I might point you in the direction of this band from Denmark. Heavy is more than low tuning, thick gain and how fast you strike the strings. It' is about the sonic tensity stirred and the feelings driving how you attack your instrument. Once again genres collides. "Ashanti" feels more like blackened death metal. With raw curdled vocals that are more grind-core. It slows into more of a sludge like dirge, showing these guys can pretty effectively handle both ends of the heavy spectrum. Production the album doesn't sound as dense as the one before it. There is more of experimental wildness to what they do on this one.
Digging into further into their outbursts of song. The pace becomes more explosive on "Molestus". It becomes very clear in case you forgot what kind of bestial creation is sitting on the drum throne for these guys. "Ritualis" might be more sonic and dense than "Molestus" but is not as solid of a song. "Calamitas" is more grind-core in length and the fury espoused. The go into spastic blast beats with more of a punk feel to it than black metal here. It does find it's groove. "Nocturnus" starts off with a dark jangling current of noisy guitar that washes out into the drum that come in with a more black metal blur. It does break down into moodier moments which I think are the albums stronger points. The problem with the pacing is by the time we get to "Opacus" things are starting to run together for me. There is one riff that kind holds everything together, but how the golden rule here...Cool riff alone do no make a good song, stands to be questioned.
The vocals don't feel as varied to me. They seem to be one static scream, where I seem to recall some lower growls on the previous album. There is a pretty intense sonic opening to "Cordolium" the pace is more deliberate and this helps there cause though the song is woven from the same colors that have dripped from the bulk of the album. "Resurrection" feels more like the middle section to another song and the first time I played it through that is what it felt like to me. On it's on there is a few snare hts and cymbal mainly the screamed title of the song chanted to feedback. Much like what you expect from them the blasts of songs are to explosive to keep contained in some sprawling drone so the songs are mainly 2:30. "Septem" is as aggressive as in your face as you could ask for, but is works off the one dynamic.
If you hadn't been beaten into submission by the time they end the album on "Presagium". I really like the darker undertones to this song and latch onto the other moments like this. It's hard to imagine it but I think this album is more organic and sonic than their first full length "Abalam". I'll round this up to a 9 and see how it sits with me. The few listens I have given it thus far makes it one of those albums I can just leave on and let play, but how much longevity I get is another matter.