Monday, 22 April 2019

Siculicidium - A Halál és Az Iránytű EP


Labels: Sun & Moon Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 08 Apr 2019

Tracklist:

1. A Halál
2. Az Iránytű

A couple of promos dropped into my inbox recently from a label called Sun & Moon Records. Both featured EP's from Eastern European bands, the first of which being Romania's Siculicidium. The duo from Harghita focus on black metal and have been spreading their music since 2003. They currently have two full-lengths as well as a demo, a split and countless EPs to their name. This EP is the perfect way to be inducted into their occult journey and into the history that they bring to life.

The standard of demos and EPs nowadays are above and beyond what they used to be and while this isn’t Siculicidium’s first foray into black metal by any means, it’s still a quality release and it shows their experience. After the soothing acoustic intro on A Halál, the duo’s music becomes rich in tone and drenched in evil. The riffs are cloaked in feedback, the drums are authoritative and the vocals contain a commanding rasp. It’s very characteristic of the Eastern European sound and its originality is obvious. A great introduction to the band so far.

Az Iránytű seems more like a battle song to start with, which is no surprise given that Siculicidium take their name from a mass murder that was committed by the Habsburg army in 1764 (I’m not a historian by the way. This information was on the band’s Metal Archives page). The song itself is more mesmeric and droning in parts, with repeated riffs and a slightly stripped back approach, to start with at least. The mid-section contains a great bass/drum passage that sounds as funky as it does occult and there are some interesting musical effects within it too. It highlights the duo’s ability to not just play extremely good black metal but to also make it unique and very listenable.

This is a fantastic EP and one that will surprise many. Even if you’re not an ardent black metal listener, I urge you to give this your attention. The best music in the genre is coming from outside of its biggest markets and Romania is one country that should be explored. 

Stream and purchase the EP on vinyl and digitally below:-



The EP is available on both black and clear vinyl from the band above and via Sun & Moon Records here - http://www.sunandmoonrecords.com/webshop

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Astarium - Fragments Of Nightmares


Labels: NitroAtmosfericum Records
Formats: CD/3.5" Floppy Disk
Release Date: 09 Jan 2019

Tracklist:

1. Nocturnalism
2. Morning Star
3. Aligned Planets
4. King In Yellow
5. Desecration
6. The Fourth Horseman
7. Hell's Order
8. Burned
9. In The Heart Of Storm
10. Immolation
11. Blind Beholder
12. Moist Vagina

Russian one-man black metal project Astarium is not a new name to me; however, the project's creator is taking it in a new direction in 2019 with the release of it's sixth full-length "Fragments Of Nightmares". Moving away from the more familiar symphonic black metal sound, SiN has gathered together a collection of 12 songs that barely last over a minute each. I've read that the music contained here is influenced by grindcore, so it'll be interesting to hear the difference between it and older material. Also, in true grindcore fashion, releasing label NitroAtmosfericum Records has release it on limited CD and also on 3.5" floppy disk. 

I don’t know what to really expect here as Astarium’s symphonic black metal has been longer and  more spread out in the past. Opener Nocturnalism is an ambient and synth-led black metal piece that would act as an intro on any other album. Here’s it’s actually one of a few song that passes the sixty-second mark. The majority of the music here is programmed and it does add a more machine-like industrial edge to the album. Morning Star is a short burst of music, featuring SiN’s unique, almost spoken vocals that must be uncomfortable to produce. Aligned Planets follows on instantaneously with an upbeat tempo, which is where the grind influence comes in. 

There’s an obvious shift in Astarium’s music, but out still retains the blueprint that was forged on earlier releases like “Wyrm Of Melancholy” and “Atenvx”. King In Yellow begins quietly but the layers of instrumentation and effects allows its volume to rise and addition of death metal grunts is a surprise too. It’s back to the more traditional Astarium sound on Desecration, as the pace of slowed ever so slightly. The piano on The Fourth Horseman may be hidden a bit deeper in the mix but it’s an excellent addition, especially in a song that’s certainly more avant-garde even if brief. 

I have to admit that it does feel a bit strange writing about this album when the sun’s beaming down outside, but what are you gonna do. I suppose it’s apt that Hell’s Order is next as the heat outside slightly resembles the heat down below. It’s the longest song on “Fragments Of Nightmares” but don’t let that fool you, it’s not a progressive rock opera or anything. The record also reminds of how difficult it can be to live review records when the songs they contain come and go in the blink of an eye, like Burned does. 

The symphonic majesty and chaos of In The Heart Of Storm makes me wonder why SiN hasn’t yet enlisted a full band for Astarium. As creative as SiN is here, a full band would really take things to the next level but that’s merely my opinion. At this point, the remainder of the songs come thick and fast with little gap in between them all. Immolation once again is heavily synth led and the dual high/low-pitched growls give added volume. Penultimate track Blind Beholder is ridiculously quick and it leads to the bizarrely titled closer Moist Vagina, which is not a tribute to gore or snuff grind but is an instrumental. 

Overall with “Fragments Of Nightmares”, Astarium has definitely started to move in a different direction and while the grindcore may not be as obvious, the influence is there amongst the symphonic black metal and this album will definitely appeal to fans of avant-garde and underground music for sure. The cover art is great as well. 

You can download Aligned Planets via Astarium's website here - http://www.astarium.ru/eng/index.html

CD & Floppy Disk copies can be purchased from NitroAtmosfericum Records here - http://www.nitroatmosfericum.ru/eng/

NitroAtmosfericum Records - https://www.facebook.com/nitroatmosfericum/

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Woe - A Violent Dread


Labels: Vendetta Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 15 Mar 2019

Tracklist:

1. A Violent Dread
2. The Knell And The World

Tonight's one of those nights where I just crave music that's heavy and ungodly. While no longer being anti-religious, Woe still satisfies that craving thanks to there now honed USBM. After starting as a solo-project back in 2007, Woe transitioned into a full band for the release of second full-length "Quietly, Undramatically". Two further full-lengths followed over the next seven years and now they're back once again with the EP "A Violent Dread". They've once again joined up with Vendetta Records (who helped to release their fourth full-length "Hope Attrition" in 2017) to release the EP on single-sided vinyl with a beautiful silkscreened b-side and digitally. 

If staring into the deep black chasm on the cover wasn’t enough then the instantaneous black metal of A Violent Dread will induce vertigo of the most dizzying kind. Rhythmic is may be but friendly it ain’t. All of the usual trappings are here but Woe exhibits levels of musical experience that only come after releasing four albums. The metallic and indeed melodic guitar work fights through the murk that’s applied by both the drums and bass, while the vocals sound as though they come straight from the vast abyss. It’s epic.

Form the intensity of the first track comes the atmosphere and post-metal textures of The Knell And The World. The instrumental build-up gradually becomes faster and more complex as Woe hits their blackened stride again. The post-metal influence is short-lived as the band heads forth with abandon and slays all in their wake. Thoroughly engaging and modern in their approach, they ignore the necro sounds that existed before them and make use of stellar production/mixing/mastering to bring their music to life. Layers of subtle melody hide within the song and it all comes together effortlessly. 

You’ll struggle to find two tracks that work together as well as they do here. Woe seem to be somewhat teasing you with this release but it bloody works. EPs don’t get as much attention as full-lengths when it comes to record-of-the-year but “A Violent Dread” should be included on merit.

You can stream the EP and buy it digitally and on vinyl though Vendetta Records below:-



Sunday, 14 April 2019

Please Give Me Your Opinions

I've always considered This Noise Is Ours to be an ethical blog (I.E. not charging for anything such as preferential coverage or asking for physical review copies from every band that submits material to me, like some sketchy blogs do online). I don't feel the need to do so, because I see it as a huge privilege to be able to do what I do and because at the end of the day, this is a hobby for me and I've always said that the minute it stops being fun, I'll shut it down. 

I've also toyed with the idea of making the blog a subscription only blog and about the best, most ethical way of doing this. Not because I want to make money (as I've always wanted it to remain as a not-for-profit effort) but because I always thought it was an unspoken rule that independent blogs like mine should remain free and accessible to all.

With that in mind, I want to canvass your opinions on an idea that I've been thinking about recently. The idea is to make This Noise Is Ours a subscriber only platform, whereby I would charge each subscriber £1 a year to access the blog and in return 50% would go to charity and the other 50% would be put back into the blog (for running costs) and towards helping to release music etc. I would ask subscribers to choose the charities that will benefit and I will also make sure that I work with labels and bands etc to offer subscribers extra perks as a result.

I would welcome your comments both here and on social media. Please bear in mind that this is only an idea right now and I am not going to do this without considering as many opinions and voices as I possibly can. The floor is yours.

Chuck Bass/Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Split 7"


Labels: Zegema Beach RecordsMiss The Stars Records/Chloromethane Records/Tief In Marcellos Schuld Records/Muttis Tapes
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 23 Apr 2014

Tracklist: 

1. Chuck Bass - Alba Varden Is A Ship
2. Chuck Bass - Range Of Motion
3. Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Ryggarna Mot Varandra Och Vi Fortsatter Ga

I'm back with another ZBR discography review, this time featuring the 2014 split 7" between German screamo band Chuck Bass and their Swedish genre-mates Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket. Chuck Bass formed in 2012 and called it a day in 2016. They released two full-lengths and a split tape, alongside this 7". VSAVSM (the abbreviation I'll be using for the rest of this review) are still very much alive, having also started releasing music in 2012. They have one full-length, four splits/comps and a digital EP to their name so far, though they are in process of recording a new full-length. I can't seem to find how many copies of this split were pressed, but it was a collaborative release by the five labels above.

Chuck Bass has two songs on here, with their opener Alba Varden Is A Ship being heavy in the vocal department but melodic in the instrumental one. There are moments of introspection as well as the odd crescendo of volume, making this screamo very much in line with early protagonists in the genre. Range Of Motion is a more urgent beast, which is no surprise given it’s shorter length. Chuck Bass still manages to put a lot into it and the dramatic song-writing adds so much to their sound. 

VSAVSM’s screamo follows in the same vein on Ryggarna Mot Varandra Och Vi Fortsatter Ga. The native lyrics give the song a more caustic feel and it’s an unmistakable piece of Swedish post-hardcore. The acoustic guitar mid-way through is a surprisingly nice touch, as it sits alongside the screams during a passage that starts out as minimalistic and slowly builds in layers. Musically this is more calming, at least until the final few bars when a short burst of controlled violence calls an end to the split.

This split is only three tracks but it gives you a great idea of what both Chuck Bass and VSAVSM were/are like musically and that music is pretty damn fantastic. You can still pick up physical copies of this, so I’d recommend that you do. Stream and download it (name-your-price) below:-



Chuck Bass - https://www.facebook.com/chuckbasspunk/
Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - https://www.facebook.com/visomalskade/


As I mentioned, there are still physical copies of this split available from Zegema Beach Records below (as ZBR is the only releasing label currently active/or with an active web store):-

Zegema Beach Records - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords/
Miss The Stars Records - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsrecords/
Tief In Marcellos Schuld Records- https://www.facebook.com/marcellosschuld/

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Sweet Empire - A New Cycle


Labels: Shield Recordings/Umlaut Records/Bad Wolf Records/North Empire Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 01 Apr 2019

Tracklist: 

 1. Drones
2. Thoughts And Prayers
3. Grand Denial
4. V.K.T
5. Remains
6. Lucy
7. The Hunter
8. iHermanos!
9. Please Stay
10. Hidden Voices
11. Nihilist Nation

Honorary citizens of this little Yorkshire town (Harrogate) Sweet Empire are back with a new record, their third full-length "A New Cycle". The Dutch quartet has teamed up with Bad Wolf Records (France), North Empire Records (The Netherlands), Shield Recordings (Benelux: Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg) and Umlaut Records (United Kingdom) to release it on vinyl, CD as well as releasing it digitally. Despite my Internet connection being terrible for some reason, I'm going to attempt to get this review out to you.

Memories of watching Sweet Empire is small, crowded rooms in Harrogate are flooding back as I press play on “A New Cycle”. Drones begins the record in the best way, with Sweet Empire’s melodic punk ringing out. Their songs of resistance and upbeat music has always been a big draw and this is so much fun. Thoughts And Prayers bolsters that with plenty of sing-along moments and no complicated song structures or pretence. 

They’ve never been about long songs and that’s good, because it means that every one sticks in your head. Grand Denial is a prime example and it’s feel good factor is obvious. Alongside Antillectual, they’re the best punks in The Netherlands. That may be bold of me to say but I stand by it. Like Grand Denial, V.K.T is another urgent blast except this time it’s joined by added hardcore vox that adds aggression.

It’s back to the hummable, danceable punk on Remains. Sweet Empire don’t bother to solely ape the pop-punk big bands or whatever’s fashionable in punk. They play what they want and in doing so are worth way more, as Lucy proves. Their socially conscious lyrics provide an important message amongst the backdrop of melodic punk.

I definitely remember them being rawer than this live, but maybe I was just more inebriated than I thought at the time! Either way, I’d love to see them play The Hunter live as it’s full of energy. iHermanos! is the gang-like protest song that will probably get the biggest cheer though, as it talks of camaraderie and standing up to injustice.

Please Stay
is a political anthem akin to those of Strike Anywhere and it’s brilliant. The riffs really stand out on penultimate song Hidden Voices, yet more catchy guitar work and vocals that help to make this album so good. In fact, all of the instrumentation (and the production/mixing/mastering) brings it to life with a sound that’s clear and so alive. Album closer Nihilist Nation rounds it out with a party vibe that’s the backbone of Sweet Empire. No complications and no reason to ignore this. Sweet Empire does it again. Now, come back to the ‘gate!

You can stream "A New Cycle" via Sweet Empire's Bandcamp page below, where it's available to buy on all formats:-




You can also grab the LB/CD from the links below:-

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Premiering: Chivàla - Materia E Memoria (Exclusive Premiere)


I'm excited to be able to bring you a new song from Italian screamo band Chivàla. It's due to appear on a new four-way split record that will also feature US bands Lytic, Amitie and Pique. No release date has yet been set for the split, but it will be released via Zegema Beach Records (Canada/US), Moment Of Collapse (Germany) and Shove Records (Italy).

Chivàla continues the long tradition of great Italian screamo bands (Raein, Shizune, Ojne etc) and this is the quartet's first new song since the release of their debut EP last year. You can stream their new song Materia E Memoria below:-


You can also hear exclusive songs from Lytic, Amitie and Pique via the publications below:-


Lytic, Amitie and Chivàla are all playing at this year's We Built The World And Miss The Stars Fest VI in Germany on May 10th. Check out the event page here - https://www.facebook.com/events/.

Amitie and Chivàla are then due to play Ultimate Scream Fest '19 in Poland on May 12". The event page is here - https://www.facebook.com/events.
Last but not least, both Lytic and Chivàla are teaming up for a tour around Italy in June, check out the tour flyer below:-

Keep your eyes peeled on the below pages for more news on the split:-

Monday, 8 April 2019

Vale Of Pnath - Accursed


Labels: Willowtip Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date; 17 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Shadow And Agony
2. The Darkest Gate
3. Skin Turned Soil
4. Accursed
5. Audient Void
6. Obsidian Realm
7. Spectre Of Bone

Following my quick-fire review of UK melodic death metal act Foul Body Autopsy over the weekend, I wanted to carry on in the same vein and when I noticed the name Vale Of Pnath peering at me amongst a barrage of emails, I knew what I had do to. Vale Of Pnath is a band that I've been familiar with for a long time. Dating back to 2006, they've made waves with Tribunal Records and more recently Willowtip Records, who've been a safe haven for many a tech-death leading light in recent years. Three years on from second full-length "II" come this new EP, which should show 2019 what true US tech-death is. 

The Willowtip Records I remember was the one featuring Crowpath, Carphanaum and Arsis. The label fell off my radar for a while but thanks to Vale Of Pnath and their latest EP, the label is well and truly back in plain sight. The ambient/electronic opener Shadow And Agony is fearsome as it prepares you for the bludgeoning to come. Vale Of Pnath does not disappoint as The Darkest Gate reigns over you with pummelling drums, high-pitched shrieks and bass/guitar fretboard mayhem. This is extreme in every way, yet VoP manages to throw in plenty of melody to ward off those evil demons.

This is a slickly produced record it has to be said, but not the detriment of VoP of their chosen sound. Skin Turned Soil features subtle electronic/symphonic elements that nestle beneath the other instrumentation and who’s textures really help bring it all to life. There’s no rest between Skin Turned Soil and Accursed. On Accursed VoP manages to fit an insane amount of music into not much time at all. Most of that time is filled with absolutely barbaric kick-drumming and precise guitar-work that proves exactly why the band is praised so highly. 

After the brief but creepy ambience of Audient Void, it’s back to the intensity with penultimate song Obsidian Realm. The break in VoP’s death metal actually helps their music to stand out more and its no exception here. Longer in playing time and more technical from the off, it’s hard to keep up and even with the melancholic mid-section, there’s no solace to be had. “Accursed” acts almost like a throwback to when technical death metal was snapping at the heels of it’s more mainstream melodic cousin. That’s not a disservice though, as this is both brutal and infectious at the same time. 

EP closer Spectre Of Bone takes things to a terrifying conclusion. Terrifying only because of the virtuosity of the band’s playing. Song-structures throughout this EP are perfect and nothing so far this year in tech-death terms gets close to “Accursed”. Vale Of Pnath has already proclaimed that 2019 will be their biggest year yet and it’s hard to argue with them after hearing this. Absolutely brutal. Just you try and keep that grin off your face while blasting this!

You can stream the title-track "Accursed" via Vale Of Pnath's bandcamp page below:-



You can pre-order the EP on all formats (vinyl, cd and digital) above too.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Foul Body Autopsy - The Unquiet Dead


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 06 Mar 2019

Tracklist:

1. Consumed By Decay
2. The Impending Darkness
3. Searching For Sanctuary

I can't believe its been six years since I first featured Leicester one-man death metal machine Foul Body Autopsy. That review was about the band's 2013 EP "The Epidemic Sickening The World" and you can read it here. Fast forward to 2019 and FBA offers a teasing EP in the form of "The Unquiet Dead". FBA has played Bloodstock Open Air twice and has shared stages with heavy hitters like General Surgery and Thy Art Is Murder, so it's a mystery as to why the band isn't more well known. Hopefully this EP will change that.

The first thing that strikes you when hitting play on Consumed By Decay and the melodic intro, which is quite symphonic (in a similar vein to Dark Tranquillity). The remainder of the song is very strong and it’s mid-tempo nature allows FBA to focus on making it catchy and precise. It’s accessible to those venturing into death metal for the first time but it’s by no means a pop song, just remember that. The extremity ratchets up on The Impending Darkness. The percussion is faster and there’s a great off-kilter technicality to it. The growls are dragged deep from the old-school and it’s urgency is obvious. This is certainly more old-school death than modern day melodic death.

Closing song Searching For Sanctuary once again follows the same path as the EP’s opener and there’s no complaining as the catchiness is back and the song-writing is stellar. It’s hard to believe that it’s all come from the head of one person but Tom’s a seasoned vet at this now and it shows. The production that was done by Russ Russell adds a sheen that makes it sound even better, especially where that melody is concerned and the solo towards the end is class. Yes, this may feel like a bit of a teaser, but it’s good enough to standalone and it does just that. Don’t be fooled by the extreme logo and cover art, this isn't your standard blastbeats and gargles affair. Give it your full support!

Stream "The Unquiet Dead" and grab it as a name-your-price download, on CD or both below:-



Thursday, 4 April 2019

Singular - F.E.I.A.R


Labels: Terr-Records/Tenzenmen
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 07 Apr 2019

Tracklist:

1. Comrade
2. Iron Heart
3. Man Of Escape
4. Cyberpunk
5. Cicada 3301
6. Plagiat
7. Dark Thought
8. Heat
9. Heaven Is For Heroes
10. Siren
11. W.Kemmler

This week is taking it's toll on me. I wasn't going to do any writing tonight but I received an e-mail today from Mashi, whom I know from Malaysian post-hardcore band Cantilever (by the way, I have some tape/CDr copies of the Cantilever EP If people in the UK want one). Mashi is the sole member of Singular, which is a grind project and F.E.I.A.R is the band's first full-length. It's being released on pro CD via Terr-Records and Tenzenmen very soon. At this point I should make it clear that Singular is a fully functioning live band too, so you should book them (if they tour your locale!).

Grind is just what I’m after this evening and you can’t get any noisier than this. Comrade opens “F.E.I.A.R” up with grind of the angular and technical persuasion. It’s fast and awesome. There’s no time to breath between songs as Iron Heart blasts through just over one-and-a-half-minutes of mental noise, though it feels like much longer. I’m loving the instant stop/start between tracks and Man Of Escape is a rager. The screams are throat-scraping and the instrumentation could’ve come from the likes of Napalm Death or Water Torture, albeit with a slightly more melodic edge. 

I was a bit worried when I saw that Singular had a song called Cyberpunk, but thankfully it’s not terrible. In fact it’’s an atmospheric instrumental piece with the sound of rain falling in the background, which adds a layer of ambience that’s often missing from records this extreme. The true shock to the system comes in the form of Cicada 3301, which contains some of the most jarring riffs on the record. Off-kilter for the most part but also combining the band’s obvious love of punk. 

This album absolutely flies by and when Plagiat drags you into the second half, it does so in bludgeoning fashion. Its one-minute playing time leads you into the jarring guitar tones of Dark Thought, which is equally as urgent in its delivery. The layers of feedback only add to its immediacy. At this point in time it may be too easy to call this a grind record, as Singular adds more elements to the music, such as post-hardcore (that may be unsurprising though if you’re familiar with Cantilever).

Heat sees Mashi’s first true attempt at clean vocals on “F.E.I.A.R” and they work really well, given the relatively sedate nature of the opening passages of the song. It’s a moody number that quells the ferocity somewhat and lets you take a breath. It’s back to the maniacal soundscapes with Heaven Is For Heroes, which is made up of a repeated guitar/percussion sequence that takes you into Siren without so much as a warning. 

Siren sees Singular going back to its grinding best. It reminds me of when I first heard bands like Coins As Portraits (Romania). Chaotic and brilliant all in one. The guitar work at the end even sounds like an air raid siren (I suppose that was the intention). Album closer W.Kemmler is just as intense but with melody that seems to sooth things a little. I’ve said here before that those bands outside of the bigger scenes are making the best noise and Singular is definitely up there at the top. Don’t miss out.

You can stream three tracks from "F.E.I.A.R" via Singular's bandcamp page below:-



You can also pre-order it digitally above too.


You'll be able to get CD per-orders from the labels below:-