Thursday, 11 August 2022

Black Wound/Skullsceptre - Deterioration Of Light


Labels: Dry Cough Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 07 Oct 2021


Tracklist:


1. Black Wound - Rusted Teeth

2. Skullsceptre - Inferno From Beyond

3. Skullsceptre - Upon The Cross


I really must stop using the warmest evenings of the year to write about slow and heavy music. I'm pretty sure I did something similar during the July heatwave, but I just can't help myself. This here split features Swedish death/doom trio Black Wound, whom I wrote about in June and fellow Swede's Skullsceptre, with this split featuring their first recorded material. Deterioration Of Light was released on tape (limited to 100 copies) by UK label Dry Cough, who also released Black Wound's previous EP To The Endless Depths, as well as digitally. Tapes are sold out.


The air is so still this evening with barely any breeze, which means having my window open does nothing at all apart from spread this aural filth even further. Black Wound’s up first with their one and only track ‘Rusted Filth’, which proves my description in the previous sentence was correct, but in a good way. Slow, bass-heavy and raw death/doom that’s primed for tape player real-estate. The vocals are equally as low and are used quite sparingly given the song’s playing time. Definitely heavily rooted in the old-school and all the better for it. It’s very atmospheric too though as the second half demonstrates, when Black Wound venture further down the doomy path with slower and darker tempos. 


Skullsceptre fly straight out of the speakers on their first song ‘Inferno From Beyond’, which is made up of a higher tempo version of death metal, though it still takes it’s influences from the genre’s forefathers. It’s no great surprise really given the death metal royalty that came out of Sweden back in the day. The percussion is faster as you’d expect, while the bass and guitar work is more frenetic and punk-filled. The vocals again are deeper in tone, suiting the music perfectly. Split closer ‘Upon The Cross’ is maniacal in it’s delivery, much in the same vein as Skullsceptre’s first song but coupled with a grin-inducing guitar solo and frightening dual-vocals, it really hits the spot.


This split is over all too quickly. Both Black Wound and Skullsceptre shine new light on the Swedish death metal scene, even if it only lights up the gloomier alleys of it’s underground. The torch never burns out but merely passes on to the next. I know there’s been further material from Black Wound (that I’ll be writing about at a later date) but here’s hoping for more from Skullsceptre as well. Until then though, this split is more than worthy.


You can stream and purchase Deterioration Of Light digitally below:-



Black Wound - https://www.facebook.com/blackwound

Skullsceptre - https://www.facebook.com/skullsceptre

Dry Cough Records - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Majorel - Restless In Memory


Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 04 Apr 2017


Tracklist:


1. A Simple Retreat

2. Unversed, A Conscious Abandonment Of Surroundings

3. Attempting Coherence In Form And Intent

4. Until The Well Runs Dry

5. Disrupting Moonwake


This is the 76th Zegema Beach release that's been featured on this blog in total (if my maths serves me correct). Granted, a number of those releases were featured prior to me starting this review series and I know that I've missed one earlier release (which, I'll circle back round to at a later date). Majorel existed for a very short length of time (at least I don't think they're active anymore) and this tape was their first release back on 2017, with their second being the 4-way 10" Desolate Hands Move The Hour with Cady, Agak and Come Regalia, which was also released by ZBR a year later. Majorel featured notable musicians who were/are currently in Karoshi, Apostles Of Eris, In Wolves Clothing and Swan Of Tuonela, plus a whole host of others. 


The screamo/hardcore scene in Richmond, Virginia (USA) has always been very fertile and Majorel more than staked their claim for recognition when they released Restless In Memory. ‘A Simple Retreat’ opens proceedings in truly driving, violent fashion but also with a notable emo layer. You could call it emoviolence or screamo, but in truth it’s got a bit of everything. Precise instrumentation where both the percussion and guitars are clear, while the vocals are heart-wrenching and also utterly piercing. 


Emoviolence might have been an apt descriptor here as ‘Unversed, A Conscious Abandonment Of Surroundings’ flies by in a whirlwind of dramatic heaviness. There isn’t anything blackened about it per se but there is that feeling about it. Maybe it’s the anxious riffs and the orchestral melody that they create.’ Attempting Coherence In Form And Intent’ is the most progressive sounding track on the EP for sure, whether that was intentional or not. Off-kilter musicianship that’s beautifully delivered alongside an undercurrent of dare-I-say early metalcore, maybe?. Either way, it’s killer.


Penultimate song ‘Until The Well Runs Dry’ is a slower building number that keeps the anticipation high with layered volume and switches in tempo that promise to break out but don’t. Controlled songwriting that keeps you hooked until the end. It’s left to ‘Disrupting Moonwake’ to close out the EP in the most suspense-filled way. It’s violent beginning gives way to an introspective mid-section that grows in the same way that Envy’s music does. The final breaths are made up of Majorel’s angular hardcore. 


Another in a long line of great ZBR releases but no label is bigger than the bands they are home to and Majorel count as one of ZBR’s best residents. They may not be active right now but at least there are some things to remember them by. Tapes are still available (which, is crazy) so go grab em!


You can stream Restless In Memory and purchase it both on tape or digitally from Majorel below:-



Copies are long since sold out from Zegema Beach Records.


Majorel - https://www.facebook.com/majorelrva/

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

AngelBlast - Throne Of Ashes 7"


Labels: Edged Circle Productions

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 28 Jan 2022


Tracklist:


1. Throne Of Ashes

2. Tartarus


I'm not sure if there's been something in the water over the last fews days but both both my work life and blog life (if that's even a real thing) have been pretty damn good. Obviously, I've just jinxed it all but I'm going to press on regardless. It's time for another 7" review in the form of International death/black metal band AngelBlast and their latest EP Throne Of Ashes, which was released in late January on vinyl and digital formats via Norwegian label Edged Circle Productions. It's only the quartet's second release, following their 2019 7" EP Rotting Paradise, which was also released by Edged Circle. AngelBlast features members of In Aeternum, Necrophobic and Divinity (the Divinity from Calgary, Alberta to avoid confusion) amongst many others. 


There’s nowt like a midweek blast and tonight’s comes with extra spice from AngelBlast. The EP’s title track ‘Throne Of Ashes’ is a perfect slice of modern death/black metal that owes itself to the old-school. Now when I use the term modern, I’m not talking about the breakdown/deathcore style of death metal, but that somehow this sounds fresh without necessarily being so. Obviously, those behind AngelBlast know what they’re doing and are seasoned musicians, so creating something like this is no surprise at all. Percussion, bass, guitars and vocals are all top notch, while the addition of piano for atmosphere and melody does the trick too.


Second and final song ‘Tartarus’ is blistering right from the off. Raging kick-drums, blastbeats and solo work greet you within the first thirty-seconds, before AngelBlast throw themselves back into it. Orchestral/choral melodies sit in the background, while the technical prowess of the band is allowed to shine. There is a subtle murkiness flowing through both songs here, but as I say it’s only subtle and if anything it helps make things that bit dirtier. 


This is a real success of an EP. It’s good value musically at ten minutes in length and it proves that it’s better not to overdo things, in turn leaving listeners wanting more. Let’s hope for an album from AngelBlast soon though, as I can see both of their EPs getting worn out from all the spins!


For fans of: Necrophobic, Malevolent Creation, Divinity, Castrator and Inhuman Condition


You can stream and purchase Throne Of Ashes on both digital and vinyl formats below:-



AngelBlast - https://www.facebook.com/AngelBlast666

Edged Circle Productions - https://www.facebook.com/edgedcircleproductions

Monday, 1 August 2022

Dome Runner - Conflict State Design


Labels: Self-Released/Starving Light Collective

Formats: Digital/CD

Release Date: 12 Aug 2021


Tracklist:


1. Fuji Cracks

2. Imprisoned Existence

3. Unfollow

4. Impure Utility Of Authoritarian Power Structure

5. The Undemonizing Process

6. In Pain

7. Expire

8. Exit Design


Debut album Conflict State Design was digitally released by Finnish industrial sludge band Dome Runner in August 2021. It was joined by a CD pressing from fellow Finnish label Starving Light Collective around the same time too (at least I believe that to be the case, but correct me if not). I was contacted by both the band and SLC separately sometime ago about it and in typical fashion, I'm finally writing about it now (sorry to all parties involved for the severe delay). Dome Runner started life in 2017 and released their debut demo in 2020.


I’ve never really gravitated towards industrial music but I’m aware that as time passes, tastes change and I am a lover of sludge, so Dome Runner gets my approval. Plus, they’re Finnish so that makes me happy. Album opener ‘Fuji Cracks’ is a bizarre mix of both the aforementioned sub-genres and the experimental, hypnotic nature of Dome Runner’s sound is obvious right away. Oppressive percussion sits alongside droning riffs and vocals that slide between truly harsh reverb-filled screams, and spacey clean singing. Plus the colours used on the cover art remind of Fear Factory’s Soul Of A New Machine (in a very round-about way). 


Obviously, there’s no great similarity between the two bands, aside from the Industrial leanings to my ears, but please tell me what you think. ‘Imprisoned Existence’, much like the album’s opener, contains repeating electronics and a barrage of down-tuned instrumentation. The vocals are delivered with the intensity of a powerviolence band in parts, which is definitely in keeping with the rest of the Starving Light Collective roster. That said, the music here is definitely more mind-opening.


‘Unfollow’ gives you elements of thrash and groove metal with it’s simple but very effective riffage. The crashing percussion/samples render you incoherent while Dome Runner aurally attacks from all directions. I forgot how genuinely refreshing it was to listen to something far removed from what’s been on rotation for me recently (death metal, screamo). So far this album is a great listen.


The longest song on the album is ‘Impure Utility Of Authoritarian Power Structure’ and it’s a swirling mix of tempos and heavy textures. I use the term textures loosely though, as the sound that’s achieved throughout this album is anything but gentle in feel. It takes control of all of your senses and thanks to clever song-writing and sludgy tones, it very much stays on the right side of becoming a noisy, incoherent collage of sound. 


I wasn’t doing Dome Runner a disservice with the final sentence of that last paragraph, as I really dig this and ‘The Undermonizing Process’ shows why, as the band comes into their own with an ear-splitting hybrid of fast/slowness. The more you take this in the more you hear of their musicality. It’s extreme but it’s infectious too and if there was a song that truly summed up Conflict State Design it would be ‘In Pain’, purely for it’s constant groove. It may seem like I’ve run out of things to say at this point, but I’m really just taking a moment to soak it all up. 


‘Expire’ breaks me from my trance and in doing so, it quite bizarrely transports me back to when I was watching Turnstile’s Glastonbury 2022 set on TV from earlier this year (must be the clean vocals). Again, I know neither band are similar in any way. It’s just the colours my head paints. Closer ‘Exit Design’ is a gentle, ambient piece that calmly calls time on proceedings in brilliant fashion.


This is another prime example of why you shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity to listen to something new, even if it does take you nearly a year to actually do it (as is my case). Dome Runner are another reason why I hold Finnish music in such high regard. Likewise, Starving Light Collective too. Please give this album a listen if you haven’t done so already.


For Fans Of: Godflesh, Napalm Death, Killing Joke, Kurokuma and Fear Factory


You can stream Conflict State Design and grab it as a name-your-price download from Dome Runner below:-



Dome Runner - https://www.facebook.com/iamdomerunner


I can't find any links to CD copies, but you can contact Starving Light Collective via the below link to see if any copies are still available:-


Starving Light Collective - https://www.facebook.com/starvinglight

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Cuck - Worship The Uniform: Official Music Video Premiere


July 26th 2022 saw the release of the debut self-titled full-length from New Zealand powerviolence band Cuck. The band formed shortly after the member's returned home from the Crowning/Swallows Nest tour of Europe in 2019 (and also features members of Sewage, as well as ex-members of Machina Rex and Yung Nats). The album contains 14 tracks of rip-roaring, heavy pv and was released on a run of 52 tapes by Tomb Tree. I'm excited to be able to bring you the premiere of the music video for track number 10 'Worship The Uniform' in partnership with the label:-



Both 'Worship The Uniform' and it's accompanying video take direct aim at the British monarchy and the commonwealth all within fifty seconds, as you'll see when you watch it. 


Cuck will definitely appeal to those of you who like bands such as Aureole Of Ash, Cloud Rat and Svffer amongst others. The tapes have been split into the following variants:-


20 on Sookee Swirl:



12 on The Cuck Galaxy Swirl:



10 on Half Red/Black:



5 Mystery Swirls and 5 Test Dips (not pictured)


The full album can be streamed via Tomb Tree's bandcamp page below, where it's also available as a name-your-price digital download:-



Physical tape copies can be purchased from the Tomb Tree section of the Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL store and at the time of writing this, copies of all three of the pictured variants are still available - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/tomb-tree-tapes/tt073.


Cuck - https://cucucuck.bandcamp.com/releases

Tomb Tree - https://www.facebook.com/tombtreetapes

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Trachimbrod - Leda


Labels: Damnfinetapes!/Dog Knights Productions/Through Love Records/Tokyo Jupiter Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 03 Apr 2017


Tracklist:


1. Rum utan fönster

2. Allt är som det alltid var

3. Tärd

4. Begränsad

5. Medskyldighet

6. Ett annat liv

7. Vi två

8. Hjärnspöke

9. Saker de säger


This, while being my latest Zegema Beach Records roster series review, is also rather embarrassingly one of only a few reviews I've written that also features a release from UK/EU label Dog Knights Productions. That's strange in itself because ever since I started this blog, I've been religiously buying everything that Dog Knights and it's imprint Left Hand Label has released. It also comes at a time when DKP has announced an indefinite hiatus from label activity, for the forceable future at least.


Leda by Swedish post-rock/screamo band Trachimbrod (known as Come Across Trachimbrod in their easier days from 2009 - 2012) was released in April 2017 on vinyl by DKP, ZBR and Through Love Records. It was also released on tape via Damnfinetapes! and on cd via Tokyo Jupiter Records that same year. It serves as their last release to date.


This review might get a but sentimental, so apologies in advance. Owning records like Leda and living with it’s music for so long actually makes it’s harder to write about (for me anyway). I don’t know why but it just does. Album opener ‘Rum utan fönster’ is so musically pleasing and lighter than you might imagine given Trachimbrod’s post-rock/screamo leanings. Even when the screams come in over the top of the instrumentation, there’s no reason to be put off. It’s a record by a Scandinavian band that kind of sounds like a record by an Asian band to me, but that’s maybe because I’ve been listening to a hefty amount of Asian screamo lately, away from this blog. Musically it’s fantastic.


‘Allt är som det alltid var’ is beautifully pop-like, in the vein of I Love Your Lifestyle. It’s variation that suits Trachimbrod’s sound one hundred percent. The vocals switch from clean to harsh towards it’s end and when both are together, they work perfectly. As somebody who swings wildly from ludicrously heavy music to catchy and upbeat music now more than ever, ‘Tärd’ is a glorious mix of both. It may read like this is the first time I’ve listened to this record, but if truth be told I haven’t listened to it for a while (a symptom of always buying music I guess). I’ve forgotten how much I love it though!


After the slightly shorter ‘Tärd’, ‘Begränsad’ gives Trachimbrod’s sound a slight art-rock vibe, thanks to the lovely melodic guitar tones and time-signatures used throughout. It’s dreamy and is exactly what’s needed at this midweek point. The bass that concludes ‘Begränsad’ leads you into the quite explosive ‘Medskyldighet’, which is the shortest song of Leda but also the heaviest so far. It brings to mind Via Fondo, Suis La Lune and Shirokuma for me, thanks to it’s honest intensity.


‘Ett annat liv’ mixes the intensity of it’s predecessor with the vocal melody that was heard during ‘Allt är som det alltid var’, yet with a greater leaning towards those screams. Again, it’s so hard to ignore the exquisite musicianship that envelopes it all. The drums sound so organic and lively, while the bass and guitar work is sensitive and easy on the ear. I think it’s for that reason that this whole record sounds so perfect, as ‘Vi två’ rings out of the speakers. 


You reach penultimate song ‘Hjärnspöke’ all too quickly and with it, Trachimbrod’s heavier edge gets the heart racing once again. I’m not really a fan of symphonic/orchestral metal/rock, and I’m in no way comparing Trachimbrod to that, but there’s something dramatic about their sound here that makes me think of an orchestra. I can imagine them on a live stage, all moving individually (seemingly and rhythmically) while playing as one. I’ve seen bands do that before live and it’s a joy to behold when you’re lost in it.


Album closer ‘Saker de säger’ is the final illustration of just how great Trachimbrod’s music is. It brings to life the highs that you feel when listening to this album. Music is to be treasured and I treasure this LP so much, which is why I own two variants still to this day, and I’m not collector scum believe it or not!. This album is great from start to finish. Thanks and admiration goes to Trachimbrod and to all of the labels that were involved in bringing this to so many ears, Also, special thanks to DKP for all of the music that I hold so dear.


For fans of: Blue Friend, Via Fondo, Suis La Lune, Shirokuma, I Love Your Lifestyle and Heaven In Her Arms


You can stream and purchase Leda digitally as a name-your-price download from Trachimbrod's bandcamp page below:-



Trachimbrod - https://www.facebook.com/trachimbrodofsweden


Remaining physical copies can still be purchased from the releasing labels below:-


Dog Knights Productions - UK/EU/ROW - https://dogknightsproductions.com/collections/12-dk/products/dk103-trachimbrod-leda-12-lp 

Dog Knights Productions - USA/CAN - https://dogknightsproductions.com/collections/dog-knights-us/products/us-only-dk103-trachimbrod-leda-12-lp

Tokyo Jupiter Records - https://store.tokyojupiterrecords.com/collections/460391-tokyo-jupiter-records/products/19407580-trachimbrod-leda-cd

Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/leda


Dog Knights Productions - https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

Through Love Records - https://www.facebook.com/ThroughLoveRec

Tokyo Jupiter Records - https://www.facebook.com/tokyojupiter

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Hell, Fire and...Lexington: Tennessee Metal Devastation Music Festival


The first Tennessee Metal Devastation Music Festival is due to take place on October 8th, at Beech Lake in Lexington, Tennessee. Organised by Raven Moonla and Zachary Moonshine (Metal Devastation PR), the all-day festival will feature 13 bands, as well as traders, food and a family friendly atmosphere. 


The festival has garnered a lot of attention since being announced and in what's been dubbed 'Satanic Panic', the festival, it's organiser and even the bands due to perform have been targeted by religious groups and individuals intent on shutting it down using various forms of social media, including Reddit and Facebook. Please see the screenshots below highlighting some of the comments and opposition, which were taken by the organisers:-



The above screenshots have been used with the kind permission of Tennessee Metal Devastation Music Festival and are viewable along with other news and promotion about the festival on their Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/MetalDevastationMusicFest.


A source close to the festival told This Noise Is Ours that they believed that some of the opposition was coming from people linked to the Second Baptist Church in Lexington. Attempts have been made to contact the church to get their views on the festival and to understand their opposition to it; however, at the time of writing this article, no response has been received. 


What all of this shows is that the stereotyping and misunderstanding of alternative/marginalised cultures still goes on, even in 2022, especially by religious organisations. If anybody connected to organisations opposing this festival would like the opportunity to talk in the balance of fairness, This Noise Is Ours would like to hear from you. Please e-mail tnio@outlook.com.


None of this is putting off the organisers, the bands or fans of heavy metal though. Make sure you check out the bands via the links below and if you are attending the festival in October, it'd be great to follow up afterwards and hear about your experiences:-


Summoner’s Circle - https://www.facebook.com/summonerscircle

Casket Robbery - https://www.facebook.com/casketrobbery

Deooculted - https://www.facebook.com/Deocculted/

Spillage - https://www.facebook.com/spillagerocks

Eyes Of The Living - https://www.facebook.com/eyesoftheliving

Hierarchy - https://www.facebook.com/hierarchybandofficial

Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf - https://www.facebook.com/tommystewartsdyerwulf/

Gravehuffer - https://www.facebook.com/gravehuffer

Forever Broken - https://www.facebook.com/ForeverBroken2016/

Sleuthfoot - https://www.facebook.com/Sleuthfoot

The Red Mountain - https://www.facebook.com/THEREDMOUNTAIN/

Devil Be My Judge - https://www.facebook.com/devilbemyjudgeofficial/

Grave Next Door - https://www.facebook.com/gravenextdoor/


Friday, 22 July 2022

The Grasshopper Lies Heavy/WOORMS - Various Plants And Animals Under Domestication Split


Labels: Self-Released/Forbidden Place Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 07 Jan 2022


Tracklist:


1. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - Indifference Apocalypse

2. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - King Of Opinion

3. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - Daun

4. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - Unending Mediocrity

5. WOORMS - Areola Borealis


It's finally Friday and I for one want to forget about the working week that's just been. What better way to do that than with the latest split release featuring Texan sludge trio The Grasshopper Lies Heavy and Louisiana's WOORMS. The split features four songs from TGLH and one long player from WOORMS, having been self-released digitally, as well as on physical formats via Forbidden Place Records. I seem to remember coming across TGLH via a Rock Sound Magazine cd sampler (I think) and WOORMS have released a couple of albums via UK label Sludgelord Records in the past. 


Eyes down for the Friday night headbang! TGLH kick off with ‘Indifference Apocalypse’, which is a lot more up-tempo than I was expecting at first, despite the band being rooted in sludge. It’s loud and engrossing, with a smattering of psych thrown in as well. TGLH’s instrumentation is where they really shine and this is perfect so far. ‘King Of Opinion’ seems to be somewhat darker in tone, but maybe that’s me. It’s certainly more bass-heavy and downturned as it bludgeons it’s way through nearly three-minutes of absolute heaviness. 


Instantly following ‘King Of Oblivion’ is ‘Daun’, which is a semi-instrumental song that almost seems to follow directly on from it’s predecessor. One thing’s for sure though, it’s groovy as hell with a mesmeric riff that flows right though it. TGLH end their side of the split with their most expansive song in the form of ‘Unending Mediocrity’, and boy is it a joy to listen to. Proper atmospheric post-metal at it’s best. It’s a song that you can really get lost in and when it comes to a halt after nearly eight-and-a-half minutes, it leaves a bit of a void.


A void that WOORMS fill with their mammoth track ‘Areola Borealis’, which weighs in at over twenty one minutes and is utterly bonkers right from the off, with pitch-shifting notes, samples and vocals that sit deep within the mix. Those vocals are very much hidden by instrumentation but they’re still punchy enough to have an impact early on.


It’s at the six minute mark that I realise I’m aching like a bar stool, though that may have more to do with my sitting position as opposed to the headbanging that’s going on. Needless to say, I’m still glued to my laptop’s speakers while listening to this, slightly helped my the imbibing of Friday night alcohol. After the ethereal sludge concludes around the twelve-and-a-half minute mark, WOORMS slip into an instrumental jam featuring more samples, that seems to build in layers, showcasing the Louisiana approach to musical experimentation. The closing acoustic passage is very stirring, almost Fleetwood Mac-esque in places. 


This split is fantastic. From the faster and more intense sludge of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy to the trippier, more psych filled sludge of WOORMS, there’s plenty for the heavy music connoisseur. I well and truly dig both of these bands and I can assure you that you won’t leave disappointed either. 


For fans of: Old Man Gloom, Shy, Low, Heron, Postvorta & Weedian


You can stream and purchase the split digitally via TGLH and WOORMS respectively on bandcamp below:-




The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - https://www.facebook.com/grasshopperliesheavy

WOORMS - https://www.facebook.com/WOORMSband


You can purchase the split physically on all formats or as merch bundles via Forbidden Place Records below:-


https://forbiddenplacerecords.bandcamp.com/album/woorms-the-grasshopper-lies-heavy-various-plants-and-animals-under-domestication


Forbidden Place Records - https://www.facebook.com/forbiddenplacerecords

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Visions From Beyond - Drawing Down The Darkness


Labels: Dry Cough Records

Formats: Tape/CD/Digital

Release Date: 01 Nov 2021


Tracklist:


1. Re-animator

2. Drawing Down The Darkness

3. Confronting The Adversary

4. Lord Of Flies


It's been a while now since I reviewed the debut EP Eternally Bound, Whipped By Time from Bristolian death/doom band Visions From Beyond. I said in that review that I was also going to write about the band's second EP Drawing Down The Darkness, which was also released in 2021. I'm a man of my word and here it is, albeit slightly later than planned. Tape copies were pressed on limited quantities via UK label Dry Cough Records in November of 2021.


This review was supposed to be posted on Monday evening but the heatwave happened. It’s marginally cooler tonight so I’m going with it. I’m sure there will be some you who’re already familiar with Bristol’s death/doom entity Visions From Beyond, but if not then you can start here. ‘Re-Animator’ immediately sounds doomier and much more oppressive, thanks to the lower-than-low vocals. The lead guitar brings some light but it’s only a brief ray. The band’s own bandcamp page contains a description that calls it harrowing and I wouldn’t disagree with that. The EP’s title track ‘Drawing Down The Darkness’ is a slow build, letting dark and menacing atmospherics take the lead before it lurches into a lengthier song that’s much more deathly in it’s delivery. The darkness well and truly manifests itself here. 


‘Confronting The Adversary’ demonstrates just how oppressive and close death/doom can be (just like the temperature this evening, which is a combination of the heat coming from laptop and the close pre-thunderstorm heat outside). Us Brits are never happy unless we’re complaining about something! I’m not complaining about the music though, as it’s stellar. EP closer ‘Lord Of Flies’ is another lumbering hymn that catches you off guard slightly with it’s off-kilter instumentation and tempos. It’s, dare I say it, almost progressive in nature. That’s absolutely fine though as progression is nothing but a good thing for me. This song highlights the musical ability of Visions From Beyond even more so than is expected. Subtle elements of Cynic and even Atheist make themselves known towards it’s conclusion.


Despite the fact that I’m currently melting, Drawing Down The Darkness has been a comforting and exciting listen that’s made me forget about the heat. Visions From Beyond laid down two proper markers in 2021 and has shown a developing sound that offers a lot of promise. Here’s to the next.


For fans of: Cynic, Universally Estranged, Eye Of Purgatory, Solothus and Warning


You can stream and purchase Drawing Down The Darkness for super cheap digitally below:-



Visions From Beyond - https://www.facebook.com/visionsfrombeyond.official


Unbelievably, tape copies are still available from Dry Cough Records below:-

https://www.drycoughrecords.com/product/visions-from-beyond-drawing-from-the-darkness-cassette-dc50


Dry Cough Records - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Crowning - Funeral Designs


Labels: Zegema Beach Records/Tomb Tree

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 14 Feb 2017


Tracklist:


1. Funeral Designs

2. Velleity

3. Swivet

4. Exposure

5. Buddy Dryer


My first introduction to US screamo band Crowning was in 2018 when I reviewed their split with Swallow's Nest (by the way, I'll have a sweet Swallow's Nest related post coming towards the end of July that might interest those of you reading this, so stay tuned!). They've been pretty busy of late too having recently released a split LP with Naedr, but I'm going backwards in their discography today to the EP that started it all off, Funeral Designs. It was originally released on tape (via a couple of pressings) and digital formats via Zegema Beach Records in Feb 2017, before receiving a repress through Tomb Tree in 2020. 


We’re about to enter a heatwave in the UK (one lasting a mere three or four days I might add!). It’s pretty warm already this morning and because of the advice telling us to stay inside to avoid the worst of the heat, I’ve already jammed me some AFI and Primitive Man. Now it’s the turn of Crowning and their debut EP, Funeral Designs. The EP’s title-track ‘Funeral Designs’ instantly hits a high gear with noisy and heavy screamo/hardcore. The sound is very bass-heavy and the breakdown at the midway point is properly attention grabbing.


After an initially heavy start, ‘Velleity’ settles into a melodic intro passage that leads to infectious screamo that’s as intricate as it is emotive. Crowning have become a staple of modern day post-hardcore and it’s easy to see that trajectory after listening to this. Some of the best songs are the ones that come and go in a flash, like ‘Swivet’ does. It’s sub sixty-second form means that it’s allowed to be angry and violent, yet Crowning keep it controlled as well. 


From the intense to the dramatic now as ‘Exposure’ sees the band change direction slightly with a song of two halves. The first half being instrumental and clean, while the second half is full-on again. The way the song transitions only adds to the sense of anticipation as it explodes. EP closer ‘Buddy Dwyer’ is where Crowning put every instrumental/vocal texture from Funeral Designs together and leave you with a brooding, menacing song that swirls around you. It gives you a feeling of transcendence. 


Set time aside to listen to Crowning’s entire discography if you can, starting with this EP. In a world where instant gratification is everywhere, give yourself time to escape. Finally, no I haven’t already got heatstroke, I just really dig this release!


For fans of: Youth Funeral, Lentic Waters, Altar Of Complaints, La Luna & Respire.


You can stream and purchase Funeral Designs digitally here:-



Tape copies from both Zegema Beach Records and Tomb Tree are sold out.


Crowning - https://www.facebook.com/crowningband

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

Tomb Tree - https://www.facebook.com/tombtreetapes