Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Cursive - Vitriola


Labels: Big Scary Monsters/15 Passenger
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 05 Oct 2018

Tracklist:

1. Free To Be Or Not To Be You And Me
2. Pick Up The Pieces
3. It's Gonna Hurt
4. Under The Rainbow
5. Remorse
6. Ouroboros
7. Everending
8. Ghost Writer
9. Life Savings
10. Noble Soldier/Dystopian Lament

The final quarter of 2018 looks set to be just as exciting musically as the (soon to be) previous three and a new record from Omaha, Nebraska's Cursive is a pretty big deal. "Vitriola" is the band's eighth full-length, in a career spanning over two-decades and is their first in six years. It's due for release on October 5th via their own 15 Passenger label and via the UK's Big Scary Monsters. Cursive are heading out on a US tour in October & November following the release of "Vitriola" and already have a big tour booked along the West-side of the US for January & February of next year.

“Vitriola” is less an album of songs and more a drama set to music. Free To Be Or Not To Be You And Me is dark in everything from the lyrics to the melodies and the instrumentation. It sits somewhere between rock and punk, with old pop sensibilities and indie adding to the mystique. I hear some similarities to Nightmare Of You (Brandon Reilly of The Movielife’s other band) during Pick Up The Pieces, which is danceable but in a oddly menacing way. Twisted emotion and post-punk darkness exist during It’s Gonna Hurt, where Cursive look both inward and outward to describe the state of things at the present time. Obviously, it’s born out of the upheaval that’s plagued the US over the last couple of years and it focuses on a certain place and time, at least that’s how it seems anyway. 

Under Rainbow is littered with keyboards and cello that really brings it to life. Both instruments are present throughout the album but here they seem to bring the record out of the dark. I’m a sucker for well-written ballads featuring stirring piano and Remorse is definitely one of those. When the guitars and the strings kick in it’s filled with blurry eyed majesty that brings a whole new complexion to Cursive’s music. The band’s feelings are then distilled into six-minutes of noise-rock and electronica on Ouroboros. If you listen to the lyrics carefully it will no doubt make you raise a smile, especially if you’r of the cynical disposition. If Brand New wasn’t so fond of slow-mo on ‘Deja Entendu” then they probably would have sounded a bit more like Cursive do on Everending (I apologise for using that comparison, but it sort of makes sense to me). I’m basically trying to say that it’s a pretty uplifting song. 

Another thing that’s uplifting about the record is the melodies, especially those employed during it’s second half. The guitar melody that graces Ghost Writer proves that point and is only a small part of a song that grows in catchiness as it goes. They mourn the dissolving of happiness that’s brought on by money during Life Savings and the sentiment makes perfect sense given the narrative of the album. It ends with gloriously sampled noise. Cursive end with Noble Soldier/Dystopian Lament, which is like sinking into the warm arms of acceptance. Acceptance that while this world may be fucked, there’s not a lot you yourself can do apart from to try and be as good as you can to those few people that you call friends and loved ones. 

“Vitriola” may be so far removed from the usual harsh and heavy music that features on this small blog but it actually shares a lot more with that than you’d think. The imagery and unease that it creates is palpable while the musicality and production means it has wider appeal. Maybe not the sound of the end of the world then but the sound to end a year that’s been tough on a lot of people and in a lot of ways. Cursive once again tug at the heartstrings of even the coldest heart.

Stream Under The Rainbow and Life Savings via the 15 Passenger bandcamp page below, where "Vitriola" is available to pre-order on all formats:-




UK/Europe pre-orders can be placed via Big Scary Monsters here - http://www.bsmrocks.com/products

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Siorai Geimhreadh - Sitting Patiently

Labels: Box Emissions/Existentiell Records/SuperFi Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 06 Apr 2018

Tracklist:
1. Sitting Patiently Pt.1
2. Sitting Patiently Pt.2

I've had to go a few days without writing about anything music-related and I've been getting a tad twitchy. It's not out of choice either. Thankfully, this two-track LP from Irish noise-rock trio Siorai Geimhreadh (pronounced "Sheery Geevra" or "Eternal Winter", if you prefer) landed in my inbox a little while ago and I've been a sucker for oddities of late. The band has been playing since 2005 and  have two demos and an EP to their name so far, beginning life as a black metal band. "Sitting Patiently" forms their first new music in about 6 years. 

Both songs on “Sitting Patiently” add up to over thirty-minutes and it’s thirty-minutes of insanity that is almost indescribable as first. Pt 1 instantly rattles you with a mix of what sounds like gargled-bass, improvised drumming and guitars, and vocals that bring to mind the likes of The Body and the most underground DSBM, which all continue throughout the song. I daren’t play this too loud either, as the vocal cries leap out of the recording. Musically, I guess you could call it anti-music to a certain extent as there seems to be no traditional structures present but then it is experimental in the truest sense of the word. 

If you weren’t sure what to expect with Pt.1, then Pt.2 is slightly easier to grasp and it's where Siorai Geimhreadh gets doomy. It’s still noisy, as the bass/guitar feedback buzzes away between riffs. More minimalistic in approach, the vocals this time round definitely represents the black metal of the band’s earlier years, while drone is also an overbearing addition to it all. You may find it a relief after the madness that came before and it’s here that you can really catch a glimpse of their potential to create truly uncomfortable heavy music. 

This is a record of two-sides and I’m not trying to state the obvious there. It’s certainly not for everyone but if you make it past Pt.1 and your still intact both physically and mentally then Pt.2 is worth the wait. Crazy noise-rock and furrow ploughing doom that works incredibly well. 

Stream and download "Sitting Patiently" below:-



Siorai Geimhreadh Metal Archives Page - https://www.metal-archives.com/

Vinyl copies are currently still available from SuperFi Records below:-


Existentiell Records - https://existentiell.bandcamp.com

Saturday, 8 September 2018

KEN mode - Loved


Labels: Season Of Mist/New Damage Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 31 Aug 2018

Tracklist:

1. Doesn't Feel Pain Like He Should
2. The Illusion Of Dignity
3. Feathers & Lips
4, Learning To Be Too Cold
5. Not Soulmates
6. Very Small Men
7. This Is A Love Test
8. Fractures In Adults
9. No Gentle Art

It's time for some Canadian craziness. "Loved" is the seventh (yes, seventh!) full length from Manitoba's KEN mode. Since their inception in 1999, they've won a JUNO award for 2011's "Venerable" and they've toured with some of metal, punk and hardcore's best bands. After the release of 2015's aptly titled "Success", they took a break and found the time to start businesses, release music with other projects and even learn martial arts! Now, with the support of Canadian label New Damage Records and Season Of Mist, the latter half of 2018 just got a lot darker.

KEN mode’s musical chops gather elements from the entire metal and punk gamut. There’s no sticking to simple formulas because its what people want! They open up with noise-rock that mixes in the hardcore of bands like Snapcase and Time In Malta on Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should. There’s definite sassiness going on here. There’s a presence about the trio that overwhelms on The Illusion Of Dignity, despite it’s slightly low-key and sludgy sound. The saxophone of Kathryn Kerr is great, adding a bit of thinking man’s jazz to proceedings. The demonstrable anger that’s present during Feathers & Lips shows that there’s plenty of metal flowing through KEN mode’s veins and that they like to keep you guessing as to their sonic direction. It’s just incredibly noisy and vicious all round.

Jesse’s vocals seem to take on a whole new level of crazy as he gets deeper into the album and the off-kilter goodness that is Learning To Be Too Cold suits them well. The metallic edge to Jesse’s guitar work and the drum & bass playing of Shane and Scott respectively nudge “Loved” in a yet more diverse and experimental direction. The stop/start attitude of grind is present on Not Soulmates, which sounds like a brief ode to a friendship that turned sour (maybe). Whatever, it’s great. KEN mode is back to their noisy-punkish best on Very Small Men, which manages to harness a sound that Canadian bands do best. It’s up-tempo exhilaration is tough to match and it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. To-the-point song-writing and musicianship at it’s best.

Saxophone once again brings a chilled tone to This Is A Love Test and it’s very soothing, positioned as it is between the trio’s short bursts of noise. It feels more like a jazz club than a sweaty metal-filled basement when listening to it. There are more and more albums coming out now that can’t be fully enjoyed or understood in just one sitting and “Loved” is no exception. That said, penultimate song Fractures In Adults is a song that can be enjoyed by both camps, those with attention spans and though without. It’s just got that quality metal/hardcore structure that you just need sometimes. 

It all ends with the grunge-laden No Gentle Art. All eight-and-a-half-minutes of it. It’s slow tribal-like drumming, rumbling bass and quietly spoken vocals could have come from any nu-metal band that was popular back in that sub-genre’s heyday but thankfully the rest of the song doesn’t bare resemblance to any of that. It builds at a steady pace, before exploding at the mid-point into something that’s truly challenging sonically. I guess that’s exactly what KEN mode were going for with this album and it works, brilliantly. 

You can stream and purchase "Loved" digitally from KEN mode below:-



It's available on physical formats from the links below:-


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Yob - Our Raw Heart


Labels: Relapse Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 08 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Ablaze
2. The Screen
3. In Reverie
4. Lungs Reach
5. Beauty In Falling Leaves
6. Original Face
7. Our Raw Heart

Following my review yesterday I felt like the warm embrace of doom again and this release came to mind. It's the newest album from Eugene (Oregon, US) doom band Yob, which appeared earlier this year after a near four-year gap following their last full-length "Clearing The Path To Ascend". "Our Raw Heart" is the trio's eight album and marks their 22nd year as a band, which is one hell of a feat. They will be heading over two these shores in October in support of the record with Wiegedood, playing a select number of dates as they plough through Europe.

“Our Raw Heart” is an album that’s been built by the experiences that almost led to the band’s demise, amidst the illness that affected Mike Scheidt. Thankfully, as it displays, Yob are stronger than ever and are ready to tell their story through music. Opener Ablaze is filled with the kind of doom riffs (Mike) and bass-lines (Aaron Rieseberg) that helped to coin the genre’s name, while the percussion (Travis Foster) beats a tempo filled with raw passion. Mike’s vocals are a mix of cleanly sung crooning (if that’s the right word) and occasional bursts of harshness, all the white helping the music to feel truly heartfelt.  There’s a pulsating groove within The Screen. It’s hard to truly describe but it’s mesmerising and suits the song, which is filled with a darker and heavier atmosphere. It’s not as densely layered as the album’s opener and it sees Yob looking back towards their earlier sound somewhat.

The lowly bass build-up of In Reverie gives way to a crushing monster that makes you jump (at least it did with me) and from there on in it’s a whirlwind of slow doom with a laid-back stoner edge that turns into something truly evil. The thing is though, Yob doesn’t waste time being all showy. The constant repeating melodies and musical passages in the verses are fantastic and exactly what you need in an album like this. Ambience greets you on Lungs Reach. It offers an opportunity for peaceful reflection, though the feeling that it could all come crashing down at any moment is just around the corner. The mid-point passes before that feeling becomes reality and Yob once again drags you into the torturous shadows and into their psyches. 

Lungs Reach is a brief song given the lengths of the others present here and it leads nicely into Beauty In Falling Leaves, which itself characterises the gentle/harsh dynamics that have crept further into Yob’s sound on this record. As the lengthiest song on “Our Raw Heart”, yet it’s also the most melodic and while it would be unfair to describe it as “easy-listening”, it’s a really soothing piece. That soothing feeling was never going to last though and sure enough, Original Face destroys any zen-like calmness you might have been feeling thanks to the sound of heavy riffs and roared lyrics. The technicality and song-writing prowess isn’t to be missed though, as it gets the heart racing. Its fitting that the title-track rounds out this album. It draws a line underneath all of the pain that Yob has felt in recent times but also paints a positive and thankful picture too. The swirling instrumental layers that take over as the song reaches it’s end are magnificent and underline why this is such a great album.

You can stream "Our Raw Heart" in full below:-



It's available to purchase from their bandcamp page above on cd, vinyl and digitally, though tape copies have sold out.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Noise From The Northern Powerhouse #2: Kurokuma - Dope Rider


Labels: Doom Stew Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 50 Jul 2018

Tracklist:

1. Dope Rider Pt. 1
2. Dope Rider Pt. 2

My review series featuring bands from the North of England kind of got off to a bit of a false start. It began last month with a review of the latest EP from Lancashire one-man black metal/noise project Grimmness and then faltered. The whole point of the series was to focus on bands from Yorkshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and the North East of England. For this review I'm featuring Sheffield doom trio Kurokuma and their recent concept EP "Dope Rider". It's based on the 1970's comic strip of the same name and sees the band re-working it into musical form with two tracks. It's been released digitally by the band and on cd/tape via Doom Stew Records, with a vinyl release due to follow later this month.

Kurokuma has always been a great band in a live setting, as I’ve been lucky enough to witness on a couple of occasions. Its great to hear some new music from them, especially after their last EP “Advorsus” and Dope Rider Pt. 1 fills the whole since that release perfectly. They’ve always been adept at mixing traditional doom with psychedelic influences and this is no different. It’s heavy in all areas, from the riffing to the drumming and the vocals. The international touring has certainly helped them to build their sound.

The bruising bass and guitar makes Doom Rider Pt. 2 sound even mightier. There’s still the trio’s signature groove amongst it all but there’s also a progression that shows their willingness to take things in a more extreme direction. That extreme direction is one that’s truly engrossing and enjoyable right from the off and it doesn’t abate. Kurokuma are working a full-length and if this EP is anything to go by, it’s going to be epic. 

With it’s licensed artwork from original strip creator Paul Kirchner, “Dope Rider” is a fully immersive experience, which will look all the better in it’s physical formats. Sonically it’s the best music Kurokuma has written to date. 

You can stream and purchase "Dope Rider" digitally, on cd and tape below:-



News on the vinyl release will be released via Kurokuma's Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/kurokumauk/

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Lifelost - Dialogues From Beyond


Labels: Transcending Obscurity Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 26 Oct 2018

Tracklist:

1. Malign Emanatio
2. Sepulchral Vault
3. Released From Life
4. Metanoia
5. Incorporeal Gate

In spite of all of the new bands that make it over the obscure underground metal trenches each year, we're still fascinated by bands that feature "members of". Often, you need more than two hands to count the bands they're in and the amount of albums they've released. Those opening lines may sound a little jaded and I guess in some ways they are but I'm by no means a closed minded person. Lifelost is a new one-man black metal project from the Basque region of Spain, featuring vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Phlegeton of brutal/tech death metallers Wormed. That is where the comparisons end though. "Dialogues From Beyond" is Lifelost's first album and as the artwork that adorns it suggests, it's not all rainbows and bunny rabbits.

Lifelost paints a picture through utter malice and aural savagery on “Dialogues From Beyond”. Opening song Malign Emanatio is filled with intense blasts and riffs, while the vocals sit within the mix creating a haunting and uneasy atmosphere. The melody created by the guitar work is hypnotising and the cries mid-way through add a glimpse of DSBM, though Lifelost isn’t predominantly so. The abrupt ending to Malign Emanatio says a lot about the straight-forward, no messing nature of Phlegeton and Sepulchral Vault does nothing to diminish that. While the volume of the song may seem slightly lower, the layers of black metal created are more than effective in weaving claustrophobia into the listeners psyche. 

Released From Life conjures up all kinds of mental images thanks to it’s title alone. The music itself only makes those images more vivid with extremely adept and engaging instrumentation that adds a slight catchiness to e song. Like the rest of the album, it’s refreshingly precise and there’s no room for overblown song-lengths. So much so, that it’s sort of over before its begun. Metanoia is probably the most ambient song on “Dialogues From Beyond” and it does signal a slight shift in dynamics. There isn’t the intense barrage that greeted you earlier in the album and while it’s still heavy, everything feels slightly more foreboding and even melancholy. Ending with the off-kilter Incorporeal Gate, Lifelost performs one that uncomfortable hymn built this time around sound-clash that’s jarring and slightly avant-garde in nature. 

There’s no denying this album’s quality. The individual behind it may be a seasoned musical hand yet that’s no reason to be cynical. Approach it for what it is, which is a black metal album that’s filled with promise and extremely well-written music. Let’s hope that Lifelost doesn’t stop here. 

You can stream Released From Life below via bandcamp:-



"Dialogues From Beyond" is set for release on October 26th via Transcending Obscurity Records and you can pre-order it in both cd and digital formats above.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Aseethe/Snow Burial - Split


Labels: Hand Of Death Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 29 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Aseethe - Wrong
2. Snow Burial - Sever The Bloodline

Amongst all of the fast and grinding heaviness that I listen to, doom and post-metal are equally as important to me. This split is one that I've known about for a while and indeed one that has been out for a couple of months now, though I'm late to the party hence this review. Both Aseethe and Snow Burial are from the US (Iowa, IA and Chicago, IL respectively). Aseethe has been playing slow and heavy doom since 2007, releasing a number of EPs, Splits and two full-lengths to date. Snow Burial has released two EPs and a full-length since their formation in 2013. Aseethe has just finished touring with Yakuza in the States while Snow Burial toured Europe earlier with this year with our very own Monolithian.

Headache inducing guitar feedback is your intro to this split and Aseethe’s Wrong. Their doom is slow but is also groovy in an unexpected way. The vocals are a mix of deep bellows and higher-pitched growls while the drums and bass rattle you to your foundations. At times it’s oddly psychedelic but it’s never upbeat. It’s not all low and slow though as the final sixty-seconds or so is made of jangly, off-kilter metal that rules hard!

Snow Burial’s musical endeavours on Sever The Bloodline make for equally as excited listening. The pace is upped and the melody too, while the band’s post-metal provides glimpses of light and dark at the same time. The vocals flit between full-on shouts and semi-clean singing. There’s a political slant to it all as well, as the samples elude to. The riffs are sometimes fuzzy, the bass is up in the mix and the drumming keeps everything in check really well.

Both Aseethe and Snow Burial go very well together on this split. Neither band truly conforms to their chosen genre conventions and are both experimental leaning, which means that their aesthetic and approaches are refreshing and highly enjoyable. This split may be brief but it’s extremely good value musically. 

You can stream Aseethe's track Wrong below:-



The split is available to purchase on tape and digitally above.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Tailblock - Think Or Be


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 13 Jul 2018

Tracklist:

1. Think Or Be
2. Heavy Arms
3. Rocket
4. Blisters
5. Listen
6. 100

"Emotional hardcore", as Kent trio Tailblock call their music, is a funny thing. On the one hand you've got Emo (often split into two camps depending on lazy journalists), which is built on emotions and sensitivity and then there's hardcore, which is decidedly more angry yet also positive to some degree. The two sub-genres have been mixed together countless times over the years and will continue to be.

The above paragraph doesn't really have any baring on this review, it was just mere musing about a form of alternative music where the wheel is yet to be truly reinvented. "Think Or Be" is Tailblock's second EP and it follows their debut "Burn Your Bridges, which was released in December 2016. The UK has produced a lot of very good bands in recent years, so here's hoping that Tailblock can be added to that list.

I’m still very much nostalgic when it comes to post-hardcore/emo. I grew up listening to Drive-Thru Records pop-punk and emo, as well as wearing out early Funeral For A Friend EPs and albums. I never considered the likes of My Chemical Romance or Brand New to truly represent that sort of sub-genre and was just discovering straight-edge and ever tough-guy hardcore. The music has no doubt evolved (If you could call it that) since those days, but finding bands that truly stand out is getting harder. This in turn makes it hard for bands like Tailblock, but moving passed that and focusing on their music alone is easier when the EP’s title-track starts. It’s melodic and subtly American-accented vocals remind you of the influences that are ingrained in young bands now. The music itself is definitely more British in delivery though, with a noisy and urgent feel that takes more from UK punk of old. 

They’re good at writing catchy songs as well, as Heavy Arms shows. There are obvious comparisons that could be made but leaving those aside, Tailblock seem to be straddling the right side of the line when it comes to genuine, heartfelt music. Rocket has all the makings of an anthem for those who are more introspective and introverted, dragging them out the other side with more purpose and belief. If a song can do that then it must be worth your time. With no warning, Tailblock go from earnest emo to sassy hardcore on Blisters. The choruses are still melodic but not cheesy and the guitars and drums underneath still rage for the majority of the song, before ending on a nice instrumental note.

“Think Or Be” heads back to a more comforting port on Listen and the sassy hardcore is replaced by huge riffs and a cinematic sound that isn’t out of place at all when held up against the rest of the EP. At least Tailblock are using experimentation and variation in their music, which again is a very British habit. It’s attention grabbing for the right reasons. They end the EP with the song 100, which moves in the form of a semi-acoustic track that shows off more sensitive song-writing once again. “Think Or Be” is a great EP and Tailblock have clearly focused a lot on their song-writing and have taken their time with it as well. If they continue to write music in this vein, without watering it down then they will surely grow in reputation and play to bigger and bigger audiences.

You can stream "Think Or Be" below, where it's also available to purchase digitally and on CD:-



Sunday, 26 August 2018

Character Actor - Character Actor 7"


Labels: Dirt Cult Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 22 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Out Of Hands
2. What I Learned From Righteous Cowboys
3. On Rubicon Beach
4. 72 Paperbacks

Time seems to be getting all the more scarce at the moment, hence the slowdown from a writing perspective this month. There's a few days left though so I'm going to attempt to make up for that slightly, starting with this new 7" from US pop/garage/punk band Character Actor. This EP is their debut and it was released on vinyl and digitally via Dirt Cult Records in June. Character Actor contains members of the likes of The Ergs!, Night Birds and Black Wine, so the quality here should be without question.

This is hella catchy. Character Actor reminds me a lot of early pop/punk (back in the Nitro Records days when it was actually pretty varied). I hope I’m not doing them a disservice by saying that! Out Of Hands epitomises the pop influence in their sound. It’s short but to-the-point, the guitars and the vocals are melodic and it’s well written. There’s a horror-punk feel to the vocal melodies on What I Learned From Righteous Cowboys. The song doesn’t pass the one-minute mark yet the percussion and guitar work that’s put into it is way more precise and danceable than most bands that try to do this type of thing. The brief solo at the end screams good times too. 

The band’s fuzziness isn’t overpowering though you can definitely hear it during the verses of On Rubicon Beach. That being said, it doesn’t matter one jot if you can hear it because Character Actor’s collective experience is thrown straight into this recording. You’ll wish their song were longer such is their infectiousness. EP closer 72 Paperbacks is such a head-bobber and one that’s so chilled-out that you’ll be pressing repeat on it constantly. In fact, I challenge you not to press repeat on the whole EP (it’ll be impossible to resist!). It’s almost nonchalantly delivered but never quite tips over to that level. It’s just very good indeed. This is my favourite punk release of the year and will be hard to shift from that lofty perch. 

You can stream and purchase the EP digitally below:-




Friday, 24 August 2018

Clawing - Spectral Estate


Labels: Dullest Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 23 Feb 2018

Tracklist:

1. Mythology
2. Gourds
3. A Clearing
4. Coma
5. Plastic Glowing Stars
6. Home


The last release to see the light of day through Philadelphia's (PA, USA) Dullest Record was this album by tortured drone/noise band Clawing, from Montgomery (AL, USA). I don't know too much about the band themselves but I believe that "Spectral Estate" was their debut. It was released digitally in early February by the band and followed very shortly after on tape. The trio gives very little away, preferring instead the psychological images brought on by their music.

Opening with Mythology, the album’s lengthiest piece, Clawing paints a stark picture with ambient noise and spoken word lyrics that speak of a harsh reality. There’s subtle melody hidden in the depths but no real sense of light, as you’d expect from this sub-genre. The trio weaves experimental soundscapes using both traditional instruments and electronics, giving their sound elements of the haunting and the futuristic. Gourds isn’t the melancholic song you expect it to be, as the calmness is shattered by what is either extreme feedback-ridden screams or just harsh electronics. Whatever it is, it’s a jolting sound that makes this short number very hard to ignore. 

The switch to drone on A Clearing is welcome after the abrasiveness of Gourds. That said, Clawing still manages to produce something that’s menacing, while also being mesmerising too. Throughout my time as a hobbyist writer/blogger (almost 8 years now), I’ve never been able to fully get absorbed by drone/noise and I’ve always needed the more traditional/familiar band structures to be present on recordings and that hasn’t changed. I have grown to appreciate it though as I’ve delved deeper into extreme metal and so this feels like a natural listen. 

The combination of percussion and guitar effects during Coma form something of a release. There’s definitely a sense of less is more here and the initial reluctance to flood the song with layers and layers of noise is a nice touch. It’s minimalistic structure and reliance on those more traditional instruments make you realise that this is the work of a fully functioning band and not just someone in their bedroom making sounds with a synthesiser (not that there is anything wrong with that at all). Distant light finally manages to punctuate “Spectral Estate” thanks to the ambient melody that flows through Plastic Glowing Stars. As the title suggests, there is a cosmic element to it all and the spaciness that’s mixed with the introspective lyrics makes perfect sense. It feels like you’e staring beyond the black void and onto something more cleansing and warm. 

Home is the final song and at this point it almost feels like you’ve come full circle on “Spectral Estate”. The harrowing, hellish feelings of that might have overcome you earlier on are replaced by feeling of relief and quiet contemplation. Despite the uneasy undercurrent that this release possesses, it’s still easy to enjoy. I may have approached and described it in a different way to how it was perceived by Clawing themselves, but that’s the beauty of music I guess. If you’re tastes go beyond the usual Horror movie soundtracks and extreme metal worship, then this is definitely one to bury yourself in. 

You can stream and download "Spectral Estate" directly from the band below:-




Tape copies can still be purchased from Dullest Records here - https://dullestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/spectral-estate