Monday, 14 August 2017

The Art Of Noise: Dephosphorus - Impossible Orbits + Review


I'm beginning to move in a slightly different direction with this blog. One of the ideas that I want to build upon is my "Art Of Noise" features, which revolve around interviews with bands and artists about the artwork that adorns both new and old records. This is the third instalment, the other two are here and here. It features the newest album by Greek astro-grind band Dephosphorus and includes short interviews with both the band and the Viral Graphics, who created the artwork above. I've also decided to review the album below as well. "Impossible Orbits" was released in June via Selfmadegod.

Here's what both Dephosphorus and Viral Graphics had to say about the artwork, the creative process and how it reflects the music:-


(Photo Credit: Dephosphorus' Facebook Page)

Dephosphorus

Before I ask you about the artwork itself, I want to ask you about “Impossible Orbits”. What kind of creative process did you go through when writing and recording the album? What ideas and themes are present on it?

Panos: The creative process has been the same as in all our efforts. Thanos, our guitarist and songwriter sends us from Sweden (where he’s currently residing) demos with the songs (with or without programmed drums). We then play them all together once we’re reunited in Athens, as part of our bi-yearly rehearsing sessions. At this point we finalise the drum parts and we add the vocals.

Until recently we’ve been a trio and bass was added at the studio. For “Impossible Orbits” Babis K., an old comrade and band mate of me and Thanos back in the Straighthate days (check out his noise rock band Krause!), has recorded the bass for some songs and he has been able to join some rehearsals as well . After the completion of “Impossible Orbits”, a proper bass player has joined the band, Kostas Ragiadakos, so for the preparation of our new fourth album which we have just finished recording (scoop!), bass was part of the creative process as well.

Last but not least, before hitting the studio we’re doing pre-production which usually consists of drums recorded at our rehearsal spot (Studio D) and the rest of the instruments and vocals recorded home.

Some of the ideas and themes explored this time in the context of our overall concept are:
The alternate states of existence that consciousness and sentient life can be trapped to.
The cruelty that super-evolved civilisations can display.
The evolution of life beyond biology and the possible osmosis between biological beings and A.I.
The mis-management of resources by a civilisation and the associated consequences.

With that in mind, did you have any ideas for the artwork before you approached Viral Graphics to help you out?

Panos: Viral Graphics are like an extra member of Dephosphorus and we trust them 100% for the visual part. They have done all our artwork so far - except the split-7”EP with Great Falls which was part of the Hell Comes Home box set.

We never give them directions: just the music and the lyrics. From there, they extract some key themes and vibes that resonate with them. The result is always perfect and beyond expectations.

Dephosphorus has always been a heavy band that takes no prisoners. How do you think the cover art reflects both the band and the music on the album?

Panos: The cover artwork has captured the darkness and violence of the album’s music and lyrical themes. I also think that more than previous times, it evokes perfectly the space opera dimension of our music and concept.

What has the reaction to “Impossible Orbits” been like so far?

Panos: Being released by Selfmadegod, which is the bigger label we’ve worked with so far, has exposed “Impossible Orbits” to new audiences and media. The reaction is very positive and we are grateful for all the support we’re getting. Cheers!


(Photo Credit: Viral Graphics Tictail Page)

Viral Graphics

You’ve worked with Dephosphorus before, designing cover art for their previous LPs and the collaborative LP with Haapoja. How were you first introduced to the band and what was you first project with them?

VG: We've been friends with the guys for many, many years now, so it was only natural that at some point we would work together, besides hanging out listening to music. We had done some stuff for the previous band of two of the members of Dephosphorus, called Straighthate back in the day - mainly flyers and show posters - so when the time came they commissioned us to work on the artwork and packaging for Dephosphorus' debut "Axiom" LP in the hot and humid summer of 2010. Good times. 

That artwork somewhat jump-started our involvement (and to some extent, our interest) in space/ astral-themed illustration, which is now, 7 years later, quite a prominent ingredient in our work as Viral Graphics, both for Dephosphorus as well as other artists. 

When they approached you to create the cover art for “Impossible Orbits”, did they come to you with a brief or did you just roll with it? How long did it take you to complete?

VG: Since we're good friends with them, we get to constantly talk about the band and what has to be done and so on, so a "brief" in the strict sense of the word is non-applicable. We get to do as we please as it's up to us in Viral to come up with a concept and how that will be depicted on the cover etc. We of course have some guidelines and some ideas do come from the band, but other than that we are solely responsible for everything art-related regarding Dephosphorus. Minimal guidance from the band but exactly what we need in order to work, so everyone's happy and they really trust us, our work and vision.

We started discussing the "Impossible Orbits" artwork about a year and a half ago. They gave us the album's lyrics and we began collaging a concept based on and around them, then proceeded to pencil out the illustration and when it got approved we started inking it. The inking process start to finish took two solid months, from May to July 2016, of painstakingly long workdays in 40 degrees Celsius weather, but it was all worth it as we consider it to be one of our best works to date.

A lot of your artwork has a horror/occult theme to it. What sort of theme did you go for with “Impossible Orbits” and what reaction did the artwork get from the band when you presented it to them?

VG: Well, the concept is best described by the band so we'll just quote them on that as it fits exactly what us in Viral we'd say about it anyway: "Concept and aesthetics draw influences from cosmology, astronomy and science fiction literature, as well as the associated sociopolitical and existential repercussions." 

The "Impossible Orbits" cover artwork is exactly that, given that it has a slave ship on it with more slaves embarking upon voluntarily, while their planet comes to an end through a cleansing, maniacal fire. You could say that the current global situation is like that, you get to be a slave to something or someone, or you get burned by the "fire" closing in on you rapidly.

Much like the current geographical alterations taking place right now, for example the people of Syria, they stay there they get killed, they leave they get drowned in the Mediterranean sea and the ones that manage to get to Greece's or Italy's shores, they get treated like shit, and then afterwards - even if they get through that ordeal too - they have to hike innumerable and unfathomable heights to have something resembling a 'normal life' and that's just one example of what the world has come to. That sense of hopelessness was what we tried to capture with this artwork. It is very earthly in a way, while simultaneously being 'spacey'. 

As for the band's reaction, they loved it but they got to witness each and every step of it, as we were documenting the illustration's progress through photographs which we'd then send over to them to review.

As fans of the music, how would you say the cover represents Dephosphorus and their sound?

VG: Well, it still fits within the band's basic concept of Dephosphorus being an entity, as well as the world surrounding that said entity. This pretty much describes it all in all.

Carry on down to the review below...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Goblin King - Blood, Drugs, And Death N' Roll EP


Tracklist:

1. Blood, Drugs, And Death N' Roll
2. Goblin King
3. 667
4. Eye Of The Storm
5. Death Sti-XXX

Death n' roll is one of those sub-genres that I've never really understood. I guess it's just another name for an offshoot of death metal, but it's come across as bit of a joke like psychobilly (another sub-genre I don't get). That being said, a lot of the bands that play death n' roll do name Entombed as an influence so it can't all be bad. This brings me onto new London quartet Goblin King and their very newly released (three days ago in fact!) debut EP. They're getting a decent amount of attention at the moment, especially for a band who're only a few months old, so I suppose I should find out what the fuss is about.


First thing’s first, this is a lot heavier than I was expecting. The title-track that kicks things off is fast and furious with plenty of riffs and a mix of growls and gang-vox. It’s catchy I’ll give em that. The song that shares it’s name with the band is equally as frenetic, but also more off-kilter. Goblin King throws in some stoner groove and solos amongst the tempo changes. Proving they don’t take themselves too seriously, they throw in a song called 667. It’s rousing to start with but switches into something more brooding later on. At this point, it’s feel like they’ve crossed over from parody to genuine and sound all the better for it. There are countless comparisons that can be made, but I’m going to leave them to your imagination because I don’t think it’s fair to name drop, as it takes something away from Goblin King themselves. The fact that the vocals throughout this EP are audible is great as well, especially on Eye Of The Storm, with it’s driving rhythm section leading from the front. Closing song Death Sti-XXX rounds out the EP with melody and a party atmosphere flowing through it. This is an enjoyable EP and thanks to Goblin King’s uncomplicated approach to their music, it’s momentum is strong. Good debut and future festival appearances are bound to come their way next year.

You can stream both "667" and "Eye Of The Storm" below via Goblin King's bandcamp page:-



The EP is available both digitally and on CD from their page too.

Goblin King - https://www.facebook.com/GoblinKingOfficial/

LUAU - Wake Up Dreaming


Tracklist:

1. Shitty Dudes
2. Muncle
3. Fire Queen
4. Wake Up Dreaming
5. Debt Collector
6. Oh, It's A Problem
7. Bogan

Beach punx from Basingstoke! That's what LUAU refer to themselves as and who's to argue. They're closer to the sea than we are up here. They're a pretty new band and "Wake Up Dreaming" is their first EP. They've have shared and are due to share the stage with (recently featured) Calligram and Kamikaze Girls respectively and they share members with Eagleburner, who once upon a time played in Harrogate. Hopefully LUAU will make it up here at some point.

LUAU’s obviously worked hard on nailing down that retro garage punk sound. Shitty Dudes is high octane and noisy. It reminds of The Hives. The instrumentation is great, especially the guitar work and the vocals are loud yet audible. Catchy and danceable seems to be the order of the day and Muncle is certainly both of those things. Fire Queen sounds kind of moody during the verses but stays on the right side of lo-fi. That can be said for the whole EP as well really, because the production and mastering gives it an edge for sure. The title-track isn’t as up-tempo as earlier songs, but it looses no attitude. The riffs are killer too. Debt Collector is brief but keeps momentum high while Oh, It’s A Problem follows on immediately afterwards with the same fervour and plenty of opportunity for sing-alongs. Bogan closes out “Wake Up Dreaming” in true punk fashion, with nods to country music too. Musically they are really tight and are one of those bands that need to be heard in a live setting to be truly appreciated. Party on!

Stream "Wake Up Dreaming" and buy a name-your-price-download here:-



LUAU - https://www.facebook.com/luaugaragepunx/

Monday, 7 August 2017

Gehenna - Seen Through The Veils Of Darkness (The Second Spell) Reissue


Tracklist:-

1. Lord Of Flies
2. Shairak Kinnummh
3. Vinterriket
4. A Witch Is Born
5. Through The Veils Of Darkness
6. The Mystical Play Of Shadows
7. The Eyes Of The Sun
8. A Myth...
9. Dark Poems Author

Following their earlier reissues of Bal-Sagoth's fantasy inspired black metal album "Battle Magic" and the avant-garde black metal of Sigh's "Infidel Art", Cacophonous Records turned their attentions to the icy blasts of Gehenna's "Seen Through The Veils Of Darkness...". The Norwegian band's 1995 debut full-length was presented with re-mastered audio by the label that originally released it. It seems more important than ever that in 2017, the bands that helped to shaped black metal are heard by new ears. That certainly seems to be the case with the aforementioned acts and the likes of Fleurety reaching new audiences.

Unlike Bal-Sagoth and Sigh, Gehenna were very much an orthodox band in black metal terms, especially in their early days. They exhibit much of that orthodoxy on opener Lord Of Flies, though they also make use of symphonic elements and subtle catchiness too, though they may not call it so. The orchestral textures within their music on Shairak Kinnummh may sound welcoming, but actually appear more sinister. The shrieks and instrumentation that sits n the background only add to that feeling. It’s still not an easy listen. If you listen closer and look beyond those orchestral textures, you might here early hints of black ’n’ roll too (at least it seems that way to these ears). The urgency and wicked tempo of Vinterriket seems to lean in that direction. The lead-riffs on A Witch Is Born are a nice addition and seem to jump out of the recording here. The bizarre vocal samples/noises are altogether scarier though. Through The Veils Of Darkness seems to take the form of different passages and time-signatures. Musically, it’s very strong and very focused. A band’s first foray into a full-length record can be hit and miss, but Gehenna get stronger throughout. The remastering seems to have really brought The Mystical Play Of Shadows to life, as it’s full-throttle feel is matched by it’s volume. Twin guitar melodies and pounding blasts cut through the choral chants and keys really well. The roars on The Eyes Of The Sun are certainly more torturous than they were earlier on; however, if you’re yearning for a straight-up no frills black metal song, you’ll have to get past the dominating keys first. The near-nine minute song A Myth… to satisfy the yearning for something more extreme though. It’s more atmospheric and is definitely the standout song on the album for me. Dark Poems Author brings the the album to a close with Gehenna’s early staple sound being joined by some classy piano tones. The album goes by really quickly and while it contains a fantasy-like edge, Seen Through The Veils…” is very much of a point in time when blueprints were for ripping up and copycats didn’t exist. 

You can stream and download the remastered version of the album here:-



Gehenna - https://www.facebook.com/PerfectHate/
Cacophonous Records - https://www.facebook.com/CacophonousRecords/

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Christie Front Drive - 4010 b/w Away 7"


Tracklist:

1. 4010
2. Away

This 7" was another one that was released as part of Magic Bullet's 20th anniversary celebrations last year. It also formed part of the label's Christie Front Drive reissue project. It was originally released way back in 1994 by Freewill Records and is now available again on both black and clear vinyl. Christie Front Drive (from Oceanside, California) has been cited as an influence by countless punk/emo bands and their music continues to be revered. 

Part of the enduring thing about metal and punk for me is listening to the bands that laid the foundations for many of the bands I listen to now. I guess without bands like Christie Front Drive, there wouldn’t have been bands like Jimmy Eat World, The Movielife, Brand New or many of today’s newer emo/screamo bands. There’s nothing false about CFD’s sound either, they just did their own thing at the time and hearing 4010 immediately transports you back to a point in punk & rock’s evolution where there was no pretence. It’s a very laid back song especially in the vocal department, yet there’s still room in the recordings for some noise-rick guitar like breaks and whole heap of melody. Away is brimming with feedback, punchy percussion and it’s evidently heavier than 4010, thanks to the screamed passages that sit in the mix. i’ll be up front and honest and say that Christie Front Drive aren’t a band that I’ve listened to a great deal before; however, I completely understand their appeal and can hear a lot of similarities to bands that I have in my own record collection now. They’re great and in me, they now have another fan for life. 

You can stream the 7" below, where you can purchase it digitally and on 7" in both colour-ways:-



Christie Front Drive - https://www.facebook.com/christiefrontdrive/
Magic Bullet Records - https://www.facebook.com/magicbulletrecords/

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Duct Hearts/Dym/Thisismenotthinkingofyou - August UK Shows


In just over a week, Germany's Duct Hearts will be setting off around the UK for a short run of shows alongside London's Dym and Derby's Thisismenotthinkingofyou. It all starts at a "yet to be announced" London venue on August 9th and ends on the 13th as JT Soar in Nottingham.

Duct Hearts are playing in support of their recent LP "Feathers' (reviewed here), which was released by a whole host of labels including Time As A Color and Strictly No Capital Letter, who're helping to make this tour happen alongside Adorno Records and other helpful people. Also, if you peak a little closer at the poster above, you'll notice a familiar logo on there (wink, wink).

The individual social media event pages are below:-

09/08/17 - London - Venue to be announced (Without TIMNTOY)
10/08/17 - Leeds - Temple Of Boom (with Healing Powers)
11/08/17 - Glasgow - 13th Note (with Old Guard & The Cherry Wave)
12/08/17 - Northern England/Scotland (Please get in touch with Duct Hearts in you can help)
13/08/17 - Nottingham - JT Soar (with Elbrus)

Both Dym and Thisismenotthinkingofyou will be playing special sets/new songs and will have tapes available to by at the shows. Duct Hearts will have copies of "Feathers" will them too hopefully. In the meantime you can stream music by all the bands below:-








Duct Hearts - https://www.facebook.com/ducthearts/
Dym - https://www.facebook.com/dymtheband/
Thisismenotthinkingofyou - https://www.facebook.com/timntoy/
Time As A Color - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor/
Strictly No Capital Letters - https://www.facebook.com/strictlynocapitalletters/

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Nebraska/Diplomat - Split LP


Tracklist:-

1. Nebraska - Carousel
2. Nebraska - Gravity's Fool
3. Nebraska - Lower Light
4. Diplomat - Minarets
5. Diplomat - Geisha
6. Diplomat - We Were Just Faking

I can't believe it's already August. It feels like only yesterday when I was sat here glancing over social media news feeds salivating over the many releases that were due this year. I've barely scratched the surface. Take this split LP by Australian bands Nebraska and Diplomat. It was released way back in January via four labels from different parts of the world. It was their first release since their debut S/T 7" in 2012 (aside from comp appearances) and it features the first recordings from Diplomat since 2003! Both bands play a take on indie/emo/rock.

Both bands have three songs on this split. Nebraska’s up first with Carousel. The music is twinkly and up front while the vocals sit deeper and sound quiet at times and a bit grunge-like in places. They explode with a DIY sound akin to early La Dispute towards the end. Gravity’s Fool is quite easy going and there’s more than a mere hint of classic 90s emo about it. The vocals are shouted but are still clean and audible, which is where that comparison comes from. Nebraska’s final song Lower Light teeters on the brink between quiet calm and emotive chaos. They wait once again till it’s closing stages to release the pressure and quash any suspense. Diplomat seems like the perfect split partner here. On their opener Minarets they definitely have that earthy sound that only comes from Australian bands, with a bit of Deftones thrown in for good measure. Geisha is a mid-paced trip between fuzzy rock and occasional fits of screamo. Musically, they are more than sound with hypnotic layers created by guitars and percussion alike. Their final song We Were Just Faking is hard to categorise. There’s all kinds of rock, punk and even country music elements in there. This a great split record and both bands compliment each other well. Nebraska’s more old-school emo might seem at odds with Diplomat’s noisy rock but it’s not. Good job all round.

Nebraska's and Diplomat's sides can be streamed and purchase digitally or on LP via the bandcamp pages below:-





Nebraska - http://nebraskafromadelaide.tumblr.com
Diplomat - https://www.facebook.com/diplomatband/

You can also pick up copies of the LP from the labels involved in the release below:-

Ruined Smile Records (AUS) - https://ruinedsmilerecords.bandcamp.com/merch
Time As A Color (GER) - http://timeasacolor.com/shop/product-category/time-as-a-color-releases/
Rubaiyat Records (UK) - http://rubaiyatrecords.bigcartel.com/category/rubaiyat-records
Don't Live Like Me (US) - https://dontlivelikeme.bandcamp.com/album/nebraska-diplomat-12

Ruined Smile Records - https://www.facebook.com/ruinedsmilerecords/
Time As A Color - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor/
Rubaiyat Records - https://www.facebook.com/rubaiyatrecords
Don't Live Like Me - https://www.facebook.com/dontlivelikeme/

Monday, 31 July 2017

Protosequence - Schizophrene


Tracklist:

1. Pitiless
2. Guardian
3. Cannabis Daggers
4. Darkness Weeps

While I was sorting out some e-mails the other day (I'm perennially behind with blog-related ones), an e-mail about Canadian band Protosequence caught my attention. I glanced at the cover art for their early-2016 debut EP "Schizophrene" and read the press-release that described them as a prog/tech metal band, at which I was sold. They're actually about to release a brand new EP called "Biophagous' in mid-August, but this is my starting point. They're played with Protest The Hero fairly recently and they site The Black Dahlia Murder & August Burns Red amongst their influences, so I'm hoping for good things.

That’s one to kick things off! Pitiless opens up with brutal drumming and is swiftly followed by modern death metal growls and a mix of tech and straight-up death guitar work. There’s actually a lot more technicality going on than that initial sentence gives credit for and the lead work is especially good. Guardian is no less frenetic, with plenty of virtuoso instrumentation that helps create plenty atmosphere despite the brutality. Its great to hear a modern band moving away from the whole “atonal djent” sound and crafting something that has real feeling. The bizarrely titled Cannabis Daggers leaves no moment for breath, with more than a nod towards a couple of bands I’ve mentioned above, sans the clean vocals. It’s also good to know that the band’s pace doesn’t drop despite the length of the song, which means the EP’s impact stays in tact. The riffs on EP closer Darkness Weeps are so damn catchy. The progressive elements are blown up in this song as well and it’s really listenable. You can compare Protosequence to as many modern metal bands as you want but they’re deserve being called more than “just another scene band”. “Schizophrene’ is more than solid and the new EP will be worth the wait on this showing. Cracking modern tech-death.

You can stream "Schizophrene" and purchase a download here:-



Protosequence - https://www.facebook.com/protosequence/

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Unholy Trinity: Satanath Records/Symbol Of Domination Prods/GrimmDistribution


This is the final label spotlight of the current run and it's a little different, as all three labels are essentially one and the same. Russian label Satanath Records started in 2012 and has since been releasing all kinds of extreme metal on a very regular basis. Shortly after Satanath opened it's doors, Belarussian sub-label Symbol Of Domination was founded in 2013 on the same premise. A second Belarussian sub-label in the form of GrimmDistribution also forms part of this trio, having originally formed in 2011. For this spotlight, I have chosen one album from easch of the three labels to review. As always, links to their respective bandcamp/webstore pages are included as well. 

Nordland - European Paganism (Satanath Records)


Tracklist:

1. The Mountain
2. A Burning Of Idols
3. Rites At Dawn

I first came across North-East England's Nordland thanks to local black metal label Glorious North Productions. That was a few years ago now but the one-man black metal band seems like a good starting place for this spotlight. "European Paganism", the band's fourth full length, was released in March of this year by Satanath Records and fellow Russian label More Hate Productions. This new album features three songs and has been released on CD, as well as digitally.

The opening song on “European Paganism” is The Mountain, a sprawling near-thirty minute piece encompassing ambience as well as cold black metal. There are fierce passages filled with angry and expressive riffs, fast percussion and typically blackened shrieks; however, Vorh’s music also contains a great deal of musical maturity. That’s not a surprise given that this is his fourth full-length. The mid-section is a good example of that maturity, with quieter more sensitive instrumentation at time alongside a nice twin-guitar harmony/solo work. There are progressive elements afoot too with changing tempos and nods to doom. Following the lengthy opener is A Burning Of Idols, which contains a condensed version of Nordland’s expansive song-writing. It carries forth the atmosphere from The Mountain and it does so with more urgency. There’s certainly an element of bestial rage on show within the music, but it’s used in a controlled fashion and doesn’t detract from the atmosphere at all. Vorh’s instrumental layers are majestic and way more advanced than you’d expect from the casual solo-black metaller. Album closer Rites At Dawn is the briefest of the three songs on “European Paganism” but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment you get from it. The way Vorh moves between the more extreme black metal sound to that of a melodic and ambient one is impressive and sums up the quality of this release. It’s not a conventional album by any means but it’s an impressive one. Nordland will continue to grow on the strength of it though and that growth it truly deserved.

You can stream "European Paganism" and buy it digitally/physically via Satanath Records here:-



You can also buy it directly from Nordland here - https://nordland.bandcamp.com/merch

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

Vomit Of Doom - Magnus Cruelty (Symbol Of Domination Prods)




Tracklist:

1. Totality. Intro
2. Black Metal Invasion
3. No Divine
4. Eternal Enemy
5. Captor Of Light (Interlude)
6. Shadow Of Tyranny
7. Pest Of Tomorrow
8. Sodoma Conquest
9. Magnus Cruelty. Outro

My next review features Vomit Of Doom, a black/thrash/speed metal band from Argentina. Their latest EP "Magnus Cruelty" was released via Satanath sub-label Symbol Of Domination last October, with help help from Metal Masala (India) and Morbid Skull Records (El Salvador). I think Vomit of Doom are the first Argentinian band I've featured here. They formed in 2009 and to date they have released two demos, three EP's, been part of three split records as well as releasing a comp, a single and a full-length called "Obey The Darkness' via Satanath Records in 2015. 

Throughout my years of writing this blog I’ve always heard about how intense South American bands are, yet I haven’t featured very many in comparison to European and North American bands. That’s something I need to change. The first thing that struck about “Magnus Cruelty” was the strikingly evil cover art. Vomit Of Doom begins with Totality. Intro, which is a haunting noise track. Their first song proper is Black Metal Invasion. It’s a primitive and DIY take on the classic black/thrash template put through a South American blender. Taking cues from bands like Nunslaughter and Abigail, Vomit Of Doom offer raw, energetic instrumentation and hellish black metal vocals. The solo they throw in is of a high standard too, which will please any maniac. They use vocal reverb and screeching lead work on No Divine, while the rest of the music sits deeper in the mix, which is a bit of pity as it sounds really good and deserves to be louder. There are definite hints of America’s great thrash bands present on Eternal Enemy and while you’ve probably heard similar sounds a thousand times before, Vomit Of Doom still make a glorious noise. They break up the fury with interlude Captor Of Light and what sounds like demonic possession of a human being. That horror theme carries on into Shadow Of Tyranny. It’s a short song (much like the rest on the EP) but it has more impact because it. They walk a more obvious metal path on Pest Of Tomorrow, with meatier riffs and some death metal influence thrown in for good measure. Penultimate song Sodoma Conquest is pure unadulterated South American thrash metal. It has that characteristic sound that hits the sweet spot and shows that Vomit Of Doom is more than just a DIY extreme metal band. They end with Magnus Cruelty. Outro, another scary noise track. “Magnus Cruelty” is a great EP but it feels as though neither the Intro or Outro are really necessary. That being said, it’s still great listen and one of the better DIY extreme metal recordings I’ve heard this year so far.

You can stream "Magnus Cruelty" and buy it digitally or on CD below:-



Vomit Of Doom - https://www.facebook.com/vomitofdoomarg/

Freiheit - Безумие. Ненависть. Смерть / Madness. Hatred. Death (GrimmDistribution)



Tracklist:

1. С.С.С.К. / S.S.S.K.
2. Волк / Wolf
3. Мясорубка / Meat Grinder
4. Корпус Смерти / The Corps Of Death
5. Правила разрушения / Rules Of Destruction
6. Технократия / Technocracy
7. Свобода / Freedom
8. Монумент / Monument
9. Горящая земля / Burning Earth

My last review features the latest album from Russian black/death metal band Freiheit. Their debut album (translated into "Madness. Hatred. Death.") was released via Satanath's second sub-label GrimmDistribution in May. Freiheit started in 2014 and released their debut self-titled EP last year. I've had to use Google Translate to help translate their song titles into English, as I can't speak Russian. If they're incorrect, please let me know so I can change them. 

I’m using the English song-title translations in this review, so I hope they’re accurate. S.S.S.K. opens “Madness. Hatred. Death” and the first thing you’ll notice is the tight production. It gives the song plenty of volume as Freiheit fly through a song that’s filled with marching rhythms, powerful guitar and authoritative vox. After the brief intro, Wolf shows more of what Freiheit is about. It leans more towards death than black metal, with precise drumming that sound almost machine-like (though it is delivered by a very capable human being). The progression and Russian lyrics add extra levels of originality too. They slow the pace a little with the mid-tempo Meat Grinder, at least in the first section anyway. They soon break out into full-paced lunacy again later on. Freiheit demonstrates a high level of technicality on The Corps Of Death, with a lot of straight-up metal flourishes thrown in too. For such a seemingly young band, Freiheit definitely shows skill above their years. Rules Of Destruction is really listenable death/thrash/black metal with no room for ponderous filler. They do well to keep their songs short and focused, which is good. The same can be said for Technocracy, which is equally as off-kilter. The lower guitar tones on Freedom hint towards a love of old-school death metal and there’s nothing wrong with that! It definitely got a catchiness too it, despite the obvious extremity. Penultimate song Monument is a real mix of both orchestral-like movements and proficient madness, all shoehorned into two-and-a-half-minutes. It’s left to album closer Burning Earth to deliver the last round of battery and it does it with aplomb. It’s extremely hard for many bands to gain the exposure they need to wider audiences, especially when there are so many more established bands from across Europe and further afield competing for the same thing. Maybe that’s why Freiheit have surprised me so much. They’ve written and released a pretty awesome debut album and certainly go down as one the finds of 2017 so far (in my opinion). 

As with the other releases in this feature, you can stream "Madness. Hatred. Death" and buy it digitally and on cd below:-



You can also download it directly from Freiheit's bandcamp page here - https://freiheit.bandcamp.com/.

Freiheit - https://www.facebook.com/freiheitband/

Make sure you also check out the rest of the releases from all three labels via bandcamp and via the Satanath store here - http://satanath.com/shop.html.

Satanath Records - https://www.facebook.com/satanath666/
Symbol Of Domination Prods - https://www.facebook.com/SymbolOfDominationProd/
GrimmDistribution - https://www.facebook.com/grimmdistribution

Also, check out the other labels that helped to co-release both the Nordland and Vomit Of Doom albums here:-

More Hate Productions - http://www.morehate.com/
Metal Masala - https://www.facebook.com/metalmasala/
Morbid Skull Records - https://www.facebook.com/morbidskullrecords/

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Breag Naofa - Cearo EP


Tracklist:-

1. The Morning Of
2. Phosphorus

Seattle doom/d-beat band Breag Naofa are preparing to release their new LP via Halo Of Flies (US) and Shove Records (Europe). Earlier this year they released this two-song EP (soon to be self-released on ltd vinyl and tape) to help quench the thirst of their fans. It contains the first recordings since their 2014 split with Children of God and it helps the sextet to once again spread their anti-religious message. Imagery and individual thought have always been important elements of extreme music and none more so are they relevant than in today's society.

“Cearo” begins with the expansive intro to The Morning Of. After the unnerving sample at the beginning, layers of guitars and percussion build and Breag Naofa’s post-metal takes form. It feels like a very slow crescendo but one that’s filled with expectation and intrigue. The majority of the song is instrumental but when the vocals do come in near the seven-minute mark, they’re low growls that accurately bring the dark atmosphere of the music to life. Phosphorus shows the band’s other side, with blasting d-beat taking over from the doom tempos. In some respects this shift makes their music even more menacing. Once again the layers of melody created by the guitars are obvious and they make for a more dramatic spectacle. Breag Naofa has never been a band to rush things or to dumb down their art in favour of mass appreciation and that is what makes them more exciting in my eyes. This EP may be viewed by some as a way to satiate listeners prior to their up-coming full-length, but “Cearo” should be counted in it’s own right as another body of work that adds to 2017’s ever growing list of high quality releases. 

You can stream and purchase "Cearo" digitally below:-



News on the physical release of the EP and of course more details about the full-length can be found via Breag Naofa's Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/BreagNaofa/.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Monolithian - The Waning Moon


Tracklist:

1. Crone
2. Nyarlathotep
3. The Mountain Bows To No One
4. Ixodes
5. Mantis Rider

Tonight's review features a band that's a bit closer to home, in the form of Cornwall's crust/doom duo Monolithian. They released their latest record "The Waning Moon" in January. It's release was a collaborative effort between Atomsmasher Records, Bad Roader Records, Autonomonster Records & Charlie's Big Ray Gun Records. This review goes out just as Monolithian are winging their way through Europe and Scandinavia with Rash Decision. 

I’ve got a lot of time for Monolithian. Simon and Shannon deserve all of the attention they’re getting right now, especially in Europe. Their new album “The Waning Moon” exhibits a new level of focus. Crone demonstrates that with an intense barrage of sludgy black metal and their unmistakable bass/drum, dual-vocal attack. Nyarlathotep demonstrates their ability to deliver ambient, restrained soundscapes as well as heavy noise. It doesn’t remain so restrained though as the latter half of the song returns to more familiar territory for a brief passage at least. It’s a glorious piece of music. Monolithian seems to have eschewed their more crusty leanings on “The Waning Moon” and I don’t think they’ve ever sounded better. The Mountain Bows To No One shows just how effective a bass guitar can be at punching out riffs and tone in perfect when set against Simon’s low bellows and Shannon’s mesmerising percussion. Ixodes airs more towards the metal end of the spectrum, which isn’t a bad thing at all, though it’s more extreme than mainstream as you’d expect. What it does show is the variation within the duo’s songwriting and their ability to experiment. it’d be great live. The drumming at the start of the brilliantly titled Mantis Rider is almost tribal to start with but the intro leads to a song with quite an off-kilter rhythm. Once the riffs and vocals fully kick in, it morphs into a very different beast. Infectious isn’t usually a term used for this form of heavy music but it’s nevertheless an accurate one. I could quite happily play this album over and over again. I think Monolithian has reached a new level and long may it continue.

You can stream "The Waning Moon" and grab it as a name-your-price download below:-



Physical copies of the record are available from Monolithian here - http://www.monolithian.bigcartel.com.

Monolithian - https://www.facebook.com/monolithian/
Atomsmasher Records - https://www.facebook.com/AtomsmasherRecords/
Autonomonster Records - https://www.facebook.com/AutonomonsterRecords/
Charlie's Big Ray Gun Records - https://www.facebook.com/CBRGrecords/

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cavernlight - As We Cup Our Hands And Drink From The Stream Of Our Ache


Tracklist:-

1. Lay Your Woes Upon The Ground And Know That The End Will Soon Swallow You
2. Constructing A Spire To Pierce And Poison The Infinite
3. Wander, Part II
4. To Wallow In The Filth That Dwells Where Despair Is Born
5. A Shell Of One's Former Self

Never before have I read such a stark and poignant album title. "As We Cup Out Hands And Drink From The Stream Of Our Ache" (released in June via the band and due out on vinyl in August via Gilead Media) is the new full-length for Wisconsin doom band Cavernlight and it follows on from their 2015 release "Corporeal". With this album, the quartet promises a journey into their personal void. 

This evening the sky and atmosphere sits heavy, like the heavens are building toward a sinister spectacle. What better way to herald that spectacle in than with this record. Album opener Lay Your Woes… starts with unnerving noise and ambience. The riffs and percussion are at crawling pace while the shrieked vocals come from the lungs of a tortured soul. That initial passage of heaviness morphs into stoner-like groove and hallucinogenic soundscapes, with subtle metal piercing them before Cavernlight slows the tempo with their doom/sludge hybrid. Quite an impression is made during the first song alone. This year is producing some of the best doom/post-metal in years and it may be presumptuous of me to say this but Cavernlight belong’s on that list. Constructing A Spire… only drags their sound down a deeper mire and crawls with bass-heavy riffs and screams that sit deep within the noise. Nightmarish and arduous may be adequate descriptors for the song, but they are meant in the best possible way. This is not for the casual listener. Wander, Part II is a break from the bleak heaviness but it contains it’s own beauty with the help of minimal ambience and guitar presence. It reminds me of the misty and dark moors of my home county. The melodic guitar intro that greets you on To Wallow… is a moment worth waiting for. It’s cinematic majesty is beautiful, though it feels like it’s leading you into a false sense of security. Thankfully, it remains as Cavernlight unleashes more stark noise. For such a song and indeed album, the music within is cleansing and cathartic. The clean classical female singing on album closer A Shell Of One’s Former Self is not expected but is remarkable in it’s fragility and that fragility is shattered mid-way through by one last earth-shaking passage. It seems more tortured this time yet when the clean vocals return alongside Cavernlight’s dissonant textures, the song takes on a new life. At times “As We Cup…” is an uneasy listen, yet there’s a reason for that and when the light shines through Cavernlight’s music it’s truly brilliant. 

You can stream and purchase a digital download of the album below:-



There's also vinyl and tape pre-orders up via Cavernlight's bandcamp page.

Cavernlight - https://www.facebook.com/cavernlightnoise/

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ruined Families - Education


Tracklist:

1. The Future Of Electronic Music
2. Image Of An Image
3. Naked Life
4. Underground Resistance
5. Demolition
6. No Rothko
7. Use Your Hands
8. Wholecar
9. Meta-Anthem
10. We Want Everything

I can't believe it's been over five years since I last reviewed Ruined Families. It was their 2012 untitled 7" that I wrote about and since then they've given us two LPs with "Eduction" being their newest. It was released via Adagio830 last November and it's already onto it's second pressing! The album was mixed in their home city of Athens, Greece and was mastered at the infamous Audiosiege studio. Ruined Families played at Miss The Stars fest in Berlin in May and are playing Fluff Fest in the Czech Republic this Friday. 

I’m not sure if Ruined Families have been taking cues from Refused with the title of “Education” opener, The Future Of Electronic Music. Either way, it’s a short and sharp song to kick off with and the mixture of harshness and melody doesn’t pull any punches. Unsurprisingly there’s a lot of feedback and bass within their music and on Image Of An Image they use it to accentuate their heaviness. At times “Education” grinds and flails onwards yet there are brief glimpses of introspection too. Naked Life doesn’t feature such a glimpse though as their off-kilter violence prevails. They get faster and faster to the point where Underground Resistance enters the fray, knocks you out and exits the ring without an apology, all in just over sixty-seconds. They take things a bit slower on Demolition, which is a song that threatens to explode during it’s first half. The vocals are more tempered and audible, while the instrumentation is more musical and less gung-ho. It shows a different side to them but one that’s clever. The relative calm of Demolition is somewhat shattered by No Rothko, with it’s mix of emoviolence-like passages and glorious punk riffs. It’s a song of many sides and all the better for it. There are many more intricacies within RF’s music than I can aptly describe here, which is why it’s better for you to listen to “Education” for yourself. Use Your Hands covets many of those intricacies with a raging percussive/vocal backdrop and cinematic walls of guitar. The punk influence is back on Wholecar, with it’s garage/goth undertones. I suppose post-punk is more applicable but what’s in a name! Whatever you want to call it, it’s great. The fact that no two songs are the same is key to this album’s energy and intrigue. Meta-Anthem goes through phases of utterly chaotic noise and broken hardcore, all while staying relatively controlled. It’s left to the menace of album closer We Want Everything to leave you aching for more. It’s decidedly brutal and hammers the band’s impact home. “Education” is short in playing time but is rich in emotion and personality. That’s all you should ask for from music really. 

Stream "Education" below:-



You can also buy it digitally, on tape and on vinyl directly from the band above or from Adagio830 here - http://www.bisaufsmesser.com/store/label-releases/adagio830.

Ruined Families - https://www.facebook.com/ruinedfamilies/
Adagio830 - https://www.facebook.com/ADAGIO830/