Friday 29 December 2017

2017 End-Of-Year-List - Nicholas Wojcik (Idre)

Oklahoma City's Idre released one of 2017's best post-metal records in the form of "Unforgiving Landscapes" (in my opinion), so it's a great honour for me to bring you an end-of-year-list from the band's drummer Nicholas Wojcik. Here's what Nicholas had to say about his list - 

"Thanks for all your support for Idre. While 2017 was an exciting year for us and the release of our 2nd album, "Unforgiving Landscapes," it was also definitely a year that I found myself, yet again, spending countless hours listening to new releases by other artists. So I'm pleased to be sharing with you some of my personal favorites along with my Top 10."

I hope you enjoy it...

10. Northumbria - Markland (Cryochamber)

There were a number of great releases on the Cryochamber label this year but this one seemed to resonate with me the most and may be my all-time favorite release from this Canadian instrumental two-piece. "Markland" is the second album in a trilogy centered on the Norse discovery of Canada. Comprised of only improvised guitars and bass that take on a variety of tones and textures, the sounds are expansive, organic, and hauntingly mystical. Superbly composed.

9. Fuoco Fatuo - Backwater (Profound Lore)

Fuoco Fatuo are based out of Italy and this is their second LP. This album sees them progressing deeper into their distressing, abyssal dirge that not only calls to mind the solemn, epic, funeral-laden textures of Mournful Congregation and Evoken but the raw, down-trodden atmospheres of Incantation, Portal, and Disma. An enveloping and suffocating opus.

8. Throane - Plus Une Main A Mordre (Debemur Morti)

This is the second full-length from French photographer/illustrator/designer/musical extraordinaire Dehn Sora, often known for his work with Treha Sektori, Ulver, and Deathspell Omega, and features guest vocals from CHVE of Amenra. Fusing elements of dark industrial, doom, post-hardcore, and discordant beauty, the end result is full of tension that pulls you back and forth between quiet and chaos. Perhaps the artist describes it best - "this is a record of cities as tombs, of failing industry, corroding capitalism, fractured lives, divided peoples, isolationism and lack.

7. Perturbator - New Model (Blood Music)

France's Perturbator unleashes a truly unique and exciting EP blending technical, experimental darkwave and out-of-the-box industrial music that continuously shifts and turns in tempo and shape, devoid of comfort and stagnation.

6. Black Mare - Death Magick Mother (Magic Bullet)

This is the second full-length release from Black Mare, the product of its mastermind, Sera Timms (also of Ides Of Gemini), and one of my personal most highly-anticipated releases of this year. Full of all the gothy-gloomy hallmarks of its predecessor, its execution comes off a bit more raw and dark. Additionally are the hidden nuances that not only contribute to the overall sense of mysticism and atmosphere, but continue to lure me back in to see what else I can find hidden below the surface, forcing this album to stay in regular rotation in my daily playlist. A focused, enigmatic, and graceful release unlike anything else I've come across in recent years. Fans of Faith/Pornography-era The Cure, Lycia, Fvnerals, Chelsea Wolfe, etc. take heed.

5. Immolation - Atonement (Nuclear Blast)

I've been a fan of Immolation for more than two decades and can easily attest that for a band that's been around since the good old days of death metal, they really haven't changed their approach to their craft that much. But something about the execution of this record not only led me to put this album in my top 10 of 2017 but it's my favorite release of theirs since the late 1990s. The album is full of speed, technicality, valleys and peaks, and a masterful performance by guitarist Robert Vigna who delivers some truly crushing and dissonant melodies, leads that accompany rather than quash its counterparts, and unique, almost otherworldly harmonics. Fresh, yet familiar, an outright classic in my book.

4. Harvestman - Music For Megaliths (Neurot Recordings)

"Music For Megaliths" is the latest release from Harvestman, the brainchild of Steve Von Till (Neurosis/Tribes Of Neurot). Fusing acoustic and electric guitars, bass, synthesizers, effects, and a hurdy gurdy, amongst other instruments, "Music For Megaliths" is a sonic journey that transcends the realms of folk, drone, noise, psychedelia, and krautrock. A beautiful, meditative, and eclectic masterpiece that's spellbinding and awe-inspiring, this album resides in a unique place where sounds are both ancient and ahead of their time.

3. Godflesh - Post Self (Avalanche Recordings)

Textured synths, buzz-saw bass lines, pounding electric beats, and distorted, down-tuned guitars at times, hazy, forlorn ambience at others, "Post Self" is arguably an album that leans more on the side of their industrial post-punk influence than anything metal but still doesn't fall short of encompassing all the elements of Godflesh's insurmountable discography. A genuine, cathartic, uncompromising work. 

2. Blut Aus Nord - Deus Salutes Meæ (Debemur Morti)

It's safe to say that every time Blut Aus Nord put out a new record, it's guaranteed to make my "best of" list for the year - and there's no exception here. On "Deus Salutes Meæ" we see a continuation to push the boundaries of their strand of electronic-infused avant-garde black metal and crush any conceptions of what their capabilities might be. Each listen proves to be a mind-bending, nightmarish journey of deranged and unsettling disharmony; sounds that penetrate, lodge, and unhinge ones stream of consciousness, only to fill the void with dark hallucinations. Glorious!

1. Spectral Voice - Eroded Corridors of Unbeing (Dark Descent)

After several demos and splits, Colorado-based band Spectral Voice finally delivers their first full-length - a dark, ghostly album with incredible composition, multiple textures, and the ability to hit that sweet spot with every listen. It's the kind of album I continuously search for, rife with classic old school death metal riffs blended with thick, moody, droning, schizophrenic doom, atmosphere, vocals that range from guttural churning growls to screeching whispers, and a raw production that places this album alongside the likes of old Incantation, Grave Miasma, and Disembowelment. Living up to its title, "Eroded Corridors..." conjures images of ominous halls, eerie passages, and cavernous landscapes full of wonder and intrigue. And while I could go on and on trying to properly describe the sheer greatness of this record ad nauseum, perhaps it's best that the reader drop what they're doing and experience it first hand.

Honorable mentions:
A-Sun Amissa - The Gatherer (Consouling Sounds)
Inquisition - Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith (Season Of Mist)
Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore)
Bagarre Générale - Tohu-Bohu (Music Fear Satan)
Innerwoud/Treha Sektori split EP (Consouling Sounds)
Orannsi Pazuzu - Kevät / Värimyrsky (20 Buck Spin)
Prurient - Rainbow Mirror (Profound Lore)
夢遊病者 (AKA Sleepwalker) - 5772 (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)
Karger Traum - Such A Dream (DKA)
Loss - Horizonless (Profound Lore)
Amenra - Mass VI (Neurot Recordings)
Statiqbloom - Blue Moon Blood (Translation Loss)
Monarch - Never Forever (Profound Lore)
Unearthly Trance - Stalking The Ghost (Relapse)
Fister/CHRCH split EP (Crown and Throne Ltd.)
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun (Sargent House)
In The Company of Serpents - Ain-Soph Aur (Self-released)
Come To Grief - The Worst Of Times (Fuck Yoga)
With The Dead - Love From With The Dead (Rise Above)
Tyrannosorceress - Shattering Light's Creation (Tofu Carnage)
Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice Woven (Artemisia Records)
Wrathprayer/Force Of Darkness split EP (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Nightbringer - Terra Damnata (Season Of Mist)
Crawl - This sad cadav'r (Red River Family)
Cult of Luna - Years In A Day (Indie Recordings)
Bestia Arcana - Holókauston (Dark Descent)

You can stream and purchase both of Idre's albums, including "Unforgiving Landscapes" via their bandcamp page below:-

I would just like to say thank you once again to Nicholas for allowing me to publish his list. This is the last post of the year. I plan to make 2018 bigger and better, with more reviews, interviews and the newsletter, which you can subscribe to via the pop-up form on here or via the link on the blog's Facebook page. Thanks for the support and interest in 2017.

Thursday 28 December 2017

16/Fistula - Split 7"


1. 16 - Complications (Killing Joke Cover
2. Fistula - Mongoloid (Devo Cover)

Here's the second split 7' in Fistula's split series. This time they're joined by sludge legends 16. Forming in 1991, 16 has released 7 full-lengths and countless splits, singles and EPs. This split sees both bands tackling covers of songs by both Killing Joke and Devo. It was released at the same time as the previously reviewed Come To Grief split, also through PATAC Records. I have to make an apology too as I didn't realise that these releases were to celebrate twenty years of Fistula, when I wrote the first review. How many mainstream pop acts can say they've been around for twenty years!

The Come To Grief split was a slower affair. On this one both bands cover the punk of Killing Joke and Devo. 16 is up first with their version of Complications (Killing Joke). It’s incredibly bass-heavy and there’s an industrial edge to 16’s sludge here too. They put their dissonant and distorted take on the song, making it their own. 

Talking of bass, Fistula also goes low on their cover of Devo’s Mongoloid. As un-PC as the title of the song is, the attitude of it suits Fistula down to the ground and they race through it with confidence and some weird guitar-effects. It helps make this split catchy and accessible (in a way). 

You can tell that both 16 and Fistula wanted to have a bit fun on this split. The down-tempo doom/sludge has been abandoned in favour of something a little more snottiness and an example of how bands can turn their hands and instruments to different styles, while retaining their own sound. Good stuff.

Thursday 21 December 2017

2017 End-Of-The-Year List - Noise by Mikey Ortega (Diclonious)

Here's another end-of-year list and this one's has been sent in long-time reader/supporter and noise/drone/doom aficionado Mikey Ortega, from Californian funeral-doom/post-black metal band Diclonuis. Mikey's submitted a list of his ten favourite noise releases of 2017. It forms a precursor to his involvement with This Noise Is Ours in 2018, where he'll be providing some guest noise reviews. I hope you enjoy his list.

10.  See Through Buildings - Into Oblivion We March

When ever I put on See Through Buildings, there's always that feeling like I'm being crushed.  A sense of claustrophobia kicks in. “With Into Oblivion We March”, Ben Rehling brings a more apocalyptic vibe to his sound. Prepare to see the sky falling.

9. Ruiner - Cigarette Skin

Logan Threedouble is one the of young artists to keep an eye out, and on “Cigarette Skin”, Logan shows lots of promise. Of course now he's moved on to Hellfarm and Hermit of Elsinore, but Ruiner has left it's mark in the noise scene.

8. Bonemagic - Sinew City

A killer release by Big Pharma, a little DIY label from the Midwest. Bonemagic is a great combination of Industrial, Noise, and Black Metal. Imagine an old dark factory (similar to the one in Earaserhead) just standing alone in Hell. That's the vision I have when listening to “Sinew City”.

7. Hate Audition - Liberty Fetish

Oh, how much I love the sound of feedback and Hate Audition does an excellent job with “Liberty Fetish”. So angry and ear piercing, you just want to smash your head with a hammer. Another great release by Big Pharma.

6. Christian Lovers - A Bedroom In Peacetime

If you've ever seen Christian Lovers live, then you know how intense they can get. So in “A Bedroom In Peacetime”, it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that energy in a recording studio. The chants and other samples makes this release quite the experience.

5. Ritual Chair - Post-Stacy

Ritual Chair is another artist that has left their mark in the noise scene in 2017. The sorority theme that Hailey brings is definitely unmarked territory. “Post-Stacy” takes us into sorority culture and brings out an unsettling side of it. It is very raw and in your face.  So prepare for something bleak and awesome.

4. Ragk - Richard Spencer

By now we should know that Richard Spencer is a massive cunt. And seeing him catch a haymaker early this year is a top moment of 2017. Ragk made a noise album on Richard Spencer and his twatty bullshit. The whole album sounds like a fist breaking his fuck'n face. Which is the more reason to love this release.

3. Hexpressionist - Sketches

One of the reasons I gear toward the more dark ambient side, is because of that nightmarish atmosphere it creates in my head. When listening to “Sketches”, it feels like an outer body experience into the abyss. There's nothing much more I can say about Hexpressionist.  Everything about this project is the reason why I continue to support this scene.

2. Phantasm Nocturnes - Sins of the Flesh

“Sins of the Flesh” is a journey into torment and punishment. Every second, it feels like pieces of your flesh is being torn off.  This kind of misery is what Phantasm Nocturnes do so well. The pain is so addictive, that you can't help but go for another. No mercy is shown. Know what you're in for when listening to Phantasm Nocturnes.

1. Lingua Ignota - All Bitches Die

The thought of being tied up in someones trunk is what I think when listening to “All Bitches Die” by Lingua Ignota. On one side, you're trying to figure out how to get out. On the other, it feels hopeless and you just want it to end already. If you enjoy the dark and beauty that Jarboe brings, then this album is up your alley.

Thanks to Mikey for submitting this list and If you've found something here that you've not heard before and you dig it, that's even better. Keep you eyes peeled in the new year for Mikey's noise reviews. 

You can listen to Diclonius here and follow the band's actions on social media here

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Bréag Naofa - Interview + II Review

After writing about Bréag Naofa's EP "Cearo" in July and knowing that the release of their new LP "II" wasn't too far around corner, I sent the Seattle six-piece an e-mail interview to ask them about both releases and what it's been like working with Cory from Halo Of Flies on the new album. amongst other things. Their message of free-thinking via the denouncement of religion is something that resonates with me and I'm honoured that they took the time to answer my questions. You can read them below.

I’d like to start the interview by stepping back in time slightly to the writing of the "Cearo" EP. Without going into too much detail (I appreciate it may be sensitive); what was Bréag Naofa as a band going through at the time when you were writing the songs?

BN - So this was a mixture of a few negative emotions. There was some loss that I had in the family that was pretty brutal to deal with. Death is never easy, but when you see people slowly waste away, it’s almost more damaging. At the same time another member of the band had been dealing with a relationship that was falling apart and some major betrayal, very blatant and outright even, so the depressed feeling as well as the anger came out in both of those songs in the mood of the writing of the actual songs, and of course the lyrics. 

"II" was released in August. Like the "Cearo" EP, it’s very heavy and emotive. Did you approach it in the same way when writing and what involvement did each member of the band have? 

BN - "II" was specifically us getting back to the progression of the band and trying to explore a new sound with different tuning, more repetition, and just all around wanted it to be heavier. "Cearo" was a slight departure from that, but we honestly would like each of our albums to be slightly different from another, so you can get something out of each one of them that isn’t something you’d find on the previous album. 

The cover art fits the album and it’s sound really well. How do you think it relates to the music itself? 

BN - For "II" I asked the artist that we worked with to portray some of the old methods of torture that those who considered themselves holy would enact on others, thus the burning at the stake. With "Cearo", the wandering person going out on their own through thick woods, I feel, was one of the best representations visually that we could have for that record. 

What has the reaction to the album been like amongst Bréag Naofa’s fans? 

BN - I wasn’t sure how people would react to "Cearo", because it was much different, but we’ve had a huge positive response for it. The album itself with one side being etched with our logo has also been popular for collectors. Everyone seems to like "II" because it’s just a continuation of all the older albums as far as heavy goes, I just feel we got much heavier on this album. 

You worked with Cory & Halo Of Flies on the physical release. What was it like working with him, given the bands he’s worked with in the past and the experience/knowledge he has? 

BN - Cory is awesome! He basically puts out what he is into, and we’ve been lucky enough to have a few releases with him. Our last release with him was the Monuments Collapse split. That was a very successful album and we owe a lot to Halo for helping get us out there. Halo is one of the best indie record labels out there and I fully back his hard work and what he’s doing 

With 2018 on the horizon, do you have any touring/gig plans? Will you be venturing outside of the States at all? 

BN - We have talked about a west coast tour in the U.S. Unfortunately we all have dad jobs at the moment, and can’t tour as much as we could when we were in our 20s, so touring is sparse. If we got asked to play a badass fest in Europe I think I’d spring some cash and go in the hole moneywise to get to play to an audience out of the states. 

I’ve been asking different bands this question in recent interviews; What advice would you give to new bands based on your experiences thus far and also, what advice would you give to 

BN - Yourselves if you were to go back in time? You have to be 100% about keeping this personal and all for you. The people that like you will come along with that. Don’t ever get too bogged down in trying to get to this level or some next level. Just play what you like and don’t let any bad experiences get you down about being a band. Some older bands I was in, we toured with boxes of ramen in the car and heated it up at coffee stations in gas stations. I lived pretty much broke through most of the early 2000s and we somehow survived touring. As a young musician it was all about the pipedream of being a big name. While I had some hardcore bands that were pretty successful, none of that mattered in the end. Writing good music, being around some of your best friends, and enjoying what you’ve put out and will be able to go back and listen to and either laugh or say “holy shit, that was still such a good song” is all that matters to me. 


2. X
3. XI
4. XII
5. Diderot

Heaviness, anger and emotion are all healthy and cathartic things when it comes to metal music. Probably more so for the bands that write it than for the fans who consume it. Bréag Naofa knows this and that’s why “II” sounds the way it does. Opening song XIII is metallic, bold and incredibly dense in its delivery. At times it’s slow and at other times its pace picks up with elements of hardcore and post-metal taking the lead. X only increases the density and the intensity further, as the harsh vocals head lower in tonality and the instrumentation the surrounds them becomes more vivid. The extended instrumental sections both paint images and stir feelings inside. This is music that allows you to interpret it in your own way, without forcing certain things upon you, which is a great skill for a band to have. 

The metallic textures flow on into XI and while they’re only a small facet of BN’s sound, they present a menacing atmosphere alongside the rest of the music. There’s something avant-garde about the band on this song as well, especially in the tuning and the melodies. The vocals are both pissed off yet also restrained and the introspective passages are glorious and clear, thanks to the engineering and mixing of Derek Moree. The further you get into “II” the more intense and enjoyable it becomes. The fact that BN don’t rush their songs and are more expansive in their song-writing makes their post-metal more natural. This point is exhibited perfectly on XII.

“II” ends with Diderot, which begins with repeating guitar riffs, subtle ambience and a French spoken word sample. The volume builds with the introduction of the drums before the instrumental section of BN blasts back into life for a shorter final piece. It feels like closure for the band and those final spoken lines say all you need to know. Bréag Naofa manages more in these five songs than a lot of bigger bands manage with double that, but then it’s not about other bands. It’s about the music and what both they and you take out of it. Stirring, emotive and brilliantly delivered. 

You can stream and buy "II" digitally and on vinyl below:-

You can also purchase copies from Halo of Flies here -

Sunday 17 December 2017

Come To Grief/Fistula - Split 7"


1. Come To Grief - Take Me In My Sleep
2. Fistula - Contusion

This is the first of six (yes six!) split 7"s featuring the mighty Fistula and friends. This one includes original songs from both Fistula and fellow doom/sludge band Come To Grief, formed out the ashes of seminal doom band Grief. Both the 7" and a tape version have been released via PATAC Records. Grief formed in 2014 and has so far released a single and an EP earlier this year. Fistula has been consistently playing super solid doom/sludge since before the turn of the Millennium, appearing on countless splits amongst their extensive back catalogue. 

Come To Grief is harrowing on Take Me In My Sleep. The slow and heavy percussion, bass-heavy riffs and harsh screams are exactly what you’d expect from a band of their pedigree, but there’s also a natural feel to it all. Their music is not over-complicated and the song crawls through six-and-a-half minutes without losing you as a listener. I’m a big fan of sludge/doom so this ticks all the boxes for me so far. It’s nasty (in the best possible way).

On the b-side Fistula’s Contusion is equally as lurching and heavy but it also contains more of a metallic edge in the guitars. While Come To Grief comes across as being very despairing, Fistula proceeds to hammer the final ounce of belief and life out of you, at least until the three-and-a-half minute mark when they launch into a groovy passage, which is fantastic. They transfer between different time-signatures with ease and each time the atmosphere changes to match.

It’s so easy for splits like this to sound too samey but both Come To Grief and Fistula have injected their musical personalities into it. The former brings you down and the latter is more upbeat, but they’re both very adept at what they do and I can see that this split series in gonna be a whole lot of heavy. 

Both 7" and tape versions were officially released yeaterday and you can pick them up via PATAC Records here - https://www.patacrecords.comCurrently the split is not available for streaming, as far as I can tell (please correct me if I'm wrong).

I'll be writing reviews of all of the splits in this series as they're released. The 16/Fistula split review will be up next, probably next week.