Thursday 19 December 2019

Wishes On A Plane - Perfect (Song Premiere + Interview)

When I sat down the other day to think about the year end and look forward to 2020, I didn't think that one my last posts of 2019 would include a special stream of a song that has sat unreleased since 2005. In fact, the song forms part of a five song release that was written the same year but never completed until now. It documents a point in time for a German emo/post-rock band that formed part of a network of bands, mainly remaining obscure apart from within their own scene, which included Single State Of Man, Seidenmatt (also known as SDNMT) and Milhaven amongst many more.

You can stream the song Perfect via Youtube below:-

Wishes On A Plane formed initially in 2002, but then they were known as A Life Less Ordinary, The quartet released a three-song demo CD with that moniker before releasing a five-song EP in 2004 with their new name. Line-up changes happened after this and later came various compilation recordings, a 10" called "This Faint Line" (released via Time As A Color and Strictly No Capital Letters) and then split 7"/DVD called "Transparency" with Bail (released via Time As A Color and Canot Pneumatique Records). At this point, I'm not giving anymore of the game away, as I recently interviewed Daniel and Josef from WOAP and you can read what we talked about below.

1. Hi Daniel, how are you? Can you start off by talking a bit about the history of Wishes On A Plane?

D: hi James! I’m pretty good, quite busy as usual though. Thanks for taking the time to sit over this music of ours. Let me introduce my band mates on this release, it’s Andy (guitar), Josef (Bass) and Paul (drums). Josef and I will try to answer all your questions. Basically the four of us started being a band in i guess early 2002 (Andy, Josef and I had already written some songs by the time Paul joined) and played our first show in the summer of 2002, released a 3-song demo CD by the end of 2002 under our first name A Life Less Ordinary, and a s/t 5-song EP as Wishes On A Plane in very early 2004. after that we recorded 3 songs for several compilations, and these 5 we never finished just until now. we played live, around 50 shows I guess with this lineup, mostly local though, as we didn’t have much connection to a scene by then. the farthest we got was Cologne and Siegen. don’t think we made it out of Germany at all. in 2005 Josef and Andy decided to quit the band, so Paul and I started from scratch with 2 new band-members, Anna and Tobi and released some compilation tracks, a 10“ and a split 7“/DVD with Bail, we also toured more than with the first line up, played all corners of Germany and also played in Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, a few mini tours and a 10-days tour in early 2009, which was our last tour. 

2. You are going to release an LP in 2020. What made you decide to release this music now? 

D: Basically I always knew these songs were somewhere on an old desktop computer style hard disk (sata), and sometimes the fact I knew I owed it to these songs to someday see the light of day sort of haunted me. But to me there were a bunch of obstacles, so basically whenever I thought of it it seemed too much effort to find the drive, research how to connect an old sata drive to a modern computer, to then maybe figure out my new pro tools wouldn’t open the old sessions or realise I didn’t know the lyrics to these old songs anymore and wasn’t sure if I ever found them in my records, or maybe I went through all these steps only to realise these songs/recordings weren’t good enough for me to want to finish them. My mind is like that. I guess what made me actually do it was that I coincidentally found the drive like a year ago, shortly before Christmas, where there is a little more free time than the rest of the year, also at a point in my life where I was seeing myself in a similar situation as when I wrote these songs, so after I had found it and researched about how to connect it everything else worked out so smoothly (the drive was still working, files were there, so were the lyrics, and my latest pro tools was importing that old session like a boss), I guess what I needed was a first step and after that every step was followed by the next naturally. Possibly the biggest obstacle in finishing these recordings was remembering how exactly the vocal melodies were for some parts, but I have a crazy talent in remembering these things and after occupying myself with the songs for a bit the memories came back. Of course I had to ask Paul, Andy and Josef if they were cool with finishing them but they were in, luckily. 

J: During the last years, we didn't really meet often, but when, we always talked about the good old times playing together. Thereby, Daniel mentioned sometimes some old recordings somewhere in his big hard data nimbus, but it was more like joking around about finishing them. Honestly, i have had no idea about the data anymore. But at the end of last year, Daniel came out all of nothing with the recordings and asked us if we were interested in finishing and releasing them. I guess all of us were spontaneous up with this idea. 

3. Is the band fully reformed now or is this just a one-off release? Would you consider doing more with the project in the future?

D: Over the last years I learned to do things step by step and see further. To me it would be great to properly release our earlier efforts, the self titled EP from 2004 and compilation tracks at some point. these would need to get remixed and remastered though, which consumes time and/or money, plus depending on the format different amounts of shares on pressing records, of course. To me personally this would depend a lot on how the new record is being acclaimed by listeners. We haven’t reformed and aren’t planning to release any new music under the name wishes on a plane. In fact only two of us have a saying with what’s happening under that band name, the other two final band members (Anna and Tobi) were ok with us re-releasing what had been released or written under that name before, but I guess if we’d write/release new songs it would be under a different band name. the four of us are in our late 30’s, two of us have kids, one lives in Hamburg, one has a pilot’s working schedule, all of us are fully working of course, one runs a record label and two have another band. There were ideas of us making music together in the future, which today is possible even with living in different cities, but there were no actions to do so yet. It would be cool though.

J: As Daniel mentioned, it is not that easy to come together playing or rehearse songs at a good level because of our different life schedule, but there is always a chance just to jingle or maybe doing a single release show.

4. You’ve been kind enough to allow me to have an advance listen to the songs. I would never have guessed that they were nearly 15 years old. What inspired you at the time of writing them and what were your main influences when writing the vocals?

D: I think Roland Wiegner did a great job mixing our mediocre recordings (to say the least), that coupled with the fact most current emo stuff shares similar aesthetics and the same influences from the 90s makes it kind of fit within the DIY, slightly lo-fi emo bubble quite nicely. I guess a lot of our influences when we wrote these songs are obvious when I name them, Elliott has always played a great role to at least 3/4 of us, as many people know bands like Jimmy Eat World, Christie Front Drive and The Get Up Kids belong to the basis of why I started making music and I guess you will always be able to find bits of these in whatever music I write. You will also find more than bits of Texas Is The Reason in there, Mineral, lesser known bands like Pictures Can Tell or Hudson River School, some falsetto I used for the first time in these songs was even influenced by a local band called The January Flake. there are still bits of emo-punk and pop-punk in there, influenced by bands like The Ataris, No Use For A Name or Midtown. other bands that definitely played a role in making us sound that way were The Appleseed Cast and Further Seems Forever. Considering songwriting to me we were at the best we had ever been, sometimes I wonder where this could’ve gone if we had continued… Lyrics to me have always been and still are super personal, even up to a point where it hit me when I was singing them again during recording, 14 years after, feeling the same pain or at least knowing exactly what I meant when I wrote them. All of these 5 songs we are going to release deal with a major breakup during my late teenager/early tweens time (remember, I was 22 when we wrote these songs). Thoughts or fears of two people being no perfect match but intertwined so deeply you find it difficult to embrace a life on your own. Questioning if you know at all what love is, or even more so, what not loving feels like, and how to know it when love is gone. Possibly a mind vs heart scenario. On perfect, the song we are premiering today, my mind was playing with the word „perfect“, having a very obvious, very cliché meaning of flawlessness, and a rather technical meaning in linguistic, the perfect tense, a metaphor for past, something that had bygone. Superficially, these two terms and meanings couldn’t be more distinct. Then again, when you look at it, when things end, they usually weren’t prefect. But when things are over, what do we tend you remember the most? the good parts. nostalgia. that brownish sepia movie clip in the back of our heads. that’s what this song is about. 

J: Basically in the beginning the three of us listened to the bands Daniel mentioned (especially Elliott), me not that intense as Andy and Daniel, as I also listened to stuff like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Green Day and even sometimes some old school hiphop. But when Paul joined our team, at that time he drummed in a funk and soul band, he brought occasionally some funky elements in our writing.

5. Was this style of post-rock/emo popular in Germany at the time when Wishes On A Plane was active? 

D: to be honest I’m not sure if I at all had been in contact with post-rock at that time we wrote these songs. at least not much. I remember one of the earliest post-rock influence of mine being Red Sparrows, however at the soundless dawn has only been released in 2005, so if at all the post-rock influence had only been minor or subtle by then. As it appeared to me this sort of indie and rock-ish emo was super unpopular at that time. there was a bit of a scene in Munich that was evolving around red can records, and we played with bands like Jakov Goodnight once or twice, there was also a bit of a scene around Nürnberg/Regensburg area labels millipede, dancing in the dark and plane records (we played with bands like La Par Force, Kenzari’s Middle Kata and Squarewell), but most these bands played, even though under influence of emo, more rock-ish or screamo-ish or a more edgy style of emo, not the „polished“ clean sung understating style like Christie Front Drive or Jimmy Eat World, although bands like mentioned JEW and Get Up Kids were gaining more attention at that time. Possibly if we had kept on in that line-up a little longer we would’ve found more bands like us or more niches to fit in. I started Time As A Color in 2007 and although I guess screamo was a bigger thing in the 00’s I think we would’ve at least halfway fit into that scene if I had found out about it 2-3 years earlier. 

6. I love the idea of someday building an archive of obscure and DIY music, whether it be punk or metal (to be general). I think a lot of it captures an important moment in time. Is it important to you, being able to release this and do you think you’ll release more in the future?

D: To me, it obviously means the world these songs are finally going to be released, because as you say, they document us, document me at a certain moment in time, and by now, that moment had been hidden from the public, as if it never happened. Anyhow, running a label for over 12 years now I am absolutely aware this is mostly happening because I am stubborn, idealistic and not thinking very economically when it comes to the label, especially when it comes to my own music. I am grateful having built up some sort of network to at least spread the music to some people, but in the end what I will be able to release and on what format depends on if people care about what I or we have to say, if the documents of our lives matter to others. I don’t really think that sort of emo is any popular at the moment, but I’ve never really given a shit about feeding certain drawers, neither with the label, nor with the music I make. Of course I will continue making music, and releasing music, but the more people give a shit in what I do, by spreading the word, putting on shows, writing a zine or blog, buying a record, the less I have to work and make money to make these things possible, and the more time I have to actually do something meaningful, meaningful to me, and potentially meaningful to others. This scene depends on people taking part. Fundamentally, it consists of people taking part… 

Perfect will be given away on a special promo cd-r that will be limited to just 44 copies, when people order from the Time As A Color webstore here -

The lyrics to the song are below and will also form part of the inlay for the cd-r:-

falling through the easy selection
bent in between
the end and the everything
of the heart that made you leave

but haven't I heard you laughing?
haven't I always heard you?

fall into my certainty
we're the end you wished
I'll sign in with whoever decided
that nothing feels better than this

all you need me to is falling
when all I want
when all I heard in you
were the words that made me whole

but haven't I hurt you, laughing?
haven't I always hurt you?

Keep your eyes fixed on the Time As A Color bandcamp page, as the download will be made available shortly after this post has gone live. It will be made name-your price and proceeds from downloads will go towards an eventual vinyl release of the full EP.

All that's left for me is to say many thanks to Daniel, Josef and Wishes On A Plane for allowing me to share this song with you all and for also answering my questions, which were slightly cobbled together the other day.

Time As A Color Facebook -

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Horsewhip - Self-Titled LP

Labels: Financial Ruin (distributed via Dead Tank Records)
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 14 Sept 2018


1. Aver
2, Funeral Circus
3. Dropping Out
4. Dirt Bag
5. Spill
6. The Road
7. Fires

Tonight is one of those evening's where you think you've already reviewed something but you actually haven't! I'm pretty embarrassed too because back in September I interviewed drummer Alex Bond as part of my Mental Health In Music series. I'm way more organised with this than I ever used to but then again, I've still got someway to go. Anyway, as nobody ever reads my rambling lets get onto what's important. For those who don't know, Horsewhip is a quartet from Florida (USA) that's made up of some true US hardcore lifers, that formed in 2017. They released their self-titled LP back in September 2018 via Financial Ruin, with distribution help from Dead Tank Records. 

I’m tired and I only finished work for the Christmas holidays about two hours ago but I can already feel myself wanting to sleep for days. I’m not one for whinging though, so I’ll leave it there. On a more positive note, music heals all and Horsewhip is my elixir for the evening. Their self-titled record features seven quick-fire blasts of the kind of hardcore that the collective they do (and have done) best, for years.

Opener Aver is a fast, angry attack filled with off-kilter metallic riffs, dual-vocals and an obnoxious rhythm section. This is thinking man’s hardcore and as we approach the end of a decade, it shows that not all music is being dumbed down. At times it ventures into that crawlspace between hardcore and grind, as demonstrated on the blasting Funeral Circus. It’s Alex’s blasts that really grab this song by it’s neck and drag it kicking and screaming. Dropping Out continues in the band’s angular, off-tempo vein and rules supreme in the energy stakes.

There’s a proper coherence between all of the songs on here. From the chaotic hardcore numbers to the blasting/grinding ones like Dirt Bag, there’s an obvious will to destroy while educating as well. This isn’t just an instant fix and it makes you think. With bands like Trap Them calling it a day recently, there’s a space left that’s crying out to be filled by a band like Horsewhip (not that I’m in any way pigeonholing them with that statement). Spill does have that menacing edge to it though.

Penultimate song The Road could well be about the collective experiences felt by Horsewhip while touring or it could be about something totally different (probably the latter) but either way, it’s the first of a duo of longer, more drawn out songs that seem to both up the heaviness and throw in a bit of progression as well. Final song Fires mixes the best of both worlds with groove, bluesy bass-lines, pure anger and percussive acrobatics aplenty. 

People often forget to indulge themselves in those moments of stillness and thought, not allowing themselves time to appreciate what they have in front of them. This may be heavy music to some, but to us it means more than just it’s descriptor. Horsewhip feels like more than just a band. Horsewhip harnesses something that we all have inside of us. Rawness, emotion, feeling. There’s no need to be cold anymore. Hug someone, scream at the top of your lungs and feel the highs and the lows of life. You’ll be better and stronger for it.

You can stream and purchase the record digitally via Financial Ruin below:-

You can also support Horsewhip directly by grabbing it digitally from their bandcamp page here - and grab the LP from Dead Tank Records here -

Sunday 15 December 2019

Tragic Death - Born Of Dying Embers EP

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 25 Oct 2019


1. Gloaming
2. Dead Flies
3. Apparations

This is the first recording in five years to come from Wisconsin (USA) black/extreme metallers Tragic Death. The quartet has been releasing music in this current state for almost a decade, with their  "Pre Apocalyptic Demo 2011" and debut full-length "Apocalyptic Metal" coming within twelve months of each other, before a split with Fiends At Feast called "Purgatory Rites" that saw the light of day in 2014 via Horror Pain Gore Dead Productions. They're back now having found their own path and refined their sound along the way.

The main bedrock of Tragic Death’s sound is black metal but they approach it in an experimental way, which at times is more akin to the extreme metal played by the likes of Cadaveric Fumes and Skelethal. It has swathes of the occult flowing through it and an orchestral/symphonic edge adding to the evil contained within EP opener Gloaming. The guitars provide the majority of the forward progression while the percussion and vocals are undoubtedly venomous. 

Despite the bleak image that second-song Dead Flies portrays, the musicianship at it’s beginning is exceptional with melodic guitar building up to something that’s slower in tempo but that fits the EP really well. It’s kind of like black/doom initially before Tragic Death’s technical side takes over with fast/slow passages and riffs that dictate the tempos. It’s off-kilter and as with Gloaming before it, there’s plenty of instrumental-only sections. The passion the band has for their music is plain to see and hear.

Left till the end of this three song EP is Apparations. All seventeen-plus minutes of it. The ambient yet horrifying sample that makes up the intro signals a leap into much darker territory and what you get is black metal filled with sinister melody and heart-wrenching torment. It descends into an unholy mash-up of mesmerising noise and ice-cold shrieks that seem to blur into one another and even though at times it has a lo-fi feel, when everything is at full chat it’s massive. The classical/hispanic-inspired acoustic guitar mid-way through breaks up the heaviness and is really relaxing as it leads into a final third that's restrained and focused.

Focused is definitely a good descriptor to use when talking about “Born Of Dying Embers”. There’s a lot of music to lose yourself in here but thankfully Tragic Death goes about it all without losing you as a listener. Delivery is everything and this is spot on in terms of extreme metal. It’s accessible while also being dissonant enough to ward of the uninitiated. Great job and another reason to still be digging out the last few 2019 releases that may have escaped you. 

You can stream "Born Of Dying Embers" below and purchase it on tape/digitally too:-

Friday 13 December 2019

Heavy Baby Sea Slugs - Head Ooze // Possession EP + The Minotaur // Trout Fishin' Man EP

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 13 Dec 2019


1. Head Ooze
2. Possession

Without even knowing it, today has been a very good day. The blog's received over 1200 hits today so far and it's the weekend. I have a couple of things in the planning stages but this evening I thought I'd re-visit a band that I featured back in March 2017, when I reviewed their EP "Teenage Graveyard Party". Experimental band Heavy Baby Sea Slugs from Texas (USA) has just today released a new two-song EP via bandcamp (what are the chances of stumbling across that!). I thought it'd be cool to write about it, as well as the band's 2016 two-song 7" in a double review.

it feels strange in 2019 to be writing about a band that doesn’t have a social media presence. Yes they’re on Spotify, but there’s no way to interact with them other than through the Heavy Baby Records page on Facebook, which appears to be a little dormant at the moment. Either way, let’s not stop that from spoiling the music of HBSS and this two-track release is literally hot off the press (although not physically). Head Ooze kicks things off with heavy sludge riffs and pounding drums, before giving way to a faster tempo and weird garage-punk/Dave Mustaine inspired vocals. There’s a horror-punk thing going on during the verses but it doesn’t stray too far from the doom/sludge atmosphere that was offered up early on.

Second song Possession is no different, with hypnotising grooves and audible yet projected vocals. Some staunch purists may consider this to be slightly contrived, but I’m not getting that at all. It’s noise-rock at it’s noisiest but also catchiest. As referred to earlier, there’s plenty of experimentation throughout and plenty of different sub-genres at play. After nearly three years without a release, HBSS have come back and are well worth getting behind. Let’s hope these two songs allow them plenty of momentum as they head into 2020.

Stream and download "Head Ooze // Possession" below:-

Labels: Heavy Baby Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 15 May 2016


1. The Minotaur
2. Trout Fishin' Man

HBSS's musical output dates back to 2013 but I'm not going to that far back just now. Instead, I'm going back to what is their only vinyl release to date. "The Minotaur // Trout Fishin' Man" was released on 7" via Heavy Baby Records in May 2016, as far as I can tell. 

This release pitches HBSS in slightly rawer territory, musically. The Minotaur contains harsher vox but still the same level of groovy guitar work that graces their newest EP. It lurches at a slower pace and sounds a lot more sinister. The experimentation that HBSS is so proud of is obvious within it’s bars too, even though the backbone is more mesmeric and atonal.

You’d expect a song called Trout Fishin’ Man to be a happy and carefree song, but instead it’s a ravaging guitar-led noise fest that seems to get faster and faster in tempo. It’s chaotic for sure and the use of what sounds like a whammy bar throughout is both brilliant and annoying in equal measure. That’s not a criticism though as this sort of music isn’t supposed to be considered easy listening and HBSS don’t do things in a conventional way. 

EP's like this capture a point in time, where only music can. Heavy Baby Sea Slugs may only be slithering forward but that’s better than withering away.

You can also stream "The Minotaur // Trout Fishin' Man" below, where it's also available to buy on vinyl as well as digitally:-

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Guevnna/Monochrome Nausea - Split Tape

Labels: Kakusan Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 01 Nov 2019


1. Guevnna - Into The Night
2. Monochrome Nausea - Based On Photographs

Following last night's Mental Health In Music interview, I wanted to right about something that was connected to that. That something is the recent split tape between Japanese doom band Guevnna and Norwegian noisecore duo Monochrome Nausea. It features one song from each band and was released in very limited number early last month. I last featured Guevnna here back in July 2016 when I reviewed their split with Self-Deconstruction, while MN were featured in September following their split release with Sete Star Sept.

Kakusan’s releases are always loud and Guevnna’s groovy doom on Into The Night is no exception. Their familiar disco-like rhythms and harsh vocals are used to great effect, with melody and distant synths (possibly) making an appearance. Either way, this is great and as is the label’s modus operandi. experimental and forward thinking Japanese music is championed here.

Monochrome Nausea’s noisy rawness comes as a bit of a shock on Based On Photographs but it’s the contrast between them and Guevnna that’s part of this release’s charm. MN’s music seems more improvisational and the bass/drum aesthetic takes more from Sete Star Sept in influence than maybe others. The vocals are sporadic but equally as harsh and there are some grooves hidden in the depths of it all too.

This could be considered one of the most bizarre split releases on 2019 and that isn’t a bad thing at all. It won’t be for everyone but that’s the point. Guevnna’s tones are more soothing while MN’s are downright nightmarish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

You can stream the split below, where it's also available to buy on tape and digitally:-

Monday 9 December 2019

Mental Health In Music: A Musician's Perspective #6 - Christer Lunnan-Reitan (Longtime Friend/Label Don/Noise Maker)

Here's the latest interview from my Mental Health In Music and this one comes from longtime (Internet) friend Christer Lunnan-Reitan. Christer used to contribute some reviews to this blog and has been a constant source of new music ever since. A little while ago, I asked him if he wanted to share his thoughts and experiences around being a musician and coping with mental health along the way. He was kind and gracious enough to say yes, so here it is.

1. The idea of this feature is to talk about the problems that musicians face, especially those in DIY  or up-and-coming bands. Would you mind talking about your own experiences with mental health?

A. First off, the idea behind the feature series is extremely important and interesting. My own relationship with mental health is complex. I've more or less lived with depression for as long as I can remember, but only recently been diagnosed with it. I also suffer from mild anxiety and avoidant personality disorder, which is basically a way of saying I avoid confrontations, speaking with authority figures and the likes, as well as being overly sensitive to criticism, how I think people perceive me and the like. 


2. Being in a band can be an outlet for people to express their feelings and to help them get over certain things in life but do you feel that it can also have a negative effect? If so, what do think these effects can be and are these linked to writing, recording, touring etc?

Oh, I certainly think so. Being able to express their feelings might backlash due to the sheer fact of exposing them to the world and people around you. But I do think that the overall effect of having creative and emotional outlets via art focuses more on healing than something negative. 

In regards to touring and writing, it all depends. I mean, if an artist is having a bad period, earlier material can be a hammer knocking them over their head and making things worse. Touring in a tiny van with people for hours and hours is enough to make everyone fed up, and I recKon it's harder if one is having a bad period in life as well. 


3. How do you deal with things now? Have you got any advice for those who are struggling themselves, musician or otherwise?

I've recently gone to great lengths to get to a better spot in life. I realised that I needed to get something done, or I would just burn out. I'm going to therapy, taking meds, writing music again and so on. 

My advice would have to be to seek professional help, as well as find someone you trust enough to share things with. Stuff you find shameful or disgraceful might bring you closer to someone. But of course, trust is crucial. 


4. What more do you think can be done in the underground scene or even the wider music scene to support people who may be struggling?

I think the DIY scene were I come from, or at least the US scene, is focusing on mental health now. But of course, it's hard to go out and write music if you're afraid of being judged by your peers, or it's hard to go to a show if you have social anxiety and so on. 

The internet community is really supportive and goes a long way to make people feel included, regardless of skin colour, your gender identity, your mental health. And I think they're good at standing up for the ones that have a hard time, as well as trying to weed out elitist behaviour (the ones that actually might put you down for your music, etc) 

In general, I think that the focus on mental health and the importance of helping those with mental health issues should be more prominent in media. Big names in pop as spokespersons is a simple, yet efficient way of getting that done, I think.

I hope you've found this interview and indeed the whole series helpful and enjoyable (if thats the right word). I think I've got one more coming up before the end of the year and once we get towards the New Year, I'll be recapping the whole series. Thanks again to Christer for sharing his experiences. Look out for those around you and for yourself. 

Thursday 5 December 2019

Sun Of The Dying - The Earth Is Silent

Labels: Art Of Propaganda Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 29 Nov 2019


1. The Earth Is Silent
2. A Dying Light
3. A Cold Unnamed Fear
4. Orion
5. When The Morning Came
6. Monolith
7. White Skies And Grey Lands

I count this as the fourth review in five days. It's safe to say that December is proving fruitful productivity-wise. The band I'm homing in on tonight is one from Spain's capital Madrid. Doom/death sextet Sun Of The Dying have been together since 2013 yet only released their first album "The Roar Of The Furious Sea" in 2017 with an initial digital self-release and then a digital/cd re-release via Mexican label Throats Productions. In November they released their second full-length via Art Of Propaganda Records. "The Earth Is Silent" is spread over seven song.

Starting with the title-track, Sun Of The Dying paints a melancholic and sorrow-filled picture on “The Earth Is Silent”. This opener may only be an instrumental intro but it proves effective at dragging you down as the choral singing comes in. Doom/death has always been a sub-genre that’s hard to crack for me but hearing the clean vocals and gentle piano/guitar of A Dying Light, it’s hard not to get lost in it’s soothing but unnerving tones. Imagine the Peaceville Three cross-pollinating with Hateful Abandon and you might begin to understand the sonics present here. Slow, mournful tempos mixed with low growls and orchestral instrumentation are all gathered together to great effect.

With A Cold Unnamed Fear, Sun Of The Dying heads in a more black metal direction briefly. The keyboards have more of a presence here and while it’s a long way from being symphonic (possibly a good thing), it’s memorable despite the heaviness. Orion maintains a lengthy instrumental build-up, which is a characteristic of doom/death before those clean vocals reveal themselves again. It brings to mind a whole host of great Scandinavian bands of the same ilk but there’s still an obvious originality to the music. It’s great to hear different countries and indeed cultures put their mark on different musical styles and here Sun Of The Dying combines the heat and positivity of their Spanish homeland with the cold and dank emotion of doom/death’s forbears.

If you’re after something both melodic and truly majestic then look no further than When The Morning Came. It epitomises Sun Of The Dying for me and shows their heart and soul is gloriously open fashion. The vocals, despite being as harsh as they have been throughout, are audible and the song-writing/craft shows a band that is truly maturing. In an age where complex and fast music is providing an instant hit for extreme metal fans, songs like Monolith will provide solace. Again, it’s slow and (as some might say) depressive, but it’s perfectly formed and indeed performed. The mix of textures from the vocals, choral singing and metal instrumentation gives it an instantly listenable impact. It’s possibly the band’s most complete song.

It all segues nicely into album closer White Skies And Grey Lands, with it’s prominent and glorious piano. It’s the final hymn and as such it paints a picture of misty and cold landscapes that are at odds with the sextets’s homeland but that works all too well. Creative and delivered with an assured confidence, “The Earth Is Silent” may be a sleeper when it comes to 2019’s big hitters but it has it’s own place amongst the music that’s shaping this year. As the decade comes to a close, memories will be made and people will be transported to different places thanks to music like this. When I listen to this again, I’ll think of how at peace I was when I first heard it. Incredibly moving, Solemn and soulful.

You can stream and purchase "The Earth Is Silent" on all formats via AOP Records below:-

Art Of Propaganda Records -

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Nex Carnis - Black Eternity 7"

Labels: Blood Harvest Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 27 Sep 2019


1. Last Gleams Of A Fallen Conscience
2. The Fathomless Caverns Of Oblivion

Jumping into music from far away lands can often be like staring into the unknown, but it needn't be. Metal and especially extreme metal ignores borders and brings people together. That's exactly what's happening with Iranian death metal band Nex Carnis. They recently released their latest EP "Black Eternity" via Blood Harvest and with it, they're starting to reach the ears of extreme metal fans from across the globe. The roots of the band dates back to 2012, when they self-released their "Death Of The Flesh" demo. 2015 saw the release of debut album "Obscure Visions Of Dark" with help from Italian label Nightbreaker Productions. It may be hard for them to play live either in or outside of Iran, but they'll always have a home amongst metal fans worldwide.

Nex Carnis has risen at the right time. Their death metal is technical, raging and melodic in equal measure. Last Gleams Of A Fallen Conscience is an excellent introduction to the trio for anyone who is crossing paths with them for the first time. The right amounts of murky growls and catchy instrumentation are on show and while you may not consider death metal all that catchy, you might change your mind once you’ve listened to this.

Second song The Fathomless Caverns Of Oblivion is no less listenable. There are moments of death/doom lurking within it but they’re subtle and the main element that’s present here are those bouncing riffs, that seem to lead you all over the place. Imagination in this sub-genre can sometimes be very much devoid but Nex Carnis let theirs run wild. The percussion is more gung-ho and the vocals remain deep and grunt-like but the guitar work is the key to how enjoyable this is.

This EP will definitely be one that keeps spinning. Memorable songs and while there are only two, they will keep you hooked until any future long-player. Another really impressive death metal release from 2019.

You can stream and purchase "Black Eternity" on vinyl or digital formats via Blood Harvest below:-

Monday 2 December 2019

Lonesome - To Myself, From Myself

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 26 Apr 2019


1. To Myself
2. Remember
3. ;
4. Be Strong
5. In The Heart You Have
6. From Myself

My current mood is yearning more for post-rock/metal than full-on blasting death/black at the moment and there's plenty of the former around. Peterborough (UK) quintet Lonesome are one band that've released music this year that may have flown straight over people's radars. They flew passed mine until recently. "To Myself, From Myself" was self-released by the band back in April, on all digital platforms as well as on lovely white vinyl. To accompany the record, Lonesome also has a live version, recorded at All Saints Church in Sawtry in Cambridgeshire. I'll put a streaming link to that below this review as well.

Lonesome’s music is cinematic, melodic and instrumentally very strong indeed. It has elements of current heavy music crafted by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon (Sempiternal/That’s The Spirit era)  in places and record opener To Myself majors on that cinematic sound, with both clean vocals and screams nestling within it. Remember is a beautifully thought out and delivered song, which is easy going and that won’t frighten off those that sit on the fringes between the mainstream and heavier sounds. It again contains screaming in places but it’s not overrun with it and Lonesome instead allows the music to say everything they want to.

The oddly titled ; is next up and it’s feedback-ridden intro follows directly on from Remember. It’s a lengthy build-up that gives way to gentle keys and guitar work. The grittiness of that feedback still lingers throughout the song even when the volume increases and it turns it into a really nice instrumental song. The second half of the record contains probably their most dissonant song so far in the form of Be Strong. The bass tones can be heard amongst it all, providing extra heft while Lonesome provides the type of quiet/loud dynamic that’s subtle but also very effective. It’s maybe not as obvious as others make it but that’s fine, as it works really well and doesn’t sound disjointed or forced. It does end rather abruptly though, which I wasn’t expecting.

On penultimate song In The Heart You Have, you’re taken back to a calmer and more introspective place. One with less dissonance and more peace. That’s one feeling that Lonesome really conjures with their music, one of peace and wellbeing. It’s fantastic and really uplifting. Ending with From Myself, Lonesome takes one final opportunity to wrap their musical warmth around you. There’s no need to go for the jugular or throw in gimmicks at every turn. Music like this is best left to flow and find it’s own course. The fact that there are bands like Lonesome who have barely scratched the surface in terms of a following is criminal. They’ve not waited for things to happen for them, they’ve done it themselves and for the love of it. They have my full support and hopefully after hearing this record they’ll have yours too.

You can stream "To Myself, From Myself" and buy it physically/digitally from Lonesome below:-

You can also stream and purchase the live version digitally below:-