Friday, 25 September 2020

Ascendency - Birth Of An Eternal Empire EP


Labels: Night Shroud Records/Iron Bonehead Productions

Formats: Tape/Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 17-Jul-20


Tracklist:


1. Altered Beast

2. Culling The Weak

3. Tread The Path To Supreme Veneration

4. A Birth In Fire


The weather's turning and the seasons are changing, and so darkness begins to set in. Along with the gradual decline of the human race (through it's own idiocy in dealing with itself), extreme metal seems to be the only haven safe enough for those willing to escape from the outside. Tonight's soundtrack to implosion comes courtesy of Danish death/black duo Ascendency and their debut EP Birth Of An Eternal Empire. Released on limited tape via Night Shroud Records and on vinyl, cd and digital formats via Iron Bonehead Productions in July. 


As the wind and rain batters the outside of my abode, inside I am cloaked in the heretical warmth of Ascendency and their death/black metal onslaught. EP opener ‘Altered Beast’ is both hypnotic and frightening, as ugly death metal riffs smash up against the mighty low-end curated by both bass and drums, and rasping vocals conjure up images of the unholy inheriting the earth.


The more than aptly titled ‘Culling The Weak’ does exactly that. It rewards those who listen to it with attentive ears and smites those who are not worthy. Mesmerisingly epic heaviness with no let up throughout it’s seven+ minute entirety. The vocals, this time with the added echo effects create layers of sound that truly compliment the dissonant music that sits aside them. Add to that a sensitive touch of atmosphere and melody, and Ascendency will bury themselves within your black heart.


There’s a Middle-Eastern feel to the intro of ‘Tread The Path To Supreme Veneration’ that even the Kolkata Inner Order would be proud of. Even when the duo opens up shortly afterwards, it still retains that feeling thanks to the chanting vocals that are added. It’s not spiritual but it is enlightening, relying more on instrumentation than the human vessel of communication. 


EP closer ‘A Birth In Fire’ is as harrowing as it’s title doth suggest. No time for sentiment or meandering song-writing, Ascendency formulates and delvers one last lengthy trip into the dark and tortured psyche. A psyche that could only have been birthed in a city called Kill-Town. This EP is strong and authoritative. A fine release by a band very much in the ascendency (pun completely intended) and a fantastic find by both Night Shroud Records and Iron Bonehead Productions. 


You can stream Birth Of An Eternal Empire and buy it on various formats directly from the band below:-



It's also available from the labels below:-


Night Shroud Records - https://nightshroud.bigcartel.com

Iron Bonehead Productions - https://shop.ironbonehead.de/en/

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

10th Anniversary Digital Compilation News and Artwork Reveal

In a month's time, it'll be 10 years to the day since I started what is now This Noise Is Ours. To celebrate that amazing milestone, I'm putting together a special digital compilation that will be free to download via the blog's bandcamp page. It's been 4 years since my last 'Reverberations' comp, so I wanted this one to be special. It incorporates music from bands I've covered on here, as well a music by friends I've met and bonded with along the way. As with my two previous compilations, there will be something for everyone, from acoustic emo to punk, metal and noise. 


I wanted to use this update to also reveal the artwork for the comp, which is based on a photo that was taken by my good friend Jesper (of Young Mountain/Nathan Aeli, both of whom will be appearing on the comp!):-





I am going to begin prep work this weekend, prior to the comps release next month. So far 19 bands are participating in it with more still to be added. If you're in a band that fits and would like to be included, there's still time to send a track across. Please send a WAV format track of your choice to tnio@outlook.com before 21st October. Thanks!

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Odious Mortem - Synesthesia

Labels: Willowtip Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 17 Jan 2020


Tracklist:


1. Dormant Retribution

2. Condemnation Fortold

3. Ruins Of The Timeworn

4. Replenish The Earth

5. In Abominable Form

6. Eagle's Tower

7. Cave Tower

8. Spirit Hole

9. Synchronicity

10. Dissonant Theology


I couldn't leave it any longer without diving into technical death metal again. This time it comes in the form of US quartet Odious Mortem and their 3rd (newest) full-length Synesthesia, which was released in January via Willowtip Records. Odious Mortem started out in 1998, releasing their very first demo five years later. Following that, they delivered two full-lengths (Devouring The Prophecy in 2005) and later (Cryptic Implosion in 2007), before a gap of thirteen years. This is their second Willowtip album.


If you want truly brutal and technical death metal in this modern age, you need look no further than Willowtip Records and the label has proven the ideal home for Odious Mortem. They instantly jump into album opener ‘Dormant Retribution’ with classic death metal battery and the requisite technical instrumentation that people have come to expect from this genre. They do it very well too. There’s a freedom about the music on Synesthesia, which is at odds with the sometimes rigid way in which brutal tech-death bands offen operate. ‘Condemnation Foretold’ benefits from a lengthier playing time and as a result, a more expressive structure with solos and progression joining the fray.


There’s no rest as the songs come thick and fast here, which is how it should be and on ‘Ruins Of The Timeworn’, aggression is mixed with subtle stop/start elements to drag everything in a more traditional direction. It’s easy to overlook how much inspiration death metal bands take from thrash metal. That influence is evident on ‘Replenish The Earth’ in it’s riffs and technicality. As previously on Synesthesia, it’s the instrumentation that really impresses and I could quite happily listen to an instrumental version of the album all day long. That’s not to say the vocals aren’t impressive, they are but they just seem to struggle against the music ever so slightly imo.


The sheer tempo led by the percussion on ‘In Abominable Form’ is near inhumane and even though the song seems brief, Odious Mortem fill it with breaks and subtle passages so it doesn’t just turn into a wall of brutality. Those passages are often off-kilter though and contain some traces of ADHD (musically anyway). Passing the midway point in the album and ‘Eagle’s Tower’ shows just what can be done when tech death meets prog death. It make this band/label pairing even more obvious, while overall this is strongest song on the album so far in terms of depth and musicality.


At this point with the intensity of ‘Cave Dweller’, it almost seems pointless tying to be more descriptive about the music except to say that it’s simply brutal. There you go, probably the least pretentious sentence I’ve come up with during this while review so far. The experimental side of Odious Mortem shines through once again on ‘Spirit Hole’, with it’s extended instrumental passages and constantly changing tempos. It’s a hell of a journey to fit into a sub four-minute song that’s for sure. 


Penultimate song ’Synchronicity’ is the instrumental track I’ve been waiting for on Synesthesia, as it demonstrates just how impressive the guitar-playing is on the album and when the full band kicks in at the midway point, that impression only gets better. There’s just something awe-inspiring about it. Closing out with ‘Dissonant Theology’ and as the title suggests, it’s a lesson in dissonance and extremity that’s tempered by the band’s controlled and accurate playing style. It’s a really strong way to finish the album. If you’re a fan of death metal in any form, you’ll find this album enjoyable. It may not be for everyone but as a standalone record, it’s bloody good.


You can stream and buy Synesthesia on all formats below:-



Odious Mortem - https://www.facebook.com/odiousmortemofficial/

Willowtip Records - https://www.facebook.com/willowtip/

Friday, 18 September 2020

Yusuke/Lori - Split 12"


Labels: Friendly Otter/La Agonia De Vivir/Off Cloud Nine/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 03 Nov 2014


Tracklist:


1. Yusuke - If I Had A Quarter For Every Time Your Were Inconsistent

2. Yusuke - Petals And Thorns

3. Yusuke - Home Is Where The Heart Is, So Consider Me A Zombie

4. Lori - Le Taza Medio Llena

5. Lori - Cada Vez Que Te Levantes Antes De Las 6 AM

6. Lori - Coherencia


It's been a long day and one that's made me appreciate time away from people. It's not been a terribly productive week blog-wise but hey ho. This evening I want to try and keep with a promise I made to myself, which was to make my Zegema Beach Records reviews a weekly thing. With that in mind, I'm writing about the 12" split release between US band Yusuke and Peru's Lori, which was released back in November 2014. I know that Yusuke is no longer active but Lori still seems to be, so focusing some time on this split is still more than worth it to me.


Another reason I like writing this series of reviews is because it exposes me to bands I’ve never heard before and both Yusuke, and Lori count amongst those bands. Yusuke’s take on emo/screamo is beautiful but chaotic on opener ‘If I Had A Quarter For Every Time You Were Inconsistent’. A mix of spoken-word vox and torturous screams, dreamy melodic guitar and violent drumming.


‘Petal And Thorns’ presents itself with glorious orchestration and calming instrumentation, including what sounds like a Glockenspiel. It’s a fully instrumental piece that leads you into Yusuke’s final song here, ‘Home Is Where The Heart is, So Consider Me A Zombie’, which again plays on the band’s cinematic approach to emoviolence. At times hyperactive and at others reassuring. 


Lori’s sound on this split is equally as engaging, with ‘La Taza Medio Llena’ sounding really organic and raw but embodying what makes screamo great. The echo on the vocals, the promptness of the percussion and the treble-led riffs all deliver here.


‘Cada Vez Que Te Levantes Antes De Las 6 AM’ is a mid-paced bruiser of a song, moodily delivered with those harsh vocals and a nod to post-punk as well. It flows straight into their last song ‘Coherencia’ and in doing so reminds me of some of my favourites Japanese post-hardcore. It fascinates me how bands from different corners of the world can nail down a sound while still being unique and original, which is definitely case with Lori. 


Both Yusuke and Lori are so moreish (and before anybody asks, no I don’t count Crack as I disagree with hard drugs). The juxtaposition between violence and beauty is alive and plain to hear on this split. A short but brilliant release.


You can stream and purchase the split digitally via the link below:-



Physical copies are still available via the below links:-


Zegema Beach Records (CAD/INTL) - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/yusuke-lri-split-12-1


Friendly Otter - https://www.facebook.com/friendlyotterrex/

La Agonia De Vivir - https://www.facebook.com/laagoniadevivir.records/

Off Cloud Nine - http://offcloudnine-label.blogspot.com

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

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Polymoon - Caterpillars Of Creation


Labels: Svart Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 04 Sep 2020


Tracklist:


1. Silver Mountain

2. Lazaward

3. Malamalama

4. Helicaling

5. Neitherworld

6. Metempsychosis


Life has a funny way of throwing you off, of testing your resolve and of playing with your mind.  It does force you start making some decisions (often ones that need to be made). I continue to be as positive as possible though, as nothing comes from being a miserable twat. A part of staying positive for me is being able to immerse myself in interesting, challenging and often heavy music. It's definitely a form of escapism, and as I (seriously) consider taking up meditation, I'm drawn to Finnish psych/prog/space rock band Polymoon and their debut album Caterpillars Of Creation, which was released visa Svart Record earlier this month. As I love Finnish bands in general, this excites me.


I know that this is very much on the lighter side of what I feature on here, but dissonance and breakdowns can only hold my attention for so long. Polymoon is a heavy band, but only when they want to be and I’d consider them more thought-provoking. Album opener ‘Silver Mountain’ is a mix of earthy melodic guitar, careful drums and calming vocals, interspersed by post-rock riffs. Imagine if Cult Of Luna discovered world music and collaborated with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. Actually, that would be pretty rad!


The space-rock influence is way more prevalent during ‘Lazaward’ than before and the retro sound/feel of the song really grabs you and transports you back to Woodstock’s gone by. It’s an incredible piece of music that goes through different movements and emotions, while still being one cohesive whole and that heavier crescendo towards the end is great. 


There’s a prime opportunity to appreciate Polymoon’s instrumentation on ‘Malamalama’, where it truly takes centre stage. It’s a great rock song with vocals that reside deep in it’s core and don’t overpower it. There’s something really uplifting about this release and as extra layers are added by swathes of keyboards and mellotrons (possibly?), psychedelia appears in front of you in the form of colours and shapes. It’s that transformative!


‘Helicaling’ is a lot more sinister, with a really pulsating percussive attack and a lot more feedback and vocal reverb. It’s mid-section is introspective but no less immersive, with the constant threat of that noisy edge returning. It’s quite a challenging listen given the relative calm and thoughtful restraint of the album so far.


You’re treated to a mix of both sides of Polymoon on ‘Neitherworld’, which offers a true glimpse into the instrumental wizardry that this band possesses. It was never without question anyway but here it’s at it’s progressive best and while the vocals really complement and add to the album, escaping into the layers of this song is a really joyous feeling. Towards the conclusion, it crashes head on into an abrupt wall of noise that shocks the senses, before silence and mysterious ambience delivers you to the album’s finale.


‘Metempsychosis’ is the perfect way to end with a much more subtle and relaxing tone. Excellent lead work sits up top here and again, Polymoon’s earthiness and cinematic vibes take hold, rounding out an album that will bring hope to those who think the year is lost, in various ways. A fantastic record, from a really incredible band. Hats off to Svart Records for this discovery. More please!


You can stream and purchase Caterpillars Of Creation below:-



You can buy physical copies from Svart Records here - https://svartrecords.com/product/polymoon-caterpillars-of-creation-album/


Svart Records - https://www.facebook.com/svartrecords/

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Cement Shoes - A Love Story of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs 7"


Labels: Drunken Sailor Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 29 May 2020


Tracklist: 


1. Smashed On Glass

2. Knocked Into The Reptile Enclosure

3. Going Off The Grid


I just opened a beer and out of nowhere it decided to explode all over me. All I can smell is honeycomb as well (it was a honeycomb pale ale, don't ask!). Anyway, stickiness aside I'm here with a review of another Drunken Sailor Records related 7", this time from Richmond (Virginia, USA) band Cement Shoes. They have been very prolific since their formation, releasing a demo, three EPs and an album in little over three years. This 7" EP is their latest and was released in May.


The improvised Universal Studios intro to 7” opener ‘Smashed In Glass’ is a stroke of genius and it announces Cement Shoes in the best fashion here. This is great hardcore-punk with a cracking upbeat tempo, garage-punk attitude and riffs aplenty. The percussion could sit right in any 80s punk band while the vocals are a mix of harsh and feedback-laced spoken word. 


‘Knocked Into The Reptile Enclosure’ again shows the band’s sense of humour and their ability to inject fun into their music. There’s something here for any fan of hardcore, punk and even power-pop. It’s not just senseless noise and it’s definitely not sloppy, Cement Shoes are a band brimming with musicality and some really clever song-writing to boot.


EP closer ‘Going Of The Grid’ is a bit of a mid-paced rocker, with off-kilter instrumentation and a mood that’s more akin to post-punk and even Americana, in a subtle way. It’s hard to put a handle on bands that they sound like, so I’m not going to try, this is entertaining enough anyway. 


All in all this is a really cool EP from a band with a real sense of imagination and a clear enjoyment for what they do. They may be glorifying drugs (tongue in cheek or not) but punk was never supposed to be vanilla. 


A Love Story Of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs is available to stream and as a free download below:-



You can buy vinyl copies from Drunken Sailor Records here - 

http://www.drunkensailorrecords.co.uk/products/667276-cement-shoes-a-love-story-of-drugs-rock-roll-drugs-7-drunken-sailor-records-drunkensailor


Drunken Sailor Records - https://www.facebook.com/DrunkenSailorRecords/

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Inexorum - Moonlit Navigation



Labels: Gilead Media

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 26 Jun 2020


Tracklist: 


1. Ouroboric State

2. Moonlit Navigation

3. Dream And Memory

4. Chains Of Loss

5. Signal Fires

6. The Breaking Point

7. Wild Magic

8. In Desperate Times


I never intended for last week to be so quiet on the blog front, but that's just how it pans out sometimes. The universe balances out eventually though and I couldn't stay away any longer. This evening I'm choosing to write about a semi-newish release from US melodic black/death metal duo Inexorum. Moonlit Navigation is the band's second full-length, coming just two years after the release of their debut Lore Of The Lakes. Both albums were released via Gilead Media.


I really need some escapism this evening, as things really got to me yesterday. Today’s been much better but there is such a thing as too much. Thankfully, Inexorum’s melodic black metal is a thing of beauty indeed and album opener ‘Ouroboric State’ mixes ice cold USBM with metal riffing and leads that borrow from the NWOAHM. The percussion is as intense as anything I’ve heard this year, while the bass rumbles below the vocals that mix demonic growls with occasional clean singing. This is way more than just another black/death record.


The title-track ‘Moonlit Navigation’ picks up where those riffs left-off, adding in a deceptively mid-paced tempo that’s so effective. There are elements of Scandi melodic death metal (like Insomnium and Amon Amarth) in places but unlike the latter of those two, Inexorum doesn’t go too far. The duo keeps focus, employing dual-vocals to a great extent and subtle keyboard tones, all crafted together to make the song seem a lot longer than it actually is, in a good way.


The pace gets turned up once again on ‘Dream And Memory,’ which balances the raw with the well-produced. Don’t get me wrong, this album isn’t going to attract the mainstream radio masses but it has a real quality to it that’s engaging and ever so listenable. Thus proving that extreme metal needn’t be noise for noise sake. There’s a clear heavy metal vibe flowing through Inexorum’s music, with the twin-guitar melodies that open up ‘Chains Of Loss’  bringing Khemmis to mind. The duo continues to punctuate the driving black/death with those guitars throughout and the texture adds so much to the song, turning it from just another extreme metal song into one that’s punishing but also musically enchanting.


‘Signal Fires’ is a heady mix of the aforementioned Scandi-inspired structures and punk. The tempos during the opening bars are very upbeat and there’s no let-up as you progress further into it, with the drums carrying the pace with such intensity that’s it hard to imagine any human being able to perform that way for that long, but Carl Skildum does and with ease. The rest of the music more than matches the percussion as well and it’s not til the final sixty-seconds that Inexorum eases the madness, albeit for a short time.


‘The Breaking Point’ is an aptly titled song because it will either make or break you as a listener. If you thought the pace of ‘Signal Fires’ was as fast as the band goes, you’re wrong as grinding blackness takes over amid treble-led riffs and deep bass/growls, all wrestling for room. Matthew Kirkwold’s keys provide a sinister edge to it all and while it’s not progressive necessarily, the song’s mid-section does feel that way thanks to the introspective passage and solo-guitar. Just as you’re settling into it though, the mood changes again as does the power. The additional clean vocals of Sarah Roddy are glorious as well. Once again enchanting.


Penultimate song ‘Wild Magic’ is an acoustic piece that provides some respite and a sense of emotion that hangs overhead, before ‘In Desperate Times’ snaps you out of it abruptly with one final blast of black/death metal, as do the added vocals from Tanner Anderson. It rounds out a quite brilliant album that blends so many genres and textures together. It’s both emotional and empowering. You wouldn’t think it was only Inexorum’s second ever release.


You can stream Moonlit Navigation and buy it all formats below:-



Inexorum - https://www.facebook.com/inexorum/


Physical copies and other merch can also be purchased from Gilead Media here - https://gileadmedia.net.


Gilead Media - https://www.facebook.com/gileadmedia/

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Sore Eyelids - For Now


Labels: Protagonist Music/Tell Wilhelm Records/Through Love Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 14 Dec 2014


Tracklist:


1. Remain

2. Leaving

3. Awake

4. Waste

5. For Now

6. En Plats I Ditt Hjarta


ZBR's love affair with Swedish bands has already been covered by Dave's 'Out Past The Rings' Youtube series, so there isn't much more for me to say on the subject except it was a match made in heaven. This  second full-length from Sore Eyelids and it saw the light of day on a physical medium in December of 2004. Sore Eyelids, by their own admission, played a mix of shoegaze/indie/emo and still to this day mean so much to fans of screamo/emo in general. 


One thing that did confuse me when preparing for this review was that the song lengths on their bandcamp page differ to those on the pages of the labels that helped release the records. Did the songs get mixed up on release or just on the respective bandcamp pages? If someone could help explain this, that would be great! For the sake of this piece, I'm going to review directly from the Sore Eyelids bandcamp page.


I’m not entirely sure if the song order and lengths are correct, but I’m rolling with it as it’s the band’s page and they should be accurate right? Whether they are or not, it really doesn’t matter though as Sore Eyelids make you forgot about any insignificant details with their gloriously melodic emo/indie on album opener ‘Remain’. The recording affords the vocals plenty of space, even when they’re encased by the instrumentation. The percussion and guitar work is really soothing yet it also contains glimpses of heaviness. Given that the band features members of Suis La Lune amongst it’s ranks, that’s not entirely surprising. 


Following that expansive opener, ‘Leaving’ feels brief but the band’s use of instrumentation and subtle vocals mean that it’s still an emotional ride that need not end, although it does rather abruptly, leading to the off-kilter intro of ‘Apart’. That style carries on throughout the song, taking it in a more art-punk sort of direction (I guess!). It’s strange to hear a band on the ZBR roster that has clean vocals, even following their association with fellow Swedes I Love Your Lifestyle, but it’s welcome indeed.


Ambience is also a big part of the Sore Eyelids sound, although it doesn’t get used often. ‘Waste’ is a lot more accessible than you might expect, drawing comparisons to one big US indie band (The Killers?) in the vocal department. There’s also a nod to Cave In thanks to the loverly guitar riffs during the song’s louder moments. Again, they are only comparisons and they don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, especially when the music is this good on it’s own.


It’s taken until the title-track ‘For Now’ to make me realise that this is the kind of emo that I’ve been missing. I felt these kind of goosebumps when listening to Russia’s Ensslin, and even though they’re subtly different musically, Sore Eyelids definitely tugs at the same feels. Closer ‘En Plats I Ditt Hjarta’ brings For Now to a serene end with a laidback display of articulate and thoughtful song-writing and performance. 


This album was released nearly six years ago now but time is immemorial (I feel like I’ve said that before!). I really need to invest in this album and more from the Sore Eyelids back catalogue. If you haven’t heard this band or for some reason they’ve bypassed you, this is a great starting point. Even the blackest of souls will be touched by it.


You can stream For Now and download it (name-your-price) via the Sore Eyelids bandcamp page below:-



Sore Eyelids - https://www.facebook.com/soreeyelids/


Physical copies are sold out from all labels.


Protagonist Music - https://www.facebook.com/ProtagonistMusic/

Tell Wilhelm Records - https://www.facebook.com/tellwilhelmrecords/

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

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