Wednesday 21 February 2024

The Oldest House - A Worm Through Time


Labels: I, Voidhanger Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 26 Jan 2024


Tracklist:


1. Objects Of Power

2. The Oldest House

3. A Worm Through Time

4. Interdimensional Mold

5. The Painting On The Wall


It's been a pretty sobering start to the year if I'm being honest, hence the sporadic nature of things here. The focus of this review will do nothing to brighten the mood but sometimes it's better to sink to the lowest depths, so you can rise up at the other end. Spanish sludge/doom band The Oldest House is the brainchild of A.M. of Aversio Humanitatis (Debemur Morti Productions) fame amongst others, with drums provided by J.H. You may be familiar with that band's black metal, but The Oldest House promises something altogether different. I'm excited so let's jump in.


A Worm Through Time is described as being a sludge/doom EP but I’m not sure what to expect. It has drawn some (very tangible) comparisons musically and as opener ‘Objects Of Power’ begins, it takes away every last breath you have thanks to it’s sheer wall of heaviness. An initial lumbering, bass-heavy tempo takes the lead alongside deep growls that build in ferocity as the music does. It’s not without it’s technicality though thanks to the percussive skill later on, highlighting why the band found a home on I, Voidhanger Records for it’s debut release.


A.M.’s black metal roots aren’t too far away here, as the spine-tingling vocal delivery on ‘The Oldest House’ shows. Extreme metal is extreme metal, whatever sub-genre you categorise it into, so it’s best to just enjoy it in whatever form it comes. Here, that form is unwaveringly heavy and satisfyingly groovy. Yes, there’s some psych going on here!


Talking of psych, title song ‘A Worm Through Time’ takes you on a journey thanks to it’s spellbinding bass performance and shaman-like singing/chanting that almost throws you off, before everything shifts in a grind/PV direction. I have to say that this uptempo approach to sludge and doom isn’t usually my thing (I like it slow and drawn out most of the time) but The Older House completely changes my orientation here.


‘Interdimensional Mold’ is the EP’s shortest song and it provides a bit of respite from the extremity of previous songs thanks to the addition of ambient sounds that are almost cosmic. It’s fully instrumental and leads perfectly into closer ‘The Painting On The Wall’, which provides one final opportunity to appreciate everything that The Oldest House has to offer musically. The band offers so much!


I haven’t covered a great deal of 2024 releases up to now; however, what I have heard and featured has been extremely strong so far. This EP is no different. It’s given me an appetite to dive into sludge and doom again, though that temptation is never far away!. Great stuff. Let’s hope and hold our breath for more from The Oldest House in the future.


You can stream and purchase the EP on both CD and digital formats below:-



The Oldest House - https://www.instagram.com/theoldesthouseofficial/


You can also buy CD copies from I, Voidhanger Records here - 


https://metalodyssey.8merch.com/product/the-oldest-house-a-worm-through-time-cd/


https://metalodyssey.8merch.us/product/the-oldest-house-a-worm-through-time-cd/


I, Voidhanger Records - https://www.facebook.com/i.voidhanger.records

Sunday 18 February 2024

Crowning/Marée Noire - Split


Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 30 Oct 2018


Tracklist:


1. Marée Noire - Laurence

2. Crowning - Julius Breezer

3. Marée Noire - Pervitin

4. Crowning - Narcissus

5. Marée Noire - Toucher La Lune

6. Crowning - Trakata


Things have been a little quiet at TNIO towers of late. Life has been a bit weird and consumption of music has been down a bit. I hate the words "consumption and consuming" though because music isn't a commodity for me. It's a living, breathing entity that moves to it's own rhythm. I'm back this evening with a familiar post though, as I jump back into my ongoing Zegema Beach Records review series.


This review features the 2018 split release from US band Crowning whom Dave Cullen (one half of ZBR) is a member of and French Canadians Marée Noire. This split is unique though due to the fact that both bands follow one another, instead of having distinct sides.


Marée Noire opens this split release with ‘Laurence’ with a somewhat angular, metallic screamo approach that leans further into the realms of mathy, technical post-hardcore. Crowning follows with ‘Julius Breezer’, which is very melodic, much heavier and in-your-face. Both bands instantly impress with short and sharp bursts of energy that lay foundations for what’s to come here.


Talking of what’s to come, the rest of the songs on this split are a lot shorter starting with Marée Noire’s ‘Pervitin’, which builds into something a lot more intense in sound. Noisier with tons of urgency and loads of melody as well. Crowning’s next song ‘Narcissus’ is a very brief panic-chord laden blast but a satisfying one. I find that a lot of sub-thirty second songs go by without making an impression. It’s not the case here.


Marée Noire’s ‘Toucher La Lune’ is their last on this split and it takes you on a journey. It’s like the angular screamo of Marée Noire helps to create different movements throughout the song. Crowning’s ‘Trakata’ ends the split bathed in atmosphere thanks to the guitars. At times it reminds me of old mid-2000’s metalcore.


The way each band follows the other on this split instead of just having their own designated side works great here and I don’t know why more don’t do it. It highlights the skill of both Marée Noire and Crowning brilliantly. 


Stream and purchase the split digitally below:-



Crowning - https://www.facebook.com/crowningband

Marée Noire - https://www.facebook.com/yohannRocksScreamo


Unsurprisingly, tape copies are long sold out.


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

Sunday 11 February 2024

Cryptosis - The Silent Call EP


Labels: Century Media Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 01 December 2023


Tracklist:


1. The Silent Call

2. Master Of Life

3. Prospect Of Immortality (Live In Athens)

4. Transcendence (Live In Athens)


Dutch progressive death/thrash metal trio Cryptosis caught my eye recently, especially when I read about their upcoming European tour supporting Cynic and Obscura (what a line up that is!). They released their most recent EP The Silent Call in December just gone through Century Media Records, who previously released their 2021 album Bionic Swarm. This most recent EP was released on CD and vinyl yet what's strange to me is that it doesn't appear on Century Media's bandcamp page, and no physical copies are for sale in CM's web store. Maybe it was self-financed by Cryptosis (please let me know if I'm jumping to conclusions with all this). Anyway, to hell with my observations, let's dive in.


The Netherlands has become well-known for it’s ability to produce some amazing death/thrash metal bands over the years, including the likes of Asphyx, Legion Of The Damned and of course Distillator (who later on became Cryptosis). Cryptosis add progressive elements to their version of death/thrash metal, as demonstrated on title track ‘The Silent Call’. That progression takes the form of both traditional symphonic prog and subtle modern time-signature bending instrumentation. Their extreme metal chops are in fine fettle, which is why Century Media took such a keen interest in them by releasing their 2021 debut album Bionic Swarm.


‘Master Of Life’ was from the sessions for their debut album and it shows a much more immediate thrash metal form, which looks back to their days as Distillator, providing a much more simplified musical approach. There’s still impressive progression going on musically though and the symphonic elements are dialled down quite significantly too. Definitely a song for the extreme metal fan.


Now like the infamous Alive In Athens recordings by US power metal band Iced Earth, Cryptosis chose to release two of their own songs from a concert in the same city. You can tell that Athens loved them by the crowd chanting at the beginning of ‘Prospect Of Immortality’, which can still be heard over the song’s intro. As with ‘Master Of Life’ earlier on, Cryptosis inject some Slayer-like influences into their music, while melody and death metal percussion swirls around it all.


If you thought ‘Prospect Of Immortality’ was epic then ‘Transcendence’ will blow you away with it’s somewhat familiar yet insane tempo and delivery. The crowd in the background seem to love it’s intensity and why wouldn’t they! Cryptosis seem to have the ability to captivate audiences with their musical formula and long may it continue.


Physical copies of The Silent Call can be purchased directly from Cryptosis below:-


https://cryptosis.net/shop/


Cryptosis - https://www.facebook.com/CryptosisNL

Century Media Records - https://www.facebook.com/centurymedia

Thursday 8 February 2024

Палисад – Истории


Labels: Its You! Records/Polar Summer

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 01 Jun 2016


Tracklist:


1. М-теория

2. Город

3. 8

4. Берегите Тепло

5. Кладовая Солнца

6. Вальс

7. Обещания


Snow has fallen here today for the first time in what seems like ages. I'm the only person at my day job who gets excited about it too! What it's also done is re-ignite my dive into Russian/Eastern European screamo/emo, as released by Polar Summer. This album from Saint Petersburg's Палисад was released by the band in June 01 2016, before both Polar Summer and fellow Russian label Its You! Records collaborated on a limited tape release in August of the same year.


To hear a Russian band do their best version of midwest/90’s emo is as baffling as it is inspiring, I guess. The way that music can cross the globe and reach corners almost unexpectedly is what makes it great. Палисад (Russian speakers/translators to the front) are a case in point on their 2016 album Истории. Opener ‘М-теория’ immediately shines with jangly guitar melodies and a multi-vocal approach that shows that hearts are worn clearly on sleeves. The percussion and bass work moves sensitively too and it’s not until the song’s closing moments that harsh vocals take hold. ’Город’ uses those harsh vocals to greater effect alongside the band’s fantastic musicianship, which refrains from becoming too dissonant or heavy. It’s a great take on proper emo, over sixteen years after the sub-genres explosion. 


‘8’ is an elegant song that builds instrumentally and while it makes you feel like it’s going to explode, it never does. Instead Палисад uses ‘Берегите Тепло’ to once again express their screamo-side, albeit subtly. The sound on this album is so warm and real, very much in the moment as it was no doubt supposed to be. The band’s art-punk/rock flamboyancy later on in the song shows yet another side to their musical skill. ‘Кладовая Солнца’ is the album’s longest song by a small margin but don’t worry, you’re not getting some obtuse prog-opera or anything. Instead, you’re greeted with a song that’s gentle and oh so soothing. Even toward it’s end when harshness creeps in, it reminds me of the sensitivity of Japanese emo/screamo. It makes sense considering both countries are not that far apart.


Penultimate song ‘Вальс’ is a heady mix of traditional emo and abrasive screamo, with perfect quiet/loud/quiet dynamics that shift effortlessly from one to the other, allowing the instrumentation to take centre stage again. At one point I heard what I thought was a nod to industrial music, but in truth it was just a prolonged guitar note. Album closer ‘Обещания’ sees Палисад delivering one final heavy blow that’s filled with everything that makes their music so great. From hardcore-inspired harsh vocals to twinkling emo guitar melodies and a rhythm section that brings it all together. 


This album (or EP?, I’m not sure now) was exactly what I needed this evening. My head has been so full of rubbish that it’s nice to be able to try and banish some of it to parts of my brain that I’ll never access again. Music doesn’t necessarily do that but this evening it’s really helped.


You can stream and purchase the release digitally via bandcamp below:-



Tape copies are long sold out (maybe someone someday will do a discography release).


Its You! Records - https://vk.com/its_you_its_you_its_you

Polar Summer - https://polarxsummer.bandcamp.com/album/--2

Tuesday 6 February 2024

No Heirloom - No Heirloom 7" Lathe


Labels: Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 05 May 2023


Tracklist:


1. Dross

2. Fleeting Frame

3. Nepenthe


My rhythm's nowhere near where it should be writing-wise now. Stuff just get's in the way I guess. Thankfully, I have an element of organisation going on, hence this evening's review featuring US screamo/emoviolence trio No Heirloom and their debut EP. Originally self-released by the band in May of 2023, it took little or no time for Zegema Beach Records to pick up on said release, pressing it in December 2023 as a limited stereo lathe 7". 


Sitting here listening to digital releases knowing that I’ve got so many physical releases to catch up on feels oh so dirty, but here I am all the same. No Heirloom’s opener ‘Dross’ gathers together every element that makes hardcore, post-hardcore and screamo great (though those sub-genres are somewhat interchangeable). 


After that brief intro song, ‘Fleeting Frame’ definitely takes on more of an emo-violence form, albeit in passages as opposed to the whole song. Bandcamp suggests the likes of Frail Body, Frail Hands and Shizune (amongst others) as similar influences, yet No Heirloom seem to be able to project their own sound in a way that’s a lot more open and obvious.


EP closer ‘Nepenthe’ builds on what’s come before it with off-kilter musicianship and that now familiar triple-vocal approach that adds so much emotion to the recording. I’ve said this a few times over recent years but I genuinely think that we’re deep into a golden age of heavy music, let alone physical releases.


No Heirloom are a fantastic example of raw emotion and precise musicianship. Until I learned about ZBR’s involvement in this release, I knew nothing about the band. Maybe I’m not as on-the-ball as I used to be when it comes to new bands; but whatever the reason, at least there’s a means to catch up. This EP is short but absolutely banging all the same. More please. 


You can stream and purchase the EP directly from No Heirloom below:-



Physical copies are still available (just) from ZBR below:-


Zegema Beach Record CAN/INTL Store - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/no-heirloom / U.S.A Store - https://zbrusa.com/collections/zbr-releases/products/no-heirloom


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

Friday 2 February 2024

Sewer Fiend/Plague Patrol - Split


Labels: Behind The Mountain/Calvos 73 Records/Dry Cough Records/Headsplit Records/Psychocontrol Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 16 Dec 2022


Tracklist:


1. Sewer Fiend - Through Gurgling Rivers Of Sickness

2. Sewer Fiend - Into Bottomless Blight-Filled Pools

3. Plague Patrol - God From The Nameless Mist

4. Plague Patrol - Gates Of Void

5. Plague Patrol - Hidden Side Of Galaxy


After both releasing stellar demos/EPs in 2021, UK death/doom act Sewer Fiend and Czechia's OSDM  trio Plague Patrol joined forces for a split release in late 2022. It was pressed on all conceivable physical formats (excluding floppy disk and minidisc of course!) by the labels above at the time of release and while the vinyl pressing took a long time to appear, like the whole of the split, it was well worth the wait. To date it contains the latest recordings by both bands.


It’s midweek and I’ve survived the UK’s gloomiest, most depressing month. The only way is up from here! To celebrate, I’m re-immersing myself in a split record that features two of death metal’s best underground newcomers. First up it’s Sewer Fiend who contribute two songs on their side, starting with ‘Through Gurgling Rivers Of Sickness’. The duo’s musical pedigree in UK circles in second to none and as with their demo ‘Echoes From The Cistern’, they waste no time in providing killer death/doom with a cosmic, etherial sound. At times atmospheric but murkily so.


Their second song ‘Into Bottomless Blight-Filled Pools’ is equally as expansive, foregoing the brutality that often befits death metal in favour of a slower, more open approach. Coupled with the fact that this song surpasses eight minutes, it’s no surprise as to how engrossing it is. Definitely doomier than deathly, it shows just why UK death metal and it’s old-school resurgence has garnered so much attention over the last couple of years.


Czechia’s Plague Patrol produced one of my favourite demos of 2021 and here they continue with the same momentum on their opening song ‘God From The Nameless Mist’, which hits top gear straight away thanks to it’s intense tempo and sheer wall of sound that’s accentuated by those low, bellowed vocals. I guess where Sewer Fiend’s vocal delivery was more subtle, Plague Patrol’s is anything but.


‘Gates of Void’ follows after what seems like a needless pause and precedes to unleash yet more OSDM madness with added lead/twin guitar flair. It’s amazing how much music Plague Patrol can shoehorn into such a (seemingly) short song. They do slow things down later on, providing their own death/doom take. Closing with ‘Hidden Side Of Galaxy’, Plague Patrol goes all out with pummelling drums and wailing guitar leads. It’s at this point that it hits just how cohesive this trio of songs are when played in succession. As if that was any surprise though right?.


Having lived with and played this split countless times over the last couple of years, it’s still amazing that with each listen something else leaps out of the speakers. Both Sewer Fiend and Plague Patrol provide such pleasure to the listener with their unique ideals and their excellent interpretations of death metal in the modern era. I sincerely hope that they both continue what they started. Extreme music needs them.


You can stream and purchase the full split digitally below:-



Sewer Fiend - https://www.instagram.com/sewer_fiend_dm/

https://sewerfienduk.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-from-the-cistern

Plague Patrol - https://plaguepatrol.bandcamp.com/album/split-2022


Physical copies can be purchased from the labels below:-


Behind The Mountain Records - https://behindthemountain.net/en/produkt/plague-patrol-sewer-fiend-cd-split-2/

Calvos 73 Records - https://calvos73records.bandcamp.com/album/split

Dry Cough Records - https://www.drycoughrecords.com/product/sewer-fiend-plague-patrol-split-lp-dc65

Headsplit Records - https://headsplitrecords.storenvy.com/products/plague-patrol-sewer-fiend-lp / https://headsplitrecords.storenvy.com/products/plague-patrol-sewer-fiend-split

Psychocontrol Records - https://psychocontrol.com/produkt/plague-patrol-sewer-fiend-split-lp


Behind The Mountain Records - https://www.facebook.com/BehindTheMountainRecs

Calvos 73 Records - https://calvos73records.bandcamp.com

Dry Cough Records - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords

Headsplit Records - https://www.facebook.com/headsplitrecords

Psychocontrol Records - https://www.facebook.com/PsychocontrolRecords

Monday 29 January 2024

Unsouling - Vampiric Spiritual Drain


Labels: I, Voidhanger Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 26 Jan 2024


Tracklist:


1. The Wolf And Survival

2. Ladder Of Broken Backs

3. Taileater

4. Floating Key

5. Weightless Immovable Anchor

6. Endless Plateau

7. The Wolf And Ascension


I never intended for my first 2024 release review to come a mere three/four days before the end of January, but that's just how things have fallen. Vampiric Spiritual Drain is the debut album from US solo US black/death metal band Unsouling. It was officially digitally by Unsouling and physically via I, Voidhanger Records just two days ago. Unsouling draws it's inspiration from the likes of Feral Light and Manetheren amongst others, so expect something forward-thinking.


I’ve spent the last forty-eight hours or so with family and a four-legged friend. The reason I mention that is because the album opener ‘The Wolf And Survival’ reminds me of how energised I feel after another long-awaited encounter with my favourite canine. The song in question is a melodic yet raw affair, providing loving warmth alongside typical black metal intensity and experimental joy.  ‘Ladder Of Broken Backs’ is a more straightforward black/death metal song with Unsouling’s sole musician providing an extremely coherent and complete barrage of percussion, bass, guitar and vocals. At times it’s almost bombastic though it never crosses into symphonic territory.


After two full-on opening songs, ’Taileater’ is an electronic-laden instrumental number that’s perhaps inspired by cosmic elements. Maybe not in the same way as Blood Incantation but hopefully you’ll understand where I’m going with that comparison. ‘Floating Key’ is a superlative example of orchestral black/death metal and it works because Unsouling’s approach here is one of utter bewilderment and avant-garde experimentalism. The lengthier songs on Vampiric Spiritual Drain are the best in my opinion and ‘Weightless Immovable Anchor’ is a song that moves in many different circles, from true heaviness to melodic pomposity without compromising on overall musical quality.


There’s also a none-so-subtle industrial element to the sound on this album, as demonstrated by penultimate song ‘Endless Plateau’ and it’s percussion-lead tone. Much like Nailbomb/Sepultura without being a clone. Album closer ‘The Wolf And Ascension’ takes Unsouling’s experimental blueprint and stretches it to an almost ten-minute epic. When I say epic, I really mean it to as Unsouling’s lead-guitar work really comes to the fore during the song’s mid-section. It gives way to a synth-laden passage that lasts just long enough to add some light to the recording. Spacier tones wrap themselves around you during the closing few minutes, adding to the cosmic vibe generated earlier on while banishing any sense of extremity.


This has been an earthy yet really engrossing debut album from a solo project that will hopefully go on and produce more great black/death metal. Another great find by I, Voidhanger Records too.


You can stream and purchase Vampiric Spiritual Drain directly from Unsouling below:-



Unsouling - https://www.instagram.com/unsouling_/


You can order physical CD copies from I, Voidhanger Records below:-


UK/EU Store - https://metalodyssey.8merch.com/product/unsouling-vampiric-spiritual-drain-cd/

US Store - https://metalodyssey.8merch.us/product/unsouling-vampiric-spiritual-drain-cd/


I, Voidhanger Records - https://www.facebook.com/i.voidhanger.records

Friday 26 January 2024

People's Temple Project/Sleeper Wave - Split 12"


Labels: Akashita Corp/Dingleberry Records/IFB Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 01 Feb 2019


Tracklist:


1. People's Temple Project - Intro

2. People's Temple Project - Seminar 1

3. People's Temple Project - Seminar 2

4. People's Temple Project - Interlude

5. People's Temple Project - Seminar 3

6. People's Temple Project - Seminar 4

7. People's Temple Project - Outro

8. Sleeper Wave - Shelf Life

9. Sleeper Wave - Coward

10. Sleeper Wave - Atrophy Through The Aperture


I'm going through a strange time right now. Things seem to be going really well in my day job and while I'm making the most of it, the blog has been slipping a bit. Press on I must though and it's time to jump back into the Zegema Beach Records roster, where I take time to look at the myriad of releases from the label. This evening's all about the 2019 split LP featuring People's Temple Project and Sleeper Wave. Both are from the US and have featured here before. Fun fact: aside from the Eight Feet Under comp LP that Sleeper Wave were on, this is the only other LP appearance by either band (please correct me if I'm wrong though!).


Ten songs in total, seven from People’s Temple Project and three from Sleeper Wave. PTP’s side begins with ‘Intro’, which is hypnotically suggestive, especially if you’ve paid close attention to the album’s cover art. ‘Seminar 1” follows instantly with raw yet melodic screamo that straddles the invisible line to emoviolence line but doesn’t completely cross it. 


‘Seminar 2” is slightly more stripped back to begin with, before it builds into a chaotic beast that gives no clue as to it’s near five-minute song length. It’s much more introspective in so much as it is quieter for larger passages. The guitar work is striking too but not in an immediate way, if that makes sense. The ‘Interlude’ just like the ‘Intro’ features a sample that’s (this time) heavily religious in tone. PTP took their name from the religious movement created by Jim Jones (if my memory is correct) and as somebody who is both fascinated by/opposed to organised religion, I find the aesthetic really interesting. 


Obviously I use the term “aesthetic’ loosely, as PTP are merely just being themsevles on this release. ‘Seminar 3’ takes on an exhilarating form straight away, reminding me of Refused at times throughout the song’s heavier more punk-influenced opening sixty seconds. What follows is a much gentler mid-section that morphs into something more chaotic as it reaches it’s close, only to lead you straight into ‘Seminar 4’ as if there was no break in the music. This time, there’s more math-rock going on alongside greater volume.


PTP’s overall sound seems to have evolved on this release and as the post-metal vibes of ‘Seminar 4’ guide you to their ‘Outro’, the final menacing sample plays out. There’s no time to dwell on it though as Sleeper Wave crashes straight over your wall with their opener ‘Shelf Life’. Sleeper Wave’s approach here is much more bluesy and jazz-like, with bursts of post-hardcore nestling perfectly alongside. 


Sleeper Wave are less about the instant hit, preferring to go longer but on ‘Coward’ they break out the hardcore to greater effect. It’s the most straight-to-your-face song on this entire LP, even when they retreat into experimental art-rock mid-way through. Their final and most grandiose song ‘Atrophy Through The Aperture’ blends upbeat punk/hardcore percussion with harsh vocals and off-kilter riffs, meaning that the listening experience is a bit all over the place (but in a good way). 


This split messes with my OCD a bit because I’m used to bands having an equal amount of songs per side; however, my personal opinion on that subject pales in comparison to the music that both People’s Temple Project and Sleeper Wave commit to this release. Both bands are equal yet individual and that makes this whole thing a much greater experience. Good luck finding a copy of this in the wild!


You can stream and purchase the full split LP digitally from People's Temple Project below:-



People's Temple Project - https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesTempleProject

Sleeper Wave - https://www.facebook.com/sleeperwave


I know that I wished you luck with finding a copy of this split for sale but as luck would have it, there are a couple of copies still available from the links below:-


Dingleberry Records - https://www.discogs.com/seller/dingleberryrecords/profile

Zegema Beach Records - https://zegemabeachrecords.bandcamp.com/album/peoples-temple-project-sleeper-wave-split

Zegema Beach Records USA Store - https://zbrusa.com/collections/zbr-releases/products/peoples-temple-project-sleeper-wave-split-12


Akashita Corp - https://www.facebook.com/AkashitaCorp

Dingleberry Records - https://www.facebook.com/profile

IFB Records - http://www.ifbrecords.com

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

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Cerulean - Carrion Angel


Labels: I, Voidhanger Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 27 Oct 2023


Tracklist:


1. Tower Of Silence

2. Sky Burial

3. Carrion Angel

4. Gnashing Of Teeth

5. Shroud Of Locusts


I had this down as my first "2024" release review until I realised that Cerulean had already self-released their newest EP digitally in October of last year. I decided to stick with it though, as I had so much fun listening to the blackened death/doom of Ethir Anduin on Sunday just gone. Cerulean, haling from the US, play a more progressive form of blackened death metal and it's that style that no doubt drew the attention of Italy's I, Voidhanger Records. A CD version of this EP is due to drop via the label on 26th of January. 


This EP is the first of a two-part EP release, which is due to conclude later this year. Carrion Angel opens with ‘Tower Of Silence’, which is an ambient intro piece that doesn’t give too much away in terms of Cerulean’s sound immediately. ‘Sky Burial’ gives the first proper glimpse into the musical mind of Cerulean and it’s one of extreme black/death metal tempered with experimental/progressive musicianship. I personally really enjoy the marriage between primal extremity and modern experimentation, so this suits me down to the ground.


This EP’s longest song is sandwiched in the middle here and benefits from greater musical expression, as there’s more playing time to fill. ‘Carrion Angel’ stretches for over six minutes and it’s where the comparisons to Deathspell Omega begin to truly seep through. It’s filled with avant-garde, jazz-like time signatures and instrumentation while not straying too far from more traditional metal elements, especially thanks to the vocals. It’s a truly spellbinding song.


What follows seems a lot more primitive initially (mainly due to it’s faster tempo) but ‘Gnashing Of Teeth’ is just Cerulean dialled up to the max in all departments. Their song-writing is what makes this entire EP sound as (dare I say it) catchy as it does. EP closer ‘Shroud Of Locusts’ follows where it’s predecessor left off, focusing more on utter intensity and jilted melody. The percussion here is off the charts while the rest of the band battles to keep up. At times chaotic but also groove-laden too.


Cerulean are ones to watch in 2024. They make the case for musical discovery and why it’s so important to embrace musical evolution. Joining forces with I, Voidhanger Records will only be a good thing. I just hope that more people are drawn in by what they hear. Excellent stuff!


You can stream and purchase Carrion Angel digitally from Cerulean below:-



Cerulean - https://www.facebook.com/CeruleanBlackMetal


You can pre-order CD copies from I, Voidhanger Records via their stores below:-


EU - https://metalodyssey.8merch.com

USA - https://metalodyssey.8merch.us


I, Voidhanger Records - https://www.facebook.com/i.voidhanger.records

Sunday 14 January 2024

Ethir Anduin - Холод


Labels: Atra Anduin Records

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 17 Feb 2023


Tracklist:


1. Вепсский лес

2. Север

3. Холод внутри

4. Залив чудовищ

5. Пространство


The temperatures are due to drop below freezing in the UK next week, so to prepare myself I'm sitting down to a lovely barrel-aged imperial stout and the newest album from Russian black/doom metal band Ethir Anduin. I first found out about them thanks to Alexander (of both Atra Haeresis and Atra Anduin Records). Contact between the two of us was initially made via Telegram (due to more conventional means of communication being unavailable) and then by e-mail. Ethir Anduin has been active since 2006 and up to now, they've notched up many releases including a demo, 6 EPs, 2 splits, 9 full-length albums (including this one) and countless singles. 


Холод contains five songs that stretch to over fifty minutes and is entirely in Russian. Opener ‘Вепсский лес’ is a sprawling, melodic doom song that seems to be very much influenced by Scandinavia’s own death/doom explosion. Even the vocals, while delivered with the coldness of black metal, nestle perfectly amongst the instrumentation. This is surprising as I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at first. It could have been super raw and lo-fi but on listening it’s anything but those things. It’s really well performed, produced and so enjoyable.


‘Север’ is a grand mix of atmospheric doom and more straightforward black metal, except for a couple of surprises. Firstly, more folk-like clean chants are used as they were in the album’s opener and secondly, the mid-section is filled with glorious woodwind/brass tones that add real warmth to the music. Used in more of a traditional way as opposed to being avant-garde, Ethir Anduin craft something really impressive and euphoric.


On ‘Холод внутри’ (apologies, I can’t translate Russian and refuse to use Google Translate as it’s not always accurate), you’re treated to a song that’s on a more traditional black metal trajectory, albeit one that’s never too far away from Ethir Anduin’s sensitive atmospheric/melodic guitar work. Another thing that you’ll be familiar with if you listen to extreme Russian bands is the use of midi/synths within their music and the band uses said accompaniments sparingly so as not to affect their organic sound. 


The album’s folk-influences peaks during ‘Залив чудовищ’, which is very much a folk-black metal song. It’s very rhythmic and engrossing, giving an insight into the band’s roots and the traditions of the people that reside in their region. I really appreciate bands that stay true to their nationalities, instead of trying to sound too much like other nations when it comes to musical styles. For example, if you’re trying to sound like an American band and you’re not from America.


This is exactly what I needed today and listening to this album feels almost meditative, especially with a potentially difficult working week to come. Album closer ‘Пространство’ is a thing of instrumental beauty, showing that there’s much more to Ethir Anduin than first meets the eye and ear. Overall, I’ve been blown away by this album. After not knowing what to expect, the individuals that make up Ethir Anduin have put on a fantastic musical display that is worth your time and then some. 


You can stream and download this album (name-your-price) from Ethir Anduin below:-



You can connect with the band via Bandcamp above or via VK.com below (if you're on that platform):-


https://vk.com/ethiranduin_doom


Atra Anduin Records - https://vk.com/atra_anduin