Archive for June, 2021

UK based, anti-facist, black metallers Underdark have shared the video for new single, ‘With Ashen Hands Around Our Throats’, a track written in response to the injustices following the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017.

You can watch the video now:

After forming in 2015, Nottingham based black metallers Underdark are finally ready to present their debut album to the world. Following their recent ‘Plainsong​/With Bruised & Bloodied Feet’ single release in 2020, ‘Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry’ is the sound of a new chapter of Underdark, set for release on 30th July via Surviving Sounds (UK), Through Love Records (EU) and Tridroid Records (US/CAN).

While still utilising a dreamlike and heavy mixture of black-metal, post-metal and shoegaze, Underdark’s debut album also packs a renewed punch alongside a ferocity and intensity matched only by the innovative and engaging song structures.

Recorded & mixed with Misha Herring at Holy Mountain Studio (40 Watt Sun, Inhuman Nature, Idles, Spiritualised, Puppy) & mastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering (Emma Ruth Rundle, Southern Lord Records, Power Trip, Mizmor), the album captures five tracks of intense & emotional progressive compositions, not limited by genre to create a tidal wave of sound; that shift in emotions, drowning you between sections of crushing blast beats and ear splitting vocals to blissful, atmospheric soundscapes that engulf you within them.

Lyrically the album covers personal issues such as addiction & psychosis, to inhumane border control & the shameless exploitation of the lower classes at the hands of landlords such as on latest single ‘With Ashen Hands Around Our Throats’. Commenting on the video for the track vocalist Abi states,

“I wrote this about Grenfell like two years after the fire, and it’s been another two since and it’s fucking disgusting that there’s been no justice for it. The song is also about how landlords under the Tories have been given free rein to take the piss. We filmed the video with Morgan Tedd (Erase Creative) it was fun as fuck but I had to do a bunch of takes falling on my face which sucked.“

Underdark’s debut album Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry is set for release on 30th July via Surviving Sounds (UK), Through Love Records (EU) and Tridroid Records (US/CAN).

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Fierce Panda Records – 2nd July 2021 

Blackpool’s Jekyll – like so many up-and-coming bands – have seen their momentum, largely driven by hard-gigging to build a grassroots fanbase, hit a brick wall since last March, but their first release of 2021 looks set to launch them on a huge leap forward, not least of all because it comes with the backing of cult indie label Fierce Panda.

On first listen, it seems like a palatable mid-pace indie-rock anthem, but even before the fade, it becomes apparent that there’s more to it than that.

The story goes that ‘Tear Ourselves in Two’ was initially conceived to counter-balance one of Jekyll’s earlier tracks ‘Mania’ (which comes on like the criminally underrated and much-missed The Cooper Temple Clause) and it’s hard to resist the urge to make some reference to them as a band with two sides to their musical personality, but that would be obvious and rather lame. Oops, I did it again.

As ‘The Wounds We’ve Ignored’ demonstrated, Jekyll don’t only dig Muse, but dig deep emotionally and touch some pretty uncomfortable spots, and this is no exception. The lyrically dark ‘Tear Ourselves In Two’ has hints of many other songs, all stitched seamlessly together to conjure a simultaneous sense of familiarity and familiarity and freshness – as you struggle and strive to dredge the depths of your memory to decipher what it is it reminds you of, you come to realise that ultimately it doesn’t matter. Then again, on maybe the third or fourth listen – and it’s that much of an earworm, it hits that it’s a bit Pulp meets Mansun meets The Cinematics – and that their knack for bold, string-swept audiography is immensely powerful.

‘Tear Ourselves In Two’ is, quite simply, a corking tune and one that just gets better with every play.

Blind Mice Productions – 18th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

As the liner notes to Australian electro-industrial band SHIV-R’s fifth full-length album explain, ‘there is a Zen teaching that if you meet God on the road, you must kill him… What the killing of God means to each listener will be a unique and personal revelation. In a world full of gatekeepers and figureheads whose only interest in you is to tell you what to do, illusions will need to be shed and those who profess to have all the answers will need to be confronted’.

The title track launches the album with some harsh metallic guitars pitched against a pounding technoindustrial groove, where beats and synthesized bass are melded together perfectly. And while a lot of bands in this vein – even the likes of KMFDM to an extent – peg the guitars back in favour of pushing the synthesised elements of the instrumentation to the fore, to give a harsh, but ultimately slick, digital vibe overall, SHIV-R to crank up the guitars, and they punch hard, providing a strong counter to the danceable, mechanoid beats and throbbing low-end.

While growly or distorted vocals are common to the genre, it’s often strained-sounding or raspy, whereas Pete Crane has a rich, full-throated metal roar that has real depth and proper guts. That said, on ‘Spark’ and ‘Promises of Armageddon’ where they slip into grinding electrosleaze mode, evoking Pretty Hate Machine era Nine Inch Nails and mid-90s PIG, Crane shows a cleaner tone that’s poppy, but dark – which is a description that fits the slower pace of the Depeche Mode-like minimal electro of ‘Blue Turns to Black’. It’s well-placed at what would conventionally mark the end of side one – and highlights another strength of Kill God Ascend: it feels like an album in the classic sense, with ten tightly-structured and concise tracks that are sequenced in such a way as to drop the tempo, and conversely, slam in with an absolute banger, at just the right time. More than anything, it’s reminiscent of Stabbing Westward’s debut – but at the same time, Kill God Ascend is very much an album with its own identity.

Sixth track, ‘Empire’ is exemplary, kicking off virtual side two with a dark stomper on which Crane snarls, “I’m on my own path. Get the fuck out of my way.” He sounds like he means it, too.

There are some solid hooks, and Kill God Ascend sustains the angst from beginning to end – even when they bring it right down for the brooding penultimate song, ‘Valley of Death’, it’s as a prelude to the epic finale, the dark, slow-burning ‘Turpentine’ that’s gnarly and hefty and brimming with twists, turns, and glitches, a track where the machines finally devour the human components in a mangles mess of rust and dirt, blood and guts. And it’s at this point, you realise that god is indeed dead.

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BrooklynVegan froths over the latest Demons album Privation as a set that “recalls ‘90s Touch & Go/AmRep type stuff (or newer bands like METZ) and puts a fresh, exciting spin on it." That was good enough to grab us, for a start, and now Demons have unveiled a music video for the track "Play Acting Virtue" which is now streaming here:

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Demons’ Zach Gehring says, "We are playing our first show in over a year this Friday, so we wanted to share this video from the last show we played back in March of 2020 with DOA and Dead Kennedys at the Norva."

The heavy, experimental project of Gehring (who also plays guitar in Mae) Demons dropped their latest album Privation, on April 30 via Spartan Records.

Of the album’s title, Gehring explains, "(it’s) concerned with loss, deprivation, and lack, In our context — this is reflective of where we are at personally, culturally, and politically. It’s a structural aspect of our lived experience — and it is particularly aggravated of late.”

Drawing from the spirit of bands like Metz, Gulch, Converge, Propagandhi, the Demons crew (the aforementioned Gehring, Chris Mathews [vocals/guitar], Jonathan Anderson [bass], Drew Orton [drums]) punishingly delivers ten tracks of raw and confrontational fury, motivated from within a spiraling sociopolitical landscape that evokes critical self-reflection and frustration

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Photo: Will Clarke

Andrew Liles – a prolific solo artist in his own right, but renowned for his work as a sometime member of both Nurse With Wound and Current 93 – is a busy man. With a discography running into triple figures (his Bandcamp offers no fewer than 111 titles), it takes more than a global pandemic to slow his output, with half a dozen solo releases in 2020, and three already this year. 2021 also finds him working on a ‘rolling’ album project, 1221, whereby the album’s twelve tracks – played predominantly on twelve-strong guitar – are released on a basis of one per month. It’s remarkable that the man has time to eat, so we were particularly thrilled when Andrew was able to make the time to respond to some questions from John Wisniewski.

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JW: When did you begin playing music, Andrew?

AL: When I was about 12 or 13. I wanted to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen. I’m still trying. I’m still failing. I’m still learning.

What attracts you to dark ambient music?

I’m not attracted to it at all. The phrase, in my mind, conjures up a guy who collects Batman figurines and has found two notes on his keyboard that he puts through lots and lots of reverb. Not that I have a problem with that. It also has connotations of the occult and post apocalypse desolation. I’m not that person at all.

I guess the earlier recordings would fit into that realm. I was learning my craft and, in some respects, that type of music is fairly simple to make. But now I’d like to think my compositions have a far wider scope and complexity.
Of course, I can’t deny that there are elements of that genre in some recordings, but my output is so vast, it touches on many styles, from dub reggae and rock, through to novelty songs and highbrow theorised modern composition.
But I guess it’s still fairly dark, I’m pretty pessimistic and that comes through my creations. I’m not about to write an anthemic love song any time soon.

What was it like collaborating with members of Nurse with Wound and Current 93?

I’d been in contact with and a fan of both bands since the mid 80s. So at first it was a little intimidating. But the advantage of being a fan and knowing their back catalogue enabled me to work with them quite easily, it seems quite natural to work with them.

I’ve worked with both artists for over 15 years now and I’ve enjoyed every day of it… almost. My affiliation has opened a lot of doors, doors that would have remained closed, and for that I am eternally thankful.

Could you tell us about recording "An Un world"?

I’d been self releasing music since 1987. But this was the first proper pressed CD through a ‘real’ label so it was pretty significant for me. Jason at Infraction Records had the bravery to release it, so I am forever in his debt for taking that leap of faith.

It was also the first album where I used digital technology and a computer.

In a lot of ways it was the release that laid the foundations artistically and commercially for where I am now.

I think musically, 20 years on, it has stood the test of time. There is nothing gimmicky or technologically that locks it to a specific era.

So I have a fond affection for the record although I haven’t heard it in years or would create anything like it now. 
To celebrate its 20th anniversary you can download An Un World for £2.20 until the end of the year here:

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Any current and future projects you could tell us about?

There is a mountain of stuff already completed and coming out over the next 18 months. Covid has afforded me to make more material than ever.

Just out is –
THE ORACLES by NEKPΩN IAXEΣ which is an  experimental spoken word project formed by myself and Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ.

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Then over the coming months there are some Nurse With Wound reissues and at least two new albums, a new Current 93 album and at least 10 new solo projects and a few reissues.

Do you still speak with David Tibet?

Yes, of course. We have yet to work out a way of communicating telepathically. So talking is still an inconvenient necessity.

Any favorite music artists?

I become very fixated with a single artist. For instance, some years ago I listened to nothing but the Beatles… for a whole year.
I also listen to music from my childhood which is a lot of classic rock and heavy metal.

Listening at the moment for me is Buckethead. This has been going on for about 3 or 4 years. I’m obsessed with him. I buy his paintings and have every download, and there are a lot, 346 releases. I’d love to sit down and talk with him about why we feel the necessity to make SO MUCH music.
I feel an affinity with Buckethead. We are the same age, overly and ceaselessly productive, and he will always be that guy from Guns N’ Roses and I will always be that guy from Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, yet our own work is far broader and more extensive than the artists we are associated with and overshadowed by.
He has so many releases it’s daunting to know where to begin. Some of it’s amazing, some not so good, some I will never listen to again and some I listen to all the time. I’m sure people feel that about my catalogue.

So, everyday I listen to a little bit of Buckethead, an artist who has released even more albums than me! I’m amazed by his virtuosity, it’s totally supernatural to be that good at playing the guitar. I’d love to work with him, I’ve made some attempts but all my correspondence has gone unanswered, but as a friend eloquently said to me recently "Sometimes the stars should be left in the sky, to be admired from afar".
This is my favourite tune by him this week –

How do you combine many different sounds, to create your music?

Patience, accident, fluke, time and 40 years of practice.

Dret Skivor – 18th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Swedish cassette label Dret Skivor continue to expand their catalogue at pace with another made-for-tape two-tracker in the shape of Hammarö Stickning Kubb’s Storbror Ser Dig. As is customary, biographical information for the label’s seventh release is nil, and technical information is sparse, the accompanying notes simply stating ‘Six oscillators, reverbs, psychoacoustics, voices in your head, chance methods.’

Methodologically, this evokes the spirit of John Cage – substitute eight or twelve radios with six oscillators, retain the random, and, well, there you have it. The fascination of the random – particularly where there are multiple operatives or machines involved – is the way it can yield moments of unanticipated interplay. It’s not just about the overlaps and intersections, either, but the spaces where one or more of those elements is not participating or contributing. It’s here where the potentials of permutation present themselves. Maths, I‘ll freely admit, isn’t one of my greatest strengths, but the permutations of six clearly offer significant numbers of variations. And on the one hand, while it is mathematical, there is also a strong musical and literary lineage of permutational work, with Brion Gysin’s permutational poems being a strong example of how a simple phrase consisting of maybe four, five, or six words can yield a substantial array of variants through the process of permutation. Then, of course, there is Dret label founder Dave Procter’s own Fibonacci Drone Organ project, which is – as the name suggests – mathematically based.

The permutational aspect of Storbror Ser Dig – split across two twenty-minute pieces, ‘Storbror.’ (side one) and ‘…Ser Dig’(side two) aren’t really apparent, but on the former, a minimalist drone swells to a filler drone that continues to expand in density over time.

‘…Ser Dig’ occupies a lower mid-range register and subtly wavers through slow oscillations. Not a lot happens, but this is a work that demands a certain level of focus – or otherwise, no attention whatsoever, by which I mean that close listening will reveal minute details, and that intent, alert state of scrutinising the sound brings with it a different state of mind, a certain clarity. Contrastingly, allowing oneself to become one with the drone is a deeply relaxing experience: headphones, dark room and candle, a smoky scotch all contrive to a certain slow fade in and out of the continuum, which is different altogether. It encourages you to empty your mind and instead of reflecting on any sense of trajectory, simply immersing oneself in the slow, subtle ripples of sound that reveal themselves over time. No drone is ever just a drone: there is always movement, shapes, undulations, ripples, waves. They are all present in this subtly-shifting, rippling dronescape that evolves over the course of its forty-minute duration. And the details are nice, but nicer still is just to sit back and let it play out, because life is stressful and demanding enough and sometimes, details simply don’t matter. With this, it’s time to go with the flow.

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CD Unsounds 68U – 15th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

No-one plays guitar quite like Andy Moor. Renowned for his work with purveyors of expansive and exploratory avant-jazz The Ex, Moor’s solo work takes that guitar work from a collectivist, band setting, where it’s a part of a conglomeration of instruments, and places it directly under the spotlight.

As the liner notes explain, Safe Piece is an exploration of the question of parenting while maintaining an artistic practice. Choreographer Valentina Campora, who initiated the project, began testing the possibility of dancing onstage with her baby as an experiment. The project became a series of 8 performances where Campora performed with the baby for a small public. Andy Moor, father of the child and Campora’s partner, accompanied and gave a sonic context to this experiment. Each performance was filmed by visual artist Isabelle Vigier for the video Safe Piece (a film).

Tye tracks sequencing is segmented in a way that perhaps make more sense in context of the filmed pieces. There are three themed chapters, if you will, pieced together in chunks – but identifying any specific thematic unity that connects them is difficult. Moor moves between single-string pings and frenetic fretwork. But for the most part, this is sparse and lugubrious downturned fret buzzing notes slumping down like a machine winding down as the batteries run down or clockwork unwinds to a crawl. There’s some growling, gut-churning low-end that provides substantial contrast with the nagging of the picked top notes. There’s fret-buzz and warped, slashing chord chanking, stuttering stop/start shudders and jarring , jolting unmusic, that’s uncomfortable at times – not just a bit awkward, but fully squirm-inducing, setting the nerve-endings of the teeth on edge.

Across the album’s thirteen pieces, Moor’s minimal style that centres around scratching and scraping and all other kinds of angular guitar abrasions are front and centre. Discord and atonality are his signatures – but at the same time, he conjures myriad moments of fractured musicality. Hums and thrums and crunches crash through picked chord sequences and segments that sound like tuning up and down in frantic search of the note and not quite finding it.

Safety is paramount, but Music For Safe Piece brings a cognitive dissonance that’s difficult to process in places. But we know that comfort is overrated, and that art should proffer challenges, and Music For Safe Piece brings plenty.

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Warm Gadget, the recording trio made up of multi-instrumentalist/ producer Colten Williams, bassist Austin Williams and vocalist/part time instrumentalist Tim Vester has self-released a brand new alternative metal/industrial E.P. entitled Rituals.

The Rituals E.P. showcases five brand new, original songs, as well as remixes by notable electronic artists such as SNOWBEASTS and WITCH EYES. This  E.P., which features the band’s signature blend of industrial and alternative metal, was released in digital format exclusively to the WARM GADGET Bandcamp page.

This new release, Rituals is filled with the band’s brand of hard-hitting songs, electronic beats, synth melodies, un-melodic synth chaos and hook-laden, crushing guitars. It also showcases the longing, bleak, dismal yet aggressive lyrics and deliveries that the band has perfected. Colten Williams has topped everything off in the studio by producing an album that sounds crisp, heavy, and intense. The Rituals E.P. also marks the band’s return to writing & recording together after a 3-year hiatus, showing that they have violently shaken the dust and cobwebs off and have come out swinging.

With strong hints of NIN and Filter, they’ve unveiled a video for ‘If Only I Could’. Watch it here:

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