Posts Tagged ‘black metal’

Lupus Lounge – 25th November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

There’s catharsis and there’s catharsis. Extreme times heighten the tension and anxiety, and increase the urge to purge. This split release from Tchornobog and Abyssal – a truly international effort, with Tchornobog hailing from Portland, Oregon, and Abyssal representing the UK with their brand of Death/Black/Doom Metal that explores, according to Encyclopaedia Metallum, themes of oppression, and decay.

Tchornobog take this approach to catharsis and purging completely literally. As the press summary notes, ‘Any track opening with a multi-layered recording of a number of vomiting sessions is bound to continue on the darker side of the musical spectrum.’ And so it does, delivering on the threat / promise that “The epic song ‘The Vomiting Choir’ delivers 24:08 minutes that form a descending spiral into a bottomless pit filled with a mostly dissonant sonic miasma of pure negativity and surprising complexity.”

The sounds of regurgitation, guttural coughs and choking and spluttering echo on for a good minute and aa half before the band piledrive their way into an extended workout that finds them burrowing deep into the thick sods of the earth towards the molten pits of hell.

It’s relentless and brutal, and proper old-school: the lyrics are impenetrable and so are the guitars, as a thundering, grey blast of impenetrable distorted guitar blasts away hard and fast and dark and heavy against pummelling percussion, and delivered at a breakneck pace, there are rasping, dead walker noises. There are tempo changes, and mood shifts. And there is deep, dark, anguish and throbbing pain. ‘The Vomiting Choir’ is dark, dark, dark, heavy, and oppressive. Thirteen minutes in it feels like an eternity has passed, an entire album’s worth of anguish squeezed into an excruciating document of torture. But no: there is more, much more, as the next wave and the next movement crash in. For a moment, around the 14/15-minute mark there’s a feel of Joy Division being covered by a black metal band, and the piece drives on and on, ever harder, ever darker, toward the piece’s crushing conclusion with a heavy, throbbing riff of swirling hypnoticism.

Abyssal offer no relief whatsoever, not that you’d really want them to. ‘Antechamber of the Wakeless Mind’ could well be summary of my lifetime as an insomniac. There’s no chance of sleeping through this twenty-four minute barrage of jolting, jarring metallic rage, where everything blurs in a blizzard of fretwork and drums faster than an industrial knitting machine.

It’s a truly exhausting experience; after just five minutes of busted-lunch growling and wheezing against a screeding backdrop of mangled guitars and beats that explode like machine-gun fire, the experience is exhausting – but also exhilarating in the most primitive, purging, cathartic fashion. It’s an extended release, one that’s punishingly intense and physical as well as cerebral.

As a pairing, this split is truly harrowing, mentally and physically draining, dragging its way through the darkest depths.

AA

981549

Emanzipation Productions – 2nd September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

From a certain perspective, all aspect of life can be seen to exist as one vast intertext, whereby everything connects and intersects with something, everything, else, by some devious and circuitous route. So the title of Ensanguinate’s debut long player actually makes me think of The Sisters of Mercy, whose singer, Andrew Eldritch, devised the band’s ‘head-and-star’ logo by ripping off one of the illustrations from Grey’s Anatomy – the medical textbook, not the television series. And of course, an inescapable aspect of life, which diagrams for dissection plainly remind us in the most clinical of fashions, is the inevitability of death.

I’ve sat myself down in my office to compose this review under circumstances very few would have predicted only this morning, whereby here, in Britain at least, this morning has become an evening of mourning with blanket coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I need to simply switch off from all of it, what will likely be the start of a month of commentary, with endless shots of palace gates and cavalcades while the rest of the world is on pause.

The best escape always lies in something completely different, and in strange or difficult times, pure catharsis invariably tends to be the best remedy. Ensanguinate are the very essence of catharsis, distilled to optimum potency. Their bio describes the band as ‘Slovenia’s putrid entry into the death metal grimoire of old. Leaning heavily on the genre’s occult beginnings, the band stands out by distilling Possessed, Morbid Angel, and Grotesque into a searing death/thrash assault that deviates from today’s run-of-the-mill death metal’.

The tiles are great, and speak for themselves, with the likes of ‘Cadaver Synod’, ‘Perdition’s Crown’, ‘Lowermost Baptisms’, and, my favourite, Gaping Maws of Cerberus’ perfectly summarising the music itself – snarling, subterranean, satanic guttural utterances barked against a fast and furious backdrop of guitars charred and blackened like burnt offerings strewn around the opening to the pits of hell.

The hell-for-leather riffing and frenetic drumming is all-out from the first bar, with ‘Hunted’ packing in the darkest, dirtiest sonic carnage into under four minutes, and still shoehorning in a truly frenzied guitar solo.

Ensanguinate really do work the epic solo, and while there’s a certain element of genre cliché and absurdity about it, this kind of gnarly metal is the only context where solos aren’t only excusable, but one hundred percent necessary, essential even. The slower intro on ‘Ghoul Presence’ lumbers into showy, almost symphonic territory, before it goes all-out obliterative pace and raw-throated growling.

Eldritch Anatomy is the sound of a band revelling in excess, with everything louder than everything else, and everything is dank, murky and dripping with the dirtiest distortion. It’s full-fledged filth, bowel-shaking nastiness dragged up from satanic swamps that steam so hard you can picture the sweat running down the walls as the band whip themselves into a furious frenzy.

The album’s final track, the seven-minute ‘Vile Grace’ begins altogether more delicately, with some gracefully picked clean but chorused guitar before the power chords crash in hard and slow and build to a thunderous chug. It’s hard and heavy and offers a condensed rendition of all of the album’s main elements, albeit at half the pace and so with added weight and sledgehammer impact. In doing so, it rounds off an album that has it all in terms of texture and dynamics, and delivers every note with an unstinting ferocity that’s admirable.

AA

a0646941338_10

Panurus Productions – 15th July 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

In a world where there’s so little that you can rely on, knowing that there are some labels that can be taken as a measure of quality provides a much-needed reassurance that not absolutely everything is shit. Panurus is one of those labels, along with Cruel Nature, Bearsuit, and Human Worth, that provides an unwritten guarantee that if they’re releasing it, it’s worth hearing. And what’s particularly pleasing with all of these labels is that they’re not genre-specific. Human Worth may lean toward guitar-driven noise, while Bearsuit favour genre-straddling avant-gardism, but ultimately, these little labels put out stuff that they like and find interesting, and this is healthy, in that it provides a platform for a diverse range or acts and fans to connect.

Trauma Bond’s The Violence Of Spring is in fact a reissue, having been originally released by Digital Destruction in the US just over a year ago, in a limited run of twenty-five hand-stamped pink neon tapes. Panurus have retained the original design, but rotated the image to replicate the band’s own digital release, which makes more sense when you study the flows off blood down the face. It’s not a pretty over, but it does very much provide a fair visual representation of the ‘raging grindcore/powerviolence/noise onslaught’ it houses.

As their biography summarises, ‘Trauma Bond is the conception of Eloise Chong-Gargette & Tom Mitchell – blending a shared love of violence, noise and metal to concoct a visceral exploration of aggression’. I mean, who doesn’t love violence, right? I am being sarcastic and, indeed facetious, and should perhaps reiterate here that both makers and fans of the most brutal music tend to be among the gentlest, most docile people I’ve encountered. The music is the outlet for everything they aren’t in the every day. With the exception of Marilyn Manson and Genesis P. Orridge, it’s the bland indie types who are more likely to be the real scumbags, and likewise their fans. This is the long way of saying that there’s violence, and there’s violence.

The original notes pitch ‘a furious onslaught of razor-sharp, disorienting grind; that darts between blasting intensity, to dirge, to industrial noise, and back again before you’ve realised what you’ve been hit by.’ And that’s exactly what The Violence Of Spring delivers, packing nine brutal sonic assaults into twenty minutes.

It all begins with an ominous roll of thunderous rumbling, the fifty-seven-second ‘O.C.B.’ building a tension and suspense that’s devastated with the explosive treblefest of ‘the title track, where everything piledrives in at a hundred miles an hour, from the flurry of guitars, the machine-gun drumming and screamy vocals, and from hereon in there’s not much let-up. There are samples galore – seemingly of panic-stricken crowds and people in streets where accidents, explosions, and shootings have just taken place. And The Violence Of Spring is simultaneously a drive-by and a hit-and-run that concludes with a suicide bombing.

They swing into black metal on ‘Total Fermentation’, and this is a dank brew, unfiltered and thick with sediment, and headcrackingly potent, while on ‘Daddy Do’, it’s more barking, guttural grindcore than anything else, and fuck me, it’s savage. One of the album’s two longer tracks, ‘Double Denim Dissociative Disorder’ which runs past the four minute mark against the usual minute and a half, is a grating wall of distortion, a churning landslide of sludge that slowly sinks into a spent crackle. Sandwiched between this and the finale, the overloaded tempo-shifting blast of demonic fury that is ‘Syndrome Imposter’ is ‘Little One’, a pained blast of metal anguish that’s delivered with remarkable and unexpected clarify, particularly in the vocals.

Nothing about The Violence Of Spring is gentle, but it hits all the harder on account of its comparative range. Yes, it’s all metal, but The Violence Of Spring is all the metal.

AA

cover

Having been away from the recording studios for nearly seven years, Melbourne-based black-metal collective Thrall appeared to be relegated to the fate of “cult act”, especially considering they vanished after releasing their most accomplished and critically lauded album Aokigahara Jukai.

Back with an enlivened recorded line-up that features members of Gatecreeper, Noose Rot, ex-Extinct Exist, Förfalla, Slothferatu, ex-Ruins, Mar Mortuum and Myotragus, the group picks up where they left off, merging some primeval and heinous black metal, with a ferocious thrash metal attack, a raucous crust and miserable doom atmosphere.

Ripping, engaging, and despairing, new album Schisms shows a vast number of guests joining Thrall in studio and hopefully will cement Thrall position as one of most interesting and creative bands from the current Australian extreme metal scene.

Listen to ‘Tyrant’ here:

http://a%20href=

AA

59cfffdc-9a44-fe36-5360-9af39ff5ef89

Behold! I Am The Night release a new music video from their debut album released this coming May on Svart Records.

The new band featuring Finnish metal scene legends opens an ancient chasm of Black Metal, born of an epic tradition.

Rising from the deep valleys of Kymi in southernmost Finland, I Am The Night is Black Metal rooted in the classic early 90’s tradition, where walls of guitars and synthesizers raise the forces of darkness in a battle against the heavens and burning angels light up the night sky.

The band’s debut full length album, with cover art by scene legend Necrolord, bears the title While The Gods Are Sleeping and shall be released on May 6th, 2022. The record was birthed during the heaviest blizzard Finland had seen in years in the winter of 2021, with the band holed up at the Soundspiral Audio studio during the height of the pandemic.” On new single, ‘I Am The Night’ the band comment,

”We had a certain 90’s video in our mind when we gave Jari Heino instructions to create this one. This is his modern take on that classic, and the way we wanted it to look. The song itself is a swing of a morning star to one’s head. Aggressive and harsh, but still the melodic aspects can be found. Listen and wander into the night.”

Watch the video now:

AA

thumbnail_i_am_the_night_while_the_gods_are_sleeping_cover

Swedish black metallers Grafvitnir are back from the shadows with their eighth opus, titled Tunes of Sitra Ahra.

Venomous incantations accompanied by haunting riffs and eerie melodies with a touch of Nordic melancholy and coldness.

Eight tracks capturing the ferocious wrath of a people betrayed and the essence of the dark liberator of illumination.

Album is scheduled for its CD and digital releases on 29 April 2022 via Carnal Records.

Listen to the album’s first track, ‘Demon Wolf’ here:

AA

380f5128-8ca7-3fc2-1473-22af5eed5742

Sacred Son return in 2022 with a new album, The Foul Deth of Engelond; a black metal chronicle of the 1381 Peasant’s Revolt. Weaving historical record with speculative inversion, the album recounts this fierce and tragic Great Uprising as a proto-revolutionary moment in English history that echoes loudly into our own toxic and fragmented present. The story is presented as inspiration and allegory, with principal songwriter, Dane Cross, describing it as his ode to righteous leftwing political violence.

The Foul Deth of Engelond marks a return to the expansive sound of their debut, whilst continuing the move away from the one-person insularity that began with the sophomore effort. The road-tested four-piece band was recorded in the cold dark winter of 2020 by tube-amp maestro Chris Fullard (Ulver, Sunn O)))), Boris) at the analogue-focused Holy Mountain Studios in London. These sessions were then mixed by Randall Dunn (Wolves in the Throne Room, Earth, Kayo Dot) at his Circular Ruin studio in NYC, resulting in a rich, physical, and enveloping sound of textural layered guitar, propulsive rhythms, caustic voices, and Dunn’s signature spirit-conjuring atmospheres.

Sacred Son have also shared first single, ‘Le Blakheth’ with Dane commenting, “‘Le Blakheth’ is the third track from Sacred Son’s new album The Foul Deth of Engelond. It chronicles the bloodiest and most violent chapter of the 1381 Great Rising; when corrupt and sycophantic ruling figures were beaten and beheaded whilst their obscenely lavish buildings burned around them.”

Listen now:

AA

SS

Tartarus Records – 25 February 2022

James Wells

Dark Worship came together in what they describe as ‘the bleak and unsettling landscape of the post-industrial American Midwest’ and is less of a band and more of a collective of musicians from various bands, co-ordinated by J. Meyers (Axioma, Aureae Crucis). They pitch their sound as dark, and it is, but this is a different kind of dark: Flesh of a Saint has the murky lo-fi production values of black metal, which serves the bleak atmospherics well, but it’s not metal, and nor is it dark ambient or tethered to any specific or clear genre.

The two-and-a-half-minute shock of ‘We’ve Always Been Here’ begins as an ominous drone before erupting into swampy grunge spewed from Satan’s sphincter: there’s a nagging guitar riff half-submerged in the mix, and a thudding kick drum stammering out a beat that’s on the brink of a panic attack, and it only gets dingier from hereon in.

There may only be six tracks with a total running time of just over twenty minutes, but over its duration, Dark Worship live up to their name: punishing percussion hammers and clatters before giving way to doomy, funeral synth drones to provide the backing to harsh, shouted vocals on ‘Culling Song’, and it evokes the mangled noise of Prurient. It’s heavy listening. ‘Hollow Body’ brings a rasping vocal, the empty rasp of the walking dead, grating from a purgatorial pit shaped by a pulsating low-end throb.

If the final ‘Well of Light’ sounds redemptive, the light at the end of the tunnel, think again: it’s more like being sucked into the vortex after the last drops of energy have been sapped from your limbs and you hang, lifeless, waiting for the end. Oblivion can’t come too soon. Worship the dark.

AA

821847

28th January 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

So I’ve been bigging up OMNIBAEL from the outset – not because I’m acquainted – that cuts no ice with me as a critic, and if I don’t dig the music, I’m not going to back it for anything – but because I really rate what they’re doing. And what they’re doing is… well, they’re not entirely sure. OMNIBAEL are on a voyage of discovery, and they’re inviting you – and me – and all of us – along for the ride. They have no idea where it’s headed or where it will end, and that’s a large part of the appeal. So much supposedly ‘experimental’ music is scripted and scored. Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie is an experiment within a long-term experiment.

Each release to date has been a document of an evolution, and their debut album roper is no exception. Twittering feedback gives way to ripping riffage that’s distorted to fuck on opener ‘Mind is a Mess’ that’s the gnarliest of black metal melted into the darkest pits of burning torture, a missive from a purgatorial inferno.

I may have written on this album elsewhere, including some abstract liner notes that capture its essence, but I haven’t previously reflected in detail on the listening experience. It’s not pleasant, but it is intense, and it is, in the same way as it is with listening to Uniform, or The Body, a full-on body slam. It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, and it’s a physical experience – one that’s like taking a kicking from a gang. Drums hammer in like boots reining in on the ribcage, and there’s absolutely no fucking mercy across the album’s nine tracks.

The churning murk of the eight-plus minute ‘Last Days’ is pure Throbbing Gristle, and this is dark, gnarly, nasty. ‘The Repetition’ starts with a mess of overlayed tape loops that’s very much reminiscent of the Burroughs / Gysin tape loops that so influenced Cabaret Voltaire in the early days, and after a moment of crackling electronica that strays into Whitehouse / Merzbow territory, it plunges deep into torturous melting industrial metal, a dingy mess so dark and so charred as to be corrosive to the organs. It ccu88ulminates in punishing screeds of howling feedback atop thunderous percussion that hammers like thunder. There are some deeply fucked-up vocals low-down in the mix, too.

It’s not pleasant, and listening to this breeds tension upon tension, you feel your muscles tense and your head grow tight at the temples and the back of the cranium. If the dank and gloomy ethereal ambience of ‘Rung Keep’ evokes swimming underwater, it equally feels like the soundtrack to drowning slowly, and there really are no breaks on this album: despite its sonic and textural variety, it’s heavy all the way. ‘Sound of the WW2 Story’ may be a brief interlude with some soft ambience akin to the swafting of a jellyfish, but it’s still dense, tense, and oppressive, and offers but two minutes breathing before the thundering punishment of ‘Flowering backwards’, which callas to mind Swans circa 1986 and early Godflesh in dub form. The volume, the power, the force, all combine to create something utterly cruising.

Listening to Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie is hard. It’s a brutal nihilism I’ve been craving and welcome unreservedly; it articulates the fact that life is pain. But the pain is without letup. Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie is uncomfortable, painful, and very, very necessary.

Om

Cleopatra Records

Christopher Nosnibor

Well, this is pretty fucking intense. Released to promote the duo’s new album, ‘Hear My Call’ is a beast. The verses are queasy, ominous with a hushed, almost strangulated tension. In contrast, the choruses are utterly pulverizing in their weight and density: there’s nothing hushed about them, and the tension is released in a chthonic snarl. The vocal transition is remarkable, as Lilith gears down an octave at least and flicks from anguished to a raging demon spewing toxic flames from the very bowels of hell. The crossover between electronica and black metal is almost schizophrenic, but Luna 13 render it in such a way that it’s perfect, that switch that happens at an imperceptible trigger lands with eye-popping precision, and the video, directed by Vicente Cordero (Stabbing Westward, Filter, 3TEETH) is a magnificent visual reflection of the music.

For a start, there’s splattered gore galore, as Lilith Bathory sloshes around in a bathtub that’s initially brimming with rose petals but before long it’s a streaming splatterfest where said tub is brimming with blood. She twitchily dials the telephone… and it transpires she’s not calling The Samaritans, but instead she connects on a hotline to Satan, and it cuts, and she’s a roaring, horned demon, and to the side, Dr Luna yanks a huge phallic lever that seemingly drives this whole whorl of chaos that’s blackened beyond black, the sound of scorching incineration.

A lot of so-called ‘occult’ and ‘Satanic’ shit is – well, shit – corny, half-baked, a bit laughable, at least to anyone not already invested, and you wonder how people take so many of these bands seriously. Not so Luna 13: this shit is truly terrifying. There’s no denying that some off the elements are perhaps cliché; masks, blood, and so on and so forth, but it’s all in the execution. Sonically, and visually, they’re full-on, and fearsome.

AA

740148