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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Great Old Ones - Al Azif

Yet another month passes without a sound from my lips, miss me maggots? My return is heralded by the Great Old Ones and their album Al Azif. What we have here is some incredibly beautiful atmospheric Black Metal with lyrics dealing with, you guessed it, Lovecraft. When you think of most bands writing music about Lovecraft you usually get chaotic, brutal songs about being dismembered by some horrible beast or losing ones mind to forbidden knowledge, but not so here. Many bands seem to forget Lovecraft's dream-scape stories: Atmospheric, almost ethereal like tales of other worlds and plans visited by dreamers. This is where the Great Old Ones come in. At their core this french act is still very much a black metal band; Tremolo picking, shrieking vocals, blast beats and all. Yet this certain piece of BM is a bit of a different brand. To be sure there is plenty of the "post" black metal influence that's popular these days to be found in here, but the band relies much more on the use of atmosphere and a slight sense of anxiety in their music rather than the melancholy/emotional-melody combo much of their french counterparts love to use. Each song slowly starts in with a soft melody that is slowly carried over into something either harder or more dynamic. At times Al Azif recalls feelings of an Alcest album or some other Neige-infuenced band but it's all part of the package and it doesn't ever seem like they are trying at anytime to copy their french bandmates. To longtime fans of post and atmospheric black metal, the tricks these french use wont really surprise but they will certainly entertain as they are all done very well and by people who really enjoy the music they're playing and its source material.

  My Love For The Stars

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Muga - Self Titled

Time to break the depression cycle my Maggots and move onto Anger. Today I give you one hell of a crust hand grenade, Muga's self titled first LP. From Japan and recorded between 2002-2004 Muga takes Tragedy's blend of melodic as hell crust and, amazingly, improves upon it. What you end up getting is a meaner, faster, more varied beast of crust that's perfect to get up and mosh to. The production on this is perfect, clean enough to hear everything but heavy enough to give you that fantastic feeling of energy and anger we all love. They also trade off between male and female shouted vocals, which are always a win in my book and they give each song even more added intensity. The female vocals should be given special notice however, because they're just done so damn well. You don't have that "I'm a girl in a punk band shouting slogans" DIRT sounding vocals, no here you have one pissed off as all hell female making sure you can hear her anger. The band attempts to vary their sound up a bit by not just plodding away on d-beats either, rather you get some nice blasts and few sexy sludge-influenced areas to go along with it. All of which only further complement the assault of crust your being subjected to. Unfortunately, like many of Japans underground bands, there really isn't a lot of information floating around on these guys as they are all but absent on the web (They have a website, but all it offers is a few MP3s and flyers from their past shows). The information that is out there about them, however, is not very pleasant. The female vocalist/bassist on this album apparently committed suicide not long after this album was released, which lead to the band taking a four year hiatus. It's a damn shame that happened as I feel she added so much to the album and is sorely missed on the bands later material (Thats not to say its bad at all mind you, far from it). Since then they have released a demo, a split with SWARRRM and another LP in 2008. All of which are worth purchasing and checking out. Hopefully sometime in the future we'll hear from these crusties again, but for now enjoy this truly amazing slab of music they have given us.

Unleash Before Death

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nortt - Galgenfrist

Someday I may actually get around to posting something that isn't manically depressive, but unfortunately for you my little festering piles of larvae that night is not tonight. Instead, I give unto you the all-father of melancholy and nothingness, Nortt. I have a bit of a soft spot for him and this album I'll admit, but it's only because he's just so damn good at what he does (and probably the sweet ass cover art). And what is that some of you may ask? Creating some of the most bleak, depressing and yet oddly beautiful soundscapes you'll ever listen to. This is his third full-length and my personal favorite. Galgenfrist is damn depressing, I dare say even more than Loss's album I posted a while back and that's a very, very good thing. Basically this essentially IS funeral doom. To a T. Inhumanly slow riffs relentlessly pummel the shit out of your face as the kick and snare drum fall behind to pick up the pieces, slowly. There's really not a lot of melody to be found in these riffs, which are so fuzzed out it would make Jus Osborn blush. Instead the guitars and bass are used more so to create a very lonely, suffocating atmosphere in each track, which they do perfectly. Where the melody does come from, however, is from properly placed eerie piano pieces and creepy as fuck synth parts. They're not used excessively mind you and Nortt does a damn good job of making sure they add to the background atmosphere as opposed to taking center stage. Then theres the lyrics, naturally you can't really make out what he's saying from his tortured moaning and growling (which are quiet enough as it is) but they do a damn good job of conveying their meaning with how earnest they are. Truly an album worthy of wielding the mighty Doom Hammer, which it does with much sorrow. Pick this up and enter the world of Nortt.

Oh, and on the chance some of you think he's some ignorant bed-room hermit with no life, check out the interview link I posted, he did it about a year ago and the man's pretty damn smart.

…melancholy is a fearful gift. What is it but the telescope of truth?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Eden House - Smoke and Mirrors

Been in a real goth/post-punk mood as of late so I hope my little broodlings enjoy this tasty treat of music. What I give you this Sunday is the album "Smoke and Mirrors" from Goth super group The Eden House. Formed by former Fields of the Nephilim bassist Tony Pettitt and Stephen Carey (formerly of This Burning Effigy and currently in Adoration) the group utilizes a revolving door of vocalists and guest musicians each of whom are all fairly big names in the current goth/darkwave scene. Monica Richards from Faith & the Muse, for eaxmple, is singing in the video I posted below. The album is basically one big Smörgåsbord of goth genres, tracks range from the gothic dirge style of Fields of the Nephlim to a more minimalistic cold/dark wave style of say Coctaue Twins or later Siouxie. Each track also features a different vocalist, of which all are women, and band line up (save for the bass and guitar departments which are always handled by Pettitt and Carey respectivly) which helps to give each song it's own personality and feel, something I really enjoyed. There is no real weak point in the album if you like this style,each track is as cold and as haunting as the last, probably due to the fact that the album dosen't really have a solid line-up to get stale with and each woman does a fantastic job of standing out in their respective songs without showboating or being overbearing. If you liked the Fields of the Nephilim album I posted here earlier, or are just simply a fan of cold-feeling goth rock then this is definitely an album you'll want to check out during your next séance.

To Believe In Something

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sarmak - Diycarsh

Tonight my maggots I give you Sarmak's (whom who may remember as the lead singer for Lycanthropy's Spell) only solo output, the demo Diycarsh. I'll say this up front, the production on this isn't pretty, but that's just another day at the office with Sarmak's music and all that does is simply add to the dreary atmosphere he is so good at creating. That said, everything else on this release is very well done. The style found here is much like Lycanthropy's Spell; Depressive, lo-fi melodic black metal. Where this release really shines and stands apart from other LS releases is it's length. One track with a running time of 25 minutes is all you'll find here, and a very beautiful piece it is. The entire song is apparently a tribute to Sarmak's homeland of Ichkeria and the extra time really let's him experiment with different influences and instruments, which he does so with much gusto. The first four minutes or so are your average plodding black metal but the song really begins to pick up after that with flute and acoustic guitar passages giving way to melodic black metal break downs. While this is nothing groundbreaking in the genre it is defiantly one worth listening to and remembering. Sarmak's musical outputs are unfortunately overlooked gems of the underground BM scene and this song is a very good example of why that should not be the case.

R.I.P. Sarmak

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wreck And Reference - Black Cassette

Tonight my maggots I offer you something a little different, but oh so tasty. Wreck and Reference's "Black Cassette" is an odd yet strangely addicting piece of shoegazy "post"-doom metal. If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth because it sounds like a bedroom group of hipsters playing with fuzzed out instruments and synths, you'd be somewhat correct. However, take a deep breath and trust that there is quality music to be found here and the overall atmosphere of the album is fantastic. What you basically get here is some uber-fuzzed out bass with live drums churning out some damn sexy drone-doom riffs with catchy shoegazy synth and bass effect parts added in for atmosphere and melody. It all melds together very well and the over all feel of the album is like that of wandering through an abandoned building. The vocals, when apparent, sound as if there being shouted (sometimes sang) from the back of the room during the recording. And while admittedly this is a bit odd at first, it quickly begins to show how it fits with the mood and song structures of the album. Over all this is a nice little piece of music to just fade out to at night while gazing at the stars, or just baked out of your mind. Your choice.

All the Ships Have Been Abandoned

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Loss - Despond

Sorry for the gap in posting my friends, always seem to lose track of how long its actually been since I posted here. Anyway, today's slab of musical nutrition comes to us from Nashville, Tennessee in the form of Funeral/Death Doomsters Loss's first LP Despond. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys live this past weekend with Wolvhammer and YOB and I'm not gonna surgar coat it for you kids, this band is fucking depressing. And I don't mean the melencholic Pat Walker Warning/40 Watt Sun depressing where you wanna curl up and eat ice cream watching closer on a rainy day, I mean the "I want to tear my fucking veins out of my arms and stangle myself with them" kind of depressing. The band hammers and trudges it's way through over an hour of some of the heavist, nastiest doom riffs this side of the mississippi. On top of the pummiling, slow as hell drum and guitar riffs you have lead singer/guitarist Mike Meacham growling like satan's empty stomach (and thats putting it nicely) some truly disparing lyrics dealing with themes of lonliness, abadonment, illness and just all around depression. Very rarly does the man change up the vocals, but when he does it's almost as if another person entirly started singing. Theres a couple of black metal rasps thrown in and even a few clean vocal parts that do wonders for the atmosphere. The album isen't complete without melody either mind you, the bands other guitarist, Timothy Louis, does a damn fine job filling in the open chord drones with single note melodies and scales. Nothing too fancy ever happens with the riffs but they are all written and played very well and do a damn fine job of adding some sort of meoldy to this beast. All in all this is an album that would give Nortt a run for his money of being the most depressive bastard in Doom. Definitely Worth a listen (and to pick up on hard copy), just keep all the sharp objects hidden away while you do.

Cut-Up, Depressed and Alone