Friday, September 1, 2017

Monthly Blast: August 2017

Balance Interruption - Door 218 (2016) 

It's always interesting to hear bands blend black metal with jazz, especially when it's done right. Such is the case with Ukraine's Balance Interruption: a band that was completely anonymous to me, until Aleksey from Satanath Records requested a review. Balance Interruption is not afraid to experiment and push boundaries, blending various elements to formulate their own sound. This is experimental black metal of the most abrasive kind, delivered with a strong performance. Every song is like a nightmarish roller coaster, as you have no idea where it's going to take you. With a purposeful lack of repetition, it's chaotic and beautiful, while never losing a degree of subtlety and cohesion. Door 218 is a rather solid offering of idiosyncratic black metal. (Mongrel) 

Demonomancy - Throne Of Demonic Proselytism (2013)

You're lost in a cave, and you falter. Slack against the stone you ponder  your demise. The slick and damp walls appear to be closing in around you,  ready to encapsulate you in their calcified sediments. Your eyes close. You  are awakened after a time undetermined to the pounding of tight human skins  over drums. There are cimmerian figures moving beyond your vision yet their  presence is known; the torches and flames fueled by the refined oils of  cultivated human sacrifices throw their certainty against chiselled  sandstone. Where are you? What is this hellish chamber? Your weakened body  is rinsed and bathed by disfigured and breastless sycophants before being  dragged through a ceremonial labyrinth in which from above priests pelt you  with rotten egg, basil, and feces. They drop maggots into your hair. You are  presented to an empty throne in an ancient hall. As a knife is raised to  your throat droning melodies too low and too disparate to be made by any  understood culture find refuge in the niches of cavern rock and pockets of  unoccupied air. The pounding tempest of distant drums and constant strumming  of alien instruments goes on for unfathomable periods of time, always with  the knife held firmly in fatal location. Summoned, an armored maggot gyrates  from the darkness to take vantage at the throne. You are sacrificed and the  massive demonic larvae consumes your remains. (Orion)

Furia - Guido (2016)

With Furia's Ksiezyc Milczy Luty being so impressive, delving deeper in  their discography is necessary. Guido is presented as an EP but at thirty- five minutes long and as an entire 12" record in addition to a 7" record,  I'm much more keen to view it in lexicon as a full length album. The set up  is a bit strange; the 7" contains the first two untitled songs, both  featuring guitarist Nihil on vocals as well as more conventional black metal  content albeit in Furia's unique style. It's the 12" record that is worth  more ridicule. Guido is the name of a coal mine in Poland in which Furia  recorded this material live. It's a unique setting and I'm sure the  technical background would make for a phenomenal video documentary or full  length music video. The first track, "320 w 2" (the recording was done  three-hundred and twenty meters underground) has the listener entering the  shaft elevator and descending into the mine. Bells ring as we reach the  bottom of the shaft, signalling a moment safe to exit. "Hahary" and "Taczka"  are both quite stripped down and experimental. "Hahary" is most twanging  guitar chorus left ringing and "Taczka" is a monotonous bass and kick drum  plod with distant guitar tones beyond. "Lew Albinos" showcases the only  outwardly black metal styling and even though the first half of the track  is faster with tremolo guitars, we get a couple minutes of empty expansive  contrast midway through. The song closes relatively strong. Cieri, vocalist  of fellow Katowice, Poland black metal band FDS (Nihil also plays guitars),  provides whispered and deep gritty spoken vocals on these last three tracks.  Interestingly, the three final songs here hint more at what we would hear on  Ksiezyc Milczy Luty than the first two predominantly black metal tracks. For  that angle and outlook, Guido is a record worth hearing if, like me, Ksiezyc  Milczy Luty was one of your favorites from last year. There is a definitive  uniqueness to Furia which is love or hate. That polarizing feeling is one of  the best reasons to give them a chance musically without any preconceived  notions of what to expect. (Orion)

Maze of Terror - Ready to Kill (2016) 

This album opens with the sample "I am become death, destroyer of worlds" by J. Robert Oppenheimer, which is an appropriate overture for what follows: a full-fledged thrash assault that sounds like a tank crashing into your living room. The music is loud, heavy and mean. Hailing from Lima, Peru, Maze of Terror's debut Ready to Kill is easily one of the best thrash metal albums that I've heard in a while. The album boasts a solid production. You can hear every instrument, even the bass, which interplays nicely with everything else. The riffs are consistently strong throughout the album. The vocals are par excellent and menacing to say the least. The sound on the album is emphatically lethal and makes most new bands attempting to play "thrash" walk away in shame. This band may be from Peru, but they have a sound much more in common with North American thrash as opposed to other Latin-American bands who opt for a more Sepultura inspired sound. Ready to Kill is cream of the crop for modern thrash. (Mongrel)
Morgirion - Morgirion (2008)

Morgirion; A Connecticut trio playing decimating black metal in the Northeastern US style, which is becoming it's own distinctive sound. The more aggressive tendencies  of the Northeast seem to resonate in the New York, Boston, and Philadelphia  bars and clubs where death metal once reigned supreme, and that influence is  felt. Sturdier riffing, darker more evil melodic tendencies, and more  vicious and malicious content forms the foundation. Morgirion may be best  known for their connection to One Master through Lustrum, but this - their  self titled EP from a decade back - hinted at a lot of promise to come. In  particular, "Waking The Dragon" and "Wrath Upon The Insolent" lead this EP  as the strongest track, each containing it's own distinct character, but the  thick oppressiveness, harder tones, and faster drumming exudes more hate and  disgruntled ferocity than a lot of bands manage to muster. Though it's been  several years since a follow up to their last album, Morgirion, in  particular this EP, demands some exploration. The hand numbered light- scribed discs are really a nice, DIY effort that may be tough to come by... (Orion)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

Opening with the famous "Cinnamon Girl" - including the phenomenal riff  closing the track, Neil Young's second album drifts enjoyably through  several territories. While "Cinnamon Girl" is a more easily recognizable hit  song, the second single off the record, "Down By The River" is a must hear  murder ballad. "Cowgirl In The Sand" closes the record but the three tracks  are linked by the origin story provided by Young that the trio were written  delirious in bed with a high fever in Topanga Canyon. There is a clear late  60's / 70's vibe across other tracks such as "Round and Round" and the title  track. Young's vocals are crooning and nostalgic. Crazy Horse, the  collective band behind Young never overshadows yet also finds it's own space  on the record. This is an ideal record to get into Neil Young's early years  with some hits but also a sense of danger and dread. This is an ideal listen  on a long highway trip through unpopulated areas or wooded areas. The  recording is very minimalist, with ringing guitars, and plump bass. This  minimalist rawness will appeal to a wide swath of listeners. (Orion)

Olde - Temple (2017)

There's a lot of this out there now... the stoner, doom, sludge mixture made  prevalent the past ten years. Olde do the style admirably on Temple, though  without too much originality. The clear and honest production portrays Olde  as talented musicians first and raucous and rowdy harbingers second. Sleep  is the obvious throw-out comparison, but even closer would be a band like  Eerie, or locals Clamfight and the defunct Maegashira, especially  considering the similarities between Doug McLarty's vocals and JJ Koczan's on  The Stark Arctic. On the surface this could be construed as a monotonous  album yet multiple listens reveals some nuanced songwriting, such as the  title track which uses well placed chord progressions to help weave yarns  across the longest song on the album and create the potential 'imagery in  the mind' effect that I require my slow tumbling doom to sculpt for me as I  listen. Some notable infusions of creativity appear scattered throughout.  Ringing reverby layered chords in "Subterfuge" lend the song a cosmic  quality. "The Ghost Narrative" subconsciously seems to borrow melodies and a  spacious serenity from recent Earth albums. "Centrifugal Disaster" has some  interesting drum rhythms courtesy of Ryan Aubin. Temple is definitely a  strong record, and I would consider it a fine example of the genre. It  doesn't quite reach the lofty heights that render it a must-hear for most,  but I would recommend it easily to anyone that loves the stoner sludge  aesthetic. (Orion)

Paganfire - Wreaking Fear and Death (2013)

For the last decade, these Filipino miscreants' name has been circulating in the underground: a few dozen demos and splits later, these Quezon City maniacs finally release their long-awaited debut album upon the masses, entitled Wreaking Fear and Death. Paganfire plays an almost "sloppy" kind of thrash, with elements reminiscent of bands such as Sodom, Mutilator, Sabbat, etc. After so much overpolished, bland modern thrash with bands who sing about getting laid and the local pizza scene -- it's always refreshing to see bands like Paganfire keeping it real and spreading the hate. The production is considerably raw, while still keeping the performance audible. It's a kind of obscure evil thrash that is close to black/death metal at times. Wreaking Fear and Death is a little underground beast that is sure to send the hippies packing. (Mongrel)

Pale Horse - Pale Horse (1997)

There are the obscure, the forgotten, and what I call, the righteously  hidden. Pale Horse remains no longer hidden. Some fine print first: this is  not the proper Pale Horse from Gloucester, New Jersey. It also is not the unimportant Pale Horse from Hoboken, New Jersey. This is the Pale Horse from  Bigler, Pennsylvania, unfortunately the only band I can find from this poor  womb of a location deep amidst the backwoods of farmland and poor taste in  music. The most ruinous attribute, other than everything else, are the  disgusting grunts of John Miller; sweaty, predatorial, gnarls that would be  better suited for a VHS porno from 1974. "Hell To Pay" has a decent opening  riff, however the song forgets to include something under the guitar solo  which manifests itself as a multitude of stringy twangs. There is a  creepiness to songs "Innocence Lost", "Whore"and "Love Machine," which will  forever linger in my internal lexicon as a synonym for 'reprehensible'. I  considered putting this up on youtube for the sole reason of allowing others to  understand how sickening it is to hear a sweaty man sing "when the race  starts going/ the juice starts flowin'... when the cab starts popping / her  head starts bobbin' / well I've got a hell of a deal for you / I'm gonna luv  (probably spelt this way but there are no lyrics listed) ya til you're black  and blue. This is undeniably one of the worst tapes I've ever heard, and  that still exists. Truly lovemachinely. (Orion)

Somne - Demo 2011 (2011)

Though an extremely murky and underground production graces the shrill  shrieks of Somne's lonely 2011 demo, the overall songwriting and melodic  structures are quite interesting and telling. The work of two individuals,  Origin and Axiom (using monikers T and A respectively), The faster, more  grim black metal elements of the material, of which the majority of the demo  is built around, remind me of Helheim's Jormundgand. There is some variety  built into the recordings, however. Second track, "Halls of Melancholy," is  not short in length, or variety with acoustics, faster second-wave styled  black metal, and perhaps some influence from the Cascadian scene is present.  "Beyond," the final track, sounds a bit out of place and is oddly upbeat in  melody. This raw black metal demo is not entirely without merit but also not  for everyone. If you truly like raw lo-fi black metal with hints of the  Norwegian and Cascadian heritage, it might meet standards. (Orion)

No comments: