Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Forgotten Lore: Torgeist

Torgeist were an obscure, short lived French black metal band that belonged to the Les Légions Noires ("The Black Legion" for you non Francophones). Started in 1992 and dead by 1996, Torgeist left their mark with a meager 4 releases (pretty much the norm for these short lived, incestuous bands). A peculiar thing about the Les Légions Noires is that from its start sometime in the early 90's until its demise right before the turn of the century, only one band was able to muster out a full length album (it being Vampires of Black Imperial Blood by the only "successful" LLN band Mütiilation).  History lessons aside, there was something that always caught me about this lo-fi obscure outfit.

One listen to Devoted to Satan and you've probably made up your mind about the band. One of the better recording jobs for a LLN band (listen to Vlade if you want an idea of how awful production could be or better yet La Morte Luna by Vlad Tepes) Devoted to Satan is more primitive and evil sounding than the melodic acts of Mütiilation or Vlad Tepes. Death metal like mid tempo drumming pinned to scratchy hazy guitars and surprisingly audiable and effective bass creates and surging headbangable sound that many of the LLN strayed away from. The title track from the demo is one of my favorite songs, especially the melodramatic and haunting intro. 

Thankfully Time of Sabbath offers a better production job as opposed to Black Legions Metal (a split with Vlad Tepes containing the same tracklist but poorer sound). In comparison to acts now, Torgiest might seem needless raw, unimaginative, or stale, but when I first heard them amidst my exploration of black metal I was fascinated by the paradoxical production and their ultra rhythmic approach, not to mention its hard to ignore the whole LLN thing (although in all actuallity it was probably just a poor attempt to follow their idols up North). For a real fun time, listen to the 1994 Rehearsal Tape and try and enjoy those ridiculous vocals. And yet, as much as I can knock this band I keep listening to them, and enjoying them as they act as an interesting time piece for black metal's development and departure from death and thrash metal

Obvious links to acts like Torgeist and Vlad Tepes exist in black metal's current incarnation (Akitsa, Peste Noire, Celestia, many tape devoted labels/bands like the Black Twilight, etc to name a few) and the importance of the LLN should never be discounted. Fans of noisy, disruptive, and painfully bad production will flock to bands like Torgeist but won't appreciate what's hidden under all the fuzz and thinned out cymbals. 

Be weary if you plan on buying anything LLN, especially pieces that claim to be originals as they are one of the most highly sought after groups of releases in the metal community. There exist numerous bootlegs of almost every bands and one of the only reliable sources I could think of would be Drakkar, a label very closely associated with the LLN. If you find yourself thinking Emperor got too clean, or things now seem a bit too easily done, then Torgiest is a band for you. 

Live Evil

I've been trying to come up with a good list of live albums worth your time. It's hard as so many bands seem to have the mic in their back pocket so it sounds like complete crap. Granted this is not definitive, in fact I hope to add to it as time goes on. The only criteria is that the recorded material has to have been live, whether in a studio or on a stage.

Here's a temporal list of some of the best live albums period. Tell me what yours are? And, for the most part, I stayed away from bands like Unholy Grave who seem to record just about anything.

Nasum - Doombringer
A real testament to the band's prowess and legacy, the posthumous live album recorded in 2004 in Oaska Japan and  released in 2008  might be Nasum at their finest. The untimely death of singer Mieszko became a focal point for the metal community, not only to mourn one of the most promising members of a grindcore band, but also the hundreds of thousands who died as the result of the Indian Ocean earthquake in December of 2004. It's hard to think of this as a live album as it has one of the fullest, and best production jobs the band has ever done. Maybe a bit enhanced in post production (we're talking Scott Hall here after all), Doombringer shows a varied, focused, and extremely potent Nasum playing some of their best material. Older, rawer tracks like "Lцpandebandsprincipen" never sounded better while more recent tracks such as "I Hate People" and "Doombringer" sound so much more powerful. Personal favorites "Corrosion," "This is...," and the obligatory jumpdafuckup of the discography "Inhale/Exhale" easily propel this to being not only one of the best live albums, but one of the best grindcore albums.

Destruction - Live Without Sense
 Destruction, possibly the most worthy of the Teutonic thrash acts, deliver not only their best release, but one of the best live albums in metal histography. Having heard this my expectations were set extremely high when I was on my way to see them some 3 years ago. All I can say is they were met. All the requirements are here "Curse the Gods," "Mad Butcher," "Bestial Invasion"(possibly the greatest metal riff ever written?), "Eternal Ban," and the amazing Glenn Miller outro "In the Mood" that's just badass. Well rounded production, no interference, intense crowd and Schimer's quintessential 80's thrash voice knock the figurative socks off anyone who appreciates thrash metal.

Misfits - Evil Live
Quintessential release for one of the best, and most influential punk bands ever, Evil Live features one of the best lineups and one of the best performances of the band, along with some of their best songs (some personal favorites are missing, but what can you do?). There's a hazy, tinny touch to the recording, especially in Gelnn's voice and Doyle's guitar, but that's just part of the charm for this  30 year old release. "Astro Zombies," "Horror Business," "Ghouls Night Out" and "We Are 138" with punk's most lovable actor/comic/poet/tv host/renaissance man ends it on a high note. The sloppiness of some of the performances only highlights the fun and enjoyment of the release.

Extreme Noise Terror - Peel Sessions
For a band with a seemingly endless amount of songs and variants of those songs, the Peel Sessions are a fortunate collection of Extreme Noise Terror at their best. The name John Peel should be recognizable as he was a huge force in getting handfuls of great bands recognition, not just in the U.K. but all over the world. That aside, for being a characteristically sloppy and all over the place band, E.N.T sound their best this time around as both the production and performance seem fitting for the band. Necessary tracks such as "Conned Through Life," "Work for Never," "Deceived," "Murder" and one of my favorite covers "I'm a Blood Fool" (Cockney Rejects) turn this album into a "best of."

Cradle of Filth - Live Bait for the Dead
To many, Cradle of Filth were the epitome of cliche mall metal and the death knell for contemporary black metal. While I'll never say I like the band's personality, antics, banter, or the majority of their catalog, Live Bait for the Dead, has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it. From the robust production, to the perfect set list, Cradle of Filth show why at one time the guys from Emperor liked them and how a loyal and devoted metal head like me could appreciate something so tongue in cheek. Simply put, it's the riffs. The band's affinity for Priest and Maiden is clear in their leads and riff work and the Dani does his best to be tolerable. Say what you will about this band, but much like melodramatic movies and books, Cradle of Filth have their worth.

Discordance Axis - Pikadourei
Sometimes grindcore becomes more about the energy than the music, and even rarer than that is when both the music and the energy are on par, or rather feed into each other. Pikadourei is a shinning example of a band playing their grinding hearts out and managing to do so with an amazing set list and precision. While some of the higher frequencies get muddied, and many riffs fall into abstract feedback, it adds to the controlled chaos DxAx always did so well. Having first seen this, rather than hear the cd, I have a different memory of this. The visual aspect is mostly shot and cut like a snuff film and edited in a confusing and psychotic way (seemingly so that Chang's posture jumps from standing to laying on the floor, from shirt wearing to shirtless, and beyond!) that fits right in with the band and their performance. While it doesn't compare with the likes of their proper releases, it's one of the most driven live performances recorded.

Sunn 0))) - Dømkirke
Drone's equivalent of P-Funk, Sunn 0))) bring together their friends Attila, Steve Moore, and Lasse Marhaug together for one of their most profound and enthralling releases. Recorded live in the Bergan Cathedral in Norway, which dates back to the 1600's (and previous incarnations to the 12th century), Dømkirke sounds like some awkward miscue as if Sunn 0))) and co. were allowed to perform Sunday mass for the crowd.The setting becomes part of the record, as anyone who has heard music in a church before knows it sounds like nothing else. Low organ notes hush a respectful crowd and Attila is given the spot light as he croons the crowd with his distinct bastardization of operatic vocals throughout "Why Dost Thou Hide Thyself in Clouds?" Subsequent tracks allow O'Malley and Anderson whip out the big guns as they do their best to hone the cold atmospheric sound of Norway's prodigal children. There's not much else to say about this except for that the beautiful church organs are probably the best things ever to happen to drone since Nadja re-recorded Bliss Torn from Emptiness.

Horna/Behexen Split
The catalyst for this list, Horna's split with Behexen ranks as my favorite release by both bands, but also in terms of live productions. Recorded live in studio, the split features both bands in their prime (in fact, this is the only thing Behexen has ever done that's worthwhile). That said, the one-take setting of the album shines through as drum sticks start songs and Corvus's vocals retain an unmatched dominance as they shriek and growl and sound completely possessed. An organic and simple production matched with Horna's best effort at song writing create their finest moment. On the other side, Behexen offer one amazing track ("Ritual of Flesh and Blood") and two mediocre, which means this is amazing by their standards. Melodically intertwined with the utmost vehemence and unholiness, Horna prove themselves to be absolute masters.

Honorable mentions go to my handful of bootleg Immortal live recordings (especially the one where Abbath tells everyone to shut up), Iron Lung/Pig Heart Transplant/Walls's Public Humiliation, the 4,000 jazz records I'd like to list but would involve way too much, and this....

Yeah I'm sure I forgot a lot... so let me know! What are your favorite live recordings?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


With the advent of hurricane paranoia, I found myself trapped, in doors, for the weekend and due to my situation couldn't work on this illustrious blog (plus a huge workload yesterday that I'm still feeling today). That said, here's a little place filler (Sorry for the lack of a MNV!!! Next week, I promise).

From our good friend Adam over at Gilead Media, we have exclusive original artwork from RAINBATH Visual.  Having done artwork for Ash Borer, Fell Voices, and Deafheaven I have seen a lot of this stuff and absolutely love it. A little out of my price range, but hopefully not yours. Check it out on EBAY.

The fall proves to be an exciting time here in NYC, beyond the beautiful weather I'm waiting for, we get to have lots of shows. Swans, Wolves in the Throne Room and Thou, Despise You, etc. So come out if you're in the area.

Got a nice list in the making, keep your eyes peeled.

And if you're a hockey fan like me, check this out. He's not much of a goalie, and apparently he likes "4-5 songs" by Maiden, but whatever. Cool as hell.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Converge @ House of Vans, Brooklyn. W. Krallice & Touche Amore

I'll get down to brass tax immediately. I'm not a big Converge fan, I had never listened to Touche Amore before and I was too busy drinking as much free beer as I could to listen to Krallice. With all of that said, I can't think of a better show to end the summer with.

Note the cartons of water; this was pretty hip.
Things started innocently enough waiting on line an hour and a half before the show began and drinking secret whiskey  The show, being free and all, plead with its future guests not to line up before 5pm (it opened at 7pm). After enough waiting to get inside the awesomely huge skating venue, it was time to wait for free Heineken Light (hey, it was free). The place was great as it's a huge indoors/outdoors skate park that catered to the crowd pretty well.

From the little I heard Krallice actually sounded pretty good. I say it that way because being such a huge fan of the first LP I was completely dismayed upon hearing the second LP and seeing them live two years ago at one of the sloppiest/poorly set up shows I've seen. So unfortunately I chose to spend time with my friends outside who didn't care for Krallice.

I had never heard Touche Amore but they put on quite a set. Whenever I think of a screamo band, I pictured this band unbeknownst to me. Their stage presence and show were energetic, livid and not without letting the crowd take over for some verses. They were pretty good, although some porter-potty line talk with a bunch of angered guys lead me to believe this was far from their best performance. The drummer even got away with some blast beats; so I was satisfied.

Converge singer Jacob Bannon taunts the crowd atop an amp.
Finally Converge took the stage and started things off with a song I actually know by the band (I think it was "Heartache" off of No Heroes). For only having two albums of theirs, I knew a hell of a lot of songs. Converge is a band I've always deeply admired, yet never really cared for. Having sucvh a diverse and large fanbase speaks well of a band, especially in the extreme music scene. Beyond that, as successful as they may be, they've never tried to appease anyone (label or fanbase) and have always done their own thing. So whether you like the band or not, there's a huge level of respect to be given to the band. This was my second time seeing them (you'll quickly find out most people at their shows have seen them upwards of five times, typically). As mentioned earlier with Touche Amore, the sound wasn't all that great and Jacob's love for swallowing the mic made every scream completely incomprehensible (more so than expected). Beyond that, the band played a tight, energetic and a relatively short set full of crowd favorites and many new ones from their most recent LP Axe to Fall
While I've been seeing shows for over ten years, mostly in the NYC area, I had completely forgotten the testosterone driven frenzy that a band like Converge may bring. Teeth were knocked out in front of me, a guy congratulated by his friend for knocking an unsuspecting kid to the ground with a rabbit punch, broken noses, etc. This by far wasn't the most violent show I've seen, but isn't that silly in of itself that I have to give that disclaimer? I love moshing, I'm not knocking it, nor am I saying anything about the band, but rather the machismo driven idiocy that perpetuates people doing kung-fu spin kicks, windmills and cartwheel kicks into a tightly packed group of individuals. Give me any stock grindcore/ thrash band, and I'll be in the pit. The focus seems to have shifted from an abundance of energy and excitement to an excuse to fight, and show off your "dance moves."

That tangent aside, no one can complain about a free show, especially with acts such as these. Free beer to boot and you've got the quintessential summer show. Good jobs Vans and Heineken, showing you suites know how to rock out too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Protestant Preview

Milwaukee's Protestant power strong as they stay true to their name with a similar work ethic and a slew of upcomming releases. First, and almost ready, we have the Stalemate 10" loaded with 6 songs of metallic hardcore that shouldn't surprise followers of the band. In the not-so-far future we're promised a split with Poland's most important act Suffering Mind (prove me wrong) and another split with Maritime (I'm unsure as to which Maritime we're talking about... that'll become more clear the closer we are).

Cory, head of Halo of Flies, as well as guitarist/vocalist for the band was nice enough to send me a preview of the up coming 10". While I think The Antagonist and The Hate/The Hollow might be my favorite offerings from the band, the new material is nothing to scoff at. "Nothing Left" starts off with a battery of drums that quickly jumps into the cathartic flow of d-beats which set the back drop for the rest of the ep. The second half of the ep showcases my three favorite songs as well as a shift to a more melodic and driven sound. "Corners" and "Swindle" quickly became my two favorite songs as their reliance on simple melodic hooks intertwined in the thundering drums and bulldozer bass is right up my ally. The melodic hook amongst the sea of cymbal crashes and throaty growls that end "Corners" was the first thing that really struck me about the EP and made me replay it. "Swindle" ends a powerful strive of post-rockish gutiars strumming endlessly as some of the best/most fitting lyrics the band has put together come out.

lest we forget what we had
what we thought they did
lest we forget who'll we'll be
when we're sitting broken with all the rest

Maybe a thematic tie to one of my favorite songs off of Judgements, "Revenge," Protestant are at their best here. Beyond the simple, important fact that the songs are damn good, the production sounds amazing. This is the fullest, warmest, and most well rounded I've heard the band yet. Needless to say I'm very excited about all of this.

Worth it's weight in salt, gold, cash, or blood, Protestant thankfully show no signs of letting up. While I have no inkling as to what the two upcoming splits have in store, I can only hope that maybe a little Polish influence can be instilled on these vehement hardcore dudes.

Catch them on a brief  run over the West Coast that can be looked up here when details become announced.

Protestant at The Borg Ward (1/13/11) from Bullart. on Vimeo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Night Violence: Iron Lung

Seattle based duo Iron Lung are one of the best purveyors of power violence today. Right off the bat, one of Iron Lung's best qualities is their ingenuity when it comes to song writing and style. Playful at times, dismally oppressive at others, this guitar drum duo create so much with so little that a first time listener will find it hard to believe that this band recreates 100% of their recorded material live. Characteristically dissonant, fast, and uncomfortable sounding, Iron Lung find themselves incomparable.

Songs like "Arc Lamp" and "Pushing Life" showcase the musicality playfulness between drummer Ward and guitarist Kortland between the weird plopping riff in the middle of "Pushing Life" or the awesome stop start workout of "Arc Lamp."  Cold Storage  offers a great starting point for new comers as it's a catch all of some of their best work (not to mention many of the original sources being out of print). In addition to the two mentioned previously, "Body Enclosing," "Spirophore," and "Mechanical Assistance" are essential tracks from the band.

Major shifts are obvious, mostly in terms of production when comparing their early days and their sound today. Sexless/No Sex is an incredibly overwhelming and well throughout record that leaves little room to breath. Tracks jump from one to another as if they were afraid you might turn the record off after one song (the jump from "Future Corpse" to "Sexless/No Sex" is one of my favorite build ups). As mentioned earlier, the craftsmanship is a pinnacle as their songs are so dynamic and fulfilling. While traces exist, one of the only things I've found Iron Lung to have dropped over the years are the incredibly bleak atmospheric intros that sound reminiscent of outdated medical equipment and large apparati associated with fatal diseases. Beyond that, later material sounds a bit closer the hardcore spectrum of things and offers a much fuller and warmer production.

I was fortunate to catch the band back in 2010 when they played the pre-fest show for Maryland Deathfest. Needless to say they were the highlight of the night, as well as one of the best bands that weekend. Drummer/Singer Jensen Ward was a surprisingly funny guy offering some stand-up like banter between songs. I was pleasantly surprised to see Ward handle singing and playing drums so well (I figure this is harder than it looks).And while the set couldn't have been longer than 30 minutes, they did all they needed to to do with some of my favorite songs. 

Beyond their amazing live show, as a drummer, Ward is one of my favorite players. Rarely is a drummer in the spectrum of punk as imaginative as he is. Whether it's playful beats, off-time sounding accents, or dexterous fills, he has such a huge personality that comes through in his drum playing. "Pushing Life," "Arc Lamp," and "Concentric Circulator" are just some examples.

Another highlight to the band has to be their penchant for collaborations. There is Public Humiliation which is a collaboration between Ward and Kortland's side projects, Pig Heart Transplant and Walls (respectively) and was recorded live back in 2008. The former is noise act of sorts while the latter is a hardcore act. I love live recordings, and this one just so happens to be great. This was throughout, yet a bit spontaneous sounding. Another collaboration with the Gulf Coast act Hatred Surge is great as well, although they mesh so well it doesn't sound as varied as Public Humiliation does.

Intrusive, sporadic, creative and jarring, Iron Lung strive strong as one of the most interesting, challenging, and simply good bands around (never-mind the genre).

Essential Discography

Tentacled Breathing (split w. Teen Cthulhu) 7"
Demonstrations In Pressure and Volume 7"
Life. Iron Lung. Death.  LP/CD
Sexless//No Sex – LP/CD 
Broken- A Collaboration (w. Hatred Surge) 7"
Public Humiliation- A Collaboration (w. Walls and Pig Heart Transplant) LP    

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Check out the Facebook page for quibbles and updates. Check the Last fm to see what I've been listening to (too bad I can't get it to record my tapes/records).

Plenty of reviews in the works. Interviews shortly.

Meanwhile. Huge update at Gilead, check that out.


Forgotten Lore: Mohoram Atta

How many times have you bought a split, record or, downloaded something without knowing the band and become completely infatuated with that said band? Now, how many times have you had to suffer the disappointment of realizing that band doesn't exist anymore? This was the story for me when I received my copy of Thou's split with Mohoram Atta entitled The Degradation of Life nearly two years ago.

While I bought the split for Thou's portion, I quickly became enthralled by Mohoram Atta's side. My inability to successfully coherence friends into a band, and as well as to do anything except play the drums had left an undying hunger for two of my favorite styles of music/aesthetics to be successfully combined. I dug through so many bands just to find the perfect mixture of melodic hardcore and black metal, some close (think Martyrdöd) some lacking the His Hero is Gone/ melodic touch I was looking for (think Infernal Stronghold or any recent Mark McCoy project, etc) and some just bad. 

All of that said, I was astounded at the end of Mohoram Atta's split with Thou hearing the track "Forever Sleep" as it completely blew me away. A somber melodic riff  put to building drums and an ajoining second guitar continue to build to one of the most epic crashes I've heard. Picture a song like  Envy's "A Warm Room" covered by a black metal band and you have "Forever Sleep" in a nutshell. 

This comparison isn't to discredit Mohoram Atta's originality, quite the opposite actually. Few times does a band capture exactly what's been humming in your head, or rather, offer something you've always wanted subconsciously, something you can't find and something that's always a goal. As high strung as that sounds, it's true as Mohoram Atta were able to cover a wide breadth of emotion and dynamics. From the mournful cascading mountain of a song like "Forever Sleep" to scathing and melodically driven tracks like "Birthright" or "Cull, " and one such as "Weight of Existence" which encapsulates them both, Mohoram Atta covered every single aspect of their sound.

I would have to say their work on the split with Thou is my favorite. Having been fortunate enough to pick up Desolate Motherfuckers when I was in the U.K. I'd say that's a second favorite, and lastly, out of what I know to exist, is The Weight of Existence demo. The band, at times, employed three guitarists and apparently had an amazing stage presence. 

It's a shame this band didn't continue. However, members have found their way into some great bands. Drummer Mike plays drums in the awesome black metal act Fell Voices, his solo project Sleepwalker (another good black metal act) and  Resin Hits. Singer Brandon has Yarn and Sea, a cute acoustic band with a female singer (not too bad actually) as well as Wolfgöd who play a glam inspired style of hard heavy metal. There's probably a handful I'm missing, but a lot of my information is from word of mouth, crosschecking members lists on Myspaces and Facebooks, etc.

Keep an eye out for any of their releases, or their member's bands.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Night Violence: Lycanthrophy

If the Czech Republic didn't already bless us with great hockey players with better haircuts, good beer, sausages, and one of the most humorous authors in the world, then we've been truly blessed with Lycanthrophy.

Taken from their Myspace, Lycanthrophy formed in 1998 and quickly produced a demo and played what/where they could. Fast-forward nearly 12 years later and we finally have their first full length, simply titled Lycanthrophy. Their s/t completely blows anything they've done out of the water. While there's no drastic change in sound, everything from the production to the exact moment the vocals change is perfect.

I came upon Lycanthrophy by chance after my interest in Suffering Mind had been piqued by their, self-titled LP. Suffering Mind's split with Lycanthrophy ranks among one of my most played 7"s. Besides Suffering Mind's offering, Lycanthrophy's endless barrage style appealed to me right off the bat. Furthermore, the somewhat recent addition of a female vocalist was a huge vat of icing to be shoveled directly into my mouth, skipping the cake.

Lycanthrophy's style and delivery is completely unrelenting which makes impossible (and pointless) to pin them to either grindcore or power violence. Punk sections shift to blistering blast beats without a second's notice, frenzied guitar riffs strum out to punk power chord progressions. Measure to measure is like a roller-coaster fashioned after the slimmest W's you've ever seen.

Having never made it across the Atlantic (to my knowledge) there is still hope! Until then, if you find yourself in Europe they seem to get around plenty. On a side note, connecting last week's band of choice, Lycanthrophy covers "No More Feelings" on their split cassette with Neni Uniku. While the cover's nothing much to speak of (the singer sounds like he swallowed the mic and is singing into a sock), it's still a funny coincidence.

For fans of Agathocles, Warsore, Crossed Out, Yacøpsæ, Gride, and Dropdead.

Essential Discography

Split 7" w. Suffering Mind
Split 7" w. F.U.B.A.R
Split 7" w. Gride
Split LP/CD w. Saywhy?

Good luck finding their stuff this side of the Atlantic. I was able to snag the s/t on Discogs, and the split with F.U.B.A.R and the one with Suffering Mind, seem readily available here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Lo and behold, another promising young black metal band pushed into the limelight by our friends at Gilead Media and Howling Mine. If Fell Voices, Krallice, Ash Borer or Barghest don't ring a bell than you've got your day set for you.

False's ferocious, non-stop, high stake style of playing paired together with omnipresent vocals and unexpected, but strangely welcomed synth accompaniments round out False's unique sound. While the two songs span roughly 25minutes, it's unfair to compare them to bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Fell Voices, or Leech. Instead, False employs what I can only think of describing as "upbeat" melodies (see the beginning of "Key of Passive Suffering"). Furthermore, unlike other long-song black metal bands, False doesn't rely on atmosphere and repetition, but rather impact and melody. Taken from Gilead despot Adam,

"I first heard about FALSE while sitting around a coffee house in Madison, WI with Bryan and Andy from Thou. They had just played Minneapolis the night prior, where FALSE closer[sic] the show, and everyone in Thou was entirely and completely blown away by how intense and relentless FALSE were live. Just going off their description & the obvious impact left upon them, I knew I had to hear FALSE immediately." 

Relentless would probably the best adjective to describe False as the two songs don't skip a beat in transition and even the slow(er) parts of the songs surge with such urgency it's easy to take the guys from Thou at their word. And while this is all true, there's something that doesn't quite sit right with me. 

I can't pinpoint exactly what it is, but I'm not a fan of the vocals.It might be the tonality or delivery of them, but for whatever reason I can't get into them. Beyond that, my other complaint lies in the cheesy at times synth effects. Throughout "The Key of Passive Suffering" they feel a bit too over the top and flounder in a middle ground of not quite symphonic black metal. That said, everything seems to click perfectly in "Sleepmaker" where the keys sound a bit more subdued and less over the top.

Listen to the full b-side which is streaming at NPR 

Limited shirt printed by Adam of Gilead Media to go with your new LP. Looks beautiful.
Pre-orders up over at Gilead, as well as all the awesome merch we've come to expect to be spoiled with from the label. 

Krallice- "Untitled"2009

There's something in the drinking water of Gilead. With 3 black metal albums released in the pass year simply called "Untitled" and the Krallice repress done in '09 by the same name. Also note the similar covers.

Parting words from the band about themselves and their sound.
"Black Metal for post-apocalyptic desolation. Reject the promise of progress and the encompassing void that constitutes fulfillment. Solace in desecration."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forgotten Lore: Frontier

A little more than a year ago I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Frontier's 4 song demo on a media sharing site. Not expecting much from a completely unknown 3 piece based out of Massachusetts I found the longest ladder I could find and slowly crept down from my extremely high horse (very high). Lo and behold, my snobbery was unwarranted and, as usual, my pessimism wrong. Frontier's little 4 track demo (only 10 made), spanning roughly 24 minutes, happens to be one of the best pieces of black metal I've heard in the past 10 years.

An extremely well rounded, warm, and full production allows for the band's prowess in writing and musicianship to shine through. Impossible to compare to any other band, yet pragmatically familiar sounding, Frontier offer a brilliant mixture of ferocity, melody, emotion and energy. Painfully strained vocals, varied and driving match the melodic guitarwork and complex drumbeats, fills, and accents. Beyond all of that, each track transgresses whatever pigeon hole might aim to falter their run and keeps the momentum up and our interest piqued.

As the demo is nearly impossible to get a hold of, the band happily advocates it's download.
Unfortunately, the band never made it past that one little demo. Exact reasons unknown, it can only be assumed that the situation just didn't work out. That being that, guitarist Marvin Quinones has his one man raw black metal band Sangre y Tierre and bassist/singer Mark Pechak has gone on to form Desolate Wind.

Be happy to have something, but I wouldn't blame you to be upset at having nothing to look forward to.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Battles in the NORTHLESS

Beer capital doomernuaghts Northless set off on a anti-confederacy tour beginning this Saturday in Indianapolis, and moving its way through Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and  ending with two shows in Illinois on the 20th. I hoep to catch at least one of the shows in NYC (and I'll be sure to post some dribble here).

If you haven't checked out their most recent release, a slickly produced titan of a record released through our friends at Gilead Media, Clandestine Abuse, you're missing out. Having found itself featured in Maximum Rock and Roll, Metal Sucks, Decibel Magazine, A.V. Club Milwaukee, Northless seem to have gotten around quite well (and rightfully so). More important than any reviews, hype or anything else worthless; they got a burger named after themselves. Take that!

Look forward to a CD release of Clandestine Abuse soon from Siege of Power, especially if that heavy DLP was just too much for your non-burger eating arms. And if it wasn't, Halo of Flies is repressing that fatty for you.

Here are the dates

Northless homepage

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Resuming Ending the Circle of Life...

British melancholic black metalers Lyrinx released an EP back in 2009 titled Ending the Circle of Life. Seemingly insignificant in the sea of depressive black metal, what was then (and maybe still is) popular,  Lyrinx unjustly fell to the wayside as bands such as XasthurShining, and an unfathomable amount of USBM became the toast of the bedroom scene. 

Ending the Circle of Life skipped over banal keyboards, absurd whining vocals, and the overall stiffness that came with doing the whole goddamn album on a computer (not to mention my biggest enemy, drum machines). And while they fall prey to conventions of the genre (over the top titles) they do hit the nail on the head. 

Much like Nyktalgia, Lynrix (post-Nihilistic Purity) rely on core elements; a modest production and well written and performed music. The strength of Ending the Circle of Life was the song writing as each of the two tracks covered an enormous gap of time and distance as they progressed like larvae to a dried up moth. "No Failure in Suicide" sways back and forth utilizing a brilliantly catchy guitar riff and great drumming until it builds up into a mid tempo blast beat and a complete outpouring of emotion and energy. The song finally struck me as I worked one day, nearly ten hours straight on an awful silk-screening project, as it must have played in my playlist for a major portion of those ten hours. Every time I rediscover this EP it is amazing how content I feel with just these two songs.

With all of this in mind, after nearly two years of silence, Lyrinx are set to release their full length in late 2011 through Avantgarde Music, entitled Restriction and Failure.

If I lived in the U.K I'd be pretty depressed too.
Taken from Avantgarde Music's page, and written by members of Lyrinx, about the upcoming album they had this to say:

"This album focuses on the drone-like soul destroying nature of capitalism (or the system), and provides and analysis of the illusory nature of reality. Consciousness could be considered to be a miracle, yet the human spirit is divided and crushed by process, tax, and social structures...Musically this album will represent the old (Nihilistic Purity), and new (Ending the Circle of Life) but will also include elements of progressive metal and post-rock melancholy"

While I'm sold on the gimmick (it's nice to see a black metal band say something political that isn't in support of National Socialism (although this treads dangerously close)), the idea of progressive metal and post-rock makes me think of later Amesoeurs. I have a problem particularly with the "progressive" tag, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Demo Fodder: PILGRIM- Forsaken Man

When a band's name is Pilgrim I think you know what you're in for; the long list of cross totin' 17-18th century iconography filled bands begins and starts under the banner of doom metal. Pilgrim's not so different, their slow, warm and fuzzy style of doom fits right in with big boys Witchfinder General, Reverend Bizarre, or Saint Vitus yet it thankfully contains it's own, unique murky sound.

 With the lengthy intro aside, "Forsaken Man" carries along a catchy vapor-like melody that slithers through the repetitive ritualistic drums. Chants reminiscent of pagan rituals, distant haunting vocals sung in a brazen style and an eventual mid-tempo breakout halfway through "Quest" rounds out this two song cassette. Our main concern, as doom loving metal heads, are the riffs. How many riffs? Are they good riffs? WWIW? (what would Iommi write) and can I slowly nod until I pass out from a pool of blood forming in the back cavity of my burned out brain? Well the answer to all is yes (even if it doesn't make sense, I don't care). Pilgrim lets the doom riffs slide and repeat when needed, much like buttering hot corn.
All of that inane banter aside, the riff work fits right where it needs to; catchy and melodic enough, heavy and distorted enough, and nothing too over the top or boring. Pilgrim hit all the right parts of the doom palate.

Traditional doom never really gets me. I love Sabbath of course, but bands like Witchfinder General, St. Vitus, Pentagram are enjoyable, but never compelling enough for me. Thankfully, Pilgrim escapes this as they know every important note, sequence, and mood to create a fulfilling two song tape that makes any sane person demand more. 
Note excessive beard hair and polarized effect. DOOOOM
Listen to the tracks here, then buy the tape through Electric Assault Records 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Night Violence: Despise You

Monday Night (Power) Violence will focus on one power violence band each week and highlight their releases, their career, and maybe something you didn't know. Fittingly, kicking off this tirade I'll start with Despise You, my favorite, all time, power violence band.

If we were interesting enough, or maybe just crazy enough, we'd have a dictionary that had sounds to explain definitions. If one were to look up the word "animosity" in such a dictionary I, without a doubt, believe they'd hear a track by West Coast stalwarts Despise You.

Truly embodying the hardcore ethos in their lyrics, vocals, performances and song structures, Despise You offer one of the heaviest, non-compromising sounds around. The metallic abuse and their affinity for metal act as a catalyst in providing one of the most brutal, angry, and simply voracious sounds around. Pair that up with two vocalists who are equally pissed and you have the foundations of  one of the best power violence acts around. Songs like "Career Overview" or "Culpa Mia" are so painfully honest sounding, making it impossible to look over Despise You's genuine nature and dismal outlook.

Having just released a split with techno-spazz grindcore fiends Agoraphobic Nosebleed, entitled And on and on... Despise You haven't let their 15 plus year career show through in a negative way. Couple that with an upcoming East Coast tour (something I'm more excited about then anything) and Despise You have themselves locked in as a consistent, blasting and buzzing reminder on how to get your anger out.

If there was ever a more perfect compilation than West Side Horizons, then my day to day listening would be dramatically skewed since I first found the release. Their tracks on the quintessential comp Possessed to Skate  offers some of their best work, including "Mental Winter" and  "Cry to the Bleeding Sky" (not to mention it's 'best of'' as it teams up giants like Spazz and Assholeparade with Despise You and other big acts such as Charles Bronson).

Going back to their recent split, it has one of my favorite Despise you tracks; "Roll Call" which features more "fuck yous" than anything I've heard since Toxic Narcotic. Along with "Roll Call" tracks like "I End Me," "No More...Feelings," "Bullshit Reflection," and "Hand me Down Existencia" are essential listening (among some other 80+ songs). Other bonuses are their covers, all of which are excellent. Their cover of Posssessed's "Burning in Hell" has to be my favorite. True to form, the songs covered spread a wide breadth also including Circle Jerks and D.R.I. 

Despise You's influence is unmistakable, from other girl/guy acts such as Hatred Surge to fellow west coasters In Disgust, the proof is in the pudding.

Do yourself a favor and at least get West Side Horizons, and check them out at the following dates with Magrudergrind.

Essential Listening
And on and on... (split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed)
West Side Horizons (collection of the unreleased split LP with Man is the Bastard, Stapled Shut 7"   split, Left Back/Let Down compilation double 7", PCP Scapegoat 7", Split 7" w. Suppression, Reality Part #1  compilation 7", Split 7" w Crom, and an Unreleased track).
Possessed to Skate split LP

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...