Thursday, May 24, 2012

Negative Standards - VI​-​XI

Harsh, impassioned, and overall gloomy is how I'd sum up Negative Standards in one sentence. As for their latest effort, VI-XI, it is a brutal slab of Dystopia like gloom with a hardcore approach and nods to black metal and sludge.

There isn't one particular aspect about VI-XI that strikes me as the cornerstone to their sound and success, but rather the delivery of the album as a whole. To point out a riff here, a line of lyrics there, doesn't really do a thing as it's the soul crushing atmosphere of VI-XI that makes me come back for more.

Album opener "VI" illustrates the band perfectly as bits of harsh noise and lost screams give way to a driving d-beat and charnel scraping guitars only to collapse in a titanic down-tempo section that has the meatiest bass drums I've heard in awhile. Where the band really gets things rolling it's with "VIII;" a great snippet and snaking black metal section that leads its way to sludgy outro all in under 2 minutes. The band accomplishes similar feats throughout the album, blending the soul crushing attributes of sludge (I'm talking Moloch sludge here, not Down), the energy and urgency of hardcore and the melodic tendencies of black metal none being a better example than the finale "XI" which is easily the best track on the album.

While I really do enjoy this release, the vocals aren't my cup of tea. That modulated electronic screen has never done it for me. That being said, I guess they do fit and do not subtract much from the band's sound all that much.

This album's a must for people like me who enjoy the harsher and more pessimistic things in life.

Vendetta Records

Monday, May 14, 2012

thedowngoing doesn't fuck with capitalization

much like their refusal to capitalize anything, thedowngoing don't adhere to any set of rules or standards. the two man aussie act hits a fine point between grindcore and complete noise oblivion that does well for someone like me who's not the biggest fan of power electronics and harsh noise. distorted (make that ultra distorted) vocals plus complete guitar abuse and a whole bucket of various effects untop of stumbling drums make up a unique brand of grind noise that strives for some sort of equilibrium.

the ep starts with an eerie guitar pluck and an unfortunately overused quote from "there will be blood." this intro sets the bar high as it's so uncomfortable sounding and yet intriguing. i'd love to see the band pump out more ambient uses of noise like this as it is a welcomed change from the rest of the ep that's exhausting and overtly painful.

tracks like "hurtnone" and "badmachete" are easily the best the band has to offer as they successfully find common ground between delirious noise and wrathful grindcore while allowing the guitar to be clearly heard.

a large step on their way to perfecting a particularly difficult mesh of styles, thedowngoing offer a fallen power line of grind noise that can be enjoyed by fans on both sides of the fence.

check it out  below or download for free at grindcore karaoke
and keep up to date with the band on their page.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wake/Dephosphorus Split 7"

Finding their way into the hearts of the mincing public last year, Wake and Dephosphorus are a natural pairing for this latest split through 7 Degrees Records.

Continuing their full pedal thrust from last year's Leeches, Canada's Wake stick to their style of hardcore gone grind that still wants to slam your teeth into your skull. Throaty buried vocals bark and the band goes from thudding walls of speed to drawn out downtempo breaks. The relatively "safety" of the band doesn't appeal to me as it lacks punch much like Misery Index in their modern incarnation. It's no surprise that Colin Marston of Krallice fame had his hand in mastering their side into a digified slop of heavy grindcore.

Greece's Dephosphorus on the other hand grabbed me immediately. A welcomed change in production affixed with strained, viral like vocals, textured drums and guitars that jumped from grinding lines to His Hero is Gone style riffs makes Dephosphorus's side far superior. For those of you that heard their previous effort Axiom, be thankful that Dephosphorus has done a better job in producing this split material (that snare drum that stuck out on Axiom is long gone). The only downside of their effort is the lack of time to venture into the spacey cosmo stuff that made Axiom such a gem.

In the end the split works. Wake's style owes more to the metal heritage of grindcore whereas Dephosphorus owes more to the stripped down aggressive roots of punk.

7 Degrees Records

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Art for Music's Sake: Dilek Bakaya

Mistress of Death
Many music fanatics like myself find their preferences in art to be shaped by the music they listen to. I've come to love artists like Gustave Dore and Albrect Durer because of their constant use in the world of metal ( as well as literature). Recently I've been enamored by Dilek Bakaya, whose body of work shows up on countless flyers here in nyc as well as some of my favorite bands's releases.

It comes as no surprise to hear her cite artists like Putrid, John Baizley, and Vania Zouravliov (amongst a slew of others) as inspirations. Many of her works seem like some wet dream amalgamation of those mentioned, amongst others, but not without her own dose of personality. Still attending art school, Dilek's work has been featured as flyers for bands such as Ghost, Masakari, Weedeater, Pentagram, and Eyehategod. Maybe it's common, but I'm astounded by not only her work, but the consistent quality of the bands she works with. It's one thing to churn out artwork for basement dwelling slam bands, but to be doing work for the "big boys" of the scene speaks volumes of her enthralling style.

Finding her process through lyrics first, other attributes such as the music's speed further influence her when creating a piece of work for a particular artist. Looking at the cover for the Infernal Stronghold/Absu split you can see each band's influence upon it as the verbose and archaic influences of Absu match the grime soaked fury of Infernal Stronghold in an outcome that's dense, overwhelming and cryptically detailed.
Absu/Infernal Stronghold flexi.

When working with a particular band Dilek makes sure that her work fits accordingly, as she states: "very rarely do I just draw whatever I feel like drawing, I always make sure that there is a distinct visual connection to the band itself."

Speaking on her latest piece, Night Bride, Dilek comments saying that "Night Bride, is my favorite piece since the city of Istanbul can be seen in the piece. It was about time for me to pay tribute to my Turkish heritage in my work, since it means so much to me."
Night Bride

When asked about her own aspirations and work Dilek voiced an urge to "branch out from doing work for bands... to start doing something else to keep things exciting for myself." One would hope this wouldn't mean a segue out of the world of music as in such a short amount of time she's become a recognizable power.

Be sure to follow her through these various's only a matter of time before your favorite band has her John Hancock all over their cover.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...