Friday, June 27, 2014

Bandcamp Picks: Sun Worship, Paramnesia, Black Monolith, Suðri

Every time I think I'm done with Berlin's Sun Worship, they pull me back in. Deceptively simple, Elder Giants is black metal with a mind for the celestial, while still retaining the genre's intrinsic viciousness. Since it looks like Wolves in the Throne Room are going all 80's sci fi on us, anyone needing their fix can look to Sun Worship to pick up the slack (and then some). The 4 song album is available as a "name your price" download.

With two songs each lasting 20 minutes, Paramnesia aren't about making it simple. Despite the length, their eponymous EP is impeccably crafted and never feels like a chore; esoteric but not impenetrable, with lots of trebley fuzz for that second wave black metal flavour. The EP is available as a "name your price" download.

Coming from the Bay Area, I'm sure Black Monolith have had their fill of deafheaven comparisons. The similarities are hard to ignore, though: Passenger hammers away at the black metal template with shoegazey atmosphere, crusty hardcore and the occasional space rock moment. It's not as groundbreaking as what bands like Agalloch (and yes, deafheaven) have already done in a similar space, but it does make for a strong and enjoyable debut. [$5]

Is there a more perfect vessel for one man bands than depressive black metal? Chile's Suðri offers four tracks of mid-paced misanthropy with the occasional acoustic interlude on their newest EP Elend.  The inconsistent sound quality is in line with Suðri's basement (or more likely, laptop) origins, but the music is surprisingly nuanced - something that can't often be said about Chilean metal. [Free]

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mixtape 11: Noisem

Here is the 11th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring Noisem. My buddy Lucas is friends with the band, and was responsible for organizing the interview after their set at the Acheron. Our talk took place in the cozy confines of their van, with all the members present, plus Lucas, and members of Jarhead Fertilizer dropping in as well. It was pretty chaotic, to say the least.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unkured Interview

Sometime in the middle of my recent NY trip, I decided to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, and came across a trio of young heshers. I flashed them the horns, as required by law. Imagine my surprise when I saw those same young heshers play a set at Saint Vitus Bar that night. And that's how I discovered Unkured; I was blown away by their chops and after the set asked if they wanted to do an interview. The result is as follows:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bandcamp Picks: Godflesh, Misery Index, Agalloch, Emptiness

The first Godflesh release in over a decade, Decline and Fall could easily be out-takes from their classic period: Menacing opener "Ringer" and the title track are straight out of the Merciless/Pure playbook, while the hip hop-inflected "Dogbite" and bass-driven "Playing With Fire" could have been from Songs of Love and Hate. Throughout it all, B.C. Greene treats his bass like the bitch has been holding out on him and Justin Broadrick alternates between a forlorn moan and a bark that we haven't heard from him in years. This new Godflesh is old Godflesh through and through, up to and including the two dub remixes included at the end. As an appetizer for the upcoming full-length, this can do no wrong... but consider me ready for the main course. [$7]

In bad news for motorists throughout my neighbourhood, the mighty Misery Index are back to fuel my nightly runs with The Killing Gods. This is the sound of an elite deathgrind squad firing on all cylinders; lest we forget, half their line-up spent years in Dying Fetus before the first Misery Index EP was issued a over decade ago. Swaggering and bloodthirsty, this isn't just one of the best albums of the band's career, but a shoo-in for end of year lists everywhere. My jogging shoes should be filled with blood by then. [$9.99]

After the massive amount of NPR love in 2011 threatened to associate them more with tote bags than patch jackets, it would appear Agalloch were aiming to hit the reset button with their latest album, The Serpent & The Sphere. Toning down the more Pitchfork-friendly elements and settling into mid-paced blackened doom, the songs herein all have a certain classic (if safe) sound. If hearing the band return to the style of The Mantle comes as a relief to long time fans, there will be a few (myself included) who miss the spacey brilliance of their recent Spirit. [$8.99]

Like the bands who splintered off of the Norwegian scene in the late 90's (Arcturus, Dodheimsgard, and Beyond Dawn among them), Belgians Emptiness are using black metal as a jumping off point to pursue their own strange digressions. With a line up that includes members of Enthroned (who've been standard bearers for take-no-prisoners black metal since the dawn of the second wave), Nothing But The Whole abandons the solid if unremarkable blackened death of Emptiness' earlier albums for a unique take on the genre that includes proggy weirdness and bleak industrial atmospheres. [$7]