Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bandcamp Picks - Tsjuder, Barshasketh, Vacivus, Bone Tomb

The long running and long overlooked Tsjuder have released possibly their best album yet. Their new album Antiliv seethes in the classic second wave fashion that their fellow Norsemen seem to have abandoned, along with some thrash inflections and the occasional Celtic Frost moment. Not an album that will set the world on fire, but some churches may be left with scorch marks. [$9.99]

Originally from New Zealand but since relocated to Scotland, Barshasketh have tilled the ebony soil for some time (as their bandcamp page can attest to). Their latest album Ophidian Henosis is their most mature and accomplished to date, bringing to mind the sweeping melodicism of the mighty Dawn. With the bands that inspired them defunct or dormant, these guys might be in line for succession. [€7 ]

A little while ago I wrote about Dawn of Chaos and hoped aloud that whatever the members got up to next would be as good. Little did I realize that they had already reassembled with a new vocalist as Vacivus, making music as good if not better than their previous incarnation. Their debut EP Rite of Ascension ratchets up the chaos for a sound that's pure evil (and very Immolation). An intriguing beginning to their second act. [£4]

Also worth a listen is Vacivus guitarist Dan Rochester's Bone Tomb. On their debut EP Tombs of Blood you'll find two pristine UKBM songs and a cover of Celtic Frost's "Sorrows of the Moon" that strips the original of Tom Warrior's awkward New Wave affectations but is otherwise faithful to its spirit. [£4]

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Alda Interview

I first heard Alda through the Replenish Records Bandcamp; their Tahoma album was one of my very first Bandcamp Picks, and has kept me company on many a long train ride since then. With a new album out, I decided to e-mail some questions to the band about their past and future, which drummer/vocalist Michael Korchonnoff was kind enough to answer.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bandcamp Picks - Fuck The Facts, Alda, Anopheli, Myrkur

DoC faves Fuck the Facts return with their best album yet. Desire Will Rot sees the always eclectic québécois quintet diversifying their sound further with some OTT metal moments on top of their usual mix of grind, death, doom, and hardcore. A band that breaks the mould and then stomps it into dangerous little shards. Magnifique. [$4 CAD]

Alda, one of my first ever Bandcamp Picks, finally deliver their long awaited (by me at least) third album. Passage continues where its predecessor left off, combining atmospheric black metal and folk, with more confidence and stronger performances (particularly with the vocals). An album for long walks in the woods; it may not deflect any Agalloch comparisons, but it shows the band is coming into their own. [€6.90 ]

It's amazing what a difference one instrument can make; Oakland CA's Anopheli might be just another band following in Tragedy's footsteps if it wasn't for the addition of a cellist. The Ache of Want puts her front and centre and lets her drive the music, the end result being even more apocalyptic than this kind of dark crust usually is. One of the best, most compelling hardcore albums I've heard this year, and it's available as a "name your price" download.

Well, the cat's out of the bag on Myrkur's Amalie Bruun; her dance pop and shoegaze background is now common knowledge. Honestly, Myrkur's full length M would benefit greatly from embracing that background a little more. The straight ahead black metal moments are a little generic, and songs that lean too heavily on her (admittedly pretty good) clean vocals dredge up comparisons to the Ghosts of Goff Metal Past (anyone who got a Century Media Identity comp back in the day will know what I'm talking about). But the album's sublime opener (not to mention their contribution to this year's Adult Swim singles collection) suggest that Relapse's faith in the project isn't misplaced, just a little premature. [$10.99 ]

Friday, September 25, 2015

Grindcore 101

Rich Hoak of Brutal Truth/Total Fucking Destruction
Considering half the people I know in KL are in grindcore bands (some of them in two or three), I thought I'd flex my cred as someone who's followed the genre for 20 years, and seen most of the movers and shakers play live (some of them two or three times - suck it, Malaysia). Grindcore has a long history littered with thousands albums that anyone can (and will) argue for - but these are the ten most essential.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pseudostratiffied Epithelium Interview

I discovered Costa Rica's Pseudostratiffied Epithelium recently, and was thoroughly impressed by their latest EP. As someone based in another overlooked and under-represented scene, I decided to reach out, one jungle to another, to find out more. I e-mailed some questions to the band, which guitarist/vocalist Mauricio Baltodano was kind enough to answer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Not A Fest XV

With Rumah Api on hiatus til its legal problems are sorted, the gigs that were scheduled there have to find alternate venues. Many of them have been reassigned to Penvia Studios, far from anywhere worth seeing and my own grim residence. The area, where a church recently drew protests from Muslim residents for displaying its crucifix outside, can euphemistically be described as "kampung". Or as my Malay buddy Azri bluntly put it, "These are rednecks." I drew some unfriendly stares as I made my way to the venue (and I wasn't even wearing this shirt); I wondered where the fuck I was when it started drizzling and a woman in a hijab eyed me coldly from the back of a moped. I finally found my way to the spot and back to civilization, and I've never been so happy to see kids in patch jackets.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bandcamp Picks - Hate Eternal, Abyssal Ascendant, Dawn of Chaos, Embrional

Hate Eternal are back, doing what they do best, which is making Morbid Angel look bad (not particularly hard these days). Aside from some slower moments and Vital Remains-ish melodies, Infernus is for the most part a back-to-basics assault of unrelenting blastbeats and blistering riffs. Few people know this music inside and out like Erik Rutan. One of my favourite albums of the year. [$9.99]

If for whatever reason Vader were unable to perform their duties, I'm sure French heshers Abyssal Ascendant could step into the void. Chronicles of the Doomed Worlds - Part I. Enlightenment from Beyond  ties HP Lovecraft's otherworldly mythology to some Vaderiffic metal (with a little Nile and Suffocation thrown in). Great band, but someone should take them to task for that awful cover art and logo. [And maybe lay down a moratorium on bands with "abyss" in their name.] The album is available as a "name your price" download.

It's a pity Dawn of Chaos called it quits, because the band had the potential for big things. Recorded back in 2012, the posthumously released The Need to Feed displays a knack for killer hooks and memorable songs. The bone dry production isn't particularly to my taste, but it doesn't hinder the music. Hopefully whatever the members get up to next has more of the same. [£5]

Great things have been happening in Poland this year, with the second album by Embrional joining 2015's challenging releases by Blaze of Perdition and Outre. With nods to Behemoth, Decapitated, and Thaw, The Devil Inside takes the established Polish predilection for chaotic speed and skews it towards the avant noir as well as some tricky math metal. Bit of a thinker, this one. [25 PLN]