Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Long Hundred 004/100: OLD - Formula which one of Earache's least popular albums might be one of their best.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bandcamp Picks - Bliss of Flesh, Tchornobog, Wode, Execration

France's Bliss of Flesh are a band keeping their eyes on both the past and the future. Drawing lyrical inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy, Empyrean's black/ death swagger is very much influenced by Behemoth, though the blast-centric modern production also brings Anaal Nathrakh to mind. Sometimes darkness needs a sheen to it. [€7.99]

Tchornobog is one of several musical endeavours of prolific multi-instrumentalist Markov Soroka. A study in contrasts, the debut morphs from churning claustrophobic death metal to atmospheric doom and back in its 4 churning compositions, the shortest of which is 12 minutes. Like the similarly chimaeric (and similarly awesome) Abyssal, Tchornobog shows the limits of the genre(s) have yet to be reached. The album is available as a "name your price" download.

Don't be fooled by Wode's English origins; the Leeds band eschew the twee leanings of their countrymen for something much closer to Dissection and Necrophobic. If the title weren't a hint, Servants of the Countercosmos is very Swedish in its approach, delivering catchy hooks at no-nonsense speeds and hammering away at black metal conventions along the way. The cosmos should consider itself warned. The album is available as a "name your price" download.

Sometimes there's no escaping your nationality; though the band labels themselves "death metal", at their core Oslo's Execration are true and black. Return to the Void has enough blackened thrash mixed with heavy prog to seal it as Norwegian through and through. Even so, with its avant dissonance and Lovecraftian themes, I have no problems with describing the album as "R'leyan". [$8.99]

Sunday, July 23, 2017

An Interview with Azarath

Poland's Azarath has been releasing incredibly brutal albums since 2001, but most metal fans probably only know them as Behemoth drummer Inferno's other band. With a terrific new album out through Agonia Records, the time may finally have come to redress that. As a longtime fan of the true brutal daeth matel, I got in touch with the band, and guitarist Bart was kind enough to answer my questions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bandcamp Picks - Ex Eye, Völur, Progenie Terrestre Pura, Cosmic Void Ritual

If there's one band that seems to reaffirm Relapse Records' commitment to digging up unusual acts (and not just Neurosis/Mastodon clones), it's the New York based Ex Eye. At times recalling the frenetic intensity of the first Lightning Bolt album (with Colin Stetson's saxophone in place of Brian Gibson's bass), at times encompassing the grandeur of Godspeed You Black Emperor (and on at least one song, ACTUALLY COMBINING THE TWO), their self-titled debut may be the most experimental album the label has issued since they shut down the Release imprint. I've never heard an album quite like this one.  [$10]

Violins and doom metal are natural bedfellows - just ask My Dying Bride - but Toronto trio Völur make it an exclusive relationship by eschewing guitars all together. With its emphasis on strings as well as choral arrangements, their second album Ancestors brings to mind European doom oddballs 3rd and the Mortal and In The Woods, as well as more recent eclectics Giant Squid and Grayceon. It's not all moody introspection; the closing track picks up the pace to create a cacophonous racket. A lesson in violins you won't soon forget. [$6.99]

"Space metal" is becoming an increasingly crowded if diverse genre; Italians Progenie Terrestre Pura are cosmic explorers in their own way. A blender baby of different subgenres, oltreLuna doesn't shy away from either caustic black metal or prog indulgence, adding electronica, new age keyboards and acoustic sections along the way. As bold and experimental as anything Devin Townsend has done. [€6]

Cosmic Void Ritual are only interested the darkest parts of space. Transcendence Through Galactic Death, their second EP in as many months, combines the "recorded in a sewer drain" aesthetic of early Carcass with tricky time changes and unconventional riffs. A project as intriguing as it is enigmatic. Both EPs are available as "name your price" downloads.