Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jute Gyte - Perdurance

By Bryan Camphire. The music of Adam Kalmbach, under his Jute Gyte moniker, exists at the outer regions of that which is far out in heavy metal. The music paints harmonies beyond the capacity of modern tempered western instruments by implementing the use of ‘just intonation’ guitars.
By Bryan Camphire.


The music of Adam Kalmbach, under his Jute Gyte moniker, exists at the outer regions of that which is far out in heavy metal. The music paints harmonies beyond the capacity of modern tempered western instruments by implementing the use of ‘just intonation’ guitars. A guitar designed for ‘just intonation’ is one with the frets rearranged at different intervals than those of a standard guitar, resulting in a melodic matrix entirely apart from do re mi fa so la ti do. As if this unique harmonic system was not enough to make matters unpredictable, Jute Gyte informs listeners in the first line of the notes to Perdurance that, “several tracks on this album feature multiple simultaneous tempi”. That is one way of saying, listen to this music at your own risk if you use a pacemaker.

This is not to say that Jute Gyte’s music is without precedent. In the notes to Perdurance, influences of particular metal bands are name checked, specifically, Inquisition, Grief, and Eyehategod. One can also hear similarities in Perdurance to avant-leaning metal projects like Thantifaxath and De Magia Veterum, as well as in the ritual industrial of Murmuüre and Wold. The notes to this record go on to talk about the music in much greater technical depth, cite inspiration from classical music and display the record’s literary influences on its sleeve. This is not a band about which one can say they need no introduction.

Perdurance, to be sure, is comprised of heady stuff. It is, however, important to note that, for all its use of carefully considered philosophies, Perdurance is also a record made with a lot of feeling. This man spends seemingly every waking hour he has making this music, and the passion that is poured into its inception definitely comes through the speakers as Perdurance coughs forth its chaotic hymns. The guitar playing on this release is so visionary and unique, it is enough to make you think you’re hearing colors.

The project is staggeringly prolific; and yet, the attention to detail contained within the releases, generally speaking, makes them feel anything but dashed off. Metal Archives lists no fewer than twenty-six full-lengths by Jute Gyte in the last decade, in addition to various splits and EPs. To say that this is the work of an inspired artist would be an understatement. It is the work of a man possessed. The music, in turn, carries an absolutely maniacal intensity.

Still, for all of its spiraling intensity, I have to say that my favorite moments are when the breakneck tempi lay off the pressure a bit; these moments - such as the riff beginning at the 5:25 minute mark of the tune "Like a Woodcutter Sawing His Hands" - feel like brief respites in between bouts of forced ingestion water torture. As one can well imagine, the record makes for a cacophonous listen. For those of us not yet hooked up to life support machines, Perdurance is also a very rewarding listen.


[Check out Bryan's playing in Bloody Panda and Traducer]
Tagged with 2016, ambient, Bryan Camphire, experimental black metal, free download, Jute Gyte, noise

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dodecahedron - Kwintessens

By Justin C. I really liked Dodecahedron's debut album, although I found it to be a bit uneven at times. Some tracks stretched a bit too long without a tight enough focus, particularly in the first half of the album. That said, the final three tracks
By Justin C.

Cover art by M. Eikenaar.

I really liked Dodecahedron's debut album, although I found it to be a bit uneven at times. Some tracks stretched a bit too long without a tight enough focus, particularly in the first half of the album. That said, the final three tracks of that album, "View from Hverfell I-III," more than made up for any earlier dalliances and truly showed what this band could do. If you haven't listened to them, do that now. Click that link up there. I'll wait for you.

Now back to the new album, Kwintessens. I poked around on the interwebs a little to see if the band talked about the subject matter of the lyrics at all (more on that to come), but what I did find is that EVERY review you'll read will either compare them directly to Deathspell Omega or go out of its way to mention that you shouldn't make direct comparisons to Deathspell Omega. I'm going to strike the middle ground, because bands like Deathspell Omega and Krallice immediately came to mind as touch points for Dodecahedron. That said, we're talking about a familial resemblance at most. Yes, Dodecahedron make dissonant black metal their home, but you're not getting Paracletus pt. 2 or Years Past Matter revisited. If anything, I find Dodecahedron to have a lower barrier of entry than either DsO or Krallice. This is that rare album that's challenging, but that you can get close to almost immediately.

The album's main tracks give you a tour of the Dungeons & Dragons dice, or more mathematically speaking, the Platonic solids. After the tight, building "Prelude," "Tetrahedron" splatters spidery, dissonant lines all over. But before this track is done, it gives you a glimpse of what sets Dodecahedron apart. The song ends with a stomping, chugging riff that should satisfy anybody's recommended daily allowance of red-meat-and-potatoes heaviness. "Hexahedron" uses a similar bag of tricks, also to great effect. "Dodecahedron" (the song) throws another curve with a chiming, almost ethereal intro, one that persists through the song even when they blast back into fury.

I mentioned lyrics before. I was fortunate enough to get my pre-order of the CD a week early, so I had lyrics on hand. There are some striking turns of phrase here, particularly when it comes to colorful imagery. Sure, there's blackness and "ashen" faces screaming, but "Hexahedron" also gives us an "amethyst mist dissolving all figures," and "Dodecahedron" describes "liquid gold running through my veins." Of course, this is still metal, so "Icosahedron" gets evil-gear metaphoric with this summing up of existence: "During out stay between the grinding wheels of the great design our souls crushed between the teeth." The lyrics remind me a bit of Bosse de Nage in a very general stylistic sense, sometimes reading more like short stories than verse.

The fact that the running time of Kwintessens is 42 minutes compared to Dodecahedron's 53 minutes says a lot. This is a tighter album with the kind of high-concept songwriting the band showed in the "View from Hverfell" tracks I mentioned earlier. There's growth in every aspect here, and it's an energizing listen even as it tests you. I know, I know, we've already heard some b.s. about other black metal albums being "Album of the Year," and yes, it's still too damn early for that crap, but Kwintessens is the strongest contender so far in my book.

Tagged with 2017, avant-garde, black metal, Dodecahedron, Justin C, Season of Mist

Woe - Hope Attrition

By Andy Osborn. I hold Woe in ridiculously high regard: their debut is the absolute pinnacle of USBM. Ferocious, blistering tremolos at the forefront of everything with a burning punk edge is what makes great American Black Metal, and Woe helped define the genre as a whole with that explosive introduction. The follow-ups, with a bit of stylistic wandering and occasional clean singing might
By Andy Osborn.


I hold Woe in ridiculously high regard: their debut is the absolute pinnacle of USBM. Ferocious, blistering tremolos at the forefront of everything with a burning punk edge is what makes great American Black Metal, and Woe helped define the genre as a whole with that explosive introduction. The follow-ups, with a bit of stylistic wandering and occasional clean singing might not have done much to clarify or expand their aggressive, singular sound, but now they’ve returned with a new fiery rage. It seems the lineup changes and sonic meandering are now in the past, as Hope Attrition strives to regain the same furor, suffocating anguish, and pure hatred that made the debut a classic and turned the band into a personal favorite.

The first few minutes flirt with the senses as the band rebuilds, one brick at a time, and each piece is absolutely gorgeous as it's introduced. The buzzy, razor-sharp guitars give way to the painfully devastating pummeling provided by recent recruit Lev Weinstein—undoubtedly the right-coast’s most devastating skinsman, who’s given one of his beefiest productions to date and adds a glorious heavy base to the band. His little cymbal accents and quick fills are the best in the business. Then, with an introductory shriek of “This is a failure!” it’s clear this is a group reborn with fresh passion and intensity.

Chris Grigg, Woe’s visionary, takes a cathartic but demanding approach to everything he touches as he seemingly drains his entire energy with every shout, every riff. My favorite Woe moments have always been those where it’s our main man alone with his guitar, playing his heart out and draining his lungs of everything they contain. A few of those moments are scattered throughout the album and provide some incredible sparks of tension relief.

And the whole package is utterly relentless. “A Distant Epitaph” is the only break from the chaos, a sub-minute acoustic meditation that almost feels required. The rest is a whirlwind of swirling riffs, poisonous atmosphere, and punishing rhythms. I’m not sure the band intended for their horrid creation to be enjoyed with a smile, but it’s impossible for such cathartic anger not to provide a little bit of downright fun, although the lyrics like the cover art paint a much bleaker picture.

With Woe’s new (ridiculously photogenic) lineup they’ve offered up their most fully realized, cohesive album since their debut and by far their best-sounding, courtesy of Sound Spa’s Stephen DeAcutis. The passion, filth, and pure vitriol that USBM demands is all there, and especially given the state of our world in this moment, Hope Attrition is a required listen.


[Please support Woe on their upcoming tours by ordering the album from their Bandcamp. See that buy link above? Just click it, you know you want to. Or go to the Bandcamp page itself for physical releases and awesome merch bundles]
Tagged with 2017, Andy Osborn, black metal, Woe