June 7, 2019

Consummation - The Great Solar Hunter

By Bryan Camphire. Consummation unleash their debut full length, The Great Solar Hunter, on Profound Lore Records following an excellent EP from 2017 and a demo from 2012. The band took their time with this long player and this fact is evident in the music's meticulous delivery. A
By Bryan Camphire.

Artwork by Artem Grigoryev.

Consummation unleash their debut full length, The Great Solar Hunter, on Profound Lore Records following an excellent EP from 2017 and a demo from 2012. The band took their time with this long player and this fact is evident in the music's meticulous delivery. A black metal trio from Brisbane, for this outing they are joined by American lead guitarist John Gossard of the band Dispirit. This suite of five songs clocks in at a little over fifty minutes. The lengthy tracks allow for rich narratives to unravel as the music runs its course.

Consummation's brand of black metal is thick and aggressive. The performances are precise and the production is crisp, adding to the momentum of the music. Gnarled snaky melodies permeate the album. Bass and vocals take a back seat in the mix to guitars and drums. It's no doubt a conscious choice, emphasizing the midrange frequencies allows the guitars ample amounts of snarl and bite. All of this is accentuated by the leads, which drop in and out like a somnambulant madman raving at the stars.

"Apotheosis", the forth track, is a stand out for me. This tune is played at a slower tempo than the others. This reprieve opens the music up, steeping the listener in dread. The winding guitars drag across the song with the effect of a rusted serrated blade bound to cause infection and make a huge mess.

With a title like The Great Solar Hunter, you might expect a magisterial release. In this regard it's safe to say you won't be disappointed. The tension is ratcheted up through ever-changing ornamentation and layering of melodies as the songs build. Keyboards are used sparingly and usually towards a song's climax, supplying the music with the air of triumphant battle hymns.

Consummation can be thought of as tilling similar fields as some other great bands from the southern hemisphere; Vesicant and Heresiarch come to mind. Theirs is an ominous sound rife with dissonant chords, labyrinthine song structures and decidedly evil atmosphere. Consummation achieve this lurid ambiance deftly on The Great Solar Hunter, showcasing the band's expansive capabilities and potential.

May 30, 2019

Sâver - They Came With Sunlight

By Matt Hinch. When “Dissolve to Ashes” first started playing on a new release playlist I was a little taken aback by this Sâver band. Who are they and what is the futuristic synth stuff doing here? The percussion and bass kept my attention long enough for the Deftones-ish
By Matt Hinch.


When “Dissolve to Ashes” first started playing on a new release playlist I was a little taken aback by this Sâver band. Who are they and what is the futuristic synth stuff doing here? The percussion and bass kept my attention long enough for the Deftones-ish crooning to come in. Still on the fence. Tipping as the bass gets gnarly. And then BAM! DUH-DUH-DAH-DUNNN! An avalanche of leaden sludge full on in the face. I get it now. And that’s how They Came With Sunlight came to dominate my listening habits.

The hardened, sludgy riffs send ripples through the earth’s crust compelling necks to bang with board-breaking force. It beats you up with the effectiveness of a sledgehammer. While it’s not the only example of Sâver's mix of moody moogs and crushing sludge, it is the most overt. Then again, the Norwegian trio do refer to the music as “heavy, spaced-out darkness.” Indeed. I should point out that all three members, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad, drummer Markus Støle, and guitarist Ole Ulvik Rokseth used in to be Tombstones, and the latter two form Hymn. And Hymn is damn heavy. Their pedigree and familiarity make TCWS's completeness come as no surprise. These lads know what they are doing.

Outside the eerie droning of “Influx” sitting near the album’s midpoint, Sâver sound like a mix of Conan and Ufomammut with more than a little Cult of Luna thrown in. Breach and The Old Wind are other reference points for their style of immersive sludge. Calling it sludge doesn’t even feel right though. Sure, the riffs hit with that kind of intensity, but the atmosphere moves TCWS into another realm. It makes it feel like the whole thing encompasses so much more than riffs and volume. That is also due in part to the progressiveness that flows through the album. That would seem obvious with the Ufomammut and Cult of Luna reference, the former very atmospheric and weird, the latter more exploratory than your average sludge band.

But let’s talk about the opener though. The futuristic synths don’t hide on “Distant Path”. Neither does a section bordering on black metal, all tremolos and yelling. Preceding that Sâver go on a captivating tangent where they, well, the guitar anyway, sits on a note and just pulses on it. It’ll stop you in your tracks and keep you transfixed. Also, for the love of infinite darkness, the crashing and crushing slow doom at the end has the apocalypse at its heel, ready for command.

In fact, just about every song on TCWS features a moment or two that elevates the listener’s experience. Sometimes it’s a riff or a sequence, sometimes the bass tone, drum swagger or a particularly arresting bellow. Sâver, despite this being their debut album transition seamlessly between all their movements. It feels so realized you could wonder where they’d go from here. Anywhere they want, I suppose.

They Came With Sunlight is fantastic. It’s never boring. They know when to bring the songs into focus and with authority deliver concussive blows of heaviness. Muscular percussion carries deadweight strings and fiercely determined vocals. Atmosphere opens up an otherwise oppressive approach. Noise and subtle dissonance inject just enough chaos, and synths alter the feel toward a dystopia. All together it creates an album that becomes more revealing and essential with each listen. Go ahead, get lost in the ungodly heavy riffs rippling through the ground, the vein popping vocals, the entire journey through darkness. They Came With Sunlight sure, but Sâver swallowed it all up and used its energy for decimation. Let it decimate you.

May 25, 2019

Misþyrming - Algleymi

By Justin C. You’d be forgiven if, like me, you tended to get a little lost in the Icelandic black metal scene. The number of bands and seemingly relentless release schedules might make it hard to find a new favorite band to
By Justin C.


You’d be forgiven if, like me, you tended to get a little lost in the Icelandic black metal scene. The number of bands and seemingly relentless release schedules might make it hard to find a new favorite band to hang your hat on. Add in unique Icelandic characters--like “þ”, or as I call it, “p with a horn”--and it can be hard for dumb Americans like myself to even communicate about the bands effectively.

I think Misþyrming’s newest, Algleymi, might add some clarity to my life, though. I was so blown away by the promo that I’m writing about it after just two listens, which is a pretty big departure from my usual “10 or more listens with notes” anal retentive approach. Simply put, this album rips and roars in all the right ways. I’ve listened to--and even enjoyed--a fair amount of obscure-leaning black metal, but Algleymi is furious and, at times, downright catchy.

The album starts off with a far-off-sounding yelp before launching into frenetic, no-frills black metal. “No frills” in this case doesn’t mean simplistic or boring, though. The tremolo riff that starts the opening track might hew pretty close to the second wave we know and love, but throughout the albums, the riffs are always melodic, but sometimes majestic, triumphant, chiming, or mysterious in tone. The vocals are a bit lower in register than what’s become typical--think of a gravely rasp a little lower than what Gaahl typically uses--but they scratch an itch I didn’t even know I had. They tend to sound fervent, somewhere between a stern proclamation and a growl, but no less ferocious.

Sometimes I get a little nervous when I see a black metal album with eight or more tracks all around the seven- to eight-minute mark, because that often signals an album that sounds a lot longer than it actually is. Misþyrming avoids this trap by virtue of pure fury, and adding the occasional interlude, like “Hælið”, that stand on their own musically, giving a break into the tension without letting the listener mentally wander off.

If you were inclined to let this one slip by as just another Icelandic release destined to get lost somewhere in the North Atlantic of your record collection, you need to fight off that urge. This is an album worth spreading the news about, even if typing the song names involve a lot of copying and pasting.