Friday, June 24, 2016

Hey, Check This Out! #2

Hey, Check This Out! is an irregular column of DIY reviews, where we give you just the basic facts about albums that we wanted to give a full review but for some reason it never happened.
Hey, Check This Out! is an irregular column of DIY reviews, where we give you just the basic facts about albums that we wanted to give a full review but for some reason it never happened. Without further ado:

Artwork by Andrew Millar of Patrons of the Rotting Gate

Band:Patrons of the Rotting Gate.
City:London, United Kingdom.
Genre:Progressive Black Metal ~ Sorrowful dissonance.
Interesting fact:The Rose Coil is the proud recipient of a 0% review from The Metal Archives, with the awesome line "If I wanted to drift aimlessly, I'd snort some ketamine."




Band:DreamLongDead.
City:Athens, Greece.
Genre:Primitive monolithic punkish doom death metal.
Interesting fact:Recorded in Universe217's studio. A band that's pretty much the opposite of primitive and punkish.



Cover art by Joshua Klegerman

Band:Clad in Darkness.
State:Chicago, Illinois/Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Genre:Jazzy post-black metal.
Interesting fact:Leading internet metal experts are trying to convince the band to make a new album. We give such endeavors our full support.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spirit Adrift - Behind - Beyond

By Ulla Roschat. Spirit Adrift is the solo project of Arizona's Take Over and Destroy guitarist and vocalist Nate Garrett. Behind - Beyond is his debut EP consisting of "only" two songs
By Ulla Roschat


Spirit Adrift is the solo project of Arizona's Take Over and Destroy guitarist and vocalist Nate Garrett. Behind - Beyond is his debut EP consisting of "only" two songs, both of them are of epic length "Specter of Ruin" (12 :07) and "Perpetual Passage" (15:36) with expanding and exploring melodies.

The dominating pace is that of slow Doom, few speedy passages are included, but there are riffs and melodies in abundance and they burst with emotions related to experiences of inner brokenness and the painful process of healing and renewal. Everything is drenched in atmospheres of dirge, melancholy yet there's a definite tone of hope and confidence, too, that shines through.

The (almost always) clean, warm vocals are kind of bellowed out with an urgency and vigor that make sure the words conveyed won't go unnoticed. Still they are utterly melodious and add a great deal to the EP's magic. Melodies and riffs are what the EP relies on, plus there is a great sense of a slow quietness which is, nonetheless, in a constant motion that induces enormous shifts in mood with barely noticeable smooth transitions. An open sound leaves room for the wailing guitars, the crushing drums and glorious melodies to breathe and resonate.

"Specter of Ruin" is of a slightly lighter tone and atmosphere and of a simpler structure than the other song. It starts off soft, clean and quiet, then steers into a heavy riff. When the warm powerful vocals set in, the song begins to unfold its enchanting magic, that gets even more fascinating in the last part where a fundamental change in tone and mood into an uplifting direction takes place. The mantra - like repetitions of melody and the words "Taken away... Freedom from pain" reflect and enhance that change wonderfully.

"Perpetual Passage" is without doubt the heavier and more complex one. It is also different in the overall atmosphere. It's darker, rougher, more aggressive and abrasive . There are even more shifts and changes, including a speedy passage. But again, like in the first song, everything seems to fall into place naturally; and again, the ending part has a compelling emphasis on the last words of the lyrics.... "Doomed and blessed to live and die again."

And these two last phrases of the two songs seem to sum up what this EP is all about. The lyrics perfectly fit the atmosphere of the music and Nate Garrett's haunting vocals always point out their relevance.

What a stunning first release, with an already distinctive style of emotionally driven Doom, tinged with psychedelic and stoner vibes. The beautiful melodies combined with the vocal brilliance and great songwriting are simply mind-blowing.

The song "Specter of Ruin" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 116

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Terra Tenebrosa - The Reverses

By Justin C. I get the impression that for a lot of people, Terra Tenebrosa gets stuck in the "too avant garde/too weird/only if I'm high" category. There are probably a few reasons for that.
By Justin C.


I get the impression that for a lot of people, Terra Tenebrosa gets stuck in the "too avant garde/too weird/only if I'm high" category. There are probably a few reasons for that. The vocalist--credited only as The Cuckoo--pushes the metal-vocalist-as-an-instrument idea to its fullest. He screams, hisses, whispers, rumbles, croaks, and everything else you could think of. Then there's the issue of genre. It's heavy, but what kind of metal is this? I've seen variations on "avant garde black metal," which...doesn't really cover it. On their latest, The Reverses, there's definitely an industrial influence. Do I add that in to a multi-hyphenated description? Or is this just post-everything? Well, I'm not going to let you off that easy. I'm not going to hammer it into a subgenre, because it deserves better than that.

Having gone back through all three of their full-length albums in preparation for this review, I realized something: Terra Tenebrosa isn't that weird oddball band that's too much even for the true kvlt. In fact, they're damn good song writers. Go back to The Tunnels, their first full-length, and listen to "Through the Eyes of the Maninkari." Yes, when the vocals kick in, it sounds like a demon recorded at half speed, but at its heart, this song is based on a damn fine, stomping guitar riff with an eerie line overlaid on top. (And just wait--the vocals later in the track sound like The Cuckoo is singing from the bottom of a blender.) Sure, the band often takes detours, but when you really listen, as I've done lately, you realize that these are solid metal tunes, even catchy ones, that are being reflected back to us from a funhouse mirror.

Terra Tenebrosa 2014. Photos by Webzine Chuul.

You can find plenty of examples throughout their discography. On The Purging, "The Compression Chamber" is shifting, dissonant, and just slightly off-kilter, but the drums are rock solid. The vocals come somewhere between a whisper and croak, but broken down to its fundamentals, this is a song that could be the soundtrack to the best horror movie you've never seen. Strip some of the stranger bits away, and this is a song that wouldn't have sounded completely out of place from one of your more adventurous-but-mainstream artists, maybe even 90s-era Bowie.

"Black Pearl in a Crystalline Shell" gave a glimpse of what's to come. The kind of driving, industrial rhythm in this track is something that's grown to be a major feature of The Reverses. The Cuckoo has some new friends this time around--with guest contributions from Blut aus Nord, Aosoth, and others. And yet somehow, even with these boundary-pushing conspirators, The Reverses might actually be Terra Tenebrosa's most accessible album yet. Hell, some of this is actually dance-able. "Dance metal?" you cry. "Blasphemy!" But listen to the thundering rhythms of "The End Is Mine to Ride" and tell me you're not itching to shake your black-clad ass at least a little.

Terra Tenebrosa 2014. Photos by Webzine Chuul.

Have they gone soft? Are they selling out? Unlikely. "Where Shadows Have Teeth" is another horror-fest, carried along on an alternate-note guitar riff that sounds like an ambulance siren that never arrives. The vocals are spine-chilling, but that's pretty much what you'd expect from bitey shadows. "Exuvia" starts with a guitar played to sound like a child's toy piano that's been half-melted in a furnace, and they let that ride with gurgling vocals for well over two minutes before the crashing percussion enters to add more form. Even the closing track, "Fire Dances," plays with your expectations, stretching to a mesmerizing 17-minutes. It makes you want to move, but it's a dance around a fire pit, not a club with glow sticks and MDMA.

Is it still weird for me to call this album accessible? I don't think so. Weird and creepy, but downright addicting, and in the end, expertly crafted music with just enough liberties taken to keep things fresh. The band is known, but after checking some of my favorite sites, I realized that they really haven't gotten the kind of coverage they deserve, especially since they're nowhere near as impenetrable as some of the highlights of the metal scene these days. Start with The Reverses, and then do as the album title suggests--go back and grab up the rest of their discography.