July 2, 2014

Gotta love the Greeks

Written by Kevin Page.

We start in Thessaloniki, home to Kult of Taurus, a black metal band with one full length album under their belt (Divination Labyrinths, released in 2013 by Forever Plagued Records). Formed in 2007, they released a demo, EP and split before finally releasing their debut late last year. Vicotnik of Dodheimsgard mixed and mastered this album (if that sorta thing gets you all wet and giggly). But what works me up is the quality of the music. It's black metal no doubt, but it deviates enough from the standard formula to keep me interested. The guitar has almost a punchy jazz tone to it. They leave space in their sound, which gives everything room to breathe. And unlike another band we will talk about later, this isn't a huge time commitment on your part, as this blows by in slightly over 30 minutes.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Our next stop is in Athens (where we shall stay for the remainder of this post) to check out Lunatic Medlar. Featuring Nick (bassist of Universe 217) on bass here as well, their debut album Finely Tuned Machine was self released last year. This is a FREE DOWNLOAD of sludgey progressive doomy post rock with vocals reminiscent of Crowbar. I did mention this was a FREE DOWNLOAD right? Simply no reason for you not to check them out.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

I normally roll my eyes and don't think much when I'm told to check out yet another one man black metal band. But Spectral Lore came highly recommended from people who's opinions I respected. III is actually the band's fourth full length album released (and my introduction to them). This is going to take a time commitment on your part, running at 87 minutes in length. Even after 4 full spins I don't feel I've fully grasped the extent of what Ayloss is doing, but I know enough to recommend you check it out.. Progressive ambient black metal is the general style here, but it has a little bit of everything: traditional black metal, acoustic guitar & serene passages that make you feel like you are in a planetarium. It would be an understatement to say this is not what I usually listen to, but after each spin I seemingly want to come back for more. Also, the 2CD version from I, Voidhanger Records has some pretty nifty packaging and exceptional artwork.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

I guess when you are the cradle of Western civilization you are gonna churn out some quality metal bands. So let's finish this off with Dead Congregation, who needs no introduction. It's been 6 years since they released an album, so you are surely going to see this pop up on many year end lists. Promulgation of the Fall (released by Martyrdoom Productions) is straight to the point, no bullshit, no frills death metal. What they truly excel in is their ability to not overstay their welcome or sound like they are trying too hard. Dead Congregation are not playing anything that you haven't really heard before, but they play it so well and convincingly, its hard not to appreciate. And unlike the plethora of bands that go with the old sinister evil tone, they stay away from the overly reverbed wall of noise too many get caught up in.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

As much as I would have loved to include the new albums by Aenaon & Hail Spirit Noir in this post, Code666 Records doesn't have them up on their Bandcamp. So you'll have to track those down yourself (and I highly recommend, no, IMPLORE YOU, to do so). But on a more positive note, that allowed me to talk about some other great bands. [Note: Both albums are now available on Bandcamp, and Kevin wrote about them here.]

  1. I kept passing over that Spectral Lore release, but you finally enticed me into listening to it. Great stuff. One minor note: Most of what I'm hearing in terms of acoustic guitars is a fingerpicked steel string, not a classical guitar. Still awesome, though #guitarnerd4eva

    1. Okay okay, I changed it to "acoustic guitar". Happy now? :)

    2. I'll accept this. Just know that I am forever watching, looking for guitar-related inaccuracies, waiting to pounce! :)