Thursday, May 26, 2016

Entropia - Ufonaut

By Ulla Roschat. Ufonaut is like a swarm of bees on a psychedelic trip, hysterically energetic and intense, a mix of overwhelming, frenzied complexity and a melodic and rhythmic catchiness
By Ulla Roschat

Artwork by Kuba Sokólski

Ufonaut is like a swarm of bees on a psychedelic trip, hysterically energetic and intense, a mix of overwhelming, frenzied complexity and a melodic and rhythmic catchiness that is extremely compelling from the very beginning to its end.

Five piece band Entropia from Oleśnica/Poland blend sludge, psychedelic, and post metal elements into their black metal and ... abracadabra... out comes a magic potion that melts your brain as well as it crushes your skull before you even know what's happening here. But don't worry, as I said above, it's extremely compelling and that will keep you coming back and hit the play button again and again and everything begins to open up to you.

There's a black metal fury combined with a post metal ambience and psychedelic, often dissonant melodies embedded and woven into intricate structures with breathtakingly dynamic riffage and drumming. Vocals are used moderately and kept low in the mix to great effect. They sound like almost drowning in the instrumental massiveness and this way add a great sense of eerieness and despair to the already haunting and crazed out atmosphere.

Ufonaut is an excellent follow up to Entropia's debut album Vesper(2013). The CD version contains 7 songs and is about 43 minutes long, the vinyl version has an additional bonus track, which is also available as digital track on the band's Bandcamp.

The song "Apogeum" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 107


Tagged with 2016, black metal, Entropia, post-metal, sludge metal, Ulla Roschat

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Short and to the point 4

By Aaron Sullivan. First up is a band from my local scene, Deathkings. Their second album All That Is Beautiful is one that I have been anticipating for some time. Finally hearing it in full, I was not let down. Thier sound is that of progressive Sludge. Songs are epic each one their own journey. What really comes across is the weight of the music.
By Aaron Sullivan.


First up is a band from my local scene, Deathkings. Their second album All That Is Beautiful is one that I have been anticipating for some time. Finally hearing it in full, I was not let down.

Thier sound is that of progressive Sludge. Songs are epic each one their own journey. What really comes across is the weight of the music. Heavy comes in many forms. The easiest is to downtune, amp up, and turn it up to 11. But to achieve heaviness without doing that is what this album has in spades. Even in the quiet moments it still feels heavy. Emotionally and sonically.



Cover art by Yag Mort

In an effort of full disclosure, I had never heard of Australia's Ill Omen until I saw this album posted on instagram. So I thought I’d check it out. Damn glad I did. Within two songs I was on the NWN web site and ordering the album.

As I said I am not familiar with this one man band’s past albums, so while Ill Omen may be categorized as Black Metal, Æ.Thy.Rift plays much more like a Death/DOOM album. In fact the first band that came to my mind was Nortt. This album has atmosphere for days. The vocals are a mix or whispered screams and gurgling growls. The music is dark and brooding. I love when you take a chance on an album and it pays off.




Been on a bit of an experimental/noise/ambient trip as of late and because of that been going to a lot of shows that feature this type of music. A few weeks back I was treated to the sounds of Wire Werewolves. I was blown away.

They mix experimental noise, hints of industrial, and Death Metal style riffing. Vocals are provided by clips taken from news show about murder and satanic rituals. They do a great job of balancing these different genres. The coldness of the industrial and these sublime death metal riffs. They prove once again why you show up for all the bands. Never know what you might be surprised by.




"Burnt out bangers from the shit end of the valley." Well that is one way to describe L.A.’s three piece Child. Another way would be to call them some good old Stoner/DOOM with hints of psychedelia. In the vein of Kyuss and Yawning Man.

Songs have a haze about them usually achieved by the help of mind altering substances. Fat bluesy riffs with an even fatter bass lines. Vocals that are drenched in reverb. Nothing fancy. They just keep it simple. But in that simplicity they achieve so much.




From the land of 10,000 lakes come Livid and their two song demo of DOOMY goodness, Sint.

It opens with a this thick crunchy bass line that is hypnotic and heavy at the same time. It lays a foundation that allows the guitars to kind of dance around. But what really sets them apart is the approach to the vocals. This type of DOOM is usually met with harsh vocals. But they go the other way. His vocals have this epic gothy feel to them. They are like the light leading you through the muck and the mire. Very impressive debut.


Tagged with 2015, 2016, Aaron Sullivan, black metal, Child, Deathkings, doom metal, experimental black metal, free download, Ill Omen, Livid, sludge metal, stoner rock, Wire Werewolves

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Vektor - Terminal Redux

By Nate Garrett. Fans of Vektor have been waiting for Terminal Redux. It’s been five years since the release of the band’s previous effort, Outer Isolation. By that time, Vektor had firmly established itself as a distinctive force in the realm of heavy music. The motto “sci-fi or die” united metalheads, heshers, punks, skaters, bloggers
By Nate Garrett.

Artwork by Adam Burke.

Fans of Vektor have been waiting for Terminal Redux. It’s been five years since the release of the band’s previous effort, Outer Isolation. By that time, Vektor had firmly established itself as a distinctive force in the realm of heavy music. The motto “sci-fi or die” united metalheads, heshers, punks, skaters, bloggers, and all walks of weirdos around the world. Vektor brought people together. This rabid following was hard-earned and well-deserved. But five years is plenty of time for a fanbase to lose interest these days. Conversely, five years is also more than enough time for anticipation to run rampant, for expectations to reach levels that can’t possibly be fulfilled. Fortunately, on May 6, the release of Terminal Redux proved one thing. No matter how high a Vektor fan’s expectations were for this album, there is an infinitesimal chance that they won’t be exceeded.

David DiSanto, 2012. Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Opening track “Charging the Void” beckons the listener with an ominous intro that is swiftly vaporized by the band’s rocket-fueled attack. It’s evident immediately that we’re strapped in for another frenetic, mind-warping trip through the cosmos. What isn’t as obvious at first is that this album has more to offer than any thrash metal release has provided in decades. The stunning technical proficiency is present, and it’s somehow even more impressively precise than ever. Yet there’s more. Toward the three-quarter mark of this song, a confident sense of melody weaves its way into the sonic stratosphere. Suddenly vocalist/guitarist David DiSanto’s unearthly howls are met by a strange, angelic chorus, and the entire affair transforms into something wholly uplifting. Vektor’s music has always possessed a sort of energizing positivity, but this is beyond that. This is legitimately beautiful. It’s new territory for the band, and indicative of the compelling experience that awaits the listener on the rest of the album. Vektor has always been an ambitious presence amongst its peers, and with Terminal Redux the band has become totally uninhibited.

Blake Anderson, 2012. Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

“Cygnus Terminal” begins with an eerie, enticing clean section reminiscent of the most forward-thinking of the classic thrash bands. This intro wouldn’t be entirely out of place on Ride The Lightning or The New Order, but at once is utterly Vektor. When the song takes off, it’s now undeniable that the band is intent upon delivering relentlessly catchy hooks, not only from the guitars, but from the rhythm section as well. As far as vocals go, DiSanto sounds more unhinged than ever, yet also more in control of his voice. He’s delivering his trademark mid-range growls with conviction, confidently experimenting with clean vocals (they work), and unleashing impossibly high shrieks that at times achieve unison with the wailing lead guitar. Bassist Frank Chin is also throwing caution to the void, flawlessly gliding through tasteful runs that are reminiscent of Cliff Burton, never excessive or masturbatory. These bass lines establish an undercurrent of tragedy, a hook beneath the equally melancholic yet catchy guitar interplay of DiSanto and Erik Nelson. It’s a given that drummer Blake Anderson has practiced along with these songs for countless hours, as he instinctively locks in with the bass runs or highlights the accents of the guitar parts, depending on what best serves the mood of the song. These first two offerings are testaments to the fact that this band has been playing together for a long time. These musicians possess the intuition and tangible magic that can only be attained through experience. They’re poised, channeling the same wavelength, and more adventurous than ever.

Erik Nelson, 2012. Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

A track-by-track analysis of Terminal Redux would be a disservice to every potential listener. There are too many special moments lurking within, and part of the pure joy of listening to this album is the unexpected nature in which these moments reveal themselves. That being said, the rest of the songs on this album continue to pull the listener into a chaotic yet fully-realized vortex of brutally infectious riffs, spectacular musicianship, and brilliant songwriting. It’s all guided by an orbiting lunatic who waxes poetic within a surreal, inventive science fiction storyline. On Terminal Redux, Vektor reaches previously uncharted depths of heaviness, as well as unimagined heights of melody and sincerity.

Frank Chin, 2012. Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to create something unique in any genre, without resorting to methods that are pretentious, misguided, or distractingly bizarre. Particularly within a genre like thrash metal, where membership cards are constantly questioned and sonic boundaries are strictly established, experimentation can be risky. Vektor manages to break the rules with grace and earnestness, while upholding and expanding upon the beloved spirit of the genre. The band’s approach is never forced or awkward, it flows naturally with a mature cohesion. The scope and ambition of Terminal Redux is astounding, but that doesn’t detract from the focused nature of the songwriting. Few bands are ever able to create an album that is this technically proficient and heavy, yet this profoundly moving and memorable. Vektor has accomplished precisely that. Terminal Redux launches this already great band into timeless territory. If you’re a fan of heavy music, you owe it to yourself to listen to this album. More than likely, you’ll be enjoying and analyzing it in equal doses for many years to come.


Nate is Spirit Adrift, and plays guitar in Gatecreeper.
Tagged with 2016, Earache Records, John Mourlas, Nate Garret, progressive thrash metal, Vektor

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Gorguts - Pleiades' Dust

By Justin C. What we're faced with here is Pleiades' Dust, a 33-minute-long metal song/EP about the rise and fall of the House of Wisdom, a library in Baghdad from the 9th through 13th centuries. The House of Wisdom served as a then-unparalleled center of learning and intellectual pursuit
By Justin C.

Cover art by Zbigniew Bielak

What we're faced with here is Pleiades' Dust, a 33-minute-long metal song/EP about the rise and fall of the House of Wisdom, a library in Baghdad from the 9th through 13th centuries. The House of Wisdom served as a then-unparalleled center of learning and intellectual pursuit during a time that was otherwise considered the Dark Ages, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. I know what you're thinking--most bands could easily get lost in a 8-minute song about Cthulhu, let alone 33 minutes about the Islamic Golden Age, so this will probably be a formless mess of overly long interludes and a guitarist grinding pointlessly away on the most Middle Eastern-sounding scale he knows. But this isn't most bands. This is Gorguts.

Luc Lemay, 2014. Photo by Metal Chris

As with Colored Sands, Luc Lemay is joined by Colin Marston and Kevin Hufnagel (both of Dysrhythmia and many others) along with new-to-Gorguts drummer Patrice Hamelin. And as before, these musicians "are comfortable with dissonance in the same way most musicians are comfortable with a C major scale," to quote a wise source (me). Check out the first big entrance at around 0:56. Even when the chords resolve, they're still vibrating with angry dissonance. There's no shortage of what you'd hope for here: slithery bass lines, intertwined guitar lines, and a heady mix of fury and quieter moments.

Kevin Hufnagel, 2014. Photo by Metal Chris

Although this is technically one song, the piece is separated into movements (or "chapters"), and even without reading the lyrics, it's pretty easy to tell how one chapter flows to the next. This is composed, orchestrated music, not a musical blob of self-indulgence. For example, there's no mistaking the opener of Chapter II, "Wandering Times," right after the 4:00 mark. The clear change in direction is signaled by Lemay's roar and the interplay between the thundering main riff and underlying line, and it's purely electrifying. In Chapter V, "Compendiums," Lemay even makes translation and transcription of ancient texts sound brutal.

Colin Marston, 2014. Photo by Metal Chris

But beyond the heaviness, this song/EP also strikes as perfect a balance between heavy and light, tension and release, as I can recall hearing in any recent metal album. The changes in textures, emotions, and pure cerebral power are astonishing. I won't lie--this EP takes a bit more time to digest and absorb than most fare--possibly even more than Colored Sands required. But let's face it--if you want just a solid half hour slab of head banging death metal, you're spoiled for choices. You don't go to Gorguts for that because they deliver so much more.


Tagged with 2016, avant-garde death metal, Gorguts, Justin C, Metal Chris, Season of Mist, technical death metal

Friday, May 13, 2016

Spotlights - Tidals

By Justin C. Husband and wife duo Mario and Sarah Quintero, playing under the name Spotlights, has gotten a decent amount of attention, at least in the metal circles I run in.
By Justin C.


Husband and wife duo Mario and Sarah Quintero, playing under the name Spotlights, has gotten a decent amount of attention, at least in the metal circles I run in. Reading up on them, you're likely to see things like "post-metal," "sludge," and "doomgaze" along with comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins. Some of these are sorta/kinda reasonable to one degree or another, but for the most part, they describe this music only glancingly. Some music can seem intimately familiar but still be hard to pin down in words.

I'll put my own bias out there: Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream was my jam in college. The heavy mixed with the light, the unbelievable drumming, the heart-on-sleeve emotion--it pushed all of my buttons. I hear a lot of that in Spotlights' own new album, Tidals, but there are plenty of differences. Tidals is sonically heavier than Siamese Dream, but without the frenetic energy that Jimmy Chamberlain brought to the drums for the Pumpkins. (Perhaps that's how the "doom" in the "doomgaze" description came to be.) Sarah and Mario's vocals are wispy and ethereal, but they're also refined in a way that never came naturally to Billy Corgan's delivery. That said, I can't listen to "To the End" without hearing some serious Pumpkins' riffery, and it makes me feel a pleasant bit of nostalgia throughout the album.

So the question is, are Spotlights more than the sum of their influences? Definitely yes. This isn't an album of B-sides from 90s alt-rock's hits. Tidals is what happens when that sound grows up. The light vocals-heavy music contrast puts me in mind of those days, but there's no questioning their originality. There's a deft touch of electronica throughout, but it's in no way overpowering. This is about thick guitars and delicate voices (except for one nice touch--a Baroness-esque holler in "To the End"). Album-closer "Joseph" is probably the most striking song to me here. It starts with a soft patter of percussion and ringing guitar before bringing in the sludgy guitar and rising, almost-urgent vocal lines. Even without the lyrics in front of me, it feels like the most emotionally naked song of the album. Its uniqueness perhaps suggests where these two might be headed, but even if not, it demonstrates conclusively why this isn't a nostalgia trip. This is a band to watch out for.


Tagged with 2016, Justin C, post-metal, Spotlights

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dave’s Demo Roundup Vol. IX

By Dave Schalek. This is a two-song teaser from German newcomers Horns of Domination. A trio, Horns of Domination are an amalgamation of black, death, and doom metal with a rough production.
By Dave Schalek.


This is a two-song teaser from German newcomers Horns of Domination. A trio, Horns of Domination are an amalgamation of black, death, and doom metal with a rough production. Demo 2015 is their first recorded output and is likely to leave you hungry for more with a very catchy approach straddling their chosen subgenres. Murky with a rough production, but deeply buried in the mix is just the right amount of catchiness with awesome riffs. Toss in some tempo changes ranging from all out blasts to a glacial dirge to go along muted vocals that serve to enhance the atmosphere, and I end up eagerly awaiting more from Horns of Domination.



Artwork by David from Phrenelith

Danish death metal that’s taking a page from countrymen Undergang, Phrenelith play down n’ dirty, severely down tuned death metal with meat and potatoes riffs, a plodding pace that upticks to a gallop, and with growled, guttural vocals. Phrenelith aren’t exactly original, but they play their basic form of death metal with enthusiasm and gusto. This two song affair is the first demo, but the trio has since recorded another, entitled Veiled Verses. Veiled Verses has a slightly different guitar tone (sounding more Swedish), but is even murkier in its delivery through four tracks.






Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues fame probably needs no introduction, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all of his side projects. This particular project, Pyriphlegethon, is billed as “pure pre 1990 black metal worship” on Mories’ Bandcamp page, and that’s pretty much what you get with Rivers of the Infernal Kingdom, a four song demo. However, if you’re expecting anything in the vein of early Bathory or Celtic Frost, guess again, as Pyriphlegethon is probably more in line with post Soulside Journey Darkthrone or early Ulver more than anything else.

The production is exceptionally thin, the drums are hollow, muted, and simple, and the high pitched rasps are straight out of the era. A few meatier riffs make appearances, but, for the most part, this is good low-fi black metal enhanced with a few mild keyboards. I should also note that proper instruments appear to have been used for Pyriphlegethon, rather than electronic effects and a drum machine. Mories has since released a proper full-length titled Night of Consecration under the Pyriphlegethon moniker.


Tagged with 2014, 2015, black metal, Dave Schalek, death metal, doom metal, free download, Horns of Domination, Phrenelith, Pyriphlegethon

Monday, May 2, 2016

King Woman - Doubt

By Matt Hinch. Sometimes albums just slip through your fingers. And sometimes someone else picks the album up and puts in back in your hand. That's what happened with the Doubt EP by King Woman
By Matt Hinch.


Sometimes albums just slip through your fingers. And sometimes someone else picks the album up and puts in back in your hand. That's what happened with the Doubt EP by King Woman. Released in October 2014 I just recently got around to it. Not that it hasn't received plenty of praise though. The Kristina Esfandiari fronted outfit saw lots of positive press upon its release. Here's some more.

Opener “Wrong” feels like a SubRosa track with no violins and a different singer. Slow, dark, doomy and massive. The guitars surround and layers move in and out of focus as your ears shift to try and take it all in.

“King of Swords” follows with a more shoegaze slant. I'm reminded of recent Alcest or Explosions in the Sky in the way the tremolos sparkle amid the brooding cadences. Esfandiari's croon sounds freeing, like a burden being lifted from the heart. Her expressive delivery comes from deep within, laying bare her soul.

“Burn” continues with the deceptive nature of the EP. On one hand it feels simple, easy, and uncomplicated as the forlorn melodies and droning pull lumber on unstoppable. But on the other hand there is so much going on. Every member is playing off one another in some way with lush atmosphere and depressing tone. The gentle sway is hypnotic, affecting and unforgettable.

“Candescent Soul” finishes the EP with crawling doomgaze plodding away under painful melody and Esfandiari's haunting voice setting the listener free to carry on their own journey through life. I've heard comparisons to Mazzy Star, Jex Thoth and PJ Harvey but I'm more likely to pick up Fiona Apple for what it's worth.

Doubt is just a short EP but letting it repeat feels right most of the time. As much as it's about casting off shackles and finding ones self, the mood is depressing enough that you don't get that big rush of cathartic relief. But that doesn't mean you can't connect with it. Quite the opposite. Doubt is fit for contemplation, inviting, sensual and comforting in a strange way. If you have doubts, give it a shot.


Tagged with 2014, doom metal, King Woman, Matt Hinch, shoegaze