By Aaron Sullivan. From the great Rising Beast label comes the latest from Dargar, The Shores of Space. They originally started as a Blackened Noise band. Very in your face aggressive and gritty. I loved it. Then came a split (that unfortunately did not see a physical release but can be downloaded on the label Bandcamp) and they changed up their sound quite a bit.By Aaron Sullivan.
From the great Rising Beast label comes the latest from Dargar, The Shores of Space. They originally started as a Blackened Noise band. Very in your face aggressive and gritty. I loved it. Then came a split (that unfortunately did not see a physical release but can be downloaded on the label Bandcamp) and they changed up their sound quite a bit. They became more atmospheric and elements of Shoegaze and DSBM were sprinkled within. Then I heard they were going to go further with that on the next album. The results are amazing.
The Shores of Space as an album encapsulates everything I love about music. Dark, atmospheric, experimental, layered, and with just enough rawness to not sound over produced. The foggyness of the opening track. The chanting vocals closing out "Seething Gold". The gothy hypnotic feel of "Vast". The Jesu-esque feel that starts off "No More Skies". With "Hammers of Minutiae" they return to their Noise roots with an Industrial opener that slowly dissolves as the song progresses. What Pete did vocally is also awesome. From DSBM style, to clean, to distorted Industrial, to gut wrenching Death Metal. Every track is better than the last. Cohesive and yet each song presents it’s own feel. The layers only compel the listener to multiple listens. The more I heard this album I kept asking myself what it reminded me of. Only one album kept coming to mind, Lurker of Chalice, an album I happen to revere very much. Not that Dargar ripped off the album. What they did was something I’ve never heard a band do, capture Lurker's essence, it’s experimentalism. The Shores of Space is a huge step for these guys and it pays off, especially for the listener.
Up next Germany’s Downfall of Gaia and their album Atrophy. I was first introduced to them seeing them live a few years back and was blown away. I had their self titled compilation on rotation for some time after. Their brand of Atmospheric Sludge was right up my alley. But for some reason I lost track of them. I caught back up with them with this album, and I’m so glad I did.
This is a huge step from what I heard originally and liked. It’s more focused and hints of Black Metal are added with great effect. The production is in your face. You feel as though you are surrounded by the musicians as they pummel you with their sonic assault. There is a definite whiff of White Tomb era Altar of Plagues that flows through this album. This was an album that would no doubt be on my 2016 album of the year list. But I stupidly waited too long to include it. Don’t make that same mistake. Wait no longer. Click the link and enjoy.
There are bands that just scratch a certain itch that no other band can. Worm Ouroboros is that band for me. My first encounter with them was their opening for Agalloch. I was hooked, or rather transfixed. The interplay of Lorraine and Jessica’s vocals coupled with Aesop’s delicate and deliberate drumming was like nothing I had ever heard. I couldn’t get enough.
Last year they released their third album What Graceless Dawn. All that you love about their mix of DOOM and Folk is found within. It get this feeling when listening to them like I’m on a small boat going along a calm dark river at night. Aesop drumming is the steady rowing of that boat and the Jessica and Lorraine’s vocals are the cloaked sirens on shore warning me of what’s to come. Sometimes calm as the water and other times, as the danger grows so does the tempo. But I know as long as I follow their voices I will find my way to the light. They can be heavy without ever having to go to 11. They do it through dynamics and emotion. Another of the great albums 2016 had to offer.
|Cover art by Valnoir|
Admittedly Blackened Death Metal is a genre I stay away from. But knowing nothing of Nidingr accept for the interesting album cover I gave their new album The High Heat Licks Against Heaven a shot. Proving judging a book (or album in this case) by it’s cover can work.
Within the first seconds of the opener I was hooked. Immediate and pummeling are what come to mind. Vocals, a throaty hardcore shout, and at times the music reminiscent of Wolverine Blues era Entombed. But only 4 songs in and they begin to shift gears with the song "Gleipnir" with it’s doomy psychedelic feel. Then back to the pummeling with "Sol Taker". Then comes the dirgey "Ash Yggdrasil" featuring Garm of Ulver fame. A song that really does feel like a collaboration not just a ‘come do vocals’ thing. Followed by two more barnburners and then the final song featuring the ever divisive Myrkur. Another slow doomy dirge. While it may feel somewhat formulaic it really works to help the album feel diverse. The heavier songs sound heavier and the faster songs sound that much faster.
From the island of Tasmania comes the prolific Striborg and his newest album A Procession of Lost Souls. Prolific fits him better than most in the Black Metal scene having released over 20 albums since 1997 sometimes releasing new albums twice in one year. The thing I’ve always loved about him is his willingness to experiment. Not just from album to album but sometimes within an album or even with in songs. He can go two songs that are raw and sound as if they were recorded in a cave and the next six songs sounding professionally recorded (or as professional as one man Black Metal can be). This sort of experimentalism may not sit well with some. I in fact don’t enjoy all that he does. But admire it nonetheless. He’s truly one of a kind.
With A Procession of Lost Souls he returns to familiar ground after his last two albums that consisted of mainly Dark Ambient and Power Electronic songs. The title track opener is raw as most of catalogue. Guitars are buzzy, cymbals hiss, and vocals are gurgled shrieks soaked in reverb. Dark atmosphere is a staple of his music and this album is no different. If you're a fan you’ll love it. If you're new this may be an album that makes you a fan or at least peaks some interest. There’s even a Siouxsie & The Banshees cover to finish off the album.