June 30, 2012

Wormed - Planisphærium

A remastered and expanded version of Wormed's Planisphærium from 2003 has been released on the Bandcamp. Press play and you will be pummeled by the brutal death metal of opener Tunnel of Ions. You will be baffled by the subsonic pig squeal growls. They are utterly unintelligible, so you will not note the astronomy themed lyrics

Cover by Phlegeton

A remastered and expanded version of Wormed's Planisphærium from 2003 has been released on the Bandcamp. Press play and you will be pummeled by the brutal death metal of opener "Tunnel of Ions". You will be baffled by the subsonic pig squeal growls. They are utterly unintelligible, so you will not note the astronomy themed lyrics mentioned in this review of the original 2003 release from Invisible Oranges:
Don’t be scared off by "super brutal death metal." Sure, it has the requisite pig squeal vocals, but otherwise this album is more like a Willowtip release in its precision and technicality. No gory artwork, no drum machines, no disgusting lyrics. Instead, you get Tron artwork and lyrics like

"Reconstruction in the amorphous line of time
Powerful emanation of energy
I see the constellations changing colour
Mathematical combination of triangular visions."

How you can not love this band?
You will also love the incredibly tight playing and how the songs are crammed with riffs and tempo shifts, and scattered with progressive elements. And soon your love will turn into, simply, WORMED!

June 28, 2012

SardoniS - II

Written by Ulla Roschat.

The Jungle Experience.

SardoniS is a sludge doom duo from Belgium. “II” is their second full length album. Seven long instrumental tracks with downtuned guitars and pounding drums take you on a journey through a sonic wilderness. They push you into a rough jungle of thick heavy curtains of earthy sludge only to be crushed by a straightforward thrashing like machetes cutting through jungle vegetation.

Before you know what’s going on you are at the mercy of white water rapids. Seconds before you drown you land on a smooth clearing of acoustic guitar sounds. What? Acoustic? Yes, but only to get finally drowned in relentless heaviness and monolithic riffs that cover you with sludge.

And never once, throughout the just short of forty minutes of the album you ask: “Where are the vocals?”

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 27, 2012

Koloss - End of the Chayot

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

While the sub-genres of Post-Metal and Atmospheric Sludge continue to grow, one country consistently produces great bands that take from both. That country is Sweden, and this band is Koloss.

Continuing in the footsteps of their fellow countrymen Cult of Luna and Signo Rojo, Koloss give us their take on the NeurIsis sound with End Of Chayot. Borrowing far more from the Neur rather than the Isis. The guitars are heavy and rely just as much on riffs as they do on creating atmosphere. The tribal drumming and throbbing bass laying down the foundation for the plodding riffs to stomp upon. While vocals are just distorted enough to add to the heft but can still be understood. The progression they showcase in their songs reminds one of Tool at times. Songs are long, well thought out, and constantly on the move. In fact this album sounds like a great mix of Times Of Grace and Lateralus.

It always great when you find bands in a genre that is well established still able to put their own distinctive stamp on it. Koloss is one of those bands and I look forward to what they have for us in the future.

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June 26, 2012

Mare Cognitum - An Extraconscious Lucidity

Mare Cognitum has just released their new album An Extraconscious Lucidity. This follows 2011's excellent The Sea Which Has Become Known, and the basic colors are the same as on that album: Atmospheric and melodic black metal that captures the cold vastness of outer space.

On An Extraconscious Lucidity the palette has been expanded, the production makes everything feels a little bigger, and the drumming is much more dynamic. I especially like the passages that mixes medium tempos with fast double bass kicks, creating parts that feels both fast and slow at the same time.

What really surprised me is how much of a guitar album this is. Starting with the lush chords in the intro to the first song "Collapse Into Essence", that segues into a section with epic layered riffing before the actual song begins. The second song "Pyre of Ascendance" has a long passage that starts with a few searing chords, continues with what sounds almost tech-death riffing, and ends with epic soloing. Amazing stuff.

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June 25, 2012

Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma

Review by Andy Osborn.

Artwork by Jesse Peper (In Solitude).

Much like their homeland in turmoil, these Greeks are proud, complex, and utterly unique. Falling somewhere between '70s psychedelia, futuristic black metal and a circus-like madness, Pneuma is a testament to the weirdness of experimental heavy music. The tracks force concentration with their ADD-like tendencies, yet never sacrifice interesting songwriting and still inject oddly dance-able hooks in the process. Swirling time-signatures evolve into blastbeats of the highest quality, reminiscent of a satanic masquerade.

Even if you've never seen their mind-bending videos, Hail Spirit Noir's music immediately conjures of scenes of a modern Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; other-worldly surrealism that torments the psyche and rejects any concepts of normality. This off-the-wall debut will surely prove to be one of the strongest of 2012.

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June 24, 2012

Klamm - Wahnsee

Klamm - Wahnsee. At base this is melodic atmospheric lack metal, but it is mixed with ambient and avant garde sounding parts. It's music filled with ambitious ideas and played by musicians capable of carrying out those ideas without sounding forced or flashy. Special note must go to the vocalist who
does a really good job in applying many different techniques from whispering over croaking, moaning and screaming in different heights to hoarse or also “normal” singing passages.
as described in this review from The Metal Archives. The production is warm, clear and organic. Bass and drums simply sounds great, and you can hear all the intricacies (and the crunch) of the guitars. At 79 minutes this is a long album, thankfully Klamm spends that time well.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Cenobite - The Black

So, I could write a bit about, the low-fi aesthetic, the occultness of it all, the odd vocals and stuff. I could also just quote the haiku from The Living Doorway's Blackened Haikus - Bandcamp Edition:
blackened thrash from hell
fifty percent instrumental
it's totally weird, bro
My favorite is the haunting instrumental that closes the album. Also titled The Black, it is both melodic, mellow and memorable.

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June 23, 2012

Earthen Grave - Earthen Grave

I read about Earthen Grave on Angry Metal Guy. The esteemed Steel Druhm described it as an odd, doom/biker rock/progressive metal fusion and quite a difficult album to get a handle on. He then wrote about Rachel Barton Pine on violin and Jason Muxlow on guitar:
Rachel Barton Pine makes the instrument an integral part of the sound, yet manages to keep it from becoming cheesy or tiresome. The various riffs crafted by Jason Muxlow are also quite effective and run the gamut from classic doom, angry hard rock and spacey progressive weirdness.
Color me intrigued! As usual when I read about something that sounds interesting I check if it's available on Bandcamp, and here we are. I don't really have anything intelligent to add to Mr. Druhms words, but I like Earthen Grave a lot, and I think that you should check them out.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 21, 2012

Alpinist​ | ​Masakari - Split

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

I had been seeing this album cover in my local record store a few times. What caught my eye was the cover. Something about it just stuck out from the rest of the albums. But what I forgot to do the first time was actually remember to get the name of the album and artists. I did not make that mistake a second time. And when I heard the album I was glad I didn’t. This album is heavy, raw, dirty, crusty, sludgy, hardcore.

Alpinist. Photo by Carmelo Española

Germany’s Alpinist starts us off with six tracks that are highly charged musically and lyrically. With subjects like anti-war and anti-Nazism this is music with a message. A message delivered with machine gun guitars and well beaten drums. The last track ‘Quelle Valeur Reste’ is stand out. It changes things up a bit by adding atmosphere sounding more akin to Sludge.

Masakari. Photo by Carmelo Española

Next up is Cleveland’s Masakari. Where Alpinist leave off Masakari pick up and run with it. The Sludge is strong with this band. Amazingly while their songs may be shorter than Alpinists, they seem to be able to do more in them. Allowing songs to build in their intensity. Not always going right for the throat from the beginning. The bass sound is a monster.

This split does what a good split should do. Give you just a taste of each band and make you hungry for more. I know I plan on going back for seconds.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 20, 2012

Dopelord - Magick Rites

Written by Ulla Roschat.

The Magick of the Riff

Dopelord is a four piece doom/stoner rock band from Poland, formed in 2010, and with Magick Rites they present their self released debut album.

What you hear is classic doom stoner rock par excellence. All the well known ingredients needed to perform the “magick rites” are in there. They are of such good quality, used so unobtrusively and well balanced, that you realize their intoxicating effects when it’s much too late. The driving fuzzed guitar sounds, the doomy echoing vocals and the 70s vibe all cast their spell imperceptibly.

And as if this wasn't enough, there are these riffs.... riffs of a magical power you simply can't withstand.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Falloch - Where Distant Spirits Remain

By Natalie Zina Walschots.
By Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published by Exclaim.

The word "Falloch" means "hidden"; it is usually applied to a place in the natural world, like a glen or waterfall. This is an incredibly apt name for a band whose music conjures the solitude and introspection of being alone in nature with such grace and completeness.

The Scottish duo (comprised of Andy Marshall and Scott McLean) formed last year. Where Distant Spirits Remain is their debut effort and it is nothing short of extraordinary. Comparisons to Agalloch are easy, and they also remind me of the nostalgic French black metal created by Alcest and Les Discrets. Production on the album was done by Ronan Chris Murphy (Ulver), who has polished the hard bits to a diamond edge and brought warmth and clarity to the gentlest passages. The clean vocals are the album's only obvious weak point. They are a little thin, almost brittle in tone, but this is the only time Where Distant Spirits Remain falters. The acoustic elements are used appropriately and judiciously. In particular, the percussion in "Beyond Embers and the Earth" is wonderful, and the sound of a hand on the skin of the drum is very powerful. There's range on the album as well, and the gentleness often gives way to violence and ferocity.

Nature isn't just composed of the beauty of the trees and the soothing hiss of water over rock, nature is also made of landslides and tigers and forests that can swallow explorers whole. Falloch are like this kind of nature: mournful and tender, but also vicious and ravenous. Where Distant Spirits Remain is a work of flawed brilliance, and an incredibly strong, moving debut.

June 19, 2012

Findumonde - Licantropia

Findumonde's Licantropia is lycanthropic themed death metal from Argentina. Furious blast beats, angry guttural growling, and lean riffing with the occasional dissonant flashes.

Findumonde's Licantropia is lycanthropic themed death metal from Argentina. Furious blast beats, angry guttural growling, and lean riffing with the occasional dissonant flashes. Add a general sense of pissedofness, and you got something that is not core, not old-school, just straight ahead death metal. And nothing wrong with that.

June 17, 2012

Carach Angren - Where the Corpses Sink Forever

Carach Angren's new album Where the Corpses Sink Forever has been released on their Season of Mist Bandcamp page. This is symphonic black metal. Musically it is dark, romantic and complex, but not overindulgent like many other in that genre. Lyrically it is storytelling time, horror stories that is. As DemiGodRaven says in the No Clean Singing review:
Imagine if you and your friends were out on a camping trip and decided to sit around telling ghost stories. As the night goes on, the stories get worse and worse as each of you tries to one-up the others in the horror factor contained within each. Stories of war, suicide, cannibalism, almost everything is fair game. Carach Angren’s latest release, Where The Corpses Sink Forever, is like an audio version of that.
Here's a review from Angry Metal Guy. While the vocalist Seregor is generally easy to understand, reading the lyrics adds an extra dimension to this album. They are not available on the Bandcamp, but you can find them at The Metal Archives.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 16, 2012

Harrow - Wanderer

Art by Jeremy Hannigan

Harrow - Wanderer. On their bandcamp is says fusing Black Metal and ritual folk music and that is a pretty good description. The black metal is riveting and harsh and the quieter parts very atmospheric, Harrow's use of clean singing work well, giving parts of the album a somber mood, that matches the return to the ways of olden vibe of the lyrics:
I passed by the druid stone
that lurks in the forest
far from home
I hunger to see the old ways return
and watch this ruined world burn

In the shadow of the stone
you will never be alone
I haven't found any reviews of Wanderer, but I picked it up from Kim Kelly's Tumblr and in her words: This is lovely.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Update: The album has now been re-released in a version remastered from the self released CDR edition, featuring new cover art and 6 additional live tracks.

June 13, 2012

Pinkish Black - Self Titled LP

The new self-titled album by Pinkish Black is available on their Bandcamp. The is deathrock, or as Cvlt Nation puts it alternately gothic sludge and ethereal heavy psychedelia. So yes, this is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike metal. The sludgy riffing of the bass does keep it pretty heavy, amazingly it's entirely performed on the keyboard!

The atmosphere is certainly dark and evil, with the ethereal, droning vocals (and the almost blackened chanting on Tastes Like Blood), floating synths lines and the weird theremin sounds. Read the review from Valley of Steel and check it out.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 12, 2012

The Isosceles Project - Bridges

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Artwork by Eric Euler

The Isosceles Project are a progressive, instrumental metal band from Toronto, ON, made up of Eric Euler (guitar), Scott Tessier (bass) and Brandon Smith (drums). With their newest release, Bridges, they neatly avoid the trap that many instrumental bands fall into: writing music that's characterized by a palpable lack of vocal presence. Instead, the Isosceles Project allow the other instruments to steer the way. While they describe themselves as "experimental," a more accurate description might be to dub them "exploratory metal." Here, they're engaging in musical world building, creating the contours of an aural landscape.

The songs on Bridges unravel like expeditions. "March of the Obsolete" has the hand-over-hand intensity of a hard vertical climb; "Ship Without A Sail" skims breathlessly over whitecaps; and "Temporal Laceration" embodies the freefell, and subsequent claustrophobia, of spelunking. While the three long tracks that compose Bridges are vast and cavernous, they're also filled with flourishes and details, and the music is often psychedelic in its vividness. Heaving and roiling, multi-hued and bright, Bridges invites the listener on a journey that offers aural riches to the brave who accept.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Winterfylleth - The Ghost of Heritage

Winterfylleth's debut album The Ghost of Heritage from 2008 has been remastered and expanded, and is now available on the Candlelight Records Bandcamp (it was originally released by Profound Lore). This is atmospheric pagan inspired black metal. Islander from No Clean Singing describes the two new tracks:
"They’re mid-paced, almost to the point of being stately and dignified. The band use cascading waves of distorted tremolo chords and acoustic guitar interludes to weave slow, lush, somber melodies. The roiling sounds of double bass and blast beats and the smash and crash of cymbals add to the contrast between the viciousness of the instrumentation and the beauty of the melodies they create."
and this is a description that fits quite well with the rest of the album. The remaster by Colin Marston (Krallice, Dysrhythmia, and Gorguts) sounds great, the epic songs has room to breathe, the quieter passages stand clear, and the guitars are raw and crunching. Here are reviews of the original version of The Ghost of Heritage from Teeth of the Divine and From the Dust Returned.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 10, 2012

Make - Trephine

Review by Aaron Sullivan.

MAKE take bits of Sludge, Drone, DOOM, and Post-Metal. Wrap it up with a nice Stoner feel, and serve it up hot. Like Horseback, Earth, and Neurosis were put in a blender.

Speed is not the name of the game with this band. Instead they allow the music to crawl. Not only in pace, but into your brain until your body has no choice but to sway with the music. The atmosphere created by the band is what stands out, allowing the listener to get lost in the songs. Vocals range between BM rasps, Sludgy barks, and clean sing alongs. Guitars jangle while the bass lines crawl up and down like a pulse. But just as you’re getting lost and comfortable, the band brings it all back into focus, while also bringing the heavy. As Heavy Blog Is Heavy said:
Trephine is basically a collage of all the things I look for in this genre of music; huge riffs, pensive atmosphere, and an air of psychedelia. It’s all done quite well for a band of their size, and I see them going places if they keep pushing forward with what they’ve got going on.
Could not agree more.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 9, 2012

Shattered Hope - Absence

Shattered Hope - Absence from 2010 is available on the Solitude Productions Bandcamp. This is death/doom bordering on funeral doom. Shattered Hope knows how to write very beautiful melodies. The songs are mournful Greek tragedies, the bands use of classical instruments and keyboards gives them an almost gothic majesty.

While working within the basic death/doom framework, Shattered Hope keep things interesting by employing different vocals styles, tempo changes and instrumental variations. At the same time they also know when to let the doom wash over you. The 18 minutes closer The Utter Void ends with a
splendid melodic guitar lead/harmony. You know the kind, the one that somehow, without word, conveys the feeling that this is all coming to an end. It's over.
as said in this review from Metal Storm. Here's another review from Metal Review.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 5, 2012

Fear Factory - The Industrialist

Artwork by Anthony Clarkson

Fear Factory's The Industrialist have been released on the Candlelight Records Bandcamp. The new album in many ways sounds like a successor to the classic remix EP Fear Is the Mindkiller from 1993. The relentless drumming is performed by a machine, and Rhys Fulber, the bands longtime collaborator is back. His keyboards, samples, and skills as a producer and programmer is present on just about every track. Industrial, mechanical or
"scientists perfecting some kind of ear-destroying technology while the rest of the scientific community calls them mad"
as Allmusic puts it. Combined with the trademark jackhammer riffing and wide-open choruses, and songs that sounds both pissed-off and vital, and the result is prime Fear Factory. Here is another review from Teeth of the Divine.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Harpoon - Deception Among Birds

By Natalie Zina Walschots. Chicago, IL-based Harpoon combine the speed of grind with the sonic effects of drone. Deception Among Birds is marked by layered, obscured vocals, big, booming drums and highly distorted guitars. This album is composed
By Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published by Exclaim.

Chicago, IL-based Harpoon combine the speed of grind with the sonic effects of drone. Deception Among Birds is marked by layered, obscured vocals, big, booming drums and highly distorted guitars. This album is composed entirely of frayed edges – the songs evolve, morphing as they progress. "Trogodyte's Delight" begins at a sludgy, oozing pace then gradually thins out and speeds up. As the song flows more rapidly, it runs cleaner. At times, like in "the Cut of His Jib," the cacophony and layering can get a bit out of control, the waters too muddied to drink. The complexity can get the better of this album here and there, but the moments of clarity are extremely well executed.

Nesseria - Nesseria

Artwork by Alex EL

Nesseria's self-titled debut from 2010 is available on their Bandcamp. Nesseria mixes black metal and hardcore with meaty sludgy riffing. This is raging and very bleak sounding music, but it also comes with a sense of melody and variation. Ranging from ruthless grinding to more atmospheric sounding passages. Read the review from Sonic Abuse and check it out.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 3, 2012

Young Hunter - Stone Tools

Young Hunter have released their new album Stone Tools. This is a mix of hazy doom and fuzzy stoner rock. Psychedelic and cinematic. Occasionally a little heaviness creeps in, but mostly this is mellow and almost meditative music, enhanced by vocals like a beat poet’s drug-induced recitations and chanting backing vocals. Read the review from Valley of Steel and take a trip thorugh the desert with Young Hunter.

Imbroglio - Sleep Deprivation

Artwork by D.J. Gilbert & Big Bear Design.

Imbroglio's Sleep Deprivation from 2010 has been added to the The Path Less Traveled Records Bandcamp. The band mixes mixes experimental grindcore and sludge. Ferocious riffing dispensed by a guitar that sounds like it's covered in layers of crust. As Don't Count on it Reviews notes: There's a genuine sense of anger on here as well that really comes through in the passion with which these songs are being played,. Read the review from Metal Injection and check it out.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

June 2, 2012

Zuriaake - Afterimage of Autumn - Winter Mirage

Zuriaake's Afterimage of Autumn from 2007 is available on the Pest Productions Bandcamp. This is shimmering black metal. Beautiful melancholic melodies carried by hypnotic riffing and underlined with dynamic bass lines. Vocals that range from keening cries to cavernous croaks. And a unique pagan/ethnic atmosphere created by the use of (sampled?) traditional Chinese instruments and samples of nature sounds. Here are reviews from The Metal Archives and From the Dust Returned

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Winter Mirage is a re-release of the bonus disc to the limited edition of Afterimage of Autumn. The first track is raw and aggressive keyboard laced Scandinavian black metal. The second has a fascinating theme featuring a plucked string instrument, that segues into pummeling double bass aggression, and tops it with nature samples! The Bandcamp tells us that Zuriaake will release a new album this year, I am so looking forward to that.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]