new noise from crucial blast...


    So much strange stuff to share with you this week. First and foremost is the latest from Filipino chaos metallers Deiphago, whose latest album Into The Eye of Satan felt like an IED detonating the first time I blasted it here at C-Blast headquarters. Hell, it still does. Produced by Colin Marston of Gorguts/Krallice/Behold The Arctopus fame, Eye is an interesting new chapter in this bestial, blackened death metal outfit's twenty-five year career. Long heralded as one of the most lethal bands to follow in the wake of legendary Ross Bay maniacs Conqueror, Deiphago's music has been some of the most intense and chaotic to come out of this bile-splattered corner of the black/death underground, with bizarre song structures, extreme discordant riffing and traces of filthy black ambience and industrial screech that come together to create an unhinged, ultra-violent assault upon the listener's senses. These guys have been producing some of the craziest stuff that I've heard from the black/death field, up there with the likes of Revenge and Hellvetron in terms of sheer inchoate violence. But with their new album, Deiphago warp their sound into something even more abrasive, with a bizarre, counter-intuitive approach to guitar solos, riffing and song structures that makes this one of the more unusual black/death albums to appear this year. If you thought previous albums like Filipino Antichrist and Satan Alpha Omega were chaotic, wait till you hear this. There's stuff on this album that sounds like Last Exit-era Sonny Sharrock on bath salts, crazed and transcendent blasts of total Satanic chaos that have made this one of my favorite extreme metal albums of 2015, and absolutely worth checking out if you're a fan of the more ferociously fucked-up fringes of sulfuric black/death metal.

    Some of the other new, recently released and newly added titles that are featured on this list include:

     ...the brand new Gnaw Their Tongues album Abyss Of Longing Throats out on Crucial Blast, the first album in three years from this Dutch black industrial metal monstrosity
     ...the vinyl edition of Aria Of Vernal Tombs from medieval-influenced porgressive black metallers Obsequiae
     ...a windswept album of dark and dolorous Western prog-sludge and twangy post-rock beauty from Idre
     ...a reissue of the classic improv jazz/rock masterwork Iron Path from the mighty Last Exit
     ...a new LP of punishing droning mega-sludge from British bass/drums duo Ghold, Of Ruin
     ...the new album Moros from operatic prog-crust band Eye Of Nix
     ...ferocious new industrial black metal from Diabolicum, featuring new singer Kvarforth from Shining
     ...a new CD reissue of weirdo Japanese doomdeath obscurity Ether For Scapegoat from Transgressor
     ...the new vinyl reissue of Bell Witch's crushing Demo 2011, the first release from these titanic bass/drums-driven funeral doom masters
     ...gorgeous new vinyl reissues of the back catalog for Swedish progressive death metal legends Edge Of Sanity
     ...the latest blast of mutant death metal/slam gore/breakcore mayhem from Himiko
     ...the debut album of pummeling, concussive Fudge Tunnel-esque industrial-tinged sludge rock from Meatwound
     ...the latest album of sludgy, heavy-duty dub/prog/post-rock crush from Metallic Taste of Blood
     ...an amazing new album of avant-garde gothic doom from XX XX , featuring members of Whourkr
      ...the latest slab of fucked-up quasi-black metal psychosis from Boston-based necro-mutant Cryostasium, akin to the surreal dissonance of Striborg/Xasthur but immensely more fucked-up
      ...bitchin' new CD reissues of early albums of neon-drenched synthwave dread from Perturbator
      ...lots of cool, off-kilter occult black metal from the likes of Abhor, Chilean bands Black Grail and Athanatos, Esoterica, and Demoncy
      ...a stack of new vinyl and CD reissues from The Crypt, including avant-garde deathdoom weirdos Pan.Thy.Monium and some killer early Absu recordings
      ...the amazing new album from UK death metallers Abyssal, which perfectly combines their churning blackened heaviness with streaks of melodic grandeur, a unique new direction for their sound
      ...some killer new industrial black metal from the likes of Alien Deviant Circus and Dodheimsgard
      ...lots of cool new progressive black metal and blackened rock from bands like Negura Bunget, Aversion To Mankind, Sigh, Beyond Light, Imperial Triumphant, Kommandant, and Plamen
      ...the stunning new album from funeral doom duo Bell Witch, one of the most listenable albums of it's kind to come through here in ages
      ...great new horror scores including Joe Bishara/Dave Lombardo's Insidious III, Goblin's Claudio Simonetti and his Demons soundtrack, plus stuff from Fabio Frizzi, and Elliot Goldenthal's Pet Sematary
      ...heavy duty new Earache reissues of early cult titles from Confessor and Cathedral, and the recent Century Media vinyl reissue of Gorguts From Wisdom To Hate
      ...lots of bizarre, brain-melting necro-psychedelia, black noise and other macabre weirdness from Dead Reptile Shrine, Funerary Call and Crown Ov Bone, Koozar, and Sect Pig
      ...new blasts of skull-caving sludge and doom metal from Warhorse, Forn, Corrupted, Goatsnake, Cold In Berlin, The Body, Rise of Avernus, Blood Farmers, and Saturnalia Temple
      ...a ton of killer avant-garde death metal and grind releases from the likes of Knelt Rote, Legion Of Andromeda, Phlebotomized, Septic Flesh, Sickening Horror, Irreversible Mechanism, Unholy, Mulk, and Nocturnus
      ...eerie dungeon synth, death industrial and dark ambience from Trepaneringsritualen, Yen Pox, Profane Grace, Resgestae, Satanath, Stonewired, Shinkiro, Trauma, and Obscene Noise Korporation
      ...punishing noise rock from Swans (a deluxe reissue of their classic Filth album), Couch Slut, and Special People
      ...weirdo hardcore and punk from Perspex Flesh, Folded Shirt, YDI, and Same-Sex Dictator

As always, we have a lot for you to check out, much more mutant extreme music and misanthropic art to be found on our shelves and in our bins...keep reading below to check out all of the strange and extreme new music, film, and art that's included in this week's new arrivals list.

Don't forget, you can click on the thumbnail image of the album cover for everything we carry in our shop to pull up a pop-up window showing an actual photograph of the item!


CROWN   Natron   CD   (Candlelight)    12.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Tenssion of Duality
Sample : Serpents
Sample : Fossils
Sample : Apnea


ABDUL-RAUF, LEILA   Insomnia   CD   (Malignant Antibody)    10.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Drift
Sample : Dark Hours of Early Morning
Sample : Absence

ABSU   The Temples Of Offal / Return Of The Ancients   CD   (Dark Descent)    10.98

     Now in stock on CD via Dark Descent.      Long before they became the titans of progressive, mystical black thrash that would produce the 2001 masterpiece Tara, Texan band Absu began life as a ripping death metal monstrosity in the very early 90s, debuting with the four-song Return of the Ancients demo. Now reissued on both CD and vinyl and bundled with the band's 1992 EP The Temples Of Offal, that demo showcases the earliest rotten writhings of this esteemed outfit, offering an early, pre-Proscriptor version of their sound that stands in stark contrast to the proggy "mythological occult metal" of their more recent work.
     The three-song Temples Of Offal 7" (originally released on Gothic Records in 1992) makes up the first half of this collection, blasting out the band's early, monstrous death metal sound with some intensely violent excursions into grindcore territory (that includes some awesome bestial vocals that completely dispense with any attempt at coherence) and stretches of punishing dark doom that crawl out of the band's warped blastscapes like one of the protean humanoid horrors depicted on the sleeve art. There are only the merest hints of the esoteric mythological influences that later become more prominent in Absu's music; for the most part this early work is entrenched in visions of rot and charnel violence.
     The band's debut demo Return Of The Ancients from 1991 is even more primitive, four songs of violent buzzsaw death metal shot through with a few moments of crawling, doom-laden heaviness and a couple outbursts of weird riffing that cuts through the demo's low-fi, murk-encrusted sound; that is, save for the spacey, almost kosmische ambience of "Sea Of Glasya" which drifts out of the middle of the demo in a wash of ominous, mesmeric celestial murk, hinting at the group's interest in atmospheric texture that they'd really begin to develop further on the debut album Barathrum: V.I.T.R.I.O.L.. The side is rounded out with a rehearsal recording of "Abhorred Xul [Azagthoth]", recorded when the band still went under the name Azathoth, and previously only available on the now out-of-print Barathrum boxset. It's raw stuff, of course, but still hideously powerful.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sumerian Sands (The Silence)
Sample : Sea of Glasya
Sample : Dawn of Invocation

ACID WITCH   Stoned   CD   (Hells Headbangers)    11.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Stoned To the Grave
Sample : Whispers In the Dark
Sample : Witchfynder Finder

ACID WITCH   Stoned   CASSETTE   (Hells Headbangers)    8.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Stoned To the Grave
Sample : Whispers In the Dark
Sample : Witchfynder Finder

ACID WITCH   Stoned   LP   (Hells Headbangers)    17.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Stoned To the Grave
Sample : Whispers In the Dark
Sample : Witchfynder Finder

AKATOMBO   Unconfirmed Reports   CD + DVD   (Hand-Held Recordings)    11.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Portable Pariah
Sample : Friend For Hire
Sample : A Prior Disengagement

AKATOMBO   False Positives   CD   (Hand-Held Recordings)    10.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Masked
Sample : Hikiko Mori
Sample : Dominion

AKATOMBO   Sometime, Never   CD   (Hand-Held Recordings)    11.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Scans & Needles
Sample : Mission Creep
Sample : Cold Call

ALDEBARAN   Embracing The Lightless Depths   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Occultation of Hali's Gates
Sample : Forever In the Dream of Death
Sample : Occultation of Ocular Tauri

ARCTURUS   Sideshow Symphonies (WHITE VINYL)   2 x LP   (Back On Black)    11.98

     Along with that killer new album, we also just restocked this double Lp release of Arcturus's 2005 album Sideshow Symphonies, now available at a lower price. Packaged in a deluxe gatefold jacket and pressed on white vinyl, this is a gorgeous limited edition release of what had been up to that point the final album from these legendary avant-garde black metal alchemists. Here's my original writeup on the CD version:
     Never stocked this cd before, but I've been on a bit of an Arcturus kick lately and decided to pick it up at long last since I'm constantly getting orders for all of the other back catalog titles from this Norwegian avant-black metal super group. Featuring members of Ulver, Mayhem, Covenant, Borknagar, and Ved Buens Ende, Arcturus were a band unto themselves, starting off as a slightly proggy, symphonic black metal outfit but over the course of several albums evolved into something like a blackened version of Faith No More, with their majestic metal augmented by strange genre-hopping that might include bits of drum n' bass and electronica, theatrical arrangements, bizarre left-field forays into hardcore rap, trip-hop, and industrial music. 2005's Sideshow Symphonies would actually be the band's last studio album, and found the band shifting their bombastic and theatrical sound into a more focused (but no less dramatic) direction. One of the changes that stands out on this album is the arrival of new singer Simen "ICS Vortex" Hestns (ex-Borknagar, Dimmu Borgir) who replaces former front man Garm (Ulver); Hestns's soaring, phantasmal voice was an interesting addition to Arcturus's sound, definitely way more over the top and melodramatic compared to Garm's singing, but it fit perfectly with their majestic futuristic prog-metal.
     Musically, you can barely hear any of their black metal origins, the nine tracks instead sounding like a spacey, symphonic, strangely New Wave-tinged power metal, sorta, and there are parts of the album that sound to my ears almost like Kansas, fer petes's sake. Not that they went soft for Sideshow; the lush analogue synths, symphonic strings, and operatic singing are still backed by chugging heavy guitars, blazing double-bass drumming and triumphant metallic crunch. The music isn't as schizo as their past releases, where Arcturus would veer from drum n' bass to black metal to orchestral pomp and Portishead-style trip-hop, but there is still some of that Mr. Bungle weirdness going on, albeit very subtly, with some touches of dark jazzy ambience (like on "Nocturnal Vision Revisited"), electronica, and classical elements appearing on various tracks. Definitely a high point in the field of progressive post-black metal heaviness.
Track Samples:
Sample : Deamon Painter
Sample : Nocturnal Vision Revisited

ASEPTIC VOID   Carnal   CD   (Naked Lunch)    11.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Violate
Sample : Black Toy Box
Sample : Aridit

ATARAXIE   Slow Transcending Agony (Reissue)   CD   (Weird Truth)    14.98

     Out of print for several years, the pulverizing 2005 album Slow Transcending Agony from French glacial-death ensemble Ataraxie has just been reissued by Japanese-based label Weird Truth. This new edition comes in digipack packaging and also adds a new bonus track at the end, a violent, boiling cover of Disembowelment's "The Tree Of Life And Death" that's transformed into something more soul-destroying and poignant in the hands of these misery merchants. Here's the old review of the original album from way back when:
     I've been a on a big death/doom kick lately, and Ataraxie are just the pill I've been looking for...monstrous slow motion death-metal riffs with wide expanses of space between them, marked only by trails of silvery feedback, huge booming drums beating out freakishly heavy marching rhythms that move in geological time, deep guttural death roars echoing over vast voids of endless blackness. Heavy, HEAVY stuff. Not a ray of light to be found in Ataraxie's mist-covered world. One of the guitarists is also credited with "e-bow", and it sounds like it's definitely being used as an additional instrument, conjuring lush feedback textures over their grinding glacial dirge. It's not all slow though, which makes this album stand out; every once in a while, they'll suddenly erupt into vicious old-school death metal riffs and double bass drumming, a surge of savagery that sometimes rages for a couple of minutes before coagulating once again into total doom. Some amazing melodies too, like the mournful layers of melodic soloing on "L'ataraxie", and the somber acoustic passages on the title track. Everything about Slow Transcending Agony is cloaked in sorrow, the thick mournful atmosphere clinging to every riff like a grey mist.
     Imagine a more death metal inclined Thergothon with gorgeous acoustic guitars and whispered vocals floating in the background. Fans of classic doom-death like My Dying Bride, Mourning Beloveth, Morgion, and Evoken definitely want to check these guys out, as well as anyone into the newer, melodic funeral crawl of Swallow The Sun and Shape Of Despair. And dig that awesome ending on "Another Day Of Despondency", where Ataraxie suddenly go from creeping sorrowful doom into a weird, black metal tinged atmospheric blastbeat assault, but with the guitars still emitting those huge slow funereal riffs, creating a really cool, unusual outro for the album. Comes with a nicely designed 16-page booklet filled with lyrics, stylized band photos, and eerie photographs of fog-covered hillsides. Another crushing album from these titanic gloom-pushers.

AUROCH   Taman Shud   LP   (Dark Descent)    14.99

    Finally have this crushing slab of avant-garde blackened bestial death metal in stock.
    Mitochondrion's 2011 album Parasignosis was one of my favorite death metal albums that came out that year, a warped and blistering assault of avant-garde blackened death that rivaled the likes of Antediluvian, Impetuous Ritual and Adversarial in terms of sheer chaotic brutality. Haven't heard anything from 'em since then, but when the new album from Auroch Taman Shud recently appeared from Profound Lore, I was eager to hear it simply based on the band's connection to Mitochondrion, as they share several members. Though Auroch's sound on Taman is drawn from the same swarming blackened death metal chaos as the members' other band, this album ventures in a different, more technical direction as it sheared my head off.
    This is the second album from the Vancouver, BC crushers, a nine-song mini-album further showcasing their own violent, complex take on technical death metal, which first appeared on the 2011 debut From Forgotten Worlds. It's an impressive display of discordant death-worship, combining traces of the rampaging blackened bestial chaos of the Ross Bay crowd with warped riffage and some moments of excellent eerie melody that add a strange, somewhat mystical atmosphere to parts of Taman Shud. An interesting variation on the complex, monstrous blackened death that has been coming out of the frozen north since the late 80's.
    While blasting this here in the C-Blast office, I'm occasionally reminded of bestial crushers Revenge; there's a similar psychotic feel to the band's frenzied aggro-blast and twisted, skull-scraping riffage, but Auroch interject weird atmospheric touches into their material that take this in a different direction, like the discordant acoustic guitars and subtle didgeridoo drones that surface on the title track. The songs are also infected with bursts of black static and abrasive electronic noise, suddenly diverging into bizarre passages of over-modulated bass guitar slithering through the blackness, or brief interludes of crackling alien ambience. The rabid, two-pronged vocal attack alternates a ferocious, inchoate roar with frantic yelling that appears over some of the record's slower, churning passages, adding to the frenzied feel of Auroch's sonic assault, and the crazed complexity of the riffs and the maniacal shredding solos all snake chaotically throughout these vicious blastscapes, dissonant angular riffs sprouting from the band's convoluted sonic architecture. At times like Gorgutsian tech-death filtered through the bestial violence of Revenge, and bathed in lyrical satanic surrealism and arcane imagery; this album is tough stuff, right up to the closing track "The Balkan Affair" that ends the disc with a brief but intense acoustic guitar piece steeped in an atmosphere of mystery and paranoia.
Track Samples:
Sample : Voice of Gemini
Sample : The Balkan Affair [Instrumental]
Sample : Octavo (Swiling in Capricorn)

BELL WITCH   Four Phantoms   2 x LP   (Profound Lore)    25.99

     The latest slab of heartwrenching doom metal from Bell Witch is now available on 180 gram vinyl in gatefold packaging with digital download...
     Seattle funeral doom duo Bell Witch aren't the first band of this ilk to carry with them shades and echoes of the elegiac slowcore of classic bands like Codeine, but by god their one of the best. A two-piece made up of just drums and six-string bass guitar from members of Samothrace and Sod Hauler, Bell Witch nevertheless succeed in crafting a massive sound on their second album Four Phantoms, which has been getting lots of love from devotees of metallic misery, and for good reason - these four songs (all naturally sprawling out for anywhere from ten to twenty three minutes in length, every one an epic) sprawl out into panoramic sadness, the band expertly welding their blasts of crushing glacial heaviness and crawling, time-stopping tempos to passages of achingly beautiful melody, far prettier and more fragile than what you usually hear out of bands playing stuff this agonizingly slow.
     But man, those weary, stentorian riffs that tower over the album are as spiritually pulverizing as you could hope for, slow-motion blooms of rumbling, crashing dirge surrounded by guitar leads that have a similar almost synthlike vibe as Finnish gloomdoom gods Skepticism. The songs often disappear into thick fogbanks of liturgical darkness as the drums melt away and the vocals shift from that monstrous lamentation into plaintive, chantlike tones, and on "Suffocation, A Drowning", the band is joined once again by Erik Moggridge of neofolk outfit Aerial Ruin on vocals, lending his pensive voice to one of the album's more solemn, subdued moments that slowly builds into a titanic key change that gives birth to an awesome gloompop hook buried beneath the speaker-rattling low end and soporific pace. The sound is so harmonically full, I had completely forgotten that there were no fuckin' guitars on this album until well after the album was over. Immense and beautiful in its bleak, ashen majesty, and with more complex songcraft than their previous work, Phantoms is easily one of the best doom albums that's come out so far this year, those melodious, sometimes harmonized vocals giving this a warmth and humanity not often seen in funeral doom, without sacrificing that oppressive, deathly atmosphere and utterly forlorn feeling of existential despair that marks the best funeral doom, a quality that puts this album in league with other masters of the form like Pallbearer and Asunder. Comes in digipack packaging featuring superb impressionistic artwork from Paolo Girardi.
Track Samples:
Sample : Suffocation, A Drowning: II Somniloquy (The Distance of Forever)
Sample : Suffocation, A Burial: I Awoken (Breathing Teeth)
Sample : Judgement, In Air: II Felled (In Howling Wind)

BIRDFLESH   Mongo Musicale   LP   (Power It Up)    14.99

     Finally found some more copies of this killer album of gonzo grindcore from Sweden's Birdflesh, released back in 2006 in a limited edition of nine hundred copies. Here's my old write-up from the last time we had this bizarro blast of bonkers grind in stock:
     From their nonsensical band name to the equally ridiculous song titles and lyrics and cover art (is that Sean Connery?), Birdflesh don't go out of their way to hide the fact that they are, indeed, a bunch of clowns. I mean, they have a song called "Wigdestroyer", and the lyrics go like this: "Here I come bored of everything / I go downtown to look for you / You are the ones who lost your hair / And try to replace it with an ugly wig / I rip it off and throw it to the ground/ Wig Destroyer..." And they do dress up as clowns when they play live. Some of them, at least. And yet the trio of Smattro Ansjovis (drums), Barbro Havohej (bass), and Achmed Abdulex (guitar) totally kill. It's insanely fast and punky grindcore that goes from hyperspeed blasting to thrashier, more mid-paced punk rock, and into that mix Birdflesh toss in their goofy song titles ("Crocophile", "After-ski Obliteration", "Mr. Big Head", "Handicapitation", "Dancefloor Dismemberment", "Moonwalk Massacre", "Victim Of The Cat"...you get the idea), and even weirder lyrics as with the aforementioned "Wigdestroyer", or other songs about being carjacked by a deer, having a head that suddenly grows to enormous size, or death by Jacuzzi. If you haven't picked up on by now, Birdflesh tap into the goofball genre-bending thrash of Spazztic Blurr, but deliver their silliness through crusty grind in the vein of bands like Nasum, Napalm Death or Sayyadina, minute long songs of ferocious blasting, trickey percussive fills and technical riffing that gets mixed up with weird bits of pop punk, goony nursery-rhyme type chanting or squeaky chipmunk vocals, silly samples, drum solos, operatic vocals, dogs barking, and other absurdity.

BISHARA, JOSEPH   Insidious Chapter 3 (OST)   LP   (Void Recordings)    21.00

     Now available on limited-edition vinyl, includes a download code.
     The latest foray into horrific soundscapes from composer Joseph Bishara, this new score follows his third time constructing the frightening sonic backdrop to the popular Insidious series, which has updated the "family under assault by demonic forces" storyline first seen in Poltergeist to a modern, more unsettling setting. A former member of the early 90s industrial metal outfit Drown, Joseph Bishara has made a name for himself in recent years as the go-to guy for some of the better horror films currently coming out of Hollywood, drawing from the atonal modern classical music of composers like Ligeti, Crumb and Penderecki and combining that influence with contemporary electronic and experimental textures to create some of the creepiest film music being made right now. I was already a fan of Bishara's previous scores for the Insidious films, The Conjuring and Dark Skies, but the direction he would take for this new project was particularly enticing. For his score to the third installment in the Insidious series of films, Bishara teamed up with legendary metal drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantmas) and pianist/composer Saar Hendelman to create these jet-black soundscapes, which is featured on this album as twenty-two tracks that plunge into a nightmarish sonic realm of low, rumbling percussive sound and distant ostinato strings giving way to violent, shocking blasts of orchestral dissonance, quieter sections where those muted strings drift hazily over minimal piano, or dissipate into abyssal dronescapes; violins are manipulated and molested, producing sickening glissando notes that slither and writhe through cloudy masses of low-end electronics and reverberating metallic noise; ghostly atonal melodies slip in and out of view, drifting out of the void to reveal themselves in brief glimpses before being swallowed up again in the blackness; murky electronic rhythms bubble in the depths of the mix, looping patterns that seethe on the periphery; and there are sequences of stygian ambience here that rival anything you'll find on labels like Malignant or Cyclic Law.
     Like most of my favorite scores, the sudden blasts of volume and intensity make for a terrifying listen even when separated from the film's demonic imagery, which reaches a feverish intensity whenever Lombardo's abstract drumming enters the fray, often appearing in controlled bursts of rumbling percussive sound that punctuate the louder, shocking eruptions of those fearsome strings, or producing slow, sinister swells of cymbal washing over quick, improvisational flurries of drumming; it's an exercise in skillful tension building, even the more emotionally poignant moments of Bishara's score seem to have a lingering sense of dread, like the haunting, lyrical "Questions Left Behind" and the gorgeously moody "Friendly Face"; utilizes sleek modern composition and experimental techniques, there's a definite post-industrial tinge to this music. One of the better modern horror scores, in the same terrifying league as Roque Baos's fantastic Evil Dead score.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Insidious Flare
Sample : Void Figure
Sample : She was waiting

BLACK MARE / LYCIA   Low Crimes / Silver Leaf   7" VINYL   (Magic Bullet)    7.50

Nabbed some copies of this 2015 Record Store Day release, a killer pairing of two great heavy darkwave outfits, Black Mare and Lycia. Lycia is, of course, the influential and singular outfit whose ominous, doom-laden darkwave has had a lingering influence on all manner of gothic rock, doom metal and black metal outfits, going back to such groundbreaking albums as Ionia and A Day In The Stark Corner, and their "Silver Leaf" is the first new song we've heard from them in several years. And it's stunning, another spellbinding piece of funereal, plodding beauty woven from the layered, ethereal coo of Tara Vanflower and the solemn baritone croon of Mike Vanportfleet, lush twelve-string guitar washing over the song in a haze of reverb, the distant, thunderous plod of the drum machine moving this gorgeous, haunting song at a Skepticism-like tempo. Fucking fantastic stuff.
And they couldn't have picked a better outfit to share this 7" with than Black Mare. The solo project of Sera Timms from Ides Of Gemini, Black Mare offers the similarly haunting "Low Crimes", joined by Ides bandmate J. Bennett on bass and featuring additional guest vocals from Lycia's Vanflower; the song shares a similar somber vibe as Ides Of Gemini, and fans of that band's ghostly gothic doom-rock should hastily pick up this and anything else that Timms appears on - this is as bewitching as anything else I've heard from her, a subtly sinister, twang-flecked piece of darkwave-inspired gloom rock majesty that eventually erupts into a surprisingly heavy second half, dark and doom-laden and sorrowful, Timms' icily ethereal voice rising over the band's folk-flecked dirge, the sound somewhat reminiscent of SLC avant doom outfit Subrosa. Can't wait to hear more from Black Mare after hearing this.
Limited edition, comes with a download code.

BROKEN CROSS   Through Light To Night   LP   (Apocalyptic Visions)    14.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Poison Of Insanity
Sample : Total Isolation
Sample : Path to Extinction

CHARRED REMAINS AKA MAN IS THE BASTARD   A Call For Consciousness / Our Earths Blood   10" VINYL   (Deep Six)    9.98

CHRISTIAN DEATH   Halloween 1981 (LIMITED EDITION PURPLE VINYL)   LP   (Cleopatra)    21.99

COLTRANES, THE   The Cat Of Nine Tails   7" VINYL   (SPHC)    4.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Distant
Sample : Parallels
Sample : This is a Whole New Look For Me

CONSTRAIN / WRONG HOLE   Mutual Transgressions / Solitary Solace   7" VINYL   (Oxen)    5.99

CRISTAL   Homegoing   CD   (Hand-Held Recordings)    10.98

CROWN   Natron   CD   (Candlelight)    12.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Tenssion of Duality
Sample : Serpents
Sample : Fossils
Sample : Apnea

DARK SANCTUARY   Exaudi Vocem Meam: Part I   CD   (Orion Music)    10.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Je M'En Irai
Sample : Elle et l'Aube
Sample : Cristal

DARVULIA / SEKTARISM   Mort Foetale / Punition Divine   CASSETTE   (Dead Seed Productions)    11.98

Also released on vinyl by Nuclear War Now, this split album sees two of the most sickening outfits in the Les Aptres De l'Ignominie circle finally pairing up, each offering a single, roughly twenty-minute long epic of satanic depravity sprawling across each side. This limited-edition cassette was put out by the French label Dead Seed in a cool hand-assembled package that houses the tape in a printed box alongside a twelve page booklet, which is then enclosed in a die-cut slipcase, all printed with aged, sepia-toned images that resemble Victorian-era death portraits. Definitely one of the cooler-looking tape packages that's come through here lately.
Not to mention one of the more suprising. Darvulia's "Mort Foetale" is totally unlike anything else I have from the French black metal outfit, who where seem to abandon their cruel, dissonant black metal sound almost completely. Their music has always had a diseased, twisted edge, but this stuff is by far the weirdest and most experimental music that they';ve brought us. The side meanders through a drugged haze of random guitar noise and improvised drumming that drifts and lurches in slow motion, the vocals stretched out into incomprehensible shrieks and moans that float putridly*** over this abstract, nightmarish freeform soundscape, swells of brushed cymbals surging in the background amid monotonous drones and washes of grim guitar ambience. It's closer to Nurse With Wound or some way-out European minimalist improv than black metal, at least musically; the atmopshere is still thoroughly malevolent and hellish, and erupts into a cacophony of mangled blackened buzz and minor key guitar only in the very last minutes. I love this stuff - it's almost like a satanic take on AMM's formless improv - but those looking for anything resembling black metal will not find it here.
On their own putrid blast, "Punition Divine", Sektarism counter with one of their shambling, repetitious garage-doom rituals, pounding out a miserable two-chord riff in slow motion for long stretches of time, fronted by the singer's frantic, angushed vocals. Over the course of the twenty minute track, this deathrite procession breaks up into surges of demented noisiness and improvised heaviness, formless riffing and shrieking feedback, scraped guitar strings echoing through a haze of effects, but always returns to that central dirge. Grimy and psychedelic, it's a little more polished than the previous Sektarism releases I've picked up, but this is still ugly, fucked-up music, inhabiting a similar realm as hypno-creeps Aluk Todolo but with a much more narco-damaged, filth-encrusted sound.

DEAD REPTILE SHRINE   Isth Narai Ja   CASSETTE   (Antihumanism)    5.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Deathstar Antenna
Sample : The Spirit Catcher (Aaveen Pyydystys Kellarissa)
Sample : A My Ancient Underworld Throne

DEADLY ORGONE RADIATION   Power Trips   CD   (Copepod)    13.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Time Funeral (Bury The Hero)
Sample : Strictly The Spike
Sample : Nexus Of Entitlement

DEATH'S HEAD QUARTET, THE   self-titled   CD   (Opposite)    11.98

DECOMPOSED   Hope Finally Died   CD   (Candlelight)    12.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Procession
Sample : Inscriptions
Sample : Falling Apart

DEIPHAGO   Into The Eye Of Satan   CASSETTE   (Hells Headbangers)    8.98

     Now available on limited-edition cassette.
     I expected chaos with the new Deiphago album, but what they unleash here turned out to be another level of bestial weirdness. These Filipino black/death warmongers have been detonating their blasts of Satanic hate since the late 1980s, but Deiphago's latest Into The Eye Of Satan delivers a seemingly newfound level of aural ear-hate and outr blastcraft. The guitar playing alone is totally insane, an assault of extreme atonal shred that makes one wonder if Deiphago axebeast Sidapa had been guzzling large quantities of Last Exit and Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects during the writing process. It's not like this feels self-consciously avant-garde, though; the fucked-up, hyper-violent atonality of the solos and fractured, weirdly warped nature of the riffs churning and gnashing through Eye are all in service to an atmosphere of hellish violence. In the past, Deiphago have been derided by some for being too chaotic and seemingly unstructured, but it's that reckless, turbulent quality that makes this stuff sound so unique. "Psychedelic" isn't a word I often when describing this kind of black/death metal, but it definitely applies to Deiphago's swarming, delay-drenched bestial blast.
     On their latest, Deiphago remain rooted in that classic Conqueror-influenced war metal sound while pushing their barbaric sound into stranger extremes. That they enlisted Colin Marston from Gorguts / Behold The Arctopus / Krallice to produce the album is telling, as this propels Deiphago's sound into more abstract, angular territory. The album enters their killzone on a wave of imperious orchestral murk and snarling black noise, then proceeds to unleash a violent assault of total noise metal. In some ways akin to Teitenblood's latest, this is bestial black/death metal pushed into utterly cacophonic madness, a grindcore-style blur of hyperspeed blastbeats and pummeling war-toms hurtling beneath a maelstrom of hopelessly angular riffage and full-blown atonal noise, but with more emphasis on sculpting monstrous riffs out of that churning black chaos. That awesome, twisted dissonant guitarwork really adds to the unusual feel of this stuff; when you hear the sweeping waves of spaced-out skronk and almost jazz-like shredding that flies across these nine tracks, and the overload of rhythmic weirdness that continues to unravel with each song, it's clearly a new level of madness that Deiphago is exploring here. There are moments like "Bloodbath Of Genocide" where the violent blasting falls back and it sounds as if the guitarist is attempting to wrangle a mutated classic rock-style riff out of his instrument, then suddenly everything erupts into an almost Gorgutsian assault of atonal shred. A few riffs even seem to mimic the sounds of doom-laden orchestral string sections, lending moments of oppressive, desolate ambiance glimpsed briefly in the band's cyclonic deathnoise attack. Other tracks like the suffocating Red Dragon of Chaos become saturated with cosmic synth-like noise, giving the song an almost industrial vibe.
     It's only with the very last song, "Into The Eye Of Satan", that Deiphago slow down into something approaching a "groove", a monstrous, sludgy, dundering caveman riff that is quickly sucked back up into the tornadic chaos, flayed by another savage shot of ultra-atonal, unmusical skronk-shred that resembles a demonic Sonny Sharrock, and ending with an abrupt blast of sinister, clanging metallic noise and garbled voices tangled in atonal violin-like skree, like the sound of some monstrous sepulchral door slamming shut, leaving the listener entombed in absolute blackness. Definitely one of the most intense blackened death metal albums to show up this year, thanks to the wealth of whacked-out, gonzo riffs and the sheer weirdness of Deiphago's sonic assault.
Track Samples:
Sample : Red Dragon Of Chaos
Sample : Into The Eye Of Satan
Sample : Bloodbath Of Genocide

DEIPHAGO   Satan Alpha Omega   CASSETTE   (Behold Barbarity)    7.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Satanmongers
Sample : Outro
Sample : Human Race Absolute End
Sample : Demonic Munitions

DEIPHAGO   Satan Alpha Omega   CD   (Hells Headbangers)    11.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Satanmongers
Sample : Outro
Sample : Human Race Absolute End
Sample : Demonic Munitions

DEIPHAGO   Satan Alpha Omega (BEER COLORED VINYL)   LP   (Hells Headbangers)    21.00

Track Samples:
Sample : Satanmongers
Sample : Outro
Sample : Human Race Absolute End
Sample : Demonic Munitions

DIMESLAND   Psychogenic Atrophy   CD   (Crucial Blast)    9.98

     Appearing at the end of 2014 as a digital-only, self-released title, DIMESLANDs Psychogenic Atrophy was met with little fanfare, yet made an immediate and powerful impression upon those who heard it. Described by Invisible Oranges as a "sonic nightmare of thrash...that blends instrumental ability with the progressive stabs of Dimension Hatross-era Voivod..." and landing on numerous end-of-year best-of lists, Psychogenic Atrophy flattened just about everyone who encountered it.
     With members of art rock legends The Residents' touring band and blackened prog-doom ensemble Wild Hunt amongst their ranks, DIMESLAND released the promising Creepmoon EP a couple of years prior on Vendlus, but even that only hinted at just how maniacal the band's sound was to become. The eight songs featured here combine dizzying musical complexity and fearsome dissonance with a sort of off-kilter thrash. The confounding and complicated arrangements and demented riffing recall the likes of Watchtower, Coroner and Atheist, but this is darker, weightier, more sinister stuff, the band hurtling through the jagged arrangements of songs like "Institutional Gears" and "Xenolith" with an almost No Wave-informed abrasiveness, but also frequently sprawling out into well-crafted sequences of abstract, unearthly ambience and forbidding, hallucinatory industrial noisescapes. Frantically barked vocals are employed judiciously, allowing the band to weave long stretches of instrumental mayhem. Violent, discordant riffs are folded around psychotic time signature changes, then suddenly expand into passages of moody, doom-laden darkness. Cyclical rhythms churn beneath waves of dense, alien sound, and spastic skronk-assaults suddenly swerve into vicious angular thrash. And these guys have some serious chops. Psychogenic Atrophy's brutality is sharpened by their technical precision and prowess and driven by utterly frenetic drumming. But it's also a heavily layered album, each listen revealing added details and degrees of delirium. Intense stuff for sure, with an unsettling, nightmarish atmosphere that makes this album stand out further amongst the progressive metal horde.There is a surreal, ever-present malevolence lurking under the surface of these songs.
     An in-house favorite release of 2014, Crucial Blast was so blown away by this album that the label wanted to make it available as a physical release, reissuing Psychogenic Atrophy on CD in digipack packaging that features subtly unnerving cover art from Swiss photographer and performance artist Chantal Michel. Can't be recommended enough if you're a fan of avant-garde death metal and progressive thrash, as DIMESLAND have produced a work of challenging, terrifying extreme metal that stands amongst the more unconventional likes of Gorguts, Cynic, Confessor, and Voivod.
Track Samples:
Sample : Xenolith
Sample : Are They Cannibals?
Sample : Odd Feats Are Bid and Won

DISCLOSE   Tragedy   LP   (La Vida Es Un Mus)    24.98

Track Samples:
Sample : The End Of Blood
Sample : Indiscriminately Kill
Sample : Dying Of Disease

DISCLOSE   Yesterday's Fairytale, Tomorrow's Nightmare   LP   (La Vida Es Un Mus)    23.98

FAITH NO MORE   Superhero   7" VINYL   (Ipecac)    7.50

FERETRUM   From Far Beyond   CD   (Memento Mori)    11.98

FERETRUM   From Far Beyond   LP   (Black Mass)    16.98

FIER, LUBO   Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders   CD   (Finders Keepers / B-Music)    13.98

Track Samples:
Sample : The Sermon
Sample : Sacrifice
Sample : Dense Smoke
Sample : And the Last

FUNERAL MOTH   Dense Fog   2 x LP   (Throne)    31.99

     Now available as a double LP on black vinyl in gatefold packaging from Spanish label Throne Records, issued in a limited edition of two hundred copies.
     These Japanese funeral doom crushers are finally back, returning with their debut full length album six years after their previous eponymous EP that I raved about back when it was released. Issued via Japanese label Weird Truth Productions alongside the likes of extreme doom elites like Ataraxie, Indesinence, Mournful Congregation, Worship, Imindain and Funeralium, the four-song slab Dense Fog delivers crushing, meditative doom from these former members of deathsludge titans Coffins and cult black metallers Deathchurch, each track an ode to self-immolation set to immense time-freezing heaviness that moves in glacial drifts across the album.
     The three main songs that make up Dense Fog are obviously rooted in that classic funereal doom aesthetic, drawing from the classic sounds of Skepticism and Therogthon as the band lays down these titanic glacial dirges that crawl across the album at agonizingly torturous tempos, but they do bring some unique touches of their own to this sound. The music has a grim beauty to it, the colossal riffs often shaping themselves into a cold, funerary grandeur, the drooling, caveman growls countering that stately heaviness with feral, abject horror that almost suggests the presence of some mad Shinto monk grunting and groaning over the rumbling slow-mo chords and syrupy drumming. There's also quite a bit of a slowcore influence that seeps into the more subdued moments on the album, long stretches where the heaviness suddenly falls away and we're left with just the sound of a rumbling bass guitar and chiming minor key chords slowly drifting through the darkness, the drummer reduced to a super-minimal backbeat as the sound shifts into something much more akin to the spare, wintry gloom of Codeine; the title track, the shortest song on here at just under four minutes, is a purely instrumental example of that icy, fog-enshrouded funerary slowcore. Those shimmering guitar textures creep all over the album though, right into the almost Badalamenti-like atmosphere that hangs over portions of the monstrous closing track "Jigai - Kill Yourself", and there's a guest appearance from Mournful Congregation guitarist Justin Hartwig, where he contributes a stunning guitar solo at the end of opener "Blindness" that really yanks at your heartstrings. Indeed, anyone into the funerary majesty of Mournful Congregation should check this out, as well as fans of the heavily atmospheric massiveness of Corrupted and the general vibe of the Weird Truth roster.
Track Samples:
Sample : kill yourself
Sample : dense fog
Sample : blindness

GOATSNAKE   I + Dog Days (GOLD VINYL)   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    24.00

     Once again in print on vinyl, this time as a new 2015 edition on gold vinyl.
     Goatsnake are another one of those bands that in my mind should have been hugely popular. The L.A. doom rockers released two consecutive albums that in my opinion rank as some of the best doom records of the past twenty years, their debut I and the monumental second album Flower Of Disease. Combining a classic doom sound with singer Pete Stahl's soaring, soulful vocals (which sound vaguely like those of Cult front man Ian Astbury) and an uncanny songwriting prowess (seriously, these guys wrote songs that were so catchy that they could have easily have landed on the radio if weren't for the fact that they're so goddamn crushing), Goatsnake seemed like they could have totally taken over, but instead, the band broke up briefly, just as their label Man's Ruin was in it's death-throes, and both albums quickly slipped out of print for some time. Now that the band has reunited with it's original lineup and become an active concern once again, we're finally seeing the back catalog being reissued through Southern Lord on both CD and vinyl, one of the latest being a deluxe 180 gram vinyl re-ish of the compilation I + Dog Days, which combines Goatsnake's surly debut album with the Dog Days Ep on a double platter set with two unreleased tracks and full liner notes from the band.
     When Man's Ruin originally released I, it was as solid a debut as you could ask for. The band featured seasoned vets of the doom and hardcore scene (Guy Pinhas and Greg Rogers of The Obsessed, Pete Stahl from Wool and Scream, and Greg Anderson from Engine Kid, Sunn O))), Thorr's Hammer and Brotherhood), and they crafted a brand of driving, catchy doom that could shift in an instant between extreme downer sludge and rocking, anthemic power. Their sound was equal parts Saint Vitus and The Cult, Melvins and Alice In Chains and Black Sabbath, and yet it sounded incredibly fresh to me when this came out, due to how catchy their songwriting was. Greg Anderson's distinctive wailing, biting blues solos were a signature element, as was Pete Stahl's soulful croon, and the skull-cracking rhythm section gave Goatsnake a fearsome undertow. The album starts strong with opener "Slippin' The Stealth", a driving rocker that leads into the oily, harmonica-slathered Sab-groove of "Innocent". Those first two songs are seriously catchy, but then "What Love Remains" comes in and shifts the album into pure doom, a stomping saurian trudge, a dismal morose plod through abject lovesickness, winding up bit by bit until the band finally explodes into a faster rocking groove, one of their most devastating riffs ever. Next is the sledgehammer blooze-doom march of "IV", and the punishing Vitus-style crusher "Mower", it's lopsided doom metal shifting into pure biker rock, and the bizarre Melvins-esque "Dog Catcher", which in fact features some fucked up post-production tweaking by Buzz from the Melvins. The coolly sinister "Lord Of Los Feliz" is next, and then the delirious fist-pumping "Trower" that ends the album, which segues from a massive doom rock groove into lush strings from guest musician Petra Haden (That Dog) and layered ululating male/female vocals, a stunning chamber music interlude that eventually fades back into stomping doom.
     The Dog Days Ep that is included here came out about a year later, just prior to their follow-up album Flower Of Disease. A collection of covers and originals, Dog Days feels more doomed and darker and slower than the first album, opening with the somber, crawling dread of "The Orphan", breaking into the short upbeat rocker "Long Gone", and then sinking into a gluey haze with their supremely soulful and syrupy rendition of Free's "Heartbreaker", with some rich Hammond organ coating the chorus. Then comes the devastating centerpiece of the Ep, the nearly eight minute monstrous crush of "Raw Curtains", originally from their split with Burning Witch on Hydra Head, and probably the heaviest goddamn song this band ever recorded, a chugging behemoth of evil down tuned doom with Stahl cooing wordlessly high overhead. Then it's on to "Man Of Light", another catchy soulful rocker that originally appeared on a 7" on Warpburner back in 1998, followed by an elephantine, spaced out cover of Sabbath's "Who Are You" which again features Petra Haden contributing some sorrowful cello/violin alongside some seriously gooey Hawkwind style cosmic effects and rumbling drones. The side closes with the bonus track "Knuckleduster", the b-side to the Warpburner 7", appearing here for the first time since that 7" went out of print in the late 90's.
     The double Lp version of I + Dog Days is another gorgeous heavyweight gatefold package from Southern Lord, printed in black and metallic gold with simple, Satanic artwork that fits this doom metal monolith perfectly. Highly recommended.

GOATSNAKE   Flower Of Disease (RED VINYL)   LP   (Southern Lord)    19.98

     Once again in print on vinyl, this time as a new 2015 edition on red vinyl.
     Goatsnake are another one of those bands that in my mind should have been hugely popular. The L.A. doom rockers released two consecutive albums that in my opinion rank as some of the best doom records of the past twenty years, their debut I and the monumental second album Flower Of Disease. Combining a classic doom sound with singer Pete Stahl's soaring, soulful vocals (which sound vaguely like those of Cult front man Ian Astbury) and an uncanny songwriting prowess (seriously, these guys wrote songs that were so catchy that they could have easily have landed on the radio if weren't for the fact that they're so goddamn crushing), Goatsnake seemed like they could have totally taken over, but instead, the band broke up briefly, just as their label Man's Ruin was in it's death-throes, and both albums quickly slipped out of print for some time. Now that the band has reunited with it's original lineup and become an active concern once again, we're finally seeing the back catalog being reissued through Southern Lord on both cd and vinyl, the latest being a vinyl and cd re-ish of their second album Flower Of Disease from 2000.
     With the Dog Days Ep that came out shortly before the release of their second album, Goatsnake seemed to be getting darker and slower, and this album is definitely the band at their darkest, a perfect mix of Saint Vitus and Kyuss, The Cult meets sinister biker doom, with heavier songs, slower tempos, and overall a much more "doomed" vibe than ever before. From the crushing, laid-back doom of opener "Flower of Disease" to the chugging soul-sludge of "Prayer for a Dying", the band still delivered the monster grooves, the guitars tuned low, the drumming and pace ponderous, the production crystal clear and powerful. Stahl's vocals still shine, giving the band their trademark rock feel with his unique, soulful delivery, and the songwriting is top notch, with songs like "Easy Greasy" kicking in all drunk and summer-wasted before it tumbles over the abyss into crushing doom, and "A Truckload of Mamma's Muffins" delivering one of Goatsnake's finest slabs of salty, swaggering, saurian blooze-rawk. All of the songs crush, though, from the rocking "El Coyote" and "Live to Die" to the grim crawling doom of "The Dealer" and the impassioned eight minute closer "The River", and they often bring out some sounds and instrumentation that you might not expect from a doom metal album like this, like the almost R&B style backing vocal harmonies, and the harmonica, lap steel, jaw harp, piano and chamber strings that all appear throughout Flower Of Disease. A now-classic slab of California doom, essential for anyone into the slow and low. Long out of print after the original label Man's Ruin shut down almost immediately after it's release, Flower Of Disease is at long last once again in print on both cd and vinyl from Southern Lord.
Track Samples:
Sample : Flower of Disease
Sample : Live to Die
Sample : Prayer for a Dying

GOVERNMENT ALPHA   Seventh Continent   CD   (Dotsmark)    12.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Stupefaction
Sample : Rite Of Passage
Sample : Necromancy

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR   Oi Magoi   LP   (Code666)    22.98

     Now available on limited-edition vinyl in gatefold packaging with new, stunning artwork, limited to four hundred copies, and comes with an equally eye-popping poster.
     Hail Spirit Noir's follow-up to their dizzying 2012 debut Pneuma sees the Greek band moving even further from their black metal roots and ever closer to the creeped-out prog territory that they have always been in thrall to, but fans of the Satanic savagery that infected their previous recordings need not fear, this is still plenty heavy and plenty sinister.
     When opener "Blood Guru" kicks in, it almost sounds like some infernal blackened version of Goblin, jazzy percussion and odd time signatures combining with eerie vibraphone-like melodies and gusts of ghoulish Hammond organ, building into an ecstasy of grim, gothic prog rock; when the song suddenly shifts gears around the halfway point into a slower, more doom-laden sound with those organ-style keyboards surging up out of the background and the reverb-soaked guitars weaving their eerie minor key magic, it marks a striking new direction from the band. You'll still find some of the band's withered black thrash on tracks like "Demon For A Day", though, which moves deliriously from more of that creepy heavy prog rock into weird chortling flute-like melodies and parts that sound like an old traditional folk-jig, before suddenly getting whipped up into a blast of gnarled thrash riffs and pummeling double bass. There's also the ramshackle black metal that shows up on "Satyriko Orgio (Satyrs' Orgy)", one of the album's most ferocious tracks, a nightmarish mess of angular necro-thrash and off-kilter drumming that ends up turning into something completely zonked-out by the end, as the drummer suddenly shifts into jazzy percussive patterns amid the sounds of distant singing and sumptuous analogue synthesizers.
     Things get good and Gobliny again on the epic "The Mermaid", which has quickly become my favorite Hail Spirit Noir song to date; starting off with some wonderfully eerie Simonetti-styled synth that circles around the rhythm section's laid-back pulse, this song soon shifts into something much more deranged, combining their sinister heavy prog with bursts of heavy metal gallop and swirling psych guitars, kicking into one of the catchiest hooks on the album. Other tracks offer haunting occult rock balladry like the Black Widow-esque "Satan Is Time" and the blazing blackened psych of "Hunters" with its imminently hummable chorus, and the title track that closes the album is possibly the most evil-sounding track of all; as the singer's ghoulish chant-like singing drifts over the droning blackened guitars, "Oi Magoi" slowly transforms into something profane and propulsive, a phantasmic blast of infectious graveyard prog that closes the album not with a bang, but with a fiendish whisper. The ghosts of 70's era prog rock populate all corners of Oi Magoi, but this is so much better than all of that retro-occult rock dreck that has been plaguing us lately, thanks to Hail Spirit Noir's latent black metal tendencies. Very highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Satan Is Time
Sample : Oi Magoi [The Magicians]
Sample : Blood Grvr

HARRISON, JOHN   Creepshow (PURPLE VINYL)   LP   (Waxwork)    29.99

Newly repressed on purple vinyl for a new 2015 edition of the score to this classic early 80's horror anthology Creepshow. It certainly put Waxwork on the map as far as I was concerned, one of the most eye-popping LPs on the label, resurrecting John Harrison's fantastical score in a visually stunning package with bold, colorful artwork and a killer jacket design. But just having this music available again after being out of print for years was cause enough for joy. One of two scores Harrison created for George Romero (the other being 1985's Day Of The Dead), Creepshow is both whimsical and malevolent, in keeping with the film's humorously twisted homage to the classic EC horror comics of the 1950s. Harrison created unique cues for each story in the anthology, and combined classical and Gothic elements with a very 80's electronic undercurrent to capture the nostalgic feel of those vintage horror comics.
The score is a mixture of sinister synthesizer and piano pieces, creepy music-box orchestrations and ominous Moog drones, the movie's eerie main theme imbued with a Gothic flair that is somewhat comparable to some of Danny Elfman's darker stuff. In particular, the main theme and closing piece "Until Next Time" really reminiscent of Elfman's theme for the Tales From The Crypt television series, which was still years away from production. The score is fleshed out with numerous short pieces that move from dissonant minimal synth textures to the amusingly romantic piano arrangements for "Something To Tide You Over", washes of warped kosmische glow and pulses of almost Carpenterian menace, strains of funerary organ and keening high-end synth melodies; you can hear echoes of the kind of spacey synth that Tangerine Dream and Vangelis were infusing their soundtracks with, but there's also a lot of textural nods to the creepy soundtracks of Golden Era television as well, and Harrison incorporated primitive electronic effects to achieve some of these throwback sounds. It's all primarily keyboard based, using a variety of piano, electronic and organ tones, laced with some key sound effects from the film. For many, the most disturbing part of the soundtrack is the music for the infamous roach-swarm horror of "They're Creeping Up On You", which consists of the score's most abstract material, a series of atonal electronic pieces that were a perfect accompaniment for the story's grotesque scenes of an insectile invasion of the most intimate kind. A genuinely classic 80's horror score.
The album features extensive liner notes from Harrison and director George Romero, pressed on 180 gram vinyl and housed in a gorgeous heavyweight casewrapped jacket that features stunning new artwork from Gary Pullin, with printed inserts bound book-style into the jacket that feature extensive liner notes, artwork and production stills, and a satin-coated 12" by 12" art print commissioned exclusively for this release.

HORRENDOUS   Ecdysis   CASSETTE   (Dark Descent)    5.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Titan
Sample : Nepenthe
Sample : When The Walls Fell

HORRENDOUS   Ecdysis   CD   (Dark Descent)    10.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Titan
Sample : Nepenthe
Sample : When The Walls Fell

HORRENDOUS   Ecdysis   LP   (Dark Descent)    15.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Titan
Sample : Nepenthe
Sample : When The Walls Fell

IDRE   self-titled   CDR   (Dust House)    11.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Witch Trial
Sample : Factorie

INTOLITARIAN   Omnicidal Murderer   CASSETTE   (Deathangle Absolution)    9.50

Track Samples:
Sample : Omnicidal Murderer

INTOLITARIAN   Deathangle Absolution   CASSETTE   (Behold Barbarity)    7.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Transmission 8
Sample : Transmission 4
Sample : Transmission 1

INTOLITARIAN   Deathangle Absolution   CD   (Deathangle Absolution)    10.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Transmission 8
Sample : Transmission 4
Sample : Transmission 1

KOMMANDANT   Kontakt   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    7.99

KRIEG   Isolation / Transmission (ORANGE VINYL)   7" VINYL   (Init)    4.99

LAW OF THE ROPE   The Book of Three   CDR   (Faunasabbatha)    9.99

      Astoundingly, the restock of this long out of print title that we had been waiting on to arrive here for years just recently appeared in the Blast Box. Once the handful of copies we received are gone, though, that's the absolute last of 'em...
     Law Of The Rope's insane low-fi black metal weirdness comes to us via the Faunasabbatha imprint, and actually came out quite a while ago, though it's being listed here for the first time after I dug out a small batch of these discs from within the bowels of the C-Blast warehouse. I know very little about this band aside from the following: the band is from southern California and consists of three members named Beatrix Opression, Legin Opression, and Nadine Opression on "vokils", "stringed & machinery" and "funeral pianos", respectively, and these members may or may not also be from the LA art-punk band Mika Miko. Oh, and there's a serious infatuation with occultist Aleister Crowley in their imagery. Regardless of who's behind this, this is just the sort of raw, lo-fi black metal weirdness that I am obsessed with, a murky black fog of downcast Burzum-influenced BM, crazed shrieking chaos reminiscent of early Fleurety, and heavy doses of industrial black noize-metal. The title track offers a creepy, evocative introduction in the form of baroque piano cascading slowly across a sheet of obsidian drift and black arctic winds laced with soft swells of distorted keys and subliminal sounds. But then "Chapter I" comes in with a halting, martial drumbeat and distant blackened metallic chug and white-noise tremolo riffing while a mix of guttural chants and unintelligible high-pitched shrieks are blown out through a haze of distortion. It moves between a crushing, death metal chug and smears of washed out blackened mosquito-blur, then changes into a depressing dirge that gets even noisier and more chaotic as it goes on. Those high pitched vocals are fucking insane, as crazed and ear-puncturing as those on the early Fleurety demos, and add a lot to the overall bizarre feel of this album.
     The subsequent tracks move from equally blown and noisy bursts of low-fi black swarm with simple, hypnotic riffing and chaotic buried drums, downshifting into ratty, fist-pumping necropunk breakdowns, midtempo rippers that bury a two-chord Discharge riff under carcinogenic amp hiss, and shift into shambling, psychotic dirges swathed in hiss and ripped speakers, and blasted doomscapes of downtuned slo mo riff and rumbling industrial machinery. By the time you crawl to the end of Book Of Three, you are surrounded by anguished shrieks and clouds of black corpse-flies at the gaping maw of Hell, and then plunge into a howling pit of black noise filled with orchestral rumblings and blighted winds, kicking into another shrieking black dirge before morphing into pure black noise a la Nekrasov. At the very end of this, the music returns to that doleful, miserable piano melody from the beginning which now finds itself lost in a blizzard of amp noise and gasping witch-shrieks. Intense stuff for fans of Nekrasov, Abruptum, Wormsblood, etc. The disc comes in an oversized cardstock sleeve, and is limited to seventy-three copies.

LEGION OF ANDROMEDA   Iron Scorn   CD   (Crucial Blast)    9.98

     Utterly addictive, atom-crushing bestial heaviness. When it comes to slavering, war-mongering heaviosity and flesh-destroying death metal barbarism, let me tell you that nothing I've heard this year has fucked me up as much as the debut album from Legion Of Andromeda. Diabolical in its minimalist approach, the new album from Tokyo-based duo Legion Of Andromeda wormed its way deep into my brain upon first hearing it (thanks to a recommendation from fellow Maryland label Unholy Anarchy), unleashing a grinding nightmare of violent, industrial doomdeath rooted in a barbaric simplicity, moving in endlessly cyclical percussive patterns. It makes perfect sense that the band enlisted none other than Steve Albini to record this album, as the monolithic percussive pummel of Big Black is an admitted influence on Legion's sound. Iron Scorn was first released on vinyl by the aforementioned Unholy Anarchy, with At War With False Noise handling the European release, but I got so goddamn hooked on this thing that we're doing a CD release through Crucial Blast to further the blast radius of this immense debut.
     Iron Scorn has a strange effect upon certain listeners, myself included. As opener "Transuranic Ejaculation" bellows across the beginning of Scorn, the band's combination of primitive bone-crushing riffage and minimal, mechanical tempo might seem overly simplistic, even monotonous. Each song centers around little more than a pair of interchanging riffs that circle endlessly over an unfluctuating mid-paced drumbeat that rarely deviates from a simple combination of metronomic crash cymbal and rumbling double bass. Keep listening, though, and Legion Of Andromeda's atavistic heaviness starts to reveal a perversely hypnotic quality, the brutal repetition and savage cyclical flow of these seven tracks turning into surprisingly infectious blasts of concussive doomdeath. The riffs shift between droning heaviosity and abrasive dissonance, without ever diminishing the sheer skull-flattening density; sure, the pummeling violence of tracks like "Transuranic Ejaculation" and "Fist Of Hammurabi" is undeniably monotonous, but that monotony is both deliberate and crucial to the band's sadistic, sickening assault, each song sculpted into an interlocking flesh-rending horror of gnashing steel teeth and machine-driven hypnosis and rabid violence. Next thing you know, you're hooked. You can't stop listening to it. An endless mecha-death trance that burrows like some slavering cyborg worm through your brain. And it's topped off with repulsively bestial vocals that frequently devolve into psychotic gibberish or rabid snarling vocalizations, as if you're hearing the singer devolve, Altered States-style, right before your eyes. Those fucked-up vocals definitely bring an added unhinged vibe to this rigid, skull-flattened dronedeath assault.
     Legion Of Andromeda have hacked out a uniquely vicious sound, and shares as much disgusting DNA with the clanking ugliness of early Swans and the grinding industrial metal of bands like Dead World, Skin Chamber and Streetcleaner-era Godflesh as it does with the putrescent doom/death of Autopsy, Cianide and Asphyx, brilliantly fusing the devastating down-tuned chug of the latter to the repetitive, belt-driven clangor of the former. Each monstrous track churns through the black cosmos like a mechanical warbeast comprised of gnashing teeth and interlocking gears, terrifying and trance-inducing, with equal nods to the most depraved strains of industrial metal and the most primitive depths of black/death violence. And oh god, I can't stop listening to it.
     The CD version comes in a gatefold jacket with printed innersleeve that replicates the design of the original LP release.
Track Samples:
Sample : Cosmo Hammer
Sample : Transuranic Ejaculation
Sample : Fist Of Hammurabi
Sample : Scourge Of Pestilence

MARE   self-titled (BLUE / WHITE VINYL)   LP   (Translation Loss)    16.98

Still sought after by many fans of contempo avant-metal, Mare's sole release from around a decade ago is once again back in stock here at C-Bast; here's the old review of this record from when we originally listed it years ago:
This limited edition LP version of Mare's debut EP was released by Translation Loss last year, but amazingly it's still in print and we've finally gotten around to stocking this gorgeous, full color gatefold edition pressed on swirly blue vinyl.
Mare wasn't around for long. They came out of nowhere in 2004 with this four-song, 25 minute mini-album that was one of my favorite releases for the year, and then broke up about two years later without putting out anything else. I was heartbroken when they announced that Mare was kaput, as I had been desperately waiting for a full length from the band, having worn out my copy of the EP on disc. But these four songs are still breathtaking whenever I throw them on, a spellbinding sort of ethereal avant-metal, with sudden angular riffs as crushing as anything from Isis or Neurosis, but which appear alongside these immensely beautiful passages of somber post-rock beauty closer to Sigur Ros than anything else, blips of darkly luminescent jazz, bursts of devastating, floor-caving doom/sludge riffs, gorgeous 20th century choral music, crushing mutant metalcore. But what really make these songs so magical to me is the voice of Tyler Semrick-Palmateer, who had previously been the frontman for Relapse tech-metallers The End. You've got to hear his vocal harmonies on this, they're stunningly beautiful harmonies that have been likened to the sort of lush vocals that the Beach Boys perfected, if you can imagine it. When those heavenly multi-part vocal harmonies glide seamlessly into a monstrous slo-mo doom riff that opens up like a sinkhole, the effect is riveting.

MORGUE   Eroded Thoughts   CD   (Dark Descent)    10.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Severe Psychopathology
Sample : Plagued Birth
Sample : Eroded Thoughts

MHR / MAEROR TRI   Hafenstadt   CD   (Auf Abwegen)    13.98

Track Samples:
Sample : MHR - Hafenstadt
Sample : MAEROR TRI - Tidal Waves Of Oblivion
Sample : MAEROR TRI - Hypnotic Quakes

NIGHT BITCH   self-titled   10" VINYL   (Ajna Offensive)    15.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Caged Heat
Sample : Twelve And One
Sample : Cities On Flame

N PWER   Distort   7" VINYL   (N Pwer Records)    6.50

NOOTHGRUSH   Erode The Person Anthology 1997-1998   CD   (Throne)    12.98

     A recent reissue of this excellent compilation from sludge titans Noothrush, now available in digipack packaging with a twelve-page booklet. Here's what we had to say about the previous, now out-of-print version:
     The companion to the now out-of-print Failing Early, Failing Often collection on Slap-A-Ham, Noothgrush's Erode The Person is the second volume of odds and ends from the legendary Bay Area sludge outfit. Noothgrush never seemed to get the same love that other extreme slo-mo bands from the same era did (Corrupted, Burning Witch, and Grief, for instance), even though Noothgrush was just as ridiculously heavy and devastating as any of 'em, their ultra-down-tuned riffs and absurdly slow and plodding tempos swimming in droning feedback and misanthropic lyrics that were unrivaled at the time. And then there was the Star Wars and Strawberry Shortcake imagery that Noothgrush would put in their songs and on their record covers, totally throwing powerviolence fans and grindcore 7" collectors for a loop, and predating the juxtaposition of cutesy images and bone-crushing heaviness that Monarch! has perfected. Their songs were jazzier and more complex than most of their peers, too, even as they crawled along glacially, sometimes incorporating a cello into their performance, or the swinging' time-stopping drumming of drummer Chiyo, a young woman who without question served up some of the heaviest beats of the decade. Few are heavier - Noothgrush's recordings are essential listening for fans of Corrupted, Eyehategod, Sunn O))), Bunkur, Monarch, Moss, Khanate, and all things slow and crushing.
     The disc was originally self-released by the band in a small run for sale on their 1999 US tour (I actually have a copy of that floating around here somewhere, wrapped up in a xerox paper sleeve) and went out of print immediately, but it's been resurrected by the French label Chimeres and Spain's Throne Records, and this is an essential addition to any sludge/doom metal freak's library. Compiled from various out-of-print 7"s and tour-only joints, Erode The Person contains the jams from their split 7"s with Wellington, Gasp, Carol Ann, the split 12" with Corrupted, the then-new material recorded for the tour CD, and several previously unreleased tracks that had been floating around from splits that never materialized. Utterly essential, comes with a big 12 page booklet filled with EP cover art, lyrics, liner notes and more.

OIKOS   Solve Et Coagvla   CASSETTE   (Land Of Decay)    5.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Solve
Sample : Omniscience
Sample : Coagvla

PALLBEARER   Sorrow And Extinction (PURPLE/BLUE MERGE)   2 x LP   (20 Buck Spin)    27.00

     The latest colored vinyl edition of this huge underground metal hit, here available as a 2015 "purple/blue merge" variant, limited as usual...
     A lot of ears were turned on to the Alabama-based doom metal band Pallbearer back in 2010 when the band released their demo, a three-song dose of epic doom that included a cover of "Szomor vasrnap" ("Gloomy Sunday") by Hungarian composer Rezso Seress. That demo had people comparing Pallbearer to such titans of epic doom as Candlemass and Warning, and the praise was well-deserved; Pallbearer were capable of crafting immensely heavy music with catchy, moving hooks and amazing vocal melodies and displayed incredible songwriting chops. Everyone who loved that demo had been anxiously awaiting their first album, and Sorrow And Extinction lived up to all of the expectations and then some, appearing earlier this year on Profound Lore and delivering one of the best doom metal experiences in recent memory.
     When the album opens, we are greeted by softly strummed acoustic guitar that creaks and scrapes beneath the fingers of the player, a sorrowful and fragile melody that feels almost funereal even as a bluesy twang enters into it, but when the full band finally drops in after a few minutes, you're blown back by the force of their majestic slow-mo metal. That first song "Foreigner" sets up the feel of the rest of the album, presenting a traditional doom metal sound with a unique melodic style that'll stick these songs in your skull for a quite awhile. The likes of Candlemass, Warning and Solitude Aeturnus are clearly an influence on Pallbearer's brand of doom, but the vocal melodies and hooks sound totally unique in the hands of frontman Brett Campbell, whose voice is a perfect mix of soulful emotion and dourness, drifting over Pallbearer's tectonic metal using multi-part harmonies to add a powerful, almost anthemic feel to their choruses. There's a couple of spots on that first song where they sound like a doom-metal version of a Kansas song, and it's pretty goddamn fantastic. No slouching on the heaviness, either; the riffs on this album are armored in lead, massive molten Sabbathian hooks crushing everything underfoot, with just the right amount of "swing" without taking anything away from the mournful, terminally downcast vibe of their music.
     These guys are continuously compared to Yob due to the distinctive vocals and the sheer skull-caving heaviness, but Pallbearer sounds much more "classical" than their labelmates, infecting their old-school approach with slight hints of progressive rock and funereal psychedelia to produce what might be rthe doom album of 2012. Highly recommended!
Track Samples:
Sample : Devoid of Redemption
Sample : The Legend
Sample : Given To the Grave

PERTURBATOR   Terror 404   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    30.00

    Now have the new vinyl editions of the three Perturbator albums on Blood Music, on black 180 gram vinyl in heavyweight gatefold jackets.
     An overdose of dark synthwave bliss. I've gotten completely hooked on the synthwave sound that's been growing over the past few years, but Perturbator is without a doubt my favorite. Makes sense that these reissues came out from Finnish label Blood Music, a label better known for releasing progressive and avant-garde metal works from the likes of Ihsahn, Sigh, Kauan and Whourkr; while this project is entirely electronic, its also some of the darkest synthwave out there, and has found mucho favor with the metal and dark industrial crowd. Like all synthwave, Perturbator (aka James Kent, son of the well-known British rock critic Nick Kent) heavily mines the world of classic 1980's-era electronic soundtracks and synthesizer music, drawing from the malevolent throb of classic Carpenter scores, the epic electronic orchestrations of Tangerine Dream, New Order's brooding synthpop, and the rich, glimmering ambience of Blade Runner-era Vangelis. But Kent synthesizes these influences better than just about anyone else I've been listening to, delivering these ominous, pulsating tracks with a heightened sense of dread and a more aggressive energy than most of his peers. Almost entirely instrumental, Perturbator albums will sometimes include a track or two of moody synthpop with guest vocals, but for the most part they play out like some amazing lost score to an obscure unearthed dystopian thriller from the mid-1980s, utterly captivating and an instant time-warp to the rain-drenched, neon-lit streets of my dreams.
     Originally released online in 2012, Terror 404 was the first album from Kent's Perturbator, an proudly wore its influences like a badge of honor. From the minimal black pulse of "Opening Credits" that echoed the feel of Carpenter's score for Halloween III, to the dark, dramatic synthwave that followed with tracks like "Terror 404", "Savage Streets" and "X-CaliBR8", Kent makes it clear exactly what kind of vibe he's trying to conjure here. And it works perfectly. Even this early on, Perturbator's menacing synthwave was some of the best stuff of its kind; it's not that hard to properly evoke a vintage 80's soundtrack feel, but Kent's songwriting and arrangements surpass much of what I've been hearing in the synthwave scene, skillfully building tension and bringing a narrative approach to how he constructs the album. He lays on the 80's video-sleaze nostalgia pretty thick compared to later works, with track titles like "John Holmes VHS Nightclub" and "Linnea Quigley Horror Workout", but that's fine with me, and he keeps the film samples to a bare minimum. The album features a guest appearance from fellow French synthwave producer Lueur Verte who contributes additional synths to the song "Mirage", and "Quigley" delivers a killer piece of New Order-esque pop. But for me, it's really all about those crushing, distorted doom-laden synths that rumble throughout the album's darker tracks, blasts of electronic malevolence situated among Perturbator's shadowy technoid rhythms and electro throwbacks. So great.
Track Samples:
Sample : X-Calibr8
Sample : Savage Streets
Sample : John Holmes VHS Nightclub

PERTURBATOR   Dangerous Days   CD   (Blood Music)    16.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Raw Power
Sample : Humans Are Such Easy Prey
Sample : Dangerous Days

PERTURBATOR   I Am The Night   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    30.00

    Now have the new vinyl editions of the three Perturbator albums on Blood Music, on black 180 gram vinyl in heavyweight gatefold jackets.
     An overdose of dark synthwave bliss. I've gotten completely hooked on the synthwave sound that's been growing over the past few years, but Perturbator is without a doubt my favorite. Makes sense that these reissues came out from Finnish label Blood Music, a label better known for releasing progressive and avant-garde metal works from the likes of Ihsahn, Sigh, Kauan and Whourkr; while this project is entirely electronic, its also some of the darkest synthwave out there, and has found mucho favor with the metal and dark industrial crowd. Like all synthwave, Perturbator (aka James Kent, son of the well-known British rock critic Nick Kent) heavily mines the world of classic 1980's-era electronic soundtracks and synthesizer music, drawing from the malevolent throb of classic Carpenter scores, the epic electronic orchestrations of Tangerine Dream, New Order's brooding synthpop, and the rich, glimmering ambience of Blade Runner-era Vangelis. But Kent synthesizes these influences better than just about anyone else I've been listening to, delivering these ominous, pulsating tracks with a heightened sense of dread and a more aggressive energy than most of his peers. Almost entirely instrumental, Perturbator albums will sometimes include a track or two of moody synthpop with guest vocals, but for the most part they play out like some amazing lost score to an obscure unearthed dystopian thriller from the mid-1980s, utterly captivating and an instant time-warp to the rain-drenched, neon-lit streets of my dreams.
     Perturbator's second album naturally saw the Parisian synthwave artist further focusing and tightening up his sound, while remaining firmly rooted in that vintage 80s synth-soundtrack aesthetic. And it's one of the best dark synthwave albums that's come out since this style of electronic retro-futurism became a "thing", certainly a high point in his already impressive and growing catalog of releases. I Am The Night continues to combine ominous Carpenter/Tangerine Dream-esque synths and sinister sweeping melodies with a relentless four-on-the-floor beat and the occasional film sample used to dramatic effect. Tracks like "Retrogenesis" and the utterly punishing "I Am The Night" are furious dance floor annihilators, delivering a darker and more malevolent vibe, with massive electro hooks and synths so distorted that they rattle your goddamn bass bins; there are moments on Night like the Noir Deco collaboration "Technoir" where the synths are so heavy that it almost feels like a heavy metal riff. Other tracks like "Eclipse" evoke the pulsating dread of Carpenter's score for The Thing, or slip into gleaming, almost jazzy ambience a la Vangelis on "Nexus Six / Interlude". And while most of the material is purely instrumental, there's always at least one track where guest vocalists are used, and here we get two of 'em; featuring the soulful, breathy singing of Memory Ghost's Isabella Goloversic, "Naked Tongues" is a stunning piece of moody synthpop, and later Greta Link provides the vocals for the equally great "Desire", and both make you wish we could get an entire of Perturbator music in this vein. Other tracks draw elements from chiptune music and hammering technoid throb, or drift thorough solemn, introspective synthscapes, but mostly this is pure, driving, black-clad synthwave, a perfect soundtrack to committing night crimes and dangerous heists, pursuing androids or engaging in open warfare with savage neon-painted street mutants. Once again, Kent's pounding, nocturnal electro creates a dramatic, dangerous atmosphere that's leagues beyond most of the stuff coming out from the current synthwave scene. Highly recommended if you're a fan of this sort of sinister retro-synthesizer stuff.
Track Samples:
Sample : Retrogenesis
Sample : I Am the Night
Sample : Technoir

PERTURBATOR   Dangerous Days   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    30.00

    Now have the new vinyl editions of the three Perturbator albums on Blood Music, on black 180 gram vinyl in heavyweight gatefold jackets.
     An overdose of dark synthwave bliss. I've gotten completely hooked on the synthwave sound that's been growing over the past few years, but Perturbator is without a doubt my favorite. Makes sense that these reissues came out from Finnish label Blood Music, a label better known for releasing progressive and avant-garde metal works from the likes of Ihsahn, Sigh, Kauan and Whourkr; while this project is entirely electronic, its also some of the darkest synthwave out there, and has found mucho favor with the metal and dark industrial crowd. Like all synthwave, Perturbator (aka James Kent, son of the well-known British rock critic Nick Kent) heavily mines the world of classic 1980's-era electronic soundtracks and synthesizer music, drawing from the malevolent throb of classic Carpenter scores, the epic electronic orchestrations of Tangerine Dream, New Order's brooding synthpop, and the rich, glimmering ambience of Blade Runner-era Vangelis. But Kent synthesizes these influences better than just about anyone else I've been listening to, delivering these ominous, pulsating tracks with a heightened sense of dread and a more aggressive energy than most of his peers. Almost entirely instrumental, Perturbator albums will sometimes include a track or two of moody synthpop with guest vocals, but for the most part they play out like some amazing lost score to an obscure unearthed dystopian thriller from the mid-1980s, utterly captivating and an instant time-warp to the rain-drenched, neon-lit streets of my dreams.

Track Samples:
Sample : Raw Power
Sample : Humans Are Such Easy Prey
Sample : Dangerous Days

PESTE NOIRE   L'Ordure L'tat Pur   CD   (La Mesnie Herlequin)    12.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Casse, Pches, Fractures Et Traditions
Sample : Sale Famine von Valfoutre
Sample : La Condi Hu

PISSGRAVE   Suicide Euphoria   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98

Track Samples:
Sample : The Second Sorrowful Mystery
Sample : Pain Enchantment
Sample : Blood Fog

PORTAL   Swarth (SWAMP GREEN VINYL)   2 x LP   (Hells Headbangers)    28.98

     Back in print on vinyl, available from Hells' Headbangers as a new 2015 double LP edition with an etched D-side, housed in a matte gatefold sleeve with a sixteen-page booklet.
     2009's Swarth was the third album from mysterious Australian weirdos Portal, the Brisbane-based band that by then had already inflamed the underground death metal throngs with their insane combination of convoluted, ultra-heavy deathwarp drenched in distortion and dissonance, and their whole bizarre image that included band members concealing themselves behind black hoods at all times, and a "frontman" called The Curator who teetered over the heads of his bandmates with a cuckoo clock where his head should be, or adorned with a pitch-black pope hat, or an insanely oversized crumpled witch's hat. Their ramshackle look alone was something out of a drug-induced fever dream, and only added to the surreal vibe that emanated from Portal's nearly incomprehensible interdimensional death metal.
     And when the band belched Swarth into the world, it saw them delivering a new gold standard for murky, tentacled death metal. From the garbled opening stains of the title track that quickly transforms into fractured blasting chaos, the album sucks their frenzied battery of backwards-moving blastbeats, ghastly wind-tunnel vocals and coarse, insanely discordant guitar noise into a wormhole of utterly alien death metal, revealing an even noisier edge than what we heard on their previous album. As before, the insectoid riffing takes the sort of atonal, bone-scraping No Wavey sound that Gorguts pioneered on Obscura and twists it into something even more slurred and nightmarish, blasts of guttural mosquitoswarm riffing and peals of piercing atonal chords slipping in and out of phase, skittering multi-limbed riffs becoming hopelessly tangled in their own flailing complexity, the soured, slippery slime of the guitars occasionally coalescing into a blast of blackened riffing on tracks like "Larvae" that feels like it causes a gravitational shift with its sudden cohesion. The sludgy, bone-rattling bass guitar detonates into arrhythmic blasts over the drummer's misshapen blastbeats and off-kilter, confusional anti-rhythms, while swells of metallic rumble and drone seethe below the instruments, monstrous reverberations seeping up out of the depths of Portal's mix. The eight songs that make up Swarth are terrifying blasts of gibbering inchoate horror that further entrench Portal's position as one of the most sickening and most abstract death metal mutations in existence. Can't recommend this enough to fans of extreme, avant-garde death. Features a revised layout for the cassette edition that includes new artwork from Industrie Chimre Noire.
Track Samples:
Sample : Writhen
Sample : Swarth
Sample : Illoomorpheme

PORTAL   Vexovoid (BLACK/BLUE MARBLED VINYL)   LP   (Profound Lore)    24.98

     Finaly back in print on vinyl in a new 2015 limited-edition repress, on 180 gram "swamp green" vinyl in a heavy reverseboard jacket with a thick printed inner sleeve.
     Vexovoid is the fourth album from Australian mutants Portal, a band that has continued to confound listeners with an idiosyncratic and otherworldly take on death metal that reached a new level of suffocating, eldritch weirdness on their albums Swarth and Outre. As with those albums, Vexovoid features slippery, malformed death metal, discordant blackened chaos and visions of alien horrors, but there is a clarity to Portal's sound on this album that is markedly different from previous outings.
     The pounding percussive violence that opens Vexovoid is surprisingly straightforward, at least by Portal standards; the sludgy droning riffage and spastic, thunderous drumming that powers "Kilter"'s chaotic swarm is more defined and chunky than the sort of ultra-murky formless deathblast that their other albums are known for; at the same time, the discordant, reptilian horror you'd expect is fully formed here, alive in the slithering droning riffs and bizarre angular arrangement of the song, still sounding like an otherworldly, alien take on Incantation's early, sludgy death metal. And in its final minutes, this song lurches into a blasting minor key majesty that definitely feels like something new gouting from Portal's black maw.
     On "The Black Wards", Portal continues to reveal this more coherent side to their music, the drumming taking on an almost industrial feel at certain points, the rapid chain-gun blastbeats rattling off mechanically below the slippery, surging riffs, and the Curator's bizarre inter-dimensional incantations are easier to pick out among the scattershot riffs, lines like "...cognizant eschewal / plight of Gammon Psyche / the lightness Shrewd / Zugzwang Gordian blighting / Dissorderlies Strewn..." reading like excerpts from a Kenji Siratori novel. The rest of the album is still plenty psychotic, still like some bizarre interpretation of Gorguts and Disembowelment beamed back from some malevolent insect-controlled dimension, the songs swarming with crushing discordant guitars, ghastly gasping vocals and mutant anti-grooves, twisted counter-intuitive time signatures and sudden, wildly jarring shifts in tempo, and awesome breakdowns where the chaotic blasting suddenly downshifts into a soundtrack-worthy section of apocalyptic might; for instance, the end of "Plasm", where riffs turn into foghorn blasts and Portal's churning maelstrom begins to freeze into a backwards-moving wash of withered death-drone, and the strange depth-charge doom of closer "Oblotten".
     It feels like Portal's most complex work so far, the swirling, vomitous riffs and dissonant leads interlocking with greater definition than before, revealing a monstrous complexity at work within the band's pounding, atonal, droning death metal chaos. One of my fave death metal albums of '13 so far. Its one of the band's coolest looking albums too, with artwork from both Rev. Kriss Hades and Industrie Chimere Noire gracing the sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Awryeon
Sample : Kilter
Sample : Oblotten
Sample : Plasm

PORTAL / BLOOD OF KINGU   split   7" VINYL   (Hells Headbangers)    10.98

PROPERGOL   Tormentor   7" VINYL   (Nuit Et Brouillard)    7.98

PRURIENT   Frozen Niagara Falls   2 x CD   (Profound Lore)    14.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Frozen Niagra Falls (Portion One)
Sample : Christ Among the Broken Glass
Sample : Jester In Agony
Sample : Dragonflies to Sew You Up

PRURIENT   Frozen Niagara Falls   3 x LP   (Profound Lore)    46.00

Track Samples:
Sample : Frozen Niagra Falls (Portion One)
Sample : Christ Among the Broken Glass
Sample : Jester In Agony
Sample : Dragonflies to Sew You Up

PYRRHON   Growth Without End   CD   (Selfmadegod)    10.99

     Now available on CD from Polish label Selfmadegod.
     These Brooklyn avant-blasters are back with a super-short EP that still manages to cram in more riffs in the space of about fifteen minutes than most death metal bands can do with an entire album. This 12" is goddamn ferocious, a churning five-song cyclone of crushing dissonant riffage and insane time signature shifts, punishing breakdowns and brain-scrambling complexity that continues the carnage previously left with their killer albums The Mother Of Virtues and An Excellent Servant But A Terrible Master . Combining their death metal with elements of fucked-up and seriously twisted grindcore, jazz-informed complexity, and scabrous noise rock, these guys are creating some of the nuttiest, most chaotic death metal going on right now, and this new material is a primo chunk of their technical ultra-violence.
     The songs careen from blasts of hyper-speed progginess to Gorgutsian levels of discordant shred, constantly teetering on the edge of total chaos, but also falling into some truly hideous, harrowing grooves on a couple of tracks that hint at that aforementioned noise rock influence. The song "Viral Content" stands out with it's relatively slower, abrasive lurch, at first taking shape as a No Wave-damaged sludgefeast, almost like early Swans filtered through a tech-death lens, with those barking vocals sounding especially bug-eyed here; even when the song suddenly erupts into blasting grind, there's still a grating, noise rock quality to the guitars. On the closer "Turing's Revenge", the band contorts themselves into another jagged, almost mathy form, but there's also some furious rhythmic chaos that thrusts a big chunk of the song into almost free jazz territory. All of these songs kill, though - easily my favorite stuff of theirs yet, Growth Without End is going to be lurking on my turntable for awhile. Definitely recommended to fans of stuff like latter-day Gorguts, Cephalic Carnage, Ulcerate, Baring Teeth, Daughters, Artificial Brain and the like.
Track Samples:
Sample : Turing's Revenge
Sample : Viral Content
Sample : Cancer Mantra

SCUMRAID   Rip Up   7" VINYL   (Iron Lung Records)    7.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Reality
Sample : Chronic Isolation
Sample : Rip Up

SECT PIG   Self Reversed   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    16.99

     Now available on vinyl.
     Sect Pig's nerve-shredding disc Slave Destroyed was one of my favorite releases from Nuclear War Now in 2013, an enigmatic and entirely nightmarish blast of hateful blackened psych-violence that I couldn't stop listening to. This mysterious and utterly singular outfit maintained an air of anonymity that only added to the clandestine, dangerous vibe of their art, which continues with their follow-up album Self Reversed. And this stuff is even more bizarre. As with Slave Destroyed , the band continues to build their diseased black metal upon an unmistakable Von influence, mining that seminal California band's primitive, monotonous sound for its most barbaric elements, then stitching that sort of minimal, monstrous sonic assault patchwork-style with passages of murky psychedelia and carefully selected samples that delve into themes of self-mutilation, murder and psycho-sexual violence. It's presented as a single, nearly twenty minute long track comprised of two original compositions ("Self Reversed" and "Swine Denounced"), followed by a vicious run through GG Allin's "Fuck Off, We Murder" and Carnivore's "7.2 Billion Dead", both of which are reshaped into Sect Pig's mutant image, further mainlining the abject misanthropy that explodes from the original tracks.
     It's definitely more jarring and abrasive than their older material, careening from that punishing, droning Von-esque blackened blast with its ravenous boar-like vocalizations and monstrous guttural whispers, into haunting soundscapes where spoken word sequences are intertwined with ritualistic, resonant prayer-bowl drones, delirious Tuvan-like chanting and swirling, murky ambience. There are also these passages of languid, solarized psychedelic rock that will suddenly pop up out of nowhere, muffled blues guitar licks curling around a shambolic backbeat beneath a bruised twilit sky, while recordings of interviews with serial killer Edmund Kemper drift lazily through the gloom. Even more than before, Sect Pig summons a uniquely mind-melting strain of sonic savagery with this stuff; the vocal processing is more extreme than before, the shrieks and grunts layered into a cacophonic Legion that achieves a genuinely disturbing feel, and the band unleashes a near constant blast of reverb-soaked noise and low-end rumble that swoops and swirls lower in the mix, oceanic swells of sonic chaos that perpetually rage beneath their hypnotic two-chord black metal trance. When this music is operating at its full chaotic power, it's almost like hearing Conqueror blasting through a dense, lysergic haze, the cover songs transforming into bizarrely catchy eruptions of acid-drenched blastnoise.
Track Samples:
Sample : Self Reversed
Sample : Self Reversed
Sample : Self Reversed

SEPOLTE VIVE   The Rats In The Walls   CASSETTE   (Rentum Tormentum)    6.50

Track Samples:
Sample : The Orgies Of Magna Mater
Sample : Sabbath Of The Bat-Winged Devils
Sample : The Rats Descend Yet Further

SIGH   Graveward   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    42.00

      The latest album from these Japanese avant-black metal freakazoids is now available as a deluxe, super-limited double LP from Finnish label Blood Music, packaged in a massive heavyweight triple-gatefold package with printed inner sleeves, with additional new artwork commisioned for this release, a large foldout poster, and includes a bonus track exclusive to this release.
      While the latest from these legendary Japanese avant black metallers might not be as mind-blowing a release as the previous In Somniphobia (considered by a lot of fans to be one of the best albums in the band's long career), the symphonic genre-mashing necro-opera that mastermind Mirai Kawashima whips up on Graveward still delivers plenty of that sweet weirdness that Sigh has perfected so well. Tearing across the album opener "Kaedit Nos Pestis" like an acid-dosed Venom, Sigh's whacked-out blackened prog-metal is loaded with blistering rocking tempos and blasts of symphonic majesty, crazed chipmunk vocals and auto-tuned wailing, weird incursions of glitchy electronica and sweeping Moog overload, maniacal flute solos and pounding tribal percussion, chorus line singers and chunks of psychedelic folkiness, searing bursts of jazzy synth straight out of 1984 and screaming metallic guitar solos, brass fanfares and blasts of excoriating electronic noise, jazzy saxophone and oddball psychedelia that shows up from the sinister krautrock flirtations that pulse through the heart of "The Forlorn" to the bizarre funkiness that kicks in with "The Molesters Of My Soul". The bizarre vocal performance mixes Mirai's strangled vicious snarl with weird throat singing and crazed gibberish, and half the time it sounds like he's being backed by a Greek chorus. Yikes! And though Sigh's current form is still a far cry from the ragged black metal of their early releases, the band still whips up an onslaught of vicious blackthrash riffery across the entire disc, with lots of aggro riffage and pummeling thrash that gets combined with dense orchestral sounds akin to something off of a Basil Poledouris score.
      There's also a heap of guest appearances from the likes of neoclassical guitarist Kelly Simonz, singer Matt Heafy (Trivium, Capharnaum), Dragonforce guitarist Frdric Leclercq, Metatron from The Meads Of Asphodel (who delivers narration over the track "A Messenger From Tomorrow" alongside vocals from Niklas Kvarforth of Shining), and vocalists Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ). Fucking killer stuff, maybe not on the same level as stuff like the aforementioned Somniphobia or my personal favorite Imaginary Sonicscape, but this album is still a total blast and sounds like nobody else. The list of albums that Mirai includes in the liner notes that apparently helped to inspire this glorious thrashing madness gives some insight into the sonic mayhem on display, including everything from Celtic Frost to Ornette Coleman to Magma to Fabio Frizzi. Brilliant and confusional, I'll be heading Graveward for some time to come...
Track Samples:
Sample : The Molesters of My Soul
Sample : Kaedit Nos Pestis
Sample : Dwellers In Dream

SISSY SPACEK   Brath   CD   (Oxen)    11.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Brath 2
Sample : Brath 1

SISSY SPACEK   Dash / Anti-Clockwise (Reissue)   CD   (Helicopter)    11.98

     Newly reissued by John Wiese's own Helicopter imprint, now in digipack packaging.
Part of the recent Sissy Spacek Cd reissue series that came out on Gilgongo, all of which are already sold out from the label...
     This roughly twenty minute long disc from noisecore / improv band Sissy Spacek has fifty-eight tracks of extremely short, brutal noisecore that's taken from their Dash 12" that also came out on Gilgongo a while back, and an import 7". It's total destruction from a lineup that included Lasse Marhaug from Jazkamer and Will Strangeland (No Age / Silver Daggers / Tearist) joining the core duo of John Wiese and Corydon Ronnau.
     The material from the Dash cassette/12" that are featured here is Sissy Spacek in top nuclear-skullshred mode, whipping through forty-some tracks of extreme noisecore fused with pure harsh noise. It's as abrasive as anything I've ever heard from them, each short twenty second blast exploding out of the speakers in a cacophonous din of shrieking feedback, ramshackle blastbeats and collapsing hardcore thrash, heaps of scrap-metal destruction, garbled nonsensical screams and guttural noises, a thick cloud of toxic hiss and feedback enveloping the entire recording. If Incapacitants and Hanatarash had ever hooked up with Anal Cunt for a collaborative 7" back in the early 90s, it would no doubt have sounded very similar to this. The cut-up/collage techniques that Wiese and company utilized on their earlier noisecore-concrete recordings doesn't seem to be as prominently employed here; instead, they simply go apeshit with an all-out improvised grind attack that channels pure bestial energy and speeds it all up to 1000 mile per hour blasts of sonic violence.
The tracks from the Anti-Clockwise 7" (originally released in a tiny limited edition through A Dear Girl Called Wendy) are dropped right into the middle of the disc, book ended on each side by the material from the Dash record, and why not? It's all cut from the same blood-stained, gasoline-soaked cloth, relentless microblasts of ultra-noisy noisecore spliced with total junknoise chaos. Both records produce some of the harshest noisecore/blurr I've heard in years. Total earshred.
Track Samples:
Sample : Anneal
Sample : Birth Control
Sample : Bone Flour
Sample : Burmese Yellow Cake
Sample : Fire Extinguisher
Sample : SISSY SPACEK-Dash / Anti-Clockwise (Reissue)
Sample : Killer Slook

SPECIAL PEOPLE   David Carradine Style   CASSETTE   (Special People Music)    5.00

Track Samples:
Sample : Psychic Teardrops
Sample : Drug Dreams
Sample : David Carradine Style

SPINA BIFIDA   Ziyadah   CD   (Memento Mori)    11.99

STARGAZER   A Merging To The Boundless   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    10.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Ride the Everglade of Reogniroro
Sample : Black Gammon
Sample : An Earth Rides Its Endless Carousel

STARGAZER   A Merging To The Boundless   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Ride the Everglade of Reogniroro
Sample : Black Gammon
Sample : An Earth Rides Its Endless Carousel

SUNN O)))   00 Void (GREEN VINYL)   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    29.98

Back in print on vinyl once again, this time as a new 2015 edition on green vinyl, issued in a limited run of five hundred copies. For years its only been available as an extremely expensive Japanese import, but Southern Lord finally reissued Sunn O)))'s 2000 album 00 Void this year, complete with the new artwork from Stephen Kasner that accompanied the Daymare version, and available as both a deluxe double disc set that also features the band's collaboration with Nurse With Wound as well as a posh double Lp collectors edition in heavyweight tip-on gatefold packaging.
00 Void was the second release from Sunn O))) following their extremely limited Grimmrobe Demos disc that Hydra Head issued the year before, but for most people (myself included), this was where we were first introduced to Sunn O)))'s massive glacial hypno-riffage and black hole ambience. Much has been made of Sunn O)))'s obvious debt to the "power drone" pioneered on Earth's legendary Earth 2 album, and these vast rumbling sludgescapes and circular trance-riffs are do owe a lot to Earth's ambient drone metal, but the guys in Sunn O))) (which includes, for those who have been living under a rock for the past decade, key members Stephen O'Malley of Burning Witch/Thorr's Hammer/Khanate and Greg Anderson of Engine Kind/Thorr's Hammer/Goatsnake) had by this point already begun to carve out their own language of slow-motion heaviness, introducing new levels of tectonic weight and density to their drone-metal experiments and playing with the use of electronics, processed vocals, stringed instruments and musique concrete concepts. The four tracks on 00 Void are simply constructed, but incredibly heavy, a high point in the realm of orchestral metallic drone that's still one of my favorite albums of its kind.
The murky opening riff at the very beginning of "Richard" still flattens my skull to this day. With help from Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Asva), the band uncoils a monstrous bass-riff in glacial slow motion, the gluey low-end chug of the guitars rumbling like a semi-frozen wave of molasses over a near constant buzzing drone that is threaded through the whole track. The riff undergoes a couple of subtle mutations, and the backing sounds of whirring metallic hum and ominous swarming feedback shifts and warps ever so slightly over the fifteen minutes as they pile on processed violins and other sounds, but the sheer leaden heaviness remains a constant throughout. The second track "NN O)))" feels more propulsive, the pace more bulldozing as the crushing doom-riff plows through vast cosmic nebulae and abyssal ether formed from distant war-horns, wordless chant and almost Hawkwindian synth transmissions, but it's still agonizingly slow, the slo-mo doomchug drifting like some saurian behemoth through the void. "Rabbits' Revenge" is a re-working of the song "Hung Bunny" off of the Melvins album Lysol, deconstructed here by Sunn O))) into a sprawling disembodied dirge, only vaguely recognizable from the source material, and the final track "Ra At Dusk (Invokation 274 SPDR)" is a monstrous space-doom ritual cloaked in howling demonic noise, time-stretched horns blasting through the blackness, black-hole heaviness chugging aimlessly though space above waves of rumbling amplifier hum...
After this, Sunn O))) would delve into much more experimental territory and often moving pretty far from the pure glacial crush of this album, but this disc will always own a particular spot in my collection as an essential piece of ambient sludge...
Presented in a deluxe gatefold jacket with printed inner sleeves, pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ra At Dusk
Sample : Rabbit's Revenge
Sample : Richard

SUNN O)))   Black One (CLEAR VINYL)   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    29.98

     Once again back in print on vinyl, Sunn's doomdrone opus Black One is again resurrected as a gorgeous double LP, here on thick 180 gram clear vinyl and housed in a heavyweight pasteboard gatefold jacket with high quality printing that makes the monochromatic nightmarish look of this album really come to life. Issued in a limited edition of one thousand copies.
     2005's Black One found Sunn at their most wretched, their most monstrous. The crippling deathdrones and ghastly graveyard ambience that lurks throughout this album saw the band strongly incorporating their black metal influences for the first time. While there's still a bit of that disembodied Melvins-esque riffage that made up their early works, the sprawling side-long epics of rumbling primordial murk contained here reek with a malodorous stench that's far more evil sounding than anything the band had done before. The album creaks open like a set of ancient rusted gates, releasing a fetid wind of buzzing horn-like drones and malevolent whispers, the atmosphere congealing into a strange confusion of Tibetan prayer ceremony and the delirium of an exorcism in progress; smears of backwards sound and glitch materialize alongside twisted demonic hissing, the thrum of amplified bowed cymbals and Oren Ambarchi's rumbling guitar feedback inside of "Sin Nanna"'s demonic murk further coloring the black catacomb atmosphere. And then the blackened metallic ooze of "It Took The Night To Believe" caves in, the band's trademark droning riffage forming around a simple, sinister black metal riff, waves of blackened bass rumble washing across the track, the echoing, ghastly vocals of Leviathan mastermind Wrest billowing like plumes of corpse gas across the mesmeric filth-encrusted dungeon ritual. Later, the grinding re-working of Immortal's "Cursed Realms (Of The Winterdemons)" combines a juddering, machinelike rhythm with a swirling fog of shrieking inhuman voices from Xasthur's Malefic (who was purported to have been locked inside of a coffin during the recording of some of his vocal performances), howling feedback and uncoiled bass rumble melting into a noxious tangle of mutant black metal a la Abruptum amid blasts of imperious power-chord drone. And "Orthodox Caveman" is something of a return to the molten Melvinsesque riff-mantras that Sunn perfected on 00 Void, the tectonic riffage stretched out in slow-motion over Ambarchi's chaotic, heavily processed drumming.
     "CandleGoat" offers another brief homage to classic Norwegian black metal, at first revealing an eerie frostbitten minor key guitar figure that is quickly swallowed up in a morass of gut-churning bass and severely down-tuned guitar riffage, then slipping into another black dirge haunted by Malefic's grave-whispers, the sound gleaming with whirring electronics from John Wiese, while on "Cry For The Weeper", they craft an ominous electro-acoustic deathscape of distant metallic reverberations and amplified creaking, eventually blending mournful horns and wailing woodwind instruments with pipe organ-like keyboards and waves of buzzing kosmische synthesizer into a murky, gothic nightmare. And on closer "Bthory Erzsbet", Sunn pays tribute to the fabled Blood Countess with a spacious expanse of minimal drift punctuated by eerie, bell-like overtones that Ambarchi coaxes from his array of amplified gong, guitar and tubular bells. This evolves into a symphony of lowercase cracks and pops, ghostly tones cutting through the haze of bass drone. When the guitars finally rush in at around the halfway mark, the whole piece seems to violently decompress into a intense low-pressure dronescape that unfurls across the final moments, rupturing into a storm of feedback and reptilian malevolence before closing with a final blast of twisted, magmatic dronemetal.
Track Samples:
Sample : CandleGoat
Sample : Cursed Realms (Of The Winterdemons)
Sample : Sin Nanna

SUNN O))) & ULVER   Terrestrials (BLACK VINYL)   LP   (Southern Lord)    16.98

     Back in print, now on black wax...
     Recorded over the course of a four year period, Terrestrials is the long-awaited new collaboration between experimental drone/doom duo Sunn and the acclaimed dark Norwegian prog band Ulver, and it's a true collaboration that sees the two bands dissolving together into an entirely new sound that doesn't really sound quite like anything either band has brought us before. The session sprung up from their shared appreciation of modern classical music and the 70s-era cosmic jazz found on albums like Alice Coltrane's World Galaxy and Pharaoh Saunders's Karma, and infused those influences into these three long epics of gorgeous nocturnal ambience. Both Sunn's more metallic tendencies and the bombast of the newer Ulver material are greatly subdued, but there's still a lingering darkness that drifts through the slow, celestial currents, making this one of the more mesmeric releases from either artist in quite some time.
     When the album starts off, the sound is not to far off from the dark chamber atmosphere of Ulver's latest album Messe I.X-VI.X, though Sunn's presence is easily detected in the pulses of deep bass tones that reverberate through the space, the surges of distorted metallic drone that rise and fall throughout the record, and in the undercurrents of apocalyptic dread that surface at key moments. Opening with the dark shimmering beauty of "Let There Be Light", the ensemble slowly drifts out into a nebula of stretched kosmische drones, trumpets slowly unfurling into ghostly minimal melodies, a somber, cinematic jazziness curling over smears of backwards sound and swells of sinister low-end rumble. Clusters of dissonant strings swarm beneath the gleam of piano notes that delicately ascend from the song's surface, alighting on solar winds. It stretches out like some solemn hymn, not erupting out of that solemnity until almost the very end when the rumble of percussion suddenly swells up and the music blooms into a crescendo of sinister majesty, the improvised drumming rolling beneath an epic melodic figure, deep distorted metallic heaviness seeping up alongside deep rumbling bass, that Sunn-style dronecrush smoldering beneath this elegiac weight.
     The following piece "Western Horn", on the other hand, is burnished in an apocalyptic glow, descending into darker and more ominous regions as eerie processed choral sounds and fluttering electronic noise sweeps in over more of those haunting trumpets. Some electric piano sounds emerge early on, joined by considered use of resonant distorted bass tones, a sinister minor key progression snaking through those sustained wailing voices and washes of textured sound. Over the course of the nearly ten minute long piece, the atmosphere continues to darken, the feeling of foreboding expanding even as that Rhodes piano-like sound brings a lovely, spectral quality to the music, those gleaming notes pulsing over the creepy steam-whistle drones, sheets of sustained dissonance, and whirring organ tones.
     Mournful violins and ringing, reverb-drenched guitar are woven together on the stirring closer "Eternal Return", which spreads across the final third of the album in a dark stain of Morricone-style western twang. A doleful guitar melody creeps through the background, a fractured, meandering accompaniment to that somber jazziness and those folky strings. A folk-flecked funereal darkjazz, gorgeous and bewitching as Rygg's hushed baritone croon drifts in, a near-whisper cloaked in shadow, with feedback unfurling and speakers humming, eerie organ melodies slipping through the blackness, like some Eastern European funeral folk smeared in jazzy ambience.
     On black vinyl, featuring fantastic minimal album art from Sunn's Stephen O'Malley.
Track Samples:
Sample : Western Horn
Sample : Let There Be Light
Sample : Eternal Return

T.A.Z.   Communique #1 (Fall 2013)   7" VINYL + CDR   (Annihilvs)    8.50

A bizarre anti-record/art object from this shadowy outfit that may or may not have connections to Philly blacknoise beasts T.O.M.B. and death-blues trio Dreadlords, T.A.Z.'s Communique #1 is part luddite manifesto, part noise-loop experiment, comprised of a painted, unplayable 7" "anti-record", a xeroxed, hand-scrawled thirteen page essay, and an hour-long CDR that features twelve tracks of creepy vinyl record fuckery, random environmental noise and improvised weirdness, all of it housed in a large black zip-lock bag. Presumably taking their name from the acronym for "Temporary Autonomous Zones", there's a number of concepts that are touched on in the manifesto that comes with this, drawing connections between the band's shambling free-improv racket and Luddite philosophies, English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare, and the anarchist writings of Hakim Bey.
Musically, the group embraces anarchic desire through a bizarre mini-orchestra of ancient gramaphone record players and acoustic instruments in the creation of mind-expanding noisescapes. The tracks range from hazy, cracked loopscapes created by the sounds of ancient records, to unearthly dins of rattling percussion and junk-noise pummel, blasts of otherworldly improvisation and thunderous trashcan clatter haunted by the ghostly warbling of voices drifting off of dusty big band records that are slowly melting off of the sides of rickety phonographs, tracks of eerie low-fi ghost-folk and droning, atonal blues-murk, krautrocky drum circle jams, acoustic noise experiments, squealing reeds, all of this taking on an increasingly wrecked, psychedelic feel that starts to border on the nightmarish by the time you get to the end of the album. At times sounding like No Neck Blues Band or a more primitive version of legendary free-improv noisemakers Smegma, this demented clank-ritual feels like something unearthed from beneath the dry, packed dirt floor of an inner-city celler, the live, low-fi recording giving their ramshackle anti-electrical jams a strange and unearthly feel.
Track Samples:
Sample : Untitled #12
Sample : Track 6
Sample : Track 4

THANTIFAXATH   self-titled   CD   (Dark Descent)    9.98

Track Samples:
Sample : Violently Expanding Nothing
Sample : The Madness Into Which All Thigns Flow
Sample : Ten Thousand Years of Failure

THANTIFAXATH   Sacred White Noise   CD   (Dark Descent)    10.99

Track Samples:
Sample : The Bright White Nothing At the End of the Tunnel
Sample : Gasping In Darkness
Sample : Eternally Falling

THANTIFAXATH   Sacred White Noise   LP   (Dark Descent)    15.98

Track Samples:
Sample : The Bright White Nothing At the End of the Tunnel
Sample : Gasping In Darkness
Sample : Eternally Falling

THEOLOGIAN   A Means By Which To Break The Surface Of The Real   LP   (Redscroll / Nothing Under The Sun)    15.00

Featuring vocal, noise, and drum machine contributions from David Castillo of NY sludge metallers Primitive Weapons and guest electronics from Daniel Suffering of Whorid, this disc features some of the heavier material to come out from Theologian lately.
This monstrous cosmic dronescape opens with "God Comes As A Wall", a massive wall of churning black static that thunders across a looping, rhythmic undercurrent, itself continuing to surge in power throughout the course of the song; that looping propulsion from those buried drum machines can make this feel as if the music is about to slip into an almost krautrock-like propulsion, but elsewhere slides back into a murky, muffled wash of sound that shifts into a kind of droning death industrial, strafed with a combination of furious, distorted yells and strange, somnambulant voices that become almost totally lost in the roar of white noise. But the main track here, the nearly half hour long "Truthseeker's Pick", goes for a more meditative feel, unfurling its sheets of droning electronics and mechanical buzz across vast expanses of kosmische darkness, hypnotic currents of electrical energy coursing through the void. As the track develops, the sound undergoes subtle shifts in density, softly fluctuating waves of high-end borg-swarm moving endlessly through the emptiness of deep space, layers of searing synthesizer blossoming into peals of metallic buzz and hum, then later developing into the sounds of clanking metallic percussion surrounded by billowing distortion, pounding drums and rattling pipes forming rudimentary rhythms beneath the suffocating electronic fog, building into a final cacophony of shrieking noise and earth-shaking low-end rumble as fearsome distorted vocals begin to sweep in from afar, the final moments of this deathdrone epic peaking into a pummeling sheet metal roar.
Track Samples:
Sample : God Comes As A Wall

TREPANERINGSRITUALEN   Veil The World   CD   (Cold Spring)    14.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Veil the World
Sample : Nekyia
Sample : C'est Un Reve

UNEXAMINE   Carnal Opponent No Brothers   7" VINYL   (Oxen)    8.98

Super-limited 7" (only a hundred copies pressed) from the duo of Charlie Mumma and Danny Costa, who bust out some savage harsh noise as Unexamine. Mumma is all over our record collection, a current or former member of everything from avant-garde noisecore collective Sissy Spacek and noise-damaged black/death metallers Knelt Rote to the folk-flecked experimental black metal of L'Acephale, and here he teams up with fellow L'Acephale member Costa for three tracks of skin-melting noise, one of 'em a tribute to Nikudorei member Yukimasa Okada. They crash mountains of cacophonic junk-noise into squealing feedback and gruff, distorted vocals on "Oculolinctus / Struggle Sybaritic" and it's tough, highly abrasive stuff, while the b-side "Idol Violate" emits a scathing assault of high-frequency feedback over grating metallic chaos and oceanic currents of charred black static, formed from massive layers of chaotic sound that eventually resolve themselves into a pulverizing wall of distorted, garbled noise at the end. Think K2 at his most thunderous, and you're in the general ballpark.

WILT   She Walks The Night   7" VINYL   (Husk Records)    6.99

Just restocked this 7" from black industrialist Wilt...
The newest release from Josh Lay's Husk Records is the label's first vinyl release, a 7" EP of skin-crawling necro-industrial from Wilt, who many of you might also know as the other band from the guys behind the industrial noise-doom band Hedorah. Wilt's brand of fiendish black drone-noise is always amazing, and this EP delivers three tracks of minimal black drift and much heavier abstract crush that fans will definitely love. The a-side features the title track, an aural night-terror of crushing black synthesizer drone, recordings of howling wolves, oscillating buzz saw sine waves fluctuating in slow motion, a blighted death ambience that is slowly joined by more layers of soft subterranean drift and minimal whir until a deeply detuned piano appears playing this low-register minor-key melody, a simple descending four note dirge that repeats over and over, spreading out across the increasingly ominous black ambience that becomes populated with tolling bells, howling arctic winds and distant demonic keening. The flipside has two tracks: the grim two-chord synth drone of "Cold Grave" becomes lost in a blizzard of black arctic wind, like a classic Norwegian black metal intro stretched out into a full song, the synth becoming seriously blown out, peaking into a distorted roar as the sound of blasting wind gets caught in a locked groove; and then "Haunting The Chapel" oozes in, a crushing blackdoom dirge with putrid low-end bass, hellish screams of the damned being flayed alive, a grinding murky black industrial dirge that sounds sort of like the black abstract sludge-noise of Sewer Goddess, but this is way more "necro", utterly pitch black and evil sounding, keening horns muffled in the distance, smears of eerie melody obscured by the dense industrial rumble and howling subterranean winds and viscous low end noise.
Comes in a black and white sleeve with creepy high-contrast imagery.

ZORN, JOHN   The True Discoveries of Witches And Demons   CD   (Tzadik)    16.99

Track Samples:
Sample : Psycosoma
Sample : Mirrors of Being
Sample : Eccleslastes


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