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CRUCIAL BLAST WEBSTORE: NEW ARRIVALS FOR SATURDAY NOVEMBER 29TH 2014

Greetings to all you record collectors, necro-addicts, noise fiends and sonic weirdos - I hope you're comfortably navigating the onset of winter and the slow ongoing collapse of Western civilization. We've got some terrific new releases and older obscurities on this week's new arrivals list to help feed your ears as the days continue to dim.

The featured release on this week's new releases list is the latest from American doomdeath duo Encoffination, III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs); while the album has received its share of criticism from some reviewers for its shambling, deadzone ambience and perceived lack of cohesive riffs, I just can't stop listening to this goddamn disc. I can't think of any other recent album that has managed to create an atmosphere of rot and ruin quite like this, and it seems as if the band's sound has putrefied considerably since their last album, evolving into a kind of rumbling mortuary murk. The closest anyone has come to this in recent memory was Grave Upheaval's self-titled debut from last year, though the sounds are quite different from one another. Polluting their crawling, corrupted heaviness with warped demonic choirs, morbid funerary pipe organs and emaciated guitar melodies, the duo of Elektrokutioner and Ghoat succeed in their goal of creating a ritualistic death-meditation with III, producing an intensely oppressive album of unique droning doom/death that I ended up having to post as this week's featured new release.

Also of note on this new arrivals list is a new Crucial Blast release, the new CD release of Emit's Spectre Music Of An Antiquary, the first new release from this long running UK black/noise/ambient outfit in years, delivering a haunting mixture of creepy Abruptumesque weirdness, creeping synthesizers straight out of a Fabio Frizzi score, and eerie field recordings that capture glimpses of an unseen shadow-world. This release features all of the material that had appeared on the previous cassette release that came out on Glorious North, but also includes additional, all-new material exclusive to this release.

And as always, there's an immense list of new additions to the shop. For you underground metal zine addicts, we've got another hefty new issue of The Convivial Hermit (#7), one of the best black metal/neo-folk/experimental music magazines being published right now in the US - along with that latest issue, we also have restocks of a number of previous issues of Hermit, all highly recommended for anyone obsessed with the undercurrents of the black metal underground.

There's been a lot more death metal filling the C-Blast office than usual this Fall, thanks to a bunch of recent reissues from some of our all-time favorite avant-death bands: first and foremost, the three LP series of demo reissues from legendary death metal visionaries Gorguts has absolutely dominated the turntable over the past few weeks, each record an attractively designed piece featuring demo material that leads all the way up to Gorguts's classic Obscura; we also finally got the new double disc collection from Finnish death metal weirdos Demilich in stock, a recent cassette release featuring the murky, nightmarish death metal of Ritual Chamber, another project from Numinas (Krohm, Vetus Obscurum, Infester, Evoken), and both LP, CD and tape versions of Nightfell's killer recent album of atmospheric deathcrust, Living Ever Mourn.

As usual, we've picked up a swarm of killer avant/offbeat black metal releases for your perusal, ranging from the progressive blackened sounds of Epitimia and Katatonia side-project Diabolical Masquerade, to the folk-flecked depressive doom of Bann's now out-of-print Antiochia EP, the ultra low-fi mausoleum anthems of Black Cilice's Summoning The Night, and the pagan no-fi violence of Equinox's Of Blade And Graal cassette. We now have the stunning new album from Nuclearhammer in stock, Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer, a double LP of violent black/death chaos laced with morbid electronic pulsations, as well as restocks of Wyqm's ripping black n' roll EP Negative Of The Mountain and the experimental darkness of Wyqm's split LP with Ukrainian loner Moloch; there's a pair of new split 7"s featuring USBM legend Krieg, one teamed up with recent tour mates Wolvhammer, the other paired up with another legend of American black metal, Leviathan; there's the recent new LP of mutant punk-fueled black metal violence from Harassor, Into Unknown Depths, and another recent offering of exquisite blackened misery from Vardan, Enjoy Of Deep Sadness; we've got the new LP reissue of the first demo from Harvest Gulgaltha, showcasing the band's doom-laden brand of chaotic black metal, and the new Carnal Altar cassette from bestial black-thrash weirdo Jhesu Masturbator, featuring the maniacal mind behind Lucifers Foreskin; and even more avant blackened heaviness from French "dodecatonic black metallers" Void Paradigm, the synth-drenched cosmic black doom of Trube's Zone Of Alienation, and a restock of the ripping split CD between blackened hardcore duo Ives and demented necro-jazz dronebeasts Amort. We've got recent new albums from San Fran avant black metal oddballs Mamaleek (He Never Said A Mumblin Word) and the depressive black metal project Mortualia featuring members of Horna (Blood Of The Hermit), along with some terrific recent releases from Ajna Offensive, Mortuus's long awaited new album of philosophical black metal Grape Of The Vine and the various versions of Reverorum Ib Malacht's hallucinatory De Mysteriis Dom Christi released on CD and cassette.

Did I mention that it's Nondor Nevai week here at the Blast? We've raided the vault at Nevai's black fortress and returned with seven different vinyl records from this blast-prog maniac's back catalog; all issued in small runs of just a couple hundred copies each, we now stock everything from the blistering avant noisecore of his M.N.D.L.S.B.L.S.T.N.G. outfit and the bestial experimental blurr of Nekrocidal Killdeath to the extreme No Wave pandemonium of the DMT Rok + Sonata "The Arrested", the blackened gothic blast of Overshadower Kommand's Three Tocattas... (Or) Kolder Than Heaven, the heavy Beefheartian delirium of Nayk'd Ayres, and the "klassikill" horror of Nevai_Nonet's String Oktet In A. All brilliant blasts of outsider delirium, and all completely insane.

From the industrial side, we've got some seriously heavy new offerings from the likes of Gnawed, the Midwestern death industrialist returning with new album Feign And Cloak that continues to explore a grueling, heavily distorted vision of mechanical horror; and a real rarity that we scored from one of our European suppliers, the long out-of-print album Graveyard Disturbances from Enoch, the horror-synth duo of Killjoy (Necrophagia) and Mirai (Sigh) that sees these underground metal legends producing their own warped version of the sort of vintage Italian horror electronic soundtracks pioneered by Claudio Simonetti and Fabio Frizzi. We also have the new LP reissue of Alberich's monstrous industrial techno/power electronics manifesto NATO-Uniformen, and Bacchanal's bizarre Satanic electro-industrial ritual Purity Through Darkness; a crushing split Lp featuring Japanese industrial legend Dissecting Table paired with the Portuguese tribal/industrial/sludge duo Sektor 304; and even more Sektor 304, via a pair of CD releases that the band recently put out through their own New Approach imprint, Communiphones and Live Reaction. There's a number of other recent new offerings from the always-great Malignant Records as well, including the latest album Closure from one of the best Swedish death industrial outfits in existence, IRM; the debut album Starving The Fires from the blackened noise group Teeth Engraved With The Names Of The Dead; and a new CD reissue of the stunning collaboration between NYC death-synth master Theologian and Finnish industrialists Strom.EC, Hubrizine. We also have extremely limited quantities of the two recent LP reissues of 80s-era material from the cult Japanese industrial project Nord, LSD and NG Tapes, both fantastic exercises in Bianchi-level industrial desolation.

Doom addicts will want to check out the three new vinyl reissues from UK deathdoom legends My Dying Bride that Peaceville recently released, heavyweight gatefold editions of The Dreadful Hours, The Light At The End Of The World and the band's late-90's experimental doom opus 34.788 Complete, as well as a vinyl release of All Is Sorrow from Bay Area band Catapult The Dead, delivering this newer band's interesting mix of apocalyptic sludge and atmospheric organ. Even more abrasive are new releases from some of the best names in noise rock, starting with the phenomenal new album from legends Today Is The Day, Animal Mother, easily the best thing the band has done in years, and continuing through the latest LP from Unsane offshoot Cutthroats 9, Dissent, a seriously heavy slab of blues-damaged sludge rock. We also have new stuff from newer bands like Drunk Dad and their pissed-off Pacific Northwest style slugfest Ripper Killer, a restock of the self-titled debut from drum/bass duo Zeus! that introduced us to their crazed Italian prog/noise rock, a recent LP from Brainbombs-worshipping outfit Nearly Dead that may be one of the vilest records on this week's list, some mean-spirited hardcore/pigfuck violence from Deep Creeps's self-titled cassette, and The Swan King's new album Last So Long featuring more of the Chicago band's brand of sludgy post-hardcore.

The machines have belched forth some great new stuff from the blackened industrial zone, too: there's a cool new album from experimental Polish black metallers Beyond Life, Blackened Sky, and a self-titled tape from Midwestern black industrial project Shadowmass; a restock of Hypsiphrone's And The Void Shall Pierce Their Eyes CD that delivers a horrific Gnaw Their Tongues-esque racket, and the new, long-awaited album Ascending The Solarthrone from avant black/industrial/ambient duo Empire Auriga that is easily the most gorgeous thing I've ever heard on Moribund. And there's more stuff from industrial metal gods Godflesh, as well as a killer new vinyl reissue of early recordings from the cult Bay Area industro-sludge outfit Depressor...

And there's all kinds of other great new stuff we've gotten in, from the a trio of recent discs from UK speedcore demon Yudlugar that include mini-album Vhemt and the collaborative albums with NUH and Sadistic Hate, to the latest album of Teutonic prog-thrash from the mighty Mekong Delta; crushing dark psych albums from Bong side-project Haikai No Ku (Ultra High Dimensionality), the grimy krautrock-influenced acid punk of Joules's self-titled cassette and the latest album taste My Sword Of Understanding from Finnish avant drone metallers Opium Warlords; and a pair of recent releases from Japanese noisegrind duo Sete Star Sept that will rip your face off, one a split 7" with Brazilian noise punks New York Against The Belzebu that is already sold out from the label, the other a 12" titled All Is Wrong that pairs up an out of print tape from a couple of years ago with a crazed "remix" that sounds like Derek Bailey gone noisecore...

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!



FEATURED RELEASE



ENCOFFINATION   III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs)   CD   (Selfmadegod)    11.98



    Man, if you though that the previous Encoffination albums were murky, wait till you hear this. While their previous two albums on Selfmadegod dived about as deep into the depths of doomdeath putrescence as you can get, the band's third full-length III – Hear Me, O’ Death sees the band's sound (a calculated mix of stately funeral doom-inspired dirge and the doom-laden death metal of Onward to Golgotha-era Incantation) decomposing into something even more grotesque and abrasive, spilling out across the album's hour-long run time like a pile of rotting viscera.
   The duo of Ghoat and Elektrokutioner (who also spend time in underground death/doom outfits Decrepitaph, Father Befouled, Rituaal, and a horde of other projects) seem to have gone for more of a rumbling, low-fi recording aesthetic this time around, and their creeping slow-motion death metal, which has always crawled somewhere around the nexus of Incantation's classic early 90s output and the glacial, heavily atmospheric heaviness of Australia's Disembowelment, here shambles into even filthier, more atonal forms. It's almost "ambient", at times sort of comparable to how Grave Upheaval transform their churning, ultra-murky death metal into vast abstract blastscapes, but Encoffination's music is much more abrasive and anguished, with III's eight songs slowing down to an almost nauseatingly abject crawl.
    After opening the album with one of the band's trademark death-ambient introductions, the sound of tolling church bells and voices rising in a ghastly hymn quickly gives way to the oppressive graveyard slime of "Charnel Bowels of a Putrescent Earth"; rumbling de-tuned guitars soften and break apart into layers of swarming rot, dissonant doom riffs become stretched and masticated into murky drones, while weird chanting voices lurk in the shadows like the murmurs of some twisted death-cult, and Ghoat's ghoulish gasp drifts like swamp gas over the soiled, deformed music.
    The fetid atmosphere of this album makes for one unsettling listening experience; the guitars are dissonant and deformed, Ghoat's riffs frequently slipping into a gut-churning atonality that's much more pronounced here compared to previous releases, the guitars layered like mouldering cerements over the shambling , misshapen momentum of the drums, at some points the discordance becoming so intense that it borders on the Gorgutsian. Some songs swell with spectral synthesizer and spacey effects, like the cosmic funerary crawl that opens up "Crowned Icons", smears of chilling kosmische psychedelia pushing through the band's bloated slo-mo crush, and throughout the disc the duo intersperse bits of desolate ambiance, mutant choral voices, and those putrid droning organs. Absolutely filthy, mesmeric death-worship, the mephitic atmosphere threatening to choke the air from every corner of this album, pushing this even further from the realm of riffs and musicality into a kind of putrefied ambiance, the sound softening and rotting away, melting down into an oily sonic soup. Listeners looking for something more structured and riff-based might well find Encoffination's latest too droning and inchoate, but I can't stop immersing myself in this album's blackly rapturous aura and adipocere-stained emanations.
Track Samples:
Sample : Rotting Immemorial
Sample : Movld of Abandonment
Sample : Charnel Bowels of a Pvtrescent Earth


NEW ADDITIONS



A BLACK PEOPLE   Visceral Realists   CASSETTE   (Death Agonies And Screams)    5.98



   Still don't know much about A Black People, the rather mysterious death rock/post punk outfit on Death Agonies And Screams who've returned here with their second cassette release; the band has kept all information regarding their lineup and location a secret thus far, though it's probably a safe bet that the key players are the same folks behind the label. Over the course of these two mini-albums (always manifesting physically on cassette only, at least so far), A Black People has become one of my favorite bands in this current death rock/dark post-punk resurgence that's been going on for awhile now, pursuing a more menacing vibe and aggressive attitude that's naturally right up my alley.
   Issued by Death Agonies in a super-limited edition of just one hundred copies like its predecessor, Visceral Realists features six new songs that continue with the somewhat blown-out, fairly morbid post-punk of the first tape, just as dark and infectious as the earlier stuff, but also feeling a little less ragged around the edges than the previous release, with a slightly more polished sound. Still fantastic stuff, though; you've got the requisite Christian Death and Rudimentary Peni influences still coursing through Realists' grim mid-tempo pulse and the nihilistic, surreal imagery found in the lyrics. The band's sound is mainly driven by the ominous throb of the bassist, each song formed around a simple but catchy hook that is also tinged with some cool, subtle use of tape-noise fuckery and spacey effects that are thrown into the mix, songs like "Harlett" sometimes drifting into washes of trippy electronic ambience, and the singer's got this great derisive monotone sneer, moaning throughout the entire tape like an even more blasé Rozz Williams. They crank the distortion up on some of the tracks, belting out droning fuzz-drenched riffs that buzz beneath the occasional swell of 'gazey distortion and dreamy tremolo drift that wash across songs like the uber-catchy "Sanctuary", and there are a few moments where the riffs even take on a metallic bite, adding to the menacing tone. The closer "Drowning" is another standout, finishing this off with a morose, heavy dirge that ends with a killer final blast of suffocating pessimism and miserable buzzsaw blackness. Like the previous tape, I can't recommend this enough if you're into the sort of miserablist punk and neo-deathrock stuff that's been coming out from likeminded gloom-punks like Blue Cross, Arctic Flowers, Dekoder, Crimson Scarlet, Night Sins, Funeral Parade, Blessure Grave and Liar In Wait.


A STORM OF LIGHT   Nations To Flames   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    17.98



Finally managed to get the vinyl version of this killer, oft-overlooked 2013 album from A Storm Of Light...
Four albums in, it's clear that A Storm Of Might is Josh Graham. The former Neurosis member and minister of visual propaganda has employed an impressive coterie of musicians over the course of the band's five year career, a collective curriculum vitae that has run the gamut from the iconic to the upstart, from Vinnie Signorelli (Swans, Foetus, Unsane) to Domenic Seita (Tombs), Pete Angevine (Satanized) to Geoff Summers (Batillus), with assorted guest appearances from other avant-rock and post-punk luminaries like Lydia Lunch and Jarboe scattered across A Storm Of Light's discography. With each album, though, the lineup shifts, the players change, even as the sound has remained consistent, firmly rooted in Graham's sonic vision of slow-moving doom-laden soundscapes and electronically-enhanced atmospheric dirge. On previous albums, this resulted in a sound fairly rooted in the sort atmospheric, darkly majestic sludge-metal that his old band Neurosis pioneered, but on Nations To Flames, Graham appears to have moved beyond that straightforward, Neurosis-influenced sludge metal into something more strident and distinctive, delivering an assault of belligerent percussive power and jagged metallic crunch that appears to draw more influence from the apocalyptic crush of later-era Killing Joke and even the more extreme sounds of early 90's-era industrial metal. That's a sound that I've always loved, so Nations hooked me in pretty quick; surrounded by sights and sounds of violent urban protest and cities swept in flames, Nations kicks in with the crushing staccato guitars, distorted megaphone howls and militant, snare-driven rhythms of opener "Fall", and I'm immediately catching a whiff of both Killing Joke and early 90s Ministry.
That sort of percussive, apocalyptic mechanical metal sound is here infused into something more majestic, though, the sludgy riffage and martial rhythms giving way to skillfully assembled samples and looped soundscapes. Like on the song "Omens", which reminds me even more of that Minstry-esque warzone metal, the apocalyptic atmosphere of previous albums becoming amplified tenfold, the melodies steeped in dark drama and an unshakeable sense of foreboding. The sheer aggression of A Storm Of Light's music has been amplified, transforming into churning, violent prog-metal with massive chugging riffs, a heavy layer of synthesizer sheen and cold electronics sweeping through the entire album. Massive tribal rhythms churn alongside droning, hypnotic riffage and densely layered samples on "Dead Flags" as the band evokes the album title in the howling, furious lyrics. Waves of howling feedback cascade across "Lifeless", almost threatening to drown out the jagged riffage and percussive heaviness. And once the ominous cinematic power of the instrumental "Soothsayer" really starts to kick in, it's almost as if these guys have crafted something that is equal part Beating The Retreat-era Test Dept. and the angular, fiery sludge metal of Mastodon or High On Fire; elsewhere, I'm reminded of both Neurosis and Psalm 69 with the grinding, distorted thrash of "Disintegrate". A previous guest collaborator, Soundgarden's Kim Thayil returns to contribute his guitar playing to the songs "The Fire Sermon", "Omen" and "The Year Is One", and his sound is unmistakable when it appears, his signature sinuous bluesy solos searing through the angular sludge-metal; Will Lindsay (Ahisma, Indian, Anatomy Of Habit, Middian, Nachtmystium, Wolves In The Throne Room) also appears, playing guitar on four of the songs. Again, though, this is Graham's vision, one that has evolved into something even darker and more threatening on Nations To Flames, a pounding metallic soundtrack to violent street protests, the atmosphere thick with smoke and tear gas fumes. Easily their most intense work yet.
Track Samples:
Sample : You Are the Hunted
Sample : Omen
Sample : The Year Is One
Sample : Fall



ALBERICH   NATO-Uniformen   2 x LP   (Hospital Productions)    29.99



   "Heavy electronics", indeed. Originally released as a massive eight-cassette box set limited to a mere fifty copies (which naturally went out of print almost immediately), Alberich's 2010 debut full-length NATO-Uniformen was an electrifying collection of industrial experiments, thankfully finally reissued by Hospital as a deluxe double LP set. Obviously, some of the material from that initial four-hour collection had to be left out of this scaled down version, the album condensed down to its most potent components to produce a more streamlined version.
   The work of one Kris Lapke, a member of black metallers Ash Pool alongside Hospital boss (and Prurient mastermind) Dominick Fernow, Alberich took form as a monstrous amalgam of noise, techno and power electronics stylings, and the blighted black pulsations that palpitate across NATO-Uniformen comprise a key release in the relatively recent resurgence in industrial techno. The tracks nineteen tracks collected here traverse blasted sonic terrain, moving from jet-black electronics and surges of dread-filled dystopian ambience into passages of heavily distorted electro-shock rhythms and pummeling machine rumble, surrounded with a detached, desolate atmosphere. Vague militaristic motifs are fetishized within Alberich's corroded soundworld, from the stark album art to the eruptions of warfare sonics scattered through the tracks. As harsh as the atmosphere and mood is though, this stuff can get pretty infectious, from the murky darkwave synthesizers that wash across opener "Atlantic Munitions Development" to the barbaric technoid thud of tracks like "Infrared Kommando" and "Skysweeper". Lapke fuses his forays into grim industrial techno with a screeching ferocity lifted right out of classic power electronics aesthetics; elsewhere, his grimy, juddering concrete-mixer rhythms are diffused into gleaming metallic dronescapes that threaten to stretch into infinity. Most of the album centers around Lapke's use of crushing, massively distorted rhythmic loops which he welds into immense hypnotic forms, at times resembling the sound of a marching drum squad that has been slowed down and distorted into a grimy machinelike rumble, the muffled rhythms stretched across fields of cinematic synth-drone and rivers of volcanic low-end rumble.
   Other tracks unleash vicious assaults of earscraping power electronics, distorted screams rattled by the trancelike throb of malfunctioning tank-engines and waves of squealing, tortured electronic noise, overlaid with ancient Cold War media transmissions and waves of charred static; the ghostly residue of fractured electronic melodies clings like black soot to skittering, minimal techno, and rumbling mechanical dirges are slowly buried beneath warbling synth chords and swells of monstrous bass. Some of the tracks that really stood out for me included the insidious, dub-infected dancefloor funk of "Limit Mitigate Counteract Transmute" that almost resembles Sutcliffe Jugend being remixed by Cut Hands, and "Man Is Ready" is interlaced with vintage Tangerine Dream-style synths, like fragments of a score to some unseen Michael Mann war film. And the on the magnificent closer "Immortality", Lapke crafts an atmospheric kosmische epic that further dives into that classic synth sound, swirling through a gleaming fog of arpeggiated electronics like something off the scores to Thief or Sorcerer, but suffused with an almost suffocating nihilistic air. Essential stuff for fans of Alberich's distinct brand of heavy, pessimistic industrial music.
    Comes in gatefold packaging, limited to seven hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Gas Mask
Sample : Infrared Kommando
Sample : Atlantic Munitions Development



AMBARCHI, OREN / STEPHEN O'MALLEY / RANDALL DUNN   Shade Themes From Kairos   2 x LP   (Drag City)    27.00



   Fans of dark, heavy avant-guitar ambience in particular will perk up at this fantastic collaboration, featuring Stephen O'Malley (Sunn / Khanate / KTL / Burning Witch), Oren Ambarchi (notable for his many solo works of experimental guitar/electronics as well as performing with Sunn offshoot projects Burial Chamber Trio, Pentemple and Gravetemple) and famed avant-rock producer Randall Dunn (Master Musicians Of Bukkake). The trio came together to create a score for the short science fiction art film Kairos from Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop, which I have yet to see myself' from the sounds created for the score alone, it's definitely spurred my interest in the work. The music captured here on this deluxe double LP (out recently from Drag City) is such a sumptuous slab of dark hypno-rock delirium that it can sit perfectly well on it's own, though, and it's one of the best things I've heard from O'Malley and Ambarchi in quite awhile.
    The trio utilize an array of electric and acoustic guitars, vibraphone, bass, drums, Mellotron and synthesizers as well as some more exotic instrumentations such as a shruti box and crotales (a kind of miniature tuned cymbal played with mallets), but as soon as the flurry of ghostly glitchery and warbling electronic tones begin to materialize across the opening minutes of Shade Themes, the group introduces the wash of sound that becomes the core of the album, rendering most of the instruments unidentifiable within their rich layered sonic fog. As "That Space Between" slowly begins to coalesce around the sounds of softly strummed minor key chords and a shuffling, slightly jazzy drumbeat, the music gradually shifts into a surreal sort of post-rock, luminous guitar notes rising and hovering and decaying over a slow, ominous melody, bits of distorted detritus and droning feedback flitting through the mix. It's a crepuscular, Bohren-esque instrumental sprawl with lush layers of instrumental texture, the drumming in particular revealing a strange complexity in its seemingly haphazard rhythmic interplay, eventually turning the first side into something akin to the twangy dolorousness of Earth laid over a bed of narcotized tribal percussion, chest-rattling bass tones rising and falling across the track, a strange Lynchian atmosphere emerging from the soft vibraphone-like notes that drift hazily over the insistent rattling rhythm, later peeling back and revealing gleaming, vaguely Middle Eastern-esque melodies that float from out of some ancient Rhodes piano, breaking apart further into a kind of mysterious, gorgeous nocturnal psychedelia.
    From there, the trio continue to creep further out into Shade Themes's twilight realm, moving from more of that sprawling, shadowy hypnotic post-rock and dreamy twanginess into the heavier, hazy "Temporal, Eponymous", that insistent, elliptical drumbeat pounding beneath distorted powerchords and waves of black amplifier drift and gleaming electronics, taking on a clanking, almost industrial-tinged quality, eventually unfolding into monstrous, fuzz-drenched psychedelic blues awash in waves of searing raga-like drone, slowly enfolded in plumes of kosmische synthesizer. Over on the third side, you get a couple of guest appearances; the first from comes from Tor Deitrichson of the cult 70s psych outfit Diga Rhythm Band, who plays tabla on the abstract creepscape "Circumstances Of Faith", an expanse of minimal bass throb and distant ghostly wailing, mysterious electronic sounds and swells of mesmeric metallic drone, enshrouded in a dark and ominous atmosphere that eventually explodes into a furious psychedelic squall of screaming effects-damaged acid guitar and pounding death-rite drumming. And the track that follows features Japanese psychedelic singer Ai Aso adrift on vast cetaceous drones and sheets of spectral hum, her etheric whisper lilting high over deep, tectonic booms and smears of gorgeous, bleary grey-sky ambience and swirls of hushed synthdrift, a combination that makes for one of the most stunning sequences on the album. And by the album's end, the trio ascend to a final symphony of crushing metallic drone, huge power chords shifting and thundering across the dusky expanse, eerie wailing falling across the horizon, a vast ocean of feedback and rumbling amplifier hum sprawling endlessly, gorgeous and grim, a crushing Sunn-style sea of doom-laden drones spreading out beneath Kairos's majestic, apocalyptic vistas.
    A real winner on all fronts, this vinyl-only release also sports more of Denis Kostromitin's amazing artwork for the heavyweight case-wrapped gatefold jacket, as well as photography from Faith Coloccia (Mamiffer).
Track Samples:
Sample : Ebony Pagoda
Sample : Temporal, Eponymous
Sample : That Space Between



ANGER, KENNETH + BRIAN BUTLER   Technicolor Skull   LP   (Ajna Offensive)    21.00



   Just restocked this 2011 release from the ephemeral duo of Kenneth Anger and Brian Butler (a session player who has performed in the past with Christian Death frontman Rozz Williams and Mark Stewart of The Pop Band) called Technicolor Skull, a short-lived collaboration who released just this one single-sided LP on blood red 180 gram vinyl in a limited edition of six hundred and sixty-six copies via esteemed occult-centric label Ajna Offensive. Anger's name should be familiar to all enthusiasts of dark counter-culture cinema and the more occult-fixated corners of the underground art scene, foremost for his now iconic body of experimental films from the mid-20th century that included Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Scorpio Rising, Lucifer Rising, and Invocation of My Demon Brother.
   His latest project Technicolor Skull hardly sounds like the work of a man in his eighties. Released in conjunction with a one-time only live performance at the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, this record features a blast of improvised psychedelia from Anger and Butler that's just as grim as the morbid cover art of a red-hued skull suggests, sprawling out into a vast swirling psychedelic noisescape, the eerie wail and shriek of Anger's theremin rising and swooping across fields of crackling electronic noise and whirring cosmic effects like the cries of alien birdlife and blasts of incandescent laser. As the performance continues to unfold, waves of distorted guitar wash across the side likes tides of black lava, cascades of fractalized acid guitar shred tumble through space, and fuzz-drenched power chords strobe in the blackness. Walls of sputtering black static collapse in slow motion, while bursts of what sound like fluttering woodwinds are swept up in a chortling free-jazz style rush of notes. A massively distorted guitar sputters out a stream of malformed glitchery like the effluvium of a malfunctioning mainframe computer, right before an onslaught of crazed, violent drumming explodes into a storm of percussive power, rising and falling as the performance grows more sinister and more atmospheric, leading into the sound of distant funereal violin and droning electronics, fragments of creepy piano and plumes of howling, mesmeric feedback belching from overdriven amplifiers like incense over the sounds of sampled orchestral scores from ancient horror movies that thunder in the background. A real skull-fuck blast of ghostly black-hole psychedelia that's chaotic and creepy and pretty goddamn mind-melting; I can only imagine what this was like live, with Anger's otherworldly images towering on a screen behind the duo. Immense.


ANTIGAMA   Zeroland   CD   (Selfmadegod)    11.98



Antigama's second album Zeroland from 2005 remains my favorite from this Polish outfit, a masterwork of discordant, progressive grindcore that combined a Voivoidian dissonance and spirit of experimentation with a precision grindcore attack that is still unmatched. The album has been out of print for awhile, but Selfmadegod finally repressed it this year; if you're a fan of challenging, crushing grind, you seriously need to hear this album if you've yet already done so. Here's my old writeup for the album from back when it was originally released:
Looking at the packaging on this CD, it would be easy to assume that this might contain some sort of psychedelic techno if it weren't for the Selfmadegod Records logo on the back of the case. What this is, is one of the best grindcore releases of 2005, a superb new blast of futurist grind violence from Poland that sounds to my ears like a modern day Voivod gone grind, or maybe Diatribes-era Napalm Death crossed with Nasum's rabid lockstep blastmetal and the nightmarish industrial atmosphere of classic Skinny Puppy. The album spews streams of speed-of-light blastbeats, disharmonic ultra-poly-rhythmic deathcore colliding with psychedelic electronic noise and chilling industrial loops.. These guys are at the top of their game here, delivering skullcracking, machine-tight grind combined with cleverly assembled avant/cyber/electronic sections and their signature dissonant guitar sound.
Zeroland, despite its experimental leanings and odd time signatures flirting with the boundries of free jazz and extreme noise, is also surprisingly catchy. The vocals here are an effective mixture of clean, heavily processed and spacey clean vocals and brutal gorilla tantrum deathgrunt, the singer's morbid moan getting into some weird territory that definitely doesn't sound like your usual death/grind delivery. And when the band isn't blasting through their insane cybergrind , they're melting your brainpaste with stuff like "Starshit" (a harrowing piece of extreme psychedelic vocal noise) and the massive closer "Zeroland", with it's 9 minutes of sinister fuzzed-out sample collage spoolling off into an ambient blackness while subtle clicks and cuts dance around far-off feedback screams. HIGHLY recommended to fans of primo avant-garde grindcore.
Track Samples:
Sample : Zeroland
Sample : Wounded Butterfly
Sample : Starshit
Sample : Seed



APARTMENT 213   Cleveland Power Violence   LP   (Fuck Yoga)    18.99



   First released on CD back in 2006 by the long defunct British label Retribute Records, this is still the only full-length album to come from the fearsome Clevo powerviolence band Apartment 213, who took their name from the infamous abode of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Made up of current and former members of Nekrofilth, Scarver's Calling, Schnauzer and Soulless, and fronted by the power-tool weilding madman Steve Makita from the industrial noise outfit Lockweld, Apartment 213 were one of the bands on this side of the country throughout the 1990s capable of handing out the same level of abuse as the West Coast powerviolence contingent. Mostly known for their skull-crushing 7"s and splits released on labels like Dark Empire and Bovine, the band took nearly a decade to finally unleash this sixteen song album, and it's still one of my favorite albums of violent blastcore from the oughts. This slab of speedbeast brutality has finally been reissued on vinyl, courtesy of Macedonian label Fuck Yoga. Here's the old review I did of the CD version:
    Apartment 213 are fucking back on the map with this new 16 song album. Back in the '90's, the Midwest couldn't really compete with California or the East Coast when it came to extreme hardcore. I mean, c'mon...Cali had the whole Slap A Ham contingent, bands like Infest and Crossed Out and Man Is The Bastard that are still unchallenged in terms of sheer annihilating brutality. And out east, we had NYC bands like Disassociate and Black Army Jacket and Disrupt that totally killed. Don't get us wrong, there were LOADS of hardcore bands between coasts that shredded, but most of 'em were more punk, less obliterating extremity. Enter Apartment 213, whose hyperspeed, ultra downtuned toolshed grind came together in the early 1990's out of the dark industrial wastes of Cleveland, and channeled brutal Infest-style powerviolence through a bunch of blue collar Ohio dudes armed with power tools and some serious misanthropy. On this new album, Apartment 213 hasn't changed their sound a bit, still dealing out super sludgy metal riffs, blast beats, and over-the-top aggro barked vocals, but with MUCH better production than their previous stuff. And they are still rooted in the DIY punk aesthetic and a love of experimental and industrial noise. You think extreme blasting speedcore sounds tough? Try adding some fucking power tools and crazed feedback noise to the assault. Their use of noise and post-industrial sonics makes alot of sense seeing as how vocalist Steve Makita is also one-half of legendary industrial noise duo Lockweld. Plus, the last track "Freak War" is a nightmarish noise collaboration between Apartment 213 and Eric Wood of Man Is The Bastard/Bastard Noise. Seriously crushing stuff. Cleveland Power Violence! Fight with tools!
Track Samples:
Sample : Freak War
Sample : Lockweld:Infection
Sample : On Her 1st Birthday
Sample : Wife Beater



ATHEIST   Elements (ORANGE VINYL)   LP   (Season Of Mist)    23.98



Out of all of the death metal bands that were flirting with prog and avant-garde tendencies in the early 90's (a crowd that included the likes of Pestilence, Cynic, Death and Nocturnus), Atheist was the one that seemed to venture the furthest into full-blown jazz territory, releasing a trio of albums that would continue to mutate more and more into a strange sort of experimental fusion-death that liberally applied elements of tripped-out psychedelia, sweat-soaked samba (!) and similar Latin influences into their complex, crushing metal. Atheist's three albums (1989's Piece of Time, 1991's Unquestionable Presence and 1993's mind-bending Elements) went on to become landmarks in the field of progressive death metal; though the band reunited in recent years and produced the solid comeback album Jupiter for Season Of Mist, it's those earlier albums that I always go back to, as these guys sounded so unique, so outré, their music has aged remarkably well in the decades since their release. Founded by guitarist Kelly Shaefer (who also handled the vocals in Atheist, with a ferocious yowl that was totally unlike the guttural growling most other bands were doing back then) and his crew of pot-smoking visionaries in the early 80's as a standard issue thrash metal band, by the end of the decade they had evolved into one of the most unique metal bands to ever come out of the Sunshine State, morphing into something much more complex and left-field than almost anyone else in the Floridian death metal scene, combining dizzying baroque arrangements and highly complex time signatures with vicious, discordant riffs and heavy doses of fusiony jazz, Latin music and prog influences. Unsurprisingly, these albums went over the heads of most metalheads when they originally came out, the complexity and insane tonal shifts throwing most 'bangers for a loop. They never received the sort of widespread acclaim that many of their peers enjoyed throughout the 90's, and Atheist ended up breaking up not long after the release of their third album Elements. Released on the long-defunct Active Records, all three of the early Atheist LPs were later re-mastered and reissued with bonus materials on CD via Relapse Records in 2005, followed by these new limited-edition vinyl reissues on new label Season Of Mist that pretty much duplicate the original Active releases all the way down to the center labels.
On album number three, listeners followed Atheist all the way down their weird rabbit-hole of surreal songwriting and jazz/samba influenced prog meshed with crushing staccato death metal heaviness. Despite the fact that Elements was in essence a rush-job that the band belted out quickly to finish off their contract, the album was an intense, accomplished work that featured some of Atheist's most imaginative songwriting ever. Most of the songs are titled after various elemental forces, continuing in the band's strange New Age-style themes of spirituality, and their Byzantine songwriting was further fleshed out with polyrhythmic drumming, complex time signatures and unpredictable shifts in style and tone that often completely abandoned the death metal form. Cynic bassist Tony Choy returned as well, contributing his virtuosic deep-pocket playing that the band wisely put way up front in the mix. Choy's playing is a big part of what makes this album sound so unique, his grooves more informed by jazz, funk and Latin influences than the plodding chug of classical heavy metal. The song "Mineral" breaks into one of the sickest and most unusual death metal breakdowns I have ever heard, while elsewhere the band blends soaring guitar solos, fusiony shredding and haunting e-bow textures into gorgeous abstract guitar instrumentals like "Fractal Point" and "See You Again". And all throughout Elements, the band swerves from that wicked metallic heaviness into frenetic samba session or searing Latin jazz style guitar solos, with some full-on samba appearing on the piano-laced interlude "Samba Briza". I know that this stuff blew my mind the first time I listened to this album, I can only imagine how other death metal fans might have reacted when they first heard this wild, jazz-infected progdeath back in 1993. Atheist's rhythmic complexity and stylistic indulgences were like no other band; in fact, in the twenty years since Elements first came out, the only band that has even come close to capturing the sort of bizarre, mind-bending jazzmetal virtuosity heard here would be Brooklyn's Candiria. A lot of Atheist fans consider their second album to be their finest, but for me, Elements remains the band's career high point, a masterpiece of memorable, utterly unique, highly adventurous metal. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Fire
Sample : Green
Sample : On They Slay [*][Live]



BACCHANAL   Purity Through Darkness   CASSETTE   (Vanguard Productions)    6.50



   More blackened pagan weirdness from Vanguard Productions. The first of two tapes I picked up from Bacchanal, the side-project from S.L. Jarson of black metallers Equinox, Purity Through Darkness is the work of easily the oddest sounding band on the label, delivering pure electronic music that draws heavily from classic 80's house music and kosmische ambience, primitive EBM, and tinged with shades of other early industrial music, all woven together this weird, somewhat crude Satanic dance music that's guaranteed to disgust staunch black metal purists. Despite the project being released by Vanguard, there's nothing connecting this to black metal, but the grim, pulsating electronic soundscapes definitely have a sinister feel that you'd probably dig if you were ever into stuff like Jon Nödtveidt's De Infernali or the more experimental electronic stuff from Ildjarn.
    There's a vintage feel to this stuff, you could have told me that this tape was more than twenty five years old. From the pulsating low-fi techno of opener "Blood Of Titans" to the swirling murky synthscape of "Cernunnos" and its cosmic fog of crackling electronic drones, squelchy bass, and searing distortion, the tape then slips out into a warped Tangerine Dream-esque wash of mutant galactic analogue drift, hypnotic breakbeats thudding beneath vast frequency sweeps and demented synth arpeggios, the tracks scattered with unsettling spoken word samples, swells of wobbly dubstep-esque bass and classic EBM rhythms, primitive gurgling synths and wailing sampled female backing vocals, and laced with the occasional creepy keyboard melody that sounds like something from an 80s horror flick. There's a dark, threatening feel to some of that soundtracky stuff that shows up later in the tape, especially when slow pounding percussion starts to rumble at the center of a black nebulae of malformed electronics and sinister choral synths, the track "The Strife I Wove With Vein Of Pride" even resembling something from one of John Carpenter's late-80s soundtracks. There's little in the way of vocals, save for a couple of tracks that feature dozy female voices reciting what sound like biblical verse over the skittering beats and ominous dark ambience, elsewhere reciting lines from Crowley's "Hymn To Pan" and other writings over muted technoid throb and swirling synth chords.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sigil Of Baphomet
Sample : Nine Angels
Sample : Cernunnos



BANN   Antiochia   CD   (Grief Foundation)    10.98



   Just unearthed a handful of copies of this now out-of-print 2007 mini-album from the obscure German duo Bann, a band who only managed to released this and one subsequent full-length album (2009's Æschatologia) before going dormant. Released by the now defunct British label Grief Foundation who put out a number of killer releases in the late oughts from the likes of White Medal, Krieg, Caina, Swine and Axis Of Advance, Antiochia establishes it's dour, drear mood from the classic Gustave Doré cover art before sinking into the three long sprawling tracks of blackened, doom-laden misery that make up the disc. It's a pretty straightforward sound that these guys were going for, mixing intensely sorrowful black metal with suffocating slow-motion tempos and morose atmosphere that heavily draws from the classic UK deathdoom of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, but Bann turned that into something a bit more interesting than your standard-fare gloomdealers by incorporating doleful neo-classical elements, heavily atmospheric kosmische synthesizers, and even the occasional tint of baroque progginess, a combination that put this disc into some heavy rotation here in the C-Blast office back when it first came out.
    Each of Antiochia's epic tracks wallow in the band's mix of Teutonic misery and dour philosophical musings, their often agonizingly slow, exquisitely bleak sound occasionally reminiscent of fellow German gloomsters Bethlehem, injecting their miserable lumbering heaviness with bursts of faster-paced black metal, while distant shrieks of abject despair mingle with the more prominent serpentine rasp of frontman Hoffarth. Definitely a sound that I'm a big fan of. But then the duo will color their sorrowful, nihilistic symphonics and doom-laden blackness with haunting melodies that swirl through these tracks, and those ghostly woodwind-like arrangements and whirling piano parts give parts of this an unexpectedly Goblin-esque vibe; there's a couple moments on here where those vaguely proggy elements actually remind me of the Italian spook-prog masters' classic score for Phenomena. Elsewhere, grim chamber-string arrangements lurch across sudden descents into crushing doom, or segue into sections where the music will suddenly drop away, leaving only the sounds of a raging oceanic surf and echoing German voices, or drift into the sound of forlorn acoustic guitars weaving shadowy madrigals amidst the remnants of rumbling blackness. But in the end, it's those spooky, cinematic blasts of atmospheric creep weaving through Antiochia's buzzing, Burzumic doom which shine as the disc's most enthralling moments.
Track Samples:
Sample : Antiochia
Sample : Allerwachen



BASTARD NOISE / GOVERNMENT ALPHA/HIROSHI HASEGAWA   Uncertainty Principle   7" VINYL   (Small Doses)    7.50



   Though it looks like it might be awhile before we get another album of the sort of crushing, alien prog that Bastard Noise has been doing lately in full band mode, we can still count on BN mastermind Eric Wood to keep feeding us his more straightforward electronic assaults, which almost always blast my skull away. Even better is when we get some new Bastard Noise stuff where he's teamed up with legends of Japanese noise; this recent 7" threatens deafness with not only an a-side that has Wood teamed up with Hiroshi Hasegawa of cosmic noise gods C.C.C.C., but also a punishing blast of galactic horror from his collaboration with the mighty Government Alpha, delivering two sides of pro-Earth, anti-human technological devastation.
    BN's track with Hiroshi Hasegawa sweeps across the first side with a skull-melting blast of electronic noise, the squealing, violent frequencies cut-up amid snippets of absolutely desolate ambient drift and garbled circuitry. Crank this side up to maximum volume, and it's fucking terrifying, those stray motes of deep-space drift and half-glimpsed melody that surface throughout the track only serving to exacerbate the nightmarish vibe. When Wood eventually unleashes his inhuman screams later in the track, it's a choir of agonized shrieks and monstrous guttural rumblings that rise over waves of distorted feedback and whirring, insectile electronics. It's one of the most nightmarish sounding things I've heard from Bastard Noise lately, like some fragmented S.O.S. transmission beamed back to us from the bowels of Hell.
    The Government Alpha collaboration "A Diabolical Journey" offers a slightly more subdued dose of cosmic death. Wood continues to bellow and belch his misanthropic fumes, but those glottal, death metal-esque detonations are smeared over a more ambient expanse of sound, swells of minimal drift rising and falling between bits of almost orchestral drone and peals of distant metallic agony. It's like some strange cinematic version of a power electronics assault, the harsher sounds melted down and poured across distant gleaming vistas, the track only beginning to squirm out into more tortured forms towards the end as the artists finally unleash the full fury of their oscillators and effects units, bathing the final moments of the record in a horrific, irradiated glow.
    Comes in some really nice (if slightly labor-intensive) packaging, the olive-green vinyl packaged inside of a sealed, printed vellum envelope.


BEASTMILK   White Stains On Black Wax   7" VINYL   (Magic Bullet)    7.99



   Last year's Climax might be my favorite contempo gloom-punk album that's come out in the past few years, delivering some of the catchiest music I've heard come out of the recent resurgence in 80's style deathrock and post-punk. Released prior to their debut album, Beastmilk's early EPs were just as darkly infectious and anthemic, essential stuff if you were hooked on Climax, but that stuff had been out of print for awhile. Beastmilk's US label Magic Bullet has just reissued these earlier releases though, and both are highly recommended; while it only has two actual songs and the whole thing is repeated on the b-side, I've been hitting repeat on the Finnish band's White Stains 7" all month. White Stains On Black Wax (the title a nod to Crowley's infamous book of erotic poetry) was Beastmilk's first release, a self-released cassette that came out back in 2010 that started all of the buzz around the band after Darkthrone member Fenriz hailed it as one of the best new releases of the year on his Band Of The Week blog. Little wonder, as this brief blast of apocalyptic post-punk burrows fast into your brain, opening with the maudlin, Misfits-meets-Killing Joke rocker "The Wind Blows Through Their Skulls", then slipping into the equally catchy "Blood (Under The Mill)", the song's driving, heavy sound tinged with an almost rockabilly-esque twang. The other track is little more than a short sound collage touting the glories of "Beastmilk", but this 7" still thoroughly wipes the floor with most bands of this kind, their songs fueled on dark energy and loaded with huge, gloomy hooks that'll stick with you for days, and fronted by the shadowed croon of singer Mat McNerney (Code / Hexvessel / Dødheimsgard). Fantastic stuff.


BEASTMILK   Use Your Deluge   7" VINYL   (Magic Bullet)    7.99



   Here's the second new Beastmilk reissue that just came out from the band's US label Magic Bullet, a new version of the Finnish post-punk outfit's first actual 7" release that came out on Svart back in 2012. Use Your Deluge was the second release from these apocalyptic Helsinki gloom-punks, following up their acclaimed self-released cassette with four more songs of incredibly catchy, sinister music that references everything from Joy Division to Sisters Of Mercy to Danzig, while ultimately crafting a dark driving sound of their own. These tracks are still among my favorites from the band, and did more than merely foreshadow the brilliant songwriting and elegant, icy aggression of their debut album Climax; the caliber of songwriting here is just as high, tracks like "Void Mother", "Forever Animal", "Red majesty" and especially the thoroughly rousing "Children Of The Atom Bomb" all showcasing Beastmilk's perfect hybrid of Danzig-esque darkness and propulsive, rocking post-punk edged with a slight metallic bite. Every one of these songs is wound around a maddeningly catchy hook, drums slipping seamlessly between pounding tribal drumming and that soaring sinister momentum, lush ice-encrusted guitar melodies winding around the coolly detached delivery of Mat McNerney (of Code / Hexvessel / Dødheimsgard fame)'s crooning lead vocals, a perfect accompaniment to Beastmilk's heavy endtime anthems. Highly recommended.


BEYOND LIFE   Blackened Sky   CD   (Le Crépuscule Du Soir)    11.98



   The debut album of eschatological dread from Polish band Beyond Life, who combine grim electronic soundscapes with sludgy industrial heaviness and smatterings of severely downbeat black metal, producing a sickly, unsettling vibe over the course of these six tracks. Ugly, discordant stuff that oozes a nightmarish energy, Beyond Life's music is a lot more experimental than most of the industrial black metal stuff I've heard lately, though you can make out some shades of Mysticum's more atmospheric moments here and there. The opening title track kicks this off with a nearly twenty minute epic, moving from a nightmarish noisescape filled with warped murky guitar and dissonant, deformed blackened melodies that creep up from beneath swells of violent crashing percussion and metallic shimmer. Bursts of distorted drone and creepy half-formed melody rise over the sounds of distant wailing voices drifting disembodied through the abyss, amid gusts of filthy saturated amp-fuzz and keening inhuman howling echoing even further in the depths. A sprawling blackened nightmare that ever so slowly begins to coalesce into a rumbling necrotic mass of sound, like some bizarre free-improv workout oozing from out of an oubliette; at times it's almost comparable to T.O.M.B.'s mausoleum rumblings or the dungeon psychedelia of Abruptum and Emit, a meandering abstract evil presence that gradually shapes itself into a glacial, discordant riff meandering through this fuzzy, black industrial deathscape, rattled by sudden bursts of chaotic drumming and violent blastbeats, even lurching into a twisted, pummeling groove at the end of the song that lurches into a hypnotic, almost Aluk Todolo-esque churn.
    The rest of the album, however, turns into a kind of mournful, gnarled post-rock, "Sickness Of Humanity" unleashing waves of black kosmische ambience and oceanic synthdrift like some tortured, crpyt-crawling version of Tangerine Dream, disturbing vocals and samples dissolving into surging waves of orchestral blackness and vast tectonics, while the melody from Lennon's "Imagine" loops endlessly over a ghostly backdrop of whirring industrial thrum and churning blackness on "Post-Apocalypse Now", slowly evolving into a malevolent industrial dirge. Other songs offer more languid meditations on emptiness and infinity, evocative instrumental guitar and moody jangle melding with cinematic 80's style synths over the sounds of ocean waves lapping against a shore, flowing into passages of deep electronic whirr and fuzz-drenched blackened psychedelia, lush tremolo-drenched guitar wavering and washing through rainstorms and distant demonic vocals and Draculoid mutterings. Weird shit, for sure. Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Wasteland Blues
Sample : Sickness Of Humanity
Sample : Blackened Sky



BLACK CILICE   Summoning The Night   CD   (Hidden Marly)    11.98



   Summoning The Night is the latest album from my current favorite Portuguese black metal band, Black Cilice, featuring more stunning, blown-out ramshackle majesty from this one-man outfit. Six songs of low-fi blackness that have that same unpolished, "Black Chamber" rehearsal-space recording style as all of the band's other recordings, which for me is a great part of the appeal behind Black Cilice's murky, mysterious black metal. That grimy, subterranean aesthetic, along with the atmospheric, emotional quality of the songwriting, makes Black Cilice's music a strange beast; noisy and drenched in reverb, yet buried not very deep beneath all of that rawness and roughness is some intensely moving songcraft, powerful melodies washing across the din of clanking drums and repetitive tremolo riffs, the instruments dissolving into one another as they transform into a wall of sound. The layered guitar noise builds into some shockingly gorgeous guitar-skree blowouts throughout Summoning The Night that are at times seemingly only a few steps removed from the sound of some super-raw live recording of a classic shoegaze outfit, blown out beyond all recognition.
    This ain't no "blackgaze" though, despite how catchy and pretty some of these layered melodic riffs can become; songs like "Judgment" and "Chaos And Evil" are furious, ice-encrusted blasts of blackness, those bizarre wailing vocals a smear of abject misery glowing in the distance, seemingly wordless howls that almost seem to be electronically processed. The songs suddenly shift into barbaric, stomping, almost punk-like riffs at times, causing seismic eruptions of violent power whenever the songs suddenly swing into one of these vicious temp changes. And there's that hallucinatory feel to Black Cilice's stuff that continues to remind me of some of the noisier projects that came out of the French Black Legions (particularly Vampires of Black Imperial Blood-era Mutiilation), with a slight out-of-phase quality to everything, probably due to the sheer distorted overload of the recording, a quality that further transforms these songs into something deformed yet dreamlike, the blasting echo-drenched churn of the guitars reaching blissed-out levels of harmonic overload. With Summoning, Black Cilice continues to produce some of the catchiest noise-damaged black metal that I've been listening to lately - can't recommend this or his other albums enough for fans of regal, no-fi black metal.
Track Samples:
Sample : Judgement
Sample : Astral Cipher
Sample : Amidst Medieval Tombs



BLOODYMINDED   Within The Walls   CD   (Bloodlust!)    9.98



   Now available on both limited edition vinyl and digipack CD.
    Still one of the key shapers of American power electronics, Chicago PE mainstays Bloodyminded return with their first new album in seven years, and it's one of the most harrowing industrial/noise albums of their career. Within The Walls is some of the grimmest material I've ever heard from the band, steeped in clinical electronic drones and waves of deeply unsettling dark ambience that move through uneasy psychological spaces. The album wastes no time in its effort to creep you out as the opener "All The Cities Are Occupied" layers those eerie dissonant drones and cold wheezing electronics over sounds of creaking, scraping metal, like the sound of a pick-axe being dragged down the length of some long, dank culvert, surrounded by bleak synthesizer sounds that have been summoned by David Reed of Luasa Raelon / Envenomist. But then they'll follow that up that with something like the Whitehouse-worthy blast of squealing feedback abuse and pandemonic derangement of the title track, a disorienting din of crazed voices shrieking and raving over an assault of pestilent fluttering distortion and severe speaker-shredding noise. The album often surges into that level of extreme, assaultive sound, traveling swiftly out of the passages of cold dark ambience into these vicious onslaughts of deformed synth noise and sputtering oscillators, becoming a churning backdrop of diseased drone and insectile chaos that takes that classic Whitehouse-influenced style of power electronics and twists it into something even more monstrous.
    But the focal point of Bloodyminded's bleakly violent vision on Within The Walls is not the harsh, ear-rending electronics, but actually the myriad of voices that appear together throughout the album, a legion of voices that evokes the interior pandemonium of a schizophrenic, the screeching garbled horror of tracks like "Night Strikes" teeming with a barely controlled violence, the nihilist lyrics spilling out in streams of surrealist horror as the voices shift between English and Spanish, gouts of guttural bellowing and sneering hatefulness, a multitude of psychotic howling and gnashing teeth that ceaselessly pan back and forth over the screaming malignant squeal and chirping electronics. It's only at the very end, when the band slips into a reworking of the Locrian song "Inverted Ruins" that the album transforms, as the coldly ambivalent synth melody that Sanford Parker weaves around the skull-scraping feedback slowly blossoms into a kind of mesmeric, malignant darkwave; in that final moment, Bloodyminded's high-end violence somehow morphs into some akin to a more atmospheric Skinny Puppy, a striking and wholly unexpected climax to the otherwise blistering aural abuse that makes up Walls.
Track Samples:
Sample : Inverted Ruins
Sample : Fatal Breath
Sample : All The Cities Are Occupied



BLOODYMINDED   Within The Walls   LP   (Bloodlust!)    15.98



   Now available on both limited edition vinyl and digipack CD.
    Still one of the key shapers of American power electronics, Chicago PE mainstays Bloodyminded return with their first new album in seven years, and it's one of the most harrowing industrial/noise albums of their career. Within The Walls is some of the grimmest material I've ever heard from the band, steeped in clinical electronic drones and waves of deeply unsettling dark ambience that move through uneasy psychological spaces. The album wastes no time in its effort to creep you out as the opener "All The Cities Are Occupied" layers those eerie dissonant drones and cold wheezing electronics over sounds of creaking, scraping metal, like the sound of a pick-axe being dragged down the length of some long, dank culvert, surrounded by bleak synthesizer sounds that have been summoned by David Reed of Luasa Raelon / Envenomist. But then they'll follow that up that with something like the Whitehouse-worthy blast of squealing feedback abuse and pandemonic derangement of the title track, a disorienting din of crazed voices shrieking and raving over an assault of pestilent fluttering distortion and severe speaker-shredding noise. The album often surges into that level of extreme, assaultive sound, traveling swiftly out of the passages of cold dark ambience into these vicious onslaughts of deformed synth noise and sputtering oscillators, becoming a churning backdrop of diseased drone and insectile chaos that takes that classic Whitehouse-influenced style of power electronics and twists it into something even more monstrous.
    But the focal point of Bloodyminded's bleakly violent vision on Within The Walls is not the harsh, ear-rending electronics, but actually the myriad of voices that appear together throughout the album, a legion of voices that evokes the interior pandemonium of a schizophrenic, the screeching garbled horror of tracks like "Night Strikes" teeming with a barely controlled violence, the nihilist lyrics spilling out in streams of surrealist horror as the voices shift between English and Spanish, gouts of guttural bellowing and sneering hatefulness, a multitude of psychotic howling and gnashing teeth that ceaselessly pan back and forth over the screaming malignant squeal and chirping electronics. It's only at the very end, when the band slips into a reworking of the Locrian song "Inverted Ruins" that the album transforms, as the coldly ambivalent synth melody that Sanford Parker weaves around the skull-scraping feedback slowly blossoms into a kind of mesmeric, malignant darkwave; in that final moment, Bloodyminded's high-end violence somehow morphs into some akin to a more atmospheric Skinny Puppy, a striking and wholly unexpected climax to the otherwise blistering aural abuse that makes up Walls.
Track Samples:
Sample : Inverted Ruins
Sample : Fatal Breath
Sample : All The Cities Are Occupied



BODY, THE   self-titled   LP   (Howling Mine)    13.98



Just got the recent vinyl reissue of The Body's eponymous debut from 2004 back in, released by Howling Mine, the label run by some of the guys in Thou. This latest edition has been remastered for this release, and comes on 180 gram black vinyl, limited to five hundred copies. Here's my old write-up for the original release of the album...
I'd been hearing good things about The Body and their self-titled album, but it took awhile to finally track this down and dig in. Based out of Providence, Rhode Island, The Body is two guys named Chip and Lee, one drummer and one guitar player playing through a wall of amps, and they are freaking heavy. And kind of enigmatic, too. Their website doesn't tell you anything...it's just a old-looking, sepia-toned photograph of two guys on a hill in the distance, wearing potato sacks over their heads. That's it. And the band's Myspace page isn't that much more informative. Which is kinda cool. Definitely lends a weird, mystical vibe to The Body's pummeling sludge.
Musically, for one reason or another I was expecting this album to sound like some sort of Melvins knockoff, but that's not what this sounds like at all. Nope, this seven song album is a weird mixture of super heavy, repetitively droning sludgecore, ferocious jangly balls of mathy riffage, and strange vocal samples and other noises moving around in the big, murky fog these guys whip up. The first track is an untitled nine-minute dronefeast, huge drums and monochord sludge riffing lumbering through a thick haze of rumbling feedback and growing in volume and intensity until the entire performance begins to become more and more distorted and blown out, eventually turning into a crunchy blast of ripped-speaker overload and buzzing drone. Then it abruptly kicks into "The City of The Magnificent Jewel", with a massive grooving riff and slightly faster, churning drumming, playing the same droning hypnotic riff over and over, tied together by insane sounding, desperate shrieked vocals that are way off in the back of the mix. The rest of the disc alternates between slo-mo pummeling sludge and strange detours into math rock; parts of this remind me of the metallic mathy crush of Conifer and Tides, but those wrecked screaming vocals and the odd atmosphere that permeates the album definitely make this stand out.
Dig the last track, too: a fifteen minute long descent into hypno sludge dementia, huge pounding monotono-riffage bashing your skull in right before it disappears and the sound of singing children enters the room, then rushing back in as a churning, chaotic dark riff grinding over and over and over, lulling you into a uneasy trance until disassembling into a spacious field of upright bass tones (and I swear I hear violin in there...) and roaring droning feedback.
Track Samples:
Sample : Hearts Ache, Even In Dreams (City Eater)
Sample : Failings
Sample : ( )



BRAINOIL   Death Of This Dry Season   CD   (Tank Crimes)    11.98



Now available on CD...
Man, it's been a long, long time since I've heard anything from this Bay Area band, and figured them for kaput. But no, lo and behold we've got this brand new Lp (well, not that new, this did come out several months ago, but I dragged my heels on picking it up for the shop) from Brainoil, with seven songs of furious, sludgy hardcore that shows that this trio (whose members also happen to play in Laudanum, Stormcrow and Whatch Them Die) are not only still kicking, but still hammering out some of the heaviest shit in Oakland. The opening title track drills it home: a thunderous concoction of crushing Sabbathoid grooves wrapped around mildly angular riffing, the song shifting gears multiple times as they push forward with bludgeoning down tuned thrash that slips down into that swampy, monstrous slow-motion swing and even slower passages of grinding crush. Brainoil's tar-coated heaviness has always been closely related to the blues-influenced scum-boogie of Eyehategod, Buzzoven and Weedeater, but there's more of an overt hardcore element to their music, that mucky Bay Area crust seeping into their already quite ugly racket - fans of Eyehategod side project Outlaw Order and Ohio's sludge warlords Fistula would no doubt especially dig Brainoil's sound, as all three bands share a common appetite for jarring dynamic shifts between breakneck speed and lumbering ultra-heavy dirge. When Brainoil really crank the tempo up, it's some of the best stuff on the Lp; the song "Opaque Reflections" is one of album's absolute scorchers, erupting from one of their crushing slow riffs into a tornado of ferocious D-beat drumming and blazing fast crustcore, and on "Feet Cling To The Rotting Soil", the band whips up a vicious rocking thrash assault that's got some killer riffing and a brutal metalpunk edge. Hell, the whole b-side of this thing is one ripping thrash attack after another, shot up with just the right dose of Sabbathy sludge. Raging stuff, it's good to hear something new and bruising from these guys; fans of sludgy, brutal hardcore should grab Death and try slapping it on alongside some Corrosion Of Conformity and Black Cobra for maximum vertebrae wreckage.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Beauty of Death
Sample : Feet Cling To the Rotting Soil
Sample : Death of This Dry Season



BRAINOIL   self-titled   CD   (Tank Crimes)    11.98



Originally released on Life Is Abuse but long out of print, Brainoil's crushing 2003 debut is finally available again on CD and limited edition colored-vinyl (with digital download) from Tank Crimes. Here's my old write-up for the album, back when we first got this album in stock and before the band had reformed:
They've been dead for a couple of years now, but Brainoil's sole album from 2003 still stands as one of the finest slabs of scab n' scum encrusted boogie sludge of the decade, and I'm finally getting this killer self-titled disc in stock for you sludgefreaks that haven't picked this up yet. Featuring an all-lifer lineup that included members of Watch Them Die, Grimple, Lana Dagales, Destroy!, and Nigel Pepper Cock, I remember thinking that Brainoil were like a West Coast version of Buzzoven when they were around, they had that dreadlocked crustpunk look but served up meaty Southern rock riffs dripping with tar resin that would suddenly erupt into blasts of fast paced hardcore aggression. Massive bluesy down-tuned riffs and ripping solos, super rocking and catchy and gnarly, like a meth'd up Eyehategod with trickier riffs than you might expect, with a lead singer who sounds even more destroyed than Mike Williams. The album is only 21-some minutes long, but every track is a crusher. For some reason, Brainoil were largely overlooked by the sludge/doom/crust scene when they were around, which is weird seeing as how they consistently wrote songs that were alot catchier than most of the stuff comin' out at the time. Think Buzzoven, High On Fire, Weedeater, and Eyehategod - these guys are just as punishing. Features Giger-esque artwork from Judd Hawk.
Track Samples:
Sample : Inquisition
Sample : Dark Eyes of My Past
Sample : Complete?/Lucid Vision



BRAINOIL   self-titled   LP   (Tank Crimes)    17.98



Originally released on Life Is Abuse but long out of print, Brainoil's crushing 2003 debut is finally available again on CD and limited edition colored-vinyl (with digital download) from Tank Crimes. Here's my old write-up for the album, back when we first got this album in stock and before the band had reformed:
They've been dead for a couple of years now, but Brainoil's sole album from 2003 still stands as one of the finest slabs of scab n' scum encrusted boogie sludge of the decade, and I'm finally getting this killer self-titled disc in stock for you sludgefreaks that haven't picked this up yet. Featuring an all-lifer lineup that included members of Watch Them Die, Grimple, Lana Dagales, Destroy!, and Nigel Pepper Cock, I remember thinking that Brainoil were like a West Coast version of Buzzoven when they were around, they had that dreadlocked crustpunk look but served up meaty Southern rock riffs dripping with tar resin that would suddenly erupt into blasts of fast paced hardcore aggression. Massive bluesy down-tuned riffs and ripping solos, super rocking and catchy and gnarly, like a meth'd up Eyehategod with trickier riffs than you might expect, with a lead singer who sounds even more destroyed than Mike Williams. The album is only 21-some minutes long, but every track is a crusher. For some reason, Brainoil were largely overlooked by the sludge/doom/crust scene when they were around, which is weird seeing as how they consistently wrote songs that were alot catchier than most of the stuff comin' out at the time. Think Buzzoven, High On Fire, Weedeater, and Eyehategod - these guys are just as punishing. Features Giger-esque artwork from Judd Hawk.
Track Samples:
Sample : Inquisition
Sample : Dark Eyes of My Past
Sample : Complete?/Lucid Vision



BRUTAL BLUES   self-titled   CD   (Selfmadegod)    10.99



   Despite their name, the debut EP from Norwegian duo Brutal Blues in fact delivers absolutely zero blues, but rather a whole lot of confounding, nerve-scorching avant-grind. Well, maybe not a whole lot - this disc is only fifteen minutes long - but the six songs featured here are seriously blistering, assaulting the listener non-stop with a maniacal blast of mathy time signatures, crushing hyperspeed grindcore, and some of the most abrasive riffing you're going to find on this week's new arrivals list. Both members of Brutal Blues are involved in a number of other bands and projects that I've been a fan of over the years, drummer/vocalist Anders Hana with Jaga Jazzist, Noxagt and Ultralyd, and guitarist/vocalist Steinar Kittilsen with the psychotic grind outfits Parlamentarisk Sodomi and Psudoku; together, these guys whip up some crazed angular grindcore, somewhere in between the ragged brutality of latter-day Brutal Truth and the cutting edge extremism of Gridlink, the songs filled with hideously spastic blastbeat drumming and jarring stop/start arrangements, and a discordant, weirdly jangly guitar sound. But over this brutal blast-assault the duo splatter all sorts of trippy electronic noise and spacey synth slop, turning this into something strangely psychedelic; the vocals are pretty insane as well, infuriated screams that are run through an echoplex machine cranked all the way to ten, the bellowing aggression swooping and echoing endlessly through the band's progged-out blast-metal; they slash and scrape at the guitars, strafing the songs with abrasive guitar noise that sometimes sounds like they're dragging rusted hunks of metal down the fret board, and the songs lunge wildly through this noise-addled hysteria, surging out of those spastic, stuttering grind assaults into clouds of grainy digital noise and electronic drone. Intensely abrasive and intricate stuff, with a discordant No Wave-esque edginess applied to their precision hyper-violence. A phenomenal fuckin' debut.
Track Samples:
Sample : Stafett
Sample : Skjold
Sample : Alminneleg Utsegn



CARPENTER, JOHN + ALAN HOWARTH   Halloween II (CLEAR VINYL)   LP   (Death Waltz)    26.98



Here's the new 2014 repress of this classic slasher soundtrack, issued by Death Waltz on clear vinyl and packaged with a new obi insert.
Finally have several of the recent releases from Death Waltz in stock here at C-Blast; this new boutique label from the UK has been putting stuff out for over a year now, but just about everything they have done has quickly sold out. It's one of the coolest new imprints out there, a vinyl-only operation that is curating a fantastic selection of cult horror / exploitation film soundtracks from the 1970s-1980s "golden age" of electronic film scores, with a couple of high quality newer works appearing every now and then as well. With a signature sleeve design aesthetic, a killer logo and impeccable taste in the best in cinematic electronic darkness, every single one of Death Waltz's releases are amazing collectors items for fans of classic horror sounds.
One of the more recent entries into Death Waltz's reissue campaign is this new vinyl edition of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's OST for the follow-up to Carpenter's iconic 1978 film. For the sequel, Carpenter kept the haunting signature Halloween theme but switched it from piano to synthesizer for this score, giving the soundtrack a sharper, more menacing edge. The opening track is the "Halloween II Theme", a harder, more synth-drenched version that signature melody, fusing it with washes of almost Tangerine Dream-like choral drift. The haunting "Laurie's Theme" is likewise updated for the new score, those familiar harpsichord-like chords turned into something more dissonant and unsettling. The rest of Halloween II's score continues to combine most of those key themes from the first film with that mix of newer synthesizer sounds and production techniques; where the first film's score was actually pretty minimal and spare, here Carpenter and Howarth blend in growling distorted synth drones, lush electronic piano, with ventures into the pounding death-march electronica of "Laurie And Jimmy" and the deep rumbling drones, blood-freezing chimes and pounding kettledrums that appear in "The Shape Enters Laurie's Room". The dread-filled tympani and sequenced electronics of "The Shape Stalks Again" make for one of the score's most doom-laden sequences, but then the fim closes with the only piece of non-original music, the old Chordettes hit "Mr. Sandman" that plays out over the end credits.
Absolutely recommended to anyone into classic slasher soundtracks, the retro terror-electronics of Gatekeeper and Umberto, and the creepiest fringes of early synth-based industrial and electronic music; despite it's minimalism, the Halloween II score is still manages to incite dread even when divorced from the blood-stained imagery of the film.
Like everything else on Death Waltz, this record is beautifully presented in a jacket that features new artwork from Brandon Schaefer as well as a large foldout poster with the same image in larger form, along with liner notes from Schaefer and Alan Howarth.


CATAPULT THE DEAD   All Is Sorrow   LP   (Wet Machine)    16.98



   This San Francisco area outfit manages to set themselves apart from the heap of Neurosis-inspired sludge by cranking up the organ and pushing out into the front of their sound on debut album All Is Sorrow. While the huge, portentous riffage, atmospheric flourishes and morose tempos situate Catapult The Dead's sound within that well-traveled realm first mapped out by Neurosis and Isis, the group offer some interesting wrinkles in that sound to tantalize enthusiasts of primal metallic mysticism. The packaging is pretty cool, with great black line art from Nick Sandy that's a little reminiscent of John Baizley, and which echoes the mythic imagery present in the band's lyrics presented in an eight page parchment-style booklet that accompanies the LP; the record itself is made up on a single, nearly forty minute song spread across the two sides, a sprawling, gothic-tinged sludge epic.
   It sprawls out as a multi-part saga, first rumbling across the beginning of the album as a crushing, doom-laden dirge draped with that swirling pipe organ-like sound, swirling around the slow, monolithic riffs and lumbering drumming, but then later moving through solemn passages of piano-laced slowcore, droning riffage wrapped in symphonic synth-strings, washes of Morricone-like orchestral atmosphere sweeping over the grinding slo-mo heaviness, threads of neo-classical delicacy winding throughout the band's crawling, tortured chuggery. That mixture of swirling piano and organ accompaniment cab be heard throughout almost the entire song, often taking over as the lead instrument as it weaves these mournful melodic shapes over the sparse and ponderous drums, the roar of the guitar washing away into a haze of restrained, textural sound. Even as the band's thunderous heaviness drifts out into the more subdued, pensive sections of the album, though, the vocals remain abrasive, the singer's gruff, guttural roar trading off against a scathing high-pitched shriek that ratchets up the frenzied energy whenever it appears. These guys are definitely working with familiar materials, the Neurosis influence echoing in Sorrow's long, drawn out riffs marching into the glare of a dying sun, and in the pounding fire-dance of the tribal rhythms; but the band succeeds in reshaping these elements into their own image, especially on the second half of the album where the song evolves into soaring, folk-flecked melodies that almost hint at an uglier, more ragged Amorphis, and in those moments when the organs swell up and douse the band's churning sludge in a thick amber glow. Limited to two hundred fifty copies, and includes a digital download of the album.


CIRINO, CHUCK   Chopping Mall   LP   (Waxwork)    28.98



   Back in stock. We've got another fantastic slab of cult classic 1980's synth-kill reissued by the creeped-out curators at Waxwork, following their other major new editions for Friday The 13th (also restocked on this week's list), Creepshow, Day Of The Dead, and Rosemary's Baby; between these guys and UK imprint Death Waltz and One Way Static, there's seriously never been a better time to be a fan of vintage horror movie soundtracks, especially if you're into more obscure offerings like Chuck Cirino's score for Chopping Mall. Never before available on vinyl, the Chopping Mall soundtrack has been remixed and re-mastered from the original masters for this release, and in typical Waxwork fashion, produced as a gorgeous 180 gram LP and packaged in a garishly designed case-wrapped jacket, with a 12" by 12" art print and liner notes from composer Cirino and Chopping Mall screenwriter Steve Mitchell. I gotta say, while this is probably the least known of all of the soundtracks that have gotten the reissue treatment this year, I was overjoyed when I saw that this was coming out. The movie itself is one of my all-time favorite murder-bot epics, part low-budget cyber-slasher, part satirical send-up of shopping mall culture and 80's security technology. Directed by b-movie king Jim Wynorski, Chopping Mall is a goofy, blood-splattered romp that stars budding 80s scream queen Barbara Crampton of Re-animator/From Beyond fame and the terminally perky Kelli Maroney (Night Of The Comet), along with brief cameo appearances from Eating Raoul co-stars Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, Corman mainstay Dick Miller, Gerrit Graham (Phantom of The Paradise/Terrorvision), and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene with Phantasm's Angus Scrimm. The thin plot concerns a gang of hormonal teens holed up overnight in a distinctly 80's-era shopping center, who are increasingly under siege by the mall's malfunctioning security robots, a trio of titanium terrorizers who in one show-stopping scene zap one of the characters square in the kisser with their high-powered lasers, detonating her head like an overripe cantaloupe in bravura fashion.
    Wynorski enlisted his pal Chuck Cirino to assemble the score for this ridiculousness, one of the very first that Cirino would do before embarking on a long career with Roger Corman's high-energy schlock factory New Horizon Pictures. Using a battery of samplers, synthesizers and drum machines, Cirino created a cool, neon-hued soundtrack that teems with frenetic arpeggiated synth melodies and abstract electronic soundscapes, which often mimic the bleeping and blooping of the film's kill-crazy robots. The score is a blast, with some surprisingly infectious passages that include the pulsating electro of the main title theme and menacing, almost Carpenterian synths on tracks like "Showdown", to ominous electronic ambience, strange skittering breabeat-like rhythms and swells of orchestral power, blasts of experimental dissonance and almost New Wavey hooks, vintage synth-bass licks and wailing guitar leads, lots of pounding drum programming and stuttering choral melodies, sequences of stuttering choral melodies, pounding techno laced with creepy descending piano motifs, lots of spooky Simonetti-esque keyboard creep, and softer, prettier cues scattered among the spluttery synthpop of tracks like "Fergie's Dead" and "Scary", with a couple of key dialogue scenes from the film interspersed through the record. Like so much of this stuff, Cirino's score can be unexpectedly avant-garde in spots, but for the most part this is pure 80's delirium, a pulsating piece of video trash insanity that has been long overdue for the collector-quality soundtrack treatment.


CONDOMINIUM   Warm Home   LP   (Cut The Cord That...)    19.99



A new 2014 reissue of this killer mutant hardcore album, originally self released by the band back in 2011, now available from German label Cut The Cord That... Records in a limited edition of five hundred copies.
After a clutch of smokin' 7"s, the Minnesota trio Condominium brings us their first full length of mutated hardcore, tearing through a brand of tweaked hardcore punk that's got this gnarled, malevolent vibe, at times echoing the wonky aggro power of Black Flag and the off-kilter thrash of Die Kruezen, but this has a much deeper weird streak, with odd song arrangements and a handful of detours into noisier experimental territory that can occasionally evoke the crazed formless violence of Harry Pussy, which is always a plus. The twangy guitar spits out some evil-sounding riffs, the drummer races through straightforward rocking into these chaotic bursts of blast beats and manic thrash, and the singer sounds like he's growling through a mouth full of mush through a broken microphone.
All of this is heard on the ferocious blast of chaotic hardcore on the opener "Life Is Amazing", followed by the noisier art-punk damage of "Teeth". Then there's the track titled "Why Be Something That You're Not", presumably a reference to the song of the same title from hardcore pioneers Negative Approach, but this is a strange Dadaist noise experiment that combines improvised guitar noise, hammer dulcimer, an out-of-tune violin, and random household objects banging together. It then kicks into another seething noisy punk assault with "I Don't Hate Any Of You" that wraps up the first side.
Over on the second half, the band engages in some shambling free-rock for a minute, then proceeds through more pounding fast paced hardcore that spins off into stretches where the band jams on the same riff over and over until they fade into nothing, then kick right back in a hyperfast grindy chaos and atonal guitar skronk, closing with the almost Dead C-meets-Flipper shamble and drawled, brain damaged singing on "An Arbitrary Choice Between Infinite Coexisting Realities" that finally coalesces into one last murderous punk assault.
Definitely for fans of the sort of weirdo hardcore coming out on Iron Lung, Parts Unknown and Fashionable Idiots.
Track Samples:
Sample : An Arbitrary Choice Between Infinite Coexisting Realities
Sample : Life Is Amazing
Sample : Under Glass
Sample : Warm Home



CONVIVIAL HERMIT, THE   Issue Seven   MAGAZINE   (Convivial Hermit)    9.98



   Underground magazine The Convivial Hermit has long since abandoned any attempt at maintaining a regular release schedule, but who gives a shit - this is still one of the best print mags coming out right now. With its focus on in-depth conversations with the cream of the crop of the international black / death / neo-folk / experimental underground, each issue of this now roughly biennial magazine endures as both a comprehensive guide to amazing extreme/avant art and a moment-in-time document of the current countercultural zeitgeist; it certainly doesn't hurt that Hermit editor Yury instills a wealth of wit, erudition, and attitude into each and every issue. Indeed, Convivial Hermit is one of the few metal-centric print zines that has a dedicated section in my own library.
    The seventh issue of Hermit is once again packed to the brim with one hundred thirty-six perfect-bound pages, filled with those signature lengthy in-depth interviews, thirty of 'em in all this time around, featuring legendary Greek black metallers Rotting Christ, atmospheric death metallers Ectovoid, neofolk outfits Empyrium (Germany), Raflum (China) and Woodland Choir (Hungary), Swedish black metallers Nasheim, Austrian avant-goth/folk metallers Angizia and Golden Dawn, Hungarian black metallers Velm, French avant-drone/blackened ritual doom ensemble Mhönos, Japanese black metallers Cataplexy, Finnish black metal pagans Ancestors Blood and France's Pagan Blood, and septic Danish death metallers Undergang. There are Q&A's with Czech prog-death outfit Draco Hypnalis, Japanese funeral doom band Funeral Moth, prog-doom masters Worm Ouroboros, Chilean black metallers Wangelen, Italian darkwave outfit Dperd, Danish proggy doom rockers Annwfyn, the doom-laden Italian darkwave band Canaan, Norwegian black metallers Isvind, Finnish death metal atavists Stench Of Decay, Norwegian avant-metallers Manes, atmospheric Austrian black metallers Summoning, Malaysian death metal throwbacks Humiliation, Cascadian black metallers Fauna, Spanish dark ambient outfit Asbaar, Greek black metallers Kawir, and Russian doomdeath band Sacratus. And on top of all of that, you also get a couple of well-written travelogue pieces, philosophical musings, eleven goddamn pages of in-depth fanzine reviews, a retrospective on French metal label Holy Records (Elend, Nightfall, Septic Flesh), lengthy dispatches from Incantation and Negativland shows, and a massive record review section with equally lengthy and in-depth looks at a variety of releases. And all of this is presented with a top-notch layout design and highly readable presentation, and written with intelligence and humor and a deep unwavering obsession with music and art. Can't recommend this enough.


CONVIVIAL HERMIT, THE   Issue Six   MAGAZINE   (Convivial Hermit)    8.98



   Along with getting the latest (seventh) issue of Convivial Hermit in stock, we've also picked up a couple of older issues of this fantastic underground magazine that we hadn't yet stocked.
   Issue number six of the massive underground metal / neo-folk / experimental mag Convivial Hermit continues to deliver the goods, with another thick perfect-bound volume loaded with a ton of eye-grub for you to bury your nose in for the next week or two. Each issue of this lovingly assembled, professionally printed publication just gets bigger and bigger; this one's got one hundred and four pages filled with the mag's signature in-depth interviews and other writings, featuring smart, long pieces with everyone from avant-garde French black metallers Blut Aus Nord, Russian black metal pagans Vspolokh, and old-school Finnsh black metallers Funerary Bell, to Finnish funeral doom outfit Profetus, Hungarian neo-folk duo Larrnakh and Russian darkfolk project Neutral, Icelandic industrial duo Gjöll, Belgian avant-folk weirdos Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, folk-flecked American black metallers Falls Of Rauros, and mysterious avant German black metallers Bergthron. In addition, there's interviews with corpse-painted Portuguese gravecrawlers Cripta Oculta, Italian black metal aesthetes Movimento D'avanguardia Ermetico, 90's-era Finnish death metallers Rippikoulu and Purtenance, British deathcrushers Cruciamentum, the post-dISEMBOWELMENT Australian psych-death outfit Inverloch and a vintage Q&A with dISEMBOWELMENT tribal/ambient side project Trial Of The Bow, French funeral doom legends Monolithe, Belarussian dark folk/ambient project Dalina, Russian doom metallers The Sullen Route, symphonic Israeli black metallers Dagor Dagorath, German black metal outfit Infestus, satanic French black metallers Christicide, and interviews with Swedish black metal label Temple Of Torturous and Philly record store Digital Ferret.
   And as usual, the rest of the magazine is rounded out with additional in-depth articles, from a killer retrospective on Finnish Death Metal and macabre road diaries, to their meaty zine review section, an interview/article with British fantasist Joe Abercrombie (writer of the First Law trilogy), an extensive dispatch from the 2011 Killtown Deathfest in Denmark, a report from Merzbow's Philadelphia show in 2010, an extensive primer on Japanese noise musician / sound sorcerer Aube, a handful of highly readable philosophical essays, surreal dream diaries, an absolutely scathing article titled "The Worst Metal of 2009-2011" that had me rolling, and as always, the extensive take-no-prisoners record reviews section that closes the mag. Whew! And all of this stuff is well written with a sense of humor throughout, making Hermit one of the most enjoyable underground music zines out there. Recommended.


CONVIVIAL HERMIT, THE   Issue Four   MAGAZINE   (Convivial Hermit)    8.98



    Along with getting the latest (seventh) issue of Convivial Hermit in stock, we've also picked up a couple of older issues of this fantastic underground magazine that we hadn't yet stocked.
    Issue four of mighty underground metal / neo-folk / experimental music magazine The Convivial Hermit features one hundred and sixteen pages of intelligent, in-depth writing that primarily centers around the lengthy interviews that make up the meat of the magazine, covering an array of artists both known and obscure that run the gamut from black metal to death industrial, neo-folk to dark ambient: you get expansive Q&A sessions with Greek symphonic death metallers Septic Flesh, cult Swedish goth-doom miserablists Equinox Ov The Gods, atmospheric German black metallers Geist, German neo-folk outfit Neun Welten, Argentinean folk metallers Diadema Tristis, Dutch death metal legends Gorefest, Japanese deathgods Intestine Baalism, and Australian funeral doom masters Mournful Congregation. There's also Australian black metallers Austere, Fen Hollen and Nazxul, Canadian black metallers Forteresse and Caliginous, and Quebecois funeral doomsters Longing For Dawn, Teutonic black metal pagans Kerbenok, Finnish death metallers Nerlich and Kataplexia, Japanese/Australian extreme noise outfit Defektro, and acclaimed ambient music artist Jeff Pearce and ethno-ambient polymath Loren Nerell. There's also a pair of interviews with legendary death metal album artists Mark Riddick and Dan Seagrave, oddball British black metallers Ethereal Woods, Iranian black metallers Sorg Innkallelse, a killer interview with Jason Mantis of Malignant Records, a piece on Finnish industrialists Stom.ec, interviews with the folks behind Pagan Herald Magazine and Heathen Harvest webzine, Nathe-Yah and French Viking metal outfit Fjallstorm, and an interesting conversation with Bulgarian NSBM band Aryan Art that questions the band's right-wing philosophies without devolving into hand-wringing hysteria. And as usual, the rest of the magazine is rounded out with an assortment of other writings, from extensive and well-written travel diaries, articles on Tenhi shows and the 2006 Prophecy Festival, an article on Russian animator Yuriy Norshteyn, some amusing Merzbow comics, and the regular massive zine and record review section at the end of the issue that I guarantee will fuel your wish-lists.


CUTTHROATS 9, THE   Dissent   LP   (Lamb Unlimited)    19.98



   There's been some fantastic noise rock coming out lately, not just from relative newcomers like Drunk Dad and Wizard Rifle that I've been fawning all over lately, but some new albums from legends like Today Is The Day and Cutthroats 9 that kind of came out of nowhere and completely flattened me this fall. While not as well known as Today Is The Day, The Cutthroats 9 are still noise rock royalty, and their new album Dissent appears a whole fourteen years after their previous full-length, their self-titled 2000 debut on Man's Ruin. These legendary scuzz-thugs started out as a side-project from Unsane's Chris Spencer, formed right around the time that Unsane was disbanding and Spencer was moving out to the West Coast; Unsane's subsequent reformation and touring forced Spencer to put this band on hold for awhile, but now with his new self-owned label Lamb Unlimited and a revised lineup (which includes members of Death Angel, Hammers Of Misfortune and 16), he's resurrected this grimy gutter-sludge assault with a new seven song album that sounds as ugly and pissed as ever.
   Named after Joaquin Romero Marchent's notorious 1972 Italian splatter-western, The Cutthroats 9 belt out a bludgeoning brand of noise rock that has that classic Am Rep feel, but also heavily incorporates Spencer's deranged slide guitar playing to produce something pretty unique. As Dissent pours forth all of it's blistered, discordant disgust, Spencer and company shred their way through tracks like the lurching, angular aggression of "Trouble" and "Hit The Ground", primo noise rock assaults, echoing that classic Unsane sound but a little less metallic, loosening it up with a kind of deranged bluesiness. A lot of that comes from Spencer's wailing slide-guitar abuse, corroded metal slipping across the strings, adding an emotional punch behind all of the bellicose howling and muck-encrusted riffage. The furious, anthemic churn of "We Could", one of the album's most infectious ragers, gets hit with a big dose of roadhouse harmonica, and there's some soul-wrecked balladry that shows up with the dark-cloud moodiness of closer "Induction", the album only slowing down and easing up on the adrenaline at the very end, though even this one gets pretty goddamn heavy; and dig that title track, definitely a contender for one of the meanest-sounding noise rock songs of the year. If Unsane were the sound of New York city streets scraping against your soul, Cutthroats 9 could be the howl of a hellzoner honkey-tonk - old-school noise rock fans should definitely check this out, a killer comeback from these guys. Includes a digital download.


DEAD LANGUAGE   self-titled   LP   (Iron Lung Records)    13.98



   Finally got around to picking up this skull-flattening debut from all-star power-violence unit Dead Language that came out back in 2011. The lineup for this outfit is made up of a formidable gang of contempo blast-thugs, with both of the guys from Iron Lung teaming up with bassist David Bailey (Gas Chamber), guitarist Nick Turner (Society Nurse, Cold Sweat, Walls), and noise artist Greg Wilkinson (Brainoil, Lana Dagales, Laudanum, Pig Heart Transplant), and fronted by power-violence pioneer Andrew Beattie of No Comment / Man Is The Bastard infamy. With that kind of pedigree, be right in expecting this to be undiluted ferocity, and man do they deliver. It's a short album, roughly twenty minutes or so, with the first side tearing through a savage eight-song assault of noise-infested brutality; opener "Paranoia" sets the scene, erupting into immense subterranean rumblings and monstrous slow-motion industrial churn as ear-scraping feedback and guitar noise sweeps in across a choppy, murderous guitar riff. And then everything comes unglued, as the band surges into their hyperfast, discordant hardcore, moving in brutal fits and starts, dropping from those frantic blasting tempos into crushing, angular dirge. You can barely take a breath as each song rips into the next, the off-kilter riffs scrambling over the corrosive noise and feedback that infests each song, while Beattie's hoarse, frenzied scream strafes the music with an inescapable sense of futility and focused rage. Like Iron Lung, the guys bring some almost math-rock/noise rock elements to this, with lots of jagged guitar and complex arrangements that definitely elevate this above your standard issue Infest clone, but the sheer furiousness of this stuff persists throughout, even when they slip into one of their agonizingly slow sludgeblasts.
    On the other side, the band gives us something no less intense, but much more experimental; the sprawling "Misanthropy" combines punishing discordant dirge-metal and soul-crushingly bleak industrial drones with waves of roiling polluted amplifier rumble, forming into a monstrous, malevolent epic, a seething mass of violently spastic hardcore and looping mechanical rumble that hammers home the album's over-arching feelings of scorn and disgust, almost getting into Pig Heart Transplant-style horror by the end of it. One of the heaviest albums we've gotten from the Iron Lung label, pure intensity straight through. The album's visual design is pretty striking as well, using spot-varnish printing, jumbles of cut-up text, and reverse board printing that accentuate the paranoid, disconnected vibe of the music. A real high point in recent hardcore extremism, definitely recommended.


DEATHPILE   Final Confession   2 x LP   (Chrome Peeler)    21.00



Here's a killer new vinyl edition of this vicious compilation of assorted out of print recordings, originally released on CD by Pain Compliance back in 2005. Almost everything that was included on the CD is featured here, save for three tracks: "Blunt Anal Trauma" and "Execration" from the Random Acts Of Cruelty tape, and the unreleased track "Slaughterhouse Pornography". This vinyl version has all-new album art from the eternally vile Tisbor (Fecalove), and comes on random marble colored vinyl, issued in a limited edition of five hundrec copies. Here's the review of the original CD release:
A "greatest hits" collection from Jonathan Canady's Deathpile, the seminal power electronics/death industrial prokect that he operated from 1995 through 2004. Canady's approach to power electronics was obviously inspired by the original UK industrial scene, groups like Con-Dom and WHitehouse and Sutcliffe Jugend, but Deathpile took that classic old-school PE sound and made it MUCH heavier, cranking up the distortion, maxing out on the bass frequencies, and delivering his vocals with a gutteral inhuman roar that rivalled that of any death metal band. The crushing, nihilistic PE of Deathpile has always been some of the heaviest in the field - I remember seeing them live in Providence earlier in the decade before the project disbanded, and it was one of the heaviest fucking things that I'd seen up to that point, Canady roaring about prostitutes and serial killing and general depravity while his partner turned his synthesizer into a flamethrower, filling the club space with skull-imploding distorted bass pulses and sickening high-end squiggles of electricity.
One of the things that I always loved about Deathpile's recordings was how there seemed to be a kind of lurching ultra-distorted rhythmic foundation to so many of the tracks. You'll have the harsh nightmarish vocals and grating synth noise, total PE assault, but then underneath of it all are waves of distinct rhythm, massive throbbing synth loops that kinda of sound like clusters of programmed drums and impossibly distorted, crumbling guitar reduced to sludgy, repetitious chunks of industrial throb, sort of similiar to the ultra-heavy industrial metal band Dead World that Canady also used to play in. It's all electronic, actually, but few bands have managed to take pure electronic sound and make it as completely crushing as this, and was one of the reasons that alot of adventurous metal fans (like myself) got into Deathpile back in the 90's.
Final Confession collects various out-of-print and rare tracks that have been picked by Canady himself for this release, and includes lyrics, detailed liner notes and track information. The material is taken from 1997's Dedicated To Edmund Emil Kemper and Abominations 7"s, the Random Acts Of Cruelty cassette, the 120 Days Of Sodom split Lp with Discordance, one track from the Ne Plus Ultra CD on RRRecords (which we actually still have in stock!), 2000's Back On The Prowl CDR, 2001's Gutters Of New York City CDR, the 2001 power electronics compilation Pornography Hurts , one track from the split CDR with Whorebutcher, and a previously unreleased track called "Slaughterhouse Pornography". Most of these tracks run around five minutes, and consist of grinding slabs of low-end distorted throb and ultra-crunchy synth drone that serves as the foundation for Canady's misanthropic examinations of violent sex, murder, exploitation, and subjugation with the kind of unflinching gaze you'd associate with writer Peter Sotos, and those brutal deathgrowl vocals are sometimes replaced with taped recordings of news broadcasts and witness interviews from violent events that adds to the queasy, threatening atmosphere of the Deathpile sound. An essential collection of crushing American power electronics for fans of Sickness, Whitehouse, Prurient, Slogun, Taint, etc.
Track Samples:
Sample : Abominations Of The Flesh
Sample : Triumph Of The Hunter



DEEP CREEPS   Crown Gall   CASSETTE   (Self Released)    4.98



   The debut cassette from Idaho noise-punk trio Deep Creeps, Crown Gall delivers a frenzy of discordant hardcore, spewing up short but punishing chunks of bass-heavy pigfuck and deformed thrash across both sides of this tape. Pretty cool stuff - instead of merely mining the testosterone-drenched aggression of the Amphetamine Reptile set (which is definitely one of the influences on this tape), the guys in Deep Creeps also draw much of their sound from the angular, hideous din of some of the noisier ends of hardcore punk from the past decade or two, injecting these songs with a big dose of frantic speed and dissonant abrasion, informed at least in part by the spazzcore sounds that used to waft off of the Three One G label and from bands like Arab On radar and The Locust. Barely any of these fifteen songs break the two minute mark, almost all of them super-short and super-intense, brief blasts of jittery off-kilter hardcore that reek with desperation. The songs sometimes slip into slower, offbeat passages of sludgy heaviness where the singer will shift into a foul, guttural roar that's virtually death metal, and on songs like the title track, the band gets pretty crushing, whipping out some bludgeoning sludgy riffage. Other songs see the Creeps collapsing into feedback-drenched noise and blastbeat-riddled chaos, as riffs contort into spiky, skronky abrasiveness, and on songs like "Larva Tunnel" and the evil angular thrashpunk of "Skeletonized", the band's hideous malformed skronk starts to resemble some weird combination of violent Midwestern hardcore and Skin Graft-style stuff. Frantically overdriven, a frenzy of frayed nerves, filled with hideous blasts of guitar noise and strangulated feedback, this is a killer debut from these amp-shredding thugs.
   Comes on a pro-manufactured tape with digital download.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dungeon Cologne
Sample : Moated Grave
Sample : Nematoad



DEMILICH   20th Adversary Of Emptiness   2 x CD   (Svart Records)    19.99



   Long before the likes of Wormed and Artificial Brain began to belch up their gurgling alien horrors, there was Demilich, the early '90s Finnish band who turned out some of the weirdest death metal of that era. Combining intricate dissonant melodies with an atmosphere that dripped with evil, crushing jagged riffage and offbeat time signatures, Demilich's convoluted and crushing death metal got pretty goddamn prog, and the band's bizarre and ridiculously verbose song titles like "The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son Of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)" and "Inherited Bowel Levitation – Reduced Without Any Effort" only added to the band's weird vibe. But the thing that really made death metal fans take notice was the insanely guttural toadlike corpse-burps of singer/guitarist Antti Boman, which were up to that point some of the most extreme vocalizations anyone had ever heard from a death metal band.
   From pretty early on, Demilich's music was flung far out into the left field of oddball death metal, but it was on the band's lone album Nespithe that the band perfected their strange sound, whipping through complex riffery and strange, discordant atmospherics in a way that can make some songs sound almost like a gore-metal King Crimson. Pretty essential stuff for fans of outre heaviness. Demilich's Nespinthe has gone in and out of print over the years, but now for the first time, the complete recorded works of this pioneering death metal outfit have been fully remastered and reissued as an extensive double disc set, which pairs the album with the band's assorted demos.
    Disc one features the band's one and only full length album from 1993, Nespithe, a classic of bizarro death metal that still holds up today with its sheer weirdness and monstrously evil tone. As discordant as aspects of Demilich's songs can be, these eleven songs nonetheless batter you with some massive, angular death metal riffs, and slower grooving passages that are pretty pulverizing. Their churning progged-out death metal unfolds in bizarre, labyrinthine forms, with wild solos suddenly bursting out of the lopsided time signatures and deformed, reptilian riffage, the song structures quirky and unpredictable, emitting a barrage of squealing harmonics and pigpuke vocals, slipping from blasting angular mania into these monstrous twisted grooves on songs like "The Planet That Once Used To Absorb Flesh..." or the spiky off-time weirdness of "The Cry". This is a high point in 90' death metal, and one of my favorites alongside the likes of Gorguts and Nocturnus; it's certainly required listening for anyone into offbeat death metal. Nespinthe has certainly never sounded better than it does here, either; the new remastering really gives this the punch that it had been lacking on the previous releases, without diminishing the album's peculiar and distinctive mix.
    The other disc features everything else that Demilich recorded, starting with three songs from the band's most recent recordings, the 2006 "Vanishing Sessions"; that stuff seems to head into a slightly more streamlined direction, but it's still pretty convoluted. An interesting look at what Demilich could have produced with a full-blown followup to Nespithe for sure, with jagged deathly dissonance and crushing counterpoint rhythms, mathy and proggy and possessed with that signature Demilich atmosphere of otherworldly horror, some of the riffs almost sounding like some twisted, demonic death metal version of Mastodon. There's the five tracks from the band's 1992 promo cassette The Echo, which includes early, rougher versions of several songs that would later appear on Nespithe; their ...Somewhere Inside The Bowels Of Endlessness... promo tape, also from 1992, which featured the use of atmospheric keyboard accoutrement while being even rawer yet; the 1991 The Four Instructive Tales ...Of Decomposition cassette tracks, which feature an earlier, more straightforward death metal style; and lastly, an early, 1991 rehearsal recording of "The Uncontrollable Regret Of The Rotting Flesh" that is about as low-fi and filthy as it gets.
   Again, this is a must-hear for anyone into left-field death metal, as the band's influence has crept over much of the death metal scene in the decades since this stuff first came out. The collection is nicely assembled with all new artwork, in an over-sized digipack with a forty-page booklet loaded with annotated lyrics, liner notes, photos, artwork, ads, and a lengthy interview with Demilich mastermind Antti Boman.
Track Samples:
Sample : Two Independent Organisms -> One Suppurating Deformity
Sample : Erecshyrinol
Sample : egassem neddih a - ortni
Sample : The Sixteenth Six Tooth Son of Fourteen Four Regional Dimensions ...
Sample : The Putrefyin Road in the Ninteenth Extremity (Somewhere Inside the Bowl)
Sample : The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity And



DEPRESSOR   Filth / Grace   LP   (Fuck Yoga)    19.98

Filth / Grace IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

   Looking back at the lineup of that old Not Without A Fight compilation that we put out during the early days of Crucial Blast, Depressor was easily the heaviest band we had on there, their contribution "Flesh World War" bulldozing over the rest of the lineup like some mechanized meatgrinding monstrosity. It's been years since anything new from this somewhat mysterious Bay Area one-man band has turned up, the project seemingly gone into hibernation around the middle of the oughts, but Macedonian label Fuck Yoga has brought us this crushing new LP that combines some of Depressor's earliest recordings, 1995's Filth and 1997's Grace, originally released as a pair of home-dubbed tapes, remastered and released on vinyl for the first time ever.
   From the claustrophobic mechanized crust-crush of opener "F.I.L.T.H.", I'm reminded why I was so stoked to have this band on that old compilation. Combining brutal drum machines and monstrous down-tuned guitars with weird effects, guttural bellowing and seizure-inducing tempo changes, Depressor's sound bridged the industrialized dirge of early Pitchshifter, Skin Chamber and Streetcleaner-era Godflesh with the grimy gutter stench of stuff like Amebix, Deviated Instinct, Axegrinder and even Arise-era Sepultura; like Optimum Wound Profile, Depressor weren't timid about speeding the industrial crust up, injecting the blasts of fetid factory-floor doom with mangled mechanized thrash. Putrid synthesizers coil and buzz around the punishing mecha-sludge, while sour atonal guitar leads erupt from the droning, dirty riffage; Justin Broadrick's guitar style is a clear influence, but this stuff is more than just Godflesh worship, the songs welded to a tough death metal backbone of monstrous Bolt Thrower-sized riffage, and enhanced with eerie melodic touches, creepy electronic noises and a nastier vibe that makes 'em one of my favorite industrialized metal bands ever. Tracks like "Chunks" are warped machine-crust anthems that pulse with a rigid percussive power that at times almost seems to nudge it towards Wax Trax territory while never relenting on the filthy crustmetal aggression and apocalyptic vibe, while "Decimator / Fear Itself" is an utterly flattening chunk of fucked-up, slow motion death metal that slowly devolves into a whirring hiss-drenched dronescape.
    Limited to four hundred copies. ***PLEASE NOTE - almost all copies we received unfortunately have small seam splits along top edge. Otherwise brand new **


DESIDERII MARGINIS   Thaw   CD   (Zoharum)    14.98



   Songs Over Ruins. Deadbeat. Strife. Seven Sorrows. Between 1997 and 2007, Swedish dark ambient project Desiderii Marginis released a quintet of albums on the esteemed Cold Meat Industries label that have gone on to become some of my all-time favorite works of dark post-industrial music. Formed in the early 90s as the solo endeavor of artist Johan Levin, Desiderii Marginis blended bleak orchestral sounds with cinematic synthesizer ambience and pounding metallic percussion into vast, solemn meditations on death, emptiness, and the abyss, each album an exquisitely crafted piece of elegant darkness made up of equal parts dark neo-classical and grave kosmische ambient. While Desiderii Marginis's brand of dark ambient was decidedly different from the more primordial black drift of bands like Lustmord and Yen Pox, Levin's project was frequently able to produce vast, unsettling music as powerful and as evocative as anyone.
    Going all the way back to 1997, Thaw is an impressive new collection of rare material from Levin's influential dark ambient outfit, featuring the material from the Viscera V.Zero, Death Odors III, The Absolute Supper, Tribute To Zdzislaw Beksinski, Dark Ambient Vol. 4, Samhainwork I, Behind The Canvas Of Time and Abnormal Beauty compilations, as well as the three tracks from the Lost Signals From Unknown Horizons three-way split with Artefactum and Moan, and the track from the Total Reconstruction compilation of V:28 remixes.
    The music spans the grim, nocturnal universe of Desiderii Marginis, moving from distorted, rhythmic industrial nightmares to expanses of majestic orchestral ambience, strains of cold neo-classical funeral music and evocative electronic driftscapes, skittering technoid rhythms crackling within fields of black bliss, swells of monochromatic liturgical beauty and the distant cries of falling Seraphim that could have accompanied Werner Herzog's darkest visions rising in the distance, all sourced from the raw matter of the subconscious mind, and then blown up to an almost operatic scale. Each of these tracks course with deep, rumbling drones, permeated with an atmosphere of desolation and emptiness, these vast drifting drones laced with fragments of subdued acoustic guitar and vaguely Goblinesque piano melodies that curl around Levin's dense electronic soundscapes. There are moments when the music emerges as a kind of mournful, dub-flecked trip-hop, delving into mist-scented, dub-flecked driftscapes gleaming with cold grey light and aching with some sad sense of nostalgia, while others tumble into the void, such as the nightmarish assemblage of prepared piano and ghastly backwards noises that flit through the closer "The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters". As with everything else from this project, the sounds of Thaw offer a kind of breathtaking midnight music usually only found in the darkest, most magisterial moon-lit corners of Tangerine Dream's oeuvre. Highly recommended.
    Comes in digipack packaging, limited to one thousand copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters
Sample : Forlorn
Sample : Chaos Undivided



DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE   The Phantom Lodge   LP   (Peaceville)    24.99



   My favorite aspect of the gung-ho vinyl reissue campaign that Peaceville has undertaken for their back catalog is how the label is dusting off some of their lesser-known, more offbeat titles, many of which are resurfacing now on vinyl for the first time ever. I've never been the biggest fan of symphonic black metal outside of bands like Arcturus and Bal-Sagoth, but I was pleased to recently discover this late 90s album from Diabolical Masquerade, who definitely brought a more vicious attitude to their version of symphonic blackness. 1997's The Phantom Lodge was the second album from this side-project from Swedish artist Anders Nyström (aka Blackheim), who's better known for playing guitar in gloom-metal gods Katatonia; with this outfit, Nyström was free to pursue a much more aggressive, hellbent sound while also experimenting with interesting atmospheric elements. Assisted by producer Dan Swanö of Edge Of Sanity/ Pan.Thy.Monium (who also contributes guest vocals to one of the songs on the album), Nyström's work with Diabolical Masquerade explored much different territory than his day gig, a bombastic black metal sound that was increasingly influenced by progressive rock, something that he really began to flirt with on Phantom Lodge while delivering an aggressive, imaginative take on late-90s black metal.
   Songs like "Astray Within The Coffinwood Mill" are skillfully crafted blasts of blackened power, seamlessly shifting from regal, blazing black metal into crushing mid-tempo passages designed to incite violence, but then it'll segue into a stretch of strange abstract ambience and moody guitar overlaid with narcoleptic spoken word stuff. There's a number of these odd ambient parts, brief interludes surrounded by some seriously killer complex black metal, and there's also some really tasteful use of orchestral keyboards that avoids being overbearing, embellishing the music's absinthe-drenched aggression. Other tracks like "The Puzzling Constellation Of A Deathrune" are incredibly infectious, winding through catchy melodic hooks and pummeling blackened dirges and haunting instrumental breaks, while "Ravenclaw" opens with the sort of regal medieval dungeon music you'd hear from Mortiis, before transforming into another crushing mid-paced riff. The vocals are a mix of demonic shrieks, powerful clear singing and crazed Halfordesque screams that rip through the blackened speedblast, and then Nyström brings some weird, dissonant riff structures to some of the songs, with the occasional chaotic proggy freak-out erupting from the soaring arctic blast, or unexpectedly transforming into some full-on trippy progressive rock with flutes and fusion bass solos burbling beneath a moody melody, or revealing baroque chamber strings that lurk in the recesses of "The Blazing Demondome Of Murmurs & Secrecy"; they cap all of this off with closer "Upon The Salty Wall Of The Broody Gargoyle", about as perfect a Celtic Frost homage as I've ever heard up, right up to the point where the band suddenly swings into scathing, bizarrely blackened rock and roll. Hopefully we'll see more Diabolical Masquerade reissues follow this one - recommended if you're a fan of quirky symphonic black metal and bands like Arcturus and Edge Of Sanity.
Track Samples:
Sample : Hater
Sample : Ravenclaw
Sample : The Puzzling Constellation of a Deathrune



DIE KREUZEN   self-titled   LP   (Touch & Go)    21.00



   Back in stock. A goddamn classic album of weirdo American hardcore circa 1984, Milwaukee band Die Kreuzen's self-titled debut sprouted from the sort of speedbeast three-chord punk thrash that was raging all across the Midwest in the early 80s (and which they themselves pretty much perfected on the classic Cows And Beer 7" that preceded this), but by the time that the band got around to recording their first LP for Touch & Go, Die Kreuzen's sound had further mutated, with a newfound tendency towards off-kilter song arrangements and supersonic speeds, and made even more unique by the discordant riffery and odd droning melodic sensibilities that guitarist Brian Egeness was starting to experiment with. Of course, singer Dan Kubinski and his totally wrecked-out howl was also a big part of Die Kreuzen's x-factor here, and his monstrous vocals heard here are a clear precursor to the extreme styles that would begin to emerge in later years with the death/crust/grind crowd.
   When this self-titled album came out, it sounded like nothing else, an absolutely savage and offbeat record that pushed hardcore punk's basic template into a more extreme direction. One would imagine that Greg Ginn's atonal playing style was at least somewhat of an influence on Egeness's guitar playing here, but he took that skronkiness and atonality even further, banging out his riffs with weird chordal shapes and odd phrasing that would itself end up being a major influence on the guys from Voivod; just listen to the jagged thrash of Die Kreuzen's "On The Street" or the dissonant claustrophobic dirge of "All White", and you can easily make out where Piggy picked up some of his ideas from. The rhythm section were no slouches either, drummer Eric Tunison and bassist Keith Brammer adding to the band's idiosyncratic sound, splintering apart the raging thrash tempos into sputtering off-time breaks and trickier time signature changes than you were used to hearing on a hardcore Lp back then. All of these guys bring something different to the table, and the result is one of the best and most bludgeoning American hardcore albums of the period, a big influence on the more extreme directions that both punk and metal would go in later in the decade, as well as pursuing a more progressive sound that would result in Die Kreuzen moving further away from typical three chord thrash with each subsequent album. Can't recommend this one enough, it's long been one of my favorite hardcore records, all the way down to the fantastic album art depicting a bleak, nightmarish Midwestern America with massive cyborg beasts grinding across the landscape on tank treads while smoke stacks and factories belch black smoke across the horizon. Essential stuff for fans of classic edgy hardcore outfits like Void, Mecht Mensch, Siege and United Mutation.
   This newer vinyl reissue comes with a digital download code.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dirt And Decay
Sample : All White
Sample : Enemies
Sample : On The Street



DIE SONNE SATAN   Archive Compendium   CD   (Dark Vinyl)    11.98



   Here's a great 1997 collection of early, hard-to-find recordings from Die Sonne Satan, an obscure occult ambient project from Italian industrialist Paolo Beltrame who released a pair of cassettes on the legendary Slaughter Productions label back in the mid-90s, Fac-Totum and Omega, along with a split with satanic industrialists Runes Order on Old Europa Cafe and an appearance on the classic Death Odors compilation, all sought after by fans of vintage death-ambient. Archive collects a bunch of these recordings released between 1992 and 1995, including tracks taken from the Prayer Of Mankind and Slaughter Age 1995 compilations, the split tape with Runes Order, and the Fac-Totum and Omega cassettes.
    This stuff has lost little of its stunning creepiness in the two decades since, a kind of nightmarish post-industrial music that ranges from processed orchestral drones and murky ambient loops to vast oceans of nocturnal whirr and drift that spread out into the distance. The sprawling sound is flecked with glimmers of metallic drone and peals of wailing feedback that disappear back into the abyss almost as quickly as they arrive, that abyss sometimes birthing simple, sinister synthesizer patterns that glimmer in the blackness like some menacing Tangerine Dream piece, or veins of deep electrical thrum that charge the air. Bits of backwards glitch and ghostly theremin-like wailing floats slowly by, like moving shadows across fields of distant, murky rumble and crumbling mechanical loops on the eerily mesmeric "Body Snatcher". Elsewhere on "Dismal Chant", Beltrame weaves a chilling fog of graveyard ambience composed from decaying liturgical chants, washes of electronically processed harp-like sounds, everything enshrouded in thick layers of sepulchral reverb.
    There's a ritualistic feel to much of this material, the understated sounds often forming into endlessly looping patterns, whorls of pungent sonic smoke that circle in the blackness before trailing off and dissipating; it often feels like a precursor to the chthonic ritual ambient of artists like Halo Manash, Aeoga, Zoät•Aon, Arktau Eos and the rest of the Helixes collective, but is also capable of moving into almost techno-tinged territory on tracks like "Hic Cum Apostuli Sui". The later material from the Fac-Totum tape moves into a slightly more rhythmic and abrasive direction without diminishing the deeply creepy atmosphere, venturing into machinelike throbs and rhythmic pulses that spin beneath slowly unfolding waves of vast black drift, or expand into immense kosmische-colored expanses of seething synthnoise, lit up by slow pulses of irradiated energy echoing into space. Hints of Maurizio Bianchi and Mauthausen Orchestra's early Italian death industrial works surface throughout these recordings, creeping into the monotonous death-throb that emanates from some of this later material, but the most rapturous piece of satanic space music included here is the song "Conspiracy" from the Omega cassette, a beautifully crafted piece of kosmische sonic shadow that is as desolate as the best stuff from Neptune Towers. All in all, one of my favorite Dark Vinyl releases.
Track Samples:
Sample : Radiation
Sample : Conspiracy
Sample : Body Snatcher



DISSECTING TABLE / SEKTOR 304   Utopia / Decay   LP   (Malignant)    17.98



   Following up their split CDR that came out on Ichiro Tsuji's UPD Organization imprint in 2012, Utopia/Decay once again teams up apocalyptic Portuguese industrial sludge outfit Sektor 304 with Tsuji's legendary Dissecting Table project, and the results are as crushing as you would expect, with three tracks from each band. The two bands are a perfect fit together on a split like this, as Sektor 304's pummeling, super-heavy sound owes a huge debt to the punishing metallic heaviness of Dissecting Table albums like Memories and Human Breeding.
   Dissecting Table's side reminds us again why this iconic Japanese industrial project is one of the absolute heaviest in the field, starting off with the frantic polyrhythmic junkyard percussion and tribal drumming of "Ideal Market"; here, Ichiro Tsuji whips up one of his trademark skull-melting assaults of whirling percussive chaos and distorted bass sludge, forming huge loops of hypnotic industrialized pummel that's one of the most psychedelic things I've heard from him. The track drops into thunderous scrap-metal pounding and squirming masses of vermiform electronics, later veering into the ultra-abrasive junkgasm of "Cold Pressure Rank", as crushing pneumatic rhythms surface out of the gleaming sea of drone, and an almost Godfleshian heaviness takes shape at the center of the chaotic scrapescape. Ultra-distorted screams rip through the din alongside mutant screams plated in bio-mechanical chrome, and bits of ritual clank and prayer-bowl whirr stumble out of the chaos, briefly materializing over monstrously danceable drum machines, skittering and slamming into the crushing industro-violence of closer "Blind Despair And Hope". Heavy as hell.
    Sektor 304 counter with their own apocalyptic vision, moving fluidly from slow, doom-laden industrial dirges where massive sheet-metal rhythms lumber beneath bursts of symphonic horror, an utterly dread-filled atmosphere quickly sweeping across the side as a monstrous clanking death-dirge slowly evolves into the powerful, churning tribal drumming and death industrial heaviness that takes over the nightmarish "Vertical Structure Control". When the band fully unleashes their destructive power, they're one of the only outfits that can match Dissecting Table's grinding, glitched-out sonic violence. Later, the side shifts into subdued ambience, flecked with murmuring bass tones that pulse in the blackness, and it's here that the sinister vocals of Swedish industrialist Martin Bladh of Skin Area/IRM begin to drift ominously through the nuked deadzone drift. The boom of hammered oil-drums slowly rumble, spreading out in martial formation, slowly coalescing into a monstrous, militant heaviness across the final stretch of the side, like some titanic Swans-style power-crush stripped down to its most basic, bone-crushing core, Bladh's menacing whispers eventually replaced by swells of ghastly feedback and factory-drone.
    Limited to two hundred copies.


DRUNK DAD   Ripper Killer   LP   (Eolian)    16.98



    With its troubling album art of (presumably) dead wildlife xeroxed all up close and personal, Drunk Dead's second 12" Ripper Killer throbs with an ugly, noxious vibe. Kicking off with a squall of gut-churning feedback noise that blasts open the beginning of the Portland band's latest, Drunk Dad sets loose "Five Pack" like some lurching, five-limbed monstrosity, jagged and crushing riffs lashing out over the equally jagged drumming, and everything is splattered with an heavier dose of noise and noisy chaos than you usually get from this sort of neo-noise rock. As these eight songs play out, the band proceeds to batter you with an extreme level of aggression, shifting from their PCP-laced Am Rep worship into passages of spluttery noisescape that almost take on a power electronics feel. That stuff is the product of noise artist Redneck, who layers several of these tracks with harsh electronic noise, and who also leads a few of these tracks into bouts of abrasive junk-metal chaos and almost K2/Hal Hutchinson-style scrapyard mania that ultimately end up in a hypnotic, clanking locked groove on each side. The vocals shift schizophrenically between an affectless muttering and vicious, vocal-chord shredding screams. All of this discordant heaviness definitely harkens back to the classic noise rock of bands like Unsane, Melvins, Hammerhead and Jesus Lizard, while piling on all of that extra shreiking noise and injecting songs like "Fuck In Garbage" with monstrous sludgy grooves. There's also echoes of Bleach-era Nirvana that surface on the song "Light A Fire", right before the band launches into a ferocious hardcore punk assault; elsewhere, these guys belch up big blobs of belligerent blues-scum sludge that your typical Eyehategod knockoff would give their missing teeth for. One of the better newer noise rock albums we've gotten in, ugly and mean-spirited, threaded with wailing, bilious guitar leads, bits of moody jangling melody, and a crazed, thunderous performance from the drummer. Great shit, much heavier than the usual Am Rep-worship that I usually get, while also not sounding at all retro, in large part to all of that electronic noise incorporated into their sound. Limited to five hundred copies on 180 gram black vinyl, includes digital download.


DYSTOPIA   Human = Garbage   CD   (Tank Crimes)    10.98



   This collection of EP material from Cali crust outfit Dystopia has gone in and out of print over the past twenty years, originally appearing on the German label Common Cause in 1994 and later coming out on the band's own Life Is Abuse imprint; now Tank Crimes has stepped in to once again reissue this classic disc of misanthropic sludgepunk for it's twentieth anniversary, and we've got it on both CD and double LP (with digital download), the latter noteworthy for featuring all twelve of the songs that appear on the CD for the first time ever. Other than that, this new edition of Human = Garbage is essentially identical to the original, ready to be rediscovered by a new generation of human-hating gutter punks. Here's my ancient write-up for the previous release on Life Is Abuse:
   I remember when Dystopia's now classic 1994 debut Human=Garbage came out, baffling hardcore kids and entrancing an entire generation of scuzz punks with their punishing, flanger-soaked psychedelic doomcrust. Pretty bizarre stuff at the time, and it's still got an odd, noisy vibe that remains pretty unique. This EP, now available direct from Life Is Abuse after being originally released on the defunct Common Cause imprint, still stands up as a completely fucked up and utterly antisocial blast of weird, bass-heavy sludge and drugged, punked-out psych-death roar, with huge down-tuned gunk riffs, fucking tortured seething vocals and intensely anti-human/anti-technology lyrics, shooting out gnarly negative energy like Buzzoven and Eyehategod, but juiced up on ripping West Coast hardcore. This collection (which now features both the original Human=Garbage 12" tracks as well as the songs from the split LP with Embittered and the track from their split with Grief) is so full of abrupt, disorientating shifts in tempo and heaviness and possessed with an overall disturbed atmosphere, it amazes me that this band managed to get as popular as they did back in the 1990's; pretty much every single crustkid I knew absolutely worshipped this band's brand of pulverizing, psychedelic crustcore. Crucial in the extreme hardcore canon, fans of fucked-up, damaged-hardcore heaviness from that era (alongside the likes of Man Is The Bastard, Gasp, Suffering Luna, etc.) can't go without this album. As they say, "Love Earth - Hate People..."
Track Samples:
Sample : Stress Builds Character
Sample : Ruptured Silence
Sample : Love/Hate



DYSTOPIA   Human = Garbage (CLEAR VINYL)   2 x LP   (Tank Crimes)    24.99



   This collection of EP material from Cali crust outfit Dystopia has gone in and out of print over the past twenty years, originally appearing on the German label Common Cause in 1994 and later coming out on the band's own Life Is Abuse imprint; now Tank Crimes has stepped in to once again reissue this classic disc of misanthropic sludgepunk for it's twentieth anniversary, and we've got it on both CD and double LP (with digital download), the latter noteworthy for featuring all twelve of the songs that appear on the CD for the first time ever. Other than that, this new edition of Human = Garbage is essentially identical to the original, ready to be rediscovered by a new generation of human-hating gutter punks. Here's my ancient write-up for the previous release on Life Is Abuse:
   I remember when Dystopia's now classic 1994 debut Human=Garbage came out, baffling hardcore kids and entrancing an entire generation of scuzz punks with their punishing, flanger-soaked psychedelic doomcrust. Pretty bizarre stuff at the time, and it's still got an odd, noisy vibe that remains pretty unique. This EP, now available direct from Life Is Abuse after being originally released on the defunct Common Cause imprint, still stands up as a completely fucked up and utterly antisocial blast of weird, bass-heavy sludge and drugged, punked-out psych-death roar, with huge down-tuned gunk riffs, fucking tortured seething vocals and intensely anti-human/anti-technology lyrics, shooting out gnarly negative energy like Buzzoven and Eyehategod, but juiced up on ripping West Coast hardcore. This collection (which now features both the original Human=Garbage 12" tracks as well as the songs from the split LP with Embittered and the track from their split with Grief) is so full of abrupt, disorientating shifts in tempo and heaviness and possessed with an overall disturbed atmosphere, it amazes me that this band managed to get as popular as they did back in the 1990's; pretty much every single crustkid I knew absolutely worshipped this band's brand of pulverizing, psychedelic crustcore. Crucial in the extreme hardcore canon, fans of fucked-up, damaged-hardcore heaviness from that era (alongside the likes of Man Is The Bastard, Gasp, Suffering Luna, etc.) can't go without this album. As they say, "Love Earth - Hate People..."
Track Samples:
Sample : Stress Builds Character
Sample : Ruptured Silence
Sample : Love/Hate



ELECTRIC WIZARD   Dopethrone   2 x LP   (Rise Above)    42.00



The latest (2014) repress of this all-time British doom metal classic on vinyl, back in stock...
We now have the latest version of the limited edition of Dopethrone on vinyl, another deluxe double Lp release in gorgeous thick gatefold packaging and pressed on black vinyl.
Out of print for a while there, the Wiz's legendary Dopethrone is once again back in stock...
In honor of Electric Wizard's recent induction into the Decibel Magazine "Hall Of Fame", whioch was awarded to their milestone album Dopethrone from 2000, we've got all of their crucial deluxe re-issues available through Crucial Blast for you doomhounds that are missing these mighty platters from yer library. Repackaged in sweet digipack cases with enhanced and expanded artwork, brand new liner notes, great photos captured during each album's respective era, and bonus tracks, these Electric Wizard reissues are essential for any real fan of dope-huffing, spine crushing British DOOM.
Like a lot of people, Dopethrone was the album that started it all for me. I can't even remember where I first picked up my copy of Dopethrone, but I do remember that it wasn't because I had already heard the band - nope, it was because of the fucking awesome cover art of Lucifer ripping tubes. That kind of experience just doesn't happen enough these days, you know? I'm talking about when you can pick up an album before hearing mp3s or streams of the music, picking it up purely based on how badass it looks and then just getting blown the fuck away because the music is even more killer than the cover. That's what happened when I tossed this into my stereo for the first time - I had just recently been going through a serious Sabbath / doom kick (which seemed to be the spirit of the time, looking back), and was already thirsting for some really gnarly riffage, but I was thoroughly unprepared for how zonked Electric Wizard were going to sound. The "Reefer Madness" style sample and scuzzy bassline that starts off album opener "Vinum Sabbathi" had me hooked from the first, and when Jus Oborn's distorted megaphone vocals and monstrously detuned guitar kicked in alongside Mark Greening's loose, pummeling drumming, man, I knew that this album was going to be magic. The flow of Dopethrone is perfect too, as the album grinds through the massive skull crush singalong of "Funeralopolis", the epic three-part psych scum freakout of "Weird Tales", "I, Witchfinder", and the title track, the trip gets darker and heavier and more fucked up, the riffs taking on a progressively heavier coating of grime and slime, the lyrics, satanic hippie imagery, pulp fantasy literature and 70's splatter/horror flix references becoming more arcane and trippy. "Rise...black amps will tear the sky...feedback will free your mind and set you free." FUCK YEAH. The band's previous albums were heavy as hell, sure, but for Dopethrone, it sounded like someone took Electric Wizard and dunked them in a vat of cooling tar, then releasing them to crawl through the heaviest, most blown-out Sabbath riffage possible. One of the heaviest doom metal albums of all time. Hell, one of the heaviest albums of all time. Essential. Wizard freaks need this for no other reason than it contains the 15 minute long track "Mind Transferral" which was previously only available on the Japanese import.
Track Samples:
Sample : We Hate You
Sample : Barbarian



ELECTRIC WIZARD   Come My Fanatics   2 x LP   (Rise Above)    40.00



The latest (2014) double LP repress of this classic monolith of British doom metal on vinyl...
Not surprisingly, you can pretty much trace the arc of Electric Wizard's long and sloooow descent into hellish satano-hippie debauchery just by checking out the album artwork for each of the reissues that Candlelight recently released here in the US. The band's eponymous debut was an extremely heavy, psychedelic offering that was still firmly rooted in the titanic crawl of Cathedral and Sabbath's long shadow. Jumping ahead to Dopethrone, the bong-sucking devil on the album's cover and it's charred palette of black and gold inks perfectly captures the smoking wreckage of the Wizard's ultimate orgy of stoned doom corrosion. In between the two we've got 1997's Come My Fanatics, and the first time I set eyes on this album (when it was originally released over here in the states as a double-disc set with the self-titled debut), I knew that there was going to be dark shit afoot. Set against a backdrop of Aurora Borealis-esque cosmic haze and a single black planet hanging in the sky, a group of seriously sinister looking dudes in cloaks are engaged in something clearly illicit and/or contributing to the downfall of humanity. Open up the album and your eyes are burned through with a diseased-looking tableaux of lava lamp ooze, and the booklet features assorted images of the members of Electric Wizard in varying stages of utter bakeage along with crude drawings of an acid-head Lucifer, a hookah-sucking chick with the Electric Wiz logo crawling outta her nethers...and that's not even getting to the total bad vibes and grindhouse visions of Come My Fanatics lyrics. The music matches the band's darker outlook, Jus Oborn's detuned guitar suddenly sounds way filthier than it did before, the songs are slower, it sounds like the light is being slowly sucked out of their music as each song progresses. There's more effects abuse too, hinting at the pitch-black psych that would fully blossom on Dopethrone..."Wizard In Black" and "Doom Mantia" especially send the Wiz's black tar riffs through a rippling veil of Hawkwind style warpage. Unquestionably essential for Electric Wizard disciples.
Track Samples:
Sample : Son of Nothing
Sample : Wizard in Black



EMIT   Spectre Music of an Antiquary   CD   (Crucial Blast)    9.98



The latest album of murky graveyard ambience, deranged synth, phantasmic dread and ritualistic black drift from this cult UK outfit, their first in nearly ten years. Surrealistic, spectral music and nocturnal delirium transmitted from beyond the veil and steeped in the mysteries of old Britain, like some twisted, eldritch fusion of Fabio Frizzi, In Umbra Malitiae Ambulabo-era Abruptum, and 80’s darkwave.
First released as an extremely limited cassette on Glorious North, Spectre Music Of An Antiquary is the first new material from Emit in over five years, a full length collection of murky ambience, deranged 80's style synth, ritualistic black drift, and stranger sounds forays into black noise. This British outfit has been creating their unique brand of experimental blackened delirium since the late 90s, branching out of a low-fi UK black metal band called Ante Cryst. With Emit, the members began to explore a creepy, synth-heavy sound that was unmistakably descended from black metal but supremely more deformed, combining harsh electronic noise, horror-movie soundtrack atmospherics, droning keyboards, wrecked and fractured black metal guitars, and bizarre vocals that would often push Emit's music into a strange realm of hallucinatory, ghastly psychedelia. On their latest tape Spectre, though, Emit's sound has morphed into something that more resembles some mutated, primitive 80's darkwave being completely taken over by malevolent spirits, with eerie electronic drones and distant moaning vocals often taking over; very different from what I've heard from Emit in the past, though no less weird or phantasmagoric. And as with other Emit offerings, this is concerned more with the occult lore and hidden history of the British isles than Satanism or goat worship or any of the other over-used black metal tropes, which all serves to enhance the wraithlike vibe of these songs.
The album opens up with that chorus-drenched minor key guitar sound that is unmistakably Emit, eerie choral drift intertwining around the vaguely off-key melody of this short intro track "Haunter Of Benighted English Summers", sounding dreamlike and hallucinatory and off from the start. That's over pretty quickly, and then it completely shifts gears with the throbbing distorted synth and gated drums of "Mors Wher Devels Are Abrod", an eerie melody woven around ghoulish vocals lost off in the background, that chiming, chorus-soaked guitar coming back in after a while; utterly weird, this sounds like some cross between something off Tangerine Dream's score for Risky Business, a rack of keyboards lifted from John Carpenter's Prince Of Darkness soundtrack, and a shambling low-fi basement black metal outfit, and the result is rather bewitching. Clanking industrial percussion, strange mechanical melodies and distant crooning blur together on "The Dusk Gardens Of Translucent Mansions", continuing the bizarre dreamlike feel of the album, sounding like some inebriated death rock band wandering through a graveyard of broken clocks, and then that murky, soundtrack-like sound returns on "Shades Over The Mere", with more distant Tangerine Dream-esque synths droning over heavy mechanical rhythms, those deranged vocals waaaaaay off in the distance, everything wrapped in a thick fog of tape hiss and low-fi corrosion, but still strangely pretty and haunting beneath all of the sonic slime. The rest of the songs are similarly delirious, "Sylvan Old Enchanter" drifting on waves of buried synth and deformed black metal guitar, washed out and bleary as it transforms into a wash of gorgeous organ-drift, like something out of a Hammer Horror film drenched in lysergic acid, followed by the ghostly ambience, strange melodic singing and plodding drums that almost sounds like a more stripped-down, minimal version of black psych weirdoes Yoga; that's followed by "The Meadow Reapers (A Field Recording)", which is pretty much just that, a stretch of minimal environmental sound flecked with strange nocturnal cries, mysterious rumblings, bits of ominous warbling synth and distant voices, everything slightly skewed and otherworldly.
The final track "Emanations From Beneath Far Hills, Beyond Far Moons", though, is closer to the sort of weird black ambience heard on older Emit releases like The Dark Bleeding Gods and the excellent Abortions collection, a dimly lit, murky wash of metallic resonance, soft shimmery pulsations of cymbal-like reverberations, these sounds coalescing in the blackness into strange, chiming, half-formed melodies. After awhile, mysterious percussive sounds begin to appear and disappear, soft ghostly knockings that drift up like transmissions from beyond the grave as the track slowly fades into total and utter darkness.
A must-hear for anyone into the murky surrealistic blackness of artists like Reverorum ib Malacht (a band that has shared members with Emit in the past), Yoga, Occultation, Uno Actu, Utarm, and Dapnom, Spectre is now available from Crucial Blast as a digital album and on CD in digipack packaging featuring evocative, all-new artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : Trees once adornd with severed heads
Sample : Shades over the mere
Sample : Mors wher Devels are abrod
Sample : Emanations from beneath far hills, beyond far moons



EMIT   The Dark Bleeding Gods   CD   (GoatowaRex)    13.98



   A collection of harrowing necro-psychedelia hallucinations from the early oughts, reissued on CD from shadowy black metal imprint GoatowaRex a couple of years ago, which we're just now finally getting in stock. The Dark Bleeding Gods collects two long out of print cassette releases from this mysterious British band that just recently released a brand new album through Crucial Blast; frequently aligned with the whole "black noise" aesthetic, this disc is another example of how such labels fail to properly capture the eldritch weirdness of this outfit.
    Emit's The Dark Bleeding EP came out on cassette back in 2003 from Total Holocaust Records, the four tracks making up some of the harshest stuff this project ever produced. Opening with the intensely over-modulated howl of "The Pain Of Bleeding", this material proceeds to wander through a dreamlike fog of monstrously deformed dirge-like riffage, completely destroyed doom-laden guitar melodies, and terrifying screams that blast through the suffocating haze of echo and reverb that hangs heavy over the whole recording. This stuff is sickly and psychedelic and disturbing, at times coming together into a maniacal blurt of freeform blackened sludge and extreme effects overload that seems to head into Fushitsusha territory, crazed improvised solos and slurred shredding spilling out over insane cackling vocals and surges of syrupy echoplex slime. Echoing blackened drones blast across blighted wastes, culminating with the crazed, murky orchestrations of "Unknown I (Greets Me Again)", where weird dissonant organs become garbled and tangled in clots of nightmarish tape noise, a meandering, mind-melting chaos unfolding in slow motion across this final ten minute track like a madman wildly gesticulating at a pipe organ, the frenzied pounding of keys slowed down and sliced apart.
    The melting gothic guitars that drip over the opening moments of Emit's 2004 tape The Dark Gods points towards the band's more recent work, the sort of ghostly ambience and cavernous psychedelia found on his latest full-length Spectre Music; at the same time, there's still a lot of that residual black metal murk creeping through these seven tracks, evil guitar leads snaking around the echoes of ominous church bells and mangled electronic noise, hair-raising shrieks suddenly flying out of the reverberant gloom, stoned murmurings echoing beneath the crawling dissonant chords. Once again, this stuff can't be properly described as noise, but rather a thoroughly blackened, necro-fueled version of experimental improv, like what Abruptum might have evolved into if It and Evil had gotten hooked on the PSF Records catalog whilst creating In Umbra Malitiae Ambulabo. That comparison might send black metal purists screaming for the door, but I love it. The other tracks on Gods range from more of those ominous avant-guitar wanderings and surges of black ambient vomit, clanking doom laden riffs adrift on waves of drugged-out amp-drone, ringing gongs and church organs, and then it'll suddenly float out into a brief stretch of ghostly folk music, a haunting vocal melody fading out over solemn acoustic strum. There's one track here, "In Darkness Let Me Dwell", that at first explodes into actual black metal, a sudden blast of sloppy low-fi madness that almost immediately slinks back down into a wrecked dirge, the rattling drum kit quickly sucked back into the swarming lysergic guitar noise, the vocals a deranged howl heard through a wall of speaker-shredding static. And the closer "You Pray For Death" in some ways foreshadows the orchestral black doom of Gnaw Their Tongues with it's slavering assault of garbled noise, frenzied percussion and horror-score bombast. Amazing.
    Very limited stock on this one!
Track Samples:
Sample : Communications With Shadows
Sample : In Darkness Let Me Dwell
Sample : A Miserable Death



EMPIRE AURIGA   Ascending The Solarthrone   CD   (Moribund)    15.98



   Having not heard their previous album and going from a couple of things I had heard about this Michigan duo's music, I was initially expecting Empire Auriga to offer something along the lines of an Aborym / Mysticum-style industrial black metal assault, but these guys actually turned out to be something much more interesting than just another eruption of mechanized necro. There's a little bit of an industrial element to Empire Auriga's sound, but the eight songs that stretch across the band's latest album Ascending The Solarthrone really forms a kind of heavily atmospheric and abstract wall of sound, informed by black metal aesthetics but more like a kind of distorted, orchestral ambiance, sprawling out into vast interstellar clouds. The band cites Neptune Towers as one of the influences, but this stuff is something entirely different, mournful kosmische soundscapes laced with amorphous icy guitar riffs and swirling with gaseous electronics.
    "Prophetic Light" blends together vast orchestral drone and pounding, blown-out drumming with swirling synthesizers and waves of distorted noise, opening the album with a vaguely industrial-tinged sound as eerie mournful melodies are distorted to the point where they transform into an over-modulated buzz. This massive cosmic dronescape crackles with distortion and electricity, the band emitting an intensely dramatic and dour feel; that leads into the similarly noisy "Jubilee Warlord", where layered guitars form a fog of mournful blackened sound, awash in swarming noise and droning synth, achingly gorgeous black metal style melodies arcing across the song's majestic churn. Each track similarly sprawls out into one of these dramatic, droning mini-symphonies of kosmische black drift, and its not till the third song that we even begin to hear any real rhythmic elements on the album; on "The Solarthrone", tympani-like drums slowly reverberate in the distance, lost in a haze of spoken lyrics and those swirling minor key arpeggios, washes of dissonant guitar and crackling electronics, a thick fog of celestial static and distortion falling across everything. And when the stirring falsetto singing starts to slowly drift in from afar, it's almost as if you're listening to some black metal-tinged take on Cocteau Twins, or a delirious fusion of black noise metallers Sutekh Hexen and the incandescent roar of Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine.
    This is really great stuff, can't believe I've never heard these guys before. Solarthrone is filled with those intensely striking moments of sky-shattering beauty - "Planetary Awakening" may be the most soul-wrenching thing I've heard all week - and despite the occasional emergence of some half-formed rhythmic element that creeps out of the nebular depths of their songs, most of the album centers around those amorphous and crumbing black kosmische driftscapes, threaded with strange robotic mutterings and whirling starlit ambiance bathed in cold light and looping, muted melodies, often resembling a darker, bleaker blackened version of Nadja, or, as on the closing track "The Last Passage of Azon Grul", dissolving completely into a final epic wash of breathtaking Tangerine Dream-esque beauty bathed in crushing distortion. Absolutely stunning.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Solarthrone
Sample : Planetary Awakening
Sample : Jubilee Warlord



EN NIHIL / PROCESSION OF THE BLACK SLOTH   Mask of the Predator, Flesh of the Prey   CASSETTE   (Whispering Eye Recordings)    7.50



    Another gruesome emission of death industrial horror from veteran outfit En Nihil, again teaming up with another denizen of the pit, this time with newer outfit Procession Of The Black Sloth, each band delivering nearly a half hour of new material.
   En Nihil's side is more of his foul mixture of death industrial and harsh noise that has comprised most of his recent work, super-heavy stuff that moves through four long tracks of rumbling death industrial, sprawling noisescapes littered with sputtering mechanical rhythms and murky factory drones, low crackling electrical currents coursing through the heaving black mass of sound, shifting from the muted, almost Atrax Morgue-esque throb of opener "The Death Collector" to the ghastly black ambiance of "Bone Trophies". Infested with distant monstrous invocations and over-modulated synths, these tracks bloom into a hallucinatory wash of ghoulish sound design; gaping black pits of caustic noise break open and boil over with vile sonic pus, and peals of ghostly high-end sound and terrifying distant sirens streak over the smoldering distorted rumble; crushing slow-motion rhythms lurch across this blasted blackened wasteland, a squelched monstrous throb that transforms "And Time Will Crumble With Their Bodies" into a blistering black death-dirge, before erupting into the garbled harsh noise chaos of the title track. The stuff that En Nihil has been putting out lately has been completely monstrous, and this material is no different.
    Presumably taking their name from a story by dark fantasist Laird Barron, Procession Of The Black Sloth belt out five tracks of horrifying industrial noise and cancerous synthscum on the other side of the tape. It's weird, creepy stuff, a perfect compliment to En Nihil's grinding blackness, combining low rumbling synthesizers and pitch-shifted screams dragged out of the depths of someone's terminally damaged psyche, mixed up with atmospheric washes of arctic ambiance and minimal percussion that you hear echoing way off in the distance. The nightmarish din of distressed voices that haunt this recording are seemingly piped directly from the bowels of a 1960's-era mental asylum, and pulverizing death industrial assaults like "Under The Floor" fuse Genocide Organ-esque deathdrone to guttural, death metal-style throat-horror and pulsing, tumorous synth drones, and hallucinatory blasts of densely layered sepulchral percussive noise a la T.O.M.B. Another killer dose of total nightmare music. Limited to one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : EN NIHIL - Bone Trophies
Sample : PROCESSION OF THE BLACK SLOTH - Under The Floor



ENCOFFINATION   III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs)   CD   (Selfmadegod)    11.98



    Man, if you though that the previous Encoffination albums were murky, wait till you hear this. While their previous two albums on Selfmadegod dived about as deep into the depths of doomdeath putrescence as you can get, the band's third full-length III – Hear Me, O’ Death sees the band's sound (a calculated mix of stately funeral doom-inspired dirge and the doom-laden death metal of Onward to Golgotha-era Incantation) decomposing into something even more grotesque and abrasive, spilling out across the album's hour-long run time like a pile of rotting viscera.
   The duo of Ghoat and Elektrokutioner (who also spend time in underground death/doom outfits Decrepitaph, Father Befouled, Rituaal, and a horde of other projects) seem to have gone for more of a rumbling, low-fi recording aesthetic this time around, and their creeping slow-motion death metal, which has always crawled somewhere around the nexus of Incantation's classic early 90s output and the glacial, heavily atmospheric heaviness of Australia's Disembowelment, here shambles into even filthier, more atonal forms. It's almost "ambient", at times sort of comparable to how Grave Upheaval transform their churning, ultra-murky death metal into vast abstract blastscapes, but Encoffination's music is much more abrasive and anguished, with III's eight songs slowing down to an almost nauseatingly abject crawl.
    After opening the album with one of the band's trademark death-ambient introductions, the sound of tolling church bells and voices rising in a ghastly hymn quickly gives way to the oppressive graveyard slime of "Charnel Bowels of a Putrescent Earth"; rumbling de-tuned guitars soften and break apart into layers of swarming rot, dissonant doom riffs become stretched and masticated into murky drones, while weird chanting voices lurk in the shadows like the murmurs of some twisted death-cult, and Ghoat's ghoulish gasp drifts like swamp gas over the soiled, deformed music.
    The fetid atmosphere of this album makes for one unsettling listening experience; the guitars are dissonant and deformed, Ghoat's riffs frequently slipping into a gut-churning atonality that's much more pronounced here compared to previous releases, the guitars layered like mouldering cerements over the shambling , misshapen momentum of the drums, at some points the discordance becoming so intense that it borders on the Gorgutsian. Some songs swell with spectral synthesizer and spacey effects, like the cosmic funerary crawl that opens up "Crowned Icons", smears of chilling kosmische psychedelia pushing through the band's bloated slo-mo crush, and throughout the disc the duo intersperse bits of desolate ambiance, mutant choral voices, and those putrid droning organs. Absolutely filthy, mesmeric death-worship, the mephitic atmosphere threatening to choke the air from every corner of this album, pushing this even further from the realm of riffs and musicality into a kind of putrefied ambiance, the sound softening and rotting away, melting down into an oily sonic soup. Listeners looking for something more structured and riff-based might well find Encoffination's latest too droning and inchoate, but I can't stop immersing myself in this album's blackly rapturous aura and adipocere-stained emanations.
Track Samples:
Sample : Rotting Immemorial
Sample : Movld of Abandonment
Sample : Charnel Bowels of a Pvtrescent Earth



ENOCH   Graveyard Disturbances   CD   (Baphomet)    13.98



   A long out-of-print horror-prog obscurity I've been hunting after for awhile; back before everyone and their mother caught the horror soundtrack bug, the classic creepazoid symphonies of 80s Italian splatter cinema had long been worshipped by denizens of the black metal underground, and one of the more interesting homages to emerge from that crowd was the short-lived outfit Enoch, a duo comprised of Necrophagia frontman Killjoy and Sigh mastermind Mirai Kawashima. These guys released their one and only album Graveyard Disturbances (an ode to Lamberto Bava's teeth-grinding haunted funhouse adventure Una notte al cimitero, perhaps?) in 2004, and it's total Fabio Frizzi worship, not too far off from what artists like Umberto have been doing lately.
   These guys clearly know their stuff, too - Enoch don't go out of their way to mimic the vintage sound of those early 80's soundtracks, but their instrumentation is kept suitably sparse, allowing lots of room for Mirai's keyboards to creep and swoop through the boneyard passageways that run through the album. Mirai's psychedelic keyboards are also combined with some sinister industrial touches, and there's an eerie, jazz-tinged feel to some of this stuff as well, with understated electric piano, chimes and menacing whispers on tracks like opener "Dominion" evoking the surreal feel of classic Fulci films. The pulsating funerary synths and church organs of "La Chiesa Di Anime Perse" likewise evoke classic Frizzi, especially when those symphonic strings and warbly choral sounds suddenly kick in; at the same time, Mirai's signature Hammond organ sound is all over this, echoing his work on Sigh's Imaginary Sonicscape. There's bombastic blasts of low-fi orchestral power, swells of ghostly theremin and whirring shortwave-like electronics, bursts of abrasive noise and creepy trip-hop tinged tracks like "Oracle" that layer those sinister piano melodies, choral voices and Morricone-esque strings over slow, creeping breakbeats. Other tracks like "When Wings Lie Broken" offer demonic soundscapes filled with whirling primitive synth noises and surges of deep, malevolent bass, or slip into ghoulish carnival fantasias, excursions into nightmarish industrial music and warped liturgical chanting, tribal drums and environmental recordings of running water swirling beneath vintage Moogscapes.
    It's all hugely influenced by the murky graveyard prog of Frizzi's City Of The Living Dead score, a bit stranger, grittier, more primitive than bands like Zombi or Umberto, but definitely coming from a similar place. The disc also contains a grainy, low-fi music video for the track "A Tribute To Sanity" as a CD-Rom feature, directed by surrealist splatterfreak Michael Todd Schneider, AKA Michael MagGot of August Underground infamy. Comes in digipack packaging.
Track Samples:
Sample : When Wings Lie Broken
Sample : Only a Shadow Remains
Sample : La Chiesa di Anime Perse
Sample : Graveyard Disturbances



EPITIMIA   Faces Of Insanity   CD   (Hypnotic Dirge)    11.98



   Album number three from this Russian experimental black metal outfit, delivered mostly through a multi-part prog rock style epic titled Epikrisis I-VI. The first song sets the album's morose vibe with a sprawling instrumental that combines eerie tremolo-picked melodies and icy, blackened riffs with a suffocating sense of melancholy reminiscent of the darker, earlier stuff from The Cure; from the introduction, the trio move through the six-part "Epikrisis", moving from mournful, lumbering post-rock flecked with wintry blackened melodies and bursts of celestial electronics, the sound streaked with guttural, snarling vocals, then suddenly erupting from tangles of weird proggy guitar into raw blasting black metal. There's some great folky singing that pops up at a couple of points, and even the blackened leads can reveal something of a Slavic folk influence beneath their sorrowful melodic laments, and there are moments of unexpected jazziness that suddenly spring up on tracks like "Epikrisis III - Megalomania", as well as some great use of dreamy, shimmering guitar atmospherics that suddenly break away from the band's grimy black metal into passages of strange, Badalamenti-esque ambiance. Their vocals are pretty varied, from that aggressive blackened snarl to clear singing to a frantic high-pitched squawk that falls somewhere in between Silencer and old-school emo, and the album's capped off with a gorgeous piece of dark Souvlaki-esque shoegaze sumptuousness titled "Lethe" that's likewise pretty striking.
   With its occasional moments of sloppy musicianship and occasionally awkward transitions, Faces is definitely more raw and rough around the edges than their follow-up album (Un)reality that came out earlier in 2014, and at this stage in their career the band's ambitions still outpaced their skill level. I still dug the album's spirited mix of grubby gloom-rock and oddball proggy black metal though, and there are a couple of moments of enthralling despair that are laid out on songs like the supremely catchy "Epikrisis V : Rorschach Inkblot" and "VI: Leucotomy", where you can see the band's skill for crafting moody, soaring, almost Katatonic hooks within their depressing blackened sound beginning to fully take shape.
Track Samples:
Sample : Reminiscentia
Sample : Lethe
Sample : Epikrisis III: Megalomania



EPITIMIA   (Un)reality   2 x CD   (Hypnotic Dirge)    14.98



   Four albums in with Russian black metal experimentalists Epitimia, and I still didn't know what their name meant. A quick look online reveals the name Epitimia to come from the Russian orthodox church, a reference to a kind of "spiritual correction", a penance imposed upon the sinner by the priest, an idea that lightly echoes through the band's existential lyrics on (Un)reality, questioning reality and the emotional and psychic landscape of the inner self. We're definitely in stranger territory with this sprawling new double album from the band, an eighteen-song descent into Epitimia's most shadowy and evocative music I've heard to date, exploring a genre-blurring sound reminiscent of Norwegian avant-gardists Manes and Arcturus.
   Right from the opening twilight drift of "Birth", the trio glides through the darkness amid cool noir-stained saxophones and lush dreamy jazziness, a far cry from the raw, ramshackle black metal one would expect based on previous releases; that first song is quite bewitching, not quite the sort of darkened Bohren-esque jazziness you might expect, but lighter and more ethereal. But then they rip that cloudy, shadowy atmosphere apart with the second song, "Delusion I – Escapism", the first in a seven part saga that moves through a variety of emotional states, beginning with a burst of abrasively doleful black metal, a prog-influenced complexity directing their long, winding structures as this bleeds over into the subsequent songs, mid-paced melancholic black metal woven from layered, weepy tremolo melodies and grooving, staccato riffing. Solid enough stuff on its own, but when the saxophone suddenly reappears midway through "Escapism", the music takes on a soulful majesty that immediately elevates this above the band's previous works.
    As (Un)reality unfolds, we're treated to wistful, delicate vocals that drift languidly over the loping frostbitten black metal, the band dropping into unpredictable tempo changes; there's killer discordant riffage that has a vaguely Voivoidian vibe, sudden detours into bleary trip-hop like ambiance, and more of the band's eerie guitar work that has a folky, distinctly Slavic feel. Songs will suddenly shift into shadowy electronica, as skittering drum n' bass outbursts or traces of stuttering breakcore surface beneath the cold, regal blackness. Operatic vocals swell over passages of crunchy, angular math-metal, and there are rushes of euphoric shoegaze-influenced poppiness and washes of dreamy guitar jangle that sometime venture into Alcest-like territory (the song "Illusion III – Foretime" on the second disc is as captivating as anything in this vein I've heard lately), with the band even drifting into some seriously spaced-out dub towards the end of the album.
   All of these elements are woven into their songs with a thoughtfulness and songwriting ability that shows an impressive evolution from previous works. But as proggy as the songs get, this stuff is also really catchy, the musicianship on (Un)reality immensely improved over previous outings from the band, with tighter and more professional playing. While I dug the scruffy ambition of their previous album, this is on another level, the combination of jazz and black metal executed in a rather unique fashion, with that sax playing from guest player D'Arcy Molan giving large portions of this album a cool, jazz-noir vibe. A killer combination of Ulver/Arcturus-progginess, ratty black metal, cosmic imagery, dolorous dream-pop, and ambitious dark rock that continues to evolve and deepen with each album. Gorgeously in a six-panel digipack with twelve page booklet.
Track Samples:
Sample : Delusion V - Post Scriptum
Sample : ÿþDelusion I – Escapism
Sample : ÿþIllusion II – Oath
Sample : ÿþIllusion V – Far Away
Sample : Metanoia



EQUINOX   Of Blade And Graal   CASSETTE   (Vanguard Productions)    6.50



   Some more offbeat raw black metal on another one of the recent cassettes that we picked up from the self-described "Vinland Black Metal Label" Vanguard Productions, Equinox's Of Blade And Graal is a vicious little blast of outsider black metal mayhem from this somewhat mysterious trio. The band's second release following a split with Intolerant, this seven-song EP opens with an ominous chord progression played on acoustic guitar, the solemn strummed melody stumbling beneath a spoken word recording, then hurtles straight into the utterly raw, low-fi black metal that comprises the rest of this tape. Really raw, the sound quality of Graal sounds like it was produced on an old four track recorder, totally unpolished, that rough ratty sound quality giving the band's tinny treble-cranked guitar and blasting background hiss of the drummer a nicely vicious edge. That fierce no-fi assault and Equinox's mixture of church-burning Satanic imagery and pagan themes sort of resembles the demented violent energy as some of the early Graveland demos, and the performance itself is as raw as the recording, with the occasional flub or fuck-up, but these guys nevertheless whip up an intensely dank basement blast of fucked-up blackness on songs like the title track. Other songs on the tape like "To Taste the Energy of the Otherworld " are slower, doom-laden dirges with nearly nonexistent drumming, the mournful minor key riffs slowly uncurling beneath more of those spoken lyrics, while other tracks sometimes slip into messed-up Sabbathian riffage or abrasive, out-of-tune guitar noise, and there's some interesting use of diminished chords and expressive bass playing that you can hear buried down in all of that fuzz-drenched hiss, that give brief moments on the tape an odd, vaguely jazzy feel. There's lots of Furze-like dropouts and amplifier malfunctions adding to the unhinged energy, and even a short interlude of spoken word melodrama and chortling flute. In spite of the stripped-raw, often totally atonal mania on display, though, there's some furious stuff on this tape; Equinox's mixture of boombox black metal aesthetics and manic weirdness is something that will probably appeal to fans of the Legion Blotan / Dipsomaniac / Illinoisian Thunder strain of ultra-raw, brain-damaged necro-fuzz. Limited to one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Of Blade and Graal
Sample : To Taste the Energy of the Otherworld
Sample : In the Grotto of the Ibex Glade



FISER, LUBOS / ZDENEK LISKA   Morgiana / The Cremator - Music From The Films By Juraj Herz   CD   (Finders Keepers / B-Music)    13.98



   Not too often that I pick up a soundtrack to a horror film that I haven't actually seen yet, but alas, despite my best efforts, I've thus far failed to get a hold of the surrealistic horror films of director Juraj Herz, who worked under Communist oppression as part of the Czech New Wave in the 1960s. Herz produced a handful of subversive horror fantasies that were marked by heavy allegorical and avant-garde leanings, all of which have been touted as must-sees by horror film scholars, but up till now many of his films have largely been unavailable here in the US. While those films remain on my to-see list, I had recently stumbled across this amazing collection of Herz soundtracks that was released by the Finders Keepers sub-label B-Sides (which has also issued some classy-looking Jean Rollin soundtracks that I'm seriously itching to get my mitts on), and after hearing this beautiful, utterly chilling music, I'm more eager than ever to finally see Herz's psychedelic horrors. The disc features the scores to both 1968's Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator) scored by avant-garde composer (and frequent Jan Švankmajer collaborator) Zdeněk Liška, and 1972's Morgiana, scored by Hlobil protégé Luboš Fišer.
   Luboš Fišer's score to Herz's Gothic drama of murderous sibling rivalry Morgiana is gorgeous stuff, filled with blasts of fearsome pipe organ, lovely folk-flecked instrumental arrangements for harpsichord, treated piano, and acoustic guitar and flute, the latter of which is often used to chilling effect throughout the score. Lush orchestral strings mingle with lyrical woodwinds, whose melodies ache with sadness and desire, the music shaping into eerie ballroom waltzes, all contributing to a dreamlike atmosphere that hovers between a kind of pastoral beauty and moments of jarring sonic violence. The latter appears in the form of sudden swells of dissonant strings a la Bernard Herrmann, tracks like "Viktorie's Darkest Moment" possessed with a fitful creepiness. The latter half of the score sees Fišer employing more brass fanfares, deep lowing horns and muffled, experimental percussion techniques to terrifying effect, especially on the malevolent death-march of Morgiana's main theme. The whole score is emotionally complex, combining elements of classical, folk, jazz and experimental technique in a manner not too far removed from some of Komeda's work for Polanski; darkly beautiful stuff that fans of Fiser's score for Valerie and Her Week of Wonders will definitely want to check out.
   That's followed by Zdenek Liška's music for The Cremator, which uses a much more experimental and textured approach in order to accompany Herz's surreal, blackly humorous Holocaust-themed nightmare. Murky choral voices are blurred into a dim fog over the droning orchestral elements for the opening piece "Merciful Nature", and the chilling atmosphere sets in right from the beginning; as the score unfolds, Liška moves through gorgeous waltz-like orchestrations, mixing together violins, ghostly percussion and what sound like flugelhorns, employing operatic voices and pensive piano work to help craft the dreamlike vibe. Some of the choral passages have an almost Popul Vuh-esque feel, ominous and intensely atmospheric sounds that shift into something wholly nightmarish and surreal, reminiscent of some of the darker strains of krautrock (especially on tracks like the deeply creepy "Kopfrkingl Salutes Death" and "Vision Of The Temple"), the mood of the score growing ever darker and more unsettling, even as it slips into the haunting sound of a cantor singing a Jewish prayer.
   Can't recommend this disc enough to fans of the darker side of the Czech New Wave and Euro horror soundtrack obscurities. B-Music's beautifully rendered collection also features liner notes from label boss (and Liars member) Andy Votel and Eurocult scholar Daniel Bird in the twenty-page booklet that accompanies the disc.
Track Samples:
Sample : Waxworks / The Baths Of Franzensbad
Sample : Vison Of The Temple
Sample : Kopfrkingl Salutes Death
Sample : Viktorie's Darkest Moment
Sample : Morgiana (Opening Titles)



FLESH WORLD   A Line In Wet Grass   7" VINYL   (Iron Lung Records)    7.99



   Wait, what? Two totally unrelated bands Flesh World? You might have noticed that Planned Obsolescence 7" that I had on a new arrivals list from a couple of months ago from an Australian band called Flesh World. Then along comes another Flesh World, this one from the San Francisco area, with a new record on Iron Lung that sounds completely different, but also completely fantastic. I usually get pretty irritated when I come across this sort of thing; with the omnipresent oracle of Google at our greasy fingertips, there's little excuse for bands to cop the same band name nowadays. But what to do when both bands end up knockin' my socks off? At least there's no chance of confusing 'em, musically; the moody anxiety-attack of this EP is about as far from the blitzoid thrash of the Aussie Flesh World as you can get.
    So, this Flesh World features various members of Needles, Limp Wrist and other veteran outfits, and A Line In Wet Grass is a follow-up to a recent full length on La Vida Es Un Mus; the 7" delivers two songs of fantastic, furiously driving post-punk gloom that sunk its delicate fangs into me as soon as the a-side title track kicked in with its rocking mid-tempo propulsion and moody melody, the sound awash in ethereal vocals and chiming guitar noise, fusing a cloudy, almost shoegaze-esque wave of reverb-drenched sound to throbbing bass and vaguely motorik punk. It's hard not to reach for classic 80s-era bands for reference points in trying to describe this, but for some reason I'm having a harder time trying to pinpoint the antecedents for Flesh World USA's sound; I can make out some echoes of both Joy Division and early Christian Death in both this and "Not A Soul"'s brattier, punkier pulse, but both of these tunes have a certain ghostly poppiness to them (as well as a liberal amount of squalling noisiness towards the close of each) that make 'em one of the more unique sounding post-punk/gloom rock/death rock throwbacks I've heard lately, and I can't shake 'em out of my head. Gotta get my hands on their album for sure. Limited to five hundred copies, presented in a felt-weave cardstock sleeve, and comes with a digital download.


GAS CHAMBER   Hemorrhaging Light   LP + 7"   (Iron Lung Records)    16.98



   The new full-length from Buffalo avant-hardcore outfit Gas Chamber is one of the weirdest Iron Lung Records releases that's come out this year; while the band's previous records all flirted with experimental noise and cranked-out power-violence tendencies, this new batch of songs heads into even mathier and more angular territory, while still retaining plenty of the vicious thrashcore and power-violence elements that made their previous records sound so rabid. The first ten songs are short, succinct blasts of skronky hardcore with hints of old-school math rock, lots of jagged, off-the-wall riffery and oddball time signature changes, the guitar weaving long dark winding melodies, with the bass takes the lead throughout most of the album. These songs are set upon with sudden bursts of bone-scraping electronic noise and rumbling junk-noise blastscapes a la K2 or Hal Hutchinson, and detours into moody, slow instrumental passages of pensive slowcore.
   With all of this stuff going on, there's a proggy edge to Gas Chamber's dark, blistering hardcore punk, especially when you hear songs like "Time Lapse", its cascading, chorus-drenched guitar textures comparable to Blind Idiot God, and the bewitching melody that emerges amid the breakneck blastcore of "My Warsaw". I'm reminded of some of those jazzier, proggier bands that started to appear on SST in the later half of the 80's, though this album is a much more violent affair, and the electronic noise interludes that appear as burbling bacterial masses of entropic analogue murk also point towards the influence of Man Is The Bastard. The centerpiece of the album is the nearly eleven minute "Pigeon"; here, the band dispenses with the Infestoid speed violence for a sprawling, atmospheric piece of mournful slowcore that resembles something from Codeine playing beneath the screams of terrified animals and disturbing electronic noises, the music chilly and gloomy and beautiful, slow shuffling drums draped in reverb, the guitars drenched with an almost funerary feel, all of this gloomily gorgeous feedback-laced sadness sounding like some doom-laden 4AD band transforming into fuzz-seared elliptical hypno-rock, only erupting into one final blast of sonic violence at the very end. One to definitely check out if you're into the more adventurous likes of Gasp, Suppression, Suffering Luna, and Man Is The Bastard. This first edition of Hemorrhaging Light comes with a green flexidisc with an additional noise track, limited to five hundred copies in heavyweight jacket ans comes with digital download.


GEHENNA   Funeral Embrace   7" VINYL   (Dark Empire)    8.99



   Like that rotted canine skull that leers at you from the cover of Gehenna's latest Funeral Embrace, this long-running West Coast band is all jaws, an embodiment of snarling, snapping chaos channeled through a stripped-down, red-raw hardcore assault that remains more than twenty years later one of the most savage sounds in the underground. I've raved about Gehenna for years; long aligned with the "Holy Terror" aesthetic that emerged in the mid-90s, Gehenna are peerless fomenters of violence and lawlessness, their songs anthems to bloodlust and barbarism. Their latest 7", Funeral Embrace delivers five more songs of their signature mix of drug-fueled hardcore punk and rabid black thrash, blackened and hateful, issued on the recently resurrected Dark Empire label now being operated by the teenage son of Integrity front man Dwid (a fact that continues to remind me just how old I'm starting to get).
    Opening with the blistering narco-worship of "Amphetamine Psychosis", these maniacs whip the air into a blood-frenzy of blackened hardcore, smearing their raw blast with bits of lysergic noise and those PCP-hammered guitar solos, and that seething, violent energy rips through the rest of the EP. Every one of these songs comes snarling out of the speakers at top speed, lashing the barbarism of classic American hardcore to a feverish blur of ultra-violent black thrash a la Nifelheim or Bestial Mockery, and the results are fucking ferocious. There's a bizarre, lupine howling that appears all through the 7", like a pack of wolves lurking behind Gehenna's slavering necroid assault, and the inhuman snarl of front man Mike Cheese echoes madly in a storm of reverb while the band careens through reckless tempo changes that constantly threaten to spiral into total pandemonium. Fucking essential.


GNAWED   Feign And Cloak   CD   (Malignant)    11.98



   Album number two from the ultra heavy death industrial outfit Gnawed, Feign And Cloak is the much-anticipated followup to the fantastic 2012 full-length Terminal Epoch, a featured release here at C-Blast when it originally came out, and one of the heaviest industrial albums that came out that year. Even before Epoch, Minneapolis artist Grant Richardson had been constructing some of the most fearsome industrial music we'd been hearing, but with this newest album the project's fusion of crushing scrapyard rhythms and brutal noise is heavier than ever.
   Featuring an array of guest artists from such groups as Cock ESP, Ice Volt, Violator X, Scaphe, and Agitate, Feign employs a variety of sounds to forge it's doom-laden noise dirges; using scrap metal, bowed cymbals, and singing bowls, the album delves into the various aspects of Gnawed's sounds, with some truly skull-crushing moments arriving pretty early on. As the album opens with the staticky, monochromatic ambiance of "Time Undone", Richardson drifts in with a fog of grainy distorted drone and rumbling, doom-laden heaviness, sprawling out beneath delay-drenched voices flitting through the blackness like ghostly forms on the periphery of your hearing, while huge constructs of rusted metal shift and settle in the depths, a clanking arrhythmic din cloaked in grim, hazy ambiance.
   But when "Burning The Hive" follows, you're hit with a sickeningly blown-out mechanical dirge that seems to drag the album into a kind of twisted, mutated industrial metal territory. Putrescent, massively distorted screams undulate over the crumbling, earth-grinding machinery that seethes and smokes beneath the layers of tremulous electronic hum, the sound blasted with noxious frequencies and bone-rattling bass, almost like some warped version of UK industrial sludge outfit Pitch Shifter slowed down to an abject crawl and left to rot in a pit of bile-drenched biomech refuse. The album moves deeper into this nightmarish corrupted mech-hell, tracks like "The Scales" and the title track unfolding into smoldering fields of electrical hum and juddering death-engine reverberations, laced with surges of Carpenterian synth-dread and those horrific processed shrieks; others spread out into vast cinematic black ambiance, immersed in crushing malevolent synthesizers and ghastly pneumatic loops. And closer "Torch To Cedar" may be the most harrowing piece on the album, a swarming mass of blackened death-drone festooned with cacophonous metallic noise and prayer-bowl resonances that were recorded in the sewers beneath Minneapolis, the sounds slowly coalescing into a monstrous industrial dirge.
    Building upon that classic Cold Meat death industrial sound, Richardson adds even blacker textures and an almost metallic immensity to these tracks, making this another soul-consuming assault that further establishes Gnawed as one of the US's finest death industrial outfits alongside the likes of Steel Hook Prostheses, Theologian, Vomit Arsonist and Nyodene D. Comes in a six panel digipack with album art from Dutch artist Brian Vander Pol.
Track Samples:
Sample : Torch To Cedar
Sample : Time Undone
Sample : Pestilence Beholden



GODFLESH   Hymns   2 x CD   (The End)    14.98



   While it definitely wasn't the strongest album for Godflesh to go out on prior to their dissolution in 2002, I've never quite understood why the band's sixth album Hymns has gotten knocked around so much. I've always been a fan of Hymns, and with the new comeback album from these industrial metal legends that just came back, we've been going back and re-visiting some of the band's releases that we've never previously had in stock here at C-Blast. The band's sixth album, 2001's Hymns was also Godflesh's first major label release, as well as their first studio album to feature an actual human drummer, in contrast to the drum machines that powered their previous albums. And what a drummer they enlisted for Hymns, none other than Ted Parsons (Swans, Killing Joke, Prong, Teledubgnosis, Treponem Pal, etc.), whose work on classic records like Holy Money was undoubtedly an influence on Godflesh's formative sound back in the 1980s. And their sound was still pretty consistent here, Hymns continuing to mine that dystopian fusion of gloomy post-punk, industrial pummel, distorted breakbeats and abrasive noise that has defined the band's sound.
   One thing that Hymns has in spades is groove: Tracks like "Paralyzed" and "Deaf, Dumb & Blind" rattle the walls with monstrous breakbeats and grinding, discordant guitars, locking into a kind of bulldozing, noise-stained funk; ultimately, tracks like these feel do somewhat reductive, lacking some of the formidable apocalyptic power of the band's finest moments, but that stuff is still massively heavy and menacing, barbaric hip-hop-flecked beats pumped full of industrial strength steroids, shambling mechanically over the massive churn of the bass. The more impressive moments on the album are found with moodier tracks like "White Flag" and the twang-laced "Anthem", where Godflesh dial back some of the bone-rattling boom-bap for something a little more melodic, foreshadowing the sort of industrialized shoegazer crush that Broadrick would explore at length with his subsequent project Jesu. "Anthem" in particular stands out as one of the album's best songs, with a huge sweetened hook fused to Broadrick's soaring vocals, the song awash in gleaming synthesizers, and it's here that you can really hear him working with some of the nascent ideas that would develop into Jesu's blissed-out sludge. Another example of that is "Regal", a stunning piece of crushing sludgepop that is one of my favorite Godflesh songs, as well as the titanic droning immensity of the prophetically titled "Jesu" (which features a guest appearance from future Jesu member Diarmuid Dalton of Cable Regime on moog and electronics). There's a great "hidden" track at the end as well, a gorgeous piece of gloomy slowcore that, much like some of the later Jesu stuff, comes across sort of like Codeine on steroids, chiming clear guitars and minimal electronics meshed with plaintive piano over the slow, shuffle of Parsons' drumming, those guitars eventually shifting into distorted heaviness as that gorgeous downcast melody evolves and climbs into heartbroken splendor. And another high point on Hymns is the deathdub monstrosity "Antihuman", splattered with sickening synth squelch, filthy wah-pedal noise that seems to be doing some gross mimicry of turntable scratching, and Broadrick's already guttural roar gets pitch-shifted into an even more ogrish bellow, like some putrid mutation of the early Scorn stuff.
    The second disc in this reissue features seven demo tracks that had been produced for Hymns, re-mastered and in some cases remixed; this stuff is revelatory, as it suggests a much dirtier, grimier sound that the album might have otherwise had if the label hadn't interfered with the recording process and demanded they use a high-end studio to record their album. The bass on these demo tracks is cranked up to monstrous floor-shaking volume and there's a gritty, blown-out edge on everything, making some of these my favorite versions of the album tracks; songs like "Paralyzed", "For Life" and "Voidhead" certainly all sound meaner and filthier than ever, the latter here transformed into a bone-rattling personal apocalypse. And they cap off the disc with a re-mastered version of "If I Could Only Be What You Want", a killer exercise in murderous malevolent drum n' bass that originally appeared on the Loud Music For Loud People compilation.
   Comes in digipack packaging with a sixteen page booklet with lyrics and new linter notes from Broadrick.
Track Samples:
Sample : If I Could Only Be What You Want [*][2012 Remaster][Version]
Sample : Antihuman
Sample : Jesu
Sample : Defeated
Sample : Voidhead



GORGUTS   ...And Then Comes Lividity: Demo Anthology Vol II   12"   (War On Music)    19.99



   When it came to the vanguard of death metal in the 1990s, Canadian legends Gorguts were at the forefront, a band who completely reshaped the parameters of the sound with a single album. 1998's Obscura was a masterpiece of nerve-shredding extremity, a mindwarp of dissonant tech-death that virtually birthed a genre unto itself, a violently discordant version of classic death metal that paved the way for a multitude of bands to explore more abrasive and atonal directions in the years that followed. Needless to say, these guys are one of my favorite death metal bands of all time, and not just for Obscura's alien skronk, either; albums like From Wisdom To Hate, Erosion of Sanity and even their rather amazing comeback album Colored Sands are all fantastic releases, each one charting a slightly different but no less adventurous course through Gorguts's crushing, convoluted heaviness. Despite the band's acclaimed status, however, the Gorguts demos have never been given a proper presentation for serious fans of the band; there was a CD collection of demo material that came out on Galy Records back in 2003, but it was a pretty barebones affair, and seriously lacked in the visual department. And that release has been out of print for years now, making these recordings unavailable outside of shitty MP3 rips online. If you're a vinyl collector, though, you're now in luck, as almost all of that material has now been reissued as a series of three 12" records, each one chronicling a different era of the band, from their earlier more straightforward death metal to the convulsive violence of the Obscura period; all three records have been re-mastered by current Gorguts member Colin Marston (Krallice / Behold The Arctopus) and pressed onto 180 gram vinyl, with new artwork from former Cryptopsy frontman Martin Lacroix, who also contributed the album art to Gorguts's latest album Colored Sands.
   Somehow, the 1991 Considered Dead demo sounds even more ragged and reptilian than its predecessor; even that classical guitar intro is turned into something more dissonant and diseased here. But when Gorguts kick into the putrid death metal of "Stiff And Cold", it's about as powerful as this sort of death metal can be, a pummeling assault of dungeon-crawling barbarism composed from blasts of ghoulish screams, scuttling riffage and complex, atonal guitar leads, a shambling wretched old-school death metal attack that still bore a resemblance to early Death, even down to Luc Lemay's gasping, ghastly vocals. There's are some killer atmospheric touches as well, and tracks like "Drifting Remains" and the rampaging thrash of "Rottenatomy" are primo examples of early Gorguts. But it was with 1992's Erosion Of Sanity that Gorguts really started to explore a more experimental, progressive direction, and the band's five song demo featured on the second side of this LP shows a distinct shift in direction. Right from the start, the band tangles the listener in contorted, jagged riffage, "Hideous Infirmity" flailing its tentacled riffs and off-kilter, proggy chug-blasts, convulsions of octopoid drumming erupting amid the crushing blastbeats and half-time breakdowns. The punchy sound of the bass burbles to the front of the mix with the occasional jazzy run, and the band's continuing fascination with prog rock likewise surfaces with the bizarre atonality, twisted melodic figures and warped time signatures that appear throughout the recording. Songs like "A Path Beyond Premonition" will suddenly scuttle sideways, the guitarists spewing evil leads that spiral madly into the churning off-kilter heaviness, like Middle Eastern scales being played backwards and forwards at the same time. This stuff definitely didn't sound like anything else in death metal back then, revealing an unconventional sound that was fast propelling them into the realm of bands like Cynic and Atheist. That latter half of the record alone makes this a recommended listen if you're a fan of Gorguts' later, more prog-tinged heaviness.


GORGUTS   ...And Then Comes Lividity: Demo Anthology Vol I   LP   (War On Music)    18.98



   When it came to the vanguard of death metal in the 1990s, Canadian legends Gorguts were at the forefront, a band who completely reshaped the parameters of the sound with a single album. 1998's Obscura was a masterpiece of nerve-shredding extremity, a mindwarp of dissonant tech-death that virtually birthed a genre unto itself, a violently discordant version of classic death metal that paved the way for a multitude of bands to explore more abrasive and atonal directions in the years that followed. Needless to say, these guys are one of my favorite death metal bands of all time, and not just for Obscura's alien skronk, either; albums like From Wisdom To Hate, Erosion of Sanity and even their rather amazing comeback album Colored Sands are all fantastic releases, each one charting a slightly different but no less adventurous course through Gorguts's crushing, convoluted heaviness. Despite the band's acclaimed status, however, the Gorguts demos have never been given a proper presentation for serious fans of the band; there was a CD collection of demo material that came out on Galy Records back in 2003, but it was a pretty barebones affair, and seriously lacked in the visual department. And that release has been out of print for years now, making these recordings unavailable outside of shitty MP3 rips online. If you're a vinyl collector, though, you're now in luck, as almost all of that material has now been reissued as a series of three 12" records, each one chronicling a different era of the band, from their earlier more straightforward death metal to the convulsive violence of the Obscura period; all three records have been re-mastered by current Gorguts member Colin Marston (Krallice / Behold The Arctopus) and pressed onto 180 gram vinyl, with new artwork from former Cryptopsy frontman Martin Lacroix, who also contributed the album art to Gorguts's latest album Colored Sands.
   Volume I of Gorguts' Demo Anthology series features the band's 1990 ...and Then Comes Lividity demo, which even at this embryonic stage still offered supremely fetid, surprisingly complex death metal of a uniquely twisted vintage. This fifteen minute, five-song demo naturally shows a band still developing their sound, but you can also hear where Gorguts were well on their way towards establishing themselves as a major force in the extreme metal underground; one can easily see where Roadrunner would have picked up the band based on the strengths of this tape. The eerie classical guitar instrumental "...And Then Comes Lividity" opens the demo, establishing a mephitic, moldering atmosphere before all hell breaks out with "Haematological Allergy". Once the band cranks out their crushing, complex death metal, you can hear the influence of that classic Floridian sound, but they were also already starting to reveal some of the atonalities that would progressively become part of the band's signature sound. Throughout the rest of the demo, filthy chromatic riffing slithers and coils around the furious breakneck thrash tempos, sinking into the slime with monstrous double-bass rumble, and the sludgy dissonance of "Inflicted Maturity" and "Calamitous Mortification" in particular offer a brief glimpse of the more technical direction that the band would gradually move towards. A fantastic and crucial piece of early 90s death metal history.


GORGUTS   ...And Then Comes Lividity: Demo Anthology Vol III   LP + 7"   (War On Music)    23.99



   When it came to the vanguard of death metal in the 1990s, Canadian legends Gorguts were at the forefront, a band who completely reshaped the parameters of the sound with a single album. 1998's Obscura was a masterpiece of nerve-shredding extremity, a mindwarp of dissonant tech-death that virtually birthed a genre unto itself, a violently discordant version of classic death metal that paved the way for a multitude of bands to explore more abrasive and atonal directions in the years that followed. Needless to say, these guys are one of my favorite death metal bands of all time, and not just for Obscura's alien skronk, either; albums like From Wisdom To Hate, Erosion of Sanity and even their rather amazing comeback album Colored Sands are all fantastic releases, each one charting a slightly different but no less adventurous course through Gorguts's crushing, convoluted heaviness. Despite the band's acclaimed status, however, the Gorguts demos have never been given a proper presentation for serious fans of the band; there was a CD collection of demo material that came out on Galy Records back in 2003, but it was a pretty barebones affair, and seriously lacked in the visual department. And that release has been out of print for years now, making these recordings unavailable outside of shitty MP3 rips online. If you're a vinyl collector, though, you're now in luck, as almost all of that material has now been reissued as a series of three 12" records, each one chronicling a different era of the band, from their earlier more straightforward death metal to the convulsive violence of the Obscura period; all three records have been re-mastered by current Gorguts member Colin Marston (Krallice / Behold The Arctopus) and pressed onto 180 gram vinyl, with new artwork from former Cryptopsy frontman Martin Lacroix, who also contributed the album art to Gorguts's latest album Colored Sands.
   The third installment in the Lividity demo reissue series brings us to where Gorguts re-emerged in the latter half of the 90s as an almost unrecognizable avant-death monstrosity, and delivered the truly outré death metal of Obscura. This LP and 7" set features the three demos that the band assembled for Obscura, and while these recordings don't radically deviate from the versions that ultimately appeared on the album, this is still a fascinating look at the early versions of these tracks. After being dropped by Roadrunner, Gorguts eventually embraced an even more complex and discordant sound informed by their growing interests in prog and modern classical, a fearsome mutation of death metal that sprouted thorny, jagged-edged riffs crawling through a miasma of obtuse doom and sludgy dissonance; this stuff draws as much from Red-era King Crimson and Univers Zero and the horrific orchestral compositions of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki as it does from the putrid depths of Tampa. There are moments when the band slips into a grueling sludgy groove wrapped around some twisted off-time drumming and it suddenly sounds like some monstrously evil noise rock, queasy wah-pedal spouting sickening, serpentine solos, endlessly spiraling riffs transforming into demonic alien code or sinking into cruel, reptilian grooves. Frontman/guitarist Luc Lemay gasps like a man struggling for breath, his bizarre, strained screams evoking a newfound desperation on songs like "Subtle Body", elevating the already mind-bending music into new heights of horror. In spite of the complexity and atonality of these songs, though, these demos are filled with moments of black alien majesty that rise from the churning, squiggly chaos; when Lemay suddenly whips out the viola on the song "Earthly Love", you know you're not just hearing another boring Suffocation clone. Still some of my favorite death metal ever.


GRACE, JEFF   The House Of The Devil   LP   (Death Waltz)    29.98



   I thought that Ti West's 2009 fim The House Of The Devil was one of the best indie horror films of the past decade, a slow-burn satanic shocker that rewarded patient viewers with an long, atmospheric build-up that exploded into a nerve-shredding climactic sequence, and it's still the best film of this guys career thus far. Much was made of West's use of an early 80's horror aesthetic, even placing the story during that time period, but the imagery and story was so skillfully woven together that House never feels like a purely nostalgic exercise, despite the obvious references to classic films like Rosemary's Baby, The Sentinel. For House Of The Devil, West enlisted composer Jeff Grace, who had previously worked with the director on his ambitious no-budget zombie-bat debut The Roost, and his score is pretty much perfect, with lots of retro electronics and spine-chilling piano-heavy atmosphere slowly building towards the shocking denouement. As with West's visuals, there's a vintage, familiar feel to much of Grace's music, most strongly felt with the opening track featured on this LP, the brooding instrumental New Wave theme that sounds like a darker cousin to The Car's classic "Moving In Stereo"; when that song appears in the film's opening credits, it's one of the coolest, moodiest opening sequences I've seen in a recent horror film.
   The rest of Grace's score is heavily drenched in a melancholy atmosphere that lingers over the first half of the film, slowly making its way into darker and more claustrophobic sounds as the protagonist begins to penetrate the depths of the titular house. Grace effectively builds tension using a combination of moody strings and piano with more experimental techniques, employing prepared piano and microtonal strings that really crank up over during the climactic scenes of infernal mayhem. Those minimal piano and mournful violins are used to craft some beautifully autumnal passages, certainly a nod to the sort of small-scale orchestral scores that were prevalent in 70's horror, but Grace keeps this from ever sounding dated by incorporating some truly fantastic motifs that reappear throughout the score, and the when those strings slowly begin to transform into more dissonant forms further into the film, the shift in mood is truly unsettling, melting into horrifying cascades of glissando notes that are absolutely bloodcurdling. When this unfolds into the nightmare delirium of "Mother", Grace's score begins to thunder with a demonic energy reminiscent of Penderecki at his most terrifying, injecting those scraped strings and atonal, detuned piano sounds into the second half of the score, unleashing a harrowing soundscape as swarms of malevolent stringed drones and that skin-crawling glissando wind tighter around each other, perfectly capturing the sense of dawning horror that permeates the end of the film. Right up there with Roque Banos's infernal score for the Evil Dead redux in terms of sheer, hellish power, Grace delivered a top-notch horror score with House that's highly recommended to fans of the form. One of the few contemporary film scores to be released by UK reissue label Death Waltz, this features one of the best album art jobs from the label courtesy of Tom Hodge, along with sleeve notes from Grave.


GRAVES AT SEA / SOURVEIN   split   CD   (Seventh Rule)    11.98



   Available on both LP and digipack CD.
    Here's a great split mini-album pairing up two of the best sludge bands in the US, the recently revived Graves At Sea (now based out of Portland, OR and featuring current and former members of Uzala, Atriarch, Carol Ann, Laudanum, and Subarachnoid Space) and old-school road-dogs Sourvein, a band who started out as an offshoot of sludgecrust legends Buzzoven. Definitely noteworthy for fans of Graves, as this is one of the first new releases to come from the band since 2005, and both bands deliver exactly the sort of wasted, bone-crushing sludge you'd hope for.
    Two songs from Graves At Sea, "Betting On Black" and "Confession", both nihilistic blasts of evil, hateful witch-sludge, the guitarists laying down their massive, lurching riffage over the saurian backbeat, the singer's uniquely anguished screech cranking up the feral, demented vibe of this stuff a notch or two. Their sound is still a familiar one, the sort of sickening Sabbathian hate-sludge that a thousand other bands have been trying to master over the past two decades, but there's something about Graves At Sea that still makes 'em one of the best in this style, with a vitriolic edge that makes their stuff sound a hundred time meaner and more evil than most bands of this ilk. The little bits of almost Neurosis-esque atmosphere and jolts of wretched, disease-riddled blues that Graves weave into their drawn-out narcotized anthems and monstrous droning riffs are pretty great, and the feeling of desperation seething beneath these songs gives this a verisimilitude too many bands lack. This stuff is right up there with the likes of Warhorse, Grief and Bongzilla for me, fans of Graves At Sea's older stuff won't be disappointed.
    Sourvein follow that with three new songs of their own brand of bilious swampdoom, "Driffter", "Equinox" and "Follow The Light", all of 'em crawling like Saint Vitus on ketamine, flanged guitars threading their dazed melodies over the syrupy, blooze-addled crush. Front man Troy sounds like he's completely in orbit, belting out his killer strained howl though a haze of effects, and the whole recording has this weird spaced-out vibe, trippy and menacing while belting out some seriously catchy riffage, each song building from one pulverizing doom-laden groove into another. If there's one band that truly comes close to nailing the sickening, stoned-out vibe of classic Eyehategod, it's these guys, delivering an evil opiated groove and nihilistic aura about as flattening as the New Orleans masters.
Track Samples:
Sample : SOURVEIN - Follow The Light
Sample : GRAVES AT SEA - Betting On Black



GRAVES AT SEA / SOURVEIN   split   LP   (Seventh Rule)    14.99



   Available on both LP and digipack CD.
    Here's a great split mini-album pairing up two of the best sludge bands in the US, the recently revived Graves At Sea (now based out of Portland, OR and featuring current and former members of Uzala, Atriarch, Carol Ann, Laudanum, and Subarachnoid Space) and old-school road-dogs Sourvein, a band who started out as an offshoot of sludgecrust legends Buzzoven. Definitely noteworthy for fans of Graves, as this is one of the first new releases to come from the band since 2005, and both bands deliver exactly the sort of wasted, bone-crushing sludge you'd hope for.
    Two songs from Graves At Sea, "Betting On Black" and "Confession", both nihilistic blasts of evil, hateful witch-sludge, the guitarists laying down their massive, lurching riffage over the saurian backbeat, the singer's uniquely anguished screech cranking up the feral, demented vibe of this stuff a notch or two. Their sound is still a familiar one, the sort of sickening Sabbathian hate-sludge that a thousand other bands have been trying to master over the past two decades, but there's something about Graves At Sea that still makes 'em one of the best in this style, with a vitriolic edge that makes their stuff sound a hundred time meaner and more evil than most bands of this ilk. The little bits of almost Neurosis-esque atmosphere and jolts of wretched, disease-riddled blues that Graves weave into their drawn-out narcotized anthems and monstrous droning riffs are pretty great, and the feeling of desperation seething beneath these songs gives this a verisimilitude too many bands lack. This stuff is right up there with the likes of Warhorse, Grief and Bongzilla for me, fans of Graves At Sea's older stuff won't be disappointed.
    Sourvein follow that with three new songs of their own brand of bilious swampdoom, "Driffter", "Equinox" and "Follow The Light", all of 'em crawling like Saint Vitus on ketamine, flanged guitars threading their dazed melodies over the syrupy, blooze-addled crush. Front man Troy sounds like he's completely in orbit, belting out his killer strained howl though a haze of effects, and the whole recording has this weird spaced-out vibe, trippy and menacing while belting out some seriously catchy riffage, each song building from one pulverizing doom-laden groove into another. If there's one band that truly comes close to nailing the sickening, stoned-out vibe of classic Eyehategod, it's these guys, delivering an evil opiated groove and nihilistic aura about as flattening as the New Orleans masters.
Track Samples:
Sample : SOURVEIN - Follow The Light
Sample : GRAVES AT SEA - Betting On Black



HAIKAI NO KU   Ultra High Dimensionality   LP   (Box Records)    28.98



   Underground UK amp-melter Mike Vest is fast turning into a virtual cottage industry, producing a number of heavy, outré projects that range from the crushing spaced-out psychedelic sludge of Bong to the oppressive lysergic doomnoise of Master Slave and Ultrashitinferno's ear-raping Hanatarash influenced noisecore. And then there's Haikai No Ku, a band that Vest shares with members of black metallers Auldfued and psychnoise ensemble Oppenheimer, which pays homage to the band's Japanese psych obsessions by integrating them into a crushingly heavy slow-motion sound that often threatens to roll over you with the same elephantine weight as Bong. Even the title of the band's second album of titanic instrumental psychedelia sounds like it could have come off of PSF Records; Ultra High Dimensionality opens with "Dead In The Temple", the song slowly billowing out in a thunderous roar of feedback-doused guitar howl, the rhythm section slowly plodding through a thick fog of psychedelic amplifier shriek and acid-tinged effects, lugubriously unfolding into a massive slow-motion garage psych jam, a crushing wall of Velvets-on-ludes immensity that feels like some classic Japanese space rock a la Les Rallizes Denudes or Out-era White Heaven being slowed down to a suffocatingly doomed crawl. The guitarists are cranked up to ungodly volume levels, rumbling the floor beneath your feet as the vaguely menacing, wah-drunk guitar solos start to snake through the song's utterly stoned fug, blaring with blazing Crazy Horse-esque guitar twang and doped-up riffs lumbering in a daze, heading straight into the abyss.
   Early on, you can hear that there's a slightly more structured approach from some of the previous Haikai No Ku stuff, a lot of which seemed to lurk in an abstract black haze that nodded towards Haino's expansive improv guitar blowouts with Fushitsusha. The band brings a distinctly British heaviness to their neo-psychedelic crawl, though; the droning, elliptical bludgeon of tracks like "Strung Out Beyond The Rim" weld that howling psychedelia to a sludgy, lumbering power that also recalls the post-industrial crush of the HeadDirt label and bands like Loop and IIIrd Gatekeeper-era Skullflower. The rest of Ultra High Dimensionality just gets tougher and noisier and heavier, piling on brain-flattening mountains of searing feedback and churning lysergic guitar noise, wailing blues-addled solos winding infinitely around the crushing ur-riffs and surges of Sabbathian might, as a storm of howling amp violence blossoms throughout each song's powerful assemblage of riffs, transforming into endless elephantine grooves that rumble through plumes of pungent hash-smoke.
   Released on 180 gram vinyl, and presented in a cool screen-printed jacket with download code.


HARASSOR   Into Unknown Depths   LP   (Dais)    16.98



   LA necro-mutants Harassor follow up that blazing split LP they did with Glass Coffin earlier this year with their latest full-length album, Into Unknown Depths, a thirteen song blast of churning, hateful thrash that seethes with the band's misanthropic mix of punk and blasting black metal. I've been getting more and more into this band lately (which includes members from some other offbeat black metal projects like Lord Foul, Moonknight and Lord Time), their music filled with searing tremolo-laced riffs and a massive dose of viciousness, that ultra-violent vibe thanks in part to the seriously deranged vocals of front man Pete Majors. His feral, putrid screams and guttural growling on Depths sounds like he's bellowing through a jaw-full of half-chewed gristle, an utterly monstrous vocal performances. Musically, Harassor sound just as crazed, the songs veering from churning, choppy heaviness to furious, frostbitten bursts of blackened thrash fueled on early Scandinavian primitivism, to the totally maniacal blastbeat-fueled chaos of songs like "Die Forever" that rage with all of the violent barbarism of classic early American hardcore. And the songs are catchy, surprisingly so, many of these tracks riddled with great, infectious hooks that are way beyond what you'd get with just another Ildjarn clone. After those first few tracks of blistering, fucked-up ferocity, Harassor then go into something like "Winter's Triumph" or "Strangulated", which sound more like some aggressive, blown-out take on classically droning post-punk when the song isn't bludgeoning you with another one of those vicious punk riffs. Most of this though is an unhinged blackthrash assault that teeters on the edge of total chaos, the drummer flying recklessly at top speed, the choppy riffage spun into a whirlwind of murky buzzsaw distortion, slipping into sludgy, blighted dirges that lurch beneath the weight of ugly, discordant riffs, later erupting into gales of swarming, blasting noise, snarling black n' roll rave-ups, or violent primitive death metal crunch. Man, this album is terrific, way more creative and quirky than most of the punk-fueled black metal that we normally get in. Limited to three hundred copies, and includes a download code.
Track Samples:
Sample : Purest Hate
Sample : Increased Decay
Sample : Nine Of Swords



HARPER, DON   Cold Worlds   CD   (Dual Planet)    15.99



   Available on digipack CD (now sold out from the source) and limited edition LP in case-wrapped gatefold packaging.
   This new compilation of recordings from Australian composer is one of the more intriguing releases to come out lately from the horror-soundtrack realm. As one who was almost entirely unaware of Don Harper's work prior to picking up this fantastic collection on Dual Planet, hearing these early electronic creepscapes was a real revelation. A renowned virtuoso jazz violinist and violist, Harper left Australia in the early 60s for England where he began a career in composing music for television, providing music for popular programs like World Of Sport and the detective series Sexton Blake, both for the ITV network. But Harper also produced some wonderfully chilling music for more fantastic shows, the most famous of which was undoubtedly Doctor Who.
   I was of course already well familiar with Delia Derbyshire's classic theme to the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, but I'd never heard Harper's version before, a 1973 recording of the theme that re-imagines it as an amazingly eerie jazz-tinged instrumental. That haunting, instantly recognizable electronic melody is here joined by a full band, and when the dreamlike saxophone starts to drift in across the second half of the track, I was blown away by how this theme was transformed into a swingin', atmospheric piece of nocturnal jazz-rock. That's the first track featured on Cold Worlds, which also features another Doctor Who-related recording that Harper produced in 1968 for the eight-episode serial The Invasion; the disc also features some of the key tracks from his 1974 progressive jazz LP, Homo Electronicus, and it's all creepy, evocative stuff that ranges from primitive electronic music to phantasmal jazz. Some of the tracks included here are heavily abstracted soundscapes, like the sinister bleeping electronics and ghostly glitch of "Nightmare" that wash over Harper's weeping violin, before the track slips into bursts of frenetic free jazz; dissonant electric guitar notes are peeled off over pounding tympani and expressive percussion, and the slow pulse of a heartbeat emanates from deep in the darkness. That nearly twelve minute exercise in experimental insanity is goddamn amazing, shifting from formless cosmic electronics to haunting ambience to some of the most deranged free-jazz I've ever heard from this era. Other tracks like "Moving Shadows", "Psychosis" and "Dank Earth" (the latter of which would also be used on the soundtrack to George Romero's Dawn Of The Dead) are shorter pieces, evocative cues rich with creepy atmosphere.
   The centerpiece of the collection is the sprawling title track, a gorgeous piece of crepuscular jazziness that opens with bewitching female vocals and eerie xylophone keys that echo over a rumbling driftscape, then drifts into even more vast expanses of minimal electronics and fractured, atonal melody, passages of warped graveyard jazz moving through some alien wilderness, before returning to that otherworldly, delay-drenched lick from the beginning of the track. Across these various tracks, the sounds of the instruments are often processed and treated using primitive electronic effects, transforming them into ghostly wails and chilling moans that move across passages of funerary percussion, or flit around the sound of gnarled jazz horns buffeted by gusts of freezing wind. Harper's library cues are gorgeously spooky and memorable, but he could also transform these pieces into something much more harrowing in an instant. Really cool stuff that fans of dark vintage 60's-era jazz-psych, vintage electronic soundtracks (particularly the work of Delia Derbyshire and the Radiophonic Workshop) and fans of Komeda's creepy, jazz-laced avant-garde scores for Polanski should definitely check out. Includes illuminating liner notes from writer Jon Dale of The Wire.
Track Samples:
Sample : Nightmare
Sample : Dr Who Theme
Sample : Dank Earth
Sample : Cold Worlds



HARPER, DON   Cold Worlds   LP   (Dual Planet)    27.98



   Available on digipack CD (now sold out from the source) and limited edition LP in case-wrapped gatefold packaging.
   This new compilation of recordings from Australian composer is one of the more intriguing releases to come out lately from the horror-soundtrack realm. As one who was almost entirely unaware of Don Harper's work prior to picking up this fantastic collection on Dual Planet, hearing these early electronic creepscapes was a real revelation. A renowned virtuoso jazz violinist and violist, Harper left Australia in the early 60s for England where he began a career in composing music for television, providing music for popular programs like World Of Sport and the detective series Sexton Blake, both for the ITV network. But Harper also produced some wonderfully chilling music for more fantastic shows, the most famous of which was undoubtedly Doctor Who.
   I was of course already well familiar with Delia Derbyshire's classic theme to the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, but I'd never heard Harper's version before, a 1973 recording of the theme that re-imagines it as an amazingly eerie jazz-tinged instrumental. That haunting, instantly recognizable electronic melody is here joined by a full band, and when the dreamlike saxophone starts to drift in across the second half of the track, I was blown away by how this theme was transformed into a swingin', atmospheric piece of nocturnal jazz-rock. That's the first track featured on Cold Worlds, which also features another Doctor Who-related recording that Harper produced in 1968 for the eight-episode serial The Invasion; the disc also features some of the key tracks from his 1974 progressive jazz LP, Homo Electronicus, and it's all creepy, evocative stuff that ranges from primitive electronic music to phantasmal jazz. Some of the tracks included here are heavily abstracted soundscapes, like the sinister bleeping electronics and ghostly glitch of "Nightmare" that wash over Harper's weeping violin, before the track slips into bursts of frenetic free jazz; dissonant electric guitar notes are peeled off over pounding tympani and expressive percussion, and the slow pulse of a heartbeat emanates from deep in the darkness. That nearly twelve minute exercise in experimental insanity is goddamn amazing, shifting from formless cosmic electronics to haunting ambience to some of the most deranged free-jazz I've ever heard from this era. Other tracks like "Moving Shadows", "Psychosis" and "Dank Earth" (the latter of which would also be used on the soundtrack to George Romero's Dawn Of The Dead) are shorter pieces, evocative cues rich with creepy atmosphere.
   The centerpiece of the collection is the sprawling title track, a gorgeous piece of crepuscular jazziness that opens with bewitching female vocals and eerie xylophone keys that echo over a rumbling driftscape, then drifts into even more vast expanses of minimal electronics and fractured, atonal melody, passages of warped graveyard jazz moving through some alien wilderness, before returning to that otherworldly, delay-drenched lick from the beginning of the track. Across these various tracks, the sounds of the instruments are often processed and treated using primitive electronic effects, transforming them into ghostly wails and chilling moans that move across passages of funerary percussion, or flit around the sound of gnarled jazz horns buffeted by gusts of freezing wind. Harper's library cues are gorgeously spooky and memorable, but he could also transform these pieces into something much more harrowing in an instant. Really cool stuff that fans of dark vintage 60's-era jazz-psych, vintage electronic soundtracks (particularly the work of Delia Derbyshire and the Radiophonic Workshop) and fans of Komeda's creepy, jazz-laced avant-garde scores for Polanski should definitely check out. Includes illuminating liner notes from writer Jon Dale of The Wire.
Track Samples:
Sample : Nightmare
Sample : Dr Who Theme
Sample : Dank Earth
Sample : Cold Worlds



HARVEST GULGALTHA   I   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    15.98



   Combining brutal blackened death with hypnotic, lumbering heaviness, Harvest Gulgaltha's debut demo has a sound that's a little different from the sort of Conqueror-influenced black/death we've been hearing from Nuclear War Now lately, despite my initial assumptions based on the murky, halftone close-up of a wall of skulls and low-contrast grey-washed look of the record sleeve. While there's definitely a blasting ferocity behind the five tracks featured on the demo (which was originally released on tape in 2012, here reissued on vinyl), this mysterious U.S. group also incorporate what I would describe as almost Godfleshian guitar textures into their rumbling mausoleum blast. There's nothing industrial about the band's sound, but the dissonance and abrasiveness of the guitars, especially when the music slows down, can be somewhat reminiscent of Justin Broadrick's guitar sound. It's ugly and immense, the oddly-named band largely going for a slower and more dismal approach that's also comparable to the likes of German death metallers Necros Christos, battering the listener with slow, churning dirges that emerge amongst the blazingly fast blackened death metal of songs like "Manifestation of Nightmares". That vaguely Godfleshian guitar sound really raises its head on the opener "Infinite Black", which layers huge dissonant chords across the lumbering, miserable riffage and rumbling percussion, creating an atmosphere of abjection and anguish that really seeps into your flesh. On the other hand, the parts of the demo where Harvest Gulgaltha speed up get pretty frenzied, emanating a strangely droning brand of blackened grind that sounds just as huge and hideous as the primitive, sludge-encrusted passages, likewise layering the blasting violence with discordant chords and eerie drones, a suffocating atmosphere billowing out across the demo while the putrid vocals relay the death-worshipping visions of rot-worship and the abyss.


HYPSIPHRONE   And The Void Shall Pierce Their Eyes   CD   (Black Plagve)    10.98



   Another monstrous black industrial mutation from the disinterred crypt of the Black Plague, Hypsiphrone's debut album And The Void Shall Pierce Their Eyes comes rumbling forth on a black wave of glimmering orchestral strings, insane shrieking vocals, and rumbling noise-infected heaviness, a kind of lumbering blackened doom threaded with high piercing feedback tones and thick gouts of ultra-murky bass. On paper, that might suggest something along the lines of Gnaw Their Tongues's abject, abstracted doom, and that's not too far off the mark. At the same time, there's something slightly more chaotic with this Greek outfit, psychedelic even, te riffs that rumble and grind in the murk are less tangible, the sound more manic and noisy, often dissolving quickly into looping symphonic drones and squalls of electronic noise. It's definitely going to be right up your alley if you're addicted to the kind of blackened horror that bands like Gnaw Their Tongues, Aderlating, Deathstench and Sewer Goddess traffic in.
   The album progresses through grimy passages of pulsating death industrial, feminine voices reciting desolate visions over grinding, slow-motion dirges, blasts of distorted guitar billowing across the album in Sunn-burnt fog-banks, vile guttural murmurs echoing out of the sewer depths, at times resembling some filthy rumbling death metal outfit wandering through a haze of engine noise and Merzbowian static. Deeper in, mechanical rhythms surface through the murk, pounding pneumatic loops a la Brighter Death Now shuddering under the weight of blown-out kosmische synths and withered electronics; ghastly horroscapes take shape as frenzied screams and gurgling incantations seep up from the boiling black muck, crumbling into sparse blasts of industrialized doom and howling black ambiance laced with reports of corpse defilement. Tracks like "Resurgence Of Mors Sexualis" suggest a more industrial-metal take on Gnaw Their Tongue's septic horror, the putrid blackened doom hammered by onslaughts of pummeling, Godfleshian drum machines. And "Cornucopia Saluti" counters with vast Stygian ambiance, a swirling sea of grim static-drenched drones and mournful strings that hang suspended over the abyss, minimal synths pulsating in the depths, emanating irregular flashes of cold, Carpenterian dread.
    Comes in six panel digipack, limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : A Momentary Vision Of Light & Hope
Sample : Resurgence Of Mors Sexualis
Sample : Worlds Are Wounds Of Desolation



IMPETUOUS RITUAL   Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence   CASSETTE   (Parasitic)    6.00



Now available on cassette, limited to two hundred fifty copies, with the entire album repeated on the b-side in reverse for expanded abyssal delirium...
Another killer album of outré death metal from Down Under. Sharing some of the same personnel as Portal and Grave Upheaval, Impetuous Ritual ply an intensely oppressive brand of death metal that was first introduced on their 2009 album Relentless Execution Of Ceremonial Excrescence. Like the other bands in the Brisbane underground, the approach is primal, deformed, and pitch-black, the music formed from waves of putrescent, near indecipherable riffs, unconventional song structures and a churning, subterranean low-end heaviness. Their brand of barbaric death metal might not be quite as abstract as Portal or as noisy and oppressive as Grave Upheaval, but these guys definitely seethe with a similar sonic sickness and hallucinatory vibe that sounds more twisted than ever on their latest album Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence.
As soon as that first song "Verboten Genesis" pours forth in a volcanic blast of blacknoise guitar chaos, and the monstrous exhalations and pounding war-drums begin to race with ever ascending levels of frantic energy through the band's almost totally inchoate deathstorm, you're left crippled by the sheer barbarism of Impetuous Ritual's sonic attack. Comparisons to the chaotic, angular death metal of Portal are to be expected, but Unholy Congregation offers a swarming horror that is distinctly its own, the sound soaked in a fetid fog of low-end noise that casts an unholy hallucinatory glow across these nine tracks, but also possessed by some intensely eerie melodies that the guitarists strategically place amid their more unformed blasting violence. The guitar solos are insane squalls of tortured squealing shred; the listener will suddenly be able to clutch at a monstrous riff, a massive sludge-splattered hook that will suddenly loom out of the maelstrom, but these moments are surrounded by expanses of sheer chromatic chaos. On tracks like "Despair", the band abruptly shifts out of that blasting black chaos-storm into an expanse of dank, doom-laden atmosphere as everything slips into a slow seething churn, earthquake double bass rumbling beneath the black static swarm of the guitars, the crushing riffage smeared into a droning, dreadful ambience, then shifting into a truly haunting tremolo-picked riff that rises above the amorphous, tectonic roar. The vocals are largely a guttural hiss, suffused into the chaos, but there are some moments of hysteric savagery that sear the deathscape, like the crazed falsetto scream that rips through "Inservitude of Asynchronous Duality". Strange auditory hallucinations form at the edges, like the ritual tolling of bells on "Metastasis" that synchronize with the blast of stentorian riffage, and the surges of sepulchral reverb and streaks of alien ambience that appear in the chasms left as one track collapses into the next, until we're left with the sprawling fifteen minute closer "Blight", a near instrumental epic save for some wordless, chant-like moans and bizarre wailing that drifts lugubriously through the abyss, the music shifting down into a swarming slow-motion crawl that gradually dissolves into a final blast of formless blackened noise at the end. For death metal fans who dug the oppressive nature of Grave Upheaval's suffocating sound but who wished that there was more in the way of tangible riffs, this album's going to be exactly what you're looking for.
Track Samples:
Sample : Verboten Genesis
Sample : Inservitude of Asynchronous Duality
Sample : Blight



INTEGRITY   Thee Destroy + ORR   CD   (Holy Terror Records)    5.98



   Back in stock. Got this CD collection of various recordings that Integrity recorded with guitarist Robert Orr, who's been with the band since 2011; starting with the blistering Detonate VVorld's Plague 12", Orr has helped to oversee Integrity's return to a rawer, more rabid sound that takes the violent metallic hardcore of their Systems Overload album and cranks up the distortion and savagery several degrees. I've loved all of the stuff that this venerable "Holy Terror" hardcore outfit has put out in the past few years, but this more recent stuff is about as ferocious as the band has ever sounded, their recordings done with a deliberately low-fi production that I think enhances the dark, apocalyptic feel of their music. Which you get all over this compilation of EP tracks, which features the band's now out-of-print Detonate VVorlds End 12", along with their songs from the VVe Are The End 7", the splits with Rot In Hell and Creepout, the track from the The Feast Of The Holy Terror Church Of Final Judgment compilation 7", their cover of "No Power" by Japanese hardcore band Zouo that appeared on the No Peace/War compilation, and a long radio interview with the band.
   Released in the wake of Integrity's sort-of comeback album The Blackest Curse, Detonate VVorlds End was more of a return to the raw, apocalyptic savagery of the band's early 90s era material, with most of the tracks sounding like they could have come from the same sessions that produced Integrity's classic album Systems Overload. Originators of the "Holy Terror" hardcore sound, Integrity's music has always been consumed with darkness, their songs littered with eschatological references and occult imagery, employing other sounds beyond the ferocious metallic hardcore at the heart of their music to create their grave visions, with elements of power electronics, post-punk and Japanese hardcore often surfacing throughout their recordings. On Detonate VVorlds End, the band strips down to the most rabid of thrash, kicking off the record with the burly, distorted speed of the title track and "Beasts As Gods"; and then comes "Sermon Thirteen", whose rocking metallic power comes from Integrity at their most anthemic, with a savage heavy metal riff that almost sounds like something from Judas Priest fused to soaring, heroic guitar solos and sinister spoken word samples. The rampaging, echo-laden blackened hardcore of "+Orrchida" draws from their infatuation with the insane Japanese hardcore punk of G.I.S.M., while "VVe Have Helped Others Escape" is pure necrotic power electronics, the whole track possessed by murky demonic mutterings that creep through a field of toxic electronic filth and nuclear fallout, air raid sirens blaring off in the distance as the rumble and chug of heavy machinery fills the air, crafting a supremely unsettling atmosphere on par with something you'd expect from Neuntoter Der Plage or even the mighty MZ412. And then it's back to the metallic crush of "All Is None" and the triumphant closer "Lucifer Before The Day Doth Go". More visceral and abrasive than the brooding monochromatic end time hymns of Curse, this EP is another killer slab of terrifying heaviness from the veteran outfit, perfectly melding Integrity's blackened metallic thrash, dread-filled noise experiments and over-the-top arena guitar shred.
    The other tracks are pretty essential for fans, too. The two-part "Let The Night Roar / Love Is The Only VVeapon" originally appeared on their split with the Japanese hardcore band Creepout; it's a frenzied, doom-laden crusher filled with dramatic acoustic figures and Metallica-esque arpeggios erupting into massive slow motion heaviness and stretches of strange industrial ambience, one of their more atmospheric and experimental ventures. The two-song 7" on Magic Bullet featured "VVe Are The End" and "Beneath The Black Flames VVe Ride", the former a brief bit of grim, apocalyptic folk instrumental, the latter another one of the band's echo-damaged metalpunk eruptions, huge and blackly triumphant and as moving and violent as anything off of their classic Humanity Is The Devil EP. The grim folk instrumental "VVaiting For The Sun" is followed by a savage blackened hardcore version of the same song, which morphs into an awesome second half titled "Black Heksen Rise" that is one of Integrity's most majestic (and catchy) blasts of end time thrash to emerge from their recent output. Their cover of "No Power" by Zouo fucking rips, keeping the original's straightforward punk intensity while dialing up the distortion and metallic crunch tenfold. And the disc is capped off with an in-depth half hour long interview with Integrity front man Dwid and guitarist Orr that covers a wide range of topics spanning the history of the band, from Dwid's roots in punk rock and the initial intention of Integrity being a "terrorist organization", to the development of the whole "Holy Terror" aesthetic, the initial inspiration for Dwid's industrial/noise project Psywarfare, the US government's use of Integrity's Humanity Is The Devil as a tool in interrogations overseas, Dwid's eventual move to Belgium, and even briefly dip their toes into the Gnostic philosophies that have lurked behind much of the band's lyrical imagery. One of the more illuminating interviews from the band that I've heard.
    Comes in a cardstock wallet-style sleeve that has similar spot-varnish printing as the original Detonate VVorlds End 12".
Track Samples:
Sample : Beasts As Gods
Sample : Detonate VVorlds Plague
Sample : No Povver (Zouo)
Sample : VVe Have Helped Others Escape
Sample : Waiting For The Sun / Black Hexen Rise



INTEGRITY   Detonate VVorlds End   LP   (Holy Terror Records)    17.98



   Was able to grab a couple of copies of this now out-of-print 12" EP that came out on Holy Terror in 2011. Released in the wake of Integrity's sort-of comeback album The Blackest Curse, this EP were more of a return to the raw, apocalyptic savagery of the band's early 90s era material, with most of the tracks sounding like they could have come from the same sessions that produced Integrity's classic album Systems Overload. Originators of the "Holy Terror" hardcore sound, Integrity's music has always been consumed with darkness, their songs littered with eschatological references and occult imagery, employing other sounds beyond the ferocious metallic hardcore at the heart of their music to create their grave visions, with elements of power electronics, post-punk and Japanese hardcore often surfacing throughout their recordings. On Detonate VVorlds End, the band strips down to the most rabid of thrash, kicking off the record with the burly, distorted speed of the title track and "Beasts As Gods"; and then comes "Sermon Thirteen", whose rocking metallic power comes from Integrity at their most anthemic, with a savage heavy metal riff that almost sounds like something from Judas Priest fused to soaring, heroic guitar solos and sinister spoken word samples. The rampaging, echo-laden blackened hardcore of "+Orrchida" draws from their infatuation with the insane Japanese hardcore punk of G.I.S.M., while "VVe Have Helped Others Escape" is pure necrotic power electronics, the whole track possessed by murky demonic mutterings that creep through a field of toxic electronic filth and nuclear fallout, air raid sirens blaring off in the distance as the rumble and chug of heavy machinery fills the air, crafting a supremely unsettling atmosphere on par with something you'd expect from Neuntoter Der Plage or even the mighty MZ412. And then it's back to the metallic crush of "All Is None" and the triumphant closer "Lucifer Before The Day Doth Go". More visceral and abrasive than the brooding monochromatic end time hymns of Curse, this EP is another killer slab of terrifying heaviness from the veteran outfit, perfectly melding Integrity's blackened metallic thrash, dread-filled noise experiments and over-the-top arena guitar shred. Comes in a cool, murky-looking jacket designed by Integrity front man Dwid, with spot-varnish printing.
Track Samples:
Sample : Beasts As Gods
Sample : Detonate VVorlds Plague
Sample : VVe Have Helped Others Escape



IRM   Closure...   CD   (Malignant)    11.98



   Although IRM had a nearly decade long run of albums on the iconic Swedish label Cold Meat, it has become more difficult to merely describe this Swedish trio's music as merely "death industrial". While the core duo of Erik Jarl and Martin Bladh have certainly based their cold, threatening soundscapes in an aesthetic that will be familiar to fans of the likes of Brighter Death Now, IRM's albums have continued to head in more experimental and often more musical directions. Since the core duo of Bladh and Jarl was joined by bassist Mikael Oretoft in 2007, their music has come to embrace melody and song structure in a manner not usually seen in power electronics/death industrial groups; you might recognize Oretoft as the bassist for gloom-metal legends Katatonia on their classic album Discouraged Ones, and his presence has brought a tangible heaviness to IRM's sound that is a larg part of what has made their recent works so unique. Part of an apparent trilogy of releases that included the 2008 EP Indications of Nigredo and the 2010 album Order4, Closure... expands beyond those stylistic parameters of the classic Swedish death industrial sound, turning into something heavier and stranger with these nine tracks.
   As the disc opens, "Closure I" emits a heaving sonic nightmare of paranoid howling vocals and distant kettledrums that reverberate across a swarming hive of squealing mechanical noise; as the sounds of distorted breathing intermingle with sickly, keening drones, this first track introduces the album with the feverish intensity of a waking nightmare, and it's possessed with a lumbering power that could almost pass for a doom metal track, if someone were only to drop in a few extra distorted guitars into the mix. The vocals are disturbing, a mix of processed moans and those weird, demonically distorted cries, which lurk amid the washes of muted orchestral majesty that rise out of the murk, colliding with buzzing flystruck drones and grimy electronics throughout the album. Bits of haunting spoken word monologue are recited over hushed, funerary melodies, cold surrealistic prose-poems drawn from the same spare imagery as the lyrics (which are somewhat reminiscent of Dennis Cooper's austere, chilling psychosexual imagery), images of sudden violence and mutilation and voyeurism met with distant sobs of anguish and swells of oceanic noise and the tinny innocence a child's music box. It then slips into sparse death-dirges constructed from booming percussion and doom-laden horns, syncopated nightmare marches dragging lengths of rusted chain and surrounded by the icy whirr of prayer bowls, accompanied by the monstrous groan of a distorted cello and the diseased wheezing of harmonium, then slip into flat line sine waves and distant pneumatic rhythms and jittery, crushing synthesizers. All of this slowly builds to the unnervingly cinematic power of the last few tracks, which begin to pulse with a minimal, dread-filled energy akin to a John Carpenter score, riddled with blasts of excoriating, noisy chaos before it finally culminates with the withered, glitch-sore dirge of "Closure IX". There are some powerfully unsettling, even nightmarish moments that recur throughout the album, some of which come from the tortured shriek of the cello provided by guest musician Joanna Quail, who leaves bloody, jagged tears across a handful of songs. Hellishly abrasive at times, but Closure... also has a twisted, wretched beauty in parts that make this one of IRM's strongest albums to date. Fantastic album design, too, the digipack and sixteen-page booklet illustrated with scenes from some grim shadowplay that make a perfect pairing with IRM's starkly nihilistic dirges.
Track Samples:
Sample : Closure V
Sample : Closure IX
Sample : Closure I



IRON LUNG   Cold Storage II   CASSETTE   (Iron Lung Records)    6.98



   The second collection of tracks from splits and EPs from power-violence duo Iron Lung, Cold Storage II features forty-four songs in thirty-nine minutes, so you know that these guys rarely let up off the gas pedal. This professionally manufactured cassette has a ton of previously released, out-of-print material that had originally appeared on various splits and compilations, as well as a handful of previously unreleased songs that appear here for the first time. It's a pretty comprehensive collection of much of the band's non-album work from between 2004 and 2007, and chronicles Iron Lung's evolution from a more straightforward power-violence outfit in the vein of Infest and Crossed Out, into a more complex, pummeling assault laced with passages of unnerving ambience and bursts of abrasive experimental noise. As the band progressed, their music has become more challenging, their blasts of hyperspeed power-violence violently twisted into more angular, jagged forms, their songs often contorting into noise-rock like riffage and uneasy time signatures, the background sometimes soaked in monochrome electronic textures or slung with cold, industrial noise loops. It's that heavy noise rock influence and the brutal noise that has really distinguished the band's sound in recent years, delivering a more complex sound than many of their peers, while still retaining plenty of vicious aggression. At times, Iron Lung's music almost sounds like you're hearing a blastcore version of Jesus Lizard, and there's a heavy nihilistic attitude to their music that makes this stuff pretty intense. Made up of material that was recorded between 2004 and 2007, Cold Storage II includes Iron Lung's tracks from their splits with Shank, Scurvy Bastards, Agents Of Abhorrence, Lords Of Light, The Endless Blockade, and The Process, their contributions to the Trapped In A Scene and Best Friends Day 6 compilations, their Cancer / Life Of Pain 7", and three previously unreleased songs appearing here for the first time. All corners of the band's music are covered, from their earlier, spaztoid blastcore eruptions to songs like "Graves For Babies" that manage to lurch into a slower, sludgy assault that somehow sounds even more bestial than Man Is The Bastard, to plodding tracks like "A Certainty" and "Cancer" that shift into crushing, almost Swans-like dirge. There's also a cover of Black Flag's "Life Of Pain" that is sickeningly heavy, as well as a pummeling rendition of Rudimentary Peni's "Captive Of Atrophy". If you weren't able to get your hands on the original vinyl releases, this'll ease your discomfort.
Track Samples:
Sample : Life Of Pain
Sample : Cancer
Sample : Rot/Civility
Sample : Graves For Babies



ISIS   In The Absence Of Truth   2 x LP   (Robotic Empire)    26.00



Back in print via a new 2014 vinyl reissue from Robotic Empire, in a gatefold jacket with printed inner sleeves.
Finally getting around to listing both the vinyl and cd version of Isis's In The Absence Of Truth here at C-Blast for anyone that's new to Isis or who missed out on the vinyl edition the first time around. Hard to imagine anyone being new to Isis though, since these guys have become one of the biggest bands in the artier end of the metal underground over the past few years; the Isis name itself is now often used by lazy rockcrits as a genre in itself to describe the myriad other bands who ply similiarly slow-moving and atmospheric sludgewaters, for chrissakes. It's easy enough to do, I guess...when the heavy grey tides of 2002's Oceanic rolled in, they established Isis as the overlords of crushing, smoldering metallic rock with a sound that blew through the early Neurosis/Godflesh inspired sludge into cinematic new territory, with carefully crafted epics that rivalled the time-released power of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor, but with riffage and explosive power that was far heavier and more complex than any of those bands, and immediately influenced legions of bands who wanted to harness that sound.
When In The Absence Of Truth came out in 2006, I remember reading reviews that knocked the album for not progressing beyond the epic, atmospheric sludge/ambient rock of the previous two albums Oceanic and Panopticon, but I thought otherwise; this massive disc (their longest at over 65 minutes) reveals some subtle shifts in their sound that has actually made Abscence my favorite of Isis's full lengths. With each album, Isis seem to slough off more of their outer metal skin to reveal proggier, more emotive surfaces, but Absence isn't light on the heaviness either, with the core components of the Isis sound showing up in all of the right places: the pounding tribal drums, vast droning metallic riffs, the gruff, feral roars. But these parts are contrasted with a moodier approach than on the previous records. Aaron Turner delivers most of his vocals in a mesmeric croon, only erupting into his monstrous roar at climactic explosions of riff and volume, and the guitars themselves are much more textured and ambient here, with an added emphasis on textured chords, ringing clean guitars and jangly melodies that more than once recall the ethereal rock of bands like Ride, The Cure and The Church. It's that dreamy alt rock sound that really differentiates In The Abscence Of Truth from the rest of the Isis catalog in my mind, while still remaining an intensely heavy experience, with songs like "Dulcinea" and "Wrists Of Kings" unleashing some of the heaviest Isis riffs ever, carefully interwoven with expansive instrumental sections and cryptic lyrics. It's another crushing chapter in the band's evolution, and reaffirms their mastery of the form.


IVES / AMORT   split   CD   (Boue Records)    11.98



    Back in stock. This shredding 2011 mini-album pairs up blackened punks Ives and avant-doom outfit Amort for an unsettling concept record about the infamous case of Blanche Monnier, a French woman who had been kept captive for decades in almost unimaginable conditions in the early 1900s.
    It starts with six track from the Floridian duo Ives, ripping blasts of hateful black metal possessed by violent hardcore punk, tracks like "A Tangue Of Hair And Bone" and "Sweet Fields Of Ecstasy" barreling by in two minute eruptions of feral blasting aggression, cold and snarling hatefulness that taps into a similar (if a bit more chaotic and low-fi) sound as the more recent stuff from Darkthrone. The band's blistering blastbeat-fuelled blackness swings into some seriously face-stomping passages that could've been lifted off an early 80's hardcore punk 7". And yet this stuff (as well as their killer tape on Primal Vomit) doesn't mimic the blown-out barbarism of Ildjarn the way that most black metal/punk hybrids tend to do, their faster, more classical black metal moments reminding me more of the likes of Carpathian Forest, but also slipping into creeping discordant sludge or strange, droning dirges like the last track "Outro (Death Within Primal Grain)" that almost sounds more like some nightmarish industrial outfit, welding muted dissonant guitar chords and hellish vocals to a pulsating bass drone.
    Amort's "In Bed With Decay" is another fantastic piece of surreal doom from this Seattle outfit, opening with a dreamlike haze of deep humming feedback and a haunting childlike voice singing a melancholy folk song, over bits of rumbling piano echoing in the depths. That slowly drifting intro takes a darker turn, though, as the song begins to blossom into a strange, warped sort of jazz-flecked ambiance, squealing saxophone materializing over those clanging piano chords, dark distorted guitar drones washing across the gloomy expanse of sound. When the monstrously deep guttural growls waft up out of the deep, half-whispered mutterings joined by faint, distant screams, the music turns ever stranger, especially as the piano and sax suddenly lock into an aching maudlin melody, something far prettier and emotional than you'd have expected. A kind of fragile jazzy slowcore somewhere in between Codeine and Corrupted, those horns drifting in and out, virtually no percussion save for the rumbling of a gong somewhere in the distance, the soft piping of flutes rising alongside the wolven howl of the horns as the song slowly drifts back into the sorrowful, sleepy haze that it originally emerged from.
Track Samples:
Sample : IVES - Sweet Fields of Ecstacy
Sample : IVES - Outro (Death Within Primal Grain)
Sample : AMORT - In Bed With Decay



JHESU MASTURBATOR   The Carnal Altar   CASSETTE   (Repulsive Evil Productions)    5.00



   As with all things that ooze from the demented cranium of Ray Rivera, this latest project is a blasphemous, horrifying mess that features another one of his quirky, highly personal versions of black metal. I'm a huge fan of this guy's stuff, so much so that we've released one of his projects (Lucifers Foreskin) through Crucial Blast. Ray's turned into a cottage industry for weird, fucked-up black/noise/sludge metal over the past decade, putting out super-limited releases from a horde of projects with names like Anuus Altaar, Black Putrefaction, Fellatrix Morgue, Nazarene Whore, Purulent Wormjizz, and Jhesu Masturbator.
   The latter is one of his current outfits, a bizarre amalgam of pummeling gorenoise delirium, insane black metal vocals and hallucinatory black noise, and the latest tape from this project The Carnal Altar is totally blasphemous, like something that Fudgeworthy Records would have belched out back in the mid-90s. Jhesu Masturbator's stuff sounds like some bizarre low-fidelity cross between Godflesh and the morbid blackened chaos of Abruptum and Havohej, blasting drum machines shifting in and out of furious thrashpunk tempos and slow, mechanical dirges, the fog of blackened rumble and septic noise swirling over symphonic keys and strange, narcotized singing that materializes in the distance, strange dreamlike melodies forming beneath the pounding insectoid necro-grind. The vocals are pretty fucking weird, a demented ophidian hiss whose hateful rasps are stretched out into a death rattle over these putrid blasts. The songs slip out of that blasting ramshackle blackgrind into funereal doom-laden misery on tracks like "The Church Of Mutilation ", and throughout the tape, brief spurts of nightmarish vocal choirs, glimmering cosmic electronics and psychedelic effects are smeared across the tinny, mutated septic buzzscape. Pretty amazing stuff. Limited to one hundred eleven copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Burning Stench Of Heaven
Sample : Sepulchral Pestilence
Sample : Angels Of Black Lust



JOULES   Eponymous   CASSETTE   (Self Released)    6.98



   Debut tape of filthy garage-psych and pounding hypno-punk from North Carolina duo Joules. I checked these guys out after seeing that they were made up of former members of the band Robot Vs. Rabbit, an odd, often seriously heavy psychedelic sludge outfit that put out a handful of head-flattening releases that combined monstrous freeform distorto-riffage, gales of shrieking feedback and noise, and a sinister black current that flowed through much of their recorded work. I was particularly fond of their 2002 album Trading The Witch For The Devil, which dealt some seriously skull-stomping psychedelic guitar abuse, combining Skullflower-esque skree with an almost doom metal-like level of low-end heaviness - it's been out of print for awhile, but that album is still recommended to fans of heavy-duty psychedelic improv, if you can track down a copy. Anyways, some of the members popped up out of the Charlotte muck recently with this debut cassette from new band Joules, and I was digging this as soon as the blown-out propulsive power of their song "Detroit Hustle" kicked in. That opening track cruises on the drummer's energetic motorik backbeat, piling on howling guitar noise and distant shouted vocals, a tough, driving krautrock jam that pulsates with a gritty, punk-informed energy. That krautrock element was present to an extent in their old band, but with Joules they draw that out quite a bit more, centering several of these songs around the mesmeric percussive throb while adding a heavy layer of sonic grit and menace. The songs that follow sometimes veer off into less structured terrain, like the unsettling skronk and ramshackle drumming of "A Southern Gentleman and Scholar" that quickly decomposes into a sinister, somewhat free-jazz tinged noise jam, but there's more of that gnarled motorik punk on tracks like "Lasonic tre-931", "Blasephemy" and the nearly nine minute closer "Life As We Know It..", the drums pounding violently in circular, off-time movements beneath a turbulent fog of rumbling malformed guitar riffage, electronic noise and screaming, reverb-drenched amplifier howl, like some mangled and mutant take on formless, Birthdeath-style heaviness streaked with ominous doom-laden riffs that churn uneasily in the murk, waves of almost black metal-style tremolo riffs searing the caveman thud of the drummer, building into some unknown terminus out there in the chaos. Comes with a sticker, 1" pinback badge, and download code.
Track Samples:
Sample : Blasphemy
Sample : Lasonic tre-931
Sample : Detroit Hustle



KAYO DOT   Coffins On Io   CD   (The Flenser)    13.98



   After Hydra Head stopped putting out new albums, I lost track of Kayo Dot and their new material for awhile, the last album of theirs I have being 2010's Coyote. Not having heard their newer material that came out in the interim, I'm not sure how this new album on new label The Flenser stacks up, but I can say that it is among my favorite music of the band's career. More than ever before, Toby Driver's unique, dark prog outfit Kayo Dot resembles a darker take on the classic art-pop of Peter Gabriel or Peter Murphy as filtered through the dark, malevolent prog rock of Univers Zero or Red-era King Crimson, these songs tinged in an apocalyptic twilight glow; eighth album Coffins On Io could also be the most accessible thing that Kayo Dot has released to date, with an matured vocal performance from Driver, delivering his elliptic lyrics and elaborate vocal melodies with a seasoned, sophisticated croon that's pretty easy on the ears, hitting some powerfully soulful notes all throughout the record that contrast beautifully with the band's stately, solemn prog. The sound of these six songs swirls with vintage celestial synthesizer tones and sparkling orbital electronics, the melodies shifting from airy, hallucinatory pop, darkwave-tinged moodiness and intense, atmospheric chamber music arrangements into swells of powerful, heart-wrenching heaviness, continuing to blend the band's heavy 70's progressive rock influences with Driver's uniquely convoluted gothic melodies, while the rhythm section of Keith Abrams (PAK, ex-Time Of Orchids) and Daniel Means underpins the music with constantly changing time signatures and dark, luxuriant grooves. Tracks like "Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22" turn surprisingly creepy, driving dreamlike prog shimmering with spectral, almost theremin-like melodies that in the latter half of the song begins to turn into something that wouldn't be out of place on a surrealistic horror soundtrack, and there's some lovely Rhodes piano playing from guest musician Tim Byrnes (PAK), who smudges several of these songs with his murmuring electronic keys, especially gorgeous on the languid, smoke-wreathed beauty of the closing track "Spirit Photography".
   Io is not without its moments of doom-laden intensity, either, like when the heavy, distorted bass begins to uncoil beneath the shimmering melody of opener "The Mortality Of Doves", joined by moody saxophone trills and a sumptuously psychedelic organ solo. Most of the metallic elements that marked earlier Kayo Dot releases have fallen away over the years, but the band still doesn't shy away from employing muscular riffage and more aggressive playing, a perfect example here being the sinister labyrinthine riffing that snakes wildly through "Library Subterranean", and the menacing gothic rock of "The Assassination Of Adam", while a portentous weight manifests throughout other tracks in the form of the ominous, often doom-laden bass figures. It's a gorgeous album, though, one of the best new prog rock records in recent memory, with the band continuing to perfect their dark, emotionally complex compositions and gloom-draped intricacies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Spirit Photography
Sample : Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22
Sample : Library Subterranean



KAYO DOT   Coffins On Io   LP   (The Flenser)    19.98



   After Hydra Head stopped putting out new albums, I lost track of Kayo Dot and their new material for awhile, the last album of theirs I have being 2010's Coyote. Not having heard their newer material that came out in the interim, I'm not sure how this new album on new label The Flenser stacks up, but I can say that it is among my favorite music of the band's career. More than ever before, Toby Driver's unique, dark prog outfit Kayo Dot resembles a darker take on the classic art-pop of Peter Gabriel or Peter Murphy as filtered through the dark, malevolent prog rock of Univers Zero or Red-era King Crimson, these songs tinged in an apocalyptic twilight glow; eighth album Coffins On Io could also be the most accessible thing that Kayo Dot has released to date, with an matured vocal performance from Driver, delivering his elliptic lyrics and elaborate vocal melodies with a seasoned, sophisticated croon that's pretty easy on the ears, hitting some powerfully soulful notes all throughout the record that contrast beautifully with the band's stately, solemn prog. The sound of these six songs swirls with vintage celestial synthesizer tones and sparkling orbital electronics, the melodies shifting from airy, hallucinatory pop, darkwave-tinged moodiness and intense, atmospheric chamber music arrangements into swells of powerful, heart-wrenching heaviness, continuing to blend the band's heavy 70's progressive rock influences with Driver's uniquely convoluted gothic melodies, while the rhythm section of Keith Abrams (PAK, ex-Time Of Orchids) and Daniel Means underpins the music with constantly changing time signatures and dark, luxuriant grooves. Tracks like "Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22" turn surprisingly creepy, driving dreamlike prog shimmering with spectral, almost theremin-like melodies that in the latter half of the song begins to turn into something that wouldn't be out of place on a surrealistic horror soundtrack, and there's some lovely Rhodes piano playing from guest musician Tim Byrnes (PAK), who smudges several of these songs with his murmuring electronic keys, especially gorgeous on the languid, smoke-wreathed beauty of the closing track "Spirit Photography".
   Io is not without its moments of doom-laden intensity, either, like when the heavy, distorted bass begins to uncoil beneath the shimmering melody of opener "The Mortality Of Doves", joined by moody saxophone trills and a sumptuously psychedelic organ solo. Most of the metallic elements that marked earlier Kayo Dot releases have fallen away over the years, but the band still doesn't shy away from employing muscular riffage and more aggressive playing, a perfect example here being the sinister labyrinthine riffing that snakes wildly through "Library Subterranean", and the menacing gothic rock of "The Assassination Of Adam", while a portentous weight manifests throughout other tracks in the form of the ominous, often doom-laden bass figures. It's a gorgeous album, though, one of the best new prog rock records in recent memory, with the band continuing to perfect their dark, emotionally complex compositions and gloom-draped intricacies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Spirit Photography
Sample : Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22
Sample : Library Subterranean



KNURL   Mesosoma   CDR   (Impulsy Stetoskopu)    10.98



   This 2009 release from Polish industrial label Impulsy Stetoskopu features more of Knurl's punishing harsh noise, six tracks of total deafening destruction that reminds us just how lethal Alan Bloor's long running noise project is. Since the early 90s, this Canadian noise artist has been mastering the art of mind-melting metal molestation, constructing massive, utterly crushing walls of extreme distortion, feedback and rumbling bass frequencies largely using amplified metal objects, long before anyone was throwing around the "HNW" banner. Bloor's work with Knurl remains some of the most oppressive harsh noise you're going to find.
   On Mesosoma, Bloor unleashes lengthy blasts of garbled metallic scrape and skree enfolded within roaring nuclear storms, the sounds of actual scrapmetal objects being tortured and abused surrounded by the crushing, unending blast of turbine-strength distortion. Bursts of dense crackling static and garbled, speaker-shredding bass chaos rage around waves of smoldering black electronic lava, and metal is tortured horrifically, screaming in anguish as Bloor's pieces of scrap and steel are subjected to immense torque and torture. Bloor also incorporates a violin into his rumbling chaos, which gets absolutely shredded throughout the course of Mesosoma, the instrument molested and mangled, screaming out in blurts of inchoate atonal horror that are so distorted and deformed that it sounds like a horribly violated synthesizer. Almost the entire album is locked in at a level-ten scale of Merzbowian violence, sometimes venturing into more controlled fields of metallic noise and scrap-metal layering akin to K2 and Hal Hutchinson, as twisted rhythmic shapes taking form in the maelstrom.
   The third track "Matolytic" shifts away from the thunderous roar, though, as Bloor brings the violin to the forefront, clawing out immensely distorted notes on the instrument that seem to form into an almost folky melody for a moment, though the sound is so insanely distorted and in the red that it actually starts to sound like some crushing Haino/Fushitsusha-style electric guitar meltdown, the high trebly scream of the instrument slicing through the clouds of black static that fill the air, creating a moment of monstrous psychedelia that surfaces in the middle of the disc. Heavily textured, intensely abrasive noise that delivers pure catharsis. Comes in a printed, hinged metal box, limited to one hundred twenty copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Thenium
Sample : Matolytic
Sample : Lascination



KONGH   Shadows Of The Shapeless   CD   (Seventh Rule)    10.00



We now have the digipack CD edition of Kongh's Shadows on Seventh Rule in stock.
While so many of these newer U.S. bands that play dark, sludgy, atmospheric heaviness either continue to mine the Neurosis discography for all that it's worth or just rip off Eyehategod without remorse, the Europeans keep bringing us most of the good stuff. That's not to say that there's a whole lot of new ground being broken on the other side of the pond, but somehow sludgy metal bands from Europe keep things a little more interesting, at least in my opinion. There sure isn't anything radical about the music that the Swedish trio Kongh are playing - this is pure metallic crush tempered with the sort of somber atmospheric rock moves that everyone seems to be utilizing nowadays - but these guys win out on the strenght of their riffs, which fucking CRUSH, every last one of 'em, and the somewhat odd but effective equation that they came up with for their second album, Shadows Of The Shapeless. That equation, obviously, being Yob + Mogwai + Alice In Chains = maximum skullcrush.
From the first few minutes of the opener "Unholy Water", it would be easy to assume that Kongh were simply going to cop the ultra-heavy spacedoom crush of Yob, as the ominous chiming lead, sheets of dissonant chords and monstrous jagged riffing that surge up from the black shadows at the beginning of that song sound a whole lot like the kind of buildups that Yob trademarked on The Illusion Of Motion. As "Unholy" progresses, though, the band slowly reveals their own subtle spin on this sound; over the course of its eleven-some minutes, Kongh flecks the massive bottom-end undertow of droning riffage and propulsive drumming with bursts of dramatic crooning vocals and epic jangling melodies that melt back into the heaviness, eventually building into explosive Mogwai-like dynamics across the second half of the song. But that's followed by the bluesy "Essence Asunder" which goes in a totally different direction, starting off with a warm, lugubrious space-blues jam that stretches out for several minutes until it suddenly collapses into a heaving sludge riff, twangy and angular, a simple but devestating downtuned riff that almost sounds like a doomy Soundgarden riff cycling over and over as the scorched death metal vocals appear. That crushing main riff drops out every few minutes, opening the song up with chiming mathy arpeggios that alternate with darker, doomier guitars, and towards the middle, some trippy guitar harmonies begin to appear. At about the ten minute mark, though, the song makes an abrupt turn as everything drops out and leaves just a single guitar playing a series of sparse clean chords, slowly building into a haunting feedback laced coda as a twisted sinister riff takes form, and the whole band crashes back in with another MASSIVE angular doom riff, and all of a sudden the vocals reappear, now singing with a soulful croon similiar to Layne Staley from Alice In Chains.
The instrumental "Tänk På Döden" is another slab of bleak, desolate desert blues, it's twangy chords drifting across windswept expanse, a definite western vibe seeping through, like hearing Earth's Hex infused with a doomy undertow, the slide guitar melody dark and ominous until the last minute, when shafts of sunlight break through the gloom. Then "Voice Of The Below" kicks in, another surging sludge anthem with growling melodic vocals and crushing riffage; here again, Kongh channel Yob's monolothic doom and complex riffs while detonating bursts of mid-paced blastbeats and abrupt detours into restrained ambient plod, and makes it way into a pummeling thrash section a la High On Fire.
The closing title track starts off with atmospheric post-punk guitars and intricate drumming, staying purely instrumental for the first couple of minutes before segueing into immense slow-motion doom, the elastic riffs stretched to the point of breaking, huge pregnant pauses between as the band slowly picks up steam, the hovering chords congealing into a massive groove as the song evolves into more of their warped Yob-meets-Alice In Chains doom.
So, yeah, it's hard not to notice the influence that Yob has had on Kongh's sound, but that's just part of their overall sound, melded together with soaring gloomy metallic rock and chunky thrash and somber instrumental passages into the molten brooding doom of Kongh!
Track Samples:
Sample : Essence Asunder
Sample : Unholy Water
Sample : Voice of the Below



KROMOSOM   8 Tracks   12"   (Havoc)    16.98



   Made up of Melbourne crust vets and former members of bands like Nuclear Death Terror, Pisschrist and Whitehorse, the mighty Kromosom debuted here with this crushing eight-song 12" from 2011, released here in the US by Havoc. In just shy of thirteen minutes, this ultra-noisy Australian crustpunk outfit detonates a series of speaker-rattling hardcore assaults, each song a blitzkrieg blast of rampaging Discharge-influenced hardcore with a supremely distorted sound that, while not quite at the extreme levels of near power electronics-strength sonic violence exemplified by bands like Zyanose or Electric Funeral, is still completely raucous and blown-out. Tracks like opener "Systematic Death", "Swine Control " and "Sentenced To Life" erupt in a hail of buzzsaw bass and speaker-shredding guitars, shifting in between skull-pounding mid-tempo aggression and whiplash-inducing thrash while splattering their tough-as-nails crust with a heavy dose of maniacal guitar solos and the singer's disgusting, echo-slathered shriek. Those vocals really push their sound over the top, with some of most insane, bestial howls I've heard come out of a band of this ilk, a guttural teeth-gnashing roar mixed up with bizarre yelping that echoes wildly across the band's blasting chaos. Ever since having my cranium crushed by their savage 7" that came out from Integrity front man Dwid and his Holy Terror imprint, I've been trying to get my hands on everything else that this gang of Aussie noise-crust mutants has put out; pretty goddamn essential if you're addicted to the fucked-up, post-Confuse strain of noise-damaged hardcore that is currently terrorizing the international hardcore underground, as these guys apply certain aspects of that sound to a vicious raw punk assault that even more influenced by the crude Swedish crust of classic Anti-Cimex or Shitlickers. A near non-stop blast of violent anti-authoritarianism and crazed, noise-damaged nihilism, with some absolutely stomping songs clawing their way into your eardrums.
Track Samples:
Sample : Swine Control
Sample : Shapeshifter
Sample : Force Fed Lies
Sample : Chaos Night



KROMOSOM   Live Forever   CD   (Southern Lord)    12.98



   One of the noisiest hardcore bands that Southern Lord has put out lately, Aussie noise-crust maniacs Kromosom returned here with this compilation CD that collects all of the vinyl releases that they had released up till 2012. Featuring their 8 Tracks 12", the Paranoid 7" on Holy Terror, and their songs from the split 7" with Isterismo, this is an excellent primer for Kromosom's brand of ultra-violent, blown-out punk.
   Made up of Melbourne crust vets and former members of bands like Nuclear Death Terror, Pisschrist and Whitehorse, the mighty Kromosom debuted here with this crushing eight-song 12" from 2011, released here in the US by Havoc. In just shy of thirteen minutes, this ultra-noisy Australian crustpunk outfit detonates a series of speaker-rattling hardcore assaults, each song a blitzkrieg blast of rampaging Discharge-influenced hardcore with a supremely distorted sound that, while not quite at the extreme levels of near power electronics-strength sonic violence exemplified by bands like Zyanose or Electric Funeral, is still completely raucous and blown-out. Tracks like opener "Systematic Death", "Swine Control " and "Sentenced To Life" erupt in a hail of buzzsaw bass and speaker-shredding guitars, shifting in between skull-pounding mid-tempo aggression and whiplash-inducing thrash while splattering their tough-as-nails crust with a heavy dose of maniacal guitar solos and the singer's disgusting, echo-slathered shriek. Those vocals really push their sound over the top, with some of most insane, bestial howls I've heard come out of a band of this ilk, a guttural teeth-gnashing roar mixed up with bizarre yelping that echoes wildly across the band's blasting chaos. Ever since having my cranium crushed by their savage 7" that came out from Integrity front man Dwid and his Holy Terror imprint, I've been trying to get my hands on everything else that this gang of Aussie noise-crust mutants has put out; pretty goddamn essential if you're addicted to the fucked-up, post-Confuse strain of noise-damaged hardcore that is currently terrorizing the international hardcore underground, as these guys apply certain aspects of that sound to a vicious raw punk assault that even more influenced by the crude Swedish crust of classic Anti-Cimex or Shitlickers. A near non-stop blast of violent anti-authoritarianism and crazed, noise-damaged nihilism, with some absolutely stomping songs clawing their way into your eardrums.
    The rest of the disc features the three songs from the Isterismo split, as well as the Paranoid 7", with five more songs of rabid hardcore doused in static and shredded speaker buzz, their blood-encrusted hardcore punk here sounding even closer to a fusion of the speaker-shredding noise-punk violence of Japanese crashers like Confuse, Framtid and Disclose, and the slobbering, brain-damaged power of classic Rupture. Songs like "D.B.H", "Bred To Lose" and "Shapeshifter" are all bound together by a constant stream of hideous mid-range distortion that absolutely does not relent, snarling, drunken vocals careening wildly over the chaotic guitar solos and nuclear caveman D-beat stomp, while the title track sounds like it was gouged into the vinyl with a claw hammer, an ultra-abrasive attack of blown-out hardcore and paint-peeling guitar skree and sonic filth that still manages to come together into a vicious, uber-catchy punk anthem, with the guitarist even peeling off some twisted, mutant surf licks that for a brief moment resembles something from the Dead Kennedys. Absolute violence.
Track Samples:
Sample : Swine Control
Sample : Shapeshifter
Sample : Force Fed Lies
Sample : Chaos Night



LEVIATHAN / KRIEG   split   7" VINYL   (Holy Terror Records)    8.98



   One of two killer new 7"s that we've gotten in recently from American black metal outfit Krieg, the first pairing him up with Midwestern crushers Wolvhammer, this one teamed with another legend of the USBM scene, Leviathan. Kind of surprising that it took this long for these two long-running bands to come together on a release like this, and apparently this split had indeed been in the works for years. Coming in the wake of Krieg's fantastic new album Transient, this two-song blast has been getting played constantly around here, and Leviathan fans are going to be particularly stoked to pick this up, being the first new release from Wrest in nearly three years.
    Leviathan's "...And A Slave" is a four-minute slug of pitch-black viciousness from Wrest, a combo of pulverizing punky thrash a la newer Darkthrone , and his signature style of swirling, hallucinatory riffage and cruel, frostbitten atmosphere. Definitely feels like it picks right up from the sound of his previous LP True Traitor, True Whore. There's some cool, weird textural stuff going on, the sort of warped, warbling guitar murk that Wrest often smears across his music, but overall "Slave" is one of the more violent songs from the band, with a gear-grinding tempo shift in the latter half that's completely riot-inducing.
    Over on Krieg's side, the band blares through an experimental noise piece for the intro to "Blacked Out And Broken", the side opening with eerie, warped violin and creepy industrial noise, but when everything finally kicks in, the song transforms into the sort of blazing old-school black metal infused with cold post-punk influenced melody that made their latest Transient one of my favorite black metal albums of the year. Atmospheric, misanthropic, and highly recommended.


LILES, ANDREW   The Maleficent Monster And Other Macabre Stories   LP   (Blackest Rainbow)    29.98



   A prolific experimental sound artist with a long history of surrealistic, reality-warping releases under his belt going back for at least a decade, Nurse With Wound / Sehnsucht member (and sometime Current 93 collaborator) Andrew Liles has also busied himself with what he calls the Monster series, an ongoing series of releases begun in 2010 that, in his own words, explore "themes, incidental music, bridging songs, interludes, creaks and groans created as imaginary soundtracks for imaginary horror films". Unsurprisingly, these are among my favorite releases from Liles, various LPs and CDs that range from faux-horror soundtracks to experimental metal workouts. With his latest album Maleficent, Liles's music lands squarely in the realm of the former, throwing his hat into the horrorscape with this twenty-two track collection of abstract creepiness, an homage to classic horror film scores and creature feature schlock, in a sleeve that looks like one of those old 70s-era haunted house special effects records.
   Liles wanders through a dreamzone littered with the remnants of forty-plus years of horror soundtrack history, drawing from the likes of Carpenter, Morricone, Komeda and Frizzi across such evocatively titled tracks as "Hyena Police", "Snake Faced Assassin", and "The Tree That Weeps", but without any visuals to accompany these creepy cues and experimental soundscapes, it's a lot more surreal. The music moves from eerie music-box melodies and spoken word monologues to passages of rumbling thunder and monstrous roars, strange keyboard tracks that sound like a more atonal, demented take on the baroque synth scores of Fabio Frizzi, and passages of frantic, tension-filled experimental jazz improvisation, with sinister scraped strings and howling looped noise and skittering percussion. There's primitive 8-bit synthesizer pieces that resemble what the Castlevania game soundtrack could have been if it had been recorded by John Carpenter drunk on absinthe, and wonderfully creaky electric piano arrangements that drip with a classic Hammer vibe. Maleficent constantly shifts from musical pieces to pure atmospheric sound, from ecstatic voodoo drumming and guttural blood-ritual incantations, to ominous piano loops, distant screams, ghostly theremin-like sound whirring in the darkness, flutes and tolling bells, murky chanting voices and swathes of orchestral creepiness, bursts of deranged analogue synth dread. It's a blast, very kitschy and totally drunk on a love of old 60's/70s era horror films, and yeah, at times it's like you're hearing Nurse With Wound plundering a crate filled with early Carpenter and Frizzi soundtracks, free-jazz obscurities, and stacks of those old Death & Horror studio sound effects LPs that Mike Brown produced in the late 1970s for the BBC. And it sports some great horror-comic style album art from the great Graham Humphreys. Limited to five hundred copies on 180 gram colored vinyl.


LOWEST FORM, THE   Negative Ecstasy   LP   (Iron Lung Records)    15.98



   Some great, deranged hardcore from the UK from The Lowest Form, their first official full-length album. Negative Ecstasy follows up a cassette release and 7" from these mangy fucks, who include former members of UK grinders Army Of Flying Robots as well as Luke Younger from avant-noise outfits Helm and Birds Of Delay. The band whip up one hell of a din on their debut album, belting out an ultra-distorted nine-song assault of feedback-strewn hardcore punk with some seriously burly, vicious vocals, their sound fueled on the sort of malevolent, Void-influenced chaos that has been influencing most of the modern hardcore I've been listening to, while at the same time adding a ton of amp-busting noise and feedback-drenched speaker abuse that can get into more experimental territory.
   Songs like "Comin' Down Rough" weld a brutal D-beat energy to the band's intensely blown out sound; fans of the more feral, fucked-up Japanese noise punk bands would find some kinship here in Lowest Form's rampant feedback spew and peculiar droning guitars, and their complete disregard for the listener's cilia on some of these tracks almost begins to venturing into power electronics territory at times; they really know how to flatten you with a riot-inducing breakdown, though, too, and the whole record is rife with sudden aggressive tempo changes that I imagine would whip up one hell of a violent circle pit.
   Like a lot of the other recent records that have been coming out on Iron Lung, Negative Ecstasy closes with a song substantially longer than the rest, the band stretching out into more expansive sonic violence; "Miracle / Negative Ecstasy" spreads out for more than eight minutes, starting out as a pummeling, almost krautrock-like groove, a massive fuzzdrenched guitar wall churning around the drummer's insistent rhythm, almost resembling some particularly menacing Loop jam awash in flesh-scorching feedback. But then when the song finally uncoils and bursts, it transforms into a brutal hardcore stomp, the band unleashing a primitive three chord hypno-churn that almost rivals the evil distorted barbarism of Sump, a totally decimating close to the album. Hands down one of the most vicious UK hardcore records I've heard since the demise of the late great Voorhees. Includes a download code.
Track Samples:
Sample : Miracle/Negative Ecstasy
Sample : Some Horrible Bug
Sample : Dropping Bad Boys



LUSSURIA   Industriale Illuminato   CD   (Hospital Productions)    16.98



   The most bewitching of all of the recent new releases to come from Hospital Productions, Industriale Illuminato is the latest full-length from NY driftmaster Jim Mroz, a former member of black metal outfit Dimentianon. With Lussuria, Mroz unfurls gorgeous, murky ambience that feels as if it draws equally from the sinister synthesizer suites of early 80s horror scores, the austere ebonized industrial of early Bianchi, and the gorgeous cinematic vistas of classic kosmische music. The result is intensely gorgeous driftscapes that haunt Lussuria's albums with spectral soundtrack-like atmosphere, blending field recordings and hushed, pensive vocals with coldly luminous melodies and a pervasive sinister vibe that soaks into the listener as each track flows seamlessly into the next. Electronics mingle with live drums and other instrumentation on Industriale Illuminato, as this shadow-drenched soundscape unfolds, glimmering with the murky melancholy of a score from a vintage late 70s cinematic ghost story, eerie piano and the sound of thunderstorms drifting from the swell and decay of shimmering cymbals, flowing out of the softly rumbling industrial haze of opener "Boneblack". That beautiful blast of grim ambience starts this off with an air of spiritual desolation, leading into album's spectral haze of echoing, cluttered beats and melodic apparitions, tracks stretching out into a dreamlike fog of dubby percussive rattling and bleary drones, bits of processed feedback curling around the chime of a delicate Japanese music box. Lysergic beats emerge beneath elliptic keyboards that rise out of tracks like "Daughters Of Enemies" like a John Carpenter composition, smeared with electro-acoustic detritus and ectoplasmic whirr. At times, Lussuria's dark and delirious dub-flecked ambience almost begins to resemble the ghostly slithering clank of a heavily drugged-up and time-stretched Scorn recording. Mostly, though, it's a dreamlike wash of amorphous sound, eerie whistling drifting out of shadows amid more of those murky washed-out synths and garbled tape loops that hover over the abyss, while fluttering rhythms slip in and out of clarity, and more of those mournful Carpenterian keyboards gleam from beneath the half-whispered lyrics, draped in the rich corroded hiss of field recordings and ambient room sound. Neither the funereal piano and keyboards that take shape on "Art Of Veins" nor the minimal rhythmic creep of "Breath Of Cinder" would have been too out of place on Carpenter's classic soundtrack to The Fog. Utterly gorgeous and ghostly, serenely sorrowful and surreal, this music continually threatens to move beyond the borders of dreams into the realm of nightmare, and yet even at it's darkest offers an intensely intoxicating listening experience. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Daughters of Enemies
Sample : Boneblack
Sample : Art of Veins



LUSSURIA   Industriale Illuminato   LP   (Hospital Productions)    26.00



   The most bewitching of all of the recent new releases to come from Hospital Productions, Industriale Illuminato is the latest full-length from NY driftmaster Jim Mroz, a former member of black metal outfit Dimentianon. With Lussuria, Mroz unfurls gorgeous, murky ambience that feels as if it draws equally from the sinister synthesizer suites of early 80s horror scores, the austere ebonized industrial of early Bianchi, and the gorgeous cinematic vistas of classic kosmische music. The result is intensely gorgeous driftscapes that haunt Lussuria's albums with spectral soundtrack-like atmosphere, blending field recordings and hushed, pensive vocals with coldly luminous melodies and a pervasive sinister vibe that soaks into the listener as each track flows seamlessly into the next. Electronics mingle with live drums and other instrumentation on Industriale Illuminato, as this shadow-drenched soundscape unfolds, glimmering with the murky melancholy of a score from a vintage late 70s cinematic ghost story, eerie piano and the sound of thunderstorms drifting from the swell and decay of shimmering cymbals, flowing out of the softly rumbling industrial haze of opener "Boneblack". That beautiful blast of grim ambience starts this off with an air of spiritual desolation, leading into album's spectral haze of echoing, cluttered beats and melodic apparitions, tracks stretching out into a dreamlike fog of dubby percussive rattling and bleary drones, bits of processed feedback curling around the chime of a delicate Japanese music box. Lysergic beats emerge beneath elliptic keyboards that rise out of tracks like "Daughters Of Enemies" like a John Carpenter composition, smeared with electro-acoustic detritus and ectoplasmic whirr. At times, Lussuria's dark and delirious dub-flecked ambience almost begins to resemble the ghostly slithering clank of a heavily drugged-up and time-stretched Scorn recording. Mostly, though, it's a dreamlike wash of amorphous sound, eerie whistling drifting out of shadows amid more of those murky washed-out synths and garbled tape loops that hover over the abyss, while fluttering rhythms slip in and out of clarity, and more of those mournful Carpenterian keyboards gleam from beneath the half-whispered lyrics, draped in the rich corroded hiss of field recordings and ambient room sound. Neither the funereal piano and keyboards that take shape on "Art Of Veins" nor the minimal rhythmic creep of "Breath Of Cinder" would have been too out of place on Carpenter's classic soundtrack to The Fog. Utterly gorgeous and ghostly, serenely sorrowful and surreal, this music continually threatens to move beyond the borders of dreams into the realm of nightmare, and yet even at it's darkest offers an intensely intoxicating listening experience. Highly recommended. On black vinyl, limited to seven hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Daughters of Enemies
Sample : Boneblack
Sample : Art of Veins



M.N.D.L.S.B.L.S.T.N.G.   Infinitum A.D.D. Nauseum   LP   (Devils Fork)    15.98



   We recently raided the vault over at Nondor Nevai's Devils Fork imprint, and came back with a stack of some of the heaviest and most unhinged stuff that this maniac has put out in recent years. A former member of avant-garde noisecore outfits Aborted Christ Childe and Hatewave, occasional collaborator with To Live And Shave In L.A., Nevai has been obsessively focused on creating some of the most frenzied experimental noise/metal/prog monstrosities we've ever heard, combining his own twisted "klassikill" aesthetic with various influences from the realm of classic noisecore, the most rabid extremes of blackened war metal, and the harsher ends of the ugEXPLODE brand of contempo jazz/prog madness. Despite all of his stuff having a crazed, chaotic energy that frequently threatens to detonate into pure noise, each of Nevai's different projects has it's own distinct sound and personality, ranging from gonzo avant noisecore to utterly alien low-fi prog-death to walls of ultra-distorted guitar splatter. And I've been obsessed with this stuff ever since he sent me a stack of these LPs to check out. I'd long been a fan of his Hatewave stuff and the weirdo prog that he's released through the French label Savage Land in the past, but these LPs on Devils Fork reach another level of mayhem entirely. All of the Devils Fork releases that we picked up for the shop are on vinyl only, each one pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged with an embroidered patch featuring weird sci-fi / psychedelic imagery and a download code, and pressed in extremely limited runs.
   The sole album from Nevai's M.N.D.L.S.B.L.S.T.N.G. is a violent discordant blur of experimental noisecore, sounding like Sonny Sharrock becoming caught in a Sissy Spacek / Miss High Heel-style meatblender. The duo features Nevai teamed up with virtuoso shred-mutant Mick Barr of Orthrelm / Krallice / Crom-Tech infamy, who plays both guitar and gu zheng, a kind of Chinese zither, whipping through an oppressively dense maelstrom of obsessive, hyper-fast guitar shred and formless blastbeat chaos that completely spirals out of control. The record has two massive twenty-minute blasts of the band's bizarre, bestial noisecore, a rumbling blasting mess of hyperspeed improvised drumming and weird, discordant guitar riffs splattered together over a repetitive cluster of barbaric, wordless grunts and frantic squawking vocals. Those weird vocal noises start to whirl out into elliptical patterns over the cacophonic blast, while bursts of fucked-up stop/start riffs collide with gobs of crazed Skin Graft-esque skronk and screeching guitar noise. Like some of Nevai's other projects, there's a similar psychotic energy seemingly informed by the more noise-damaged fringes of the black/death underground, but these guys end up going way out beyond the fringes of extreme metal, the brutal relentless blast-attack of the drumming much more like an ultra-intense free jazz freak-out cranked out of its mind on high doses of phencyclidine. And there's a weird, tape-splice feel to the album that feels as if it has been cut apart and reassembled, Sissy Spacek style, into something even harsher and more abrupt and abrasive and over-modulated. A bizarro improv No Wave noisecore assault on the senses that hurtles into gibbering chaos; I think I could feel the seams of my skull starting to come apart around halfway through the b-side. Possibly the most insane of all of Nevai's various projects.
Track Samples:
Sample : Untitled
Sample : Untitled



MAMALEEK   He Never Said A Mumblin Word   LP   (The Flenser)    19.98



   Been awhile since I've heard anything new from this noise-damaged, quasi-black metal outfit from San Francisco, whose previous releases all splintered into strange distortion-laced hallucinations, often only tangentially connected to a recognizable black metal sound. With their recent four-song 12" He Never Said A Mumblin Word, Mamaleek moves even further astray of their murky black metal origins; the title track opens the record with a stumbling dirge, swollen with lurching, heavily saturated riffs and floor-shaking drumming, haunting minor key riffs creeping around the band's chaotic lurch, the singer spitting and raging rabidly within this churning sludgy sound, until it suddenly morphs into a strangely poppy melody later on, creepy choral voices sweeping from one end of the mix to the other, adding to the somewhat hallucinatory atmosphere.
   Just as their weird blackened heaviness often undergoes numerous mutations within a single song, so too does it shape shift throughout the rest of He Never Said, slipping into the soft dreamlike haze of "Poor Mourner's Got A Home" as an ululating female voice drifts over waves of ghostly organ-like drone, something resembling an Arabic vocal melody weaving around the whorls of ominous, etheric murk. Then it'll suddenly explode into a blown-out fury of pounding, almost breakbeat-like percussion, clipped drum machines hammered beneath winding blackened guitars, the singer's delivery suddenly more demonic and tortured, shifting into harshly distorted shrieks and gurgling grief-stricken howls, or slipping into soulful, wordless crooning. It's all definitely very noisy and fractured, but also abrasively beautiful, a kind of mutant blackened shoegaze that keeps growing more abrasive as the song progresses, careening awkwardly into a hellish, distorted finale.
   "Almost Done Toiling Here" is even more distortion-drenched, and also weirdly danceable, those drum machines kicked up into a frenetic shuffling rhythm as the music unfolds into another stunningly pretty, catchy blast of speakershredding blackened poppiness, that shoegazey feel once again coming through, but also becoming even more industrialized and heavy. Huge grinding bass guitar slithers through the black static fog, before transforming into something jazzier and more melodic, finally leaving us with the gorgeously bleak blackened pop of "My Ship Is On The Ocean", where the fractured, spastic drum machine manages to lock into a technoid skitter while those ghostly female vocals wash across the soot-stained background, eventually leading to the end, where the rest of the band locks into one final lurching sludgy assault that dissolves into a gauzy wash of distorted dreampop across the last few minutes of the record.
    Limited to three hundred copies.


MANFREDINI, HARRY   Friday The 13th   LP   (Waxwork)    29.99



   Back in stock. When it comes to the truly great horror film scores of the 80's era, it is John Carpenter's work that is most frequently invoked, his minimalist synthesizer compositions having now become almost synonymous with the decade. But it would be tough to argue that the iconic theme that composer Harry Manfredini created for the classic 1980 slasher Friday The 13th isn't just as epochal as Carpenter's pulsating Halloween theme, having been cribbed and copped just as often in the deluge of dead-teenager flicks that would wash across the rest of the decade. While Friday director Sean Cunningham made no secret of the influence that Carpenter's 1978 horror film had on his own creation, composer Manfredini drew from a more classical approach to the film's score, combining the elegance and complexity of Bernard Herrmann and Leonard Rosenman's scores from the previous decade with a fearsome intensity and atonality that was strongly influenced by 20th century modern classical. Most of Manfredini's score blends tense, shrill strings and lower-register cello, the main themes extrapolating upon portions of Hermann's classic Psycho score while playing more extensively with the use of space and silence, while the chortling brass and woodwinds add a uniquely frenzied energy, turning the main orchestral pieces dissonant, and utterly terrifying. The tracks are filled with lots of low, ominous droning sonorities and abrasive percussive sounds, Manfredini citing Penderecki another key influence on the creation of the score (something that Manfredini discusses in his slim but still quite fascinating liner notes), especially in the creation of the refrain of "...ki...ki...ki...ma...ma...ma..." that echoes throughout Friday The 13th that is Manfredini's most inspired contribution to the film, a dread-inducing vocalization run through a bank of echoplex style effects that is as instantly recognizable as anything in the horror soundtrack canon. There are a few points where the score deviates from the tense orchestral sounds, namely a freewheeling' 70's-style country music song and a classical guitar instrumental, both of which appear towards the end of the soundtrack, but most of this score is pure nail-biting tension, a perfect engine of dreadful anxiety that slowly and inexorably builds to the shrieking climax. Never before released on vinyl in its entirety, Manfredini's score sounds amazing here, thanks to a topo-notch mastering job by J. Yuenger of White Zombie fame; and as with all Waxwork releases, this is gorgeously packaged, the 180 gram vinyl presented in a heavyweight case-wrapped gatefold jacket with liner notes from Cunningham and Manfredini and all-new artwork from Jaw Shaw, and accompanied by an additional art print featuring a horrific full-color illustration from Jacqui Oakley.


MARE DI DIRAC   Tupilaq   CD   (Greytone)    11.98



   If you've ever wished that the legendary out-jazz label ESP Disk had produced horror movie soundtracks, then Mare Di Dirac's Tupilaq may be something you'll want to hear. Seriously creepy catacomb music from this Italian duo, made up of members of noise outfits Nascitari and Poseitrone, who explore a similar low-fi zone of mausoleum clatter and shamanic black-forest wanderings as Yami Kurae. The group combines electronics, field recordings, waterphone, Tibetan bells, trumpet, church organ, didgeridoo and various percussion instruments to create their creeping, hallucinatory soundscapes, with the horns in particular bringing a cool, crepuscular jazz vibe to this stuff.
    Opener "Umlat" slinks in with tendrils of atonal harp-like sound, plucked and scraped strings rattling in the shadows while guttural throat singing resonates in the background, providing a sinister introduction to Tupilaq's morbid ambience. But when "Thecomposition" suddenly rushes in, it's with a blast of swarming dissonant strings that sound like something from Penderecki, those screeching atonal strings becoming frenzied as they're joined by the buoyant saxophone of Mauro Sambo. His jazzy playing leads the track into an even creepier expanse of minimal improv, awash in reverberant gongs and more softly bleating horns, the air smudged with lowing contrabass notes and buzzing drones as the space begins to smolder with the crackle of some muted, burnt-out textural noise that begins to loop around beneath the band's spectral improv.
    And each subsequent track continues to descend deeper into their dank, fetid realm of ghoulish tomb-jazz that these guys create, weaving didgeridoo and piano and those evocative horns around the washes of haunted murk and echoing metallic noises, random percussive sounds suddenly flying out of the blackness, flitting and drifting above sheets of sustained feedback. Those waves of droning, glimmering electricity stretch across the distant rumblings of scrapyards shifting beneath their own weight, while the horns keep resurfacing throughout the album, summoning up more bouts of sinister jazziness before falling back into the shadows. Ghostly moans hover in the depths, indistinct and vague, bleeding into mysterious field recordings and electro-acoustic manipulations that take form in the mix, bits of Bianchi-esque industrial grit creeping across those low, almost funerary horns that blow endlessly into the abyss. The album eventually concludes with the almost fifteen minute scrapescape of "Granular Rite", where the band employs a shruti box, sending out wheezing accordion-like drones over a rumbling mass of low-end noise, the sound slowly swelling with monstrous metallic reverberations, gradually building a sinister, ritualistic atmosphere that in its final moments morphs into a heaving, rattling dronescape that starts to resemble a malevolent, satanic Nurse With Wound, everything bathed in subterranean reverb. Great stuff.
Track Samples:
Sample : Unhz
Sample : Thecomposition
Sample : Granular Rite



MEKONG DELTA   In A Mirror Darkly   CD   (Steamhammer)    15.98



   Available on both CD and limited edition double LP in gatefold packaging, which also comes with a CD copy of the album.
   More cult than even Watchtower or Voivod, Germany's Mekong Delta has been responsible for some of the most exquisite prog-thrash ever, mastering their unconventional fusion of confusional, breakneck thrash metal and classical sounds all the way back on their self-titled 1987 debut. Possibly second only to American tech-thrash brainmelters Watchtower, Mekong Delta's heady mix of violent Teutonic thrash, science fiction and fantasy lit influences, social criticism, spacey cinematic ambience and King Crimson-esque power-prog is unlike anyone else, and while some of their albums have been more finely realized than others, all of their stuff is virtually required listening for anyone into progressive thrash metal. Now the band returns with their first album of new material in four years, following up their ambitious 2010 concept album Wanderer On The Edge Of Time with this new eight-song blast of intricate, vertiginous thrash, the songs swarming with clusters of fractal guitar bathed in green bio-luminescent glow. While not conceptually driven as some of their earlier albums, this stuff is as adventurous as ever, continuing to blend their excursions into lush, instrumental classical guitar with dark King Crimson-esque progginess and that jaggedly edged metal; unlike some of their peers who disappeared completely into the realm of prog rock, Mekong Delta always retained their core thrash sound, and when they let loose with that here, they sound as vicious and vertebrae-ruining as any band half their age. The stunning instrumental prog workout of "Ouverture" is a perfect display of the band's virtuosic riffscapes and eerie atmospheric lead guitar playing, and "The Armageddon Machine" injects it's ominous convoluted thrash with jarring time signatures and washes of ornate melody. The dark drama of "The Silver In Gods Eye" drifts languidly from neo-classical dreaminess into angular, staccato power-chug, while there's an almost mechanized complexity to "Hindsight Bias", and the mathy lurch of "Janus" and the cosmic shred of instrumental "Inside The Outside Of The Inside" feel like they could double as soundtracks to a cinematic Philip K. Dick adaptation. The musicianship found on In A Mirror Darkly is on another level compared to most thrash outfits, and nearly thirty years later, these guys continue to confound listeners with some of the most unpredictable and challenging tech-metal ever made.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Armageddon Machine
Sample : Mutant Messiah
Sample : Janus



MEKONG DELTA   In A Mirror Darkly   2 x LP   (Steamhammer)    24.98



   Available on both CD and limited edition double LP in gatefold packaging, which also comes with a CD copy of the album.
   More cult than even Watchtower or Voivod, Germany's Mekong Delta has been responsible for some of the most exquisite prog-thrash ever, mastering their unconventional fusion of confusional, breakneck thrash metal and classical sounds all the way back on their self-titled 1987 debut. Possibly second only to American tech-thrash brainmelters Watchtower, Mekong Delta's heady mix of violent Teutonic thrash, science fiction and fantasy lit influences, social criticism, spacey cinematic ambience and King Crimson-esque power-prog is unlike anyone else, and while some of their albums have been more finely realized than others, all of their stuff is virtually required listening for anyone into progressive thrash metal. Now the band returns with their first album of new material in four years, following up their ambitious 2010 concept album Wanderer On The Edge Of Time with this new eight-song blast of intricate, vertiginous thrash, the songs swarming with clusters of fractal guitar bathed in green bio-luminescent glow. While not conceptually driven as some of their earlier albums, this stuff is as adventurous as ever, continuing to blend their excursions into lush, instrumental classical guitar with dark King Crimson-esque progginess and that jaggedly edged metal; unlike some of their peers who disappeared completely into the realm of prog rock, Mekong Delta always retained their core thrash sound, and when they let loose with that here, they sound as vicious and vertebrae-ruining as any band half their age. The stunning instrumental prog workout of "Ouverture" is a perfect display of the band's virtuosic riffscapes and eerie atmospheric lead guitar playing, and "The Armageddon Machine" injects it's ominous convoluted thrash with jarring time signatures and washes of ornate melody. The dark drama of "The Silver In Gods Eye" drifts languidly from neo-classical dreaminess into angular, staccato power-chug, while there's an almost mechanized complexity to "Hindsight Bias", and the mathy lurch of "Janus" and the cosmic shred of instrumental "Inside The Outside Of The Inside" feel like they could double as soundtracks to a cinematic Philip K. Dick adaptation. The musicianship found on In A Mirror Darkly is on another level compared to most thrash outfits, and nearly thirty years later, these guys continue to confound listeners with some of the most unpredictable and challenging tech-metal ever made.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Armageddon Machine
Sample : Mutant Messiah
Sample : Janus



MELEK-THA   Gloriam Demondi   CD   (Dark Vinyl)    11.98



   Continuing to reach back into the vaults of European black industrial, we raided the Dark Vinyl label recently for some of their great older releases, and came back with a couple of supremely heavy and evil albums from Melek-Tha, an extremely prolific French black industrial outfit who's managed to remain fairly obscure even within black/noise/industrial circles. There's not a whole lot of nuance to Melek-Tha's sound or aesthetics - the guy behind this project calls himself Lord Evil, for fuck's sake - but his albums consistently deliver an intensely percussion-driven brand of suffocating sonic evil that I've always been a huge fan of.
    2001's Gloriam Demondi is the fourth album from Melek-Tha, and it has all of the project's trademark elements: creepy samples lifted from obscure European satanic shockers that lead into violent blasts of rumbling low-end noise, black metal-style vocals shrieking and hissing beneath powerful, hypnotic drumming, pounding tribal rhythms that seem to reverberate from tympani-like percussion and rusted-out oil drums, blasts of stentorian war-horns that trumpet across the irradiated blackened samplescape of tracks like "Regnia Of The Damned". It's orchestral and noisy and seriously oppressive. With the album's Latin track titles, passages of what sound like Catholic prayer, and the overall liturgical vibe that lurks throughout Gloriam Demondi, this at times has the feel of a deranged black mass being performed beneath a wall of raging drumming, like a Satanic version of Test. Dept perhaps. It's also pretty goddamn violent, blending chunks of that abrasive orchestral sound and the monstrous vocalizations with immense rumbling noise over the hypnotic pummel of the drums, creating a dense, chaotic sound that is also reminiscent of both Gnaw Their Tongues and the apocalyptic classical bombast of Enter Now The World-era In Slaughter Natives. If those various references sound at all appealing to you, then Melek-Tha is definitely worth checking out, his sound producing a deranged industrial heaviness that has both an old-school industrial feel while holding its own next to any of the current black industrial/noise terrorists that we rave about around here.
    Powerful stuff, with clanking metal and pummeling battle-drums whipping up huge swathes of this album into an infernal frenzy, crushing mechanized rhythms crawling through an orgy of symphonic horror and looping noise, while massively distorted Simonetti-esque synthesizers blasting out a warped, choral cadence. A few tracks offer oh-so-brief moments of subdued black drift that seep out of Demondi's infernal depths, as well as bits of eerie cinematic sound collage and symphonic strings woven into hypnotic endless loops, and there's a passage where mournful horns drift through the gloom over volleys of clanking percussion that's pretty mesmeric; for the most part, though, this album is a monolithic wall of sound, evil and mesmeric, like some demonic symphony of clashing metal and blackened frequencies set to a backdrop of images assembled from films like Ken Russell's The Devils and Michael Armstrong's Mark of The Devil.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dominus Inferi
Sample : Ars Infernalia
Sample : Ars Diabolica



MELEK-THA   War Is Coming   CD   (Dark Vinyl)    11.98



    While picking up a bunch of stuff from the German dark ambient/black industrial label Dark Vinyl recently, we dug up a couple of releases from French black industrialist Melek-Tha that we've never stocked here at C-Blast before, both crushing slabs of evil, oppressive heaviness. Originally released on Dark Vinyl back in 2004, Melek-Tha's War Is Coming is another ferocious blast of militant Satanic industrial music from the long running French outfit, but this album stood out from much of his considerable discography for its pronounced use of black metal elements, something that has usually only been hinted at on other records. As the album opens, "Khaos Domination" roars with a battalion of pounding oil-drum percussion, a massive, thunderous tribal rhythm rumbling beneath swirling clouds of demonic black sound, laced with sinister samples and raging seraphic choirs; it's a powerful opening salvo to Melek-Tha's apocalyptic fury, like some churning, suffocating Black Mass soundtrack scored by composer Brad Fiedel.
    From there, the album moves into more crushing death industrial, massively heavy pneumatic rhythms and that furious tribal pummel often intersecting, the more mechanical rhythms bringing a vicious, blown-out Wax Trax vibe to some of this stuff. Sampled voices are used heavily, looped into garbled, paranoid cacophonies over that relentless tribal cadence, and there's this chaotic energy to the entire album that's really quite terrifying, Melek-Tha's furious percussive thunder propelling the tracks from storms of ecstatic drumming and ritual pounding, to gales of sheet-metal cacophony and crushing, militant rhythms; orchestral strings and synths swell out of the depths, accompanied by hypnotic, hellish chanting, while immense murky drones and looped mechanical noise rumbles across the deliriously danceable throb of tracks like "Infernal Battlefields", whipping the track into a ritualistic fervor thick with the scent of blood and sweat, and punctured by the sounds of artillery fire. Samples of crushing metallic guitar wash over a seething noisescape swarming with cries of anguish and guttural demonic voices, and bizarre laser effects blast across the warscape. All of this stuff is looped and layered into a nightmarish, surrealistic noisescape on War, and there are moments on the album like "Hammers Of Centurian" that actually sounds like some crushing early Ministry track bulldozing through a storm of seething black noise. It's on the song "carnage" that Melek-Tha finally unleashes some actual black metal elements, though, the track featuring the sound of distant frostbitten guitar riffs swarming behind a shambling assemblage of broken beats and infernal rumbling engines, a litany of howling voices scouring the sky in a collective scream of Faustian desperation. Can't recommend this one enough if you're a fan of truly evil industrial music, a sulphuric trance woven from a hellstorm of bestial industrial violence, all accompanied by a gas-masked visual aesthetic reminiscent of the Canadian war metal crowd.
Track Samples:
Sample : La Vision Du Declin
Sample : Khaos Domination
Sample : Destruktor Propaganda



MOLOCH / WYQM   split (GLOW IN THE DARK VINYL)   LP   (Death Agonies And Screams)    11.98



   Just restocked this killer split LP featuring black metal loners Moloch and Wyqm, released by the willfully obscure American label Death Agonies And Screams on glow-in-the-dark vinyl limited to three hundred copies.
    Moloch starts this off with three long tracks of his trademark brand of odd, off-kilter black metal misery, each song winding haphazardly through a strange assemblage of shambling percussion, counter-intuitive bass lines, and swarming grayscale guitars that wash over these tracks in a gorgeously grainy haze of rain swept Burzumic majesty. Moloch's gargling vocal despair really hammers home the whole deranged, isolated vibe of this stuff, his strained howls sounding truly disturbed. And like other releases, these tracks offer an unusual sound. The strangely shambolic bass and confusing structures of "Depressive Visionen Eines Sterbenden Horizonts" and "Die Letzten Strahlen Der Sonne Verblassen In Der Kälte Der Apathie" in particular point to a twisted, proggy interpretation of classic black metal; at times this stuff almost feels as if you're listening to some messed-up take on second wave black metal filtered through an obsession with the classic RIO outfits and late-70's European prog. Pretty fucking raw though, too, and the seemingly sloppy musicianship might turn off black metal fans looking for more polished, formal sounds. If you're a fan of weirder "depressive" black metal, however, you'll definitely want to check this and Moloch's other records out. With a new release seemingly emerging every other week, ranking one Moloch release over another is probably tough, but his side of this Lp certainly delivers all of the wretched, experimental blackness I've come to adore from this band.
    On the other side, North Carolina one-man band Wyqm features three tracks of blazing melodic black metal, continuing with the offbeat low-fi black blast of previous releases. On the surface, Wyqm's droning tremolo riffs and fuzz-drenched melodies appear to be cut from the same putrid grave-garments as much of the American black metal underground, but these songs (simply titled "XV" through "XVII") reveal an interesting use of complex melodies and atmosphere that ends up being a little more unusual than another Cascadian racket. Riffs wind themselves into offbeat melodies, and the songs dip in and out of the more aggressive blasting tempos (which definitely feel like they've been produced using drum machines, giving parts of this a vaguely industrial feel), slipping into morose minor key strum or a pounding, mid-tempo passage of post-punk tinged rock, while elsewhere unleashing dissonant blasting distorted noise or blasts of bedroom-Emperor majesty, or swells of murky Abruptum-esque creep and achingly pretty passages of ethereal chamber-pop, especially towards the end as violins and cello wash across the final moments of the side.


MORTUALIA   Blood Of The Hermit   CD   (Moribund)    15.98



   I've actually been a little surprised as to how much great "depressive" black metal has been coming out lately from venerable US label Moribund, seeing as how the long-running black metal label is generally known more for harsher, more cloven-hoofed sounds. But that's definitely been the case, not only with the stack of recent Vardan albums and reissues that Moribund has been putting out, but also with this recent reissue of the album Blood Of The Hermit from Finnish band Mortualia.
   Originally released in 2010 on the Australian black metal imprint Dark Adversary, Blood Of The Hermit is the second full album from this one-man band, another project from Ville Pystynen (aka Shatraug) who is more well-known for his work with Finnish black metal bands Sargeist, Behexen and Horna. With Mortualia, Pystynen puts aside the frenzied frostridden riffstorms and blasting, baphometic violence of his other bands for a more pensive sound, crafting epically long odes to anti-joy. This album is loaded with Pystynen's soul-wrenching sonic misery, the music centered around long, sprawling tracks that stretch out for ten minutes or more, droning and repetitious miserablist epics that move at slow, plodding tempos, crafted around sorrowful, strikingly emotional melodies and waves of murky jangling guitars. At times, these songs can be suggestive of a murkier, more distressed version of early Katatonia, certainly a sound that I dig, while at others the music slips into droning doom-laden heaviness that keeps this from turning into another by-the-numbers "DSBM" project. Much of the music on Blood borders on a kind of doleful, driving gloom-rock that occasionally carries echoes of classic Cure; this stuff would actually be somewhat accessible to non-black metal audiences if it weren't for Pystynen's frantic shrieks, an extreme and intensely wrought vocal performance that turns into outpourings of grief and negation throughout these songs, and which imbue the album with an added undercurrent of emotional desperation. In those moments when his vocals become really unhinged, Pystynen's high-pitched screams echo overhead with a naked, raw hysteria that touches on a similar level of despair as the likes of Silencer, Xasthur and Bethlehem. It's a great contrast that he pulls off here between that frantic vocal style and those warm melodies, the latter of which are definitely the real draw here; songs like the title track offers some fantastic, achingly pretty downer-black metal, exquisitely crafted minor key laments layered over those crushing, droning riffs. Definitely worth checking out not only for fans of Pystynen's other bands, but also anyone into those similarly intense Vardan reissues and the likes of Trist, Hypothermia, Make A Change...Kill Yourself, Abyssic Hate and Exiled From Light.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Sinister Shine
Sample : Blood Of The Hermit
Sample : Becoming Meaningless



MORTUUS   Grape Of The Vine   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    10.98



   Mortuus's second album Grape Of The Vine is one of those black metal albums I find difficult to take notes on while listening for the first time. While the music that these Swedish black metallers play isn't overly complex or difficult, there's a dark drama to how these tracks unfold across the album, making it easy to be swept up in the band's Luciferian narrative. These "orthodox" Swedish black metallers offer an elegantly dismal vision of theological death-worship on their latest full-length, the first from the band in seven years, each of the tracks on Grape musing on a variety of Gnostic themes, death meditations, and the extinguishing of the self, set against the band's awesome sepulchral sound, bleak and blighted and doom-laden as they move through these seven solemn deathscapes.
   As with their 2007 debut De Contemplanda Morte: De Reverencie Laboribus Ac Adorationis, Mortuus's sound is definitely rooted in that modern Swedish black metal aesthetic shared with the likes of Funeral Mist, but it tends to move at a much slower pace, their arrangements woven into perpetually ominous, doom-laden heaviness, the sound noticeably less murky than its predecessor. Winding, sometimes labyrinthine guitar melodies snake throughout the songs, eerie melodies tinged with an evil atonality, riding on the low drone of the bass. Bits of mournful, plaintive piano pop up on some of the tracks, as do distant choral voices that seem to rise in prayer behind the oppressive mid-tempo riffage and scorched vocals. Other moments of dark striking beauty emerge on songs like "Torches", where the swarming funerary blackness breaks apart at the end and is replaced with a sole piano melody, glimmering in the shadows like a fragment of a requiem, later reappearing as dread-filled guitar leads are draped with a gothic grace. There's some great passages of abstracted creepiness that are threaded through Grape Of The Vine as well, soft electronic pulses or stretches of electrical hum that appear, suspended over spare drumming, a rotting black thread that leads from one eruption of crushing, forlorn heaviness to the next. The song "Nemesis" is one of the highlights of the album with its mixture of liturgical choirs and the simple but wholly effective riffing, which ends up combining with some massive doom-laden heaviness, and an utterly malevolent but immensely catchy hook that erupts like black bile throughout the song. With the album's closer, though, Mortuus makes a sudden shift into a colder and unexpectedly industrialized sound, where the bass drum throbs beneath sinister layered samples and swirling chthonic ambience for several minutes before finally erupting into a punishing, lurching dirge, and it suddenly sounds remarkably like something from Thorns, shimmering minor key guitars cascading across the driving, propulsive rhythm, a vaguely mechanized rhythm throbbing beneath the crushing black metal.
Track Samples:
Sample : Tzel Maveth
Sample : Sulphur
Sample : Grape of the Vine



MORTUUS   Grape Of The Vine   LP   (Ajna Offensive)    15.98



   Mortuus's second album Grape Of The Vine is one of those black metal albums I find difficult to take notes on while listening for the first time. While the music that these Swedish black metallers play isn't overly complex or difficult, there's a dark drama to how these tracks unfold across the album, making it easy to be swept up in the band's Luciferian narrative. These "orthodox" Swedish black metallers offer an elegantly dismal vision of theological death-worship on their latest full-length, the first from the band in seven years, each of the tracks on Grape musing on a variety of Gnostic themes, death meditations, and the extinguishing of the self, set against the band's awesome sepulchral sound, bleak and blighted and doom-laden as they move through these seven solemn deathscapes.
   As with their 2007 debut De Contemplanda Morte: De Reverencie Laboribus Ac Adorationis, Mortuus's sound is definitely rooted in that modern Swedish black metal aesthetic shared with the likes of Funeral Mist, but it tends to move at a much slower pace, their arrangements woven into perpetually ominous, doom-laden heaviness, the sound noticeably less murky than its predecessor. Winding, sometimes labyrinthine guitar melodies snake throughout the songs, eerie melodies tinged with an evil atonality, riding on the low drone of the bass. Bits of mournful, plaintive piano pop up on some of the tracks, as do distant choral voices that seem to rise in prayer behind the oppressive mid-tempo riffage and scorched vocals. Other moments of dark striking beauty emerge on songs like "Torches", where the swarming funerary blackness breaks apart at the end and is replaced with a sole piano melody, glimmering in the shadows like a fragment of a requiem, later reappearing as dread-filled guitar leads are draped with a gothic grace. There's some great passages of abstracted creepiness that are threaded through Grape Of The Vine as well, soft electronic pulses or stretches of electrical hum that appear, suspended over spare drumming, a rotting black thread that leads from one eruption of crushing, forlorn heaviness to the next. The song "Nemesis" is one of the highlights of the album with its mixture of liturgical choirs and the simple but wholly effective riffing, which ends up combining with some massive doom-laden heaviness, and an utterly malevolent but immensely catchy hook that erupts like black bile throughout the song. With the album's closer, though, Mortuus makes a sudden shift into a colder and unexpectedly industrialized sound, where the bass drum throbs beneath sinister layered samples and swirling chthonic ambience for several minutes before finally erupting into a punishing, lurching dirge, and it suddenly sounds remarkably like something from Thorns, shimmering minor key guitars cascading across the driving, propulsive rhythm, a vaguely mechanized rhythm throbbing beneath the crushing black metal.
Track Samples:
Sample : Tzel Maveth
Sample : Sulphur
Sample : Grape of the Vine



MY DYING BRIDE   34.788%...Complete   CD   (Peaceville)    11.98



Now back in stock on digipack CD.
Unfashionable though it may be, My Dying Bride's controversial 1998 album 34.788%...Complete remains one of my favorite albums from the band, an ambitious experiment that saw the pioneering British doom metal outfit venturing into electronically-tinged territory; admittedly, not every moment of the album fires on all cylinders, but you'll also find some of the best songs of their career rumbling within these grooves. The album was erroneously derided by some at the time of its release as an ill-advised bid for more commercial accessibility, some even comparing it to the likes of Celtic Frost's Cold Lake, but that sentiment seems even less likely with a decade's worth of hindsight. While 34.788%...Complete does have some moments of unfocused experimentation alongside forays into gothy indulgence, the album also has fantastic, crushing tracks like "Der Überlebende" and "The Whore, The Cook And The Mother" that are among the most emotionally punishing that the band ever recorded. It's a grower, for sure. Take that opening song, "The Whore...", a slab of mournful atmospheric metal that glows with that anguished, classic My Dying Bride sound, even as it slowly moves from the lumbering gothic heaviness of the first half into a gloomy, trip-hop laced ambience that flows out across the remainder of the song, skillfully blending dark electronic textures with an exquisitely grief-stricken atmosphere. It's one of my favorite My Dying Bride songs, possessed with that dark, sorrowful majesty that marks all of the band's best stuff. Just as moving and memorable is "Der Überlebende", easily one of the most infectious earworms the band ever wrote, a wah-flecked haunting hook woven around the sort of orchestral, ominous doom that the band perfected with their earlier albums. You also get the lurching, symphonic sludge and abject gloom of "The Stance Of Evander Sinque", another pummeling riffbeast forged from towering doomed grooves and crushing palm-muted riffage, those weepy synth-strings and violin sounds overshadowing the creepy, half-croaked whispers that lurk in the background. It's not till the appearance of the strange "Heroin Chic" that the album takes a hard left into a kind of offbeat, gothy trip-hop sound, equal part Vision Thing-era Sisters Of Mercy and Massive Attack, Aaron Stainthorpe's deadpan vocals backed by narcotized female singing, a doom-laden riffs crawling across the skittering beats. It sticks out amongst the album's stronger material, but I'll take it when we're also getting the Swans-gone-industrial metal crunch of "Apocalypse Woman", the massive riff that descends ever downwards through "Base Level Erotica", and the loping, frostbitten gothic grandeur of "Under Your Wings And Into Your Arms". This version of 34.788%...Complete also features the bonus track "Follower" that had previously only appeared on the Japanese version of the album, itself a fine blast of dark, depressing death-doom mastery.
Track Samples:
Sample : Under Your Wings and into Your Arms
Sample : The Whore, the Cook and the Mother
Sample : Heroin Chic
Sample : ÿþDer Überlebende



MY DYING BRIDE   34.788%...Complete   2 x LP   (Peaceville)    29.99



   When My Dying Bride first crawled out of the muck of the UK underground in 1990, the band quickly began to evolve into a soul-crushing blend of pummeling slow-motion death metal, sepulchral doom, and decadent imagery seemingly torn from the pages of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, a sound that, along with label-mates Anathema and Paradise Lost, would definite what we would come to know as "death-doom". Many of My Dying Bride's albums have been out of print on vinyl for a decade or longer, but Peaceville recently began to reissue many of these records in deluxe new double LP editions pressed on 180 gram vinyl in gatefold packaging, and all of them are worthy of rediscovery by both longtime fans and newcomers to the band's devastating heaviness.
Unfashionable though it may be, My Dying Bride's controversial 1998 album 34.788%...Complete remains one of my favorite albums from the band, an ambitious experiment that saw the pioneering British doom metal outfit venturing into electronically-tinged territory; admittedly, not every moment of the album fires on all cylinders, but you'll also find some of the best songs of their career rumbling within these grooves. The album was erroneously derided by some at the time of its release as an ill-advised bid for more commercial accessibility, some even comparing it to the likes of Celtic Frost's Cold Lake, but that sentiment seems even less likely with a decade's worth of hindsight. While 34.788%...Complete does have some moments of unfocused experimentation alongside forays into gothy indulgence, the album also has fantastic, crushing tracks like "Der Überlebende" and "The Whore, The Cook And The Mother" that are among the most emotionally punishing that the band ever recorded. It's a grower, for sure. Take that opening song, "The Whore...", a slab of mournful atmospheric metal that glows with that anguished, classic My Dying Bride sound, even as it slowly moves from the lumbering gothic heaviness of the first half into a gloomy, trip-hop laced ambience that flows out across the remainder of the song, skillfully blending dark electronic textures with an exquisitely grief-stricken atmosphere. It's one of my favorite My Dying Bride songs, possessed with that dark, sorrowful majesty that marks all of the band's best stuff. Just as moving and memorable is "Der Überlebende", easily one of the most infectious earworms the band ever wrote, a wah-flecked haunting hook woven around the sort of orchestral, ominous doom that the band perfected with their earlier albums. You also get the lurching, symphonic sludge and abject gloom of "The Stance Of Evander Sinque", another pummeling riffbeast forged from towering doomed grooves and crushing palm-muted riffage, those weepy synth-strings and violin sounds overshadowing the creepy, half-croaked whispers that lurk in the background. It's not till the appearance of the strange "Heroin Chic" that the album takes a hard left into a kind of offbeat, gothy trip-hop sound, equal part Vision Thing-era Sisters Of Mercy and Massive Attack, Aaron Stainthorpe's deadpan vocals backed by narcotized female singing, a doom-laden riffs crawling across the skittering beats. It sticks out amongst the album's stronger material, but I'll take it when we're also getting the Swans-gone-industrial metal crunch of "Apocalypse Woman", the massive riff that descends ever downwards through "Base Level Erotica", and the loping, frostbitten gothic grandeur of "Under Your Wings And Into Your Arms". This version of 34.788%...Complete also features the bonus track "Follower" that had previously only appeared on the Japanese version of the album, itself a fine blast of dark, depressing death-doom mastery.
Track Samples:
Sample : Under Your Wings and into Your Arms
Sample : The Whore, the Cook and the Mother
Sample : Heroin Chic
Sample : ÿþDer Überlebende



MY DYING BRIDE   The Light At The End Of The World   2 x LP   (Peaceville)    29.99



   When My Dying Bride first crawled out of the muck of the UK underground in 1990, the band quickly began to evolve into a soul-crushing blend of pummeling slow-motion death metal, sepulchral doom, and decadent imagery seemingly torn from the pages of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, a sound that, along with label-mates Anathema and Paradise Lost, would definite what we would come to know as "death-doom". Many of My Dying Bride's albums have been out of print on vinyl for a decade or longer, but Peaceville recently began to reissue many of these records in deluxe new double LP editions pressed on 180 gram vinyl in gatefold packaging, and all of them are worthy of rediscovery by both longtime fans and newcomers to the band's devastating heaviness.
   The latest installment in Peaceville's My Dying Bride vinyl reissue campaign, the new reissue of 1999's The Light At The End Of The World follows the experimental and divisive album 34.788%...Complete, an album that many fans saw as an abandoning of the band's abject doom-death roots. Their answer? A slab of absolutely crushing slow-motion death metal that some consider to be one of their finest albums, a move that could've been seen as regressive if it weren't for the fact that Light features some of the band's darkest and most aggressive music of the decade. Many of the gothic trappings and the decadent romanticism of their earlier albums was stripped away, along with much of the keyboard and orchestral accoutrements that had been a part of their signature sound; the band still made use of synthesizers (now performed by Jonny Maudling of symphonic black metallers Bal-Sagoth), but on this album they were infused even more deeply into the mix, adding a more subtle and celestial wash of symphonic light that sweeps across the album's apocalyptic doomcrush. While I would have loved to hear the band further pursue the experimental directions they flirted with on their previous album, there's no doubt that Light will satisfy those looking for the sort of monstrous, miserable metallic crush that My Dying Bride defined, the focus less on sorrowful atmosphere and more on a bulldozing, dismal heaviness that threatens to totally overwhelm the listener. Filled with massive glacial riffs, these guys never sounded heavier; the title track alone writhes with killer slow-mo death metal and waves of funerary orchestral drift, and opener "She Is The Dark" combines the band's classic mournful vibe with blasting double-bass, singer Aaron Stainthorpe even whipping out his guttural snarl once again, his demonic roar alternating throughout the album with his signature maudlin wail. And there's plenty of atmosphere here: across these nine long songs, haunting Middle Eastern-influenced guitar melodies snake languidly through fields of sprawling dark drift, winding around pummeling tribal rhythms that give way to monstrous gothic doom on "Edenbeast"; the sound slips into proggier territory with the likes of "Christliar", their lumbering doom shifting into odd time signatures and angular, more complex riffing; and utterly forlorn melodies suddenly emerge from the lumbering heaviness, hooking you with their heartbreaking beauty. Even at their most plodding and miserable, My Dying Bride are skilled songwriters, crafting a deeply affecting sound even around the most wretched doom as they weave these mythic paeans to loss and suffering and regret. A flat-out classic of bleak, progressive death-doom.
Track Samples:
Sample : Christliar
Sample : The Light At The End Of The World
Sample : Edenbeast



MY DYING BRIDE   The Dreadful Hours   2 x LP   (Peaceville)    29.99



   When My Dying Bride first crawled out of the muck of the UK underground in 1990, the band quickly began to evolve into a soul-crushing blend of pummeling slow-motion death metal, sepulchral doom, and decadent imagery seemingly torn from the pages of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, a sound that, along with label-mates Anathema and Paradise Lost, would definite what we would come to know as "death-doom". Many of My Dying Bride's albums have been out of print on vinyl for a decade or longer, but Peaceville recently began to reissue many of these records in deluxe new double LP editions pressed on 180 gram vinyl in gatefold packaging, and all of them are worthy of rediscovery by both longtime fans and newcomers to the band's devastating heaviness.
   Moving even further towards a more stripped-down version of the band's earlier doom-death records that was begun with preceding album The Light at the End of the World, 2001's The Dreadful Hours from British gloom-gods My Dying Bride continued to move further from the ambitious electronic experimentation and poppier songwriting that marked some of their late-90s output, while still developing their unique strain of dark, progressive doomdeath. This eight-song album again establishes why My Dying Bride were (and are) one of the truly iconic doom-death bands, melding their dark romanticism with otherworldly dread, and injecting that into some of the heaviest slow-motion death metal and anguished doom riffage of their career (as well as some of their catchiest - the song "My Hope, The Destroyer" still remains one of my all-time favorite My Dying Bride songs to this day). The band masterfully crafts a majestically sorrowful atmosphere across the beginning of Hours, moving deftly from the almost post-rock style minimalism of the title track, where melancholy guitars chime softly against the sound of distant thunderstorms, into ferociously pummeling death metal within the same track, sustained moodiness giving way to utter brute force. While Hours bum is devoid of the funerary violin sound that was a signature aspect of their earlier albums, Dreadful compensates with striking atmospheric moments, expansive evocative soundscapes and some interesting use of electronic noise and production fuckery, and the keyboards employ a number of different sounds, lacing the album with those aforementioned gothic organs to passages of plaintive piano, eerie analogue arpeggios1 and distant dark chorales, turning tracks like "Le Figlie Della Tempesta " into lush, prog-tinged epics, the songs marked by strong, soaring guitar melodies that run thick with bitterness and heartache. And front-man Aaron Stainthorpe still sounds as morose as ever, prone to bouts of guttural, death metal style savagery that whip this into a tortured fury when it surges into the punishing gothic death metal of songs like "The Raven And The Rose", his bellowing roar rattling the winding pathways of jagged metallic riffage and tumultuous rhythmic violence, answered by the vast church organs that tower over the band's imperial heaviness, and leading it into the final epic track where hellish dronescapes merge with a blasting death metal assault, unleashing a torrent of mythic, Blakeian imagery.
Track Samples:
Sample : My Hope the Destroyer
Sample : Le Figlie Della Tempesta
Sample : The Dreadful Hours



MZ. 412   Macht Durch Stimme   CD   (Dark Vinyl)    11.98



   Some more cult industrial blackness from the long-running German label Dark Vinyl that we've picked up for the shop for the first time, this CD is the most recent reissue of the debut 1988 cassette from Swedish black industrial pioneers Mz412, from back when the band went by the full name Maschinenzimmer 412. This early material is bleak, hateful industrial music from before the point where Kremator (Henrik "Nordvargr" Björkk) and Drakh began to adopt the trappings and visual aesthetics of black metal, here forging an early version of their sound using only scrap metal and samplers. Dark Vinyl's reissue of this material features the tracks from the original tape alongside some live recordings from the same period, offering the listener a fuller look at the formative years of these infernal metal-bashers.
   The first six tracks on the disc come from a live performance in Gothenburg from early 1990. From the fucked-up sampler collage of opening track "Kreuzigung" that weirdly combines fragments of Supertramp and garbled television before dropping into a pounding, almost Swans-esque industrial dirge strafed with oil-can percussion, the group unleashes washes of dark synth and sinister voices over their pummeling industrial heaviness, beginning a descent into a kind of grueling but spare industrial crush made up of simple, looped drum machine rhythms and brutal sheet-metal percussion. Over the primitive percussive pummel, rumbling drones and malformed electronic ambience swirl like clouds of corrosive gas, amid menacing samples and swells of ominous orchestral power, the heavily processed vocals muttering vague misanthropic visions over bursts of controlled power-tool violence. The set progresses into sudden spasmic surges of nightmarish tape-noise, and some seriously fucking immense distorted bass that slithers and sputters and hisses throughout their performance like some tumorous black serpent. The black metal influences were yet several years away from infiltrating their music, being a good five years away from the necro noise of their In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanas Luciferi Excelsi album, but this is still pretty goddamn dark and oppressive, a classic Swedish death industrial sound twisted into their own monstrous visage, their grim, sampler-driven soundscapes layered over the slow, abrasive rhythms battered out of pieces of scrap metal.
   The second half of the disc is the original Macht Durch Stimme tape, lurching industrial monstrosities teeming with putrid distorted synth and clanking mechanical rhythms, the sound coming out as a long slow crawl. From the hypnotizing pneumatic dirge of "Ecaf Dloc" to the menacing Teutonic samples, filthy looped noise and martial drumming of "Intersektion", the putrescent sewer-industrial horror of "Dissekt" to the ritualistic, doom-laden power electronics of "Aptionstheorie" and the crushing scrap yard symphony-turned-deathrite "Sequela", each track is a pitch-black meditation focused on simple, repetitious rhythmic pummel, surrounded by ghastly vocals, mechanical rumblings and loads of evil atmosphere. A glimpse of the horror to come.
    Limited edition of four hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Malfeitor
Sample : Dissekt
Sample : Aptionstheorie



NADJA   Truth Becomes Death   CD   (Alien8)    14.98



Back in print after a period of unavailability, the somewhat elusive first "real" CD release from Nadja that has been a tough one to restock since it first came out on Alien8 in 2005. By now, Nadja has become something of a household name within the avant-metal underground, and despite dropping a new release or reissue what seems like every other month, we keep coming back to the band for more. The duo of guitarist Aidan Baker and bassist Leah Buckareff first appeared here on Truth Becomes Death, after a couple of years of Nadja being Aidan's solo project, and the addition of Leah's rib-shaking bass frequencies and the overall massiveness that Nadja gained from expanding it's lineup really made this a rebirth of the band. I remember when this first came out, alot of writers from the indie rock scene felt compelled to primarily compare Nadja to Sunn O))), but I have no idea what in the hell they were hearing, because Nadja has at no point ever sounded like Sunn O)))...their sound has always been a kind of dense, psychedelic slowcore, equal parts Troum and Codeine and Jesu, their epic riff-dirges stretching out into infinity and unfolding as soul crushingly beautiful pop melody being played at plate-shifting tempos, the rhythmic push provided by a mechanistic, splattery drum machine that alternately clangs and explodes. Yeah, Nadja will toss in some dire sounding minor key chord change here and there in their songs to cast a shadow over the landscape, and the second song on here "Memory Leak" is a devestating slab of processed deathdoom, but no matter how monstrous things get with Nadja, their m.o. has always been about blissed out, maximum fuzz, the slowest, most distorted shoegazer rock imaginable. Well, at least up to their upcoming new album Desire In Uneasiness that we're releasing through Crucial Blast later this spring, but that's another story. On Truth..., it's total bliss. Ethereal major key riffs are pushed into redline levels of distortion where every single instrument seems to be turning into crystal sugar and crumbling all around you, while angelic vocal coo's float in a sea of delay and echo, electronic glitches sputter in and out, savage death metal roars are soaked in soft, billowy fuzz. On this album Nadja came the closest to capturing what a cross between Jesu's first album and Birchville Cat Motel and creeping funeral doom would sound like...simply amazing.
Track Samples:
Sample : Breakpoint
Sample : Bug/Golem
Sample : Memory Leak



NEARLY DEAD   self-titled   LP   (Geriatric Records)    16.98



   As a serious scum addict, I'm drawn to just about anything that carries a whiff of the sort of noxious, bludgeoning sludge-punk that Sweden's Brainbombs perfected. There have been a lot of bands that have sprung up and tried to attempt to tap into a similar filthy, transgressive vibe and sickoid sludgepunk sound as the mighty 'bombs, but few manage to actually exude the same level of skull-rupturing power as those creeps. Enter Nearly Dead, a Canadian outfit that features the guy behind death industrial outfit Griefer who appeared on a split Lp with Blue Sabbath Black Cheer a while back; these guys are essentially and admittedly a Brainbombs tribute band, closely imitating the Brainbombs sound all the way down to the almost monotone vocals and utterly vile lyrical matter, and capturing much of the same slimy, uncomfortable feel that you get when listening to hate-classics like Urge To Kill. These mutants recently emerged out of the muck with this self-titled debut, and man is it a crusher; they take the blearing off-key trumpets, the sickening lyrics and disturbingly menacing vocal delivery and fuse it to the crushing dirge-like heaviness of classic Brainbombs, but where the 'bombs detailed all manner of sexual deviancy and depravation, Nearly Dead are almost entirely concerned with a fetishistic obsession with the horrors of old age, their songs weaving nightmarish visions of hellish nursing homes and the collapse of one's own body among other unsettling imagery. It definitely works to make your skin crawl, and the band really cranks up the negativity on this twelve song LP, shambling through each song with an assault of brutally heavy caveman drumming, sinister sludge-encrusted riffage that gets hammered out over and over, discordant guitars drenched in searing blown-out saturated fuzz, filthy blown bass snaking languidly like some malformed Stooges riff. Those deformed free-jazz horns blare and drift like plumes of sulfurous gas through the noise-flecked atmosphere and across these distorted hypno-mantras, the singer casually reciting his hateful visions of rotting flesh, humiliation, opiate abuse and chemo treatments in a coolly delivered sneer, even when delivering such nihilistic absurdities as "Cosby Sweater". No doubt, the subject matter and general attitude here is sure to irk some, but this is easily the best 'bombs-style battery I think I've heard we got Disposal Of A Dead Body . Limited to one hundred eight copies on translucent yellow 180 gram vinyl - please note that all of the copies that we received from the label unfortunately arrived with dinged corners, the condition isn't too bad, but if you are very particular about sleeve condition, please bear this in mind.


NEKROCIDAL KILLDEATH   Simulated Musik (Symbiotik Sadisme)   2 x LP   (Devils Fork)    22.50



   We recently raided the vault over at Nondor Nevai's Devils Fork imprint, and came back with a stack of some of the heaviest and most unhinged stuff that this maniac has put out in recent years. A former member of avant-garde noisecore outfits Aborted Christ Childe and Hatewave, occasional collaborator with To Live And Shave In L.A., Nevai has been obsessively focused on creating some of the most frenzied experimental noise/metal/prog monstrosities we've ever heard, combining his own twisted "klassikill" aesthetic with various influences from the realm of classic noisecore, the most rabid extremes of blackened war metal, and the harsher ends of the ugEXPLODE brand of contempo jazz/prog madness. Despite all of his stuff having a crazed, chaotic energy that frequently threatens to detonate into pure noise, each of Nevai's different projects has it's own distinct sound and personality, ranging from gonzo avant noisecore to utterly alien low-fi prog-death to walls of ultra-distorted guitar splatter. And I've been obsessed with this stuff ever since he sent me a stack of these LPs to check out. I'd long been a fan of his Hatewave stuff and the weirdo prog that he's released through the French label Savage Land in the past, but these LPs on Devils Fork reach another level of mayhem entirely. All of the Devils Fork releases that we picked up for the shop are on vinyl only, each one pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged with an embroidered patch featuring weird sci-fi / psychedelic imagery and a download code, and pressed in extremely limited runs.
   One of my favorite Nondor blasts, Simulated Musik (Symbiotik Sadisme) is a double LP from Nekrocidal Killdeath, here made up of the duo of Nevai (aka Lord Killdeath) on drums and vocals, and someone or something called Voltage Kontrolled Orkestroid on "sub bass". It's total lunacy. Four songs across four sides, each titled after a different elemental force ("Air", "Fire", "Earth", etc.) and running exactly fifteen minutes in length. The music is absolutely barbaric, mostly made up of thunderous, improvisational drumming, an almost nonstop onslaught of chaotic blastbeats and brutal speed-fiend percussive pandemonium, over which sits massive bowl-churning bass guitar that sometimes shifts into nauseating bass drops. Barely an actual riff in sight across this hour-long meltdown, the bass instead materializing as an array of massive grinding drones, corrosive speaker shredding noise-loops and monstrously heavy low-end reverberations. There are multiple vocal tracks all howling at the same time, a mix of weird monotone cyborg chanting and feral distorted shrieks and gargling, inchoate psychosis, the lyrics a stream of consonant-heavy mania and thermonuclear poetry. The recording is raw and low-fi, lycanthropic hallucinations resembling some weirdo robotic version of Canadian war-metal, but flung even further out into left-field, an avant-garde chaos-storm of freeform blast delivered at an exhausting level of physical power and stamina; the seemingly boundless energy behind Nondor's drumming is something to behold.
   Musik just gets weirder and heavier as it goes on, the latter half of the album veering from the relentless battery of spazzoid blackened noisecore into an even more abstract rumbling mass of improvised percussion strewn with massive detonations of bass and noise, slipping into almost industrial territory. At one point Nevai launches into an epic drum solo akin to the intro to "Hot For Teacher", but stretched out into a maniacal percussive panzerblast, while a punishing power electronics assault swarms over top, buzzing drones bumbling from speaker to speaker like the malicious drone of some monstrous biomechanical hornet. My speakers were on the verge of igniting into flame by the end of this. Devotees of the more outré fringes of extreme improvisation, noisecore and grind may worship this as passionately as I do, especially those into the utterly mutant fucked-up extremism of bands like Nikudorei, Intolitarian, Nihilist Commando and Seven Minutes Of Nausea. All others should stay the fuck out. Compared to the other Devils Fork releases, the packaging for Simulated Musik is rather ascetic, each 180 gram record housed in a separate white unmarked jacket, but as with other releases, this comes with its own embroidered Nekrocidal Killdeath patch.
Track Samples:
Sample : Simulated Musik ("AIR")
Sample : Simulated Musik ("FIRE")



NEVAI, NONDOR   Nayk'd Ayres   LP   (Devils Fork)    22.50



   We recently raided the vault over at Nondor Nevai's Devils Fork imprint, and came back with a stack of some of the heaviest and most unhinged stuff that this maniac has put out in recent years. A former member of avant-garde noisecore outfits Aborted Christ Childe and Hatewave, occasional collaborator with To Live And Shave In L.A., Nevai has been obsessively focused on creating some of the most frenzied experimental noise/metal/prog monstrosities we've ever heard, combining his own twisted "klassikill" aesthetic with various influences from the realm of classic noisecore, the most rabid extremes of blackened war metal, and the harsher ends of the ugEXPLODE brand of contempo jazz/prog madness. Despite all of his stuff having a crazed, chaotic energy that frequently threatens to detonate into pure noise, each of Nevai's different projects has it's own distinct sound and personality, ranging from gonzo avant noisecore to utterly alien low-fi prog-death to walls of ultra-distorted guitar splatter. And I've been obsessed with this stuff ever since he sent me a stack of these LPs to check out. I'd long been a fan of his Hatewave stuff and the weirdo prog that he's released through the French label Savage Land in the past, but these LPs on Devils Fork reach another level of mayhem entirely. All of the Devils Fork releases that we picked up for the shop are on vinyl only, each one pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged with an embroidered patch featuring weird sci-fi / psychedelic imagery and a download code, and pressed in extremely limited runs.
   Yet more outsider metal/prog-influenced weirdness from Nevai, the 2012 album Nayk'd Ayres is an anomaly amongst a clutch of anomalies, a warped conglomeration of difficult acoustic guitar pieces that play out like some intensely damaged outsider folk, the music mostly comprised of just the man and his guitar, with some minimal percussive accompaniment. The label references everything from (presumably Carnival of Excess-era) GG Allin to Manson's clandestine low-fi jailhouse-folk ramblings, and I can see that to an extent; there's a similar seat-of-your pants feel to this stuff, very stream of consciousness. The music itself is a mix of shambling skronk, plaintive freeform strumming, and aggressively strummed chords that can start to blur into a frantic, messed-up attempt to capture the swarming sound of black metal, while other songs hint at a brain-damaged take on old English ballad forms. Mostly though it's a kind of stoned, atonal free-form acoustic fuckery that somehow manages to get under your skin (at least it did mine), especially with the weirdly jazzy stuff like "Galaktik Refrain (V)", whose spidery, meandering melodies sort of resemble a more menacing, completely demented Derek Bailey. And like Manson's records, Nevai will sometimes abruptly break into laughter, or scream invectives at his suddenly non-compliant microphone, or belch into the mic, berate his roommate, or slip into an a cappella bit singing the praises of church burning. It's madness, the lyrics and imagery ranging from heavy metal drama and apocalyptic darkness to possibly drug-fueled free-association; out of all of Nevai's albums on Devils Fork, Ayres may be the most impenetrable, possessed with a Beefheartian delirium that'll most likely infuriate and/or bewilder anyone but the most adventurous listeners and fans of the most far-flung ends of deranged mutant folk/improv. As with the other LPs released by Devils Fork, this comes with an embroidered patch featuring wild, multi-colored artwork like something out of a lysergic fever dream.
Track Samples:
Sample : Nayk'd Ayres
Sample : Nayk'd Ayres



NEVAI, NONDOR   Diabolikal In(ter)ventions For Distorted Guitar   7" VINYL   (Flemish Masters)    7.99



   An obscure 7" EP released back in 2001 that we just recently excavated from the vaults of terminal blastbeast Nondor Nevai (of Hatewave / To Live And Shave In L.A. / Aborted Christ Childe / Miss High Heel notoriety). One thing you can say about Nevai - this is not a man prone to repeating himself. Every single one of the records I picked up from his Devils Fork imprint is a uniquely bizarre entity, and Diabolikal In(ter)ventions For Distorted Guitar is no different. Released on the short-lived Flemish Masters label, this EP captures some mega fucked-up, totally mutant avant-guitar mania. The four "interventions" that make up this record are insanely blown out, ultra-distorted chaos-blasts, comprised of ridiculously distorted guitars squealing and squiggling like brain-damaged death metal solos over rumbling, flatulent bass frequencies. It's more like some monstrous microbial harsh noise infestation than the schizoid blast-prog of his latter-day releases, though that obsessive, maniacal shredding style that appears on some of his more recent albums is splattered all over this 7", albeit in a more primitive, atavistic form. The second side dials back the ear-raping noise a little, allowing Nevai's crazed, evil guitar solos to meander over slow, sludgy riffing and other monstrous contrapuntal lines, like a more deranged, brain-damaged version of his buddy Mick Barr. Recommended for fans of Barr's stuff, as a matter of fact, and other purveyors of extremist psychedelic guitar torture. Comes in a handmade sleeve with reflective silver artwork. Limited to three hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Diabolikal In(ter)vention #1
Sample : Diabolikal In(ter)ventions # 2, 3, 4



NEVAI, NONDOR / OVERSHADOWER KOMMAND   Three Tocattas... (Or)   LP   (Devils Fork)    22.50



   We recently raided the vault over at Nondor Nevai's Devils Fork imprint, and came back with a stack of some of the heaviest and most unhinged stuff that this maniac has put out in recent years. A former member of avant-garde noisecore outfits Aborted Christ Childe and Hatewave, occasional collaborator with To Live And Shave In L.A., Nevai has been obsessively focused on creating some of the most frenzied experimental noise/metal/prog monstrosities we've ever heard, combining his own twisted "klassikill" aesthetic with various influences from the realm of classic noisecore, the most rabid extremes of blackened war metal, and the harsher ends of the ugEXPLODE brand of contempo jazz/prog madness. Despite all of his stuff having a crazed, chaotic energy that frequently threatens to detonate into pure noise, each of Nevai's different projects has it's own distinct sound and personality, ranging from gonzo avant noisecore to utterly alien low-fi prog-death to walls of ultra-distorted guitar splatter. And I've been obsessed with this stuff ever since he sent me a stack of these LPs to check out. I'd long been a fan of his Hatewave stuff and the weirdo prog that he's released through the French label Savage Land in the past, but these LPs on Devils Fork reach another level of mayhem entirely. All of the Devils Fork releases that we picked up for the shop are on vinyl only, each one pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged with an embroidered patch featuring weird sci-fi / psychedelic imagery and a download code, and pressed in extremely limited runs.
   Here's another "klassikill" assault from Nevai, here operating under the awesome name Overshadower Kommand, primed and pumped for annihilation with a spare instrumental palette made up of just vocals, drums and distorted organ. The album is divided into three sections: "Tocatta Number One" erupts into a bizarre cacophony of ramshackle blackened violence, barbaric blastbeats thundering beneath the weird drone and crazed calliope melodies of the organ, the music blasting and halting, abruptly skidding through messed-up, seemingly improvised arrangements, like some meth-fueled meeting between Conqueror/Revenge drummer James Read and a heat-warped, decomposing playback of Verne Langdon's music for Carnival Of Souls. A bizarre mix, yes, but also deliciously brain-melting. Nevai shrieks and roars like some Baphometic nightmare over this frenzied clusterfuck of malformed blackened blast and gothic organ delirium, his reptilian hymns stretching and echoing over the violent, progged-out black blast. Nevai turns his organ into a monstrous drone generator, spewing out a nearly nonstop stream of hallucinatory rumble that sometimes shifts and hovers like some behemoth engine in space, elsewhere spiraling out into a kind of mutant, Grand Guignol carnival music, or slipping into a rumbling caveman "riff", like some deformed Hammer horror soundtrack splattered across the sound of Nevai's drum kit tumbling endlessly into oblivion. Some of the most psychedelic shit I've heard from this maniac, as well as some of his heaviest. Limited to two hundred fifty copies, comes in striking gatefold packaging with all of the lyrics printed on the interior panels, and includes an embroidered patch.
Track Samples:
Sample : Tocatta Number One
Sample : Tocatta Number Three In Three Movements



NEVAI, NONDOR / _ (UNDERSKOR)   DMT Rok + Sonata (The Arrested)   LP   (Devils Fork)    22.50



   We recently raided the vault over at Nondor Nevai's Devils Fork imprint, and came back with a stack of some of the heaviest and most unhinged stuff that this maniac has put out in recent years. A former member of avant-garde noisecore outfits Aborted Christ Childe and Hatewave, occasional collaborator with To Live And Shave In L.A., Nevai has been obsessively focused on creating some of the most frenzied experimental noise/metal/prog monstrosities we've ever heard, combining his own twisted "klassikill" aesthetic with various influences from the realm of classic noisecore, the most rabid extremes of blackened war metal, and the harsher ends of the ugEXPLODE brand of contempo jazz/prog madness. Despite all of his stuff having a crazed, chaotic energy that frequently threatens to detonate into pure noise, each of Nevai's different projects has it's own distinct sound and personality, ranging from gonzo avant noisecore to utterly alien low-fi prog-death to walls of ultra-distorted guitar splatter. And I've been obsessed with this stuff ever since he sent me a stack of these LPs to check out. I'd long been a fan of his Hatewave stuff and the weirdo prog that he's released through the French label Savage Land in the past, but these LPs on Devils Fork reach another level of mayhem entirely. All of the Devils Fork releases that we picked up for the shop are on vinyl only, each one pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged with an embroidered patch featuring weird sci-fi / psychedelic imagery and a download code, and pressed in extremely limited runs.
   Another killer blast of aberrant "klassikill" prog-sadism from terminal madman Nondor Nevai, this LP features two tracks released by his "Underskor" project (which also identifies itself simply as "_"), previously released on CD by the French prog-punk label Savage Land in longer form; for this release, each track has been edited by Nevai to produce what he considers the "definitive" version of each.
The demented "DMT Rok" on the first side is a frenzy of furious double bass drumming and brain-damaged death metal gurgling, ear-scraping bouts of atonal cello and violin relentlessly molested over the band's rumbling abstract heaviness, the music often dropping out into completely wrecked passages of No Wave weirdness. Uneasy listening for sure; there's a couple of moments where you might think the band is going to suddenly launch into a hideously discordant blast of Gorgutsian death metal, but almost as soon as the notion is floated out there, the music will completely abort all semblance of structure or coherency, and devolve into a rapidly collapsing mess of mutated chamber skronk and insane spoken word, with Nondor reciting his depraved ravings in a beyond-nauseating Randy Yau-esque death belch that really makes me want to puke. Completely fucked.
The b-side features a slightly altered, shorter version of the track "Sonata - The Arrested" that appeared on _'s Exekutioners Extinktion CD; this sprawling scum-prog epic showcases all sides of their sound, going from improv blasting, almost noisecore-level grindvomit that gets quite heavy at times, and back into oddball dissonance and fractured free-jazz shot through with brief moments of eerie beauty, like some mutoid freak-improv-jazz/black folk mash up that occasionally slips into a warped groove. A harsh, uncomfortable sonic assault for sure; one comparison that I kept thinking of while listening to this stuff would be a weird cross between the defunct Seattle improv-screech duo Noggin and some sort of primitive black metal slop, or a black/death-tainted To Live And Shave In L.A., or a bestial black/death version of Miss High Heel, echoes of the latter two definitely perceptible in the band's sound, not surprising considering who's involved with this. If you dug some of the more grind/black metal influenced Flying Luttenbachers stuff and the free jazz/black blast mess of Ettrick, this track in particular will hit your nerve endings with similar aplomb.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sonata (The Arrested)
Sample : DMT ROK



NEVAI_NONET   String Oktet In A   LP   (Devils Fork)    22.50



   We recently raided the vault over at Nondor Nevai's Devils Fork imprint, and came back with a stack of some of the heaviest and most unhinged stuff that this maniac has put out in recent years. A former member of avant-garde noisecore outfits Aborted Christ Childe and Hatewave, occasional collaborator with To Live And Shave In L.A., Nevai has been obsessively focused on creating some of the most frenzied experimental noise/metal/prog monstrosities we've ever heard, combining his own twisted "klassikill" aesthetic with various influences from the realm of classic noisecore, the most rabid extremes of blackened war metal, and the harsher ends of the ugEXPLODE brand of contempo jazz/prog madness. Despite all of his stuff having a crazed, chaotic energy that frequently threatens to detonate into pure noise, each of Nevai's different projects has it's own distinct sound and personality, ranging from gonzo avant noisecore to utterly alien low-fi prog-death to walls of ultra-distorted guitar splatter. And I've been obsessed with this stuff ever since he sent me a stack of these LPs to check out. I'd long been a fan of his Hatewave stuff and the weirdo prog that he's released through the French label Savage Land in the past, but these LPs on Devils Fork reach another level of mayhem entirely. All of the Devils Fork releases that we picked up for the shop are on vinyl only, each one pressed on heavyweight vinyl and packaged with an embroidered patch featuring weird sci-fi / psychedelic imagery and a download code, and pressed in extremely limited runs.
   A massive and melon-flattening album of demented, strangled chamber-prog delivered against a backdrop of pugilistic, militaristic drumming, easily one of the most sonically fucked of all of the recordings in the "klassikill" mode issued by Nondor Nevai, 2012's String Oktet In A is a real blast of horror from this duo of Nevai and Tim Dahl (a member of spazz-metallers Child Abuse), a melding of violent drumming and atonal chamber strings that scrape across your nerve endings like broken pieces of rusted metal. Much of the album is comprised of slower, stumbling weirdo progginess, the crazed sound of atonal viol scraping up against Nondor's narcotized singing and his manic drumming; there's an odd, almost Rock In Opposition vibe to some of the more "melodic" moments, and parts of this vaguely remind me of a heavier, more fucked-up and horrendous Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. It certainly gets pretty goddamn creepy whenever the two slow down and let this congeal into one of the heavier, heat-warped prog-dirges. Later sections of the "Oktet" shift into violent cacophony that sounds (like much of Nevai's stuff) like it could have come from some vicious Canadian black/death outfit, but most of this is a tangled chaos of discordant chamber music, swarming around the furious fast-paced drumming, a tumult of tumbling tom rolls and erratic blastbeats at times reminiscent of James Read's percussive hellstorms in Revenge and Conqueror, but with that viol clotted into nightmarish dissonance, like a horror movie score ripped apart and splattered like so much viscera across the lurching blastscape. Which makes the few moments of intense musicality that arise that much more jarring, potentially surprising those more accustomed to Nondor's signature difficult/ear-fucking delivery. A grade-A purgative. Comes on 180 gram vinyl in a full color gatefold jacket with embroidered patch and a digital download code, limited to two hundred fifty copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : String Oktet In A (iii)
Sample : String Oktet In A (vii)



NIGHTFELL   The Living Ever Mourn   CD   (Southern Lord)    12.98



   Available on both CD from Southern Lord and limited LP (in case-wrapped heavyweight jacket with printed inner sleeve) and cassette from Parasitic.     Living Ever Mourn is the debut album from Nightfell, the Portland duo of Tim Call (Aldebaran / Howling Wind / Shadow Of The Torturer) and Todd Burdette (Tragedy / His Hero Is Gone / Severed Head Of State), who have carved out a powerful sound that draws almost equally from a combination of Burdette's background in apocalyptic hardcore and Call's prior work within the funeral doom genre.
    Album opener "The Last Disease" unfurls some gorgeously grim guitars chiming across some distant nightscape, but which are soon enough overcome by the duo's crushing, blackened doom, their creeping ghastly horror erupting into fleet, furious blasts of double-bass drumming; when things really start to slow down, this stuff decelerates into some intensely doleful and melodic doom-laden darkness, a kind of emotional doomdeath veined with fantastic funerary guitar leads; as Living progresses, Nightfell continue to shade their atmospheric deathdoom with long, languorous interludes where distant chanting voices echo over waves of lush synthesizer drift, an almost liturgical kosmische ambience settling over the album, spreading out in slowly rippling waves of sacred drone before they kick back into another of their catchy, pummeling deathblasts. I was totally sold on this album by track three, as "I Am Decay" delves back into the heavily infectious doomdeath that is clearly at the center of the album; they balance that crushing heaviness with a dank, reverb-stained atmosphere and large doses of stench-filled aggression, the songs catchier than most stuff in this vein thanks to great songwriting and flattening riffage, their long, slow marches into despair deftly avoiding boredom by skillfully working with dynamics and ambience. A large part of Nightfell's distinct sound can be attributed to the way the duo weave their layers of cavernous reverb and bleary choral synth textures around those monstrous riffs, layering low, droning distorted notes beneath their mournful, ominous doom; and on tracks like "Empty Prayers", Burdette delivers his vocals in a deep, clear singing voice over solemn, funereal acoustic guitar, which then proceed to reappear throughout the remainder of the album, bringing a kind of funerary folkiness to some of Mourn's more somber moments. You can hear some subtle shades of Tragedy's churning, apocalyptic sound wafting throughout parts of the album, as with the powerful, militant cadences and doleful guitars that rage across the opening to "The Hollowing" before leading into the song's miserable, loping black metal-esque second half; at the same time, they can break into pure, bone-crushing heaviness, like on the Frostian deathcrush of "Altars To Wrath" that appears at the end of the record. A really impressive debut from the band.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Last Disease
Sample : Empty Prayers
Sample : Altars to Wrath



NIGHTFELL   The Living Ever Mourn   LP   (Parasitic)    15.99



   Available on both CD from Southern Lord and limited LP (in case-wrapped heavyweight jacket with printed inner sleeve) and cassette from Parasitic.     Living Ever Mourn is the debut album from Nightfell, the Portland duo of Tim Call (Aldebaran / Howling Wind / Shadow Of The Torturer) and Todd Burdette (Tragedy / His Hero Is Gone / Severed Head Of State), who have carved out a powerful sound that draws almost equally from a combination of Burdette's background in apocalyptic hardcore and Call's prior work within the funeral doom genre.
    Album opener "The Last Disease" unfurls some gorgeously grim guitars chiming across some distant nightscape, but which are soon enough overcome by the duo's crushing, blackened doom, their creeping ghastly horror erupting into fleet, furious blasts of double-bass drumming; when things really start to slow down, this stuff decelerates into some intensely doleful and melodic doom-laden darkness, a kind of emotional doomdeath veined with fantastic funerary guitar leads; as Living progresses, Nightfell continue to shade their atmospheric deathdoom with long, languorous interludes where distant chanting voices echo over waves of lush synthesizer drift, an almost liturgical kosmische ambience settling over the album, spreading out in slowly rippling waves of sacred drone before they kick back into another of their catchy, pummeling deathblasts. I was totally sold on this album by track three, as "I Am Decay" delves back into the heavily infectious doomdeath that is clearly at the center of the album; they balance that crushing heaviness with a dank, reverb-stained atmosphere and large doses of stench-filled aggression, the songs catchier than most stuff in this vein thanks to great songwriting and flattening riffage, their long, slow marches into despair deftly avoiding boredom by skillfully working with dynamics and ambience. A large part of Nightfell's distinct sound can be attributed to the way the duo weave their layers of cavernous reverb and bleary choral synth textures around those monstrous riffs, layering low, droning distorted notes beneath their mournful, ominous doom; and on tracks like "Empty Prayers", Burdette delivers his vocals in a deep, clear singing voice over solemn, funereal acoustic guitar, which then proceed to reappear throughout the remainder of the album, bringing a kind of funerary folkiness to some of Mourn's more somber moments. You can hear some subtle shades of Tragedy's churning, apocalyptic sound wafting throughout parts of the album, as with the powerful, militant cadences and doleful guitars that rage across the opening to "The Hollowing" before leading into the song's miserable, loping black metal-esque second half; at the same time, they can break into pure, bone-crushing heaviness, like on the Frostian deathcrush of "Altars To Wrath" that appears at the end of the record. A really impressive debut from the band.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Last Disease
Sample : Empty Prayers
Sample : Altars to Wrath



NIGHTFELL   The Living Ever Mourn   CASSETTE   (Parasitic)    5.98



   Available on both CD from Southern Lord and limited LP (in case-wrapped heavyweight jacket with printed inner sleeve) and cassette from Parasitic.     Living Ever Mourn is the debut album from Nightfell, the Portland duo of Tim Call (Aldebaran / Howling Wind / Shadow Of The Torturer) and Todd Burdette (Tragedy / His Hero Is Gone / Severed Head Of State), who have carved out a powerful sound that draws almost equally from a combination of Burdette's background in apocalyptic hardcore and Call's prior work within the funeral doom genre.
    Album opener "The Last Disease" unfurls some gorgeously grim guitars chiming across some distant nightscape, but which are soon enough overcome by the duo's crushing, blackened doom, their creeping ghastly horror erupting into fleet, furious blasts of double-bass drumming; when things really start to slow down, this stuff decelerates into some intensely doleful and melodic doom-laden darkness, a kind of emotional doomdeath veined with fantastic funerary guitar leads; as Living progresses, Nightfell continue to shade their atmospheric deathdoom with long, languorous interludes where distant chanting voices echo over waves of lush synthesizer drift, an almost liturgical kosmische ambience settling over the album, spreading out in slowly rippling waves of sacred drone before they kick back into another of their catchy, pummeling deathblasts. I was totally sold on this album by track three, as "I Am Decay" delves back into the heavily infectious doomdeath that is clearly at the center of the album; they balance that crushing heaviness with a dank, reverb-stained atmosphere and large doses of stench-filled aggression, the songs catchier than most stuff in this vein thanks to great songwriting and flattening riffage, their long, slow marches into despair deftly avoiding boredom by skillfully working with dynamics and ambience. A large part of Nightfell's distinct sound can be attributed to the way the duo weave their layers of cavernous reverb and bleary choral synth textures around those monstrous riffs, layering low, droning distorted notes beneath their mournful, ominous doom; and on tracks like "Empty Prayers", Burdette delivers his vocals in a deep, clear singing voice over solemn, funereal acoustic guitar, which then proceed to reappear throughout the remainder of the album, bringing a kind of funerary folkiness to some of Mourn's more somber moments. You can hear some subtle shades of Tragedy's churning, apocalyptic sound wafting throughout parts of the album, as with the powerful, militant cadences and doleful guitars that rage across the opening to "The Hollowing" before leading into the song's miserable, loping black metal-esque second half; at the same time, they can break into pure, bone-crushing heaviness, like on the Frostian deathcrush of "Altars To Wrath" that appears at the end of the record. A really impressive debut from the band.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Last Disease
Sample : Empty Prayers
Sample : Altars to Wrath



NORD   LSD   LP   (P∴C∴P∴ Records)    24.98



   There's kind of a convoluted history behind the cult Japanese industrial outfit Nord, who started out in the late 70s as a minimal electronic duo, made up of members Katayama Satoshi and Hiroshi Oikawa. The pair only record a single album together, a self-titled debut that was released in 1981 on the Pinakotheca label, after which the members split apart, each carrying on a different project that still retained the Nord name. And this is where things start to really get confusing. Satoshi's version of Nord was primarily a live outfit active through the rest of the 1980s, while Oikawa would record a handful of records under the Nord name, before eventually disappearing later in the decade, apparently never to be heard from again. It's those now ultra-rare LPs from Oikawa's version of Nord that have become highly sought-after documents of primitive nihilism by hardcore devotees of dark early industrial music, released through his L∴S∴D∴ Records imprint that existed up till around 1985 or so. Two of those albums, NG Tapes and L∴S∴D∴ (both originally released in 1984) have remained out of print in the decades since, but a label called P∴C∴P∴ Records emerged in recent years, apparently with the sole aim of reissuing these albums for contemporary audiences, though they've all been painfully limited editions that have themselves gone out of print by now. We've managed to grab a few copies of both, though, and both are highly recommended slabs of classically morbid industrial that sit at a fascinating nexus between the earlier psychedelic sounds of the Japanese underground, and the more extreme directions it would take as the noise scene began to rise to prominence.
   With its unsettling hand-drawn album art, Nord's LSD is a lost classic of creepy primitive synth music and psychedelic black-hole industrial, taking form with the minimal buzz and throb of the opener, a simple melody searing itself in a bright line across a field of distorted, throbbing synthesizer drone, simple yet strangely epic; there's some of the discordant electric guitar debris that would surface more on later recordings from Nord, with clanging chords drifting across the robotic throb of the title track, distorted synth notes squiggling and bouncing over the desolate fields of electronic whirr, hinting at the fractured psych-noise of later work. Surprisingly heavy at times, those blasts of discordant guitar echo and linger in the void, twisted chunks of metallic shrapnel tumbling over the pulsating black electrical currents, gradually leading the album into more menacing, more unsettling territory inhabited by hypnotic ghost-noise and deformed synthesizer music; there's a weird choice to employ strains of Jefferson Airplane's music on one track, but elsewhere Oikawa sends bits of fundamentalist Christian radio drifting through the void, gradually overtaken by vast waves of interstellar whirr and swarms of bacterial drone. These sounds seem to flit randomly through an immense blackness, blistered drones searing space like fragments of transmissions from some orbital death-planet, enshrouded in swarms of locustbuzz horror. These often stunning sonic descents into oblivion are laced with some intensely eerie moments, the closing track in particular leading the album out into a chilling minimalist deathscape that ends LSD with a nightmarish, funerary vibe, suggestive of some of Dennis McCarthy's eerie early synthesizer compositions as well as the charred electronics of early Bianchi. Limited to five hundred copies, already out of print.
Track Samples:
Sample : Jokyoku
Sample : LSD
Sample : Za Gosuto Saunzu



NORD   NG Tapes   LP   (P∴C∴P∴ Records)    22.00



   There's kind of a convoluted history behind the cult Japanese industrial outfit Nord, who started out in the late 70s as a minimal electronic duo, made up of members Katayama Satoshi and Hiroshi Oikawa. The pair only record a single album together, a self-titled debut that was released in 1981 on the Pinakotheca label, after which the members split apart, each carrying on a different project that still retained the Nord name. And this is where things start to really get confusing. Satoshi's version of Nord was primarily a live outfit active through the rest of the 1980s, while Oikawa would record a handful of records under the Nord name, before eventually disappearing later in the decade, apparently never to be heard from again. It's those now ultra-rare LPs from Oikawa's version of Nord that have become highly sought-after documents of primitive nihilism by hardcore devotees of dark early industrial music, released through his L?S?D? Records imprint that existed up till around 1985 or so. Two of those albums, NG Tapes and L?S?D? (both originally released in 1984) have remained out of print in the decades since, but a label called P?C?P? Records emerged in recent years, apparently with the sole aim of reissuing these albums for contemporary audiences, though they've all been painfully limited editions that have themselves gone out of print by now. We've managed to grab a few copies of both, though, and both are highly recommended slabs of classically morbid industrial that sit at a fascinating nexus between the earlier psychedelic sounds of the Japanese underground, and the more extreme directions it would take as the noise scene began to rise to prominence.
   Even better than its predecessor LSD, 1984's NG Tapes is about as black and nihilistic as Oikawa got with Nord, delivering a goddamn stunning piece of long-lost Japanese synth-creep that had previously only been available on an extremely limited cassette tape that has been going for hundreds of dollars when it shows up on sites like Discogs. With this tape, Nord moved from the sometimes scattershot noise experimentalism of the earlier work into a more focused and devastating strain of post-industrial psychedelia; I'm not the first to make the comparison, but this really does feel like some strange fusion of Fushitsusha-esque psychnoise and the pulsating carcinogenic industrial of Bianchi, unfurling a vast deadzone of repetitious synth and damaged guitar across these eight untitled tracks. Long pieces of churning synthesizer noise and burbling black-acid drone loop and worm their way through your brainmeat like a wave of vermiform horror, strange disembodied voices drifting aimlessly through the pulsating electronic fog, bits of keening high-end feedback and menacing malformed melodies looming out of the blackness like fragments of a particularly grim horror movie score. There's blurts of primitive Derbyshire/Radiophonic style electronics and icy, discordant guitar chords, bursts of eerie psych-guitar howl that ripple and echo across the expanses of seething black electronics.
   These almost Haino-like shards of ghostly guitar noise and feedback find themselves shifting into slabs of grinding distorted noise, blasts of garbled guitarscrape and screeching metallic violence, surrounded by spectral whirr and distant computerized chirps flitting through the abyss like swarms of flying insects caught in the wavering heat-haze of a fever dream. Drum machines heave monotonously beneath gales of piercing amplifier-skree, sometimes turning into an odd mesmeric rhythm, before collapsing into utterly mangled free-noise pile-ups like the ear-wrecking assault that opens the second side. Moments like those transform Nord's squirming black synthnoise into something much heavier and more violent, suddenly shifting into a crushing industrial noise-dirge that are as hellish as anything from K2 or Incapacitants, before giving way to spooky electronic dronescapes that unfold into gorgeously warped symphonies of ectoplasmic squelch and eerie melody, while splinters of No Wave-esque guitar wreckage are strewn over whirling spaceship noises and blurts of random Japanese pop radio transmission.
    The packaging is minimal but perfect, essentially replicating the design and feel of the original cassette, housing the record in a heavy black casewrapped jacket with minimal printing, and wrapped in a pink obi strip machine-stamped on the back.


NUCLEARHAMMER   Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer   2 x LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    28.00



   Somewhere in between Nuclearhammer's 2009 album Obliteration Ritual and their latest, this Canadian outfit matured from their earlier, Blasphemy-influenced blackgrind into a more streamlined, industrial-tinged cosmic assault that is even more pulverizing, making Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer one of my favorite Nuclear War Now releases of 2014. The newest celestial death-rite from this Toronto-based outfit (which includes past and present members of Adversarial, Paroxsihzem and Dead Of Winter), Serpentine is a hellish, drone-laced blastbeast, fusing brief passages of sub-zero electronic ambiance to the band's bludgeoning blackened death metal and blunt shocks of bestial noisecore. From the opening track, the band explodes into a swarming mass of barbaric blastbeats and crazed squiggling guitar solos, locking into a crushing gravitational groove at the center of the swirling noise, a haunting minor key melody slowly taking shape before descending endlessly through the relentless blast-storm of "Multi-Dimensional Prism of Black Hatred". The brutally cold, chaotic atmosphere is established immediately, as each of the longer tracks develop into an intensely violent storm of Conqueror-esque black/death layered with unusual traces of ghostly melody, their eerie droning tremolo riffs and spectral textures elevating this stuff above the typical Ross Bay worshipping deathblast. The band's echoing monstrous vocals and sinister dissonant riffery gives much of this an almost Lovecraftian vibe that lurks behind the album's strangely titled songs and atmosphere of cosmic horror, and interspersed amongst those longer, sprawling tracks of churning blackened death are shorter pieces that range from abrasive blasts of industrial drone like "24-Cell (Octoplex)" and "600-Cell (Hexacosichoron)" to grinding mechanical noisescapes like "H3po4 (Orthophosphoric Acid)", these harsh noise excursions occasionally leaking over into the longer songs. There are also some strategically placed eruptions of cyclonic, ultra-violent blackgrind violence like "...Rise No More" that clock in at a teeth-rattling thirty-three seconds, bordering on noisecore-like chaos, those moments packing a seriously pulverizing punch in an already violent and inhospitable listening experience.
   Elsewhere, songs like "Phosphorus Clouds Descend on Mecca " see the band slowing down considerably, unfurling into massive gloom-drenched doom, while "Parasitic (Temple of Rats) / Hpo3 (Metaphosphoric Acid) " and the pummeling closer "Cosmic Atomic Hypnosis" unleash some ferocious D-beat-laced heaviness, the latter also building towards one of those powerful, doom-laden climaxes, the end of the album attaining a kind of towering black majesty not often glimpsed with bands in this style. I'm betting that fans of both the blackened berserker noisecore of Intolitarian and the grind-infected ultra-violence of Revenge are going to especially dig Nuclearhammer's hostile, frenzied blastscapes, but this gets high recommendations for anyone into the more forward-thinking, experimental black/death chaos found with bands like Antediluvian and Mitochondrion which Nuclearhammer's glistening cosmic blastwar is most aligned with. Comes in gorgeous gatefold packaging with album art from Krag Prxzm of Paroxsihzem.


OPIUM WARLORDS   Taste My Sword Of Understanding   CD   (Svart Records)    14.98



   Available on CD and gatefold LP (with digital download).
   Taste My Sword of Understanding is a fairly odd album from Sami Hynninen's weirdo doom metal project Opium Warlords, though certainly no more odd than any of the previous records that he's put out with this outfit. The third album from the Warlords remains in the same weird psych-metal realm that Hynninen has been exploring since starting this in 2009 after the demise of the band Reverend Bizarre, which Hynninen performed with under the name Albert Witchfinder; he's obviously got a lust for the most grueling of slow-motion of metal, but this stuff is pretty experimental compared to any of his other bands, deconstructing traditional doom metal into something stranger and more abstract, while always lingering at the altar of the monstrous power-riff as his music makes its long , slow slide into occult dronemetal delirium.
   Opener "The Sadness Of Vultures" kicks the Warlords' latest off with the sound of a lone amplified guitar unfurling its distorted rumbling chords over bits of low dissonant piano and bone-scraping guitar-string abuse; this first song isn't too far removed from the minimalist drone-metal of early Earth or even some of Fushitsusha's more primitive out-guitar dirges, with random guitar noise scraping and erupting from the constant slow motion assault on the instrument, that morose riff continually churning in the void. All of the other songs on Taste roughly follow in a similar vein, sculpted around a big dozy riff or two, often wandering (or stumbling) through long sprawling passages of instrumental heaviness. The sound shifts from a weird sort of theatrical doom metal akin to Paul Chain and Death SS to more abstract passages of corroded guitar noise and formless, monstrous psychedelia; at other times, Hynninen's plodding hypno-metal resembles a more zonked out, prog-damaged Sleep, pummeling you with a spaced-out metallic gallop. The lumbering Sabbathian power of "The Self-Made Man" is heightened by Hynninen's distinctive, clear singing, his deep voice bringing a regal air to the song's increasingly progged-out sprawl, before descending into angular, sinister heaviness awash with funereal pipe organs and emotional, strangled melodic guitar solos. Hynninen's vocals transform into a wretched, abject howl on "The God In Ruins", which heads into a depressive downward spiral while guitars slowly weaves a sorrowful, muted melody before turning into apocalyptic tympani-and-piano tinged doom-blues. There's droning, monotone chanting and distant harmonium-like drones that intertwine over the languid, circular riffage of "The Solar Burial", and the hushed, pensive slowcore of "This Place Has Been Passed" vaguely resembles one of Timothy Renner's heavier psychedelic moments, splattered in brief bursts of dub-like effects and processed cymbal noise, electric piano notes glimmering like wisps of dying starlight. From gluey hypno rock to brain-damaged drone to instrumental sludge-pop, Hynninen creates some singularly strange metal on this album, a confusional heaviness that is quickly becoming synonymous with the name Opium Warlords.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Solar Burial
Sample : The Sadness Of Vultures
Sample : Mount Meru



OPIUM WARLORDS   Taste My Sword Of Understanding   2 x LP   (Svart Records)    33.00



   Available on CD and gatefold LP (with digital download).
   Taste My Sword of Understanding is a fairly odd album from Sami Hynninen's weirdo doom metal project Opium Warlords, though certainly no more odd than any of the previous records that he's put out with this outfit. The third album from the Warlords remains in the same weird psych-metal realm that Hynninen has been exploring since starting this in 2009 after the demise of the band Reverend Bizarre, which Hynninen performed with under the name Albert Witchfinder; he's obviously got a lust for the most grueling of slow-motion of metal, but this stuff is pretty experimental compared to any of his other bands, deconstructing traditional doom metal into something stranger and more abstract, while always lingering at the altar of the monstrous power-riff as his music makes its long , slow slide into occult dronemetal delirium.
   Opener "The Sadness Of Vultures" kicks the Warlords' latest off with the sound of a lone amplified guitar unfurling its distorted rumbling chords over bits of low dissonant piano and bone-scraping guitar-string abuse; this first song isn't too far removed from the minimalist drone-metal of early Earth or even some of Fushitsusha's more primitive out-guitar dirges, with random guitar noise scraping and erupting from the constant slow motion assault on the instrument, that morose riff continually churning in the void. All of the other songs on Taste roughly follow in a similar vein, sculpted around a big dozy riff or two, often wandering (or stumbling) through long sprawling passages of instrumental heaviness. The sound shifts from a weird sort of theatrical doom metal akin to Paul Chain and Death SS to more abstract passages of corroded guitar noise and formless, monstrous psychedelia; at other times, Hynninen's plodding hypno-metal resembles a more zonked out, prog-damaged Sleep, pummeling you with a spaced-out metallic gallop. The lumbering Sabbathian power of "The Self-Made Man" is heightened by Hynninen's distinctive, clear singing, his deep voice bringing a regal air to the song's increasingly progged-out sprawl, before descending into angular, sinister heaviness awash with funereal pipe organs and emotional, strangled melodic guitar solos. Hynninen's vocals transform into a wretched, abject howl on "The God In Ruins", which heads into a depressive downward spiral while guitars slowly weaves a sorrowful, muted melody before turning into apocalyptic tympani-and-piano tinged doom-blues. There's droning, monotone chanting and distant harmonium-like drones that intertwine over the languid, circular riffage of "The Solar Burial", and the hushed, pensive slowcore of "This Place Has Been Passed" vaguely resembles one of Timothy Renner's heavier psychedelic moments, splattered in brief bursts of dub-like effects and processed cymbal noise, electric piano notes glimmering like wisps of dying starlight. From gluey hypno rock to brain-damaged drone to instrumental sludge-pop, Hynninen creates some singularly strange metal on this album, a confusional heaviness that is quickly becoming synonymous with the name Opium Warlords.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Solar Burial
Sample : The Sadness Of Vultures
Sample : Mount Meru



PALLBEARER   Sorrow And Extinction (GREEN/PURPLE)   2 x LP   (20 Buck Spin)    24.99



Back in print on vinyl via this 2014 repress on green/purple vinyl, a limited-edition gatefold double Lp by 20 Buck Spin...
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 "Szomorú vasárnap" ("Gloomy Sunday") by Hungarian composer Rezső 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



PESTILENCE   Obsideo   LP   (Back On Black)    19.98



Finally available again on vinyl, on colored wax in a limited edition of one thousand copies.
Boy, between this and that new Gorguts album, 2013 had been a fantastic year for fans of classic prog-death. Since reforming a few years ago after a fifteen year break, legendary Dutch death metallers Pestilence have released a pair of albums that met with differing levels of enthusiasm from within their fan base, but on Obsideo, it seems as if the band has finally found it's groove again, so to speak. I've been a big fan of these guys going all the way back to their earlier, thrashier albums from the late 80s (Consuming Impulse remains an all-time favorite), but the Pestilence stuff that I simply can't get enough of is the more experimental, jazz-damaged material that they began to explore in the following decade, particularly the alien death metal quasi-classic Spheres. Released in 1993, Pestilence's fourth album is one of the strangest death metal albums ever recorded; though it was spurned by most death metal fans at the time, it has since gone on to develop a cult following amongst fans of Lovecraftian deathjazz fusion. So while I've come to peace with the fact that I'm not going to get another Spheres from these guys, I have been hoping that they would return to the more adventurous, riff-heavy feel of their older material, and I'm happy to report that Obsideo proves to be a much better than what I had expected.
Featuring founding member Patrick Mameli and longtime guitarist Patrick Uterwijk alongside a new batch of musicians, this new version of Pestilence has finally focused their mutant hybrid of brutal technical death metal and sweeping jazz-fusion into something truly punishing on Obsideo. Opening with the sounds of sudden cardiac failure, the atmosphere for the band's nightmarish astral deathvision is laid out almost immediately. The whole first half of the album is fantastic, and highlights include the high gravity breakdown that suddenly opens up in the middle of "Transition" and threatens to swallow the entire band in it's sudden crushing groove; the jagged angular violence of "Necromorph" that fragments into gusts of digital decay and rotting fractal forms, riffs skipping and stuttering amid the slithering mathy death metal, slipping into brief moments of glitchy chaos; the catchy but absolutely punishing blast of shambling progdeath titled "Laniatus" that delivers one of the album's most sickening, neck-disintegrating riffs. There's a lot of killer stuff on here, the songs balancing the band's ferocious acrobatic musicianship with their more brutal, pummeling tendencies, offering a cool mix of their crushing death metal heaviness and the more complex and ambitious jazz-fusion influenced stuff, riffs shifting fluidly from crushing chromatic down-tuned heaviness into sweeping dissonant textures and furious fusiony shred. And Mameli's vocals have improved tenfold since the previous album, his putrid snarl more in line with his foul delivery on the classic Testimony Of The Ancients.
Obsideo delivers one massive grooving chug-blast after another, and no matter how complex the band's jazzy explorations and off-kilter progged-out blasting becomes, they're always ready to steamroll over you in a moments notice with another of their slow-motion destructo-grooves. Even then, at their most devastating and crushing, though, Pestilence will subtly slip out of rhythm, causing stutters in the groove like a machine slipping out of gear, creating an awesome, off-kilter effect for the listener. Great stuff. These guys keep things tightly focused, the album clocking in at just over a half hour with almost nothing in the way of filler, delivering a killer progressive death metal album that never sacrifices the power of the riff for sheer wankery. It's by far the best of Pestilence's post-comeback albums.
Track Samples:
Sample : Soulrot
Sample : Obsideo
Sample : Necromorph
Sample : Laniatus



PHURPA   Mantras Of Bön   CD   (Zoharum)    14.98



   Few albums managed to suck me into their aural abyss this autumn as thoroughly as Phurpa's new live collection Mantras Of Bon. Released more or less in tandem with their new full-length on Cyclic Law (which we'll have available here at C-Blast shortly), Mantras showcases several sides to this Russian collective's primal, bewitching sound with a pair of live performances, with one collaboration delivering something markedly different from the band's usual output. With a sound centered around the members' combined immersion in Tibetan chant and Mongolian throat singing traditions along with a heavy dose of Tantric mysticism, Phurpa mix these ancient spiritual practices with post-industrial sounds to create something new and evocative, their recordings often taking shape as sprawling shadow-worlds inhabited by little else than the chilling sound of overtone singing.
   For the first half of Mantras, however, Phurpa recedes into the shadows to provide a hushed accompaniment to guest vocalist Alissa Nicolai. The two live tracks with Nicolai come from a pair of Russian performances, totaling almost a half hour. The group weaves a muted tapestry of dim, distant drones and subterranean movement, over which soars the often terrifying non-verbal vocalizations of Nicolai, whose avant-garde delivery is comparable to the likes of Diamanda Galas or Jarboe; her high, keening wail and monstrous goblinoid ululations cast a seriously creeped-out vibe across the performance, her seemingly wordless howling floating ghostlike over the hushed black ambience. As the set progresses, her voice contorts more violently into murderous whisperings and horrific witch-like shrieks, and on the second track Phurpa themselves begin to rise out of the darkness, tracing dark whorls of cavernous sonic drift and funerary orchestral murk across the blackness, emitting clouds of ritualistic glottal drone. One can easily imagine Nicolai hunched over piles of bones in some vast underground ossuary, shrieking into the depths as the hooded, hidden members of Phurpa lurk in the shadows. Spooky, mesmerizing stuff that often gets pretty blackened and abrasive, one of the most terrifying things I've heard from this group.
   It's not till the second half of the disc, subtitled Part II: Phurpa Bön Ceremonies, that we finally come to the sort of chant-driven abyssal driftscapes that Phurpa is better known for. Three long live tracks , the shortest fifteen minutes long, blending together the deep, glottal rumble of their vocal chords with intermittent temple bells, swells of metallic resonance, cymbals and gongs, and bits of whirring cavernous drift. There's a stunning live rendition of their composition "Mu-Ye" captured at the CTM Berlin experimental music festival, a track that had previously appeared on a recent cassette release on Lust Vessel; the other two are apparently unique to this live album. As each track takes shape, the vocalists gradually join one another, layering their ominous droning voices until it converges into a monstrous tomb-chant; the sound is spacious and subterranean, each voice occupying its own place in the mix, the voices and abstract sounds carefully layered into a midnight-hued death-mantra rumbling across the remainder of the album, unfolding into a primordial ur-drone that almost resembles the extended blast of some unholy didgeridoo roaring through deep, vast chambers in the earth. An intoxicating recording from this group, best experienced cranked up in the dark in order to simulate the hermetic void from which this performance flowed.
   Limited to five hundred copies, Mantras comes in a cool-looking six-panel gatefold digi-sleeve with shadow-draped images of sacrificial daggers, smoke-wreathed ceremonial chambers, and a fearsome close-up of Nicolai shrieking into her microphone, bizarre metal spikes jutting from her fingers like some nightmare bio-mechanical gauntlet...
Track Samples:
Sample : Mu-Ye - Live At CTM Berlin
Sample : Mi Dud
Sample : Live In St. Petersburg



PLANNING FOR BURIAL / LIAR IN WAIT   split   7" VINYL   (Broken Limbs)    6.50



   Broken Limbs brings us another killer split 7" featuring some of current faves, this one pairing up one new song each from gothic post-punk throwback Liar In Wait and noise-damaged dreampop outfit Planning For Burial.
    If you dug the intensely blown-out gloompop of Planning For Burial's latest album Desideratum, their song "Mischief Night" delivers more of that level of quality, a similarly fuzz-drenched flurry of industrialized distorto-pop bliss that finds itself lost in a blizzard of saturated hiss, with lovely chiming guitar chords crashing over hypnotic drum machine rhythms and those deliriously drowsy crooned vocals that made me feel like I was listening to some long-lost Creation Records platter. An utterly gorgeous piece of music, bathing its brittle shoegazey haze in a perfect amount of white noise, balanced on the edge between nostalgia and obliteration.
    Over on the other side, Liar In Wait (a side project from some of the guys in black metal outfit Wolvhammer) bring us another one of their fantastic post-punk workouts with "Paper Houses", a driving, dolorous gloom anthem woven around throbbing bass guitar and dark jangling guitars. Like the EP that came out on Profound Lore last year, this sounds more like a juiced up version of Cold Cave than the true heir to the likes of Sisters Of Mercy and Joy Division that Liar In Wait have often been described as (the singer in particular has a slightly off-key delivery comparable to Cold Cave front man Wesley Eisold), but who gives a shit - this song is catchy as hell, a brooding bit of propulsive darkwave soaked in sadness and regret, with a mournfully sweet hook smoldering at the center of their frigid, heartache-fueled pop.
   Limited to five hundred copies, includes a digital download.


PROSCENIUM   Behind The Curtain   CD   (Memento Mori)    11.98



   Behind The Curtain is the debut album of Swedish gloom from Anders Calderon's solo project Proscenium, released in 2005 on the German black industrial/occult ambient label Memento Mori. With this first album, Calderon pulls back the black curtains to reveal a ghostly realm of mournful strings, distant martial drumming, spare melancholy piano work and raspy, ghoulish vocals that, on the opening track "The Light Of Day Slowly Fades", come together into a strange sort of sepulchral darkwave. It's an interesting sound permeates much of the album, drawing from the classic Cold Meat aesthetic while offering something a little more offbeat, threading these tracks with baroque imagery and dark philosophical lyrics, much of the material revolving around the passages of beautiful, florid piano. That and other classical instrumentation recur through the album, accompanied by operatic female voices that drift languorously across the blackened background, wafts of spectral beauty rising over sparse, booming tympani-like percussion and slowly billowing plumes of dread-filled French horn, liturgical choirs wavering and shifting beneath evil hissing invocations. This all builds into a vast dark symphonic grandeur, as anguished cries and crazed ululations echo in the distance, and terrified shrieks melt back into the shadows adding a nightmarish feel, while sinister bass drones pulse in the depths and grim kosmische synths drift out like a fog breaking apart. Proscenium's baroque darkwave sort of sounds like something that could have come off the Projekt label, but it's also more morbid, a mix of depressing orchestral synth music and finely crafted graveyard ambience, a little like Aghast crossed with some maudlin neo-classical, perhaps. Damn gorgeous stuff, though, unfolding like some black mausoleum opera lurking with demonic presences. A little-known project that you should definitely check out if you're into stuff like early Mortiis, Aghast, Dapnom, Profane Grace, Murderous Vision and Puissance.
Track Samples:
Sample : Unsung
Sample : These Walls Bleed
Sample : The Light of Day Slowly Fades



PROSCENIUM   Weltschmerz   CD   (Dark Vinyl)    11.98



   More creepy, chthonic darkwave from Swedish artist Anders Calderon and his one-man project Proscenium; I dug the debut album Behind The Curtain from this project, but second album Weltschmerz from 2007 is even better, continuing to explore that baleful darkwave-tinged sound while bringing in added elements of seriously evil-sounding electro throb and smatterings of desolate death-dub that really elevate this above the usual death-industrial racket. The title track that opens the album has those signature traits that we heard on Proscenium's debut, eerie operatic female voices wailing in the background, strains of morose neo-classical strings and plaintive piano, those distorted, demonic vocals that seethe with a strange enmity beneath the washes of elegant orchestral darkness, like some jet-black power electronics nightmare infused with bits of funereal symphony and pulsating electronics. Those electronic elements feel a lot more prominent this time around, with parts of this slipping into an almost Skinny Puppy-esque electro-industrial vibe at certain points, such as on "The Promised Land" where Calderon uses vocoder-like effects over the twisted, evil darkwave that emerges throughout the track, one of the album's strongest moments. Throughout Weltschmerz, the music also shifts into these moments of weirdly pastoral prettiness that create a jarring shift in mood from the utterly abject and sorrowful feel of the rest of the album, but mostly this is dark, sinister stuff, with ghostly choir voices slowly drifting through the darkness, liturgical chants moving like fog across hypnotic looped percussive sounds that coalesce into the stamp of boots marching across cracked, blackened earth, that sound woven into a mesmeric backbeat; washes of sustained orchestral strings are stretched out into vast, bleak dronescapes, while pounding militant rhythms and blasts of strident war-horns combine with more majestic classical arrangements. As with the previous album, a lot of Proscenium's often fearsome orchestral bombast and hellish ambience will probably appeal to fans of Mortiis's early dungeon music works and the graveyard symphonies of Aghast, but the heavier use of electronic sounds and rhythms on Weltschmerz also evoke something similar to some of the darker and more malevolent sounding recordings from Shinjuku Thief.
Track Samples:
Sample : Weltschmerz
Sample : The Promised Land
Sample : Crusade Indulgence



PSYCHONAUT 75   Hellmachine   CD   (Memento Mori)    11.98



   Another perversely infectious album of Satanic electro-industrial from Psychonaut 75 that we pulled from the vaults of the now dormant occult/industrial/ambient label Memento Mori, 2005's Hellmachine was the fifth and final album from this outfit headed by Michael W. Ford of vampyric black metallers Black Funeral. With his crew of leather-clad industrialists, Ford continued to combine his obsessions with ritual ambient music, the philosophies of Aleister Crowley, and Left Hand Path / Luciferian practices with what by now had evolved into a hard-hitting Wax Trax-esque EBM assault. The band's final call to the Luciferian Youth took their satanic Skinny Puppy-like industrial even deeper into the realm of hardcore techno, something that had infected parts of previous albums to a varying degree, but which here becomes the foundation for the eleven tracks that make up Hellmachine. Monotonous, distorted kick drums pound relentlessly at the heart of most of these tracks, brute-force assaults on the white light coming as a volley of pounding machinelike rhythms, stripping techno down to a pneumatic blast. The mesmeric sound of tribal drums and tabla-like rhythms swirl beneath the cold, distorted synths, and the percussive rattle of human bones potentially haunt the depths of the mix, all adding a ritualistic vibe to the recording. Menacing female vocals are run through various processors, transforming into weird witchy wailing and frenzied ululations that are blurred and warped against the background of droning electronics, swells of ghostly graveyard ambience and sinister arpeggiated melodies. Tracks like "Watcher" and "Father Of Lies" throb like some malignant bio-mechanical abomination, but then can peel away to reveal more melodic moments, like the ominous synthpop that emerges throughout the "Instinct Theory" and "Serpents"; the latter song is particularly bewitching with its understated female vocals and catchy, menacing melody. Ford even gets all Andrew Eldritch on us with the off-kilter gothiness of "Rusted Tongues", which also features the album's best combination of trance-inducing dance music and morbid ritual tendencies. Granted, all of the abrasive raver-synth stabs and the general one-note tempo of the album might end up being a little too techno for some, and the heavy gothic fumes that emit from certain parts of the album can get a little overwrought as well, but I'm still a fan of it's fetishistic imagery and evil electro-industrial. Lacking much of the surreal, Suspiria-goes-rave vibe of the previous album, Hellmachine isn't my favorite Psychonaut 75 album, but this is still pretty cool stuff if you're into this strain of Satanic electro-industrial/techno/electronic music.
Track Samples:
Sample : Watcher
Sample : Hellmachine
Sample : Enemy Of The Faith



PSYCHONAUT 75   Stealing The Fire From Heaven   CD   (Memento Mori)    11.98



   Released by the now dormant German occult ambient/black industrial label Memento Mori, 2001's Stealing The Fire From Heaven is the fourth album from Satanic industrialists Psychonaut 75, a group fronted by Michael Ford, prolific occult author and member of black metal outfit Black Funeral, and featuring members of another of Ford's many projects, Hexentanz. For roughly a decade, Psychonaut 75 explored a mix of ritualistic ambience and demonic electro-industrial, these sounds often mingling together to produce a twisted, evil, yet frequently floor-stomping sound that would continue to move further and further with each new album into EBM-infected regions of technoid witchcraft. By the time that Stealing The Fire came out, Psychonaut 75 had begun to infuse a pounding, Skinny Puppy-esque malevolence with traces of black metal-esque extremism, mainly in Ford's vocal delivery which on this album appears as a mix of harsh, rasping shrieks blurred behind heavy distortion that betray his black metal roots, disaffected moans and ritualistic chanting smeared in a heavy haze of electronic effects. Ford's occult obsessions continue to inform the band's imagery and themes, but it's just as easy to be simply swept up in the album's harsh, danceable industrial. Squelchy synth-filth gurgles over the relentless throb of the drum machines, and tracks like "Ugly Ecstasy (Fire Mix)" and "Set Daemonum - The Opposer" sound like some perverse mutated techno bubbling up from a vile black pit of gonkulated electronics. Tracks are laced with blasphemous samples and sulfurous fragments of Luciferian imagery, and deep in these frenzied noisescapes, you may be able to detect the clatter of human bones, their rattling used to percussive effect. Brutalist techno rhythms hammer at your skull over charred, droning synthesizers, while devils snarl ravenously in the depths of the mix, alongside weird witchy shrieks that sound like something off of the Suspiria soundtrack, and the sound of distant wailing female voices rising in ecstatic ululation. For long stretches of Stealing The Fire, the group blends the gibberish of the demoniacally possessed and the howling delirium of a witch's Sabbath with the grim throb of something vaguely akin to Gashed Senses & Crossfire / Caustic Grip-era Front Line Assembly. Most of this is heavily influenced by that classic European electro-industrial sound, but the deeply menacing, hellish vibe on this is much darker and more twisted, bathed in the light of the Black Flame, and draped in a wonderfully surreal, witchy vibe, and they still manage to descend into the sort of swirling, lysergically-scorched ritual ambience that was the focus of earlier albums on tracks like "Phosphorus - Lucifer Ascending". This stuff was way too weird and evil for your everyday EBM-obsessed rivethead, and entirely too goddamn danceable for black metallers, but fans of Disease-era G.G.F.H. and artists like Worms Of The Earth should check this out. Features album art from Michael Riddick.
Track Samples:
Sample : stealing the fire from heaven
Sample : set daemonum - the opposer
Sample : lord of the crossroads



QLOAQA LETAL   Nunca, Siempre   LP   (Metadona)    21.00



   A reissue of the an amazing Spanish punk obscurity that came out way back in 1983, released only on tape and circulating in the decades since on shit-quality dubs, building a small but ardent cult following amongst fans of weirdo hardcore and devotees of Spanish punk rock. Nunca, Siempre appears to have been the only studio recording that Qloaqa Letal put out during their brief existence, but these eleven songs on this demo are total rippers, a haunting, tinny, noise-damaged proto-hardcore attack shrouded in the band's almost industrial-tinged production. While these songs were reissued around a decade ago on an atrocious-looking tape and CD release, this new LP from Metadona does this material right, presenting Nunca, Siempre in a stark black and white sleeve with the striking, somewhat creepy image of singer Rouky Letal skanking across the cover, cutting a formidable figure in his white pancake makeup and torn fishnets and leather attire, like some androgynous street-fiend straight out of a German Expressionist nightmare. The music itself has been properly re-mastered for this record, and it sounds terrific while keeping the band's super-abrasive sound intact. Combining an odd mix of super-catchy pogo punk, furious hardcore blasts, shambling, almost industrial-tinged dirges, and a nascent post-punk vibe, Qloaqa Letal certainly sound pretty unique here. The bass is mixed higher than the guitar, which appears as a shrill, super-distorted buzz in the background when not cutting some sinister riffs, sometimes billowing out into a fried-out, noisy cloud of amp-fuzz. Rouky's deranged sneer echoes across the album's off-kilter punk, while the songs veer from the primitive, blasting thrash of "Desesperación" to militant, drum-machine like rhythms and eerie post-punk melodies that appear on "Destroy", evoking shades of early Killing Joke. "Ya Te Vale Policía" and "Soy Un Asesino" are pure pogo bliss that have what sounds like ultra-distorted horn sections blaring behind them, while the more experimental "Odio" combines samples and squalls of sinister guitar noise over a droning bass line and repetitious, mechanical drumbeat. Dark, offbeat punk rock that smolders with a killer outsider vibe, one of the most interesting and addictive early Spanish punk bands I've come across. And I'm really in love with the demo's blown-out, super saturated, treble-cranked production quality, which combines perfectly with the sheer catchiness and energy of these tracks to turn this into a kind of infectiously poppy noise-punk. Massively recommended to anyone into weird, dark early hardcore and punk freakery. Includes a lyric insert.
Track Samples:
Sample : Nunca, siempre
Sample : Caos S.A.
Sample : Soy un asesino



REVENGE   Attack.Blood.Revenge   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    26.98



Now available in a new vinyl edition, housed inside of a hardback casewrapped gatefold jacket with black foil-stamped printing and bound in black cloth, with an eight page booklet glued into the jacket. On black vinyl.
New 2014 edition of this collection of early recordings from cult Canadian black chaos metallers Revenge. Often described as "bestial black death", less is spoken of just how out-there Revenge's ultra-violent metal is; continuing on the warped noise-damaged trajectory as Read's previous outfit Conqueror, Revenge took that sound into a more complex and corrosive direction, cranking up the noisiness even more with an ultra-distorted guitar sound that could blow their shit out into Merzbowian levels of hyperblasting ear-hate. The band has a number of blistering albums out on Red Stream that are all the highest echelons of blackgrind barbarism, but Revenge's earliest recordings have long been hard to come by in physical form.
The earliest material featured on this disc is the band's 2001 EP Attack.Blood.Revenge, a four-song nightmare of crushing dissonant guitar and crazed atonal solos, horrific bestial screams and one of the most rabid-sounding vocal attacks ever, strewn across gut-churning blower-bass and Read's utterly batshit cyclonic drumming, which expands on his monstrous blasts and pummeling tribal beats from Conqueror, whipping up nuclear-fueled deathstorms of crazed off-kilter blastbeats, punishing breakdowns, and bonecrushing mid-paced grindpunk riffs; like Conqueror, Revenge summoned an ultra-violent sound on this EP that was more closely related to the rabid chaos of bands like Nuclear Death and Scum-era Napalm Death than classic black metal, but these songs also seethe with a pitiless contempt for humanity, fueled by a flesh-scorching Social Darwinist philosophy that'll turn a social justice warrior's hair white. Gotta say though, I don't think I've ever heard Revenge swing quite the way they do on the cover of Bathory's "War" that also appears here, probably the closest this band has ever gotten to anything remotely rock n' roll. The two songs from the 2002 Superion.Command.Destroy 7" are even more savage and deformed, ultra-noisy blast attacks that border on toppling into total noisecore, with more of those monstrous pitch-shifted roars and gratuitous use of that abrasive string-scraping pick slide. The noise elements that appeared intermittently on Conqueror's recordings are considerably amped up here, with more bizarre, fleshcrawling vocal processing (what the fuck is going on with those Deadite vocals on "Annihilate or Serve"?) and washes of echo-laden noise that feel like the aural residue from an abattoir. The disc is rounded out by the track from the 2003 split 7" with Arkhon Infaustus, "Deathless Will", and a cover of Von's "Lamb" that originally appeared on the NWN Fest Volume I compilation - essential stuff for fans of Read's chaotic deathnoise.
Track Samples:
Sample : Yabssor Born (Intro)
Sample : Vengeance Absolute
Sample : Blood Division
Sample : Annihilate Or Serve



REVERORUM IB MALACHT   De Mysteriis Dom Christi   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    10.98



   The latest album of mysterious liturgical black metal from Swedish outfit Reverorum Ib Malacht, De Mysteriis Dom Christi continues the band's penchant for releasing their music in unusual configurations, here putting out a CD, LP and cassette that each contains completely different, unique music. Possibly even more infuriating to black metal puritans and fans of the band's earlier alignment with the Swedish 'anti-cosmic' black metal scene is the fact that in recent years the two members of Reverorum Ib Malacht have apparently become admitted converts to Catholicism. Granted, if you read any interviews with the band, it's clear that they have most definitely not turned into a Christian metal band, but it does add to the band's strange mystique alongside the rather chaotic, off-kilter black metal that they deliver on De Mysteriis. When the album opens, "Credo" thrusts the listener into a garbled din of sinister muttering and conspiratorial whispers, low juddering noises and rumbling bass that pushes out in over-modulated waves, almost resembling some mangled power electronics outfit at first, immediately casting a deranged pall over the album. That noisy quality carries over into "Domini Est Terra", as distant church bells toll over a crackling lock-groove loop, those menacing Latin voices lurking in the background, and then the sound dimly blooms into a rush of murky black metal, majestic riffage unfurling in a thick chthonic fog, surrounded by fragments of dissonant orchestral horror and wafts of atmospheric synthlike textures.
   Pretty abstract stuff, almost venturing into Gnaw Their Tongues-style territory with those immensely creepy strings and synths; but this definitely has it's own warped vibe, the guitars diffused and swallowed so deeply into the mix that they seem to smear into a distant indistinct wash of sound, the deranged liturgical chants and hymn-like voices rising and falling across the song's delirious ramshackle blast. The drumming is loose and frantic, fraying at the edge as he careens through the song's murky dreamlike terrain, and then it almost seems to come into focus as the ghost of some lethal, neck-snapping black metal riff hurtles out of the fog. The album continues to wander through this strange blackened landscape, into the pulsating electronic thrum and graveyard ambience of "Bre'shith" that unfurls into vast Lustmordian majesty, jet-black kosmische drift stretching into infinity, then erupting into classic Mayhem-esque black metal on "The Chaos Was Created Out Of Nothing" and "O Ignee Spiritus", enshrouded in that ghastly reverb-drenched murkiness, growing ever more chaotic as that weird ecclesiastical singing sweeps in, blurring the grimy black blast with reverential tones. Deep synth-drones hum in the depths of "Oûtós-estin O-yiós-mou"'s unsettling black ambience, while other songs lurch through droning, hypnotic black hypnosis that almost feels like some twisted Om-esque psychedelia adorned in the trappings of a phantasmal Black Mass . The rest of De Mysteriis drifts out into nocturnal dreamfields laced with vague EVP and eerie minor key guitars, clanking percussion and layered voices, or bursting briefly into industrial pandemonium; vicious blackened aggression dissolves into putrid shrieks and raga-like drones that become suspended in the abyss, finally closing the album with the funereal doom of "Hwar Christen Människia", as ghostly female singing lilts over the spare, dismal dirge, ending this with a gorgeous, final dissonant crawl.
Track Samples:
Sample : ÿþOûtós-estin O-yiós-mou
Sample : O Ignee Spiritus
Sample : Domini est Terra



REVERORUM IB MALACHT   De Mysteriis Dom Christi   CASSETTE   (Ajna Offensive)    8.98



   Sure to madden some, but the fact that the mysterious experimental black metal outfit Reverorum ib Malacht released not one but three different albums under the title De Mysteriis Dom Christi can only be celebrated by fans of the band, who haven't put out anything new since 2011's Urkaos. Released on vinyl, cassette and CD, each of these versions of De Mysteriis contains almost completely different music; there's a couple of recurring elements that appear throughout all three, but for the most part these are totally different.
    At some point in the last several years, this shadowy Swedish duo (made up of former members of Emit, Ofermod, Dödfödd and Symphonia Sacrosancta Phasmatvm) expanded even further upon the liturgical themes found on earlier releases like What Do You Think of the Old God, We Call Him Judas? by adopting Catholic theology, and apparently themselves even converting to Catholicism, something that unsurprisingly peeved many of their fans. Sometimes referring to their sound as "Roman Catholic Black Metal", it almost feels as if the band is sticking their thumb in the eye of those sworn to black metal orthodoxy, but nothing about the feel or sound of Reverorum ib Malacht's music has changed; "unblack" metal, this is not. If anything, De Mysteriis sees them becoming even more surrealistic and suffocating in their sound, and the cassette version offers some of the triptych's most unsettling material. The album has been described by some as being particularly "noisy", but while there's often a heavy layer of murk that hangs over moments of the album, this isn't quite as murky and cavernous as their 2005 debut Old God. As a matter of fact, De Mysteriis Dom Christi features some of the most straightforward black metal material I've heard from the band, though to be sure, this is still very strange stuff, often erupting into howling, nightmarish chaos.
    Made up of two epic, half-hour long tracks, the tape begins with the powerful cathedral blast of "Pt. I: You Are My Disciples...", drifting between stretches of majestic, bleary black metal and passages of abstract liturgical ambience. As with the other versions of the album, the black metal passages have a reckless, ramshackle feel, the drummer furiously blasting and rumbling through a thick grey fog of droning keyboards and smeared minor-key melody, the riffs stretched into long, droning requiems that snake through the multi-chambered misery of the band's sprawling sonic delirium. The vocals shift like vapor from dramatic, almost operatic bellowing to bizarre strangled cries, and there's even some surprisingly emotional crooning that adds an unexpected punch when the singer kicks in over the slower, reverb-drenched dirge that appears later in the song.
    The other track "Pt. II: Herre Jesu Krist", however, heads in a distinctly different direction, crawling across the second side of the tape with a shuffling, almost dub-tinged beat while weird processed singing and layers of disturbing electronic dissonance slowly unfurl across the track. There's a strange industrial vibe to this side, the way that the lumbering beat reverberates through a cacophony of crooning voices and atonal guitar, but as it continues to skulk across the side, evil doom-laden riffs start to seep up out of the ghastly din, thrusting from clouds of discordant orchestral noise and deformed synth. There's a strange beauty to the second half of the tape, even as it shifts into an almost death industrial-like expanse of minimal rhythmic throb and spectral electronics later on, before finally transforming into a gloriously warped wash of processed hymn like chant. There's a dreamlike feel to all of this, laced with those echoing choral chants, opening into moments of unexpected beauty as mournful symphonic synths ascend over furious blasting, or coming apart into lysergic chaos that almost begins to take on crazed, Gnaw Their Tongues-like mania. Still one of the most unique bands to come out of the Swedish black metal underground.
Track Samples:
Sample : Pt. I: You Are My Disciples...
Sample : Pt. II: Herre Jesu Krist



RITUAL CHAMBER   The Pits Of Tentacled Screams   CASSETTE   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    6.00



   I love sheer sonic brutality as much as the next guy, but when it comes to death metal, my favorite stuff in that vein will always be the music that goes more for a weird, monstrous vibe. Ritual Chamber delivers. It's the latest project from Italian (now transplanted to San Francisco) death/black metaller Dario J. Derna, who goes by the moniker Numinas within his various outfits; Derna has been around since the early 90s, playing in all manner of bands, some of 'em fairly well known within extreme metal circles: Vetus Obscurum, Drawn and Quartered, Krohm, Abazagorath, Infester, Funebrarum, Meat Shits and iconic funereal doomdeath band Evoken have all included Derna/Numinas at one point or another. Ritual Chamber's debut demo delivers that sort of weird, otherworldly heaviness that I dig so much, each of these five songs churning through a maelstrom of inchoate chromatic riffing and unintelligible reptilian gasps, the songs shifting from roiling blasts of speed into sour, droning doomdeath. A pretty impressive initial offering from this one-man show, drawing heavily from the Incantation school of primal doom-laden death metal, but dousing the music in dank dungeon reverb and gusts of strange dissonant drone that almost sound like they're coming from a synthesizer.
   This stuff can definitely start to slip over into more hallucinatory, amorphous territory, the blasting black churn of tracks like "Black Rites Of Conjuration" and "Glorious Curse Of Almighty Death" getting pretty close to the sort of suffocating, cavernous ambience that Grave Miasma excels at, but these songs are ultimately rooted in a combination of strong nightmarish riffscapes and haunting, minimal leads that drift like wisps of ectoplasm out of the barbaric black blast. When things slow down on Pits, that's when the strange atmosphere that Derna weaves really comes into full view, the primitive, simplistic (yet crushing) death metal riffage a rumbling rotting backdrop for the wonderfully off-kilter melodies and counter-melodies that climb and crawl and intertwine, but this can also suddenly boil down to the most grueling deathsludge; there's a part on the last song "Nomad Daimons" where it shifts from the blastbeat-driven blur of droning hellishness into a punishing primal breakdown that's one of the most atavistically crushing things I've heard since Necros Christos's Doom Of The Occult. The guitar playing isn't particularly technical, but Derna's peculiar melodic sense is definitely distinctive. One of the best death metal debuts I've picked up lately, roughly falling within the realm of bands like Portal, Grave Miasma, Teitanblood and Impetuous Ritual without sounding derivative. Really looking forward to hearing more from this band.


SADISTIC HATE VS YUDLUGAR   Keep Away From Children   CD   (Legs Akimbo)    8.99



   Yet another new, super-limited reissue from blackened UK speedcore demon Yudlugar, Keep Away From Children is a collection of tracks that has this misanthropic blastmaster teaming up with the Sadistic Hate, another British speedcore artist who shares his obsession with black metal. The hyper-fast technoid attacks on this disc mainly consist of brutal, spluttering speedcore assaults garnished with a variety of nihilistic samples and a serious fixation on classic European black metal, which also informs the raw and abrasive production of Yudlugar's material, going beyond the standard noisiness of speedcore into something that could be described as "necro". Yudlugar has been one of my favorite speedcore artists since hearing his 7"s on Legs Akimbo, and this stuff is mostly in the same vein, furious kick drums blasting beneath trebly blackened guitars and grating distortion, and it's often closer to something like Mysticum than something you'd hear on the dance floor.
   Keep Away From Children mostly features remixes of various material between the two artists: Sadistic Hate lays out moody keyboards ripped right out of a black metal album intro over the blistering, pounding gabber kicks and bursts of squelchy distortion on the opening track "We Create Wonderful Music", with blasts of splittercore noise drilling through your skull like a laser trepanation; his remix of Yudlugar's "Doesn't Make Sense" follows with a similar assault of glitch-riddled speedcore, those black metal guitars sunk deeper into the distorted noise that churns beneath those relentless jackhammering beats, a kind of rabid, blackened gabber caught in an endless spasm of splattered hyperspeed tempos and ice-encrusted melodies. There's an over-the-top remix of Darkthrone via "Wreak (Sadistic Hate's Cold Grim Terror Mix)" that shreds, infesting the 'Throne's original frostbitten epic with an ultra-violent speedcore momentum, and other Sadistic Hate remixes of Yudlugar material include "Crack Butcher (Sadistic Hate's I Am Death Mix)" and "Fist (Sadistic Hate's ...And I Fucking Well Mean 5 Minutes Mix)", both noise-drenched blasts of cranked up technoid brutality that go completely berserk. The harsh noise, swirling clouds of digital artifacts, skull-shredding glitchstorms and splittercore-style sinewave abuse all add to this disc's migraine-inducing potential, the sound so harsh and hellish that it would seriously put any digi-grind band to shame. The two Yudlugar originals, "Bathed In Unicorns" and "Diseased", are utterly vicious as well, almost morphing from that sickening blackened speedcore into a full-on industrial black metal assault a la Aborym or Mysticum, guttural vomitious shrieks tearing out of the crushing blast, the sound violent and barbaric and low-fi, infected with virulent beats and almost breakbeat-like grooves that emerge out of the mechanized chaos. This stuff is pretty far out on the extremes of electronic music, a blasphemous speedcore offensive that's absolutely recommended if you're into the likes of Legionz Ov Hell and Schizoid. comes in a simple cardstock jacket.
Track Samples:
Sample : YUDLUGAR - Die, Die, Die
Sample : SADISTIC HATE - We Create Wonderful Music
Sample : HATEWIRE - Antichrist (Yudlugar Remix)
Sample : DARKTHRONE - Wreak (Sadistic Hate's Cold Grim Terror Mix)



SEKTOR 304   Communiphones   CD   (New Approach)    11.98



   This new full-length album from Sektor 304 is definitely a different sort of listening experience from these Portuguese pummelers, a band that builds their arsenal of apocalyptic noise machines from the cast-off detritus of early 21st century urbanization, building percussive instruments from an array of scavenged scrap metal and junk. If you're primarily familiar with the intensely pressurized Swans / Godflesh-esque mega-crush heard on albums like Soul Cleansing and Subliminal Actions (both of which rank as some of my favorite stuff ever from Malignant Records), the direction that Sektor 304 go in with this new recording might be an unexpected one, featuring a minimal, creaking soundscape whose haunting ambience has only been hinted at between the bludgeoning dirges found on their other releases.
   Communiphones is a single thirty-five minute composition, spanning a vast, bleak industrial driftscape that patiently moves from fields of distant humming feedback and faint tectonic rumble flecked with almost subliminal low-end melodies, to hushed low-end rhythms echoing in the depths of some immense abyss, to unsettling field recordings that have been layered together to resemble the midnight murmurings of a depopulated cityscape, and washes of grainy synthesizer noise sweeping across the rattle of corroded machines as they scrape mindlessly at the earth. While the approach and level of aural intensity is a certainly a shift, the general atmosphere of sped-up urban decay and entropic collapse that permeates this album will be a familiar one to fans of the band. The early part of the album blends those crackling drones and white-noise textures with random metallic clank and rustling debris in a manner somewhat reminiscent of the decayed noisescapes of Schimpfluch-Gruppe's Dave Phillips, though the spooky, theremin-like electronics that writhe in the background throughout large portions of Communiphones add a certain ghostly quality to the recording. It's not till the final third of the album that the sound begins to expand into something more abrasive, as heavy, distorted drones begin to seep up out of the earth, rumbling synthlike monochords begin to rise over the desolation, slowly becoming surrounded by faint metallic shimmer and distant electronic glitchery, and an almost raga-like buzzing that wafts around the low electrical rumble like some unending engine noise buried beneath layers of concrete and dirt. A really impressive album, Communiphones unfolds into an expanse of experimental nocturnal unease that constantly hovers at the edge of twilight. Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Communiphones
Sample : Communiphones
Sample : Communiphones



SEKTOR 304   Live Reaction   CD   (New Approach)    11.98



   These guys embody that classic apocalyptic sturm-und-drang HeadDirt attitude better than any other band currently going. When I first encountered this Portuguese industrial band via their skull crushing 2009 album Soul Cleansing, their mixture of pummeling metallic power, soul-blackeningly bleak atmosphere, and brutal metal-on-metal violence flattened my skull thoroughly; you gotta dig a band that includes "amplified steel plate" among their list of instrumentation. This new live disc from Sektor 304 captures the group summoning a series of violent electrical storm, captured from a number of different performances that took place between 2010 and 2012; just looking at the live shot of the band in the booklet makes me envious of anyone who's been able to catch Sektor 304 live, as the group surrounds themselves on stage with a formidable arsenal of percussive instruments and scavenged metal objects, distorted stringed instruments rumbling off in the corner, the drummer lurking in the background ensconced within a wall of metal, iron bars strung together like some psychotic interpretation of a harp, rectangular sheets of metal suspended together like gongs, one member torturing a sheet of metal on the floor with some kind of high powered sander, sending jets of white sparks scattering across the stage, large oil canisters pounded like primitive war-drums. And from listening to these eight tracks, it certainly sounds like these performances would have been ferocious to behold in the flesh.
   Playing a mix of songs from the Soul Cleansing and Subliminal Actions albums, as well as from their recent Engage... Forwards 7", Sektor 304 move through a perfectly sequenced track list, opening with the desolate industrial ambience of their "Untitled Action I" into the crushing dirgelike heaviness of "Body Hammer" and "Voodoo Machine", Andre Coelho bellowing through a haze of reverb, the brute thud of their droning sludgerumble and tribal rhythms washed with swells of ominous orchestral strings and unsettling electronics, shot through with raga-like drones and juddering machine noises, drifting out into minimal dronescapes dappled with soft metallic reverberations and softly humming feedback. On two of these tracks, the band is joined by Martin Bladh of IRM/Skin Area, who infects the rumbling metalscapes with his nightmarish voice, transforming their sound into malevolent death industrial. Songs like "Vultures" and "Death Mantra" are immensely heavy, crushing industrial dirges that get caught in punishing cyclical loops, the dense percussive power reverberating through your body, while tracks like "Pulse Generator V2" emit clouds of dub-flecked darkness that start to resemble some weird kosmische-streaked Scorn jam. It's pretty impressive how well the different performances flow together - you'd never know that wasn't a single concert without looking at the liner notes. At their heaviest, these guys sit perfectly as a lost link between the nihilistic post-punk pummel of 80's era Swans, the rhythmic power of early Test Dept., and the irradiated mechanical heaviness of Godflesh, but they also have a primitive, feral edge along with touches of classic Swedish death industrial that give certain moments a frisson of frigid, detached horror. I'm not usually a fan of live albums, but this is fucking terrific, any fans of the band should pick this up. Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Vultures
Sample : Pulse Generator V2
Sample : Body Hammer



SETE STAR SEPT   All Is Wrong   LP   (SPHC)    11.99



   Another new record from the insanely prolific Sete Star Sept, who just keep cranking out these slabs of spazzbomb noisegrind; All Is Wrong first appeared as a super-limited CDR and tape, here reissued on vinyl by SPHC with a bonus b-side track that's just as long. As always, the Japanese duo whip up a brutal blast of inchoate grind using just drums, bass and vocals, pushing their speed and distortion into brain-melting extremes.
    The original multi-part skullshred epic "All Is Wrong" is splattered across the first side of the 12", a seventeen minute blastgasm that could be composed of hundreds of individual "tracks", but is instead a single amoebic mass of sputtering guitar noise and shrieking high0-end feedback, the drummer's flailing blastbeats surging in sudden stop-and-go movements, sounding more like a cluster of trashcans being hurled into a dumpster over and over than anything resembling rhythm, gurgling non-verbal screams bubbling up out of the band's blistering sonic muck. This finds the duo locked directly into their full-on noisecore mode, and it's as harsh and violent as these folks get, a sprawling unending collision of spazztoid freeform chaos that only those few freaks addicted to the classic scum-blast of bands like Seven Minutes Of Nausea and early Anal Cunt are gonna dig. Forget "songcraft", this is the use of unbridled blastcore as nerve agent, with only the briefest moments of structure careening out of the pandemonium. This stuff is more akin to the most extreme of free-jazz outfits than anything remotely "metal", and the abusive employment of feedback is closer to the tactics of a power electronics outfit. Once again, these maniacs produce some of the most savage noisecore around.
    The flipside however definitely delivers something different from the band. Titled "All Is Wrong (Acoustic)", this is apparently a remix of the previous side, with the distorted electric guitar switched out for an acoustic. The gargling, horrific vocals and spastic, hyperspeed drumming is all still there, but instead of the screeching atonal noise of the previous version, here the freeform blast is infected with bursts of garbled, scrabbly acoustic guitar; the result is something that sort of resembles legendary UK improviser Derek Bailey jamming with noisecore pioneers Seven Minutes Of Nausea, a maniacal tangle of clacking sticks and PCP-fueled acoustic noodling, rolling toms and electrocuted demon shrieks. Pretty wild stuff.
    Comes on colored vinyl in a basic DJ-style sleeve with labeled artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : All Is Wrong
Sample : All Is Wrong
Sample : All Is Wrong



SETE STAR SEPT / NEW YORK AGAINST THE BELZEBU   split   7" VINYL   (SPHC)    5.98



   Now sold out from the label and totally out of print, this barbaric blast of fucked-up noise/grind mayhem brings you new material from two of the most ear-shredding outfits around, Japanese bass/drums duo Sete Star Sept and Brazilian maniacs New York Against The Belzebu, who have been destroying eardrums for nearly twenty years.
    Sete Star Sept's side detonates like a nail bomb, spewing eleven high-speed fragments of garbled noisegrind and tumbling improvisational violence. More murky and low-fi than some of the other recent releases I've picked up of theirs, but this stuff is still massively abrasive, snarling thirty second blasts of ultra-messy noisecore and monstrous sludge colliding together at high speed, the bass a rumbling mass of indistinct low-end squelch, Kiyasu's drumming a whirlwind of formless chaos that often devolves into utter Merzbowian pandemonium. Awesome.
    Over on New York Against The Belzebu's side, those guys counter with ten short tracks of their maniacal low-fi grindpunk. As with a lot of their stuff, these blastfreaks aren't afraid to actually get musical from time to time, and lace these shambling grindblasts with the occasional melodic solo or bouncy pogo-punk riff or rush of anthemic hardcore, before it all spins back out into inchoate sonic insanity. When they really yank the ripcord, though, their hyperspeed noise turns into a total pukeblast of crashing white noise that'll shear your head off.
   Limited to three hundred copies.


SHADOWMASS   self-titled   CASSETTE   (Phage Tapes)    7.98



   Another project from the guy behind breakcore outfit Slutmachine and the industrial black metal outfit Treachery, Shadowmass delivers some supremely twisted black industrial chaos with this self-titled tape, stumbling through six tracks of sonic carnage that combines murky black metal guitars and sickening demonic screams with primitive thumping rhythms, bursts of screeching feedback and garbled electronics, and a heavy shit-haze of sonic grime.
    The first song "Tearing Out Your Heart Through The Hole In Your Soul " sets the mood nicely with its incoherent mania, at first sounding like some early Throbbing Gristle recording being hijacked by members of the Black Circle, then quickly degenerating into a soup of muffled, distorted drone. The rest of the music featured here is just as wrecked: sinister blackened tremolo riffs slither and swarm across the deformed arrhythmic thud of the drum machine, the sounds of metal junk crashing and echoing across the background, traces of muffled carnival music bleeding through the murk. Rotten black synthesizers pulsate and coil in the depths of the mix, slipping into depraved, almost ritualistic soundscapes on tracks like "XXXI", the deep hum of electricity resonating up from the earth, charging the flesh, filling the air with crackling energy. Naturally, you can hear the echoing screams of classic Mz.412 and even some of Wold's more tortured moments in here, but Shadowmass's putrid blend of industrial noise and black metal is for the most part much more abstract, rarely managing to clamber out of the formless necro-soaked din.
    The second side does head into moodier, more atmospheric territory though; the combination of an almost death industrial-like atmosphere of seething dread with those spiky buzzing riffs becomes especially effective on the aforementioned "XXXI" and "Necrosis", the latter of which even slips into a strange sort of blackened, Skinny Puppy-ish electro while a putrid miasma of murky minor key black metal guitars and hissing deathchants swirls overhead. Filthy, hallucinatory stuff of particular interest to fans of artists like Wold, T.O.M.B., Aderlating, and one of my favorite Phage releases to date. Comes in a screen-printed Arigato-style tape case, limited to one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Tearing Out Your Heart Through The Hole In Your Soul
Sample : Abyssal Royalty
Sample : Necrosis



SHIFT   Altamont Rising   CD   (Cold Spring)    13.98



   A savage new album of acrid power electronics and monstrous death industrial from UK-based outfit Shift, who has previously established themselves with a number of highly praised albums on labels like Freak Animal. On Altamont Rising, sole member Martin Willford invokes a number of cultural touchstones, foremost the notorious and disastrous Altamont Speedway Free Festival in 1969 that signaled the end of the hippie era, though these references are subsumed into a heavy, often unsettling industrial noisescape that moves hazily like a bad dream across the album. As the album opens, what at first sounds like random crowd noise quickly swells up into a ferocious wall of juddering mechanical chaos, a maelstrom of crackling speakergrit and unintelligible voices that quickly establishes the mood of disquiet and fear that proceeds to run through the rest of the disc; there's a fluidity to these seven tracks, the bursts of excoriating static and pounding machine rhythms often flowing into the next song without pause. The whole album feels as if it's one massive forty minute long sonic inferno, the sound coalescing suddenly into a shambling mechanical dirge infested with squealing motors and trashcan-lid percussion, or a lurching, misshapen machine groove drowning in pools of fetid black hiss while furious vocals bellow over top, spittle-flecked denouncements and rusted-out visions of society in collapse laid out over Shift's crushing industrial din. Those strained screams grow more desperate as tracks like "They Don't Suffer Enough" sputter out, collapsing into foul pools of engine grease and black blood. A lot of this stuff achieves a similar level of brutality as Grunt's more recent albums, but there's a dinginess and darkness here that is unique to Shift, heard in the way that he layers radio transmissions and random voices into a spectral murk, intermingling these sounds through the thick clouds of abrasive static that surround the album, ultimately pushing some of the tracks into a kind of ambient harsh noise.
   When the growling synthesizers and pulsating electronics emerge on "Shelter", they bring an even heavier, more oppressive sonic assault, vast distorted drones boring through the sounds of cities in turmoil, the vocals suddenly transforming into a vicious, virtually death metal-style scream that's totally terrifying, even as fragments of classic Stones lyrics are spewed in a vomitblast of utter contempt. And from there the second half of Altamont tumbles over into pure horror, that heavy, rhythmic lurch now fused to the increasingly nightmarish vocals and the general overwhelming atmosphere of violence and chaos that steadily washes across the remainder of the album. There are only the briefest of respites found in the short passages of looping voices and diminished ambient drift that seep from the beginning of the second part of "The Raptors Talons Tore Their Flesh", and the vile whispers and churning sounds of suffering that close the album with "Greatest Ecstasy" somehow manage to reach an even nastier depth of sonic dis-ease. All of Shift's albums have offered deeply unsettling listening experiences, but this one reaches a new level of menace, and stands out as one of the more impressive new power electronics-style albums of this year.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Greatest Ecstasy
Sample : Rising
Sample : Circling Raptor



SHIVERS   self-titled   CD   (Miasmah)    16.99



   Available on digipack CD (limited to five hundred copies) and LP with digital download.
   An interesting debut from this new trio, featuring Dutch experimental musician Rutger Zuydervelt of Machinefabriek fame; joined by members Gareth Davis and Leo Fabriek and taking their name from Canadian director David Cronenberg's classic 1975 film of sexual parasitism Shivers, Zuydervelt creates a dark dreamtime of digital paranoia and mutating flesh with this six-song album, the sounds and imagery heavily influenced by the visions of clinical creepiness and venereal horror found in of Cronenberg's classic oeuvre. When the album opens, the group blends the darkest of free-jazz with distorted, doom-laden electronica that initially slips into an abyssal blackness so immense that it's almost as if you're hearing some strange electronica version of Japanese doom gods Corrupted,; as "Ash" moves through a sprawling, crepuscular dark ambient dronescape that stretches all the way to the horizon, the group laces the darkness with the chortling sounds of Davis's bass clarinet, blowing slow bursts of moody notes across the rumbling, hiss-streaked landscape, the sound punctuated by Leo Fabriek's mixture of softly expressive cymbal work and sudden eruptions of bone-rattling slow-motion clatter. But that proves to be only one aspect of Shivers' sound; on the following track "Otomo", the group gets more aggressive as the clarinet contorts into crazed blurts of sound, hitting some abrasive upper register runs while the skittering percussion and chaotic electronic bass engage in an energetic freak-out beneath swells of uneasy electronic noise, like a darker, more noise-damaged Last Exit working their way through an abstract horror score. Other songs like "Rabid" transform into gorgeous pieces of hazy, dystopian drone-jazz, or move into passages of stunning Carpenter-esque synthesizer creep like "Brood", which injects its vintage early 80s style synth score sound with abstract electronic melodies and gusts of granular noise.
   Throughout the album, Zuydervelt employs some of the production fuckery and textural experimentation that his work with Machinefabriek is known for, the recording occasionally dropping out as the instruments are suddenly muffled beneath what could be field recordings of nocturnal urban activity, or explodes into static-drenched distortion, the band's brooding free-jazz becoming massively blown out and overswept with speaker-wrecking skree. The closer "Replicant" even encroaches on dubstep territory, its stuttered, blown-out rhythm moving through a fog of hallucinatory sound, building in menace and intensity as those brooding, noir-esque clarinets slowly ascend over the increasingly distorted soundscape that finally breaks down into pure digital carnage at the finale. For all of its disturbing influences, Shivers can create some weirdly pretty material as well, such as where the mesmeric drum loop action rattles the muffled bathysphere ambience and dreamlike jazziness of "Spacek". While I admittedly would have loved to hear even more of that vast Bohren-esque doom-jazz sound they explored on the opening song, I really dug the moody experimentation of Shivers' debut, and gotta say that it made for great listening while reading Cronenbergs's debut novel Consumed that just came out...
Track Samples:
Sample : Rabid
Sample : Brood
Sample : Ash



SHIVERS   self-titled   LP   (Miasmah)    19.99



   Available on digipack CD (limited to five hundred copies) and LP with digital download.
   An interesting debut from this new trio, featuring Dutch experimental musician Rutger Zuydervelt of Machinefabriek fame; joined by members Gareth Davis and Leo Fabriek and taking their name from Canadian director David Cronenberg's classic 1975 film of sexual parasitism Shivers, Zuydervelt creates a dark dreamtime of digital paranoia and mutating flesh with this six-song album, the sounds and imagery heavily influenced by the visions of clinical creepiness and venereal horror found in of Cronenberg's classic oeuvre. When the album opens, the group blends the darkest of free-jazz with distorted, doom-laden electronica that initially slips into an abyssal blackness so immense that it's almost as if you're hearing some strange electronica version of Japanese doom gods Corrupted,; as "Ash" moves through a sprawling, crepuscular dark ambient dronescape that stretches all the way to the horizon, the group laces the darkness with the chortling sounds of Davis's bass clarinet, blowing slow bursts of moody notes across the rumbling, hiss-streaked landscape, the sound punctuated by Leo Fabriek's mixture of softly expressive cymbal work and sudden eruptions of bone-rattling slow-motion clatter. But that proves to be only one aspect of Shivers' sound; on the following track "Otomo", the group gets more aggressive as the clarinet contorts into crazed blurts of sound, hitting some abrasive upper register runs while the skittering percussion and chaotic electronic bass engage in an energetic freak-out beneath swells of uneasy electronic noise, like a darker, more noise-damaged Last Exit working their way through an abstract horror score. Other songs like "Rabid" transform into gorgeous pieces of hazy, dystopian drone-jazz, or move into passages of stunning Carpenter-esque synthesizer creep like "Brood", which injects its vintage early 80s style synth score sound with abstract electronic melodies and gusts of granular noise.
   Throughout the album, Zuydervelt employs some of the production fuckery and textural experimentation that his work with Machinefabriek is known for, the recording occasionally dropping out as the instruments are suddenly muffled beneath what could be field recordings of nocturnal urban activity, or explodes into static-drenched distortion, the band's brooding free-jazz becoming massively blown out and overswept with speaker-wrecking skree. The closer "Replicant" even encroaches on dubstep territory, its stuttered, blown-out rhythm moving through a fog of hallucinatory sound, building in menace and intensity as those brooding, noir-esque clarinets slowly ascend over the increasingly distorted soundscape that finally breaks down into pure digital carnage at the finale. For all of its disturbing influences, Shivers can create some weirdly pretty material as well, such as where the mesmeric drum loop action rattles the muffled bathysphere ambience and dreamlike jazziness of "Spacek". While I admittedly would have loved to hear even more of that vast Bohren-esque doom-jazz sound they explored on the opening song, I really dug the moody experimentation of Shivers' debut, and gotta say that it made for great listening while reading Cronenbergs's debut novel Consumed that just came out...
Track Samples:
Sample : Rabid
Sample : Brood
Sample : Ash



SLEEP   Dopesmoker (GREEN & BLACK VINYL)   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    32.00



Back in print, now available as a new 2014 edition on 180 gram black/green vinyl, issued in a run of four thousand copies.
The umpteenth release of one of sludge metal's most legendary albums, the 2012 reissue of Sleep's classic Dopesmoker album offers a new re-mastering, new (and improved, in my opinion) artwork from Arik Roper, and a different bonus track from the previous edition released by Tee Pee back in 2003. Most doom fans know that this album itself is an alternate release of the ill-fated Jerusalem that famously was supposed to have been released by the major label London Records back in the 90s, but ended up being shelved for years due to the label's complete loss of interest in the release. It was later resurrected at the end of the decade, and an alternate version titled Dopesmoker emerged at the beginning of the 2000s, which has gone on to become the band's (and fan's ) preferred version of the album. Listening to Dopesmoker again, it's easy to see why this has become such a landmark of slow-motion metal.
Sprawling out for just over an hour, this titanic tar pit jam winds through a maze of gluey riffs and thunderous hypnotic tempos, shifting from a leaden crawl to quicker (but still pulverizing) grooves every couple of minutes. It's hardly a one-riff slogfest; just take a look at the copy of the band's ridiculous "charts" that's included on the insert - how these guys could manage to keep track of what they were doing and where they were going while smoking as much dope as they did is nothing short of amazing. The trio of Al Cisneros, Chris Hakius and Matt Pike crafted a towering monument to explorational heaviness on this album, pushing past the boundaries of Black Sabbath's dread-filled doom into more ecstatic regions of molten psychedlia and tectonic drone. All through the lumbering lava-like riffing and trance-like repetition of "Dopesmoker", you can hear the seeds of the meditational hypno-rock that Cisneros and Hakius would go on to develop with Om, and the bone-rattling guitar tone, chant-like bellow and molten war-riffage of Matt Pike (later of High On Fire) was fully formed here. The religious references and reverence for the Leaf were another aspect of Sleep's music and presentation that would be later adopted by a million stoner-doom wannabes, but here it feels unique.
For the CD version, the band also includes a live performance of their "Holy Mountain" from a 1994 San Francisco show, replacing the live track "Sonic Titan" from the Tee Pee release. On the 2xLP version, however, both "Sonic Titan" and "Holy Mountain" are included together on the last side.
Utterly essential. I can't imagine any serious doom metal/sludge fan not having this in their collection.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dopesmoker
Sample : Sonic Titan



SMITH, DAVID CHAIM / BILL LASWELL / JOHN ZORN   The Dream Membrane   CD   (Tzadik)    15.99



   One of my all-time favorite dark ambient releases is Painkiller's Execution Ground, whose second disc featured a forty-minute epic of pitch-black jazz-flecked abyssal drift that is absolutely nightmare-inducing. We never did get another album in that vein from the band, but for those that dug Execution Ground's monstrous black drift, The Dream Membrane is in some ways the closest that Painkiller members John Zorn and Bill Laswell have come to producing that sort of dark ambient soundscape together in recent years. A collaboration with artist/occult scholar David Chaim Smith, Membrane turned out to be a much heavier piece of music than I was expecting, part avant-jazz driftscape, part Lustmordian death-drone, part magickal spoken word performance. The album features Smith reciting his writings over a single sprawling forty eight minute track of hypnagogic drift, produced from shifting layers of sound formed from Zorn's alto saxophone and shofar and Laswell's massive low-frequency drones and fluid bass.
   The album moves from oceanic currents of crushing metallic drone that almost start to stray into Sunn-like territory, into slowly drifting fog-scapes of nocturnal jazz-drift; Laswell coaxes massive tones and dark, evocative melodies from his bass, and in those moments where his fretless rumblings drift through the swirling deep ambient thrum, it sort of resembles parts of Simon Boswell's classic score for Hardware, his deep, cetaceous melodies echoing as immense low-end murmurings in the abyss. For his part, Zorn bleats and howls through the cavernous depths, his saxophone sending out ghostly wailing that streaks and smears against the rumbling blackness. Smith appears early on in the album, reading from a fantastic prose-poem of his, the text draped in visions of ritual sacrifice and magical metaphor. His solemn delivery leads this out into vast stretches of cinematic shadow, accompanied by bleary synths that sound like some epic Tangerine Dream film score laced with squalls of frenzied free-jazz saxophone, the keening notes caught in mesmeric circular forms. Zorn definitely doesn't hold back with his performance, as his playing gets pretty abrasive as the album progresses; his blasting atonal shrieks and screaming high-pitched notes are as abrasive and harrowing as anything you've heard from him, but when he stretches those notes out into long, extended drones that hover over the oceanic dronescape, they bathe the waves of blackened low-end rumble in luminous, ghostly light. Much creepier and ominous than I expected, there are parts of Membrane that ooze a chilling, desolate atmosphere that's also sometimes akin to Wendy Carlos's score for The Shining. Highly recommended for fans of Zorn and Laswell's more abstract, experimental ambient-based works. Comes in a six panel digipack with striking, intricately detailed black and white artwork and writing from Smith (taken from his book The Awakening Ground), included in a booklet bound into the digipack.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Dream Membrane
Sample : The Dream Membrane
Sample : The Dream Membrane



SWAN KING, THE   Last So Long   CD   (War Crime Recordings)    12.98



   Haven't heard the previous records from Chicago's The Swan King, but I was definitely into the songs off of their latest Last So Long when I stumbled across 'em online. From the slate-grey, text-only layout on the album to the rough-hewn sound of recording, this trio made up of members of Pelican and Planes Mistaken For Stars goes for a decidedly no-frills approach with their music that I find very appealing, a good fit for the band's understated mix of sludgy post-hardcore heaviness and ominous math-rock. Nothing too fancy here, just eight songs of hefty, heartfelt aggression carved from bellicose riffage and a complex rhythmic swing, delivered in a manner I don't see too often anymore. From the music to the production to the guitar tone, the songs on Last So Long feels like they were peeled straight off the floor of some dingy Chicago punk club in 1992, the sound indebted to the likes of Shellac and the old Touch & Go roster, but they also bring a heavier, weightier presence to their music that tips some of their songs over into some serious crunch. Kicking off the album with "Explore the Void"'s boisterous, grungy energy, the record moves through a well-crafted combination of gruff, strained vocals, riffs that effortlessly shift from ragged noise-rock bludgeon into energetic math-metal seizures, gritty, catchy stuff that definitely recalls a certain era of underground American music, tapping into a heavy but melodious sound that's not too unlike Engine Kid. There's a bit of proggy ornamentation and winding song arrangements that emerge from the band's pummeling, jagged rock and churning discordance, which keep this from getting too familiar, and those aforementioned math-rock flourishes continue to expand and build over the course of the album, unfolding into dark dramatic guitar workouts and increasingly intense bursts of spiraling shred that spin out of the lurching heaviness of songs like "Closer To The Source". Has some nice moments where they showcase their ability to weave an infectious hook out of this lumbering, entangled riffery as well, like the catchy, almost sing-along worthy chorus that shows up amidst the song's quick, pummeling chug and bone-rattling bass. Well worth checking out if you're into Am Rep-style noise rock, classic Midwestern math rock, and the heavier varieties of early 90s guitar sludge.
Track Samples:
Sample : Returning To Haunt
Sample : Last So Long
Sample : Explore the Void



SWAN KING, THE   Last So Long   LP   (War Crime Recordings)    21.00



   Haven't heard the previous records from Chicago's The Swan King, but I was definitely into the songs off of their latest Last So Long when I stumbled across 'em online. From the slate-grey, text-only layout on the album to the rough-hewn sound of recording, this trio made up of members of Pelican and Planes Mistaken For Stars goes for a decidedly no-frills approach with their music that I find very appealing, a good fit for the band's understated mix of sludgy post-hardcore heaviness and ominous math-rock. Nothing too fancy here, just eight songs of hefty, heartfelt aggression carved from bellicose riffage and a complex rhythmic swing, delivered in a manner I don't see too often anymore. From the music to the production to the guitar tone, the songs on Last So Long feels like they were peeled straight off the floor of some dingy Chicago punk club in 1992, the sound indebted to the likes of Shellac and the old Touch & Go roster, but they also bring a heavier, weightier presence to their music that tips some of their songs over into some serious crunch. Kicking off the album with "Explore the Void"'s boisterous, grungy energy, the record moves through a well-crafted combination of gruff, strained vocals, riffs that effortlessly shift from ragged noise-rock bludgeon into energetic math-metal seizures, gritty, catchy stuff that definitely recalls a certain era of underground American music, tapping into a heavy but melodious sound that's not too unlike Engine Kid. There's a bit of proggy ornamentation and winding song arrangements that emerge from the band's pummeling, jagged rock and churning discordance, which keep this from getting too familiar, and those aforementioned math-rock flourishes continue to expand and build over the course of the album, unfolding into dark dramatic guitar workouts and increasingly intense bursts of spiraling shred that spin out of the lurching heaviness of songs like "Closer To The Source". Has some nice moments where they showcase their ability to weave an infectious hook out of this lumbering, entangled riffery as well, like the catchy, almost sing-along worthy chorus that shows up amidst the song's quick, pummeling chug and bone-rattling bass. Well worth checking out if you're into Am Rep-style noise rock, classic Midwestern math rock, and the heavier varieties of early 90s guitar sludge.
Track Samples:
Sample : Returning To Haunt
Sample : Last So Long
Sample : Explore the Void



TECUMSEH   Sea(s)   LP   (Black Horizons)    14.98



   Just dug up a few copies of this super-limited 2010 mini-album from the crushing Portland, Oregon drone-metal outfit Tecumseh, who also happen to include John Krausbauer from Trees, the blackened doom metal outfit that has released three albums through Crucial Blast. Issued by the always impressive Black Horizons imprint, Sea(s) is another brain-flattening dose of bleak, oppressive heaviness from this trio, who continue to explore the mind-expanding properties of low-end drone through their immense, epic-length constructs of amplified rumble. As with previous albums like Return To Everything and Avalanche And Inundation, this record draws much of its inspiration from the molten hypno-ambient metal of Earth's 2 and 00 Void-era Sunn, delivering two huge side-long pieces here that expand upon that sound by pulling the extreme slow-motion riffage and monstrously distorted power-chords apart into even more abstract forms, infecting these rumbling doomdrone rituals with subtle electronic noise.
    The first side features the utter glacial heaviness of "The One That Shines", at first creeping in softly on a bed of muted, murky subterranean rumblings, a barely perceptible tectonic groan seeping up out of the depths. When the rest of the band finally kicks in, the music doesn't shift in volume or power so much as it does in density, that vague low-end bass rumble expanding into the vast slow-motion riff that churns across the rest of the side. There's a surface similarity to Sunn of course, as Tecumseh create a similar sort of headspace with their immense, undulating drone-doom, but they also flesh that sound out with subtle layers of electronic whirr and saturated amplifier buzz and sheets of susurrant hiss that transform this into something more meditative, more luminous.
   Over on the second side, "Polska" slips into creepier territory from the start, forming from an initial haze of distant chanting voices and mysterious chirping noises, a swirling ritualistic drift laced with black veins of thrumming feedback and low-voltage electricity, the sound enshrouded in a bleary, reverb-soaked atmosphere as if the music is pouring out of some crumbling catacomb mouth. It all melts together into a vast rumbling distorted drone that drifts like some vast distorted aumkara floating through the void, slowly morphing into a massive riff even slower than the one on the previous side, a vast doom-laden dirge churning like molten rock circling in infinity, that titanic droning riff flecked with peals of echoing feedback, eventually flattening out once again into another vast oceanic roar of crushing metallic hum swiftly overwhelmed by one final wave of corrosive, acrid noise.
   Issued in a limited pressing of three hundred thirty-three copies, packaged in a silk-screened sleeve with printed inserts.


TEETH ENGRAVED WITH THE NAMES OF THE DEAD   Starving The Fires Part I   CD   (Malignant)    10.98



   The long-awaited follow-up to the excellent Kosmiche Death Worship cassette that these guys put out a few years ago, Starving The Fires is the first in a series of full-length albums further exploring this Portland, Oregon trio's pitch-black blend of abyssal ambience, haunted soundscapery, and rumbling industrial murk. Teeth Engraved With The Names of The Dead weave a dense web of morbid drone, crackling electronic skuzz, and eerie, ominous voices adrift in blackness, constructed from heavily distorted guitar, synthesizer and electronics, which on the surface suggest another version of the black industrial sound that I've been surrounding myself with lately, but in actually ends up becoming something much closer to a kind of ambient necrotic noise. The six tracks on Starving demonstrate a certain amount of restraint, drifting languorously on clouds of softly billowing black fog and washes of white noise that sweep across tracks like "Vital Reaction", swells of static-saturated kosmische sound that slowly swallow the ghostly sampled voices and distant percussive noises that move through the mix, like some tortured take on classic Teutonic space music filtered through the gravedirt production of Tesco-style industrial. There are moments where vicious ultra-distorted screams swoop in across acid-choked blastscapes, joined by the nightmarish sound of a bullroarer-like siren hovering somewhere over the horizon, and it starts to coalesce into a kind of toxic, carcinogenic power electronics, glowing with evil black energy; elsewhere on "Lacerate", they shift into a harsher, less coherent haze of scraping noise that's actually kind of reminiscent of Japanese noise groups like K2 or Pain Jerk, but here that noise is immersed in cavernous reverb, as if this planet-chewing noise is emanating from some deep black hole in the earth. That cavernous, rumbling noise slowly begins to warp itself as the track progresses, and when the far-off rumble of metallic guitar chords starts to appear, the album heads into an even heavier direction. Mournful minor key riffs and eerie, keening notes slowly begin to creep through the mix, like some doomdrone version of a Tangerine Dream soundtrack slowly spinning downward into the inferno. That stuff is pretty fantastic, and the rest of the album goes from that sort of nightmarish droneological misery to some seriously putrid blasts of black noise that fans of stuff like Demonologists and Crown Ov Bone would love, finally closing with the nearly half hour long "When Storms Come", which gloms these waves of majestic orchestral drone and swarming static and deep, vast rumbling layers into an epic howling soundscape. The guys in Teeth Engraved are starting to carve out a really cool, immersive sound that I can't wait to hear more of, and Starving is definitely recommended if you're tastes run towards the more blackened end of the industrial/noise spectrum. Comes in DVD style packaging.
Track Samples:
Sample : When Storms Come
Sample : Shredded Sky, Hung In Tatters
Sample : Radians



THEOLOGIAN   A Means By Which To Break The Surface Of The Real   CDR   (Annihilvs)    8.99



   Another in the recent run of limited CDRs that Theologian has released through his own Annihilvs imprint, A Means By Which To Break The Surface Of The Real is a sort of preview of material that will be at some point appearing on an LP release of the same name, to come out through Redscroll Records. The material featured on this disc is primarily made up of early versions of the Lp tracks, which will be expanded and fleshed out even further for the album; 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. Comes in a full-color sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : God Comes As A Wall



THEOLOGIAN   Some Things Have To Be Endured (BLOOD RED VINYL)   LP   (Crucial Blast)    18.00



Finally here after a series of delays, Theologian's amazing Some Things Have To Be Endured is now available on vinyl, released on blood-red vinyl in gatefold packaging in a limited edition of five hundred copies, with download code. The album art for the LP is completely different from the CD version, and features the evocative and disturbing images of NY photographer Gretchen Heinel; it's equally as visually striking as the CD edition, and casts these eight tracks of punishing death industrial in an even more menacing light.
The latest offering from NY synth-death master Theologian (aka Leech, also the mastermind behind the renowned power electronics/death industrial outfit Navicon Torture Technologies), Some Things Have To Be Endured features eight new tracks of punishing black industrial, apocalyptic darkwave frequencies, and nerve-rending electronic deathscapes.
Endured is a collection of collaborations between Theologian and a lineup of female vocalists/artists from both within the industrial / noise / dark ambient / coldwave realm and beyond, with contributions from Rachael Kozak (Hecate), Kristen MacArthur (Sewer Goddess), Rachel Maloney (Tonikom), Nikki Telladictorian (Prometheus Burning), Patricia Benitez (Fetish Drone), Gillian Leigh Bowling (Teloahqaal), Christiana Key (Delphic Oracle), Joan Hacker (Factoria), Shari Vari (Void Vision), and professional opera singer Melissa C. Kelly. The tracks shift from grinding industrial dread to ethereal coldwave beauty, blasts of rumbling blackened synthcrush met with washes of haunting electronic melody, while always remaining rooted in Theologian's bleak, jet-black industrial sound.
Co-produced with Derek Rush/DREAM INTO DUST and mastered by James Plotkin, Some Things Have To Be Endured contains some of the most moving and dramatic music to emerge from Theologian's black sonic abyss.
Track Samples:
Sample : Writhing Corpus Landscape
Sample : Welcome To The Golden Age Of Beggars
Sample : Grand Guignol
Sample : Black Cavern Myopia



THEOLOGIAN + STROM.EC   Hubrizine   CD   (Malignant)    10.98



   Most fans of Theologian and Strom.ec probably never had a chance to pick up the original cassette release of their collaborative album Hubrizine, since it was released in a miniscule edition of only twelve copies back when it came out in 2012; this new CD reissue from Malignant is a welcome one, finally making this stark album of rumbling industrial ambience available to a wider audience. An homage to the work of dystopian science fiction author Philip K. Dick, Hubrizine is made up of material that was originally produced by Finnish power electronics duo Strom.ec, then reworked and reassembled by Theologian to create an all-new monstrosity, the album moving through varied realms of sonic abrasion and mesmeric black drift. Bits of delicate piano are sent tumbling into an abyss of reverb-drenched emptiness and echoing, shadowy dronedrift, and swells of menacing, heavily distorted synth-drone surface somewhere deep below, surges of grinding malevolence met with hypnotic glitchery and tiny fragments of over-modulated electronics. These sounds slowly come together across the ten-minute opening track "Involuntary Dilation", coalescing from the early stages of abstract, abyssal skitter and rumble into something even more haunting and pensive, those processed piano sounds bringing some human emotional weight to the otherwise cold and inhuman void that Theologian explores, these fragile fragments of mournful melody always on the verge of being swallowed by the blackness. This swirling, dreamlike feel carries over into tracks like "EM-19", murky melodious synths drifting like something from an Eluvium album, even as abrasive industrial rhythms and distorted, furious vocals suddenly tear through the darkness. Later forays into the strange celestial ambience of "Exegesis" and the lush orchestral crepuscular kosmische vastness of "World War Terminus" offer some gorgeously desolate atmospherics, while the hallucinatory choral creepiness and malformed industrial thud of closer "Flow My Tears" ends the disc with something much more nightmarish. The album moves through these passages of death industrial terror like wind through subterranean chambers, abrasive metallic rhythms emerging out of the murky ethereal drift, dissipating into vast oceanic dronescapes illuminated by distant moons, or the monstrous distorted dirge that slowly crawls from the celestial drift of the sprawling eighteen minute title track, where glimpses of half-formed monstrous mechanical rhythms lurching out of the blackness, brief surges of crunching industrial heaviness lost in the emptiness of space. It's some of the most moving work I've heard from either outfit, and highly recommended. Comes in a thin DVD-sized gatefold jacket with cool biomechanical artwork from Andre Coelho from Sektor 304.
Track Samples:
Sample : World War Terminus
Sample : Ubik
Sample : Involuntary Dilation



THERGOTHON   Stream From The Heavens   LP   (Peaceville)    24.99



Here's the latest vinyl edition of Thergothon's classic album of glacial funeral doom, on 180 gram vinyl...
A classic album of extreme doom, Thergothon's genre-defining 1994 album Stream From The Heavens is finally back in print from Peaceville, and any doom metal collection that's missing this can finally fill the void. When these Finnish kids decided to start a Lovecraft-obsessed death metal band but slow it down to a tectonic crawl slower than almost any other band before them, they inadvertently kicked off an entire aesthetic that would later become known as "funeral doom". Hearing Stream almost fifteen years after it came out, it's wild how weird and avant-garde this still sounds. Compared to bands that would follow in their footsteps (Evoken, Hierophant, Mournful Congregation, Esoteric, etc.), Thergothon's songs really weren't all that exceptionally long, and only half of the album breaches the seven minute mark. But they did play so...fucking...slow. Not only that, but these glacial deathdoom riffs are smeared in a weird phased effect and stretched out to the point that you feel like you're stuck in a k-hole when listening to songs like "Yet The Watchers Guard" and "Who Rides The Astral Wings". The tinny toy Casio keyboard sounds and prog-influenced keyboard melodies that the band use on Stream From The Heavens also contribute to the gluey hallucinogenic atmosphere, as do the parts where songs break off from the stately depresso-doom into stumbling acoustic folk or pastoral ambience, and the vocals are a quirky combination of insanely guttural death metal growls, mournful chanting and dramatic spoken word passages.
With as many bands that have ripped off Thergothon’s sound, you'd think that there would be more of them that sound as weird as this, but that's what makes this album so crucial in the pantheon of death/funeral doom. Thergothon were following their own mutant muse, and this disc continues to hold up as a masterpiece of doom extremism. The members went on to a variety of other projects, with Niko Skorpio continuing to fall under the watchful eye of C-Blast with his various electronic projects (our favorite of which is still the crazed digi-grind/electronica of Reptiljan), but none of 'em ever returned to anything resembling the stentorian majesty of Thergothon.
Track Samples:
Sample : Everlasting
Sample : Yet the Watchers Guard



THISCLOSE   One Foot In The Grave   LP   (SPHC)    11.99



   "What if Cal was the only person in Discharge that thought heavy metal was cool?" That's the question posited by noise-punk label SPHC for their new stateside release of the new album One Foot In The Grave from Scottish crust punks Thisclose, hinting at the partially tongue-in-cheek attitude behind this band. These guys play vicious, crusty hardcore that, from the name to the rampaging riffage and locomotive drumming, is essentially a Discharge tribute. Only, these guys are at least in part paying tribute to the most maligned Discharge album ever, 1986's mind-melting Grave New World. Much like Celtic Frost's similarly despised Cold Lake, Grave New World was a real shock to the system for listeners expecting another heavily politicized assault of metallic hardcore punk a la The Price Of Silence, with a more commercial heavy metal sound filtered through the band's hardcore punk, lots of basic bluesy chug and Motorhead-esque sleaze, tongs of superfluous guitar shredding, and rampant Sabbathisms. But that stuff was nothing compared to the newfound vocal stylings of Discharge front man Cal, who now shrieked his lyrics in a bizarrely fey, androgynous muppet-squawk that sounds utterly insane, a glammed-out squawk somewhere in between King Diamond and Doctor Rockso from Metalocalypse that sounds both totally ridiculous and weirdly awesome to my mutant ears. This is where Discharge went "glam metal", but you'd be hard pressed to name another hair metal album that ever sounded this fucking weird. Sure, Grave New World is goofy and misshapen and half-baked, but there's a weird charm to Discharge's brain-damaged version of glam metal for me, and the album is full of the sort of locomotive, chorus-drenched 80's crossover metal riffage I can never get enough of. If this had been another band and had come from Japan, I'm betting the reaction to this would have been a little different.
    And so it seems that Scotland's Thisclose might share at least some of my proclivities towards Discharge's sleaze-metal abomination, primarily in regards to the vocals. Their new album One Foot looks and sounds like prime era Discharge, down to the four-panel album art and logo, not to mention the savage, metallic punk that the band belts out furiously across these fourteen songs. But once front man Rodney shows up, it gets totally unhinged, his weirdly yowling vocals like an even more demented take on Cal's glammy shriek, whooping and mewling and screaming across the rabid crust attack, the vicious breakneck D-beat punk rampaging at top speed, many of the songs a vitriolic anti-meat/anti-animal abuse anthem seared with sinister riffs and bursts of crazed atonal soloing, with a couple moments of absolutely crushing Frostian chug ushering in the album's slowest, heaviest passages. Virtually none of the glammy heavy metal aspects of Discharge's career are incorporated into Thisclose's Dis-punk, and their music is some of the most ferocious hardcore I've heard lately; but with those insane vocals One Foot In The Grave definitely turns into something much more unusual and unique than another in the legion of Dis-worship bands that have sprung up over the past few decades. A new fave, for sure.


TODAY IS THE DAY   Animal Mother   CD   (Southern Lord)    11.98



   Available on CD and on vinyl, although the CD features an exclusive track ("Bloodwood") while the LP replaces that with a cover of the Melvins song "Zodiac"...
   If I end up doing any sort of top ten list for 2014, I guarantee that Today Is The Day's latest Animal Mother will land in one of the top spots. The tenth album from Steve Austin and his team of skull-shredding noise rockers returned with what I think is the strongest album they've done in ages, an absolute crusher both sonically and emotionally, in part forged from the despair that consumed Austin in the wake of his mother's death. This results in an almost painfully raw listening experience, and the most potent the band has sounded in a decade or more. Animal Mother features the same twisted fusion of violent hardcore punk, crushing metal, and screeching noise that Austin has been hammering into catharsis since the early 90s, but the songwriting this time around has a sharpened focus not felt in ages. Austin still sounds like an utter creep, of course, his vocals layered together into a cacophony of high-pitched howling and belligerent screams, while the band whomps the listener with the crushing title track that opens the album, see-sawing between powerful, mournful doom-laden heaviness and a skull-smashing chorus hook. The fucked up math-metal of "Discipline" gives way to a horrific, climactic descent into tortured sludge that is almost Khanate-like, while the mutant hardcore of "Sick Of Your Mouth" erupts into a vicious hate-anthem. They slow things down to a punishing, monstrously down tuned crawl on "Law Of The Universe" that rivals any death metal outfit, and there's a foray into bleak acoustic folk on "Outlaw", followed by the warped, glitch-infected off-kilter doom of "GodCrutch". Other tracks move through additional blasts of mathy violence, blistered angular thrash interspersed with brief glimpses of black electronic ambience, vicious angular riffage and eruptions of monstrous staccato chug, blasts of discordant grind, the energy level cranked up to a furious level while also emanating an existential horror that can be felt in the waves of blissed-out kosmische transmissions that wash across the end of the serpentine terror of "Mystic". But the most unexpected moment on the album comes with the closer "Bloodwood" that appears on the CD version of the album, a gorgeous piece of heartbroken poppiness that seems to perpetually teeter on the edge of violent eruption, teasing you with it's lilting melody while slowly drifting out into vast, rumbling volcanic noise. If you're asking me, this is the best noise rock/avant-metal albums of the year, the closest the band has come to recapturing the apocalyptic power of their classic Temple of The Morning Star in years. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sick Of your Mouth
Sample : Law Of The Universe
Sample : Bloodwood
Sample : Animal Mother



TODAY IS THE DAY   Animal Mother   LP   (Southern Lord)    14.98



   Available on CD and on vinyl, although the CD features an exclusive track ("Bloodwood") while the LP replaces that with a cover of the Melvins song "Zodiac"...
   If I end up doing any sort of top ten list for 2014, I guarantee that Today Is The Day's latest Animal Mother will land in one of the top spots. The tenth album from Steve Austin and his team of skull-shredding noise rockers returned with what I think is the strongest album they've done in ages, an absolute crusher both sonically and emotionally, in part forged from the despair that consumed Austin in the wake of his mother's death. This results in an almost painfully raw listening experience, and the most potent the band has sounded in a decade or more. Animal Mother features the same twisted fusion of violent hardcore punk, crushing metal, and screeching noise that Austin has been hammering into catharsis since the early 90s, but the songwriting this time around has a sharpened focus not felt in ages. Austin still sounds like an utter creep, of course, his vocals layered together into a cacophony of high-pitched howling and belligerent screams, while the band whomps the listener with the crushing title track that opens the album, see-sawing between powerful, mournful doom-laden heaviness and a skull-smashing chorus hook. The fucked up math-metal of "Discipline" gives way to a horrific, climactic descent into tortured sludge that is almost Khanate-like, while the mutant hardcore of "Sick Of Your Mouth" erupts into a vicious hate-anthem. They slow things down to a punishing, monstrously down tuned crawl on "Law Of The Universe" that rivals any death metal outfit, and there's a foray into bleak acoustic folk on "Outlaw", followed by the warped, glitch-infected off-kilter doom of "GodCrutch". Other tracks move through additional blasts of mathy violence, blistered angular thrash interspersed with brief glimpses of black electronic ambience, vicious angular riffage and eruptions of monstrous staccato chug, blasts of discordant grind, the energy level cranked up to a furious level while also emanating an existential horror that can be felt in the waves of blissed-out kosmische transmissions that wash across the end of the serpentine terror of "Mystic". But the most unexpected moment on the album comes with the closer "Bloodwood" that appears on the CD version of the album, a gorgeous piece of heartbroken poppiness that seems to perpetually teeter on the edge of violent eruption, teasing you with it's lilting melody while slowly drifting out into vast, rumbling volcanic noise. If you're asking me, this is the best noise rock/avant-metal albums of the year, the closest the band has come to recapturing the apocalyptic power of their classic Temple of The Morning Star in years. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sick Of your Mouth
Sample : Law Of The Universe
Sample : Bloodwood
Sample : Animal Mother



TRÜBE   Zone Of Alienation   CD   (Dusktone)    11.98



   A concept album about the Chernobyl reactor meltdown in 1996 and the aftermath of the event, particularly the effect that the meltdown had on the local populations and the utter desolation of the countryside that surrounded the reactor, Trübe's debut album Zone Of Alienation kicks up an intensely moody fuzzstorm of cosmic black metal interlaced with sweeping orchestral strings and washes of gleaming electronic ambience that could have come right off of a Vangelis LP. This Argentinean one-man band explores some pretty dark themes through these four songs of sprawling, droning black metal and bleak synth-drenched atmosphere, which are also touched upon in the liner notes that come with this disc, outlining the nightmarish history of cancerous mutation, illness, disease, and radiation sickness that befell the inhabitants (human and otherwise) of the twenty mile "zone" that surrounds the plant.
   There's a gritty, low-fi quality to the recording that makes parts of this feel as if you are hearing these droning, eerie melodies hovering over the hypnotic relentless blastbeats through a haze of irradiated dust and carcinogenic emanations rising from the ruined earth, the music interspersed with voices speaking in Russian, the ominous crackle of Geiger counters, and bursts of terrifying noise. The songs frequently break away into long stretches of unsettling minimal soundscapery, ghostly reverberations echoing through emptied city streets, vast pulses of groaning bass frequencies that shift beneath fields of hushed ambience, creepy noisescapes laced with gurgling alien electronics and funereal strings, solemn piano parts laid out over swells of kosmische drift, smatterings of dreamy muted electronica. But when the band blasts back into the mesmeric droning black metal, they transform into something akin to a more experimental Darkspace, spaced-out guitar solos soaring over blackened cosmic majesty, and even slipping into an unexpected bit of almost synthpop-like melody, weirdly New Wave tinged moments that arises over those raging blastbeats, an unusual combination that makes parts of Zone incredibly catchy in spite of the disturbing thematic undertones; those 80's synthpop hooks make a couple of appearances throughout this disc, as if someone suddenly transported the guys from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark into the midst of a sweeping cosmic black metal assault.
   The real pièce de résistance is the final track "RadXplosion", which seems to dispense with all of the black metal aspects save for that pummeling blasting drum attack. Those blastbeats stretch out beneath a steadily expanding ocean of kosmische orchestral drift across the nearly twelve minute track, like some blastbeat-riddled Edgar Froese epic, vast and dark and glorious, again very reminiscent of Darkspace, but even bleaker and more blasted and desolate, in keeping with the subject matter that fuels Zone's dark irradiated dreams.
Track Samples:
Sample : Those Who Refused to Leave
Sample : RadXplosion
Sample : Acute Radiation Sickness



ULVER   The Norwegian National Opera   DVD + BLU RAY   (Kscope)    19.98



We've had the vinyl and CD/DVD version of this phenomenal live album in stock for awhile, but are only now getting the DVD/Blu-ray set on our shelves, featuring the same concert film that was included in the CD/DVD set, a multi-camera professionally shot concert film of the entire performance. The film incorporates the macabre pantomime that both begins and ends the concert along with the often provocative film footage that is projected behind the band throughout the entire performance, dark and disturbing visuals that contrast in interesting ways with the gorgeous twilit music of Ulver's set.
Here's my review of the audio from the vinyl version:
From their beginnings as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian black metal underground (from where they produced the classic album Nattens Madrigal) to their subsequent evolution into a kind of dark, sweeping prog rock, Ulver has always followed their own unique and ambitious agenda while seemingly ignoring all trends and outside influences, continuing to explore the same dark, often apocalyptic themes that have run through their music since their beginning while exploring new textures and sounds through their incorporation of jazz influences, experimental electronics, dark pop songcraft, and classical elements into their music. While you wouldn't be able to call Ulver in the current version a "metal" band, they are still a heavy and formidable beast, capable of crafting some intensely sinister music as well as flights of moody sonic majesty that continue to capture my ears with each new release.
But for the first fifteen years of their existence, Ulver demurred from the live experience. Save for one lone show that the band played at the very beginning of their career, Ulver remained exclusively a studio band, creating their worlds of dark electronica and jazz-flecked metallic prog within the confines of the recording space. For years, it seemed as if Ulver would never decide to take their music into the realm of live performance, but in 2009, the band was finally coaxed out of their den to perform at the Lillehammer Literary Festival, an event that stirred the band to take their newfound live set to other festivals in Europe that year, and which has led them to finally cross the Atlantic and perform in the US in early 2014 at the Maryland Deathfest.
The last show of that initial run of live dates took place at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo in July of 2010, an acclaimed performance that featured surreal video footage projected behind the band as they played. This concert was captured via a professional film and audio crew, the entire set filmed using high definition cameras, and it's now presented as a massive live album that was first released as a CD/DVD set, and then earlier this year came out as a gorgeous double LP set. Ulver's Norwegian National Opera sees the band running through an extensive set list that includes songs from their albums Perdition City, Shadows Of The Sun, A Quick Fix Of Melancholy, Blood Inside, Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, War Of The Roses, Teachings In Silence and Ulver's original soundtrack to Svidd Neger, along with a number of songs that appear here for the first time ("The Moon Piece", "A Cold Kiss", "The Leg Cutting Piece", "Excerpts Of Silence"). For this concert, Ulver were joined by guest guitarist Christian Fennesz, a frequent collaborator with the band, and the sound is absolutely massive, with just about every era of Ulver's career being touched upon aside from their early black metal material. Their performances are spot-on, the sound quality is impeccable, perfectly capturing their complex prog rock arrangements, sweeping dark electronic soundscapes and moments of crushing heaviosity.
The performance opens with the eerie piano and fluttering, ghostly electronics of "The Moon Piece", where dark rumbling sheets of sound spread out from the band's haunting orchestrations, leads into the breathtaking dark chamber-prog of "Eos", one of the band's most moving pieces. It's here that Ulver's sound really begins to bloom, the strings and other instruments swelling behind the band's ethereal melodies. Songs like the sinister Tears For Fears-esque "Little Blue Bird" and "Let The Children Go" take flight on dark wings, guitars soaring into the twilight, while Garm's moody baritone curls around the strings and horns that softly swell through the room. There's a couple of moments of heaviness, the band slipping into some of their thunderous, vaguely metallic prog rock songs like "Rock Massif" and the pummeling, almost doom-laden might of songs like "Operator" and "For The Love Of God", the band finally revealing some serious metallic heft with crunchy metallic guitars and wailing leads. Elsewhere, those orchestral elements combine with mesmeric layers of record scratching and electronic ambience, metallic guitars and dark jazzy piano merging with those soaring vocals, the surreal, dub-flecked experimentalism and sample-laden soundscapes of "In The Red", and the portentous beauty of "Funebre" , laced with it's industrial percussive reverberations and brooding jazziness. And through it all, the sound continues to largely form around Ulver's dark, moody pop.
It's one of my favorite recent live albums, a powerful performance that anyone into these Norwegian masters of dark art will dig.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Leg Cutting Piece
Sample : Funebre
Sample : For the Love of God
Sample : Little Blue Bird



UNIVERS ZERO   Relaps: Archives 1984-1986   2 x LP   (Sub Rosa)    27.00



Now available on vinyl for the first time ever.
The latest in Cuneiform's ongoing campaign to keep the seminal recordings of dark European progsters Univers Zero alive, Relaps: Archives 1984-1986 is a thrilling collection of live recordings that captures the band in the live setting, where their creepy fusion of Magma-esque prog and 20th Century classical is often at it's heaviest. I've been on a serious Univers Zero kick lately, and am working on getting all of their in-print releases in stock here at Crucial Blast; even though many of their recordings date back as far as the late 70's, this Belgian band remains one of the heaviest, darkest prog bands ever, and even within the ranks of the Rock In Opposition movement that they helped to create, Univers Zero stood out as one of the more intense groups, infusing their eerie chamber-jazz-prog with a doomy atmosphere that was years ahead of its time. For fans of newer bands like Kayo Dot and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and even the later Iceburn albums, hearing Univers Zero for the first time is a revelation, and both of those bands (as well as legions of others that we listen to all the time around here) owe a large part of their sound to what this band was doing back then. The often-epic compositions of Univers Zero were entirely instrumental, and featured an assortment of instruments that included clarinet, sax, cello, synths, violin, and viola with the rock-style lineup of electric guitar, bass and drums; the songs weave through intensely complex arrangements that shift from lighter jazzy passages to astoundingly heavy (for their time) dirge-like sections and ultra dense chamber-prog workouts, and there is a constant tension at work in their music, a sense of dark foreboding that seeps from everything that Univers Zero has recorded, at times suggesting a much more complex and orchestrated Goblin. I'm amazed that their music was never used for horror movie soundtracks back in the 80's when the band was heavily active, 'cuz their doom-laden music would have been perfect as an aural accompaniment for some of the decade's more phantasmagoric exercises in horror cinema.
Relaps collects live recordings that were taken from two different lineups of the band during the early 1980's, culled from four different shows in Germany and Belgium. There are two shows from 1984, and one each from 1985 and 1986, and some of the tracks are embryonic versions of music that would later appear on the UZED and Heatwave albums. Some of the highlights featured here include an improvised version of "L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz" (from UZED), and an extended 18-minute version of "The Funeral Plain" (that would later appear in a more truncated form on Heatwave) that fuses howling dissonant acid guitar and pounding abstract drumming with multiple keyboards, strings, and clarinets over a series of distinct movements, with some supremely heavy classical dread emerging towards the end. It's all killer, though, and just as essential as any of their studio albums, with an intensity and precision performance that proves that Univers Zero were masters of their craft. The tracks benefit from an excellent recording that made me forget that the material was live more than once, and the disc comes with a thick 16 page booklet that is filled with fascinating liner notes on the history of the band and never-before-published photos. Like everything else from Univers Zero, this is crucial stuff for fans of the modern heavy dark-prog of Kayo Dot and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Zs as well as anyone into older heavy prog like King Crimson and Magma.
Track Samples:
Sample : Emanations
Sample : The Funeral Plain
Sample : Heatwave



VARDAN   Enjoy Of Deep Sadness   CD   (Moribund)    15.98



   Finally starting to delve into the depressive depths of the Vardan catalog, which Moribund has been cranking out with great regularity over the past two years. Enjoy of Deep Silence is one of three albums to come from this Italian band so far this year, and they're all pretty great - definitely some of the best "depressive black metal" I've heard lately, even more surprising considering that Moribund isn't a label usually known for championing this sort of stuff. Gotta say that the misery-wallowing gloom of the "depressive" black metal sound has really been hitting my sweet spot lately, but I'll be the first to admit that it's usually a limited sonic palette for a lot of the bands that work in this style, and even a lot of the stuff that I really enjoy does tend to drag a bit. While this one-man Italian band doesn't do anything radically different with that sound, Vardan's songwriting tends to be a little more interesting and varied than the usual miserable slog, and despite the epic song lengths on an album like Enjoy, this stuff doesn't drag for me at all. As with most of my favorite "DSBM" outfits, the melodies that waft through Vardan's rain-drenched landscapes feel as if they are rooted in the classic doomed atmosphere of Pornography-era Cure, their spare, slow melodies drifting languidly through a wash of low-fi Burzumic fuzziness, stretched out into these immense sorrowful epics that run for twelve minutes or more, gorgeously gloomy buzzscapes unfolding across swathes of infectious, mournful minor key guitar and swarming blackened distortion. Of course, those ghastly unintelligible shrieks that float across the background remind us that we are indeed listening to a black metal album. Tempos rarely rise above a slow, deliberate plod, the bass droning in the depths of the mix. Nothing groundbreaking here, but Vardan do this sound perfectly, setting an exquisitely despondent mood that is virtually unbroken through the entire album. And there are some interesting little touches in the vocal department that distinguish Vardan's brand of monochrome depression. There are distant yelled vocals that bring a very subtle but noticeable post-punk feel to certain moments on the album, as well as some bizarre, rather uncomfortable vocalizations that fans of stuff like Silencer will find familiar, weird strangled squawks echoing somewhere off in the fog. And the beautifully aching howls that emerge on the closer "An Abstract Voice" help make that one of the finest songs I've heard from a band of this ilk in recent memory, its chiming melodies and weird falsetto howl forming an intensely haunting sound, underscored with some stirring gloompop prettiness that swirls beneath the trebly distortion. Highly recommended along with the other Vardan albums if you're addicted to immersing yourself in an atmosphere of inescapable gloom.
Track Samples:
Sample : Enjoy of Deep Sadness
Sample : An Abstract Voice
Sample : A Broken Existence



VARIOUS ARTISTS   Those Who Dwell Beyond (JEWEL CASE VERSION)   CD   (Black Mass)    11.98



Just got the more recent version of this killer death-ambient/black industrial three-way that comes in jewel-case packaging.
Black Mass curates this three-band compilation that features a mix of dark heavy sounds, from nightmarish orchestral ambient doom to blackened psychedelic kosmiche music to grim atmospheric gloompop drift, and all of it is great. I've already been digging the band Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere that opens this disc, after picking up their excellent collaboration with avant-guitarist Miguel Prado, but the other two bands that appear on Those Who Dwell Beyond are new to my ears.
The mysterious blackdrone entity Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere opens the album with a thirty-two minute epic called "I Invoke", an intensely ominous black dronescape that moves between massive stygian rhythmic throb and slabs of thunderous ambient doom that sounds like an ultra-heavy blackened version of Scorn, with massive bass drops rumbling way off in the distance, surges of crushing blackened doom riffage, crawling sheets of black drift, distant choral singing that sounds lost in the depths of an infernal pit, high pitched sine waves, and the slow groaning wail of cellos drifting through the darkness and gradually joined by violins and horns that sound slightly warped and out of tune. This sprawling dronescape mixes together abstract chamber music sounds and crushing blackdrone, laced with strains of folk melody that float and tumbling in slow motion into the sulphurous abyss, ground beneath the pounding force of slow, throbbing rhythmic bass, eerie strings and horns bent and deformed, like an Arvo Part performance slowed to a crawl and spun backwards. But about twelve minutes in, actual drums materialize, pounding out a super slow spacious beat, sort of Swans-like, an angular juddering rhythm that lasts for a minute before all of a sudden the earth cracks open, and the sound is transformed without warning into a savage tempest of ultra-distorted blacknoise and insanely pitchshifted vocals, the music now unbelievably harsh and oppressive, like hearing a deathdoom band slowed down to an insanely slow tempo and with the distortion pushed into speaker-shredding levels of noize. Eventually, this blacknoize holocaust dissipates, and we're returned to the swirling black miasma from earlier, an infinite expanse of subterranean catacomb drone, the strings and horns now replaced by an ever present distorted rumbling and strange noises, voices muttering in Latin, clanking chains, weird backwards effects, rattling percussive sounds, and in the last few minutes of the track, a single distorted demonic voice appears, intoning a strange ritual spell as massive kettle drums thunder in the distance. What a trip. It has a similar fearsome hallucinatory vibe as Revorvorum Ib Malacht, but much more abstract and shapeless.
Gate To Void follow that with three tracks of superb wrist-slashing/pill-devouring black ambience. The first, "LIfeless (A Journey Towards The Inner Death)" mixes clean guitar and orchestral synths in the beginning, then shifts into a formless mass of fx and percussive chimes and rumbling drones, moving back and forth between keyboards and strings and thick waves of dense fx-soaked electronics and the sound of a crackling bonfire. The cover of Xasthur's "Forgotten Depths Of Nowhere" is rendered as a solemn synth piece, like Tangerine Dream drowning in suicidal melancholy, the music reshaped into incredibly sad and somber washes of analogue synthesizer drone, with delicate piano and choking sobs appearing later in the track, sending it even deeper into depths of abject misery and loss. And "Dreams Of Cosmic Failure" is a collaborative effort between Gate To Void and Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere, twelve minutes of pitch black drone filled with rumbling distorted synth, airy keyboard drift, metallic reverberations, streaks of shimmery feedback, echoing pulses decaying into the shadows, a great Lustmordian vastness with vague shapes of doom-metal guitar wavering in the far horizon. Fans of Vinterriket, you should especially investigate this band.
And Æon Nought closes the disc with two long tracks of gorgeously ghoulish ambience. The first track "Mined Fades Away" blends a depressingly morose guitar melody with tinny, gong-like percussion, high pained shrieks, softly whispered female vocals, and hypnotic electronic drones, a strangely romantic and melodic black ambience covered in a fuzzy low-fi haze, almost poppy in a gloomy, weepy, 4AD sort of way, especially when the piano comes in towards the end playing a beautiful melancholy melody. The other track "Monolith/Prelude to the Previous Universe" is heavier on the drone and whir, a mostly Lustmordian expanse of black ambience colored by sorrowful piano at the end.
Track Samples:
Sample : Aeon Nought - Monolithe
Sample : Gate To Void - Lifeless
Sample : Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere - I Invoke



VOID PARADIGM   self-titled   CD   (Total Rust)    12.98



   Back in stock. Finally got this in from the Israeli label Total Rust after an extended detour through postal purgatory, made all the more agonizing for moi as I'd been lusting after this album for awhile after hearing a couple of trusted sources talk up its merits. This eponymous disc is the debut release from France's self-described purveyors of "hypnotic dodecatonic black metal", a reference to the band's infatuation with Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique. Featuring members of several noted French bands (Carnival In Coal, Ataraxie, Mhonos, Wormfood, Funeralium, Hyadningar), Void Paradigm aren't the first extreme metal band to explore aspects of serialism - Jute Gyte and Ehnahre are just two bands off of the top of my head who've also directly referenced Schoenberg's influence on their music - but Void Paradigm's compositional complexity and discordant textures definitely give these six songs a uniquely peculiar vibe.
    As with much of the French black metal that I end up checking out, I expected a certain dissonant elegance going into this album, whiffs of either the shrill low-fi graveyard cacophonies of the Black Legions, or the more recent avant-gardisms of the mighty Deathspell Omega; sure, there's a few vague similarities with the latter, mainly heard in the chiming, Slint-esque guitar parts and the winding, layered riffing that appear throughout the album, but Void Paradigm ultimately offer something different here, jacking into a ferociousness that feels more informed by the crustier regions of hardcore punk. When songs like "Chao Ab Chao" suddenly shift into a pulverizing D-beat complete with vicious buzzsaw guitars swinging wildly out of the mathy, more discordant passages, it's a jarring and powerful dynamic shift that gives this stuff a really intense urgency. That raging, thrashy side of Void Paradigm's sound is infused with their more progressive tendencies, those discordant modern music influences emerging on songs like "Symmetrichaos" when the band lurches into an off-kilter, atonal dirge, the music taking on a weirdly jazzy feel, and they can also just as easily start belting out some frenzied hard rock soloing as well, or slip into an eerie, driving dirge, or send kosmische synthesizers sweeping across the final fading moments of a song. And on the very last track "Timeless Nothingness", the band drifts out into a nearly eleven minute expanse of pure electronic delirium, a mass of burbling low-end synth that seethes beneath fields of liturgical organ-like drone and the metallic ringing of bells, a gorgeous, gloomy piece of funerary cosmic music that makes for a terrific, otherworldly departure from Void Paradigm's atmospheric blackened prog. Definitely one of the more impressive debuts I've heard come out of the French black metal scene in recent years, highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Symmetrichaos
Sample : Chao Ab Chao
Sample : Building Cathedrals



VOMIR   Application À Aphistemi   CD   (Maisonbruit)    12.98



   Back in stock. As far as I'm concerned, Vomir is one of the few harsh noise artists immersed in the "wall noise" aesthetic that's worth your while, and even then, you'd have to be a particular kind of obsessive maniac to try to collect everything that the trashbag-masked French fiend Romain Perrot has released since 2006. Detractors would tell you that they all sound exactly the same anyways, right? Maybe, but that doesn't make Vomir's monolithic static rituals any less mesmerizing for moi.
    The full-length CD Application À Aphistemi is one of Vomir's key releases that I would point both fan and neophyte towards, as it features two contrasting sides of Perrot's sound. The disc begins with a powerfully hypnotic blast of meditative black static titled "Paulina Semilionova Irait À L'Équarrissage" that stretches out for forty minutes; it's exactly the kind of crackling, rumbling noise that he's known for, a single massive track that is, as always, the superior way to experience Vomir, a long, unbroken roar of extreme distortion that washes over the listener like the deafening thunder of a waterfall, the volcanic rumble of magma, or the sounds of insect life seething on a forest floor amplified and magnified to wall-shuddering volume. Even compared to the equally abrasive stylings of harsh noise artists like Incapacitants or Macronympha, Vomir's work has a peculiar physicality that, if one allows for it, can completely zone you out. Made up of repetitious waves of swirling static, Perrot creates a monotonous wall of sound that quickly lulls the listener into a suggestive, trancelike state. This stuff isn't really cathartic, it's noise as entropic mantra, and I've found myself drifting off into a half-conscious dream-state several times when listening to this particular album.
    The second track "L'Apparence Du Vrai Est Un Moment Du Faux", however, offers a counterpoint to the crushing HNW of the previous track. Here, Perrot explores the sort of cacophonous guitar noise that has been increasingly showing up on more recent Vomir releases. Using an amplified acoustic guitar to create dense layers of droning overtones and waves of strummed strings, this piece focuses on what feels like a single guitar chord being strummed furiously for nearly twenty minutes, yet it expands into a wall of locomotive sound not too unlike a stripped-down, murkier version of one of Rhys Chatham's orchestral guitar-drone epics. A furious wall of buzzing, clanking, almost motorik drone underscored by swarming harmonics and metallic hum, the track transforms into a kind of massive monotonous buzzscape that's not too far removed from the sort of immense buzzing drones found in more hypnotic low-fi black metal outfits, or the crushing distorted psych-mantras of some of Matthew Bowers's work both in and outside of Skullflower.
    Comes with an embroidered patch that bears the Vomir "bag" logo, and released in a limited edition of five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : ÿþPaulina Semilionova Irait À L'Équarrissage
Sample : L'Apparence Du Vrai Est Un Moment Du Faux



WHITE WARDS   Cigarette Burns   LP   (Iron Lung Records)    15.98



   Finally getting the first full-length LP from this Olympia, WA outfit, whose 2011 Waste My Time 7" on Iron Lung tore my head off. The chaotic ferocity found on that EP feels even more amped-up this time around, the twelve songs ranging from breakneck blown-out thrash assaults like opener "Lot Lizards", to slower, crushing hardcore dirges like "Soft Skin" that spray foul feedback and delay-drenched guitar noise over a murderous motorik punk stomp, leading their nihilistic visions into a fog of psychedelic muck. Over the course of several EPs, these guys have evolved into one of the best bands out there right now balancing blistering, frenzied speed-fueled hardcore punk and deformed fucked-up noise rock tendencies, and here those fuzzbomb guitars puke up all sorts of putrid, squealing amplifier noise. Lots of great stuff on Cigarette Burns, the garbled, drooling thrash of songs like "Glass" makes me want to put my head through a wall, but my favorite song on here is probably the closing title track, a spaced-out, pummeling noise-punk dirge draped in clanging atonal guitar jangle and droning braindead bass; it has the band locking into a stomping mid-tempo assault that almost begins to creep into Brainbombs territory as the band slogs their way through this demented hypnopunk, eventually degenerating into a haze of howling guitar noise and dissonance. As with their other records, lots of macabre imagery surrounds this, the whole thing a parade of abjection; Burns is possessed with a strange dementia, somewhat comparable to the similarly noise-damaged hardcore of Total Abuse, but heavier and gruffer and grittier, their lyrics and artwork and delivery steeped in visions of violence and rampant nihilism and rot. Anyone into the aforementioned Total Abuse and the likes of Lowest Form, Migraine, Condominium, Society Nurse and the like should give this a listen. The LP release looks pretty wild as well, with crazed artwork peering out from the interior of the jacket like some Boiled Angel-esque atrocity, and includes a sixteen page newsprint booklet with lyrics and artwork. Limited to seven hundred copies, comes with a digital download.
Track Samples:
Sample : Cigarette Burns
Sample : Soft Skin
Sample : Healthy Body



WILL OVER MATTER   Lust For Knowledge   CD   (Freak Animal)    14.98



   Back in stock. Definitely standing out from most of the punishing power-electronics, harsh noise and death industrial that Freak Animal has been putting out, Will Over Matter's Lust For Knowledge exists in its own weird realm, the fifth album from this bizarre outfit featuring Harald Mentor, AKA Sami Kettunen of Finnish crustcore maniacs Katastrofialue, black metallers Goatmoon, and blackened weirdos Ride For Revenge. The atavistic occult electronics of Will Over Matter is a pretty far cry from anything that I've heard from Kettunen in the past though, a mesmeric industrial ritual enshrouded in ancient silver-tinted erotica with nods towards Thelemic magic.
   Like the sound of warning sirens being wrenched from the sparking and smoking guts of malfunctioning mid-20th century computer equipment, the primitive power electronics of Wall Over Matter's Lust For Knowledge unleashes across these seven tracks, as murky mechanical rhythms plod and probe and shift beneath each long track, woven from simple pneumatic rhythms that transform into an insidiously hypnotic pulse; over these clanking rhythmic backdrops, Kettunen discharges all sorts of blistering synth noise and shrill drilltone abrasion, that first track almost ritualistic in how the layered sounds interlock into the cosmic transistor clank that sprawls across the opening twelve minutes, the robotic plod slowly expanding as more and more layers of locust chitter and distorted laser blasts and distant star transmissions build around the rhythm, only to eventually collapse into more malfunctioning mainframe chaos at the end, joined by deadpan vocals declaiming the mysterious lyrics in a daze over an infinite, insistent bleeping. Then there's the utterly atavistic techno of "Blades Sharpened Again", a brutal bass-heavy squelch that mutates into a bizarrely danceable beat fused to weird, vaguely melodic singing; this stuff is pretty goddamn infectious, but it's also so vestigial that it makes the noisy industrial techno on that Alberich 2xLP reissue included in this week's new arrivals list sound like 808 State. Will Over Matter pounds that rhythmic noise into your skull with an almost clinical efficiency, made even more vicious when the malevolent, black metallish screams eventually materialize. The more subdued stuff on the album is creepy as well, "Flight Of The Star" sounding like the speech of some amoebic monstrosity gurgling over a dreamlike creakscape made up of various minimal rhythmic noises, then shifting into something akin to a Thelemic ritual being performed over power electronics being performed on ancient Soviet-era sound generators. There's a definitely Broken Flag-like vibe to this stuff, the crude electronics sounding anything but modern, but that ancient, ramshackle feel gives this it's weird power as well, at times falling somewhere between the charred industrial throb of early Maurizio Bianchi and the cracked, denuded throb of contemporary industrial techno.
Track Samples:
Sample : Blades Sharpened Again
Sample : The Knowledge is Mine
Sample : Vitden Tunnin Puhelu



WIZARD RIFLE   Here In The Deadlights   CD   (Seventh Rule)    11.98



   Just now getting into this former Portland, Oregon/now LA-based outfit via their latest album Here In The Deadlights, and it's pretty killer stuff. I could have almost guessed as to where these guys were originally from - they have that sludgy, riff-heavy sound descended from the likes of Karp and Melvins, a predominant DNA strain that seems to run through the majority of bands from this corner of the country that I listen to. But that's only part of what Wizard Rifle sound like. On their second album Deadlights, these guys run their bludgeoning riffage through a whirlwind of prog rock inspired complexity and intricacy, the opener "Crystal Witch" pummeling you with it's twisting, knotty riffery and the percussive acrobatics of the rhythm section, their huge, moody riffs recalling the metallic sludgepunk of Karp and the atmospheric prog of King Crimson in the same breath. Fans of Black Elk in particular would probably love this band; the five songs that make up this fairly short mini-album are crafted from huge sludge-encrusted guitars and titanic Stoner Witch-strength riffage, the band constantly threatening to hurtle into hardcore velocity, then shifting into songs like "Buzzsaw Babes" that cram in a ferocious psych-splattered rave-up into the song's three minute runtime, or "Sky Tyrant"'s rollicking blast of spaced-put sludgepunk. The last two songs on the disc sprawl out into longer and more expansive blasts of confusional heaviness, the former starting out as off-kilter math rock, hushed sing-speak unfurling over the winding guitar melodies and whirring background noise, eerie orchestral feedback wafting up around the song's dark currents, eventually erupting into something much heavier and more menacing, almost akin to the likes of Keelhaul or American Heritage; the latter "Beastwhores" is even heavier, more menacing prog-punk, the fast-paced music moving through multiple sections marked by bombastic power, dizzying technical prowess and raging metallic riffage. At just a little over half and hour, Deadlights keeps things lean for such a prog-fueled album, but it's that lack of excessive self-indulgence that makes this such a hard-hitting listening experience. Definitely has me wanting to go back and check out their previous album Speak Loud, Say Nothing.
Track Samples:
Sample : Psychodynamo
Sample : Crystal Witch
Sample : Beastwhores



WOLD   Postsocial   LP   (The Death Of Rave)    22.98



Now available on vinyl, featuring a different track arrangement from the CD version.
The long awaited follow-up to 2011's Freermasonry, Postsocial is the sixth album from these exemplars of the black noise aesthetic, the duo of Obey and Fortress Crookedjaw who had previously hailed from the prairielands of Saskatchewan, now relocated to Providence, Rhode Island. Musically, Postsocial finds the band sounding as abrasive and chaotic as ever, with some of the most overtly "black metal" sounding material I've heard from them in years. Sort of. The first song "Throwing Star", at least, sputters out of the band's yawning black maw in a spew of mangled blackened punk, clanging out-of-tune powerchords hammered over a thick fog of overmodulated gunk and sticky static, almost like an Ildjarn jam gone totally to rot. "Inner Space Infirmary", on the other hand, offers that sort of hazy, almost droneological black blur that's marked their past few records, an inchoate smear of sound, blurred blackened riffs and howling noise fusing with Crookedjaw's distressed, murderous rasp, all washing together into a massive murky low-fi din, strange malformed melodies materializing over the endless clanking chaos, the sound slowly drifting out into a weirdly beautifully noisescape as choppy enginelike flutters fly through the blackness. It's impossible to discern individual instruments within this blizzard of black static, or really any sort of form at all, the sound is so murky and muddled that everything blurs together into a bleary murkiness, like hearing some epic black metal outfit performing through a mile of concrete. Other tracks erupt into spluttering power electronics assaults laced with droning black metal riffs, all juddering low-end and squealing deathray feedback throbbing beneath those furious frostkissed tremolo riffs, while wild guitar solos are unleashed in jets of frenzied shredding as the duo examine the symbolism of the pentagram. What makes Postsocial so potent is how, once immersed in the band's low-fi chaos, each song reveals some massive riff or spooky, melodious hook at the corroded heart of each track, some epic melody churning, repeating endlessly, evaporating into the ritualistic clanking and minimal atonal melodies of the sprawling "Spiral Star Inversion", or the hypnotic static of "Sapphire Sect Of Tubal Cain" suffused in Hecker-esque melodic drift. Psychedelic in the same way that the most deranged strains of noisecore are psychedelic.
Track Samples:
Sample : Throwing Star
Sample : Sapphire Sect of Tubal Cain
Sample : Five Points



WOLVHAMMER / KRIEG   split   7" VINYL   (Broken Limbs)    6.50



   This new 7" from American black metal bands Krieg and Wolvhammer came out right around the time the bands were on tour together down the East Coast; I got to catch them in Baltimore, and seeing them together was a real blast. Wolvhammer completely crushed during their set, and while Krieg's performance was hampered by a couple of issues, it was still great to see the New Jersey black metallers blast through the new stuff off of Transient that I was dying to hear. The bands sound great here as well, each ripping through a single song of their own unique style of hateful black metal.
   First up is an alternate version of Wolvhammer's "Slave To The Grime", a song that appeared on their new album Crawling Into Black Sun; it's one of my favorites off that Lp, a crushing mid-tempo hate anthem that boils down the band's bludgeoning black metal assault into a grinding slab of blackened rock n' roll, rolling over you with a massive, menacing groove before slipping into passages of grueling sludge, later bursting into another, equally furious fast-paced attack as the band skillfully navigates these violent tempo changes. And like the rest of that new album, this song is seriously catchy, with a main hook that is almost Kyuss-esque in its smoldering grooviness.
    Krieg's "Eternal Victim" is equally impressive, an exclusive song in the same gloomy, rocking vein as the stuff off their phenomenal Transient. This one winds through the sort of post-punk influenced black metal that dominates that album, opening with an infectiously gloomy hook that could've come off of a Killing Joke album, then whipping themselves into a vicious black blast, a roiling assault of shredded tremolo riffs and violent blastbeats further fleshed out with some fantastically evil riffing.
   Released in a limited run of five hundred copies, the split includes a digital download.


WYQM   Negative Of The Mountain   7" VINYL   (Death Agonies And Screams)    5.99



   A killer blast of blackened rock and discordant necro-metal from this somewhat mysterious one-man band from North Carolina, Negative Of The Mountain is the latest thing to come out from Wyqm, a three-song plunge into a storm of discordant violence, each titled only by roman numeral. The sound of this EP is pretty similar to previous offerings from the band, raging fast-paced black metal with a noisy, low-fi edge, the songs laced with contorted riffs and washes of ugly dissonance, sometimes slipping into creepy atmospheric sections where ghostly cosmic electronics whoosh across the echoing minor key chords, or seeing eerie blackened waltzes erupt from the hiss-streaked din of chaotic drumming and nauseous off-kilter guitars. With the second song, though, the band suddenly swings into a killer blast of blown-out blackened rock, the twangy, somewhat bluesy guitar solos flying over the furious galloping riffage and thunderous double bass, recalling the grimy rocking majesty of Minnesota black metallers Canis Dirus. And the last song starts off with pure folky bliss, ethereal feedback washing over the solemn strum of an acoustic guitar, a moody bass line winding around the stately melody before it all finally explodes into one last epic roar of black n' roll majesty, as haunting female vocal harmonies rise over the band's blackened rock. Really great. Not sure what the edition is on this record, but each copy is hand-numbered and pressed on colored vinyl, and it includes a set of Wyqm postcards and a sticker.


YUDLUGAR   VHEMT   CD   (Legs Akimbo)    8.98



   Vhemt is the third full-length disc that recently got reissued from UK blackened speedcore producer Yudlugar, apparently issued in a ridiculously tiny run of thirty-odd copies. The eight tracks on this disc deliver more of this maniac's brand of demonic technoid brutality that I first got hooked on after discovering his 7" releases on Legs Akimbo, an abrasive speedcore assault constructed around the style's standard superspeed kick drum blasts and anti-social attitude, but Yudlugar gets even more malevolent by incorporating black metal influences and elements of extreme harsh noise into his tracks. Belligerent, brutal stuff that's ostensibly on the fringes of dance music, but frankly much better suited as a backdrop to scenes of all-out street level warfare. AS with most speedcore albums, Vhemt has the usual combination of remixes and original tracks, featuring skull-splintering reworkings of tracks from L.A. based necro-speedcore terrorist Angel Enemy and digital hardcore outfit Digicore, and guest appearances from other speedcore extremists like Inverted Scrotum, Bokito and Sergiy Fjordsson. Both the remixes and the new tracks are riddled with seemingly endless assaults of hyperspeed kick drums that splatter across looped synth noise and extreme distortion, samples of infuriated voices and the looped screams of terrified livestock, and fragments of acoustic black metal intros formed from mournful violins and chopped-up frostbitten melodies. Bursts of nauseating splittercore sinewaves sound like the violent skipping of CDs amplified to bone-jarring volume levels, and smears of haunting electronic ambience are briefly glimpsed amongst all of the sputtering jackhammer beats and machinegun blasts; bits of sampled black metal and horror movie flotsam and horrific speak-n-spell melodies materialize over sickening Shitmat-style splatterbreaks, fronted by some seriously guttural and hateful vocals, an extremely aggressive and misanthropic delivery that sometimes seems at odds with the obnoxiously tongue-in-cheek track titles. While I still think that Yudlugar's 7" material is the strongest and most distinctive stuff I've heard from the project, this disc's relentless assault of sputtering spastic speedcore violence sure is a blast, and it might be the most abrasive and gut-churning of all of the Yudlugar reissues that we've picked up, a nightmarish stew of sampled suffering and skull-shredding sonic savagery. Grindcore Karaoke fanatics will love this. As with the other recent Yudlugar reissues, this comes in a simple, nondescript wallet sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Vuvuzela Holocaust Ended Modern Thermodynamics
Sample : Venomous Hippo Eats My Teacher
Sample : The Great Devourer (Yudlugar Remix)
Sample : Forcefeeding



YUDLUGAR + NUH   Present A Soundtrack To Extreme Ironing   CD   (Legs Akimbo)    8.98



   Another recent reissue from UK blackened speedcore outfit Yudlugar, Ironing originally came out back in 2012 in an equally tiny edition, and is a collaborative release between Yudlugar and fellow Brit Tom Owen, aka NUH. The two artists alternate across the disc, each spewing out several tracks of their evil, aggressive speedcore/breakcore/noise collage extremism in some insane bid for eardrum-destroying supremacy; while both artists do bring the occasional flash of atmospheric ambience, almost the entire disc is a warzone of violent hyperspeed electronic music.
    NUH spits out a frenzied mashup of jittery speedcore with anthemic metallic choruses, crushing thrash metal guitars and blown-out hip-hop flourishes, and infests his tracks with samples out the wazoo, sampling heavily from Faith No More's classic "Epic" on the opener "Epos" and giving it a violent gabber makeover, elsewhere appropriating everything from the Geto Boys to Danny Elfman's score to Batman and other cinematic fragments, and punctuating these maniacal speedcore tracks with harsh techno-style synth stabs. A lot of this stuff gets garbled into an insanely abrasive hyperspeed glitch-metal that starts to border on digi-grind, blistering spazztoid techno jacked out of its mind on PCP. It even gets all Wax Traxy on us with the pounding dancefloor-ready mutation "Burnt Weenie Sandwich", then turns into a fuzz-drenched low-fi Vangelis with the mega-distorted orchestral majesty of "It's Over" before wrapping up his end of things with the freakazoid crank-fueled breakcore funk of "Geezoid" that resembles a Korn track being remixed by Shitmat.
    Yudlugar's stuff is just as brutal, ultra-violent blasts of blackened speedcore with distorted kicks and glitched-out drum patterns warping beneath the relentless onslaught of high-end distortion and trebly black metal guitars that swoop through these chaotic blastscapes. Tracks like "Crack Butcher" come off like some terminally fried version of Aborym and Mysticum's mechanistic black metal, while other tracks vomit up brutal breakbeats and jackhammer-like eruptions of uncontrollable speed, whirlwinds of filthy Slayerized riffing and lunatic vocals. The seizure-inducing splittercore racket of "Armogasm" sounds like a battalion of thrash metal CDs all skipping at exactly the same time, and the end of the disc gives us a remix of NUH's "Small Medium Goliath God" that could have been a Yudlugar original, its chopped-up metallic roar looped and warped and wound around more sputtering, heart-attack inducing tempos.
    Like the other Yudlugar CDs that came out on Legs Akimbo, this comes in a nondescript cardboard sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : YUDLUGAR - Crack Butcher
Sample : YUDLUGAR - Armogasm
Sample : NUH - Geezoid
Sample : NUH - Epos



ZEUS!   self-titled   CD   (Shove)    11.98



   Back in stock on both CD and 180 gram vinyl, the eponymous debut from this completely bonkers Italian blast-prog outfit that preceded their 2013 album Opera that came out on famed spazzcore imprint Three One G. With its disgusting glottal cover art and goofy band name, you'd probably never guess from appearances that this bass/drums duo has delivered one hell of a pulverizing noise rock album that dips its grotesque feet into some surprisingly cinematic and sinister sounds. Made up of bassist Luca Cavina and drummer Paolo Mongardi (also a member of the Sub Pop psych band Jennifer Gentle), Zeus! plow through nine dense blasts of trippy heaviness here, primarily weaving the bone-rattling rumble of Cavina's heavily distorted bass around Mongardi's complex and aggressive rhythms, creating lurching, sinister prog jams that whiz by at meth-fueled tempos, splattered with monstrous distorted screams and traces of dreamy theremin, cascades of proggy synthesizer, and swells of gothic organ and glockenspiel. In the space of a single three-and-a-half-minute song like "Koprofiew", the duo manage to invoke everything from Naked City's stop-on-a-dime precision to the lurching malformed skullcrush of the Melvins and even shades of Goblin's ghoulish spook-prog. Definitely not the sort of boring, go-nowhere Lightning Bolt worship that I had initially expected, their spooky hyper-prog is more like something that would have been right at home on Web Of Mimicry alongside bands like Secret Chiefs 3 and Cleric. A glance at the track list and weird artwork definitely suggests a tongue-in-cheek approach to their art (there's a song called "Grindmaster Flesh", fer chrissakes), but beyond that these maniacs are all business, effectively using their limited instrumental palette to really wrench as much thunderous, jagged-edged prog-punk out of these nine songs as possible. And these guys can definitely shred, the two tightly locking together as they weave and wind and veer through these labyrinths of blown-out angular sludge and creepy math-blast, and you get a killer bit of horror prog perfection on the song "Ate U", which again invokes the likes of Goblin with its ghostly choral voices and gothic glockenspiel, before swinging into the dark, violently lopsided lurch that takes over the rest of the song. Closer "Golden Metal Shower" is a real crusher as well, the longest song on the album sprawling out into a nutzoid thrash metal-meets-NoMeansNo power-blast. This album turned out to be a really pleasant surprise, and I'll definitely be tracking down the follow-up.
Track Samples:
Sample : Grindmaster Flesh
Sample : Golden Metal Shower
Sample : Ate U



ZEUS!   self-titled   LP + CD   (Shove)    18.98



   Back in stock on both CD and 180 gram vinyl, the eponymous debut from this completely bonkers Italian blast-prog outfit that preceded their 2013 album Opera that came out on famed spazzcore imprint Three One G. With its disgusting glottal cover art and goofy band name, you'd probably never guess from appearances that this bass/drums duo has delivered one hell of a pulverizing noise rock album that dips its grotesque feet into some surprisingly cinematic and sinister sounds. Made up of bassist Luca Cavina and drummer Paolo Mongardi (also a member of the Sub Pop psych band Jennifer Gentle), Zeus! plow through nine dense blasts of trippy heaviness here, primarily weaving the bone-rattling rumble of Cavina's heavily distorted bass around Mongardi's complex and aggressive rhythms, creating lurching, sinister prog jams that whiz by at meth-fueled tempos, splattered with monstrous distorted screams and traces of dreamy theremin, cascades of proggy synthesizer, and swells of gothic organ and glockenspiel. In the space of a single three-and-a-half-minute song like "Koprofiew", the duo manage to invoke everything from Naked City's stop-on-a-dime precision to the lurching malformed skullcrush of the Melvins and even shades of Goblin's ghoulish spook-prog. Definitely not the sort of boring, go-nowhere Lightning Bolt worship that I had initially expected, their spooky hyper-prog is more like something that would have been right at home on Web Of Mimicry alongside bands like Secret Chiefs 3 and Cleric. A glance at the track list and weird artwork definitely suggests a tongue-in-cheek approach to their art (there's a song called "Grindmaster Flesh", fer chrissakes), but beyond that these maniacs are all business, effectively using their limited instrumental palette to really wrench as much thunderous, jagged-edged prog-punk out of these nine songs as possible. And these guys can definitely shred, the two tightly locking together as they weave and wind and veer through these labyrinths of blown-out angular sludge and creepy math-blast, and you get a killer bit of horror prog perfection on the song "Ate U", which again invokes the likes of Goblin with its ghostly choral voices and gothic glockenspiel, before swinging into the dark, violently lopsided lurch that takes over the rest of the song. Closer "Golden Metal Shower" is a real crusher as well, the longest song on the album sprawling out into a nutzoid thrash metal-meets-NoMeansNo power-blast. This album turned out to be a really pleasant surprise, and I'll definitely be tracking down the follow-up.
Track Samples:
Sample : Grindmaster Flesh
Sample : Golden Metal Shower
Sample : Ate U









  




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