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CRUCIAL BLAST WEBSTORE: NEW ARRIVALS FOR SATURDAY NOVEMBER 22ND 2014

While the latest from American doomdeath duo Encoffination III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs) 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 album. 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.

Some amazing recent offerings from the more apocalyptic ends of the contemporary post-punk revival that are featured on the latest list include the newly reissued American releases of the first two Beastmilk 7"s that originally came out on Svart a few years ago, both essential doses of raging gloom-punk from the Finnish band; the latest super-limited cassette of grim death rock/post-punk from the mysterious North Carolina outfit A Black People; the gorgeously bleak shoegaze-stained sounds of Flesh World's A Line In Wet Grass 7"; and two of our favorite bands from this realm have been paired together on a brand new 7" from Broken Limbs, delivering one amazing new track each from Planning For Burial and Liar In Wait - only two songs, but we've been playing this record constantly...

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.

And speaking of horror, there's a decent sized stack of newer horror soundtracks on our shelves, starting with Jeff Grace's terrific score to Ti West's satanic shocker throwback House Of The Devil that recently came out on Death Waltz; two nostalgic blasts from Waxwork with electronic weirdness courtesy of Chuck Cirino's Chopping Mall and the deluxe reissue of Harry Manfredini's iconic, oft-copied score to Friday The 13th; an amazing collection of sci-fi and horror cues and experimental electronic pieces from the great Don Harper titled Cold Worlds; a stunning CD that collects the hauntingly phantasmal scores to Morgiana and The Cremator from Czech New Wave director Juraj Herz; and a collection of horror electronics and schlocky samplescapes from Andrew Liles of Nurse With Wound fame that looks like a soundtrack but isn't, The Maleficent Monster And Other Macabre Stories. As far as I'm concerned, every day is Halloween.

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 more Satanic electro-industrial madness to be found with the pair of Psychonaut 75 discs that we picked up from the iconic occult industrial label Memento Mori , Hellmachine and Stealing The Fire From Heaven, both featuring the most danceable music you'll ever hear from Michael W. Ford of Black Funeral infamy. And the onslaught of new En Nihil material just keeps coming, with another new split cassette pairing up some punishing death industrial from En Nihil with the grotesque blackened industrial of Procession Of The Black Sloth.


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. There's a new album from Lussuria, Industriale Illuminato, featuring more of their corroded, gloomy dronescapes and entropic industrial driftscapes, and a pair of older, hard-to-find CD titles from the cult Swedish black ambient project Proscenium on Memento Mori, Behind The Curtain and Weltschmerz. And there's more blackened industrial via another 90's title, Macht Durch Stimme, the demonic debut from MZ.412, and the imperious satanic bombast of Melek-Tha's War Is Coming. Mare Di Dirac debut here at C-Blast with their wonderfully creepy Tupilaq, which gets compared to a horrific version of an ESP Disk style avant-improv outfit, and death industrial outfit Shift returns with the intensely grim Altamont Rising, which casts the death of the free-love era in a diabolical black glow.

On the harsher end of the spectrum, we have a number of new n' rare skull-shredding noise releases including the aluminum-boxed CDR Mesosoma from acclaimed Canadian junk-noise extremist Knurl; the crushing Uncertainty Principle 7" EP featuring apocalyptic cosmic noise from Bastard Noise, teaming up with Japanese noise gods Government Alpha and Hiroshi Hasegawa; the latest album of schizophrenic power electronics from the mighty Bloodyminded, Within The Walls, available on CD and vinyl; and a restock of the soul-disintegrating album Application a Aphistemi from French HNW god Vomir.

Dark spiritual currents course through many of the more atmospheric and ambient releases on the list, from the avant-garde tundra rituals of Phurpa's Mantras Of Bon CD and David Chaim Smith's new dark ambient / abyssal jazz collaboration with John Zorn and Bill Laswell, The Dream Membrane, to the new rarities collection Thaw from Swedish dark ambient master Desiderii Marginis and the expansive Satanic kosmische visions found on Archive Compendium from the obscure occult industrial outfit Die Sonne Satan. There's some great new droneological work from Stephen O'Malley's recent collaboration / film-score with Oren Ambarchi and Randall Dunn, Shade Themes From Kairos, as well as restocks of both Kenneth Anger's monstrous psychedelic blowout Technicolor Skull and the album Sea(s) from crushing doomdrone Trees side-project Tecumseh, on limited edition vinyl.

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...

There's a bunch of ripping new records from the more deranged ends of the hardcore/punk underground, from the bizarre and amazingly infectious noise-damaged punk of Qloaqa Letal's reissue of Nunca, Siempre and the experimental thrashcore of Gas Chamber's latest Hemorrhaging Light, to vicious new releases and restocks from Holy Terror icons like Gehenna and Integrity, restocks of various Iron Lung Records releases from Dead Language and Iron Lung themselves, as well as the blistering new Lps of outsider hardcore intensity from Lowest Form and White Wards, a restock of the essential first album from blastcore pioneers Die Kreuzen, more stuff from Aussie noise-punk terrorizers Kromosom, and the latest album of whacked-out Discharge worship One Foot In The Grave from Thisclose.

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



!T.O.O.H.! (!TOTAL OBLITERATION OF HUMANITY!)   Řád A Trest (Order And Punishment)   LP   (Cylindrical Habitat Modules)    9.98



One of the craziest grindcore albums ever, !T.O.O.H.!'s third album Řád A Trest received the vinyl treatment last year courtesy of American avant-garde label Cylindrical Habitat Modules. We've finally gotten this cult classic in stock, on black vinyl limited to five hundred copies, with completely different (and much more appropriate, in my opinion) album artwork. Here's my original review of the CD version of the album that was released by the now-defunct avant-metal label Elitist (which we still have in stock, as well)...
Of all of the Czech grindcore bands that I've been listening to over the past decade, the most well known would probably be !T.O.O.H.! , also known as Total Obliteration Of Humanity. These weirdos released an album years ago called Pod Vladou Bice that was an instant hit around here, a brutally heavy, seriously tweaked grindcore album that stood out from the rest of the Czech grind scene with their skilled chops, complex songwriting and a tendency to throw a bunch of different styles (psych, jazz, pop punk, etc) into their vicious techgrind blender. That album (released on the obscure but very cool mutoid-grind label Plazzma) managed to reach a decent amount of ears outside of the Czech underground, and in 2005 the band reached a wider audience with the release of their album Order And Punishment on the short-lived Earache subsidiary Elitist, where they were labelmates with fellow metal mutants Ephel Duath. Heavier and less zany than their previous disc, this album nevertheless pushed T.O.O.H.'s zonked deathgrind into further realms of progginess, infusing the chunky, complex heaviness with trace elements of jazz fusion and neo-classical melody, and topping it all off with their nutty shrieking vocals that have always kind of reminded me of Macabre. The songs on this album are subversively catchy for a deathgrind band, and by all rights this should have been a huge hit in the extreme metal scene. Which it probably would have become, if it hadn't been for the acrimonious split between Elitist and Earache a mere few months after it was released, which effectively buried the album. This definitely needs to be heard by anyone into wonky, tech-head deathgrind though. Imagine early Athiest on whippits and a serious Zappa obsession, and loaded with insane fusiony soloing, jazzy basslines, n' spastic crunchy death metal riffage. I love Czech grind almost across the board - anytime I hear a death/grind band from this corner of Europe, it sounds like they are out of their minds - but T.O.O.H. were probably the most coherent and skilled band to come out of this scene so far. Recommended!
Track Samples:
Sample : Abu-Hassan
Sample : Analyza Zahnedy (Analysis of the Shitstain)
Sample : Konec Kontinentalniho Kontejneru (Conclusion of the Continental ...)



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



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



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]



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.


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.


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.


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.


BRUTAL BLUES   self-titled   CD   (Selfmadegod)    11.98











Track Samples:
Sample : Stafett
Sample : Skjold
Sample : Alminneleg Utsegn



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.


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



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..."


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..."


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.


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



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



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. Comes on colored vinyl, limited to four hundred copies.


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.


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.


IMMEMORIAL / LEBEN OHNE LICHT KOLLEKTIV ‎   Quantum Of Abstract Physics   CD   (Le Crépuscule Du Soir)    11.98











Track Samples:
Sample : LEBEN OHNE LICHT KOLLEKTIV - Horizon
Sample : LEBEN OHNE LICHT KOLLEKTIV -The Dust Is Eternal
Sample : IMMEMORIAL - The Downfall Of Astral Radiance



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



JOULES   Eponymous   CASSETTE   (Self Released)    6.98











Track Samples:
Sample : Blasphemy
Sample : Lasonic tre-931
Sample : Detroit Hustle



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



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.


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.


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











Track Samples:
Sample : My Hope the Destroyer
Sample : Le Figlie Della Tempesta
Sample : The Dreadful Hours



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











Track Samples:
Sample : Diabolikal In(ter)vention #1
Sample : Diabolikal In(ter)ventions # 2, 3, 4



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



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.


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.


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 / 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.


SWANS   To Be Kind   CD + DVD   (Young God)    22.98











Track Samples:
Sample : Screen Shot
Sample : Just a Little Boy [For Chester Burnett]
Sample : Bring the Sun/Toussaint Louverture



SWANS   To Be Kind   3 x LP   (Young God)    29.99











Track Samples:
Sample : Screen Shot
Sample : Just a Little Boy [For Chester Burnett]
Sample : Bring the Sun/Toussaint Louverture



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 + 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



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



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



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











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













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.








  




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