Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vassafor : "Malediction"

The dark depths of their brand of death metal is welcome to my ears in it's dismal grind, sixteen minutes of it to open the album is on the excessive side.The sound lurks at the cross roads where doom and "occult" death metal meet. The vocals sound more like a low distorted whisper rather than a hellish growl.In the songs third act it eventually evolves into more death metal. This second song which is a more respectable five minutes is straight up blackened death metal. The production has a rawer hint to it when they are are a higher velocity. It drops into that more "Altars of Madness" grind half way into the song. The wheel is not being redesigned here, it's just being spun well.

They emerge from the depths of the darkness with a more traditional metal gallop on "Elegy of the Accuser". The guitar melody is almost more Mercyful Fate like. Needles to say that makes it one of my favorite songs on this album. It is certainly the first moment of this album that could be described as being melodic. It takes a minute or two to get into the 14 minute " Black Winds Victoryant" so the fat could be trimmed a little on this album. They get into some blast beats that are a but of a blur. The distorted vocals , which sound more blown out from distortion than growled , can't really find where they fit the best on this one. Seven minutes in it hits stiff militant riff that reminds me of Morbid Angel. The bass rumbles up and is just as distorted as the guitar. The album closes with another song breaking the ten minute mark .

It takes a minute and a half until "Illumination of the Sinister" lurches to life.This one has an uglier verse riff.The gets a little muddy, however fans of lo-fi murky death metal might appreciate the claustrophobic crypt like quality. Their sound buries you alive. I'll give this album a 7.5 , as it starts off pretty solid then get murkier the deeper into it's vaults you descend. Fans of more underground death metal should dig this, it's a like too limited in it's dynamic scope and production quality for me to get much air time from it.This album comes out October 13th

Usnea: "Portals Into Futility"

I have just resigned my self as a fan of doom the days of expecting the opening song to not be at least 12 minutes is over. Once I get over that fact I can enjoy how thick the sound of despair this band is churning out. The drummer is a monster is not in a doom band just because he can't play any faster, he plays around the hesitant riffs with a flurry of fills that still serves the song. The balance the beauty and brutality well with oppressive atmosphere on " the lathe of heaven" . The vocals are largely choked screams that sound like they are coming from a chick or teenage boy, there are lower sung vocals peppered about to give it a more Atriarch feel. I like how they build things up without going to obvious way with them.

There are lowered death metal like growls to "Demon Haunted World" ,but  aside from a few guitar melodies I am not feeling this song as heavilly as I was the first two. The offer some syncopated pounding to try to change my mind and it doesn't since my rule is cool riffs alone do not make a good song. I would not say this is a bad song it just doesn't live up to what these guys have shown me they can do. I am half way into "Pyrrhic Victory" before I realize I am not just listening to the previous song which has moved into a much more melodic place. The guitar lines become very captivating.

At nineteen minutes I am expecting it to become tedious, but so far after building out of a creeping unease " a Crown of Desolation"  is an interesting call and response between chanted sung vocals and screamed. This exchange goes on for almost seven minutes before building up into another movement that dies down into more emptiness. The singing takes a larger role almost becoming a gothy ballad at the thirteen and a half minute mark. I like the depressing hollowness the chords ring out with here, before exploding back out into a more black metal flavored part. Overall this album is pretty satisfying, I will give a few more listens I am not sure if it will make it over into my iPod or how many spins I'll get after this. I enjoyed the songwriting and craftsmanship and think this creates a mood most fans of doom will enjoy so rounding it up to a 9. Out on Relapse Records.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Forgotten Tomb : "We Owe You Nothing"

This band from Italy has changed greatly over the years. The went from being an almost depressive black metal band to a doomy sludge band and now to thrashy grooved death metal. This is their 9th album so something would be wrong if it was not as dialed in production wise as it is. In fact the sharper distortion of the crisp production leads you to believer these riffs  owe as much to Pantera in places as the do Celtic Frost. There is a groove that is hard to deny or to not bang our head to. There is almost more of an Obituary like feeling to the raw gargled aggression of "Second Chances". The difference being the darker dissonance that comes from once being a black metal band that these guys have yet to shake.It feels more like death metal than black metal when they speed up in a few sections here and there.

"Sabotuer" doesn't demand my attention as fervently as the first two songs had. The guitar sounds more up front with a current of double bass babbling like a brook beneath it. There is a more polished thrash bass sound to the rumble heading into "Abandon Everything". The vocals hold more punk in their snarl than blackness. The guitar tone is pretty interesting. The solo like single note run is a well placed bridge. As far as being a composition goes this song has more to sink your ears into than the previous song. The mid paced "Longing For Decay" has the most melodic elements so far. The riffs are really interesting and the dynamics remind me of their earlier work.

The last song is more of a instrumental piece that feels like an outro than a song in the way they have presented songs to us up to this point in the album. So while it's while played , but otherwise nothing special I am going to ignore it for the purpose of this review. As a whole it feels like the songwriting on this album is more concise and more sticks to my ears so I am going to give this album a 9, who knows if I listen to it more, but for fans of the band this is another one in the win column for those of you keeping score at home.

Songs For the Apocalypse

So the world is supposed to end tomorrow. There are many videos about it online that you can find on your own, end of the world tomorrow's date on Youtube brings up a great deal of them, the reason I won't post them here is because, most of based in some kind of Bible bull shit and I don't cover Christian music on here so I sure as hell am not going to give them any air time. Granted the fact Christians are behind this is what casts the biggest shadow of doubt in my mind, so I am trying not to get my hopes up, as it will surely prove to be another disappointment. But here are my top 10 apocalypse anthems or songs for the end of your world. I'll let the music do the talking from here. If we get an apocalyptic wasteland to frolic  that will be worth looking forward to as well, but here's for hoping for the best worst case scenario.

Killing Joke - "Glitch"


;Dissection - "Starless Aeon"


Goatwhore- "Apocalyptic Havoc"

 Morbid Angel - "World of Shit"


Darkthrone - 'Earth's Last Picture"


KMFDM- "Son of a Gun"


 Neurosis - "Locust Star"


 Ministry - "Perfect Storm"

 Megadeth- "Set the World Afire"


Fearing : "A Life Of None"

The search for new Halloween season music is back in full effect, though if you are a regular reader you know I am not fooling anyone and this is just everyday listening. Where many of the goth revival bands get it wrong is just settling for a Ian Curtis imitation for vocals , and that is one of the better case scenarios more of than not it's baritone punk shouting. So when a band comes along that puts passion and resonance in the vocals I am very grateful. The first song its all about the vocals and the shadows of their vibe. This band from Oakland California is hard to pin down into one sub-genre of goth. The first song has more of an indie rock flair , with sonic somewhat in line with a band like the National. However they do not have the mainstream aspirations .The second song the mix is a little weird and the over all flow of the song is not as hooky. Here they step further into the bat cave, in fact the album progressively gets darker as it plays out.

The guitar mix is all over the place and production is a little bit of an issue though it feels like they are going for a death rocked out take on Jesus and the Mary Chain by the time we get to "A Way With Me". They continue to dive down darker in the night sounds with a more pondering pulse of the bass line on "Another Night". This might remind you of Night Sins before they go to dancey and had more of a organic thing going. The vocals go even lower and have more of a hollow sound here. I think I am glad I heard them get other sounds vocally before hearing this one as I need to know he has a dynamic range. I do like it as it almost has more in common with Fields of the Nephillim.

They released this album on Funeral Party Records. Who from what I have heard is a label trying to bring back goth, but they need to hire a p/r firm because I had not heard any buzz about this band or this album until stumbling across them on my friend Ichabod's pod cast. So shout out to Out Ov the Coffin for turning me onto some good music again. Normally I get one of his mix cds at Dragon-con, but I didn't hit the "State of the Goth Scene " panel because Dragon Con really just has the same bands who say the same scene and really have no pulse on the underground because they are to invested in their Hot Topic state of mind with dreams of their 15 minutes of Myspace stardom. Which is why bands like this are important. They pay their respects to the old guard, but are not tied down to goth night with the 50 year olds. I'll give this album an 8.5, its great for what it is, I am not sure how much air time it will get out of me, but if you missed out on the kind of goth the first time around, meaning you are under 35, then you might be more impressed. This is not to discredit what this band does in fact I am going to look foreard to hearing a full length from them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bellwitch : "Mirror Reaper"

First off let me tell you how much I hate the fact that this new album is one 83 track. So the for the purpose of this review I am breaking it down into fifteen minute increments.

  the first 15 The first four minutes is a very tentative drone that has more in common with a slow unfolding post- rock song than doom. It lacks the oppressive and sorrow nature of doom. They lost their drummer during the making of this album and I don't feel the sense of loss they spoke of in press releases. Billy Anderson worked the board on this so it sounds very spacious. The low growl of vocal come in around the seven minute mark.It swells into a droning chant of clean vocals that are used as a ghostly instrument on their own. This sounds great , but walks the line when it comes to funeral doom as I would not say this is especially dark.

 The second 15

 Approaching the 17 minute mark it's clear this could have been trimmed and at 17 minutes in this could have been edited into the second song. The tension is broken we have a clear delineation where this second song should begin, unless you want to be self indulgent and turn this into the grandiose thing that it is. Its right before we hit the 30 minute mark that the vocals go into more of a nasty death rasp and things being to get heavier in a more aggressive metal sense than I recall hearing the band dig into.

 The third 15

 This is a droning continuation of the theme already developed lower sung vocals do echo out of the dark abyss they are trying to casting light from, but I am not sure it's enough for me to have invested the previous 15 minutes for. The sonic scope of what they are doing is however impressive.

 The fourth 15

 There is more of a psychedelic 60s feel to the folk like vocals that ride the fragile drone, that seeks to find space more than it does heaviness. This carries echoes of Jesu, though with a slightly less shoe gaze feel.

 The fifth 15

 The vocals carry over here, though they are more layered and harmonized as it is a residual from the build of the last movement. The guitar stays dreamy rather than dark or heavy. It drifts further out into the atmosphere.

the sixth 15 and ending

There is an organ that appears here to usher in the slow rise of the doom returning at what is at this point and hour and ten minutes into things. It swells into something more metal though we are talking about metal in Jesu's zip code which means by merit of hypnotic power. The final four minutes finds it fading back into nothingness with fragile fanfare to say farewell. I will give this album a 7.5 , there are cool sections an it sounds great , the vocals have also improved.


lovelesslust : " And Her Actions Failed To Matter"

Here is another attempt to find music to get me ready for Halloween. This time it's an album of remixes from a darker electronic act. Since I have never heard them them and well aware sometimes remixes sound better than the original I am just going with what I am presented here. It falls some where between William Control and Mindless Self Indulgence. Two acts I like so that is a good start.The vocals are harmonized and double tracked.Chris Corner from the Sneaker Pimps remixes the first song.  The bass line is strong in a bouncy Marilyn Manson kinda way. The drummer of Depeche Mode takes a shot at "Heavens Black and White". It makes sense that these guys are from LA as this is the musical equivalent of the kinda name dropping that goes on there. This song is more vocal focused by not as interesting and the vocals kinda form a plastic coated drone until the disco beat comes in.

So far my favorite song was "Lowlife Novelties" that was remixed by Aesthetic Perfection. It has a touch of sleaze to it. The most impressive however is what they do with Jay Gordon of Orgy on the song "Pristine" . This doesn't feel like re-read edm posing as dark wave. The beats are pretty innovative and the vocals are mixed further back him them. It's also when the female vocals comes in even just for a few words that it gives them a sexier sound.This creates almost a hip hop feel and it is also interesting how far back they mixed what sounds to be the original tracks.

These guys have peaked my interest in them with this. I am not sure this is something I feel the need to have in my iPod at present.I'll give this a 8.5 Looking for some mainstream sounding goth influenced alternative rock tinged edm and are a fan of any of the bands involved in remixing this album then it is going to be up your dark alley.