Monuments Collapse / Bréag Naofa – Split LP (2013)

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Monuments Collapse / Bréag NaofaSplit LP (Halo of Flies / Shove Records, 17 December 2013)

 

Good afternoon. On one hand, I’m pleased to note that this week is about halfway over. And on the other hand, it feels as though three or four weeks should have passed since Monday. I am so ready to be done working. I feel like if I don’t find something else to focus my attention and energy on for a little while, I’m seriously going to lose my shit here. And honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything that would fit the bill better than blasting some music through my headphones to drown out everything else (both externally and internally). I think it’s about time to take another dip into the pool of my favorite releases from last year.

You’ll want to pay attention to this — because what I’ve got for you today is the sort of release that too-often gets lost in the shuffle: a split record put out by a not-exactly-huge label (Wisconsin’s Halo of Flies for worldwide distribution, and Italian Shove Records in Europe), involving two not-that-widely-known bands (Monuments Collapse from San Francisco and Bréag Naofa from Seattle) who each had previously put out a self-titled album (each of which had a limited release of a few hundred copies, through smaller independent labels); and to make matters worse it was released in late December when most music publications and websites have already wrapped up their coverage for the year, compiled their year-end lists, and have already started looking ahead to the upcoming spring releases.

But I always try to be on the lookout for gems like this that might otherwise have fallen through the cracks, and then we pass the savings on to you. Or however that saying goes. Anyway, stay tuned for some great post-apocalyptic post-sludge-doom from a pair of west-coast bands you’ll likely want to get better acquainted with.

 

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Well Holy Crap… Cormorant Bassist/Vocalist Arthur von Nagel Exits Band

Once again, let me just say, holy crap…

 

 

It is with great deference and gratitude to our fans and supporters that I announce my departure from Cormorant. After the overwhelming reception for Dwellings and national tours with longtime personal heroes, I feel fortunate to end this chapter of my life on a high note. Nick, Brennan, and Matt will continue to write and perform as Cormorant with my full support. The albums we created together were very personal to all of us, and I know the music they are composing now is of the same passion and honesty. I cherish our time working together, and I wish them the best.

I am taking a break from music to pursue my career in video games—another lifelong passion. Since May of this year, I have been at Telltale Games, hard at work on The Walking Dead episodic adventure series. Contributing to the game’s development has afforded me artistic fulfillment I never thought possible professionally. Thanks to the many colleagues I count as friends and projects I care deeply about, I look forward to going to work every morning for the first time in my life.

I have nothing but the most sincere thanks to our fans. You are incredible. From the Lebanese diehard metalhead who smuggled his contraband Metazoa CD in from Saudi Arabia, to the gentleman of indigenous Australian descent who wrote to tell us how profoundly “The First Man” had affected him, knowing that we’ve forged a connection with people through our music is the most gratifying. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to perform for our fans across the US this year. Meeting you all in person was a true pleasure. I only regret that a worldwide tour wasn’t possible!

I’d like to thank the sound engineers and producers who made us sound our best, the publicists and journalists who wrote so beautifully about us, the visual artists who brought our music to life, the promoters who included us on such wonderful bills, and the bands with whom we shared the stage. While I have always taken great pride in Cormorant’s independence, so much of the band’s success is owed to your support. I look forward to attending future Cormorant shows from the other side of the stage.

Arthur von Nagel, November 2012.

 
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Just Released: Obolus – Lament

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ObolusLament (The Flenser Records, 10 April 2012)

In the “Inferno” section of his Divine Comedy, the poet Dante describes his descent through the various circles of Hell, including the particular sins which had landed the condemned souls in each of these, and what tragic fate had been assigned to them.  A large part of the allegorical nature of this tale revolves around the narrator’s interaction with some of these damned creatures; while often serving as political commentary on what he perceived as misdeeds in his own time, Dante’s poem also speaks on the evils of human nature in a far more universal sense.

Of the nine circles through which the author must pass, the seventh is the final resting place for those deemed guilty of sins of violence.  This circle is further subdivided into three narrower rings.  The section “Canto XIII” discusses what he sees in the second of these three rings, which is classified as sins of violence against oneself:
 

“… we had put ourselves within a wood,
That was not marked by any path whatever.
Not foliage green, but of a dusky colour,
Not branches smooth, but gnarled and intertangled,
Not apple-trees were there, but thorns with poison.”

“There do the hideous Harpies make their nests…
They make laments upon the wondrous trees.”

“I heard on all sides lamentations uttered,
And person none beheld I who might make them,
Whence, utterly bewildered, I stood still.”

 
Soon, at the urging of his netherworldly guide Virgil, our hero discovers that the voices he hears are issuing from the disfigured trees themselves, in which form are trapped the souls of those who had ended their lives by their own hands.

By breaking off a piece of one of their limbs, he finds he is able to address the tortured soul within, and have it respond to his inquiries:
 

“As out of a green brand, that is on fire
At one of the ends, and from the other drips
And hisses with the wind that is escaping;
So from that splinter issued forth together
Both words and blood…”

 
If the lamentations he heard from this poor, wretched being could be captured on tape, I’m sure the result would be extremely similar to the just-released Lament by the San Franciscan atmospheric black metal band Obolus.
 

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Out Today: Cormorant – Dwellings

Cormorant – Dwellings (self-released, 6 December 2011)

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First off, let me just say, I fucking hate Tuesdays. If I worked with that obnoxious lady from payroll or whatever in Office Space, she’d surely tell me I have a case of the Mondays every Tuesday. See, most people complain about Mondays because they don’t want to go back to work after the weekend, and they’re still a bit groggy throughout that morning. Well, I take this to a higher level, because I basically sleepwalk through Monday, go through the motions without really accomplishing much; you could say I’m virtually dead to the world for the entire day, so I’m more or less numb to how truly awful Monday really is. Then, after getting by on just vapors, I end up completely out of fuel by that night, and start out Tuesday feeling the way most people do on Monday. Anyway, that’s pretty much my story so far today.

There is one good thing I can say for Tuesdays though: that’s most often the day new music gets released. Ordinarily that would not be much of a consolation, but every once in a while, a Tuesday will roll around where there is a new release I have been looking forward to so much, that I almost forget how dreadful it is to be alive that day. Almost. And today is one of those rare days, because I’ve been counting down the days for the past few months, since I first saw the announcement from Californian blackened metal band Cormorant‘s bassist/vocalist/lyricist/spokesperson Arthur von Nagel, and now their new LP, Dwellings, is officially here.

For those out there who are already familiar with this band, and who have heard their earlier releases, you probably pre-ordered this weeks ago, and you are probably already listening to the digital copy while anxiously awaiting the CD (and all its fantastic artwork) to be delivered. If you know their past discography but you haven’t bought the new one yet, then probably you just missed seeing the news or you don’t know where to get it, so here you go: click this link.

If you’re still with me, then I assume you’ve never been exposed to Cormorant or their music before, so keep reading and we’ll go on a little trip through history.
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Coming Soon: Cormorant’s New Album Now Streaming, and Once Again Available for Pre-Order!

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This is awesome news for anyone who, like myself, may have accidentally missed out on the deadline a couple months ago for pre-ordering the new album by Californian blackened progressive metal band Cormorant, Dwellings, due to be self-released on 6 December, 2011.

While we may now be out of luck in regards to some of the elements from their totally awesome packages that were being sold the first time around (a signed poster of the full album cover – one panel of which is visible above, but which can be seen in its full glory here; exclusive downloads of unreleased demo materials; inclusion of our names among the credits in the accompanying booklet; etc.), at least the meat of the previous offerings (digital download of the album, CD digipack, t-shirt or sweatshirt with the album artwork) are once again available to pre-order in various combinations.

If you’ve heard the band’s previous offerings – 2009 LP Metazoa or 2007 EP The Last Tree, then clearly you don’t need any more convincing that Dwellings is going to be a must-own.  No, all you need is a link to the preorder page, which is conveniently located here, at Bandcamp.

If, on the other hand, you are a newcomer to the Cormorant experience, well I’ve got a real treat in store for you to get yourself educated… Continue reading