Now Available for Pre-Order: (drama) – Zastor Tišine

(drama) Zastor Tišine (Altsphere Production, 24 February 2012)

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Fuck me, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open.  I’ve probably had about five cups of coffee today, but still, here I sit staring at this computer screen and it keeps going out of focus.  Why does the last day of work before a break– especially a nice, long holiday weekend– always seem to drag on forever?  Not that things will get any better when I leave here; I am completely dreading the fact that later tonight, and probably much of tomorrow as well, I will have to venture out into the world of holiday shopping!  Suffering through the world’s worst drivers (they always seem to come out in hordes this time of year, don’t they?) to struggle to find a place to park; pushing through huge crowds of horribly annoying people to get the chance to spend money I can’t really afford on a bunch of crap that my family members don’t really need anyhow… it’s enough to seriously bring on an anxiety attack just thinking about it!

Of course, that’s why the past few days I have been cheering myself (and hopefully some of you out there in internet-land, as well) with great big heaps of awesomely depressive doom metal.  Today’s post will complete the trilogy I described earlier (part I | part II), as we voyage to Croatia to check out the debut LP of a band from Zagreb called (drama), which is entitled Zastor Tišine (Croatian for The Curtain [or Shroud] of Silence).

Following a 2006 demo, the band actually recorded this full-length back in 2010 and made it available through various digital outlets earlier this year.  I can’t remember, now, where I first became aware of them, but I know I heard one of their songs somewhere; I enjoyed it enough to be willing to put in the effort necessary to track down more info about the band– which was no small task!  You try Googling the word “drama” – with or without the parentheses, it makes no difference – and see how easy it is to wade through the billions of results!  (By the way, for your benefit I’ve included a list of links at the bottom of this post, so you can have a much easier time learning more about the band and keeping informed about them.  You’re welcome.) Continue reading

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Get to Know: Bell Witch (Review of Bell Witch Demo 2011)

Bell WitchBell Witch Demo 2011 (3 October 2011)

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I am forwarding this to you, because otherwise I would be responding to the message directly.

And I know if I did that, I would get into a lot of trouble.

That is a direct quote from an email I wrote to my boss today, passing along a rather impolite message I had received from someone in a different department. Without going into any specifics about the situation, I think that should give you enough of an idea about how MY day has been. How about you, Dear Reader? Are you in a better mood than yesterday? Have extra days off work or school on account of the holiday this weekend? Got all your presents bought and wrapped? Paid for all of them in cash, so there won’t be any huge credit card bills to look forward to, AND managed to pay all your regular bills this month, too?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, or if you answered “yes” or if you just said “fuck off, why are you asking me so many questions” — in any case, I suspect that you could benefit from some more holiday cheer. And I don’t mean a bottle of wine (although I’m sure that couldn’t hurt, either!). No, just like I said in yesterday’s post, the best way to brighten your day, even if it’s just for a little while, is a healthy serving of some nice, bleak DOOOOOM. As I promised yesterday, I’ve got one batch coming your way today, and then another to follow tomorrow.

Our journey of discovery now takes us to the northwestern United States; specifically, to the city of Seattle, which was made famous in the 1990s as it is commonly regarded as the birthplace of the grunge movement. However, what we are seeking is something much deeper, much darker, and a whole lot slower — and we find exactly that on the recent demo recording by Seattleite duo Bell Witch, which is cleverly titled Bell Witch Demo 2011.

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Just Released: Ever Circling Wolves – Chapter III

Ever Circling WolvesChapter III: In Which the Protagonist Finds Himself at the Bottom of the Ocean as well as in a Petrified Forest (December 2011, Dethroned Productions)

Well, believe it or not, Christmas is almost here. I know I can’t believe it, myself — these past several months have been so busy for me that they’ve just flown by. Often it seems that all the stuff that needs to be done exceeds the amount of time available in which to do it, which of course means there is actually less than zero time left over in which to do anything that I want to do. That sucks, and it’s made even worse by how short the days are (the only time I see a little bit of sunlight is on my way to the bus stop when I leave work in the afternoon — unless it’s raining or snowing, which is often the case). When you add all the stress and anxiety involved with the holiday season on top of everything else, it’s no wonder so many people go into a deep depression around this time. Clearly, we need something to shake off these dark feelings and bring joy and cheer back into our lives. I don’t know about you, but for me there is nothing that can turn my frown upside-down faster than some good ole DOOM METAL!!  The doomier it is, the better it makes me feel.  So I’ve scoured the world in search of something to cheer me up, and I’ve found just what the doctor ordered.  Three different doses of it, in fact, and so I will be sharing these over the next three days — just long enough to take us through Christmas eve.

The first stop on our global quest for euphoria is in Finland, where death-doom quartet Ever Circling Wolves have just released their third recording (an EP, appropriately titled Chapter III) on CD via Dethroned ProductionsContinue reading

In Case You Missed It: Visions – Home

VisionsHome (Basick Records, 18 July 2011).

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Dear Reader, I have a confession to make.

I know this has the potential to forever diminish your opinion of me as a music critic, as a metalhead, and perhaps even as a person, but it’s something I need to get off my chest. 

Here goes… I’m just not that into Dillinger Escape Plan.  I never have been, and to be honest, I fail to understand why this band is held in such universally high regard by critics and fans alike, just as I fail to understand the majority of the music they make.

I accept that there are surely listeners out there who thrive on such frenetic chaos and see a complex beautiful sense of order in what appears to be only random madness to my simple ears.  But on the other hand, I expect that there must be some like-minded souls out there, nodding in agreement as they read these words, but afraid to ever speak publicly for fear that (like in the case of the Emperor’s New Clothes) they would be ridiculed by the others who DO get it (or at least who claim to).

Anyway, the reason this discussion is sort of relevant stems from my decision to listen to Peterbourian band Visions‘ debut LP Home, which was released earlier this year.  Since they are a relatively new band (formed in 2009), and given that this is their first album, I didn’t really know what to expect beyond what is written in the official press release and some other advertisements I’ve seen.

First, we have the fact that they had been signed by UK label Basick Records (and the fact that the album itself was mixed and mastered by members of labelmates Monuments and Chimp Spanner), which sort of hints at some proggy/techy/melodic-y leanings.  But at the same, I kept seeing that infamous marketing phrase “for fans of…” and in every case, it seems to include Dillinger Escape Plan.

Well, if any of that made me feel apprehensive at all, I decided to plow ahead anyway (or I guess I should say “plough ahead” since we’re talking about a British band here), and let me just say, I’m really glad that I did.

Keep reading after the jump for some more in-depth analysis, plus your chance to listen to some of the songs (including one available for free download)…

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Out Tomorrow: Phase Reverse – Phase Reverse

Phase ReversePhase Reverse (Aural Music, 16 December 2011)

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If you enjoyed yesterday’s dose of heavy rock with a metallic edge, now I’d like to introduce you to Phase Reverse, the debut full-length from Athenian trio Phase Reverse. Originally available in a limited Greece-only release in December 2009, the album is now being made available to audiences worldwide on CD and digital download via Italian label Aural Music. Continue reading

Just Released: My Ruin – A Southern Revelation (Free Download!)

My RuinA Southern Revelation (self-released, 7 December 2011)

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Imagine this: your band has just been offered a deal with a record label, to include help with promotion, distribution, and touring support for the new album you’ve just recorded.  You’re happy with your new music and thrilled with the new contract and all the benefits that the head of the label promised you.  Then suddenly, without warning, the rug gets pulled out from underneath you, and nothing is happening according to the agreement, resulting in delays to releasing your record, cancelled tourdates, huge losses in profits, and eventually, nasty messages sent through lawyers.  What would you do?  Run off in a corner somewhere and cry?  Decide that life as a musician is too hard, and that you might as well just give up?

Well, according to southern-fried-hard-rock/alt-metal duo My Ruin, that’s exactly what happened to them, but their reaction to the situation was to write and record another whole album full of kick-ass, angry music. And then as a great big “fuck you” to the whole industry, they decided to give it away for free!  Keep reading to learn more about this band, their new album A Southern Revelation, and where you can pick up a copy absolutely free of charge…
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Get ’em While They’re Hot: Basick Records Offering a Free 2011 Sampler!

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Okay, I realize it isn’t 2012 yet, and I’m pretty sure Basick Records knows it too, but this sampler represents a cross-section of the British prog-tech-metal label’s roster going into the new year.  Several of the tracks here are swiped from Basick bands’ latest (i.e., 2011) releases, including “Oceans” from Visions‘ debut album Home (of which, coincidentally, I am in the middle of writing a review), and several others; however, also included are sneak peeks at a couple of the label’s recent signings who haven’t yet put out a record through Basick, such as Blotted Science and Skyharbor.

Best of all, it’s absolutely free!  Check out the announcement on Basick’s website  for additional information.  Or if you’re really impatient, you can just skip on over to Amazon to grab a copy.  However, if you aren’t able to download MP3s from Amazon.co.uk due to country restrictions, they have also made it available to download via their Bandcamp page (just see the embedded widget below).   Also free!  You can’t lose, either way.