Out Today: Mondrian Oak – Aeon

Mondrian OakAeon (27 February 2012, Eibon Records)

Okay, stop right there. Before you read another word (and before I write any more) we need to get one thing out of the way immediately. Do you have a short attention span? Do people often refer to you as impatient? Has your mind already begun wandering away from this post, two or three sentences ago? If you answered “yes” to any of these (or if you didn’t answer at all because you lost track of the questions), there’s a chance this might not be for you. You may prefer to do some reading elsewhere this evening, and come back to visit me tomorrow. I’ll miss you, but I can understand.

For those who are still here, though, I’ve got quite a special treat in store for you tonight. Mondrian Oak, the instrumental post-metal (heavy emphasis on the “post”) quartet from Ancona, Italy, have put together their second album, called Aeon, and it’s available on CD right now from Aural Music‘s sub-label Eibon Records. It’s pretty fucking incredible, and you’ll have the opportunity to hear the whole thing before you go buy it.

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The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: Dirty Shirt

Welcome to another installment of the “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week feature, that thing where I talk about a band I found on the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website.  You know the drill by now — you listen to some songs from a band you might not have heard before.  Then later, when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since the beginning.

Today, I’m presenting you with Dirty Shirt, who are from the Northern Transylvania region of Romania.  Their sound is made up of a hybrid of many different influences, but for the most part I would describe them as a sort of industrial nu-deathcore.  The band first formed in 1995, and over the next five years toured extensively throughout Romania, while also recording a few demos and a full-length album, Very Dirty, in 2000.

After a hiatus of a few years, they reformed in 2004, embarking on more touring and recording more demos, followed by a second full-length, Same Shi(r)t Different Day, recorded in 2009 and released in 2010.  Since that time, Dirty Shirt have kept themselves fairly busy playing more live shows across various parts of Europe, as well as putting together videos for three of the songs from their last album.  Those are now available for your viewing pleasure, and if you like what you hear, at the end of this post you’ll find some details how to download the album for free.

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Out Today: Funeral in Heaven/Plecto Aliquem Capite – Astral Mantras of Dyslexia

Funeral in Heaven / Plecto Aliquem CapiteAstral Mantras of Dyslexia (25 February 2012, Dunkelheit Producktionen)

Isn’t the internet an awesome thing?  I mean, seriously.  For those of us who are old enough to remember what life was like before, how much awesomer is it now that you have instantaneous access to pretty much any information you could ever want, anytime, anywhere?  Compared to back when you had to rely on just what you could find in books at the library — during the hours when the library was open?  Or, how much more convenient is it to be able to buy pretty much anything you can imagine, from any store anywhere — instead of having to physically go to your local store, again only during the time they were open, and settle for whatever they had to sell you?

Out of all of these things, though, probably the greatest benefit of the internet is not being able to find whatever you are looking for, but rather finding shit you never even had any idea existed.  Stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed about existing.  Now that we are able to communicate with all sorts of people all over the world, it’s amazing what sorts of craziness we now have access to.  Take music, for example, because obviously that’s what I’m eventually getting around to talking about.  Growing up, my only option was to go to the local National Record Mart or Camelot Music (both of which closed up shop ages ago, by the way) and browse through whatever tapes or CDs they had on their shelves.  I was able to hear some songs on the radio or on MTV, and if there was one that I especially liked, I could see if that album was in the store (and hope the rest of it was good, too).  Occasionally, I could rely on friends to introduce me to some things that I might not have heard elsewhere.  But mostly, I had no real way to discover new music aside from just randomly buying something and crossing my fingers.  Not being particularly wealthy, I wasn’t usually able to take risks like this, unless I was digging through the clearance bin (which did result in a few winners, but not often).

Nowadays, though… our musical options are literally endless.  There are so many places where you can sample new songs, new albums, new bands, even entirely new GENRES.  I never would have imagined that so much variation existed out there, or that I’d ever have the ability to be directly in touch with fans and bands from every corner of the globe!  Even without the internet, I knew about metal bands from places like Germany, Sweden, or Brazil, but in recent years that has definitely expanded to include way more parts of Europe, South America, Russia and the Far East, and even parts of Africa.  More recently still, the spotlight has increasingly been shone on the Middle East and India, and I am just ecstatic at the expanding knowledge I am gaining and the way my worldly musical experiences are growing ever wider.

Today, I am listening to a split release from two blackened metal bands from Sri Lanka, and if I’m not mistaken, this is the first music I’ve ever heard from that island nation in the Indian Ocean.  Naturally, I’m thrilled for the opportunity, and hopefully you will be too, so I am glad to share with you: Astral Mantras of Dyslexia, which consists of Astral Mantras by Funeral in Heaven, and Dyslexia by Plecto Aliquem Capite.

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Just Released: GIRLFIGHT – Holy Fuck


GIRLFIGHTHoly Fuck (22 February 2012, self-released)

Hey readers, how’s it going? Me, I’ve been pretty busy. Between working full-time, running a music blog of skyrocketing popularity, and taking online classes half-time, sometimes it can be a lot to juggle. Like today, when usually I’d be working on blog stuff while pretending to work, I had a bunch of school stuff that needed done instead. So that means for the majority of the day I ended up neglecting my duties here.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I forgot about you, or that I wasn’t busy finding new things to write about. I’ve always got something to listen to throughout the day, and today was no exception. And as luck would have it, on a day when I found myself without a whole lot of time to write, I came across something to share with you that hardly takes up any time at all: a two-song release that runs a mere six minutes.

Of course, just being short isn’t enough to make me want to recommend something to you. I wouldn’t want to waste any of your time, even if it’s only a little bit, with something shitty. Well, no need to worry about that. What I’ve got here is a nice healthy slab — well okay, more like a sliver — of high-quality angry Pittsburgh hardcore, courtesy of GIRLFIGHT.

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Out Last Month: Mouth of the Serpent – Manifest


Mouth of the SerpentManifest (10 January 2012, Swimming with Sharks Records)

Good afternoon, Valley of Steel reader.  Or depending on where you live (or when you come across this post), good morning or good evening. If whatever time of day it happens to be is perhaps not so good for you, just bear with me, it’ll get better.  I’m going to introduce some more music to you, and I’ve got a feeling pretty soon everything will be just fine.

For starters, just look at that cover art up there!  Now that’s some cool shit, huh?  It was created by Tony Koehl, who has been responsible for quite a few other album covers (check out this gallery), probably the most high-profile of which was Black Dahlia Murder‘s 2009 album Deflorate (as seen here).

Anyway, back to this present work of art.  People say you shouldn’t judge what’s inside
a book or album or whatever, just based on the cover.  Good advice, but not very practical in real life — after all, isn’t that why there is a cover in the first place?  To give you an idea what you will expect from the contents, and to get you started in your decision whether you think you will like it or not?

Well in this case, the artwork definitely catches your eye, and that odd juxtaposition of themes could possibly confuse the viewer, but in a way that should leave you feeling curious about what lies within.  ARE you curious, Dear Reader?  I can’t quite tell what that giant swamp monster thing is doing, but it might be inhaling a tree — definitely it looks like it’s causing some sort of massive destruction.  The creature itself looks pretty grim and brutal, like you might expect to find on the cover of some pretty brutal death metal, right?  Then in the background, the scene is all outer-spacey and there’s like a transdimensional portal or something, exactly the sort of imagery that would be well-suited to some experimental tech-death music, wouldn’t you say?

I think you can probably guess what this is leading up to, and you’d be right: the material found on Manifest, the recently-released EP by Los Angeles’ Mouth of the Serpent, turns out to be an interesting amalgamation of all of the above — and much more!


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Upcoming Show: Fist Fight in the Parking Lot CD Release


Good morning, folks.  Did you see last night’s review of the new Fist Fight in the Parking Lot album?  It’s right here, go read it!

Now that you’re all excited about this new release, you can download the album (from Amazon) or order the CD (from Innervenus).  But it gets better — this Saturday (25 February) the official release party is taking place at the 31st Street Pub in Pittsburgh!

Facebook event page (Innervenus) and another event page (31st Street Pub)

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Out Today: Fist Fight in the Parking Lot – Self-Titled


Fist Fight in the Parking LotFist Fight in the Parking Lot (21 February 2012, Innervenus Music)

Good evening, readers! Sorry for the tardiness of this review — I totally meant to publish it this morning, but then I got distracted by something shiny. It happens. Actually it was an announcement that the new self-titled album by Corrosion of Conformity was streaming in full over at AOL Music. I hadn’t heard it yet, and I don’t know how long it’ll be available, so I wanted to jump on that. I’m sure you can understand. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll probably want to check it out, too.

From what I’d read about it, the new COC album is supposed to appeal to fans of their earlier, more hardcore-oriented work, as well as those who prefer their more recent foray into Sabbath-inspired stoner metal. So I was curious to see what it was all about. What I found surprised me: I heard very little of the sound mainly associated with either era of the band’s history, instead feeling more of an old-school doom vibe — along the lines of some of Wino‘s earlier work, or any of a slew of his bands’ imitators. A style I enjoy, to be sure, but one that can also seem monotonous at times, over the course of an entire record. This was one of those occasions: despite some higher points, the album really didn’t reach out and grab my attention at any point. Missing here were the truly memorable songs that make you want to sing along, or hear them again and again.

Well, all of that soon changed, because a little later in the day I switched gears to the brand new release by Pittsburgh’s Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, made available today through the Innervenus Music Collective.

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The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: Closer to Hell

Welcome to this week’s installment of the “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week feature, which is where I profile a band I’ve discovered on the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website, and then give you the opportunity to listen to a few songs from somebody you might never have heard before.  My hope is, you might find something you really dig, and then when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since the beginning.

All of the bands I’ve written about so far in this weekly column have been people who’ve contacted me directly, actively seeking reviews.  If your band has already written to me, don’t worry, I’ll get to you soon — I’ve got a few more lined up for the next several weeks.  But today is a little different because it’s a band I ran across last weekend when I was writing about the upcoming Dream Death reunion show —  one of the opening acts for that show is a local band I hadn’t heard before, so in the course of writing that article I had to do a little research to find out who they are.  That was Closer to Hell, a death metal band from Ford City, PA (just a little while north of Pittsburgh in Armstrong County).  After I located their Facebook page, I found that they also had an account on Signmeto, where I was able to give them a listen.  So naturally, I decided to include them here so you could do the same. Continue reading

Get ’em While They’re Hot: Deep in the Mire Offering Three Free Songs

Good evening!  I usually don’t get a chance to post anything on Sundays, but I was just listening to these songs I downloaded the other day from Leodensian prog-rockers Deep in the Mire, and I just felt that I had to toss this little announcement out there, so you could check them out, too.  You’re welcome.

These guys have been posting recording updates on their Facebook page for the past couple months, and making vague references to giving away free downloads during much of that time as well.  Then, a couple days ago, I got an email from bassist Sidge Rushton, who said:

Long ago (maybe FOUR MONTHS??!!) we promised you all some free DITM music. After numerous technical difficulties we worked out this was the best way to bring it too you.

 Go here:


You can listen to each song in full before you download it. If you want it click on the little downward facing arrow next to ‘add to set’ and it should start downloading. Up there is ‘Again’, ‘Biganeha’ and new single ‘The Moth’ all for free.

Download and enjoy and feel free to send the song to anyone you want.

Love and respect from the DITM Tribe.

I have to warn you, the downloads are pretty large, because these are WAVs rather than MP3s.  Of course, the upside to that is the sound quality is much better.  Also, as stated above, you have the opportunity to listen to the streams on Soundcloud before deciding to download.  In fact, I’m embedding the player for each of the three songs below, for your listening convenience.

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Help Make Iron Atrocity v.2 a Reality!

You might remember I talked about this project before — back in November I posted about some upcoming Molasses Barge shows which included a benefit show in Decmeber to support the Iron Atrocity v.2 compilation.

If you don’t remember, Iron Atrocity is a digital download (available free by visiting www.ironatrocity.com) or CD compilation (I do not know if any copies are still available, but it was given out for free at shows associated with Innervenus or any of the bands on the CD) which highlights some of the best in Pittsburgh-area metal music today.

Well, the second compilation in the series is currently in the works, and the folks at Innervenus are trying to raise a little extra capital to get this thing off the ground…
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