Good evening, readers! Well, another Monday has come and gone. That’s okay by me; coming back to work after a three-day weekend is never fun, and I am glad to get it over with as quickly as possible. Before the end of the day, though, I need to check in with the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website to find something good to listen to, so that I can share it with you! Today, I found a message that I’d received from Mind Structure, a band whose members come from the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv (Київ) and Kryvyi Rih (Кривий Ріг) asking for a review of their music. Now, I’m familiar with Kyiv (also called “Kiev”), which is the capital of the country, but Kryvyi Rih was brand new to me. Thankfully, I have Wikipedia to help me; it informs me that this city is located in the middle of a large iron mining region, and in fact, that it’s one of the most important locations in eastern Europe’s steel industry. Sounds like a place I can relate to! Besides that, I had such success listening to Ukrainian black metal last week, I figured it would be a good idea to check out someone else from that country.
Sabaton Swedish Empire Tour
Hey readers! If you’re looking for something to keep you busy on a boring Monday evening, head on down to Altar Bar in the Strip, because I’ve just learned that Swedish power metal giants Sabaton are swinging through town tonight as part of their Swedish Empire Tour through North America! I would’ve posted this earlier but I just found the above poster this morning, which local thrashers Sick Twisted Debauchery had linked to on their Facebook page last night. (People need to tell me about these things sooner so I have time to pass the word along to you!)
Anyway, details for this particular show are reprinted at the bottom of this post, after a list of all the confirmed dates remaining on the tour…
Ea – Ea (Solitude Productions, 5 March 2012)
Time to breathe a huge sigh of relief. As of midnight last night, school’s out for summer! I feel a bit dazed, and a bit numb. I’ve been out of high school for fifteen years now, so it’s refreshing to know I should only have about one more year to go before I finally complete my degree. But honestly, I don’t want to think about that right now. I don’t want to think about anything at all if I can help it. I know I can use a bit of work on my time management skills, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been up until past four in the morning Thursday night trying to get stuff caught up. Let me tell you, it’s pretty surreal to be getting ready to go to bed and to hear your alarm clock telling you it’s time to get up for work. I didn’t have to get up for work yesterday; I had the day off and took advantage of that to head out to the physical campus to take some final exams, as well as getting some last-minute homework turned in, but nevertheless it is weird to be getting into bed at around the same time I had gotten out of bed the previous day!
All of that made for a pretty interesting Friday, but I am just totally relieved to have all of that over with — at least for the next few months. And as I said, I really don’t want to have to do any thinking, or anything at all that might be mentally taxing. I just need a few days to recover, I think. On the upside, I will probably be spending more time writing blog posts, so you’re welcome for that! For now, though, I just want to curl up in this chair with a bottle of wine (an Argentinian chardonnay from Bodega Elena de Mendoza, if you were curious), and my headphones, and listen to something that doesn’t really require any mental effort. My plan is just to close my eyes and let my consciousness drift off into some state of complete numbness.
Anhedonist – Netherwards (Dark Descent Records, 10 April 2012)
Good morning, Readers. Do you think I’m strange? Wait, don’t answer that. What I mean is, does it sound strange to you if I say that listening to some of the darkest, most mournful and depressing music actually makes me feel better? Here’s an example: last year I listened to a stream of Loss‘s critically-acclaimed album Despond, when that was made available shortly before the album’s release. I thought it was really good stuff — but shortly after that I was reading some reviews on some of the blogs I frequent, and admittedly I was confused by what they were saying. Stuff like how the experience took the listener to a really dark place, filled with torture and anguish and misery. I remember thinking to myself, I should really go back and listen to that again, because I remember coming out feeling peaceful and uplifted.
So with that in mind, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two possible things happening here: either I am totally strange, with some sort of abnormal personality disorder… or else being at work (where I do quite a bit of my music listening) is such an awful and soul-crushing experience, that listening to aural expressions of pure melancholy actually can brighten that environment. I don’t know, probably it’s a little bit of both.
In any case, I’ve developed quite a taste for the doomier side of music. I love doom metal, I’ve found that I generally prefer death/doom over standard death metal, and just within the past year or so I’ve discovered a strong passion for Funeral Doom. So, the next logical step would be a Funeral Doom plus Death Metal hybrid, right? Of course it would. I propose that it would be called Funeral Death. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Anhedonist.
Agruss – Morok (Code666 Records, 26 April 2012)
There seems to be a growing trend in the American Black Metal scene that revolves around combining atmospheric post-black-metal sounds with a pro-nature, anti-technology attitude. This has been discussed ad nauseam all over the internet (perhaps best exemplified here), and frankly, I don’t give a shit. This may seem like an oversimplification, and you might say I’m being too broadly dismissive, but I say to hell with all of it. That whole movement comes across (to me) as a bunch of whiny neo-hippies saying yay to peace and love and flower power, with all the conviction and determination of that whole stupid “Occupy Wall Street… Until it Starts Getting Cold Outside” slumber party that was such a big deal last year, while it was the cause du jour.
Well, here’s a review of something totally different: a band who use black metal as the medium for expressing their rage against modern technology and the destruction of nature!
How is that different, you ask? Well for starters, the band Agruss is from the town of Rivne (Рівне), Ukraine, just a short distance away from one of that country’s nuclear power plants. Furthermore, that town is only about 400km away from the town of Chornobyl (Чорнобиль), or more commonly known by its Russian name Chernobyl (Чернобыль). As you are probably aware, that town — now almost completely abandoned — was very close to the site of another Ukranian nuclear power plant, until an explosion occurred there, releasing nuclear contaminants all over the surrounding area. That disaster occurred in 1986, on the 26th of April. (See what they did there?)
Basement Torture Killings – The First Cumming (Self-released, Summer 2008)
London-based deathgrind/goregrind band Basement Torture Killings are also sometimes referred to by the acronym BTK — not coincidentally, the same initials used by serial killer Dennis Rader (in which case the letters stood for “Bind, Torture, Kill”). With this sort of pedigree, and with song titles such as “Drill Bit Erotica,” “Cut, Drained and Disposed,” and “Necrophiled and Cannibalised,” your first reaction might be — as mine was — to expect them to be one of those super-extreme-brutal-death-wacko bands. You know, where the whole thing sounds so muddled and the guitars and bass are both equalized so low that you can’t distinguish between them? And usually the vocals sound more like a handful of crickets tossed into a bunch of stomach acid inside a blender set to “puree”? I don’t know how people listen to that sort of thing, to be honest, and if you’re with me on that, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise just as I was when I first heard BTK’s music.
The Noumenon – Apocrypha (Self-released, 13 December 2011)
Well, would you look at that — the week’s halfway over already. But then again, that means there’s still half of it left. And I’ve got a terrible fucking headache. Feeling lousy seems to be a common problem this time of year though, especially living in a city that’s notorious for its unpredictable and ever-shifting weather patterns. The past couple mornings the temperature has been hovering just above freezing level, but it’s supposed to go up about 25 degrees higher by the time I leave work this afternoon. It’s hard to get adjusted to stupid shit like that, and the fact that every day this week has had high or very high pollen levels has not helped things one bit. But, whatever. I can sit here and whine and bitch about it, but that won’t do me any good — so instead I’ve decided to take some allergy pills, drink a shitload of coffee, and throw on my headphones with some loud fucking metal music until I can’t feel anything anymore.
Fortunately, I find that today I’ve got a new CD with me, Apocrypha by Edmontonian band The Noumenon, which is pretty much just what the doctor ordered…