Konvent – Puritan Masochism (Napalm Records, 24 January 2020)
Good afternoon, readers. How are things where you are? Here, we’ve had a few pleasant and sunny days in a row, which is certainly a rarity. But today is a typically dismal and dreary Tuesday. So fittingly, it’s time to listen to some dismal and dreary music.
Without any further ado, here is Puritan Masochism by Copenhagen’s Konvent.
Kirk Windstein – Dream in Motion (eOne Heavy / Entertainment One, 24 January 2020)
Exactly twenty-five years and eleven months ago, on the 24th of March 1994, the sixth episode of the fourth season of Beavis and Butthead aired on MTV. That was the first exposure — for myself, and I suspect for many others who were teenagers at that time — to the music of Crowbar, as that episode included a portion of the New Orleanian sludge innovators’ “All I Had (I Gave)” video. (For the record, yes I do have a fairly good memory, but no I did not know all of those details off the top of my head; thank you to Wikipedia.)
Anyway, that day marked a pivotal moment in my music fandom. What I heard on that show prompted me to pick up a copy of the band’s self-titled 1993 album, and their blending of sheer heaviness with absolute raw emotion had me hooked for life. That combination is what has set the band apart from most of their peers and imitators over the years. And now after nearly a dozen albums with Crowbar (in addition to participating in a handful of other people’s projects over the past three decades) the founder, vocalist and guitarist Kirk Windstein, has released a solo record — eschewing some of the heaviness this time around, but retaining every bit of the passion and intensity.
Here’s some news that just popped into the Valley of Steel inbox: Greek psychoexperimental black-ish-metal sextet (more on that later) Hail Spirit Noir have a new deal with Poland’s Agonia Records, with a new album planned in just a few months!
Völur – Disir (Prophecy Productions, 24 June 2016)
Völur – Ancestors (Prophecy Productions, 02 June 2017)
Hey folks! The Shadow Frost festival that we talked about recently starts tomorrow and runs through the next day. Whomst among you are headed to Maryland for this event? That’s a pretty enticing line-up, huh?
So having said that, today seemed like an appropriate time to delve into a pair of albums by Torontonian trio Völur that I’ve been meaning to discuss ever since they first caught my attention several years ago. Not an ideal time to write about them, of course, as that would have been actually in 2016 and in 2017 (respectively) when they came out — but nevertheless, an appropriate time. Here we go!
Suum – Cryptomass (Seeing Red Records, 14 February 2020)
Have you ever been tricked by an album cover? Like, you got totally drawn in by this mesmerizing artwork that so perfectly encapsulates a particular mood — but then you listen to it and the music sucks, or at least it completely fails to match up with your expectations based on its exterior?
Or looking at it from the opposite side: how often has poorly-designed and/or conceptually uninteresting imagery caused you to bypass listening to something, which for all you know could have ended up being your new favorite record if you had actually given it a chance?
Well, today we’ve got the rare treat of an album whose outward appearance exactly lines up with its internal contents, Cryptomass — the sophomore release from Roman doomsters Suum, which emerged mere days ago from the decaying catacombs illustrated above (and credited to the band’s guitarist, “Antonio Painkiller“), by way of Ohio’s Seeing Red Records.
It’s hard to believe, but here we are in mid-February and once again the temperature here in Pittsburgh is right around 50° (that’s 10° to you non-Americans)! Believe me, I am not complaining one bit, but we’ve really had an atypically mild winter so far. But we can still get into the winter spirit if we so choose, by tailoring our musical selections accordingly. Frigid black metal often helps, but another way to embrace a similar mood could be with Scandinavian doomy death metal. That’ll be our agenda for today.
Formed over 30 years ago in the city of Lahti (southern Finland), and having undergone a couple name changes, several line-up changes, and even a decade-and-a-half hiatus; Necropsy re-emerged in the late ’00s, finally following up a long series of 1990s demos with full-length albums in 2011 and 2015.
This January ushered in the release of a brand-new 4-track EP, that showcases the band putting the brakes on its typical death metal tempos, transitioning into a somewhat slower and doomier style. And now that you’re all caught up on historical facts, let’s check out Exitus!
Rat King – Garbage Island (Within the Mind Records, 24 June 2016)
Rat King – Vicious Inhumanity (Within the Mind Records, 17 January 2020)
As much as I hate to admit it, during the almost eight and a half years I’ve been administrating this website, I have amassed a list of literally hundreds of albums I’ve hoped to find time to write about and share with you folks. Realistically I know I won’t ever get through ALL of them, but at the moment I am striving to keep up with the new ones as well as I can so it doesn’t get any worse; and if I can knock off an older one here and there while I’m at it, wonderful.
So having said that, here’s a record that just came out within the past month, as well as one that’s been sitting on my to-do list far too long. Both are by Seattleite trio Rat King, released on their own label Within the Mind, and both were recorded by the legendary Mr. Tad Doyle — but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. As you will soon discover. Please to enjoy!
Body Void / Keeper – Split (Tridroid Records [cassette] / Roman Numeral Records [vinyl], 15 January 2020)
Keeper / Sea Bastard – Split (Medusa Crush Recordings [N.A.] / Dry Cough Records [U.K.], 03 February 2015)
Hello there! Today we’re going to take a look at a split record that’s been generating a little bit of buzz since it came out last month, but not nearly as much as it should — considering the caliber of the two bands who released it (Californians Body Void and Keeper).
But I realize at this point that we have never mentioned Keeper previously, which is really a shame because they were involved with another fantastic split LP that came out about five years ago, along with Brightonian band Sea Bastard. Somehow we just never got around to covering it, so to rectify that error, let’s revisit that one today as well. So you can have a little “bonus review” as a treat.
Sâver – They Came with Sunlight (Pelagic Records, 08 March 2019)
Here in the Valley of Steel we don’t pay much attention to what’s trending or getting a bunch of recognition elsewhere; all we care about is listening to what we enjoy, and (sometimes) writing about it.
But having said that, sometimes it’s also nice to feel vindicated and validated, when something we identify as “good” achieves recognition from elsewhere.
Case in point: They Came with Sunlight, the debut offering from Oslo trio Sâver — which upon its release about eleven months ago made quite an impression upon this reviewer, later to become firmly entrenched in our selection of last year’s best records.