Hey! I know I promised recently that we’d be getting back to reviews soon. That was before I spent the majority of January just getting caught up on listening to stuff from 2016 so that I could belatedly finalize my list of the year’s best releases! But that’s finally online now, and our first review of 2017 is scheduled to be published tomorrow. First, though, it’s time for another quick news update.
In this edition: charity donations at Bandcamp; tour news from Katatonia, Conan, and North; album release news from Ever Circling Wolves; plus more news about new videos and shows!
Green Elder / Pensive Ceremony – Split (self-released, 11 August 2016)
Twilight Fauna – Fire of the Spirit (Ravenwood Recordings / Fragile Branch Recordings, 19 August 2016)
Hello, and happy Friday! Today I’d like to call your attention to a pair of releases you may enjoy, that just came out last month. The second one is an album called Fire of the Spirit, Twilight Fauna‘s sixth full-length record over the past several years, in addition to numerous other discographical items. (As you may or may not be aware, Twilight Fauna is a solo black metal project with strong Appalachian folk roots, with everything written and performed by sole member Paul Ravenwood of Johnson City, Tennessee.) But before that, in light of it having been released a week earlier, we’ll talk about a 12″ split record that features Green Elder — also a Ravenwood solo gig, but this one entirely eschews the black metal aspects in favor of a more somber, pure Appalachian folk style. The flip side of this split consists of yet another single-member ensemble — one that’s even more elusive than the others we’re discussing today, in terms of sharing any personal information. It’s called Pensive Ceremony, and everything here is done by an individual known only as Pythagumus, apparently from somewhere near Tacoma, Washington.
Goatcraft – All for Naught (Forbidden Records, 20 March 2013)
Goatcraft – Yersinia Pestis (I, Voidhanger Records, 15 July 2016)
The past few days, we’ve talked about a few different musical groups; while a few of them might be tangentially associated with some form of metal bands, generally these have all been of the non-metal variety, using traditional folk, classical, orchestral, baroque, or chamber ensemble instrumentations, and playing compositions that would be classified as neoclassical or neofolk. Today we close out the week by taking a look at a solo musician from San Antonio, who goes by the same Lonegoat, as the sole member of Goatcraft, whose piano-and-keyboard-only creations have prompted him to coin the term “necroclassical.”
Disemballerina – Undertaker (Graceless Recordings, 28 June 2014)
Disemballerina – Poison Gown (Minotauro Records, 10 July 2016)
Moving right along with our theme of not-exactly-metal music, today we’re going to cover a pair of albums by Portlandian trio Disemballerina. This ensemble first came to my attention about two years ago when harp/viola player Myles Donovan had contacted me about their album Undertaker, which had been mixed and mastered by Tad Doyle and released via the Loss-owned Graceless Records. It was described as “something like doomed chamber music,” and had cover art that was taken from a series of images where the harpist had placed found bird carcasses (in this case, a blue heron) into the photocopier at Kinko’s. With a pedigree like that, of course I was instantly intrigued.
Disemballerina, it turns out, had been formed back in 2009 by Donovan and guitarist Ayla Holland. The two have worked with a number of other musicians over the years, but their line-up is currently set with the inclusion of cellist Jennifer Christensen. Last month, the “doomed chamber” group had another album emerge — Poison Gown — through Italian label Minotauro Records, and so today we’ll tackle both of those records.
The Visit – Through Darkness into Light (self-released, 09 October 2015)
The Night Watch – Boundaries (self-released, 15 July 2016)
Nathanaël Larochette – Earth and Sky (self-released, 29 July 2016)
Hey, folks — have you read this review of Canadian neofolk/baroque trio Musk Ox‘s 2014 album Woodfall? If you haven’t, I’d be kind of surprised — after all, in the two years since it was published, that review has become the most popular single item to ever appear on this website (as I alluded to when I named the album as an honorable mention for the Top 14 of 2014 list). In fact, it has had more visitors than the About or Contact pages, and far more than any other article I’ve ever written: twice as many as the second-most popular review ever, and almost three times as many as the most-visited article that I published in 2016.
As incredible as all that is, it’s absolutely true, and I figure it can be ascribed to one of two things: either I’m exceptionally good at writing about non-metal music performed with folk/classical instruments, or Musk Ox is just really, really popular. On the off chance that it would happen to be the first one, I’m going to take some time over the next few days to write about some more neo-folk/neo-classical groups whose orchestrations are decidedly non-metal. But in the event that the second thing also comes into play, I will be hedging my bets a bit today: what I’ll be sharing with you has been released by three different musical entities that each involve one or more of the three people who make up Musk Ox. And away we go …
supercorrupter – Amps. Anecdotes. Annihilation. (self-released, 30 June 2016)
Horseburner – Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (self-released, 08 July 2016)
Hey all you music lovers, or people who are indifferent about music but afficionados of rambly written words! There’s more of both of those in store for you today. I’d like to share recently-released albums by a pair of local (regional) bands: supercorrupter (formerly known as The Gingerdead Men and containing members of various other area groups such as DeathCrawl and Showboy) from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (between Akron and Cleveland), and Horseburner from Parkersburg, West Virginia (about halfway down the state, going north-to-south, and right at the edge of the Ohio River). Both of these just happen to be appearing at Ohio’s Blackout Cookout next month, but why not give them a listen today?
Conan / Slomatics – Split (original release 2011 / to be reissued by Black Bow Records, September 2016)
Yesterday when we talked about Slomatics‘ first two albums, I mentioned that the band has signed with Black Bow Records, who has rereleased those two albums in advance of the band’s new record due later this year. But this partnership was not the first time they’ve dealt with that label OR its owner Jon Davis. Slomatics and Davis‘ band Conan — from Merseyside County, England, just across the Irish Sea from Belfast — had put together a split record back in 2011. After that limited-edition vinyl quickly sold out, Black Bow put out another pressing of the split in 2014, which also wasn’t around for very long.
And now, they’ve announced that there will be a new batch coming soon — only 200 copies will be made available this time, and each record will be pressed onto a full-color representation of that incredible cover art! An exact release date hasn’t been set yet, but pre-orders are on sale now, and they’re expected to begin shipping around early September.