Problem with Dragons – Starquake (self-released, 10 March 2015)
Brujas del Sol – Starquake (H42 Records, 14 December 2015)
So within the last year, something kind of strange has happened: two different and (as far as I know) completely unrelated bands, both of them from the northeastern United States, have each contacted me to check out their new album (one was in the spring and the other at the end of the year). Both of these happened to be bands I’d heard before and already liked — in fact, for one of them I had already written about their previous album. The unusual part was that both of these new releases happened to be named Starquake.
Now, that’s certainly not impossible — I mean, thousands of bands put out new stuff every year, and they all need to come up with song and album titles, so I’m sure there is a lot of repetition out there. Maybe you remember, back in 2011, there was a ton of hype surrounding an album called Path of Totality, considered by many to have been one of that year’s finest metal releases, and then a few months later a terrible (although significantly more famous) band did a thing called The Path of Totality?
Surely that sort of thing happens a lot, but still I thought this pair of Starquakes was an interesting coincidence. As it turns out, both of them sound really good too, so I’d like to share them with you now.
Brujas del Sol – Moonliner (Devouter Records, 15 April 2013)
Distraction. Diversion. An escape. A feeling of catharsis. These are things we all need from time to time, regardless of whether we find the relief through alcohol or drugs or bath products. For me personally, and I suspect for a lot of you out there, I find the best way to shut out the rest of the world and temporarily forget about my issues is to put on a pair of headphones and get swept away by some music.
I started putting together this article about Columbus, Ohio’s Brujas del Sol and their album Moonliner last week, and have been trying to work on it for several days, but… well, shit happens. Work is extra busy sometimes, government agencies do everything they can to avoid helping you when you call them about problems you’re having (especially when those problems are their fault), you know. That old chestnut. But naturally, you haven’t come here to read about any of that, so I’ll just skip ahead to the good part. An excellent album (definitely one of my favorites from last year) that truly lends itself to getting lost in…
Cultura Tres – Rezando Al Miedo (Devouter Records / Cumpa Records, 15 May 2013)
From the very first time I heard Cultura Tres (on this compilation in April 2012), I knew there was something special about these Venezuelan sludge/doomlords. I loved their album El Mal del Bien (which I reviewed a few weeks later, here), and absolutely would have included it among my favorite releases of 2011 if I had just heard it a few months earlier. Actually, I was tempted to stick it on my list of top 2012 albums — since Devouter Records re-released it on CD, but it would have felt like cheating at that point.
In any case, I’ve become a huge fan of this quartet and their dark, bleak worldview. When their third album Rezando al Miedo came out last spring, if anything it sounded even darker and bleaker. What more could you ask for? Naturally, this album DID find its way onto my list of the best of 2013. And now I’d like to tell you some more about it to encourage you to go check out this band yourself.
Solar Halos – Solar Halos (20 January 2014, Devouter Records)
When halo rings the moon or sun, rain’s approaching on the run.
So goes the old saying. The atmospheric phenomenon known as a halo (which could be solar or lunar) involves the refraction of light through ice crystals in the air; as a beam of light strikes the crystalline structure at just the right angle, it is refracted as if passing through a prism, and the rays end up being bent into an arc shape that appears (to the viewer on the ground) to encircle the source of that light (i.e. the sun or moon). Traditionally this has been seen as an omen of approaching bad weather — which makes sense because, as people discovered when they started learning more about the science behind meteorology, the conditions that produce this optical wonder involve a certain amount of moisture being in the air as well as the approach of a warmer front which would generally precipitate (pun intended) impending rainfall. A quick Google image search shows that these halos are beautiful to look at, even though they may be foreshadowing that things could soon turn dark and unpleasant.
There’s another truism that says an email that comes from Devouter Records is a sign of excellent music on its way. Although not nearly as old or well-known, I’ve found this statement to be 100% accurate, dating back to the 2012 LP Trephine by MAKE and through every release since then. Added just a week ago to this impressive list is the debut album by Solar Halos, who just happen to come from the same North Carolina town (Chapel Hill) as their labelmates.
MAKE – Axis (01 November 2012, Black Iron Records)
Hellooooooooo out there, readers! I vaguely remember that I used to do this thing where I’d listen to music, and then write about it, and then you’d read it and listen to the music too, and then everyone was happy. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing much of that recently — I guess a variety of reasons which could pretty much be summed up as “life getting in the way” — but I do want to get back into the habit.
Today let’s talk about this EP that was released by the North Carolinian post-atmospheric-ambient-blackish-doomy band MAKE back at the beginning of this month. I told you it would be coming (here and here) and if you’ve been reading my stuff for a while you already know how much I fawned over their debut LP Trephine (reviewed here).
Somehow during the course of all of that, I neglected to share the preview video for the EP — for which I apologize, but I shall make up for it by adding it here: Continue reading →
Hey there, party people! You might have noticed that I just wrote about these guys a little over a week ago, when I learned that they had a new three-track EP ready to be released at the beginning of next month. At that time, I told you that Axis was being released through Black Iron Records as a digital download on Bandcamp, on the first of November — which is just two more days away, so hopefully you’re as excited as I am about that!
But since that post, I learned even better news, with the promise of even more new MAKE material coming our way in the not-too-distant future!
So the North Carolinian blackish post-something-or-other band MAKE just saw their album Trephine (read my review here, in which I invent the term “post-atmospheric-blackened-doom-metal”) released on vinyl by Devouter Records not quite three months ago, and the original self-release (online and on CD) was just over four months earlier.
However, they apparently didn’t want to sit around and waste any time before getting back to work, because this morning the band announced that not only had they completed work on a new three-song EP, but that it’s all ready to be released in just thirteen days!
On November 1st, 2012 we’ll be releasing our latest EP, Axis, on Black Iron Records (that’s us) as a digital download via Bandcamp. We’ll include a PDF of liner notes then, but for now here’s the cover art [above] and tracklisting:
3. The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
You can be sure I’ll be bringing you more information about this as soon as I know anything new, but in the meantime you can keep an eye on the band using the assortment of links below…