Hello again from the unofficial VOS WFH substation. Things are starting to settle down around here, at least to some small degree. At least, we’re all doing the best we can to adapt to this new reality of staying cooped indoors and never interacting with anyone except via a computer or other electronic device. To be honest, aside from no longer driving to and from work each day, that description isn’t all that far from how things have always been for me.
But anyway, disruptions to the day job modus operandi have really wrecked my publishing schedule, especially with large chunks of each day now spent on conference calls and in Skype meetings. But it’s time we get back into doing what we love best around here: talking about music we’ve enjoyed hearing lately and that you also may enjoy hearing.
First up is cinematic doom duo Insect Ark. Since the last time we checked in with them, founder/composer/bassist/slide-guitarist Dana Schechter (who has added collaborating with Swans to an already impressive resume that included work with Wrekmeister Harmonies, Gnaw, and others) has now been joined by new drummer Andy Patterson (who coincidentally had been looking for a new gig following the dissolution of his former band SubRosa right around the same time this group’s drummer had moved on).
And then more recently, Insect Ark‘s third album The Vanishing had just been released and the twosome had just headed out on a scheduled tour of Europe and the UK throughout the month of March, when the whole world suddenly went to hell (leaving the band with numerous cancelled dates and scrambling to find their way back to the USA). So, without any further ado…
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…
Icarus Witch – Rise (03 July 2012, Cleopatra Records)
So way back in the dark ages (i.e. the 1990s), when I was in high school, Cleopatra Records was my favorite record label. I’d snatch up all of the compilations and tribute albums I could find at my local store, of their bands’ gothic and industrial cover songs, as well as CDs by Electric Hellfire Club, Mephisto Walz, Melting Euphoria, and lots more.
Eventually, my musical interests expanded in different directions, to include a lot more extreme metal genres, and inadvertently I had completely lost track of Cleopatra.
Fast-forward several years later, and it came to my attention that there was a band from Pittsburgh who had signed to that label, called Icarus Witch. Now, I didn’t know anything about that band (at first), but remembering the styles that Cleopatra was most closely associated with, I was very surprised when I learned that the label had also expanded its musical horizons far beyond where they used to be. Icarus Witch, for example, do a more traditional heavy metal thing with, some power metal influence. And, as it turns out, they’re pretty good at it.