So we’ve brought a couple two-track albums to your attention recently, which we hope you’ve enjoyed. For a change of pace, today we present a one-track album for your listening pleasure.
That one track, “Spasm of Light,” is an incredibly dense wall of black metal noise, nearly thirty-four minutes long. And reportedly the whole thing was recorded live in a single partially-improvised session. I will try to take at least some time talking about the band’s sound as a whole, rather than just spending 500 words gushing about the incredible amount of stamina it must take for a drummer to plow through such an intense marathon. But seriously.
Talsur / Doomcult – Nameless (self-released, 05 April 2019)
Good afternoon! Taking a break from our recent excursion into the wide world of sports, to bring you this recommendation of some music for you to check out!
Released back in April of this year — and brought to my attention by one of the bands involved right around that same time — Nameless is a six-track split album. There are two new compositions apiece by Talsur (a single-member doom band from Penza, sort of near the Russian-Kazakh border) and Doomcult (a single-member doom band from southern Netherlands); and then the remaining two tracks feature each band covering a previously-released song by the other. Dig it!
Death Alley – Live at Roadburn (Tee Pee Records, 24 February 2017)
Hey, have you heard the news — the Netherlands’ biggest annual hard rock party Roadburn is coming up this weekend! (Oh wait, of course you already knew that — because you read this review yesterday of a band who’ll be playing there!)
But first, why not check out this local (well, only about 100km or so away) band who appeared at the festival in 2016? Following their 2015 Tee Pee Records debut Black Magick Boogieland, Amsterdam’s Death Alley was invited to perform at Roadburn, where their set was reportedly so “moving” and “magical” that Tee Pee decided to document it and make it available to the public in various physical and digital formats.
Atmospheric metal band Laster has signed with Prophecy Productions. The Netherlandic group, which formed in 2012 and refers to its ferocious sound as “obscure dance music,” is currently hard at work on its third full-length release and follow-up to last year’s Ons Vrije Fatum (Dunkelheit Produktionen). Laster‘s Prophecy debut is expected in 2018.
A uniquely gifted band with a singular, solitary sound, Laster plays metal with all its fury, but its music could also be described as progressive (i.e. Crack the Skye-era Mastodon), atmospheric, experimental, and even jazz-like. Attempting to categorize Laster‘s elaborately textured and ever-changing style is like trying to catch air with a net; it’s difficult to describe, but “atmospheric blackened shoegaze space prog” should provide a shadowy sense of what to expect. The band has the ability to stun first-time listeners with the utter violence of its initial impact which is unapologetically harsh, particularly with regards to the vocals which morph from flesh-peeling shrieks to ugly, gasping growls, harsh whispers, somber spoken words and rising yells of anguish. Despite its gruff exterior, digging into Laster‘s compositions reveals many layers of complexity.
“Prophecy has been part of our musical development since we were in our early teens. Inviting each other to this dance feels like a proper and weirdly magical gesture,” comments the band when asked for a statement. “At the moment we are in the middle of the writing process. The record will be an expansion of Ons Vrije Fatum. A bit more technical. A lot more nocturnal. City vibes. Some more dissonance. Experimental.”
He Whose Ox is Gored – Rumors (Bleeding Light Records, 28 October 2014)
He Whose Ox is Gored – The Camel, the Lion, the Child (Bleeding Light Records, 09 October 2015)
Hey, guess what: there’s a great band on tour that’s scheduled to play in Pittsburgh tonight (Wednesday, 7 September 2016) — Seattle’s psychedelic doom quartet He Whose Ox is Gored! This is happening at The Smiling Moose, 1306 East Carson Street, South Side. Doors open at 5:30 and the show starts at 6 — also performing will be Retox, Silent, and Netherlands.
Have you heard about this? Perhaps not, because I haven’t been able to find a Facebook event or any other sort of mention of the show, ouside of a mention on the calendar section of the venue’s website, and this being included in lists of tour dates shared by the bands themselves.
It’ll really be a shame if folks miss out on this just because they didn’t know it was taking place, so this seems like a great time to share the following review of a couple HWOIG releases — specifically their debut EP from 2014, and first full-length album from 2015. These are both pretty incredible and I’ve been meaning to write about them for the past year or two anyhow, so here goes! If you like what you hear, please be sure to spread the word, especially if you live in Pittsburgh or near any of the band’s other remaining dates! (Those will be listed down in the comments section.)
Laster – De Verste Verte is Hier (Dunkelheit Produktionen, 01 November 2014)
Sordide – La France a Peur (Avantgarde Music, 21 December 2014)
Cantique Lépreux – Cendres Célestes (Eisenwald, 18 March 2016)
My calendar is lying to me, I am sure of this. How could it possibly be only Tuesday, when it already feels like this week has lasted about sixteen years?? I have no reasonable or logical explanation. Anyway, as I sit here watching the seconds creep by, I might as well get something written to share with you folks. How does some atmospheric black metal sound? What about albums by three different bands, who approach “atmosphere” in three different ways? And — rather peculiarly — what about a unifying theme between all three albums that just might make you want to get up out of your chair and dance? What if all these questions were rhetorical, because no matter what your answer, that’s what you’re getting anyway?
Menhir – Hiding in Light (Tartarus Records, 17 April 2016)
Sunwølf – Eve (self-released, 18 April 2016)
Good afternoon, and a very happy Friday to you all. I don’t know about you, but for me this week just couldn’t end soon enough. It’s been kind of rough around here. Of course, for those of you reading this in Europe, it’s already late Friday evening and your work week has probably been over for several hours by now. And for those who are way on the other side of the world, it’s already Saturday morning and maybe you’re hungover by this point and already totally forgot about this week. I don’t know. But for me, the day is just about over and I’m totally ready to head home. Before I do, I’d like to share a bit of music with you, though. After all, that’s what we’re all here for, isn’t it?
After yesterday’s whopper of a review, I figured it might be nice to scale it back a little today, and only focus on two releases. The two that I’ve chosen to write about actually have very little in common with each other apart from the fact that they’re both scheduled to come out within the next few days. But I found them both quite enjoyable, and I suspect several of you might also like each of these — or at the very least one or the other just may be your cup of tea …
The Fifth Alliance – Death Poems (digital, CD [Consouling Sounds], cassette [Breathe Plastic Records, Diorama Records] 30 October 2015 / vinyl [Wooaaargh, Dingleberry Records, Grains of Sand Records, Monomentum Collective, Smithsfoodgroup DIY, Solitary Wolf (Vleesklak Records), Vinylaceton] 13 December 2015)
So here’s the part where I throw together some sort of introductory thing, greeting all the folks out there reading this, and along the way probably saying stuff like “ugh, it’s Tuesday, I’ve felt like I could fall asleep at any moment all day,” and then going off in some direction, complaining about something lame like the people surrounding me coughing and sniffling so much that it sounds like a hospital ward, or the fact that the stupid light above my desk is burnt out, or whatever. And then comes the part where I ask how your day has been, and then all of you skim through this whole paragraph and ignore my attempts at engaging a dialogue, and then you skip your way down to the important part — just below that photo down there where the discussion about music starts …
Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (Ván Records, 06 December 2013)
Good afternoon. It’s been about eleven days since you last heard from me — sorry, but I’ve had shit going on. Like one of those times where everything decides to break all at once, and everything needs urgent attention. Whatever. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me when you hear the ABSOLUTE FUCKING MASTERPIECE that I’m sharing with you today. This album — a solo work by the former guitarist of Dutch occult band The Devil’s Blood — was released to not-a-whole-lot-of-acclaim at the tail end of 2013, and then was tragically overshadowed by its creator’s death just about three months later. A huge surge in attention for his former band ensued, but it felt (to me, anyway) like this record accidentally got swept under the rug. Which is really a shame, because it’s sheer genius.
Laster – Wijsgeer & Narreman (cassette release 01 June 2012, CD release 01 August 2012; both via Dunkelheit Produktionen)
Good afternoon, readers! Are you having a good day so far? I hope so. I know it’s still Monday, but at least it’s almost over, right?
Anyway, I’ve got an excellent serving of black metal I’d like to share with you all. Laster (“libel” or “defamation” in English) is a two-piece band from the Netherlands. Each of the members is also involved in other musical projects, but they both use initials as pseudonyms (and both are credited with “vocals and all instruments”) so it isn’t much use trying to discuss that.
In fact, outside of their city (Utrecht) and country of origin, pretty much everything else about this band is mysterious. They don’t even have a Facebook or Myspace page (as far as I have been able to discover). In a way it’s a shame, because I do like to find as much information as possible so I can be more knowledgeable about what I’m writing about.
At the same time, isn’t part of the allure of black metal its arcane nature, that sense of mysteriousness? Perhaps sometimes the ease with which the internet has put nearly limitless information at our fingertips can actually detract a bit from the magic? Turn the extraordinary and unique into something familiar and commonplace?
In any case, that’s the extent of the details I am able to share. Even the EP title and each of the three song titles have aluded my translation (via Google) abilities. I’ve been able to pick out a few words, but not enough to decipher anything meaningful. For example, the record is called Wijsgeer & Narreman; apparently the first word means “philosopher” or “sage” but the second part has no results however hard I try searching. Perhaps one of my helpful Dutch friends will want to offer some assistance?