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.
Venus Sleeps – Dead Sun Worship (on cassette via Tartarus Records, 22 March 2016; originally released 13 March 2015)
Brigantia – “Midnight” (self-released, 28 May 2015)
Hello out there, and good afternoon! Hope your week is going well — as for myself, I’m just relieved that it’s halfway over. Anyway, I’ve been planning on telling you about the debut album by Irish psychedelic doom band Venus Sleeps, which has been out for a while now but I just discovered it when it was re-released by Tartarus Records last week.
Well today that’s just what I’m going to do, except that I also decided to throw in an extra treat for you all: a song that was put out last spring by another Irish doom band, Brigantia, which you can download for free. Think of it as kind of a bonus track at the end of the article. I’ve got a feeling you’ll enjoy both of these …
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.
Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones) (Century Media Records, 19 March 2013)
Hello there! “TFIF” and all that stuff. I wanted to get one more thing written and shared with you before the weekend, and in deciding what to talk to you about, I was feeling kind of reflective: looking both forward and back. Forward, because (as I mentioned yesterday) this year seems to be slipping by at an alarming rate. Before we know it, it’ll be time for year-end summaries and lists already! There are a few new records that’ve either just come out (or will be soon) that I’m sure will rank pretty high, as well as some from earlier this year I’ve listened to a whole bunch but maybe just haven’t had the chance to review yet. I’m going to want to get moving on posting something about all of those, lest I find myself in a situation like I did at the end of 2013 (where I put together a list of my favorite 26 releases of the year, 25 of which I hadn’t yet written about!) … which, of course, is what also has me thinking backwards. Almost nine months later, I’m still not quite halfway through reviewing last year’s list yet!
So I decided, there’s no time like the present; let’s discuss another of last year’s best albums. This is one of the more high-profile items on that list, or at least one that was put out via the biggest label. So a lot of you are probably already familiar with this band. But there may be some out there who haven’t heard Intronaut before, or may have missed out on this album — which would be a shame, because it’s really good stuff!
(This is the second in a series of two album reviews today, for two very different, yet equally awesome, Central Macedonian bands. To read about Descensus Ad Inferos by Erevos, head in this direction.)
Pneuma (πνεύμα, or Spirit in English) is the debut release from Thessalonian duo Hail Spirit Noir, which consists of Haris (synths) and Theoharis Liratzakis (guitar/vocals), both of whom serve in those same roles in the avant-black ensemble Transcending Bizarre?. HSN has been in existence for about two years now, and much of this time was spent composing the material found on Pneuma, which was then put to tape at Lunatech Studios (near Mount Olympus), rounded out by guest musicians Dim Douvras on bass (who also mixed the recording), Ioannis Giahoudis on drums, and Dimitris Dimitrakopoulos who provided additional vocals. Acclaimed Swedish engineer Jens Bogren then mastered the final product, and earlier this month Code666 Records made it available worldwide.
At least, that’s what happened according to the record label’s official press release (which also refers to the group’s music as “psychedelic prog black to tear your psyche apart”). Now, I’m not trying to imply that any of this information is inaccurate in any way. But having listened to this album pretty much nonstop for several days, I’ve found that what these guys have crafted is so uniquely compelling, I would have been willing to believe it if I had been told there was a bit more to the story of its inception than that.