Hey folks, what’s up? It’s been a little while since we’ve done this! Around four months since the last time I wrote about anything on this website, and almost four YEARS since I shared a book recommendation with you all.
If you’re thinking that this is chiefly a place to talk about music, you are correct. Usually my purpose here is to let you know about something I’ve heard that I thought was worth sharing. And yeah, I do have a to-do list of hundreds of albums dating back nearly the entire lifetime of this site — not to mention the dozens of new emails coming in every single day.
But sometimes it’s tough to fit in some quality listening time throughout the day, especially critical listening and then writing about what I’m listening to. There are conference call meetings at work, tv shows and movies to watch after work, just so many different things vying for attention…
Ok, yeah, you’ve caught me. These are all just lame excuses. The truth is, a few months back my company hooked us all up with free access to an online learning service, and I have become absolutely addicted. So far, I think I’ve watched about 400 hours worth of productivity and time management videos. Things haven’t really improved much yet, but I’ll keep watching them until I find one that helps!
But having said that, one of my goals for myself in 2021 has been to spend more time reading. And while much of that has been some pretty weighty material — about scientific studies and social theories and various other subjects relevant to my interests — occasionally it’s also nice to break things up with some less-serious stuff…
Kosmodemonic – The Inebriating Darkness (self-released, 01 March 2016)
Kosmodemonic – Liminal Light (Transylvanian Tapes, 07 May 2021)
Check it out: Kosmodemonic have a brand-new full-length (their second) coming out this Friday!
If you aren’t already familiar with the band, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault. When the first one was released, they emailed me about it and I listened to it and found it interesting so I added it to my to-do list but then I never actually got as far as writing something about it. Then somehow five entire years flew past, and here we are.
Not going to let that happen again, so I’m making sure this gets published today.
Greylock / BEDTIMEMAGIC – Split (Tor Johnson Records, 12 February 2021)
Good afternoon, and a Happy Monday to you all!
Submitted for your enjoyment, I’ve got a split tape that came out a couple months back — each side features a handful of tunes by a different Boston-area duo (included among which is a cover of one song by the band from the other side). These represent fairly disparate genres within the general metal mise en scène, so hopefully there should be something for everyone here. Off we go…
Battle Hag – Celestial Tyrant (Transylvanian Tapes, 11 January 2021)
Kultika – Capricorn Wolves (Loud Rage Music, 11 January 2021)
Well, readers, another dreadful work week is mercifully drawing to a close. We finally made it to Friday. As a treat, today I’ll be sharing not one, not two, … ok wait, yes two … different albums for you to check out! Both were released back in January, both reside somewhere within the realm of doom metal, and I found both to be quite enjoyable to listen to. I hope you will too!
Body Void – Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, 23 April 2021
(Prosthetic Records LP+CD / Tridroid Records cassette)
Following up on yesterday’s post, today I will again feature a band whose first few releases have been incredible (more on that here and here) and have consistently landed upon my list of top releases for whatever year they happened to have been released; and who is now putting out another masterpiece of a record this year.
This one is due to reach the general public in exactly two days. Brace yourselves, and let’s talk about Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth.
Cave of Swimmers – Aurora (BroomTune Records, 23 February 2021)
As we find ourselves nearing the end of the fourth month of 2021, I’m continuing to tirelessly put in the effort to get myself caught up on current and recent new releases… in case anyone was curious, today I’ve just dipped below 100 unread messages in my inbox for the first time all year (down from somewhere around 2000 just a few weeks ago)!
Anyway, one thing that jumped out at me as a very pleasant surprise: I’ve learned that one of my absolute favorite new discoveries of the past decade, Venezuelan-Floridian duo Cave of Swimmers, has put out a new album! Like two months ago!
I have to say, I’m very thankful to have received notification of this release in my mailbox — because otherwise I might never have heard about it. I mentioned it years ago when I wrote about the band’s first two releases (each a 4-song EP), and it’s still true today: these guys are criminally under-recognized, given that every single piece of music they’ve ever released has been — to use a technical term from the industry — a banger.
Both of those earlier releases ended up on my list of their respective years’ top albums, and I don’t care what else comes out in 2021, I can tell you right now that Aurora will be hitting the list again when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.
Comatose – A Way Back (Transcending Records, 22 January 2021)
Good afternoon! Presented for your listening enjoyment is this album, released earlier this year, which is the first official output of Comatose. This is an assemblage of musicians who have all worked together in some capacity in various other Minnesotan bands such as Chrome Waves and Fail to Decay, among others; a little over a year ago they decided to come together in this new project. They soon found themselves writing and recording a bunch of material representative of how empty they’ve felt over the past year without the ability to tour or perform anywhere — and by extension, how empty we’ve all felt over the past year about everything.
Cyttorak / Revered and Reviled Above All Others – Split (Sleeping Village Records, 22 January 2021)
So okay, here we are. Exactly fifty-one weeks into mandated quarantine working from home, and truly starting to lose my mind from cabin fever. Looking forward to my wife coming home from work each day with stories of interaction with other human beings, since I’ve all but forgotten what that feels like.
2020 was — well, probably better to not even bring that up at all. You get it. So as a result, I found myself taking nearly two full months into 2021 just catching up on stuff I hadn’t gotten around to listening to, just to get my Top 20 list finalized. Managed to get that online about a week ago. So naturally, now I’ve begun the daunting task of working my way through 2021 releases that I’ve missed so far.
Which brings us back to the original purpose of me writing these words and you reading them: letting you know about something you may wish to cram into your ear-holes. In particular, today I’ve got a split release for you, fresh off the presses of Sleeping Village Records, the relatively new label run by the fine folks who brought you Sleeping Village Reviews.
Don’t forget that this is supposed to be a two-way street: I write words about music that I’ve enjoyed listening to, you folks read those words and listen to that music, and then you can leave a comment about how much you also enjoyed listening to it! For the sake of my sanity! Thanks for stopping by!
Úzkost – Blood Debt (self-released, 21 August 2020)
Hello out there, friends and faithful readers who have been bearing with us as we have been going through a bit of a slow period in terms of writing output! For those who don’t watch television or read newspapers or spend all day doomscrolling Twitter (that last one has been my personal sickness lately), sorry to have to be the one to break it to you, but the entire world is crumbling to shit.
In entirely unrelated news, earlier this week I got a notification that this website’s domain registration was renewing (marking the eighth anniversary as an official “dot net” site, and putting us a few mere weeks away from our ninth anniversary operating under the Valley of Steel name), which reminded me that I have a self-assigned duty to share my musical discoveries with the good people of the internet.
Frankly, it’s been pretty difficult lately to get excited about anything or to focus attention on anything that isn’t the constant stream of negativity and hatred that surrounds us all. But I’ve managed to drag myself away from the harsh misery of 2020 America just long enough to write up some words about this new single and video that was released two weeks ago by local (Pittsburgh) band Úzkost. And as a bonus, both song and video happen to be a strikingly apt reaction to all that negativity and hatred!