Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grst - Plague Seed

How do you follow up an ep where you cover one of USBM's sacred relics and receive heaps of praise for it? You release an LP that cements the fact that you are one of the best and brightest acts in the USBM scene today. Grst manage to find that perfect balance between melody and aggression, atmosphere and production, and technicality versus letting the songs shine over the musicians. Josh, Nathanael, and Kenneth have really pushed themselves out here and it paid off. I'm not even asking you to buy it, I'm fucking telling you. There are only 100 copies and it's vinyl only so get the fuck on it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Phobonoid - Orbita

A black/doom/industrial band writing an album about the end of civilization on Mars as witnessed by Phobos (which is both the satellite and the God of Fear)? As offputting as that may sound to some (not me, that is what hooked me on this fucking beast before I even listened), give it a chance as this is one of the better submissions I have received, ever. This is well written as fuck, equal parts beautiful, claustrophobic, oppressive, and terrifying. The production is not typical in its unevenness, but goes beyond its primary purpose for the delivery of the music, essentially becoming an instrument, drawing you deep into a hypnotic trance before blasting into your skull, digging deep. All of the other instruments are performed adeptly and concise, wasting nothing on flourishes while delivering the intended result razor sharp and taut. Highly recommended, and buy the fucking CD/Tape too.

Nostalgique - Veil

First record of this one man act from Baltimore. Playing "Atmospheric depressive emotional black metal", it truly sounds much like you'd imagine. Muffled, uneven production, a guitar tone that somehow sounds too sharp and too dull at the same time, drums and vocals both overpowering and falling below the mix, and despite a pretty traditional black metal vocal attack, the dreaded DSBM sodomized birdcall vocals appear occasionally. And some of the melodies sound like Fear of Eternity played on a guitar instead of a "My First Casio". However, the rest of the songwriting is pretty spot on, some really good ideas being fleshed out. If you are a fan of the style go for it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dunnock - The Rainy Season

Raw atmospheric and depressive black metal. Most of the parts on here were first take and/or improvised. Beside the logo, which looks like the female reproductive system with wings, this is actually pretty bearable. It's fucking noisy and uncomfortable, and the lyrics aren't as bad as most depressive acts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kitties of Death - Blue Flame

This is going to be a difficult one. In order to look at what Kitties of Death (and before I get into the review, for ill or good, I just want to state that "Kitties of Death" may be the stupidest name in the history of black metal, and up there for all of the metal genre) have produced with "Blue Flame", we need to define the main question in regards to my quandary: What is black metal, and what defines it? Nearly no one can agree on a set of criteria, seeing as the wide range of artists who are classified as black metal. What makes VON and Falls of Rauros belong to the same genre of music, beside the use of tremolo picking? Even the ethos and spirit of black metal varies from artist to artist. So what does this have to do with Kitties of Death? KoD describes themselves as Avant-Garde Black metal. As far as I can tell, the only thing relating this music to black metal is Jud Winter's vocals and a lackluster production. The music is avant-garde for sure, and they aren't lacking in talent, but the "metal" in the music is less Sigh and more "Reinkhaoss" era Dissection style melodic death metal, with added galloping drums and breakdowns galore, while keyboards add gothic swells, and random electronic beats and synth runs flitter in and out. Despite the lack of black metal I'm still posting this because it's not totally without merit. This doesn't sound as absolutely shitty as it could have with less talented individuals composing and performing it. Some of the songs are sticky as fuck too. All in all, not for everyone or even most, but if anything seemed to grab you, go and give it a listen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Anti-Freeze - Aftermath

New meat. Anti-Freeze is a Canadian one man project. He plays a brand of raw melodic atmospheric black metal on Aftermath. The first half more atmospheric and melodic than the second. Overall, the production and composition are tight, based in the tradition of the 2nd wave, but with enough new ideas to make this more than just some throwback. The only weak spot from a performance standpoint is the drums, occasionally falling out of step with the music just enough to jar you from your concentration. A pretty good release on the whole, and enjoyable to boot.

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