Friday, November 25, 2022

Ara - Gurre (2022)

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Channeling the same austerity and heft as was circling around the fjords of Norway in the 90’s black metal sound, Ara (meaning “Era” in German) ride under those same black banners—Evincing a similar raw power through a bottom of the barrel production and a flurry of icy tremolo picking.

It’s form over function and it sounds PRIMITIVE! A thousand other bands released albums in 2022 that tried to do the same thing, but few captured Gurre’s ability to do more with less. This has been flying under the banner of most from what I can tell… I think it's a great black metal album with a grimy punk tinge to it. Recommended for fans of Okkultokrati, Bone Awl, Raspberry Bulbs, etc.

Ara - Gurre (bandcamp)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Leucosis - Leucosis (2013)

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This is a record that's been put up on here before but it's high-time for a re-up since it's been buried by a swath of posts that have come after. Leucosis' self-titled output from 2013 is the bands pivotal release, in my opinion—Its heft hasn't been dulled by the years one fucking bit! It remains a force of brute and murky doom metal flanked by a raw and oppressive black metal, unpolished to the point of practically having a veneer of patina over every track.

Albums are often over-credited with being monolithic without actually having an over-bearing power or stature. Leucosis' self-titled is a towering monolith, with a running time of something like 75 minutes. It's a weighty vestige to second-wave black metal with a backbone of doom, often serpentining throughout itself with pure dirge, crawling and atmospherically devastating.

This whole album is exemplary but its shining achievements are what puts it above its contemporaries. Those being the way is was produced and mastered—raw and gritty. Moreover, the way the drums sound in particular is unlike anything I've heard before. It sounds improvisational and the timbre of the kick sounds burly and under-produced… which results into something completely unconventional. SOUNDS LIKE A HAMMER FROM HELL!

Leucosis - Leucosis (bandcamp)

Friday, July 29, 2022

Ærekær - Avindskjold (2019)

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I can't recall if I have already posted about these guys back when they released their first full-length back in 2018—Blowing right passed the process of writing and recording a demo or EP this Danish duo launched themselves into the sonic stratosphere via a full-length album rife with atmosphere and tonality through a musical cloth woven from early 90's black metal and soundscapes that traverse the entire range within dungeon synth.

Ærekær's sound is the perfect amalgamation between something that sounds both abrasive and pleasant—An abstruse combination of compelling synth arrangements that feel entangled in some other realm backed up against a barrage of caustic and raw black metal.

This is one of those instances where words feel like they fall flat… I can throw a slew of adjectives into this paragraph but it feels like it doesn't matter. Simply put, if you're a fan of densely atmospheric, ambient black metal there isn't a single reason I can conceive why you wouldn't like this. Listen through!

Ærekær - Avindskjold (bandcamp)

Friday, July 22, 2022

Sepsis - The Divide 7" (2022)

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Here's an illusive slab of frenetic crust punk/hardcore from the murky depths of Australia few here will be privy to but likely interested in! Drenched in reverb and grime. every corner of music is ransacked by overblown tone and bass, giving little time for reflection beyond total destruction—It sounds and feels like the halcyon days of newly-shaped hardcore, when early thrash was in its conception, but with ample energy taken from the UK crust scene of yore and what the band claims as a strong influence from the Swedish hardcore scene.

Taken from their bandcamp page: "Sepsis! A charged 4-piece crust bombardment from Naarm, Australia. Following hot off the heels from their sold out demo, they offer up 4 tracks thats are inspired by early UK crust with a strong Swedish hc backbone. For fans of Absolut Country of Sweden/ Scandinavian Jawbreaker era Anti Cimex, Hellbastard and Sacrilege. Maximum Devastation! Limited to 300 hand number copies."

Sepsis - The Divide (Bandcamp)

Friday, May 27, 2022

Interview W/ Negativa (Hässlig, Délirant)

I reached out to D.B. during the tail-end of the pandemic to see if he had any interest in chewing the fat with me about the many projects he's been involved in—Negativa had just put out a new record and it quickly became something I overplayed, which spawned a relatively short discussion as you see it below! D.B. doesn't miss, so check out all of his releases through Negativa, Délirant and Hässlig as well as an ear to the ground with his label Bile Noire… And it goes without saying, if you're not staying up to date with what Mystískaos and Dissociative Visions are releasing, you're just fucking the dog, as far as I'm concerned.

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SHOM: First of all, it’s gotta be said that I have thoroughly enjoyed every release you’ve put out thus far under your many banners—Whether it’s through Délirant, Negativa or Hässlig. How is it you manage to put consistent energy into three different bands?

DB: Thank you and glad you enjoyed them.

I think spontaneity / improvisation play a big role in there. My guitar skills are VERY basic and I know nothing of music theory, so when I pick my guitar there is no other plan than playing and recording some "random" riffs. 

I'm sure if I told myself "let's compose some music (specifically) for Negativa instead of simply playing whatever comes naturally, I would have a hard time doing it.

SHOM: A whirring, almost hallucinatory tone seems to penetrate most, if not all of your songs. Is this something that is intentionally done or is it more of a tertiary side-effect when pursuing the type of raw and abrasive sound you have?

DB: It was intentionally done in Délirant as the first thing I did for the album was getting a kind of psychedelic and cavernous sound. Basically, it was inspired by its own production, which worked very nice since I managed to finish the entire thing in 4-5 days.

For the rest of my recordings, I'd say its a non-intentional side-effect.

SHOM: Which one word would you use to describe your general sound?

DB: Negativity? (ha!)

SHOM: If Negativity is the word you’d use to describe your sound, could you say the outcome could be used for positivity? In other words, if negativity was poured into it as a form of creative catharsis, do you believe the listener can use that same energy for their own catharsis?

DB: Well it could be… Only unintentionally though, because you can't "induce a catharsis" with music onto someone else (intentionally), I think—That's something that varies from listener to listener, and only they can feel it... Which is why music is (or should be) made for oneself and not for others.

SHOM: How do you tackle the design/layout for all your releases?

DB: I actually work as layout designer so that part is among the easy ones, specially for my releases which tend to be pretty minimal on purpose. If you want to check out some of my work: @visionsnoires on IG.

SHOM: Negativa already has a staunch black metal album release in 2022, any plans to release a record this year between either Hässlig or Délirant?

DB: Honestly, it's been close to a year since I picked up an instrument for the last time, so it’s hard to say…

There is a second Délirant album already recorded since the last 2 or 3 years, it's just missing vocals... Demotivation and the lack of mental health have made me procrastinate with it forever and I have no idea when that will be finished. Hässlig EP will come out on vinyl soon but no new recordings so far.

SHOM: Is this due to musical burn-out or other outward forces in your life?

DB: A mix of things. Musical burn-out, unhealthy habits, massive lack of motivation and mental health (as I said earlier), as well as myself not doing anything to help it and medication doing the opposite of its job. Being tired of everything in general.

SHOM: Mystískaos and Dissociative Visions are labels that I try to follow pretty closely. How’s it been working within these esteemed parent labels? Would you say you share common goals/aesthetics?

DB: It was all very smooth from the beginning. I sent them a promo for the Délirant album (which was originally an EP under a different name) with no expectations at all. Surprisingly they replied a few days later saying they were interested and we started discussing different ideas like making it a full length by adding another track (a 4th one) and finding a more appropriate name for the project, artwork, etc.

Later on I started talking regularly with the head of MSK / Dissociative Visions, doing some visual work for the label(s) and sharing my music with them. We share similar views, ideas and musical taste at least, and considering they have released everything I've done after Délirant, I guess they like it.

SHOM: Which artwork have you done (excluding your own bands) for Mystiskaos/Dissociative Visions

DB: Oh, I haven't done artwork for them. Mostly flyers, some trippy videos for promotion, the Dissociative Visions logo, as well as both MSK and DV websites (which are pretty minimal in design, so not too much to see there).

SHOM: Obviously the Mystiskaos/Dissociative label is heavy with an Icelandic Black Metal approach, would you say your Negativa stuff is directly influenced by this sound or just a slight reflection of it with a host of other influences in the mix?

DB: I don't think so... When I think of "Icelandic BM" the first thing that comes to mind is the production, since most of the stuff coming out from there is produced by the same studio. I mean, all the bands sound exactly the same and I can only relate the term "Icelandic BM" with THAT production, (which got boring pretty fast, but that's another story).

SHOM: If you had to pick out one release of all the releases out through Mystiskaos/Dissociative Visions, which would stand as your most listened to?

DB: Now that's a tough one. Most likely Vonlaus' second EP. Andavald LP would be up there for sure but pretty much all releases are great!

•  Ω  •

SHOM: Thanks again for chewing the fat with me, looking forward to your next releases and hopefully we'll be back for a part two soon enough!

DB: Of course to both! Thanks!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Chaotian - Effigies of Obsolescence (2022)

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Denmark’s murky death metal scene has been fertile ground for a death metal sound that I would say is uniquely its own—Purveyors of an atypical cavernous and oblique output with festering guitar chords and drums from hell!

It’s not that these things aren’t being done elsewhere, it’s just that Denmark is on its own level with its own ethos—Similar to New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, etc. Always dynamic and unhinged in a way that is both feral in energy and in production. Listen back to what Phrenelith, Taphos, Sulphurous, Tardus Mortem, Undergang, Septage have done in the last while (hell, listen to Ascendency’s latest EP) and you’ll see what I mean.

I digress, Chaotian's debut album is out in June and it sounds like it’s going to be a putrid pile of nebulous death metal as we’ve come to expect out of Denmark’s quiet, but venerable scene. Take notice and support!

ChaotianEffigies of Obsolescence (bandcamp)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Assumption - Hadean Tides (2022)

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In the arenas of doom/death metal, Assumption are a brutish juggernaut of sheer force and gargantuan magnitude, wielding —Hadean Tides was officially uncaged yesterday and its presence is a seismic amalgamation of glacially paced doom with bouts of frenzied death metal peppered throughout.

As I search my skull for fashionable adjectives and pithy aphorisms to describe this I can't help but think of Convocation's debut album "Scars Across". It's equally as crumbling and bulky in its weight, with emphasis on a slow churn and plodding rhythms, albeit with flickers of a gallop but never quite hitting a sprint. Kudos to the artwork being the underbelly version of a Turner painting, bang on!

Assumption - Hadean Tides (bandcamp)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Häxenzijrkell - Urgrund (2022)

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's, Urgrund, is some far out there black metal, heavily entrenched in a angular and obscure atmosphere that practically exhales something arcane… something at the very least, different then what we've all come to accept under the banner of black metal. A whirling plume of esoteric sounds swirl around here in a woozy haze of mesmerizing black metal, at times feeling like a mid-tempo cross between the obscurity of Cultes Des Ghoules mixed with the psychedelic downward spiral of Wormlust built upon the janky foundation of Urfaust.

Angular guitars which mostly move away from the typical frenetic tremolo picking and into a territory that is far more glacially paced and hypnotic, are the backbone on Urgrund, but the driving force to me is the interplay between the ritualistic like drumming and the way MK (of Rraaumm) delivers his charged (at times anthemic) vocal howls, anguished and from the larynx.

Leave it up to Amor Fati Productions to bring into the light this piece of obscure and ritualistic like black metal. Go and show your support!

Häxenzijrkell - Urgrund (bandcamp)

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Cer - The Conjuration of Nebula (2022)

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The Conjuration of Nebula
has seemingly flown under everyone's radar and it's a crucial misstep because Cer's newest (and apparently last) output has done all the right things, and has done them with total fucking control! Two tracks running three-quarters of an hour of blown-out ambient black metal annihilation.

The entire aural experience is drenched in a lo-fi tonal warmth, dancing between hypnotically dissonant chords and drums that sound like they're out of the metazoic period—Raw and primordial. Nothing is being reinvented on The Conjuration of Nebula but it redoes what's been done by many, albeit with considerable consideration towards the power of simplicity and not doing too much. This blend of mesmerizing black metal is best when it's given space to breathe and just be crude. I just bought this for a few bucks, give it a listen and consider doing the same if you can afford it.

Cer - The Conjuration of Nebula (bandcamp)

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Negative Plane - The Pact [Single] (2022)

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This is a big one! A new Negative Plane release announced and committed to wax is something to be hopeful about—A full decade and one extra trip around the sun later of muted silence, New York's esoteric black metal sweethearts of the underground are back and just as infallible as ever… But I'm rolling my eyes into the back of my skull by all these eager underground zealots professing it to be the album of the decade after a single track has dropped. I'm not immune to conflated statements but it's okay to dial it back a bit.

Negative Plane's vaporous cathedral sound is one of antiquity, drawing from the wells of soundscapes that could be heard from early Mercyful Fate, Mortuary Drape or Cirith Ungol but it's also a sound of something new bubbling and taking shape in the cauldron of metal, and that innovative energy is palpable and exciting to those of us who are looking to latch onto something forward-thinking.

From the first track alone, we can glean Negative Plane are doubling-down on their particular blend of oblique black metal with an ardent zeal, offering that well-honed esoteric sound of reverberating guitars that seem to be wailing from a cavernous depth or from some infernal place of worship. Each tonal flair carries with it the weight and ambiguity of the occult, leaning into a hypnotic atmosphere fit for gothic cathedrals whirling in incense smoke and the sound of the 80's—A faint bell rings in the distance…

Negative Plane - The Pact (bandcamp)