Clavicvla – Sepulchral Blessings
gets the listener into the right mood for what will follow in the next 37 minutes.
No sunshine can permeate through the stark, distorted canvas that Clavicvla – mastermind Ittiel has concocted for the follow-up to last year’s “Sermons”, only to show that the starkness of horror scores for the most evil movies, the most gruesome images, the most horrible slow-motions need some kind of eruption: a shriek, a shrill noise wandering from left to right, a slow verbal chant to exemplify the fear to be induced.
Sepulchral Blessing” is not a bad album per se, not that is not true, in the realm of Black Ambient
this band has definitely a strong footing and will even gather more followers with this album. It is
bleak, it got a lot of atmosphere, knows how to incorporate small disturbances into the sub-bass
horror bleakness without ruining the Hadean flow. However, those of us who do not regularly watch old horror movies turning off the sound and for those who cannot envision a dark spawn of John Carpenter and Bohren und der Club of Gore lying in the grave dug up by Mamiffer and A-Sun Amissa this will not do. A class of its own – for its own scene – in its own world. Enter if you may.
Ateiggaer – Us D’r Höll Chunnt Nume Zyt
Switzerland, but turning it into the lingua franca for a black metal record seems even more absurd.
However, one thing becomes very clear when listening to Ateiggaer’s debut EP, to be released in
mid-November: These two guys (working under the monikers Fauth Temenkeel and Fauth Lantav)
make no sacrifices, they take no hostages, they are in it for themselves and for nobody else.
Associated with the up and coming Helvetic Underground Committee from Zurich, they are able to play a furious version of black metal that has long been associated with the second wave of black metal, stemming from Norway. They infuse their fundamental rage and well-shouted visions with short passages of intricate laid-back drum fills, guitar motifs and near-Gregorian chants that connect very well with the mysticism they are here to convey, just listen to “De Dämon us Levania” (the demon from Levania) – everything blends in nicely.
The world as we see it is not theirs, they talk about spheres and gods from another realm, always
able to surprise us with minuscule differences to the usual sound. Not even a year into their
existence, Ateiggaer already got a release by popular German black metal label Eisenton – no
surprise when listening to this EP which is hopefully not their last.
Process Black - Countdown Failure
guitar player Aaron D.C. Edge said that this was a dream come true. Naturally, most any hardcore band dreams of releasing a record through Jacob Bannon’s label for several reasons – worldwide acclaim, lots of fans and, of course, the respect of the scene. However, the members of the band have already earned that respect over decades of contributing with so many bands (amongst them
Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye or Lumbar), so that this should not be a major goal.
Nevertheless, one goal was surely to release a standout single which they did. The noisy, low-tuned shredding by Aaron, Brock Lowry’s tight drumming or Tim Singer’s brilliant vocals (his name speaks for itself, evidently) all give the listener a shiver-evoking experience. The opener “Lies > Truth” already shows all the strengths of the band and additionally marks a deeply sarcastic lyricist.
“I don’t want truth… just lie to me” - sometimes people want to be lied to because (maybe) the
truth is too hard to bear, right? Well, truth be told, you will have to try hard to find a better noisehardcore debut single this year. The dream has come true for these experienced musicians.
Burden Limbs – There is no Escape
Burden Limbs can also knock you out in ways that do not sound like a doom-version of The Cooper Temple Clause but much more immediate with songs that introduce themselves into your longtimememory by means of simply intriguing lyrics by Chad Murray but also through the combination of synths, drones and gently-interwoven electronica giving you the chance to discover a lot of details and something new each time you sit down to really listen. And listen you should – these Londonboys might be up to something. They provide a great soundtrack to an overdose of medicine you don’t want to take but that you just can’t stop yourself from.
Kurokuma / Under – Kurokunder Split 7”
Kurokuma starts off with a cover song (well, that is not unusual for a split release) – reworking a theme song for a 20 year old Sega game classic called “Ecco the Dolphin: The Tides of Time” - fortunately, this is not a close cover but a free interpretation as they turn the whirling theme into a pretty clever doom track with a lot of atmosphere and a striking hihat use so that the listener asks himself afterwards if this might not have been the better theme for Ecco’s second adventure.
Then Under are up next with “Abysal Gigantism” and they definitely have some sense of humor, because their track starts with some field recordings from the seaside so that you hear that kind of stuff you would expect from our dolphin. Then they turn the song into an eight minute epic somewhere between Crowhurst and Dillinger Escape Plan making clever use of vocoder, swirling guitars and waving drums all being held together by a strong rhythm section.
In the end, this 7” leaves one impressed by the chutzpah of combining those two bands and the
clever way both complement each other turning this split into a more than welcome stray from the
path of regular splits.
Witch Trail – The Sun Has Left The Hill
Classic Hardcore – that just doesn’t work. Nevertheless, some unexpected combinations might
work, just remember Zeal and Ardor combining gospel and black metal. Witch Trail do something similar – they create their own unique blend of post-metal taking a lot from Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore’s solo work and combining it with pure post-metal. And once again, Belgium (more specifically Ghent) proves to be a brilliant soil for unique combinations as the trio is really able to provide a fresh start to a genre as trodden as post-metal.
They take the classic noise-licks and use them to replace the regular post-metal riffs. This way they also implement the pop-appeal of good noise-rock into their songs. How they start “Lucid” with a noisy take on a nearly surf-twang guitar riff and then build the shrieking vocals around it, always leaving those easy and pumping noise-rock elements at the core of the song and right in the middle of our ears – impressive! Sometimes you must think of the Beach Boys (“Stupor”), but sharing the record with Stiff Little Fingers and Discharge (“Sinking”); suddenly Kim Gordon and SY show up on your mental stage (“Silent Running”) - but interestingly all of the songs are not sung by any of those but by a guy like Fenriz. These 29 minutes full of twists and turns, of clean-distorted noisy-ness and of blastbeats, of infernal shrieks and a unique soundscape really captures any open ear.