Everybody who witnessed a concert by Cologne Black-Metal-masters Ultha knows that this was more than an assembly of musicians who work for a common goal, or a common sound. It was a kind of vision of what music should be able to do – including helping its human sources get rid of some feelings. Music from the heart and for the heart – if you want to find out more about that check out “The Inextricable Wandering”. Now two of the Ultha -boys have founded a new band called Ropes of Night and the quintet has published their first EP in mid-May via Golden Antenna Records. This is not black metal but glorious post-punk and thus it follows Ralph’s love for that glorious early 80s sound that was driven and melancholic, dark and stellar at the same time. All of this can also be heard on this self-titled debut 7inch. “Halo Cage” is a bit like Joy Division bit with more grit and bit and really takes off into one’s ear canal never to leave it for quite some time. “Faith” is a bit noisier and has a kind of shoegazey feeling to it, which might be a bit like Jesus and Mary Chain. Charming is the voice of vocalist Tatjana who sounds like an 80s pop idol on the right side of the musical spectrum. Both tracks could be leftovers from any of the good ole days when music like this was steaming hot and before it was turned into the poppy mess called New Wave or New Romantics. If you only want blastbeats and screaming, then forget about Ropes of Night; but if you liked Ultha for the underlying emotional darkness – this is your new go-to-band. They have that certain something “more”.
post metal / black metal
For a long time now, lots of metal and post-metal bands have been proclaiming their love for the Deftones as they were the one band amongst the NuMetal-wave of the late 90s that had a more diverse sound. This influence can also be heard when listening to the self-titled debut by Endless Forms Most Gruesome from Finland. The duo consisting of Ghost Brigade’s Manne Ikonen and mastermind Juuso Raatikainen (Swallow the Sun) plays a harsh, blackened kind of post-metal that fits very well to this day and age as they are afraid to first run over the listener: Opening track “Black Hole” sounds more like Full of Hell collaborating with KK Null in all its direct, noisy attack. But after this quick clearing of space in the audience’s ears they spread their filthy, yet sometimes experimenting post-metal. And here the Deftones definitely come into play: EFMG are not as groovy as the usual NuMetal-clones but they rather make use of the Sacramentonians’ experiments with sending singular guitar lines through the songs. This way, the Deftones were able to incorporate a kind of soulfulness and lightness into their sound which EFMG also tries to establish. Or they use some gentle picking over a soft string arrangement in “Free Fall from Womb to Grave” just before they riff their way through the rest of the song and show Juuso’s roots in doom metal. A promising debut in all its low-tuned, upwards-thinking, lyrically-miserable glory.
punk / death metal / black metal
Karloff from Oldenburg, Germany have listened to some Stooges and Blue Cheer, but also some classic old school death metal stuff or stuff like Bathory. The punk thing is the first thing that strikes, listen to “Fright Fever” for example. High speed octane stuff, very much like New Bomb Turks or Turbonegro with a drummer releasing his inner Animal – remember the Muppets? But that would indicate a certain non-committing to their own ideals which is definitely wrong because Karloff is not one of these Motley Crue wannabe-bands. The guys from Northern Germany take their music seriously and that is probably the biggest difference to guys like Hank Van Helvete, they are no novelty act. The blackened vocals show despair and often blend seem like a mix of classic early hardcore shouters and black metal singers, sometimes even being close to thrash metal. The excellent riffing and precision make for a force to be reckoned with.
shoegaze / doom
Lyon, France is known to be a tasteful town. With newcomers Hadewijch a new chapter seems to be added to the former culinary capital of the world. One that doesn’t known boundaries or limitations – at least, not many. It’s not that they seem to have no musical boundaries, because they do perform within the frame of doomy post-metal. But they seem to have a very open-minded mindset as they want to show the possibilities of musically transcending the bodily realms, just like a good herbal therapy. This can also be noticed when listening to their debut-EP which is one, single track – but 19 minutes long. In that time, you can hear a lot of doomy but also noisy shoegaze elements that will help you find some positive vibes for your life. You might hear some Neurosis or My Bloody Valentine, to give you an idea that might push the comparisons a bit too far. The trio is not yet on the level of the bands mentioned, but they are quite good and for a debut, this is promising quite a lot. It will be interesting to see with which noise they follow their herbal and musical theory; nevertheless, they give you one more reason to think highly of the tasty town Lyon.