Nothing new under those vast Scandinavian skies – yes! Nothing boring in the wide open spaces – yes! Nocturnalia are a good example that a mix of Rainbow, Deep Purple, the 69 Eyes combined with a singer who clearly likes Bruce Dickinson never gets boring. For we have heard those things so often before we can clearly identify the roots – always a great thing for every fan(atic) as he can display his knowledge. However, there is something else to that mix that lies beneath the obvious and that is some good and clever songwriting because we must remember – copying is one thing but taking lessons from idols is another. Nocturnalia definitely follow the second line and we can take singer Linus Ekermo as an example here: He knows his Bruce, he knows his Dio but he never dares to simply copy them, he adds little singular characteristics once in a while, for example in “Winter Hymn” when his (nearly) spoken word is a great atmospheric moment - “Frost be the sign of this lost ending year / Darkness embrace me for winter draws near” words and phrases heard before but combined with a sound reminiscent of the wind of uilleann pipes and a second (at the beginning nearly inaudible) vocal line we are still drawn to it and keep on spinning “III Winter”.
hard rock / classic rock
Wooden Earth (look at that band name – you already see the green smoke rising in the desert) are to release their new track “Fangs” on December 13th. The Dallas-based duo consisting of guitarist Devin Moreno and drummer/vocalist Griffin Thomas will release their debut full length next year and are currently touring their ….. off. No new witches’ brew in their mix of two similar genres, but their play with dynamics is definitely worth lending your ear if you like Red Fang’s ferociousness, QOTSA’s pop appeal and some scruffy vocals to accompany all of that. They throw in a riff that is really genre-like but their dynamics draws you in and the small kicks from the side in form of a sharp noisy lick keep you going just as much as the 60s style psychedelic organ in the background which keeps the atmosphere light and tight. Here you go, Stoner fans, you might have another band to follow! What a name anyway!
My media player sometimes plays a trick on me and doesn’t enlist the tracks in the right order but reverses them, so that the last track is played first. It did that when I started listening to Moonreich’s recent EP Wormgod, and thus the first thing I heard was “Broken” and the first vocals I heard were “If you want control without any pain / How long will you suffer? / How long will you reign?” My mind racing, where had I, what did they, whom had they…. and then memory retrieved the wanted information – it’s a cover of a Depeche Mode-song! No, nothing worrisome about that cover but well, the rest is solid work. A lot of grindy-metalcore, blastbeats, solid screaming gutturals, some quick and harsh turns, a few moments reminiscent of Slipknot (supposedly a major influence) and some posty-swirling guitar loops. A solid Metalcore band doing some solid Post-Metal songs but being unable to hide their roots. A good band to start your summer festival day with, but well …if it wasn’t for that Depeche Mode-cover!
Ever wondered what it would sound like if Godflesh emphasized the metal side a bit more and a bit dirtier? Less sterile and less dubby? With a bit less verve and some more doomy gloom? Then you might find yourself drawn to Blackwood, an electro-doom-metal-project headed by Italian artist and composer Eraldo Bernocchi who – via Subsound Records has just released his new EP “Of Flies” with the help of vocalist Emilia Moncayo and a lot of samples, for example the urgent screams “Conductor we have a problem! Press emergency!” taken from a YouTube-video filmed a few years ago, when a man ran around in an American subway screaming these words all the time. The songs are like a descent into the hell of the human psyche, one does not want to listen because of the grittiness of the songs but it it somehow impossible to stop because there might be another even more sensational sound or sample or scream just around the corner of this dirty wall of sound. And just before the finger hits the button he calms it down again and then surrounds the ears with some soothing parts and ethereal moments. But the dirt is always just one step away. A great introduction into a genre some people might never have imagined. Or never wanted to imagine.
dark ambient / edm / house
“Always on my mind”. Elvis. His late years. A classic. Always recognizable. Always? No, not as in always always, because as Ghostboy shows with his version, starting out like a desert slo-mo-acoustic guitar version then turning into slow ambient song, even a song we have all heard a trillion times can be hard to recognize even though he sticks to the original lyrics. This song was my reason to listen to the new EP by Ghostboy released on and for Halloween and thus aptly titled “Disgusting”. Four songs revolving around the themes lost love, death, loneliness and ghosts are presented here by the electronica artist, who combines burbling dream-pop with dark electronica parts or classical house elements and sometimes garners them with an interesting detail, like the aforementioned acoustic guitar. The only fault in the EP: The cover doesn’t totally fit in with the others, even though it is quite an original track, but its lyrical mood is so different and furthermore because of said western-intro. Maybe he should choose a real Halloween classic for such a themed release – my suggestion: “The Boy with the Arab Strap”. Otherwise, it becomes clear where Ghostboy comes from and where he’s headed as he stays immensely authentic.
electronic / edm / experimental / glitch
Automated Shadows is an album released on May 22, by American electronic music artist Wu Wei. Almost forty four minutes long, the record has ten tracks: Automated Shadow, My Circuitry, First Words, Blistered, Blinded, Manufactured Heartbeat, Witness, Oceans, I'll Always Think of You, Life Support and Before I. With a visibly organic sound that easily captures the vivid nuances of an atmospheric dream, Wu Wei’s melodies are small glories of splendor inserted into a vivid realm of luxurious amplitude, upon which all restlessness becomes solidified in a greatly styled serenity of peaceful grace. With harmonies that liquefy into a cosmic ocean of dense purity, the rhythmic shape of each and every song on this album is a marvelous experience of ultra-consciousness: doesn’t matter where your mind is, it is subtlety captured by the mindful coalescence of a navigating dream, that will formally captivate and reinstate into your darkened sense of reality a profound period of calmness, that will penetrate all levels of existence that floats throughout the parallel pyramids of the personal world of your thoughts.
With a very singular style, that easily understands the poetic scope of its fantastically dense level of artistry, Wu Wei’s music conforms to a world where logic is another basic sense of the human spirit. Diffusing melodies that understand the intimacy of perfectly correlated rhythms, the work done for the sake of a complete expansion of dreams is not just marvelous, but inexperienced. With an elusive degree of originality, Wu Wei has created, on Automated Shadows, a subtle sonorous surface, that gracefully transforms itself into a reinstated planetary system of peaceful synesthesia, where all your senses are amplified into a more delightful expansion of conscious sensibilities.
Automated Shadows is a dense and formidable work, that can be considered complete in its own right. With a continual layer of circular harmonies that complete its own sphere of graceful possibilities, the record transmits a genuine horizon of vicissitudes, upon which all harmonious rhetoric becomes a method for the sensorial musical perception.
Don’t get me wrong. In any way – despite its resourceful and abundant qualities – I can point it out this album as a masterpiece. Sometimes, you feel the absence of a more solid and agitated, corporeal body of rhythms. Nonetheless, it is never tedious or monotonous either. In the end, Automated Shadows is a very good, reenergizing electronic musical work, with a very personal sonorous layer of its own. With calm and transcendental style, this record certainly represents an interesting vibration, with a very peculiar atmosphere of wonderful beauty.