post punk / new wave / goth rock
Heading from Bristol, Naut decided to ignore all current trends and to look back to the dark eighties. Now, this five-piece comes with a baffling debut EP, containing five pitch black goth rock tunes. Influences from bands like Sisters Of Mercy and Killing Joke run rampant and come with the overwhelming energy of post punk acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain. Song like opener 'Disintegration' and 'I'm Here' are destined to fill dark dancefloors everywhere. My personal favorite here is closer 'XVI'. It makes me curious and hungry for more, but for now I'm sure that this EP will be an excellent addition to every post punk / goth rock collection.
doom / sludge
Sheffield doom mongers Kurokuma return with a two track EP, based on the Dope Rider strip from High Times in the 70s. The artwork comes from Paul Kirchner, the creator of the strip. The music is another slab of severe psychotic sludge doom, five and eight minutes long. Part 1 also showcases something industrial, reflected by repetitive, almost methodical drums. Part 2 simply continues to slow but brutal pummeling. Fans of bands like Conan, Dopethrone and Yob can easily trust Kurokuma to deliver the monolithic riffs and fierce vocals they crave so much. So if you want your sludge metal as destructive as a wrecking ball, this EP should do.
post-metal / doom / alternative rock
Several months after the release of 'Serrated', Dutch heavy rockers An Evening With Knives unleash three songs that did not make the album because of the limited space on the vinyl. Yet, these songs were to important for the band to be ignored. Opener and title track 'Fade Out' deals with the death of Marco’s father due to Alzheimer disease. It's a long, heavy and cathartic lamentation, showcasing the darkest side of this band. The other two songs follow that example, be it a bit shorter. They all walk a similar path as the songs on 'Serrated', and thus would also fit perfectly into every sludge, doom and grunge collection. These guys are growing steadily, that's for sure.
electronic / ambient / experimental
An alienating two track EP that will leave you confused and entangled, that is what Soho Rezanejad delivers. Subtle electronics, minimalist drones, gloomy soundscapes and her vocals come together in two lengthy modern day folk songs. I can't help but think about a mix between Zola Jesus and Diamanda Galas, be it a bit less creepy than the latter. Yet, there is emotion, there is fear, mourning, wonder and hope in these two tracks. There is a mystifying atmosphere, one that borrows elements from dark ambient. Yet, above all perhaps, this is a unique piece of work, reminding me of an act like Dark Ensemble. Recommended only for eternally wandering souls.
post rock / post metal / stoner / sludge
In today's post rock scene, new bands pop up like mushrooms. Würzburg residents The Man Within are one of those newcomers. Mostly, that first effort comes with a low production and a careful introduction in what the band really is capable of. Yet, here that results in a full-blown post metal album with seven outstanding tracks. Most of them, including 'Mount Santo', my favorite 'Institution' (that rolling bass is hot!!!) and the massive 'Limitless' can easily entertain audiences far and wide. Although firmly rooted in the post-scene, elements from sludge metal, psychedelic rock and stoner rock are never far away. A great introduction, now let's hope they can confirm this in the near future.
The new brainchild of Nachtzeit, the man behind ambient dark metal project Lustre, comes up with an interesting dark ambient album. Although playful at time, this album takes us back to the mysterious and dark age of the Norse gods. Early in 'Drömmarna' acts like Mortiis (on Cold Meat Industry) and Wongraven come to mind. Synths, soundscapes and dreamy melodies guide the listening on a musical tour of medieval Europe, so it seems, highlighting in 'Löftet' and 'Tårarn'. Strangely, the title track 'Hädanfärden' has an X-Files OST feeling about it, which isn't bad, on the contrary. Fans of old school medieval dark ambient can easily appreciate this album.
alternative rock / hard rock / grunge
Belgian hard rock duo Breakfast At Midnight proves that two is enough to create heaps of noise. On this debut EP they blast seven tracks through our speakers, beginning with the heavy rocking 'Kidi Coke'. From then on, the rock doesn't seem to stop. Inspired by anything between Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age and Stone Temple Pilots, these two feed an everlasting fire. Most tracks drive on sheer energy but in 'What I'm To Say' and in '1813', the band delves deeply into the Pearl Jam version of grunge rock. Here, the vocals are excellent and clean while the other tunes contain heaps of aggressive screams. Not that I mind, this is pure rock 'n roll: raw, rough and heavy.
black metal / death metal
Grab onto something now because Ukrainian trio Goatsperm is about to unload a hellish, chaotic and vulgar EP, loaded with orthodox black/death metal. 'Voice In The Womb' contains three tracks, each one being a pummeling piece of extreme metal, as dark as Satan's butthole but with an ambient breather here and there. Somehow, this trio manages to combine atmospheric passages with sheer metallic terror, something that might indeed make a lot of banging heads turn their way in the near future. Besides, 'Into The Deep Waters Of Catacombs' is one of the fiercest black metal tunes I've heard this year. If you're a self-respecting extremist, you need this.
krautrock / shoegaze / punk
What would have happened if Ramones used My Bloody Valentine's guitar effects? What would a punk rock cover album of Neu! songs sound like? Well, Finnish six piece Teksti-TV 666 might have a decent answer for you. 'Aidattu Tulevaisuus' delivers six high-octane krautrock tunes with the raw energy of punk and the immersive nature of shoegaze. I admit, it is something different from the usual slabs of rock 'n roll that appear here but 'Turbo-Mondeo' and 'Aidattu tulevaisuus' can easily get your behind shaking. My favorite here is the somewhat slower 'Rauhankone', which might be described as a down-to-earth space rock track. Recommended? Hell yeah!
ambient / electronic / experimental
Hailing from Porto, Vitor Joaquim is a sound sculptor and visual artist, active around the strange borders between soothing ambient and otherworldly noise. This new album, 'Impermanence' contains seven tracks, revolving around repetitive soundscapes, almost subconscious loops and immersive musical textures. Here and there vocals samples have been added to increase the narrative nature of the music. That, along with the minimal soundscapes, makes the title track my favorite here but I'm sure that every fan of decent ambient music can appreciate these sounds. Obviously, this comes highly recommended.
ambient / drone / experimental / noise
An even more noisy and experimental variation on ambient sounds comes from Han, a project by Vitor Joaquim and Emidio Buchinho. This album revolves around live improvisation and real time processing, which results in something severely unusual and highly experimental. Yet, behind the gritty freestyle on the guitar, beautiful ambient loops lurk. These seven tracks are weird, immersive in one way, yet restrained and peculiar. Somehow this album feels like the early days of drone experimentation, when artists were exploring the other possibilities of their instruments. In all, this is an interesting release to dive into, but only for experienced avant gardists...
punk / hard rock
Well, they couldn't have made this any clearer, could they? With a band name like this and a highly promising title, these French guys appear to be prepared for a heavy rocking battle that will eventually end up in a dental hospital. Are they? We'll see.
Rock 'n' Brawl appeared on the French rock scene in 2013. That scene appears to be overloaded with hard rocking bands already but nobody seems to mind, especially not these guys. With a high energy mix of hardcore punk and hard rock they blast the competition off stage.
Looking at their facebook profile, I see that the band is influenced by Danko Jones, The Bronx and AC/DC. However, when I listen to some of the tracks here, I can't help but think that hardcore punk bands like Agnostic Front and Hatebreed also had their influence on Rock 'n' Brawl. 'Can't Stop The Fight' and 'Unbreakable' are fierce punk tracks that will undoubtedly cause crowd surfers and moshpits, with the inevitable broken teeth as a result.
However, sometimes the tempo goes down a bit, resulting in sweet hard rock tracks like 'Coughing To Death' and 'Loud Punch'. With 'Lack & Wounds' there is even a ballad on the album, be it a raunchy, gritty one. In fact, that's my favorite track here. It might sound weird but I really love this tune. Obviously it adds variation, but it also serves as a calm spot in a raging ocean of hardcore punk rock. So who to recommend it to? Hard core punk rockers, of course. They should really check out this thing.
The Vale - Autumn in the Valley
doom / rock
Empress - Reminiscence
sludge / doom
Heligoland - Coriallo
shoegaze / dreampop
Duran Duran - Girls on Film - 1979 Demo
Luke Fox - Sugarloaf
pop / rock
My Deathbed - My Deathbed
Versus The Ghost - We Don't Belong Here
(D)juret - Sök Din Sekt
punk / crust
Concrete Eden - Left
Aidan Baker & Gareth Davis - Invisible Cities
drone / jazz
Ihä - Esperanza
drone / ambient
Parsons Rocket Project - Parsons Rocket Project
shoegaze / ambient rock
The Mayhem Lecture Series - Structures And Behaviors EPv1
ambient / experimental
Jupiter Zeus - Eyes on the Prize
hard rock / heavy metal
Haema - Insurrection
industrial metal / alternative metal
H2SO4 - British Bangla Testament
Asylum 8 - Repressed
Jinthra - Transitæon
Insanity Cult / Isolert - Towards the Great Dissolution
Akoustik Timbre Frekuency - Thee Essence Of Existence
The Reed Effect - A Strange Curiosity
stoner rock / grunge
Fotocrime - Always Night
post punk / dark wave
Disco-Nected - Vision Division
Morphine Social Club - Monolithic Gospel
stoner rock / psychedelic rock
Jenn Vix - Unlocked
alternative rock / post punk
Pylon Reenactment Society - Part Time Punks Session
punk / alternative rock
Dreamgrave - Monuments
Mortum - Eheieh Chaos
punk / grindcore / crust
First, a little background on the band name. A "Pink Mass" is a Satanic ritual performed after death that turns the deceased's heterosexual spirit into a homosexual one. It's an actual thing and has been performed, for example, on the grave of Westboro Baptist church (of the anti-gay picketings at funerals and tragedies in the US) founder Fred Phelps' mother. Who, according to the ritual is now lesbian in the afterlife. Now, as a devout atheist, I have no beliefs in the supernatural or spiritual or religious but as a firm believer in blasphemy I think this is hysterically funny. Especially because I am 666% pro-LGBTQ rights.
It's pretty safe to assume then that in a genre filled with über-manly theatrics, interests and poses, Pink Mass is one of the, if not THE most forward thinking bands with their brand of pro-gay crust grind. Needless to say, I love this to bits. They released an album last year called 'Slvt Kvlt' which I am definitely going to check out, but first this one: the wonderfully named 'Necrosexual'. With an album title like that it's pretty obvious that this is pure sexual debauchery transformed into sound. Blasphemy, sodomy, necrophilia, BDSM, you name it, it's all fair game (or should I say 'bear' game *badum tss*) for Pink Mass.
What all this aural debauchery amounts to is dirty, disgusting crusty grindcore. Filthy, raw, full of dirty riffs, d-beats, guttural growls, high pitched screams, blast beats, some old-school deathmetal, some hardcore punk, some blackmetal. It's a wonderful mix for everybody who likes their metal disgusting, decidedly unsophisticated and naaaaaasty. That's not to say there isn't some really great musicianship behind it, because there is, especially in the sparse guitarsolos and the basslines. And for something this dirty, the production sounds unexpectedly clear. Nasty it may be, but all the individual parts of nastiness can be heard clearly. It's not just a muddled mess. Bonuspoints all around!
A wonderful release for everyone who craves for something nasty. Just not with all the clichéd nasty grindcore tropes. Even more bonuspoints for the final track 'FOAD NSBM' because, you know, fuck national socialism! Do yourself a favor and check them out. And if you're up to it, look them up on YouTube as well..
psychedelic rock / experimental / electronic
In 1890 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky premiered his opera 'The Queen Of Spades', with Nikolay and Medeya Figner, who sang the roles of Herman and Liza. In French speaking countries, the opera is known as 'Pique Dame'. For the record, 'Pique Dame' is also an operetta in two acts by Franz von Suppé, premiered in 1864.
In October, another 'Pique Dame' will be revealed upon the world. This time, it had very little to do with opera, operetta or classical music as a whole. This time, it's an album by two women from Swiss, one on e-bass and one on drums. But now it gets complicated.
THe album opens with a song called 'Slutwalk' which is mainly based on bass and percussion. Is it rock music? Is is punk? I don't know. All I know is that I'm suddenly thinking about acts like Chicks On Speed and The Breeders. 'Slutwalk' is actually a pretty energetic piece of basement punk rock and I like it. But, like I said, it gets complicated from now on. 'Be Loud' comes up with sludge and doom metal riffs, just not as heavy and pulverising. Instead, this turns out to become something rather psychedelic.
'72 Vierges' suddenly drags us into the world of electronics, where bands like Suicide and Crash Course To Science come to mind. Yeah, weird, isn't it? But again, I like. There is something highly infectious about this act, infectious and unique. Then, there is 'Forgotten Responsibility' which flirts with soundscapes and dark ambient. What? Yeah, I know. We're only four songs into this album and I'm already checking out if it is not a compilation. Turns out it's not, it's just incredibly versatile.
Right, what else do we have? 'Big Bang' is a piece of space rock inspired jam rock. Nice. 'La Vie En Rose' suddenly turns into a highly danceable piece of music. Neat! 'Dienstag' is another jam piece and title track 'Pique Dame' goes from eerie avant garde towards post punk. 'The Rise Of The Witches' is almost horror doom and by the end we get an industrial/future pop remix of 'Slutwalk'. Varied enough for you? Oh well, this is simply a surprising and immersive album which indeed comes highly recommended.
Altarmang - Void
Skognatt - Ancient Wisdom
Meteors the Entire Night - Descend Towards the Earth
Urs Wild - Drones
drone / dark ambient
Wyatt E. - Exile to Beyn Neharot
doom / post rock
Kemerov - FMKD
death metal / punk
Thera Roya - Masterful Universe
doom / sludge
One Life All-In - The A7 Session
hardcore / metal
AVSA - Parallels
experimental / ambient / noise
Mesmur - S
Valle Crucis - Valle Crucis
Goat War - Warwolf
speed metal / black metal
Ditheist - Eternity of Nothingness
death metal / grindcore
X-Coast – Transformations EP
techno / rave / house
Tripeo - Eighth Trip
Odd Nosdam - Lif
ambient / experimental
Crisopa - Transhumante
ambient / electronic / downtempo
Menin - Lord of Pain
doom / sludge metal
Ed Carlsen - Elusive Frames
ambient / classical
American Anymen - Flag Burner
punk / antifolk
Stömb - Duality
Crejuvent - Time
death metal / industrial
Haze of Summer - Znoi
The Great Russian Empire - Low Ends
shoegaze / alternative rock / dark rock
One Arc Degree - Ashore
ambient / downtempo
Audioboyz - The Rise of Gqom
electronic / techno / experimental
Nabaath - Firestorm Bringer
Hellstorm Of Flaming Nothingness - The Universe Is An Abyss Of Suffering
drone / ambient / minimal
Pask - Psychogenic excoriation
Henning Baer - 32-bit EP
Chalk Hands - Burrows & Other Hideouts
death rock / punk / hard rock
Bordeaux, France, to most people probably known as one of the world's greatest wine regions. But if you thought the Bordeaux was a place of vineyards, cheese and tranquility, you're wrong. Bordeaux is also the birthplace of Volker, a dark rock entity that makes a lot of noise and defies genre classification.
Fronted by an energetic Jen Nyx, Volker effortlessly blends todays heavy scene with those of the eighties and nineties. Yet, before you expect something grungy or glamrocky, Volker seems to prefer the darker things in life and thus also in music.
The result is a massively varied dark rock album where death rock, gothic doom, hardcore punk and hard rock meet. I can hear flashes from The Misfits, Ramones, Moonspell, Christian Death, Guns 'n Roses and even some bands in today's metalcore scene. Metalcore fans will adore 'Yell', a vein cutting ballad, while deathrock aficionados will undoubtedly fill the dancefloors whenever 'Freaky' starts to play. There is truly something for everyone in the dark music scene.
The majority of the music on this album aims for either the mosh pits of the dark dance floor and in that aspect the horror punk smasher 'Voodoo Baby' is my favorite track. Jen Nyx goes pretty damn wild here, as she often does, which places this excellent old school punk rocker into a modern day metalcore thing that even I can appreciate. Needless to say perhaps, but this album rocks and obviously that's a good thing. So yes, dark rock fans of around the world, check it out, this would make an excellent addition to your collection.
noise rock / punk / metal
Commonly known as "the only rock band in Tromsø", this noisy duo has been jamming and working for ten years before this debut album was released upon the world. They hail from the rural town of Sørreisa, probably a place where a lot of noise can be made without anyone really complaining about it.
The album contains eight tracks, all created with a distorted bass guitars, pummeling drums and brutal hardcore vocals. No wonder that some people call them "the bastard sons of Motorhead and The Melvins". This stuff is intense, punkish, raunchy and highly destructive.
I think the best way to describe this music is by simply calling it "noise rock", as they remind me of bands like Unsane, Vandal X and Today Is The Day. Of course, punk and sludge metal have been massively influential for this Norwegian duo, just listen to blasting tunes like 'Final Form' and 'Mathlete' (or anything else on this album for that matter), but the whole thing comes with such intensity and grittiness that it becomes irresistible for noise rock fans.
I don't think there's much left to say about this album, except maybe that it might need some time to grow on you. Rome wasn't built in a day and your eardrums won't be destroyed in one listen either. I'd certainly suggest giving it a try.