Here we go again, wandering in uncategorizable musical areas and wondering what the hell I am going to write about this album . Unsurprisingly, this album has been written and recorded by a Dutch band. I really wonder what's in the water over in The Netherlands. Many of their bands come up with original and exhilarating stuff, impossible to put a finger on. This is no exception, but it does have an awesome Dutch sound to it.
At least, the two first songs do. Titled 'A Show Of Might' and 'Equals Of Gods', these songs remind me of the music of their fellow countrymen Kong. With instrumental, progressive and immersive rock music, these two songs alone make the album worthwhile and the whole album is only beginning. After the massively energetic 'Equals Of Gods', the album starts blooming, as if those first two songs formed the stem and the sheer beauty is only now coming up.
I think the easiest way to describe this album is naming it "experimental post rock". Post rock is indeed a huge part of MNHM's music but they're not weary of incorporating other stuff, like the saxophone of Dead Neanderthals' Otto Kokke. With that, and with several passages, the free jazz elements appear, be it in a noisy kind of way. Yes, noise, because there is a lot of that to be found here too, along with its nasty brothers noise rock, math rock and sludge metal.
So maybe this will help: MNHM is what would happen if you lock Dead Neanderthals, Kong, Melvins, Swans, And So I Watched You From Afar, Yodok III and Frank Zappa into a rehearsal studio and force them to record an album. I know, that sounds like a list of people capable of putting an epic piece of work on the market and that is exactly what this album is, epic. Just listen to the action movie soundtrack worthy 'How Things End' or the doomy 'Rule Of Law'.
Oh well, The Dutch, what a strange kind of creative masterminds. You never really know what you're going to get (and I'll leave out the box of chocolate references, because Belgian chocolate is always better), but that is a good thing. My advice is simple, check it out, open your mind and allow this masterpiece to shock and awe you. You'll be in for several surprises and you will be astounded, I promise you.
alternative / post rock / experimental / shoegaze
Here come the French again and once again, they come up with one of the most surprising albums of the year. I'll try to guide you through but it's not going to be easy since there is so much going on. Most of that is quite out of the ordinary too, but I guess we're slowly getting used to that. After all, I've seen a lot of strange and fascinating things coming from our country's neighbour and I must say, they truly are an experimental bunch of people.
Let's start with the beginning. For me, Owun is new. I have never heard of them before. Yet, the band exists since 1992 and released a first demo three years later. Back then, they blended noise rock, hardcore and new wave. Their second effort was an eighties inspired album and later on they incorporated elements from ambient, drone and electro. For a while, the band disappeared, only to resurface again in 2007.
Now, they released another album, simply named '2.5'. This one contains pretty much all of the above, and more. From noise over post rock to noise rock and psychedelic shoegaze, flavored with drones and electronics, Owun has it all, which obviously makes this extremely hard to categorize. Yet, if there is one comparison, it might be Primus meets Melvins as at least one of the band members if a big Les Claypool fan.
Then again, there is also some post rock present here, showcasing immersive instrumental rock songs and hypnotic soundscapes. Yet, the whole thing is usually a lot faster than typical post rock. Still, I wouldn't mind this band showing up on Dunk! festival or so. They will be a bit different from most of the other bands but I'm sure that they will put up an impressive show. I don't know. I guess I'm just becoming of a fan of this band.
So, to conclude, who to recommend this album to? I think answering that question is quite easy. I'd like to recommend it to all noise and post rockers out there, especially the ones that like to deviate from the norm once in a while. '2.5' is a very adventurous album, one that you won't easily forget.
noise rock / alternative
I have a weird relationship with noise rock, more so than any other genre. Usually, when I read the genre in the biography, I can quickly decide if I am going to like the album or not. Post rock is ok, metalcore is not, for example. However, with noise rock things are a bit more complicated than that. There are plenty of bands that I like but there are just as many bands than I don't like. Then, there are even albums containing songs I love and songs I'm not so sure about.
On this particular album, there is one song I don't necessarily want to listen to again but there are five others that earn a spot in my all-time favorite noise rock playlist. That one song is the hardcore punk induced 'Paris'. The others are highlighted by the slow but intense, harsh and dynamic slab of insanity that 'Wild Horses' is. Although, I have to say that opener 'Realm Of Refuge' immediately made me a fan of this band.
The band is a trio from Norway by the way. They have been around for quite some time now and just returned from a two years lasting world tour. The album is produced by Jørgen Træen (Jaga Jazzist/Sondre Lerche/Susanne Sundfør/Golden Serenades/Noxagt) and featuring guest contributions from Japanese noise legend Pain Jerk and Norwegian percussionist Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen.
When I listen to this album, acts like Melvins, Boredoms, Godflesh, Sonic Youth and Melt Banana come to mind. Although the music rarely gets as extreme as Melt Banana, MoE certainly love slab you in the face with massive noise riffs, high energy drums and seemingly incoherent vocals. Here and there I can also hear flashes of Skullflower, obviously mainly in some of the noise outbursts on 'Doll's Eye' or closer 'Letters of Pliny'.
In all, this simply is an excellent noise rock album, one that deserves a spot in your collection if you like any of the bands I mentioned in this review. With elements from sludge metal, grunge and hardcore, these Norwegians can also appeal to fans of other styles. So my advice is simple, check out the album and allow MoE to demolish your sanity. You know you want to...
alternative / post punk / noise rock
Some people say that the current state of a country can be measured by the music it produces. That makes sense to me. Over the years, I have been listening to dark and aggressive albums by bands from countries that aren't doing that well in the political, social and financial regions. One of those countries is Greece, homeland of The You and What Army Faction. Their new album 'Rite' is a gloomy piece of art, reflecting political-economic tensions of contemporary Athens.
Opener 'Body Horror' immediately shows what this four-piece stands for: a gritty and dark blend of post-punk and noise rock. The whole album is filled with mean songs that balance on the edge between alternative rock and experimental music. It also shows a nice contradiction between the lingering guitars and energetic drums. This awesome contradiction often appears on this album and I like it. It provides the overall gloomy atmosphere with a sense of urgency.
Although basically described as a post punk band, the song 'Fraternity' is a pounding piece of music, a bit like Morphine on LSD, especially with that saxophone. That song follows my favorite one 'I See You Stalking Me', one where Sonic Young shakes hands with The Jesus and Mary Chain. Other bands I often think of while listening to these songs include Dead Moon, Melvins, Zu, Swans and Fugazi.
'Rite' is loaded with howling, complex and harsh but immersive songs that will slap you in the face, kick you in the nutsack and drag you over musical cobblestones. It will confuse you, maybe even hurt you. But it will all be worth it. This album is a testament of despair, much more so than most post-punk/noise rock album. Of course I will recommend this to all noise rock fans out there, this just might become your soundtrack for 2017.
stoner rock / noise rock / psychedelic
Is that a light bulb shoved up someone's private parts? Did Greek stoner rockers Arrakis invent a way to "enlighten" a newborn or are they just a bunch of sadists? Maybe it's just photoshop and did nobody get hurt during the design process, I certainly hope so. But let's not divagate about the cover art, because the first track on this album will probably hurt you enough already, and with that I'm talking about your neck muscles.
Take Karma To Burn, Monkey 3 and My Sleeping Karma, throw them into a blender with Melvins and Buzzov•en and out comes opener 'Plexus', one of the heaviest and most energetic pieces of psychedelic stoner rock you can imagine. The rest of the album seems to tone down a little but but Arrakis never lose their trance-inducing dynamics. 'Electricon', the track, will have you on a trip through space in no time.
Although there are only five tracks, all instrumental by the way, this album carries plenty of fingerlicking riffs, hypnotic jams and high-octane drums. 'Loot' is a massive sludge-induced piece of music, designed to pierce your eardrums, so be warned. I'll leave the other two tracks up to you, dear reader. You'll be amamzed at the amount of energy coming from this Greek trio. Stoner rock to bang your head to in space, what else could you want?
Blushing - Tether
shoegaze / dreampop
88 Mile Trip - Blame Canada
The Empire Line - Syndicat de la Couture
electronic / ambient
Movement Of Static - Novelty Seekers
Cowards - Still
black metal / hardcore
Dead Neanderthals - Dolphin
heavy jazz / noise rock
The Stone Cox - Blackboard
Death Metal Pope - Harvest
Ben Blutzukker - Analog Blood
A Cunning Man - Practical Applications Of Theurgy
power metal / heavy metal
Beneath A Godless Sky - Beneath A Godless Sky
hardcore / progressive
Elusion - Desert Of Enticement
symphonic meal / gothic meal
Rumah - A View To The Sea
American Anymen + Lise - Oui
alternative / singer-songwriter
The Vomiting Dinosaurs - Exoplanets
death metal / thrash metal
Mök - Kamikaze Slug
black metal / crust punk
Malacoda - Ritual Aeterna
Venkman - Thunder Thief // Some Rainbows
funk / alternative
Rodney Cromwell - Fax Message Breakup
synthpop / electronic
Dead High Wire - Satellite State Brain Drain
post punk / alternative / indie
Flayed - XI Million
Maira - Maira
black metal / shoegaze
Killer 4 - Killer 4
grunge / alternative rock / punk
Nick Noro - Vietnamm
Birthday Kicks/Screaming Dead Balloons - Tonight at Vault Relics
post punk / alternative rock
Chanvre - Valkyrie Mecanique
alternative rock / noise rock
Dark Clarity - Dark Clarity
hard rock / heavy metal
Anal Trump - That Makes Me Smart
With Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation on vocals, San Diego grindcore outfit Anal Trump comes up with a short and vicious assault. The longest song on this album is eighteen seconds long and I had to listen four times while writing this thing. So yes, this is sick, gore grindcore in perfect Anal Cunt / Napalm Death tradition. It comes with a lot of shit that someone named Donald Trump has been spewing out, like 'I'd Date My Daughter', 'Build That Wall' and 'Breastfeeding Is Gay'. So if you miss Seth Putnam, hate Donald Trump, think music should be torturous and have no problem with the fact that downloading this release will last longer than actually playing it, you need this.
Morbid Panzer - Only The Total Death
black metal / thrash metal
Cancer - Terminal
Harmonic Generator - Skull
punk / alternative rock
Shroud Eater/Dead Hand - Split
doom / sludge
post metal / noise rock / experimental
Aah, Swiss instrumental adventurers Lilium Sova return, once again to leave me speechless. I reviewed their previous album, 'Epic Morning' for the former version of our website (read) and I remember using the world "labyrinthine" to describe this music. Well, if anything, I can easily use this word again since this once again is a mesmerizing and somewhat confusing piece of music, completely shattering all genre regulations.
The album opens with an eerie drone, which basically serves as a gateway into the complex and deranged music Lilium Sova produces. A cello appears, right before the track 'Pakeneminen' blasts off in perfect post-hardcore meets mathcore and noise rock tradition, if such a thing exists. I can hear influences from acts like Godflesh, Zu and Converge but just as much hints of free jazz and the heavy jazz of acts like Dead Neanderthals.
'Scandens' seems to attenuate the intensity for a while, nudging a bit more towards the jazz kind of things. Yet, it slowly evolves into an immersive piece of post-whatever. That being said, the first six tracks of the album, the 'Lost Between Mounts And Dales' part, drives on rolling bass, methodical drums and the wonderful sound of the cello. In that aspect, I can only throw in Apocalyptica as a reference because you know, it's metal with cello, but heavier.
'Ustabil' is a gloomy harsh ambient piece, providing a little breather before the short but destructive 'Lavina' starts smashing your skull. The latter only needs 43 seconds to do exactly that. It's followed by my favorite track 'Ofkæling'. Yep, I'm beginning to dig this whole jazz/post-rock thing, especially when it evolves into an awesome, lingering composition. Like classical music on steroids.
Then there are four more tracks, the so-called 'Set Adrift In The Flood Of People' side of the record. This side too blasts some intense experimental music through your eardrums, rarely giving you a chance to recuperate. That's the strength of a band like Lilium Sova. Although they come out as very experimental, they easily manage to keep the listener in their grasp, keeping the whole thing interesting. This simply is a marvellous piece of heavy, intense and experimental music, regardless of genres. Great job!!!
post rock / noise rock
Once in awhile, someone asks me, "why did you start this webzine and do all that work". Well, apart from the fact that I love both writing and music, this "job" has a few other advantages. One of those is being able to shove some exceptional bands and albums under people's noses. Like the one I'm trying to review here. It's only been a few hours since I received a message from Polish instrumental ensemble Mindsedge and now my plan is to write a review good enough to get these guys on several festivals in Europe next summer.
Why? Well, I love post rock, a lot of people do. However, the scene seems to overload with quite similar atmospheric pieces of music. Most of them are ok to awesome but once in awhile a fan can do with something a little different, and that's where bands like Mindedge come in. At least, on this album they do. Yes, I'm finally going to write something about the album, rejoice. Fact is, this is a breath of fresh air, well, it is for me.
The album opens with the quite noisy song 'Tesla', which seems to immediately kick off with the noise rock influences. This isn't just post rock, this is a jam session by a bunch of friends having fun in the rehearsal room. 'Unmeisen' eventually comes up with the vintage soundscapes and the gentle build-up, placing Mindsedge back in the world of post rock. Yet, there's a decent sense of minimalism which reminds me of another band I like a lot, Alice In The Cities. Although Mindsedge is a lot heavier at times, there's still this nice feeling of "we don't have to overcomplexify the whole thing, let's just have fun".
No, I don't think 'overcomplexify' is a word either.
The album continues in this joyful manner, here and there showing influences from stoner rock, more noise rock and even hints of jazz. Bands that come to mind include Monkey3, A Place To Bury Strangers, Sonic Youth, Deftones, Russian Circles, Rosetta, even Pink Floyd and Primus. So yeah, there's a lot more going on here, and there will be even more as well. Somehow, throughout the album, the songs seem to gain more momentum, a more immersive nature. 'Snowstorm' already shows a bit of that side of Mindesdge but it is 'Pathways' that forms the absolute highlight of the album.
'Pathways' starts gently, borrows the build op from traditional post rock and suddenly turns into a blast that will undoubtedly blow the roof off of some venues. That being said, I know I'm writing about post rock a lot in this review, but you might include post metal as well since it's basically the same these days. 'Vipassana' is another awesome track and so is closer 'Shades'. Oh well, you guessed it, this whole album is an inspiring piece of work, something a little different but just as enjoyable as all those huge bands you listen to, if not more. I like different, and I definitely like this.
(right, now let's start hoping this review will effectively get these guys on some festivals....)
Atlas - Death & Fear
stoner rock / doom
Somewhere between the grungy sound of Alice In Chains and the vintage doom of Black Sabbath lies the epic stoner doom of Swedish quartet Atlas. From the first fuzz-induced riffs of 'Wermland' to the closing drones of title track 'Death & Fear', this is one infectious piece of music. I really dig the slow to mid tempo songs and the awesome clean vocals. Yet, I also like the weird, uptempo stoner rocker 'Covered In Gold', a song that easily can get a party started. 'A Waltz' shows some psychedelic blues influences as well. Yep, this thing is pretty damn varied for an album that lasts for a bit over thirty minutes. For stoner rockers, this definitely is a must-have.
Hellgoat - Eden In Flames
Afmagt - Den Sidste Kamp Taber Du Alene
hardcore / punk
Big Guns - Six Shooter
Haan - Sing Praises
sludge / noise rock
Dorre/Bethmoora - Split
doom / sludge / noise
MortSubite - Deimos
death metal / deathcore
Teras - Pandora
H-One - Cyne II
Inspired by the likes of Gojira, Lamb Of God, Manimal and other bands, French act H-One comes up with an interesting album, containing a few amazing songs. H-One has found a way to combine death metal with modern metal sounds, making them sound somewhat like an extreme nu-metal act. However, rest assured, this is no nu-metal but technically skilled music with great songwriting and a constant impending atmosphere. At times, I'm reminded of bands like Voivod or Malevolent Creation, which I think are quite decent bands to be compared with. I feel like we'll be hearing from these guys again in the near future.
Fire Down Below - Viper Vixen Goddess Saint
Glowin Shadow - Ghosts, Fools & Fakes (Deluxe Edition)
alternative rock / metal
Endalok - Englaryk
Narthraal - Chainsaw Killing Spree
We kick off this edition of Brieviews with two brutal old school death metal songs, courtesy of Icelandic horde Narthraal. This digital single is the forerunner for the upcoming full-length, which is scheduled to be released somewhere in 2017. An important aspect of their sound, is the use of the Boss HM-2 pedal which creates a filthy, raunchy sound. Furthermore, the main influences for this act are the old school bands we all love so much, including Grave, Dismember, Unleashed and Carcass. I don't think you need any more convincing. Go ahead, download the album, and prepare to fiercely bang your head. You know you want to...
Dead End Path - Hypnotic Truth
death metal / metalcore
Somewhere between the realms of death metal and metalcore roams the Belgian quintet Dead End Path. They handed out this three-track ep at the latest edition of Rocktoberfest, where the played an all-consuming set in front of a handful of people. Well, my friends, you can see this little review as a nudge to get your attention on these guys because they're damn good. Melodic yet brutal death metal which quite often reminds me of something between At The Gates, All Shall Perish and Unearth. In three tracks, these guys show a tremendous technical ability, along with the skills to write and perform decent songs, all of course as brutal and crushing as it can get. Harsh stuff!!!
Balcanes - Carne Nueva
noise rock / hardcore
Something a little different, but in no way less in-your-face, is this ep from Spanish noisemakers Balcanes. What starts out with an impending piece of drone and noise, quickly turns into a hardcore punk infused frenzy in 'Combustible'. 'Masada' drags the ep deeper down into the world of sludge, driving on inelaborate but damn infectious riffs and monotonous drumming. That being said, no, there is not a lot of variation to be found but Balcanes definitely makes up for that by creating an intense wall-of-sound and beating you into a pulp with it. If you're a fan of sludgy noise rock, like Melvins or Harvey Milk, you should check out this little gem. Oh, and Balcanes need to tour Europe, like now!
Daddy Was Wrong - Daddy Was Wrong
alternative rock / hard rock / grunge
Back in Belgium, a country that still teems with people who hold rock music close to their heart. That certainly counts for hard rocking squad Daddy Was Wrong. In five songs, and about fourteen minutes, they showcase some of the first songs they have written together. Although they have a firm hard rock sound, I do sense some influences from grunge and alternative rock, but of course, they mainly add to the level of variation. My favorite track is the groovy 'Immortal', probably the most headbanging-worthy track on this ep. Anyway, if you're ready for a decent portion of good old fashioned hard rock, you should give these guys a shot. Rock on!!!!
Barrow Wight - Kings in Saurons Service
Once upon a time, this Canadian act start out as a Venom cover band. Yet, gradually they grew into what they are today, a headstrong heavy metal act with lyrical inspiration from Tolkien and musical inspiration by bands like Venom, Amebix, Manowar and several others. What you can expect on this album is pure, uncut heavy metal in the veins of their predecessors but with a raunchy, somewhat experimental edge. To me, is sounds like some of the very old school black metal albums, when the genre hadn't discovered blast beats and corpse paint yet. For you, this might be a good way to start checking out today's heavy metal scene. There is some great stuff to be found, including this one.
Dusk - Eko
industrial / dark psy
When band photos show the man behind this projects with respectively a KMFDM and a Godflesh t-shirt, you know you might be in for something interesting. That certainly is the case with this ep. Dwelling in the realms of industrial metal and dark dubstep, these four songs pretty much sound like modern day electronic remixes of songs by Fear Factor or Ministry, created by Infected Mushroom in a darkstep mood. For an electronic album, it's damn heavy, coming close to the stuff Amduscia, Xotox, Ambassador21 or Noisuf-X have been blasting out over the years. My favorite track here is 'Dragged By The Shadows' which or more suited for headbanging than dancing. Check it out, this is pretty awesome
Bhutan - Vexations
drone / ambient / post-rock
The album from Argentinian band Bhutan was submitted by a fan. According to his email, Bhutan was the support act for Nadja in Argentina and are considered a household name in the drone-scene of their country. Well, dear fan and band members, as far as I'm concerned, this trio should find an international record deal and a world tour to show of their beautiful blend of drone, ambient and post-rock. I mean, when an album reminds me of acts like Klaus Schulze, Pink Floyd, Aidan Baker ànd Godspeed, You Black Emperor, something fascinating is going on. This is a damn varied piece of sonic art, one that will undoubtedly be a stunning experience live.
Queen Elephantine - Kala
drone / doom / psychedelic
What does a psychedelic doom act with an ever-changing line-up of no less than fourteen musicians sound like? Well, apparently like a jamsession between Master Musicians Of Bukkake, Earth and Jimi Hendrix. The word "jamsession" is important here because that's pretty much how this whole album feels. There is a number of drones and soundscapes, some strange vocals, minimal drums and a load of psychedelic guitar solos to be found on this album, all seemingly improvised on the spot. The result is an set of immersive vintage seventies psychedelics, which are at best when played at a loud volume.
Monophona - Folsom Prison Blues
Now this is something nice. Luxembourg resident trip-hop act Monophona come up with a little pleaser to soften the wait between their brilliant 'Back To Black' album and the new one. On this 7", the band covers respectively Johnny Cash and Morrissey, both in Monophona's beautiful blend of gentle electronics and Claudine's fragile vocals. My favorite here is 'Folsom Prison Blues', which is an excellent cover version, bringing the song into this era. 'Every Day Is Like Sunday' takes on a different approach, a heavier, one showing some dark drum & bass electronics and a funky breakbeat rhythm. But, you know, like I said, this is a pleaser, and I'm here waiting for the next full-length.
Xaon - Face of Balaam
dark metal / death metal
Back to the heavier side of the musical spectrum, this time with Swiss combo Xaon and their debut ep 'Face Of Balaam'. At first glimpse, it might be easy to place these guys into the melodic death metal scene of the nineties, reminding of bands like Soilwork, In Flames to Children Of Bodom. However, listen deeper and you'll find some more influences. From Type O Negative to My Dying Bride. Deeper still, and there is a flash of metalcore hidden beneath the violent, crushing guitars, which drags the entire melodic death metal scene into the current era. It certainly is a varied piece of work, this ep, and it shows a band that can easily pull through to the top of today's extreme scene.
Fliptop Box - Catch 22
hard rock / alternative
Greek rockers Fliptop Box are masters in balancing on the edge between rock and metal. In that aspect, they remind me a lot of bands like The Foo Fighters. Their heavy rock is influenced by acts like Therapy?, Danzig, Volbeat and Alice In Chains and that's exactly where you could place this album. With awesome songs like 'Blast', 'Class Of Underdogs' and the highly immersive and quite Deftones-inspired 'Desert', these people are paving their way to today's alternative rock scene. As a rock fan, I think you should definitely check this one out, and as a metal fan I suggest you do the same. This thing rocks and, from the sound of it, it pretty much guarantees a party when played live.
Gespenst - Forfald
And we're back into the realm of all consuming darkness and dark misery. The album by Danish horde Gespenst is a tensive, harsh and fiercely immersive piece of work. It draws elements from black metal, funeral doom and dark ambient and blends them together into a massive whirlpool of sonic violence. The four lengthy tracks will undoubtely maintain their grasp on fans of today's post-black metal scene. In other words, this album is an epic piece of atmospheric extremes, one that you should definitely own if you like to be hypnotized by eerie guitars and haunting screams. I hope these guys come over to Belgium soon because I definitely want to see this live.
Oddhums - The Inception
stoner / doom
Hailing from Jaén, Spain, this trio comes with an excellent blend of stoner rock and doom, a delightful must-have for the fuzz-freaks out there. Firm drums accompany vintage stoner doom riffs, while here and there an immersive post-rock passage appears. That's all good and fine and nice and stuff but what I really like on this album are the vocals. They remind me a lot more of acts like Jesus and the Mary Chain or Slowdive. You know, the shoegaze way. Sometimes, there are some Conan or Yob chants, which also fit quite well. The combination of those epic riffs and these distant vocals make this ep a stand-out for me. I hope these dudes will tour Europe soon. Recommended? Definitely!
Rest - Rest
crust / hardcore / black metal
Why the hell is this band named 'Rest'? I can easily imagine people seeing this in the window of a record store and buying it because they expect something calm and relaxing. Then they come home and play the record, only to be completely wrecked by the intense blend of black metal, crust and hardcore. 'Rest', as if they want to say, "you can, you need and you will have some rest after this spiked steamroller grinds your eardrums and leaves you behind traumatized". Italians have a weird sense of humor I guess. Now, I have to say that this is one fierce motherfucker with four brutal tracks and one epic piece of music, the closing track 'V'. If you like crust, hardcore and black metal to be relentless, intense and harsh, you need this.
Hymnambulae - Orgelhuset
Welcome to the Organ House. You may enter after you have become silent. Feel free to have a look in each room, but try not to make any noise. You don't want to interrupt what you're about to witness. Oh, and beware of the god...
Kammarheit and Cities Last Broadcast's Pär Boström joined forces with his sister Åsa, not only to create Hypnagoga Press (their publishing house and record label) but also to share Orgelhuset with the world. This is a dark ambient album of extreme quality, like we're used to from Pär (read). The right soundtrack to your inner travels.
One can hear the cathedral of aerophones, the organ, blow in every room of Orgelhuset. In some rooms there are people hypnotically chanting, in other places the flute or the piano is present - never obtrusive but always in harmony with the rest of the sounds. Wherever you go, there's subtle sound effects intertwined with the drones, creating ever varying soundscapes. For fans of Raison d'Être, Subheim, In Slaughter Natives.
Reptilians From Andromeda - Sonic Rabbit Hole
alternative rock / post-punk
A little bit of Ramones, some Sonic Youth, a flash of Teenage Jesus And The Jerks and a touch of Slowdive, that might get you an idea of what Turkish garage rock act Reptilians From Andromeda have released upon the world. The ep opens with some rough, mid-tempo tracks but suddenly dives into noise-rock insanity with the eerie 'We Are Who We Are', which sounds like Hole on some weird drug. Right after, they pour a synth-poppy shoegaze thing in our ears. Weird, very weird, but damn immersive and definitely ready to make their entree into the world of noise-rock and garage rock, and entree through the grand gate if you ask me. Interesting stuff...
Postman - There
noise rock / experimental / post punk
An experimental rock act that reminds me of bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Crash Course In Science, that is odd. I think the last one that managed to do that, was Black Dice. Anyway, Postman seems to draw influences from everything between Ween, Joy Division, Sonic Youth and the aforementioned bands to come up with some surprising songs. The set-up seems to be minimal, synth, drums, guitars but what they do with those instruments, is far from limited and often results in decent gloomy pop songs. 'Escape Velocity' is one of my favorite tracks but I strongly suggest to check out the album if you're a fan of strange, out-of-the-box releases. Hell, there's even a hint of dub and reggae here, or even Iggy Pop, or post-rock... Great stuff!
Chelsey and the Noise - Losing Landscapes
electronic / electro-rock
Somewhere in California, this duo is barking out a strange blend of glitchy electronics and rock music which kinda reminds of something between Lydia Lunch, Archive and Autechre. The songs on this ep are quite danceable pieces of music, but come with a gloomy new wave atmosphere. Their main influences seem to be Glitch Mob, Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring but, to be quite honest, I like this little ep a lot more than those acts, especially the somewhat industrial 'Edge Of Infinity'. There is a certain gritty feeling about this one, an impending atmosphere. It reminds me a bit of some Tricky songs but, again, way better. 'Parish' is a brilliant piece of joyful glitch electronics, something you definitely should check out...
Aanod - Yesterday Comes Tomorrow
metal / metalcore
French extremists Aanod move somewhere between metalcore and the melodic death metal of the Götheborg scene. Yet, somehow they combine it with a modern sound, plenty of variation, electronics and epic ambient textures. The result is a massive and pounding ep, loaded with energy and sheer violence. The music feels suited for the tiniest of venues and the biggest of metal festivals alike, which isn't easy to accomplish I think. For the record, metalcore isn't really my thing, but I can surely respect the level of songwriting and the technical skills of these guys. So, all you metalcore kids, check this one out, it might as well become one of your favorite bands.
Moanaa - Passage
post metal / doom
Hailing from Poland, Moanaa have released a debut in 2014, now followed by a blast. With elements from post-rock, doom, sludge metal and psychedelic rock, they create a highly immersive sonic adventure. In some strange way, these songs remind me of a heavy and more intense version of some Cure songs, played by a mishmash of bands, including A Place To Bury Strangers and Cult Of Luna. The overall atmosphere is intense, dark and downright crushing at times. The vocals usually are clean, except from a few growling outbursts, something I can truly appreciate. In all 'Passage' is a tremendous album, perfectly suited for any post-metal fan out there. Check it out, you need this.
Mumrunner - Gentle Slopes
shoegaze / alternative
Alternative rock and post-punk, interlaced with joyous dreampop, that's what you get on this ep by Finnish quartet Mumrunner. The four tracks on this album remind me a lot of acts like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and even The Cure. 'Shawshank' is my favorite song on this ep, an uptempo earworm that gets stuck in your head, an ability most of the songs actually have, even the punky shoegazer 'Cascais'. This truly is stuff for the dark and murky dance floors all over the world, which obviously comes highly recommended. I hope I get the chance to see this quartet soon. I'm sure they will guarantee an immersive live performance, causing entire venues to dance the night away...
Dätcha Mandala - Anâhata
psychedelic / blues / folk
Oh man, I absolutely love this newfound interest in seventies music. Take this French trio Dätcha Mandala and their latest ep for example, a brilliant piece of psychedelic blues rock which could have come directly from the studios where people like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles recorded their stuff. 'Misery' is a gloomy blues ballad (with a beautiful guitar solo) while 'Mojoy' is a pretty heavy rocker, somehow reminding me of Black Crowes. Both songs are excellent examples of how this newfound interest should sound: vintage, convincing and perfectly executed. I hope this single will be followed by a full-length and a tour soon.
Colosso - Obnoxious
Portuguese horde Colosso have released a behemoth, a pungent blend of death metal and industrial, loaded with soundscapes and sheer ferocity. The result might indeed be one of the most impressive death metal albums in 2016. Somehow it reminds me of a mix between Carcass and Limbonic Art, crushing the boundaries of one genre and smashing right into another one. This album is a ranging assault of blast beats, haunting screams and vicious, often droning riffs and pure noise created with the sole intention of demolishing anything in its path. I admit, you have to be used to some level of crushing death metal before you can handle this, but once inside, the beast never lets go.
Shlømo — Vanished Breath
electronic / techno
Dance music right after death metal, because why the fork not? Besides, this isn't ordinary, stale and unimagined techno. In fact, there's only one true techno tune on this ep (and its remix), 'Obsession'. True, it's not my favorite but it might get some people dancing. Opener 'Vanished Breath' is more like an eerie ambient tune while a great track 'The Ritual' is a breakbeat inspired vintage electro act. Speaking of vintage electro, 'M.U.M.' seems to come directly from the seventies when people like Klaus Schulze and Kraftwerk were pioneering in experimenting with electronic music. So yeah, this fits perfectly on this edition of brieviews.
Marta De Pascalis – Anzar
electronic / ambient / experimental
Speaking of acts like Kraftwerk, Schulze and Tangerine Dream, here are two pieces of circular synth and tape-loop music, courtesy of Italian artist Marta De Pascalis. Both are long tracks, seemingly based around a central theme but constantly moving and changing. Title track 'Anzar' really takes me back to those early electronics pioneers, often coming up with some folkish melodies along with the cold synth sequences. 'Emerso' sounds a bit darker, somewhat nudging towards the ambient scene. In all, I like this one a tad better than the opener, probably because of its lingering soundscapes. In all, this certainly is an interesting release, which comes highly recommended to anyone who loves those old, almost psychedelic electronics. But be quick, there are only 100 copies of this tape...
Jonas Van den Bossche & Benne Dousselaere - The Multiverse Ennui Can't Last Forever
experimental / ambient / noise
Another strange two-track album comes from Belgian label Silken Tofu, who released this one-session recording of Jonas Van den Bossche & Benne Dousselaere. These two tracks are elaborate audio-adventures with drones, noise, soundscapes, synths, guitar and minimal percussion. On hand hand, the music reminds me of acts like De Fabriek, Machinefabriek; Maurizio Bianchi and Tim Hecker, while there's also a hint toward ancient electronics and gloomy eighties electro. It constantly changes, mostly driving on one or a few drones. In fact, the only thing that remains a constant on this album, is the quality. This thing definitely comes highly recommended.
Illum Adora - Son of Dawn
From "meh", over "hm, interesting" to "fuck yeah" in mere thirty seconds, that's not an easy task to accomplish but this German trio somehow managed to do exactly that. I wasn't fond if the opening of this ep, but gradually it grew on me and halfway through 'Eyes of the Scythe Wielder', I was heabanging along with their chaotic and primitive approach to black metal. Nothing fancy, no over produced feel good shit, just sheer violence and intense blasphemy. This ep sounds like it comes directly from an underground bunker in the early nineties when the blackened scene was just beginning to make headlines everywhere. If you like your black metal true, bleak and vulgar, this is your album of the week.
Dopethrone - 1312
A free three-track ep from Canadian sludge deities Dopethrone, which, by the way, is completely free to download if you wish. So why write a review about it? After all, every Dopethrone fan should know about this ep already, and most of them should already have it in their digital collection, no? Well, like I said, "should". I know that there are some lazy stoners out there that haven't checked out the crushing 'Shot Down', the grinding 'Drifter' (my favorite) and the pulverizing closer 'Skag Reek' yet. Maybe because it's monday morning and they still need to get the weekend out of their systems. Good new, this ep can help you with that by knocking you out cold...
Astrophobos - Enthroned In Flesh
The Scandinavian countries have always been the place to be for decent black metal and Swedish trio Astrophobos are here to prove that. Since their inception in 2009, they've released an ep and a full-length, now followed by this triumphant four-track. These songs resemble some of the all time greats, including Satyricon, Dissection, Immortal and so on and comes with an excellent production, solid enough to blast the wax out of your ears. My favorite track is the epic 'The Cadaver Monarch', a massive piece of (mainly) slow, grinding black metal in the vein of some of the best Dimmu Borgir songs. This ep certainly is a must-have for ever self-respecting black metal adept, that's for sure...
Morrow - Covenant Of Teeth
crust / post-metal / sludge
In a faraway future, when our civilization is left in unrecognizable ruins, a number of new people will form tribes and start all this madness all over again. London, UK based supergroup Morrow created the soundtrack for this post-apocalyptic world, and what a massive beast that album has become. Crust, post-metal and sludge with violins and cellos accompanying the more traditional instrumentation, intense, heavy and often straight-in-your-face music that is quite hard to categorize. The band is huge, featuring a massive number of guest vocalists and narrators speaking or screaming in different languages. This certainly is a strange but highly immersive experience.
Black Tar Prophet / Iron Gavel - Split
sludge / noise rock
Ready to be hypnotized by repetitive, almost ritual, sludge doom? Well, than the first part of this burdensome split is something for you. Black Tar Prophet for Nashville, TN, specializes in thick, harsh sludge with samples instead of vocals and the result is mesmerizing and immersive. It could very well be the soundtrack for a David Lynch movie about Dante's 'La Divina Commedia', or something. Iron Gavel basically follows a similar pattern with harsh guitar riffs and pummeling drums but seem to throw a thick sauce of noise rock over the whole thing. In any case, this split comes highly recommend to anyone who wants to scare the shit out of people...
Hostis - Hostis
Headbanging time! Drop whatever you're doing, play this one loud and bang the day away. This band from Montenegro, featuring members from Abhoth, comes up with bloody delicious thrash induced death metal. Slayer meets Obituary and Testaments meets Dismember, which obviously means fingerlicking riffs, a fierce tempo and deep guttural growls. However, it might be interesting to notice that these guys never let brutality get in the way of musicality, which is a massive plus in my book. The level of variation is high, the mid-tempo parts are immersive as hell and 'Demigods' is a world class death metal track. This album certainly is a highlight in 2016's death metal scene.
Impure Consecration - Succumb to Impurity Fire
This strictly limited 7" (250 copies) is meant to be an appetizer for the upcoming debut of American trio Impure Consecration. I'm not sure when the full-length will be released but if you're a fan of old school death metal, you might start preparing to feast on the corpses of your enemies. The two songs on this single are primitive, harsh and unforgiving pieces of death metal, quite similar to some of the oldest works by Morbid Angel, Sepultura or Vital Remains.'Apparitions of a Malevolent Spirit' for example, completely reeks of the early eighties when extreme metal started to take form with its growling voice, it's chaotic riffing and it's nutsack piercing drums. Try it, it's good for you....
Supremative - Servitude Of The Impurity
black metal / death metal
I have no idea where Blood Harvest keeps finding these ancient school bands. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a time portal to the early eighties in their office. Take this Supremative ep for example, an intro with gregorian chants, followed by chaotic and psychotic noise, moshing on the thin line between black and death metal. The tempo is murderous, but so seem to be the intentions of this whole thing. This Spanish act blasts and grinds its way through your eardrums, right into wherever your soul is situated. I'd recommend this thing to all the old schoolers out there. Maybe to the new death metal kids too, hoping this music will devour and destroy them completely...
Osmium Guillotine vs. The Tickturds - Osmium Guillotine vs. The Tickturds
punk / metal
One is a metal band, the other a collective of punks. Both play heavy music, preferably loud. Both have recorded one brand new song and a cover of the other band. But the whole thing kicks off with a song they wrote and recorded together. That song, called 'Imitators' is an intense piece of punk-metal, guaranteed to start a moshpit or at least a decent headbanging session. The whole thing feels a little Exploited-like, you know, thrash metal meets punk. Other bands that often come to mind include Overkill, Anthrax and The Unseen. This really is a fun crossover ep by two of Essex' loudest bands, exceptionally suited for those who long for the good old days of both genres...
Buildings/Volunteer - Split
Dissonant music doesn't always have to be metal. Take this impressive six-track split for example. Opening with a brilliant piece of noise-rock in 'Something Better', American trio Buildings comes up with one of the best things in the genre I've heard this year. The other two tracks are just as much dissonant delight, bringing everything from Unsane over Godflesh to The Jesus Lizard to mind. Fellow countrymen Volunteer add a few hints of sludge to the whole noise-rock sound, perfectly completing this already stunning split. This is something for fans of Vandal X, Today Is The Day and Neurosis, maybe, probably. I don't know. This is noise-rock perfection...
Royce - Embrace Yourself
metalcore / metal
Although metalcore usually isn't my thing, I do feel some sympathy for these youngsters from "De Kempen", a geographic region in Belgium, claimed to be "silent". Well, nothing is silent on this debut ep, on the very contrary. With their mix of fast hardcore, melodic metalcore and metallic extremes these guys are preparing for the bigger stages. This is pure aggression, dressed in something that seems to be influenced by everything between Alexisonfire, Parkway Drive, Trivium and Gojira. There are some brilliant passages, plenty of variation and sheer power, everything a good metalcore band needs. So yes, this is highly promising. We'll hear a lot more from these guys in the near future...
Dakhma - Passageways to Daena
Black metal has always had a flair for the occult, the evil and the malicious, but few bands manage to place those elements into their sound better than Swiss cult Dakhma. Their blend of death and black metal seems to come directly from another world, darker, grimmer and loaded with spite. This album is no different, as they plunge the listener in an eerie atmosphere and throw a massive amount of screams, growls and chants over the already haunting music. This certainly is a must-have for fans of the most obscure and twisted extreme metal, like pretty much everything Dakhma produces. If they go more extreme, they cross the boundaries between metal and harsh noise. Awesome...
Noyades - Noyades
psychedelic noise rock
Claiming to be influenced by Kadavar and Keiji Haino while opening this ep with something that reminds me of Ministry, it is quite a surprise but nonetheless a nice one. French trio Noyades blends psychedelic rock with noise rock without uttering a single word. The result sounds like a lovechild between Dillinger Escape Plan and Sonic Youth after a night of smoking weed and tripping on LSD. The amount of energy coming from these three tunes is impressive, even though the songs are quite complex pieces of work, especially the massive closer 'Reflects'. 'Bear Rider' might be my favorite, a brutal fuzzed-out kick in your sperm-factory. You'll love it...
Wired Anxiety - The Delirium of Negation
Brutal death metal with elements from grindcore and slam, coming from Bombay, India. There have been a lot of great extreme metal albums coming from that region of the world and this ep definitely is one of the best to date. The songs are loaded with thick riffs, rolling drums, a vast array of growls and even some pig-squeals. Yet, the whole is pretty damn varied, often changing tempos and coming up with massively immersive passages. My favorite track is opener 'Focus 22'. Heavily Sedated' probably is the most complex one and the other two are (also) perfectly capable of causing moshpits wherever this music blasts through the speakers.
Assailant / Ubiquitous Realities - Bringers of Delusion
thrash metal / death metal
Two bands from Costa Rica, each with their own specific sound, that should guarantee an interesting split album, no? Well, it certainly is a surprising one. Assailant kicks this thing off, seemingly in speedy thrash metal but then a number of progressive metal elements suddenly appear, turning the whole thing into an awesome metallic adventure, loaded with intense riffs, harsh vocals, flashing solos, breaks and hooks. Ubiquitous Realities seem to take the progressive elements and twist them into some brutal but technical death metal songs. Here the vocals turn to deep growls, perfectly fitting the already pummeling sound of the guitars and the almost constant hammering of the drums. Lovely.
||| - Lines & Lands
ambient black metal
||| is a side-project for Italian black metal act Chiral. In stead of combining black metal with folk, this album delves deeper into the world of bleak, cold and harsh music. Fierce blackened passages alternate with eerie soundscapes, acoustic elements and at times even noise. Strangely, in all its bleakness, this album somewhat reminds me of the post-black scene, highly atmospheric but still clay-cold and depressive. It took me a few listens to fully appreciate this album, but each time I heard it, it grew, it became more and more immersive and epic. Check it out, play it loud and see the sun fade away, taking every color you can imagine with it until there's nothing left but a grey mass of lifeless debris...
noise rock / post punk
Here's another slab of gutripping Belgian noise for your aural delight. Two young bands from Ghent, pretty much the musical capital of Belgium by now, have been thrown on a split album with no other intent than utter destruction of your sanity. I guess that's what you get for living in this strange little country. I mean, we know our noise rock, Vandal X, Evil Superstars, Perverted, Hypochristmutreefuzz, Blægger,... the list goes on and on.
We kick off with Crowd Of Chairs, a band with members from Youff and Deer. Their contribution to this split, is a three-track assault of punkish riffing, hyperkinetic drums, screaming and loads of hypnotic guitar sound. Opening with the frenzy 'Hieronymus', these guys rage on with their strange and nervous music, even in the calmest passages. Closer 'Mind Control' is a massive beast, an anthem of every noise they can get out of their instruments. The other song? Well, that's up to you to discover. It'll be worth it, I promise.
Some people hate Maze. They say it's thrash, shit or crap. I know, people aren't very friendly when they talk about music they don't really understand. But what's there to understand about this band? Pretty much nothing, except maybe for the fact that their deranged post-punk is damn infectious and loaded with stuff you'll never expect. They threw three songs on this split, opening with the repetitive and eerie 'Experience' and causing a punk induced moshpit of noise into the others. 'Other Convictions' is somewhat Ministry meets The Jesus Lizard, or maybe not.
As a fan of Belgian underground experimental noise post-punk rock, or whatever you call this stuff, I can definitely recommend this to all you noise-rockers out there. If you're a fan of anything between Sonic Youth, Melvins and Fantomas, this certainly is your thing. If you're not, you have just wasted your time reading this review. You could have spent that time to listen to the split, tell the internets how "fucking awful" this is and go back to listening to fucking Adèle. Belgian noise rules, let's just agree on that...
post-rock / post-metal / noise rock
Aah, the sounds of the voiceless, almost always a pleasure to listen to. Yes, I love instrumental music, and in that aspect I rarely even care what kind of music it is. Be it rock, metal, dark jazz, industrial or even some subgenres of electronic dance music, as long as they keep their yap shut, I'm appeased. In fact, I'd love this human society a lot more if everyone would just quit chattering and whining.
But I'm divagating, sorry about that. On to the review...
Hegy (which translates as 'mountain' in their native tongue) is a trio from Hungary formed in April of 2015. They too seem to like instrumental music and they too don't seem to care about what kind of music it is. Blending elements from post-rock, noise-rock, sludge, stoner and noise rock, they now come up with an interesting debut. '80 Miles Out & 6 Feet Under' is a wicked trip, sometimes weird and dissonant, sometimes psychedelic and immersive.
Strangely enough, there isn't a massive array of bands coming to mind when I listen to songs like opener 'It's Alive! It's Alive!' or the energetic 'Would You Hold Still, Please Sir?'. Monkey3 perhaps, or A Place To Bury Strangers. Maybe a touch of Lightning Bolt and a taste of The Melvins. Explosions In The Sky meets The Ocean meets Colour Haze? I don't really know. All I know is that this is scintillating music.
'Black Glacier' made me decide to recommend this trio for the famous Belgian Dunk! festival. I think Hegy would fit in perfectly with the eccentric mix of post-rock related bands. They would certainly stand out, be just that bit different to make a genuine impact. The massive, seventeen minutes lasting title track will make a lot of audience members reach a state of trance, me included. So yeah, check this thing out, it's dazzling...
experimental / noise / noise rock
Improv is fun, that's for damn sure. A few years ago, I played in an improv-noise duo, having a great time exploring the boundaries of our instruments or just blast out some severe noise to rip the listener's head to pieces. Of course, it doesn't always have to be heavily distorted guitar drones to remain interesting. Sometimes the beauty of improv simply lies in the unexpected touches of musicality, which is the case on this strange album.
Spook is a trio from Lausanne, Switzerland, armed with violin, electronics and drums. They're quite new to the scene, and I don't even know which scene I'm talking about. Is it the noise-scene? Is it the jazz-scene? Yes, jazz, probably because of the whole experimental approach which reminds me a lot of many free-jazz acts I've seen and heard. I feel like these are indeed trained musicians with a wide background.
In eight instrumentals, Spook come up with an unpredictable and highly surprising sound, somewhere between the electronic chaos of Black Dice and the bizarre art of Fantomas. But I also recognize influences from other acts, some gritty shoegaze and noise rock bands like Sonic Youth or The Melvins. The opener, and title track, immediately shows what this acts stands for: absolute weirdness, confusing but addictive.
During the entire album I caught myself thinking 'what the hell is this and why is it so immersive?'. With every passage I getting more and more excited about what will follow. What follows is pretty much always a surprise, whether it's harsh noise, experimental ambient or straightforward rock music with the experimental approach of Zappa. Even after a few listens, this album keeps on surprising me, which obviously is a massive plus.
Sometimes it's minimal, kind and gentle, like in 'Shall We Go?' but most of the time, this album is dynamic and intense like in the great track 'Grand Parade In Bottens Part 3'. 'Godzilla' even comes close to doom or post-rock, be it in a weird and unpredictable way, like Merzbow would make it perhaps. The only certainty is the fact that this album will often make you look at your speakers, with a "what???" look on your face.
noise rock / experimental
If there is anything that Frank Zappa taught us, is how awesome utter nonsense can be. There are plenty of bands out there that have been influenced by his strange and highly experimental music, which obviously is a good thing. I mean, even in real life there's not much that makes sense anymore, and music can perfectly reflect that feeling. That takes me to this little ep by French all-goat power trio, Ça.
"All goat?" you rightfully ask. Yes, Ça is an all-goat power trio that is collectively over three stories tall. They're trained in taekwondo, ninja and Pokemon martial arts. They live in a meadow in Lyon, France, where they also make music. That music is a little bit strange, a lovechild of Primus and Black Dice, going through some rough puberty issues and rebelling against the goat-lifestyle by blasting out brutal pieces of thrash induced sludge noise.
I guess we've all been through something similar in our days, and I guess we'll have to get used to the fact that weird stuff like this will often abuse the inside of our speakers. Those speakers are indeed used to jazz, they're used to post-rock, they're used to noise and they're used to sheer intensity but they will have to get used to all of that pressed into three insane, medium sized songs and one brilliant dub remix.
So yeah, euhm, buy this, it's insanely genius chaos.
noise rock / ambient / rock / post-rock
What would Primus sound like when they would decide to be a post-rock band? I'm quite sure nobody ever asked that question but it is quite an interesting one. Imagine Les Claypool's bass, accompanied by energetic drums and strange guitar sounds. Would you like it? Well, now you have the chance to check out something that comes very close to that. It's blasting through my speakers right now and it's as weird as it is satisfying.
F.A.T. is actually the rhythm section of Eliogabal, a band that I'm not really familiar with. This album is part three of their F.A.T. trilogy, the first ones experimenting with either post-rock or electronics. Now, they take on a different approach again, one that resembles bands like Zu and even some of Mike Patton's bizarre outlets. In four tracks, this French act takes the listener through a labyrinth of noise, drums and ambient.
It's a strange journey, loaded with unexpected hooks and surprises, perfectly suited to receive the 'experimental' and even the 'avant-garde' tag. Hell, I think even jazz-fans could find their dada* in here. This album is fluxus-art for your ears where everything is permitted and nothing is too weird to put into the music. Oh, and it's pretty damn heavy sometimes too. Recommended only if you're ready for this trippy adventure.
*To find ones dada: Flemish expression meaning 'find what suits you'.