Replenish Records is a label based in Washington, D.C., that I discovered only yesterday. What caught my attention in their e-mail to me was their impending release on double-vinyl — and as a free digital download — of an album previously pressed only on cassette: Tahoma, by the band Alda. I saw Alda open for Agalloch in Seattle last year, and they floored me. So the chance to get this album as a legit download was hot news.
In the same e-mail, Replenish reported their release on vinyl (and as another free download) of the debut full-length by a Tennessee band called Sky Burial. That was a new name to me, but I decided to check that out, too, especially because I found the minimalist album art strangely appealing. So, here are a few more words about each band and then a chance to hear their music. At the end of the post, you’ll also find a link to the Replenish Bandcamp page, where more releases can be explored.
Alda are from Tacoma, Washington, just down I-5 from the NCS stomping grounds in Seattle. They are a black metal band cut from the same Cascadian cloth as Agalloch, so if you are a fan of the latter (as I am, in spades), there’s a good chance you’ll get off on Alda, too. They have a similar nature-centric take on the music and a similar ritualistic approach to their live performances. Their songs are long and often hypnotic, with tribal percussion, and memorable, sweeping melodies. But they also know how to slash and burn.
The first song on Tahoma, “In the Wake of an Iron Wind”, is a perfect introduction to the band’s music, beginning with a slow acoustic intro and gradually ramping up to a galvanizing blaze of tremolo chords, rolling drum blasts, and caustic vocals. The band generate a moving storm front of sound that will wash over you like a deluge, yet leave the melodies ringing in your head when they allow you to come up for air.
I hope the now-easy availability of Alda’s music (thanks to Replenish) will get this band a lot more exposure. They deserve it. Give this a shot:
You can find Alda on Facebook here. And by the way, I think the cover art for Tahoma is fuckin’ cool, too. You can pre-order the vinyl from Replenish or get a free download of the album via this link. Pre-orders will ship in May.
Now, onward to . . .
This four-piece band are from Nashville, and they’ve been in operation since 2009. Their new debut album is called Where Four Rivers Flow. It includes only five songs, but together they add up to about 40 minutes of mesmerizing music.
Much like the album cover art, Sky Burial’s heavily instrumental music has a stripped-down, minimalist quality, yet it also has a craggy beauty. I suppose “post metal” would be the best genre fit. Down below are deep, droning bass chords and pounding percussion. Up above are shimmering cymbals and chiming, swirling, tinkling guitar notes played with a clean tone and enough reverb to bounce their echoing melodies around the inside of your head.
The music includes frequent waves of tremolo picking (which I really enjoy in this kind of music) and occasional harsh vocals roaring in the background. The music is contemplative, hypnotic, sometimes doom-y, sometimes magnificently heavy, sometimes capturing a feeling of head-thrown-back, arms-spread-wide rapture. Good shit. Check it out:
Where Four Rivers Flow is available on vinyl or as a download at this location. You can find out more about Sky Burial at their Facebook page here.
Finally, check out more releases from Replenish Records at their Bandcamp page via this link.