Jul 302015



(This is Part 2 of a three-part post in which Andy Synn discusses the tendency of fans, reviewers, and bands to compare and contrast the music of one band to that of others. Part 1 is here.)

Here’s a little peek at my writing “process” (scare quotes entirely necessary here…).

As I’ve said before, this was originally only a single column – at least in my head. But as it expanded and snowballed (no, not in that way… get your mind out of the gutter) into a longer and longer piece, it seemed prudent to split it up and rework each separate section slightly to give each one its own focus and theme.

So, as it currently stands, I’m actually still writing/rewriting the main body of Part 2 even as I type this introduction. That’s my process. A mix between stream-of-consciousness rambling and periodic bungee-cord recoils to retype or rework previous sections as and when something new occurs to me.

If I was feeling generous I’d call it “organic”. Although “haphazard” might be a better word for it.

Still, for Part 2 I’ve elected to focus on the ways in which the use of comparisons can be roundly abused and misused, whether consciously or unconsciously.

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Jul 292015

Horna-Hengen Tulet


Once again, I decided to compile a group of new songs I discovered over the last 24 hours and liked a lot. As it happens, the ones I liked the best turned out to be in the poisoned vein of black metal — and so, we have another edition of Shades of Black.


It is true, as stated in the press release I received today, that Horna are a “Finnish black metal institution”. Their ninth album is named Hengen Tulet, and it’s now scheduled for release by W.T.C. Productions on September 22. I’m amazed by the cover art, which was prepared by Pahapasi.

The press release also states that the new album “carries forward a similar songwriting aesthetic” to the band’s last album Askel lähempänä Saatanaa, “but reinvigorates a foul, fetid primitivism”. Of course, I immediately searched to see if any music from the album was available for me to share with you, and discovered that, yes, there is — and that I somehow missed the song when it debuted in June.

The name of this new piece is “Amadriada“, and it’s the album’s opening track.

Jul 292015

Gorod-A Maze of Recycled Creeds


What a welcome piece of news! Not long ago, Listenable Records announced that Gorod’s new album is named A Maze of Recycled Creeds, and they revealed the cover art (which, as you can see, is awesome) — and for people who live in countries where something called “Deezer” is available, they premiered a Gorod song named “Celestial Nature”.

Now, I have a bone to pick with the choice of this “Deezer” place as the location for an exclusive Gorod premiere. The bone I have to pick is that YOU CAN’T FUCKING LISTEN TO IT IN THE UNITED STATES. I’m so annoyed I’m almost tempted not to provide the link. And what kind of focus groups decided that “Deezer” was a good name for… anything? Made me cringe even before I realized that only some other people can use it.

However, I realize that the song will surely surface someplace where the miserable residents of my great land will be able to hear this new Gorod offering and become overjoyed by its undoubted awesomenessness. I also concede that a guitar play-through video of the song was released in January, so it’s not such an enormous loss that some of us can’t now hear the song as it was mixed for the album.

Anyway, I’ll be mature and give you the damned link for the stream:

Jul 292015



(Here’s a thought piece by Andy Synn about a topic that we as reviewers have pondered more than once.)

Ok, so… originally this was just once piece. But, over the course of writing it, it began to snowball and expand beyond the original specifications. So it seemed only sensible to split it up, first into two, then into three, separate columns – that way you can pick and choose whatever parts most grab your fancy (and ignore the others).

Sound good?

Anyway, I’ve been kicking around some thoughts, feelings, and questions with various friends and compatriots recently, all to do with the idea of what it means to compare one band with another – when it’s appropriate, how frequently to do it, and how to do it right.

Because, and I’m pretty sure you’ll all be with me on this, over the years I’ve seen it done right, and I’ve seen it done very, very wrong…

Which leads us to Comparative Metallurgy, a three-part infosplurge of spurious factoids and absolutely bulletproof opinions about the use, abuse, and over-use, of comparisons between bands.

Jul 292015



(Another month is in the history books, and so it’s time for KevinP to name the releases from last month that most impressed him.)

As I prepared to write this month’s column, my initial thought was:  the lack of releases in July as compared to the rest of the year.  I quickly realized that I had listened to 30 albums, and what a ridculous notion that was.  If I “only” listened to 30 per month (normally it’s somewhere in the 40+ range), that would equate to 340 per year, which is borderline insane.  Ok, on with the festivities….

Jul 282015

Gehenna-theories tour


Tonight came an announcement that caught my eye because of the bands involved: The long-running West Coast “negative hardcore” band Gehenna and Seattle grindcore upstarts Theories will be mounting a two-week tour this fall. And on top of that, Arizona’s Landmine Marathon will be joining them on select dates.

As for exactly what cities will be visited on which dates, we don’t know that yet. It would be nice to find out in enough time to allow evacuation of people in an orderly fashion before the bands get there and convert everything into humongous piles of smoking rubble.

Jul 282015

Black Breath-Slaves Beyond Death


I’m kind of rushed, so I’ll skip the usual preamble and save the words for these things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that maybe you’ll get as excited about as I have.


I’m beginning to think the day will come when Paolo Girardi will have created at least one painted album cover for every metal band in the world — though that assumes all metal bands have good taste, and of course they don’t. But Seattle’s Black Breath and Southern Lord do, because as I discovered today, they engaged Mr. Girardi to create the cover for Black Breath’s new third album Slaves Beyond Death.

Interestingly, although I did receive a press release with details about the album and a related Black Breath tour, it didn’t include the artwork. I saw that instead for the first time at the Metal-Archives listing for the album, which a friend linked on Facebook today. Very exciting, because in addition to being an obvious fan of Girardi’s artwork, I’m a big fan of this band, too, and am anxious to hear this new album.

Jul 282015



In the wake of a successful crowd-funding campaign this past spring, the multinational group Raising the Veil are now releasing their debut album Bosonic Quantum Phenomena,. Last month we premiered a single from the new album, and today we’re helping bring you the premiere of a full album stream.

This new album is the band’s second release overall, following their 2012 EP Yucatanimvs, and the limited CD version of the album not only includes eight new tracks but also a re-mastered version of the three songs from the EP. Our stream includes all 11 songs.

If you’re not familiar with this band, their membership includes Austrian vocalist George Wilfinger (Monument of Misanthropy, Disfigured Divinity, ex-Miasma), Canadians Daniel McLellan (guitar) and Denis Landry (bass), and Necrophagist drummer Romain Goulon from France. This is one of those cross-border collaborations that would not have been possible without the advent of such things as home studios and file-sharing technologies. But although such creative partnerships may have become more common with the advance of those technologies, the results in this case are unusually good.

Actually, “jaw-dropping” and “head-spinning” would be better adjectives.

Jul 282015

Clay Davis-BCGC


We tend to pay close attention around these parts to the releases of Baltimore-based Grimoire Records, not only because the label’s owner Noel Mueller takes the unusual step of actually recording the music of the bands he releases, but also because the string of performance/recording collaborations the label has released has been so consistently good. And now we have one more coming our way — the 10-track debut by a grindcore duo who call themselves Clay Davis (a name that will resonate for fans of The Wire). The title of this new release is B.C.G.C., and while half the tracks have been previously released for streaming, we’re bringing you a full blast of all 10 of them right now.

You did read that correctly — Clay Davis are a duo. You could guess that one of them (Mike Barth) is a drummer. You might not correctly guess what the other one (Thor Buntin) does, but here’s a hint: The band’s motto is “No Gods. No Guitar Players.”

So, what kind of racket do a grind drummer and bassist get up to on B.C.G.C.? You’re about to find out, but here are some further hints:

Jul 282015

Hollow World-The Wrath Kept WIthin


One thing leads to another, and in this case three good things have led to five.

Yesterday my comrade DGR praised the first three songs he had heard from the second EP by Australia’s Hollow World (here). That led to some communication with the band, and now we get to bring you a premiere of all five tracks in advance of the EP’s official release on July 31.

In case you missed DGR’s write-up, I’m going to quote part of what he had to say about the three tracks he heard, and then toss in my two cents on the two we’re adding to the collection in this premiere.

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