(In this 49th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Junius from Boston, Massachusetts. Their music is an exception to our Rule.)
Recommended for fans of: Deftones, Katatonia, Solstafir
I first heard about this band in a rather unusual way back at the tail-end of 2011, when they stepped in at the last minute as replacements for Ghost, who were forced to drop off Enslaved’s North American tour at the last minute due to visa issues. Having no prior knowledge of the band at all, I was particularly intrigued when I started to see a quiet shit-storm floating around certain parts of the internet about “that indie band opening for Enslaved”, and felt compelled to check them out… after all, there must be something to them to be causing such a fuss.
And I’m glad I did, because the music they make is astonishingly beautiful and moving, with a sense of haunting atmosphere and blooming melodic power. The guitars shimmer and blossom in great waves of light and shade above an electric foundation of looping bass lines and lithe, progressive drum work, while the vocals – pulsing with echoes of both Joy Division and The Smiths – weave their own distinctive spell of captivating, clean-sung poetry and passion.
The band have been described in several ways… “Alt Metal”, “Post Rock”, “Indie Metal”, “Art Rock”, “Shoegaze Doom Metal”… though none of them really hit the spot. There’s certainly elements of Post-Punk and New Wave in their DNA, that’s obvious enough, as well as a fascination with the metallic atmospherics of acts like Neurosis and Isis, but really their sound is quite unique – oddly anthemic, yet strangely apocalyptic.
Ultimately then, the proof is in the listening. Perhaps start with their latest EP, and work your way backwards. After all, this may not be typical NCS fare, but you trust me… right?
(In this post Austin Weber reviews the new album by Norway’s Diskord.)
For those not yet in the know, Diskord are a long-running death metal act from Oslo, Norway. Their last album, 2012′s Dystopics, caught my eye by way of a tip off from the then-editor of Invisible Oranges, Doug Moore. Ever since my initial exposure to it, I have been hopelessly hooked on these guys and their unique and zany brand of death metal.
Diskord are firmly rooted in old school death metal, but the delivery comes across in a more modern way — revolving around a spastic, stop-start, blast-and-lurch approach. Although the production follows a natural and grimy old school death metal aesthetic, the music itself doesn’t squarely fit into the box of new old school death metal, at least when compared to the purely primitive manner with which other bands are delivering it. This is something else entirely, and to my ears, far more interesting.
The Swedish label Blood Harvest Records plans to release a series of 7″ EPs between now and year-end. Yesterday I reviewed the first two of those EPs to reach the label from the pressing plant (here). In this post I’ve collected thoughts about the next three that are planned for release, which are now at press.
Ascended Dead come our way from San Diego, and include current or former members of Ghoulgotha, whose Blood Harvest EP was one of the two covered in Part 1 of this series. Their release is a four-song collection entitled Arcane Malevolence, which follows the band’s four-song demo released in 2012.
The label pitches the band with references to the likes of Possessed, Necrovore, and the early sounds of Morbid Angel and Sarcofago, and that should give you an idea of what you’re in for. This is thick, murky, grinding death metal, the gears of the monstrous machine choked with grime and spewing noxious fumes as it barrels ahead at a murderous pace.
(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Toronto’s Tyrant of Death.)
One glance at the track lengths of Tyrant Of Death’s new release Ascendancy should tell you everything you need to know about this album. With each song exceeding a ten-minute run time, Ascendancy is an intimidating as hell disc. Tyrant Of Death has released a few longer tracks in its time on this earth, but has never before collected a bunch of them in one location. At first glance without listening, it looks like Tyrant Of Death gone prog.
Ascendancy is the fifteenth (!) Tyrant Of Death release, with a time gap of about a year since last year’s Nuclear Nanosecond, an album that itself emerged after a longer gap of time compared to Tyrant Of Death’s more prolific days when three or four albums a year would hit. It’s not Senmuth numbers, but this project has a lot of material out there, which has meant that with every release the band has had to work insanely hard to differentiate itself from the pack, not only from other musicians but also from its own huge slab of work.
Ascendancy is the grandest attempt at that yet, with its longer track run-times and a bevy of guest musicians from throughout the circle of bands with whom project owner Alex Rise has long associated — meaning that four of the five songs on Ascendancy have vocal tracks as well as a guest guitarist or two. Ascendancy is an ambitious disc — one that moves from the industrialized chaos of Anaal Nathrakh to the oblivion of blasts and science fiction influences that have long worked their way into the Tyrant Of Death formula. And almost all of it moves at a breakneck pace, with almost no room to breathe until the album’s closer, “Biomechanical”.
The Swedish label Blood Harvest Records plans to release a series of 7″ vinyl EPs between now and year-end. I’ve received advance digital versions of five of them and thought I’d put down a few words about all five, divided into two posts. In this one the subjects are the two EPs that the label announced yesterday it had just received from the pressing plant. The other three are apparently being manufactured now, and I’ll cover those in Part 2 tomorrow.
Ceremonial are a Chilean band with two previous demos to their credit. Their Blood Harvest release is a four-song offering entitled Ars Magicka. The music is a blazing blitzkrieg of black thrash, a rapacious attack of rapid-fire riffs, booming bass, and acrobatic drumwork, with utterly venomous, echoing vocals.
(Andy Synn delivers the following review of the debut album by England’s Necronautical.)
Let’s keep this one simple, shall we?
Do you like Old Man’s Child?
How about Naglfar?
Or Hour of Penance?
Do you like your metal Deathly, Blackened, and antagonistically heavy, yet brimming with scything melodic hooks?
Then head on over to their Bandcamp page and check out the debut album by misanthropic metal mariners Necronautical right now.
For those of you who want a little more to chew on before making that move, however… read on.
(We’re veering off our usual beaten paths in this post, as DGR reviews the latest releases from The Algorithm and The Luna Sequence.)
We don’t generally cover techno/electronica/dj acts here at No Clean Singing, and I know that my presence has largely been the reason we might have in the past. You’ll likely never see the more straightforward of such acts here, but I will wholly admit to being drawn to the hybrid monsters — the ones that have combined their music with heavy metal and over time have morphed into some strange creatures. Those have been a huge draw for me, and when it comes to artists who I think are doing it particularly well, then you’ll see that I’ll make some continuing attempts to cover them. However, I understand that taking up the front page when there is so much more traditional metal news out there might irk some folks, so I’ve combined two of the more recent works into one huge mega-review article.
Both of these names, The Algorithm and The Luna Sequence, should be familiar to a bunch of you more regular readers, as I have made efforts in the past to share their work, which I’ve quite enjoyed over the years. It just so happens that both artists managed to have new albums, Octopus4 and Fearful Shepherds Hunt Their Sheep respectively, hit around the same time. And thus we find ourselves in a huge review where you can witness me talk out of my ass about electronica music — of which I know between fuck-all and absolute zero — and heavy metal, about which I’ve made writing a huge hobby. Below, you can watch me thrash about between the two moods while I try my best to articulate why exactly I’ve found myself enjoying the hell out of both The Algorithm and The Luna Sequence releases in recent months.
(During my recent stay in Wisconsin for Gilead Fest I had the pleasure of meeting both Tanner Anderson (Obsequiae, Celestial) and his friend Ben Smasher. I later discovered that Ben had written for his own blog about Tanner’s band Obsequiae (formerly Autumnal Winds), and I asked for and received permission to reprint it here (slightly edited), since we have inexcusably failed to review Obsequiae’s music before.)
written by Ben Smasher
Today I am feeling relieved. My trouble began when I met Tanner Anderson in the winter of 2007, and soon after was the first time I’d heard Autumnal Winds. Upon loving it immensely (see my review), there was always this distracting itch that I couldn’t scratch. I really wanted to be able to say the typical phrase, “Oh, this is just like ______ crossed with ______.” There was such a tangible familiarity, which I am usually able to quantify easily by describing it as “A thrashier ______” or something to that effect.
This trouble is even further fueled by Tanner’s and my mutual and unforgivably rampant obsession with melodic black and death metal bands of the 1990′s. Knowing that Tanner’s and my CD collections are largely interchangeable makes it all the more frustrating that I couldn’t easily reverse-engineer Tanner’s music — be it Autumnal Winds or Obsequiae – into a palatable formula that could be stated in a short sentence.
The satisfaction and relief that I have found to this conundrum can be reduced to this article, by giving the music of Obsequiae the reverence it humbly commands. With the recent release of Obsequiae’s debut album on the vinyl format, I have been seeing an increasing number of comparisons, ranging from Agalloch to Hammers of Misfortune to Pentangle to Bathory. Each time I see this I inadvertently stomp my foot down because these associations are lazy, and do all parties a disservice.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Fallujah.)
One of the things that consistently surprises me about music, in general, is how much some artists can change in their evolution yet still remain fundamentally the same. Fallujah released a pretty killer debut with The Harvest Wombs, a blitzkrieg of melodic technical death metal madness with a seasoning of Allan Holdsworth fusion thrown on top of it; the sound was the essence of ethereal yet feral. It was their way of achieving a sort of space-death sound, and it worked.
Of course, the other elements in the music helped, too. Fallujah pulls from a strange bag of tricks and smashes them together. The combination of death metal with a lot of post-y elements, including some borrowed from that end of the Black Metal spectrum, has cemented a sound I would argue is recognizably Fallujah, signature in nature.
The Flesh Prevails is a logical step forward, an attempt to bridge the technical showmanship of The Harvest Wombs with the spaced-out fusion atmosphere of the Nomadic EP. The end result is death metal that is equal parts brutal and Zen. Depending on your mood, you could windmill to this until you get whiplash, or sit around stoically contemplating the meaning of your life. It’s an odd paradox of sound that’s hypnotic.
(Austin Weber reviews the new album by Denmark’s Defilementory.)
The current wave of atmospheric death metal is an interesting offshoot from traditional death metal.We can thank acts like Gorguts and Ulcerate for this newfound blueprint for disorienting and disgusting us, while still perpetuating the trademark rapid-fire horrific emanations upon which the genre was built. Entering this subgenre are Danish defilers Defilementory, an act who before this release fit squarely within brutal death metal. Having integrated a cold abyssal atmosphere into their sound, they come across as a fairly different and refined group this time around.
As for the brutal death metal side of their sound, they come across as very Suffocation-inspired, and yet they are one of the few groups to do so who don’t engage in blatant worship/ ripping-off of their progenitors or follow the way of Deeds Of Flesh This is partly due to the frequently intertwined atmospheric passages and builds spliced within the overall meticulously constructed rampaging chaos.