Jul 192014


 

Part 2 of this report is here; Part 3 is here.

The three-day Gilead Fest organized by Gilead Media began yesterday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at one of the three locations pictured above.

The first night was indeed loaded with power, and by the end of the evening there was certainly plenty of work available for a coroner, but if you guessed the Oshkosh Masonic Center, give yourself a pat on the back.

Jul 182014

As I mentioned in today’s only other post, I’m in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, preparing for the onset of Gilead Fest tonight. After a hearty lunch and a few adult beverages, my friend from Oshkosh and I bombed around the town, visiting a record store, stopping for a custard cone, and sticking our heads in the Masonic Lodge where the fest will be held.

We were listening to YOB’s Atma in the car, which put me in a certain mood. Now, back in my hotel room for a couple of hours, I thought I’d indulge that mood with two new songs from two legendary bands.

SLEEP

This afternoon, Lars Gotrich at NPR spotlighted the premiere of the first new song by Sleep in 20 years, and thanks to a tip from Leperkahn, that’s how I found his article. Twenty years after Dopesmoker, the song is “Clarity”, and it appears as part of Adult Swim’s singles series.

Jul 182014

I’m getting a slow blog start today. Yesterday I traveled with a friend to Oshkosh, Wisconsin (my friend actually grew up in Oshkosh), in order to attend the Gilead Fest, which starts tonight and runs through the weekend. We got in late and stayed up later, eating dinner and drinking Wisconsin brews, and I slept in.

When people asked what we were doing in town (as many did), we told them we were here for a metal festival, and they all said, “Oh,  Rock USA”. Turns out that festival began Wednesday and runs through Saturday and it’s here is Oshkosh, too. With Slayer and Rob Zombie and Korn and Five Finger Death Punch and… no, we’re not here for that thing. But it is a weird fuckin’ coincidence and explains why we had some trouble finding a hotel or motel with vacancies.

Anyway, I’m getting a slow start on the blog day. So I’m just going to throw some things at you that I came across as I was waking up. Starting with this highly unexpected piece of music from Darkest Hour: “By the Starlight”.

Jul 172014


Djinn and Miskatonic

(Today our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks brings us Part 6 of a six-part series in which he puts the same five questions to doom bands from around the world, and introduces us to their music at the same time.)

Sometimes I use this unpopular “quiz” format because there are too many interesting bands that I would like to bring to light, and in my opinion it’s a good way to spread some news and to get new points of view on a few issues (including even some political questions). The list of questions I put to the bands is below:

1. What is the band’s latest news and what are your plans for the near future?

2. What do we get (in the broadest sense) from the release of your last album?

3. What is the best response that your band has ever received?

4. What role does the church (or any other religious organization) play in your life or (let’s take it wider) in the life of the heavy scene? Is there any spiritual, religious, or antireligious component in your songs?

5. What does the Media in your country tell about the situation in Ukraine? And how do you see that situation? Some people from other countries have asked me strange questions about Russia’s policy, and let me say that I have a few friends in Ukraine and my colleagues have relatives there, and believe me, there’s no media in ANY country that is showing the problem as it really is. We can watch as the Cold War turns into real warfare.

Today, we bring the answers to these questions from Djinn and Miskatonic (India),  Et Moriemur (Czech Republic), Hooded Priest (Netherlands), Mythological Cold Towers (Brazil), Orthodox (Spain), Soom (Ukraine), and Talbot (Estonia).

Jul 172014

 

Here are a few noteworthy things I spotted and heard yesterday, with some help from my friends. If time permits, I’ll put up a second collection today, because yesterday really brought a cavalcade of things I want to spread around.

ÆVANGELIST

I know there are human beings in Ævangelist, but I still prefer to call them “the Ævangelist entity” because the music sounds like emanations from a dark dimension outside our own by an inhuman being whose shape can’t be mapped. This entity has been churning out music at a an increasingly furious rate. Although the last album, Omen Ex Simulacra emerged from the void only last fall, yesterday brought an announcement by Debemur Morti Productions that a new full-length named Ævangelist III – Writhes in the Murk will become available in September (on CD, vinyl, and digital).

That news would have been enough to stop me in my tracks all by itself, but the announcement was accompanied by the unveiling of the wonderful album cover you see above. It was created by Andrzej Masianis, who also created the painted cover for the last album, which is worth seeing in full rather than in the cropped version that was visible as the album’s front cover. The painting was originally entitled “Exterminating Angel”:

Jul 172014

(Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming 10th album by Austria’s Belphegor.)

Both criticised and praised (often in the same breath) for their focussed commitment to blackened sonic savagery over the years, it’s probably not unfair to say that Belphegor have had their sound established for a while, and that a number of their albums were – if not interchangeable – at least very closely related to one another.

And please don’t read that more harshly than it’s intended. I love Belphegor, and for many years their sound was one that didn’t need to change, aside from the occasional tweak here and there. It was pure extremity and blackened blasphemous brutality, no frills, no fat, no filler – just album after album of lean, mean, killing machine music.

But change is inevitable it seems, and three and a half years after the release of the ravenous Blood Magick Necromance, the Austrian sadists have returned with their new album Conjuring The Dead, which on the one hand demonstrates a noticeable shift in approach, and yet on the other still feels altogether too familiar…

Jul 162014

Abske Fides

(Today our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks brings us Part 5 of a six-part series in which he puts the same five questions to doom bands from around the world, and introduces us to their music at the same time.)

Sometimes I use this unpopular “quiz” format because there are too many interesting bands that I would like to bring to light, and in my opinion it’s a good way to spread some news and to get new points of view on a few issues (including even some political questions). The list of questions I put to the bands is below:

1. What is the band’s latest news and what are your plans for the near future?

2. What do we get (in the broadest sense) from the release of your last album?

3. What is the best response that your band has ever received?

4. What role does the church (or any other religious organization) play in your life or (let’s take it wider) in the life of the heavy scene? Is there any spiritual, religious, or antireligious component in your songs?

5. What does the Media in your country tell about the situation in Ukraine? And how do you see that situation? Some people from other countries have asked me strange questions about Russia’s policy, and let me say that I have a few friends in Ukraine and my colleagues have relatives there, and believe me, there’s no media in ANY country that is showing the problem as it really is. We can watch as the Cold War turns into real warfare.

Today, we bring the answers to these questions from Abske Fides (Brazil), Esoteric (United Kingdom), Obake (Italy), StoneBirds (France), Stoned Jesus (Ukraine) and The Curse of Wendigo (Ukraine).

Jul 162014

(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Septicflesh from Greece.)

Greek mythology tends to lend itself pretty well to the idea of the massive. You don’t get to call your album Titan and have it be something other than an attempt at sounding absolutely huge. When SepticFlesh announced that as the title of their new album, you had to have a pretty good idea of what you were signing up for. Truth be told, SepticFlesh have the sort of sound that lends itself to such a title.

They’ve had years to hone their craft, and the basic elements of their sound — the symphonic and orchestral and the death metal — can shoot from being reserved and foreboding to sounding absolutely gigantic within the space of a second. Over the span of several albums, SepticFlesh have found a really good balance of just how much of each to drop into a song, while walking a very fine line and tinkering with a very delicate formula. Rarely have they ever gone the “crank everything up to eleven” route and reached for entire bombast on all fronts — though that approach has been proven to work, and when SepticFlesh choose to do it, they do just as well.

With The Great Mass, the band really captured lightning in a bottle, letting the symphonic and the death metal sides of the band war with each other and meld into an equilibrium, and it resulted in a great disc — as both a collection of songs and, if you were lucky enough to find one of the bonus editions with just the orchestral pieces, as a symphonic movement as well. If SepticFlesh had decided to make Titan into The Great Mass 2: Mass Harder, then I imagine people would’ve lined up front and center to lavish praise upon the band, because hell, that album again would’ve absolutely been acceptable. That’s why Titan is an interesting album — because for half the disc, they didn’t do that. Instead, they toyed with the foundations of the band and messed with the formula that had been crafted to its breaking point. The result is an album that does live up to its name — Titan is absolutely massive sounding, but not necessarily as death metal as the band have been before.

Jul 162014

 

(Our always-welcome friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to the site with the results of his latest varied musical investigations.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. Although I find that I am ever inundated with new music (with the likes of new releases from Midnight, Goatwhore, Vintersorg, and the almighty Bölzer vying for my time), I somehow manage to work my way through past releases that I somehow missed out on, and an unlikely quintet of albums have been especially prominent recently. Thus, this month’s investigation has a specific focus on the exhumation of past releases. I hope you brought your shovels.

SUBLIME CADAVERIC DECOMPOSITION

We begin with the filthy, riff-laden death/grind of France’s Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition. I have thus far heard their self-titled album from 2001 and their most recent release, 2011′s bizarrely-titled Sheep’n'Guns. They are both quality releases, but it is Sheep’n'Guns that first sparked my interest, and so that shall be our focus for today. What truly caught my ear and made Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition stand out from the legions of other death/grind bands is the surprising amount of groove in their music, a motif that is devastatingly effective when paired with the death/grind/punk riffs present in their music. The production is a bit clean for grindcore, but the music is so good that it really doesn’t matter.

Jul 162014

I suppose that among our regular writers it may seem that I have a more pronounced weakness for the kind of metal that tries to claw your guts out and eat the gall bladder (because it thrives on bile, yes it does). But you can relax — somewhat — before you listen to the four songs collected in this post. There is beauty in this collection (along with the clawing).

MYRKUR

Myrkur is the name of a one-woman black metal band from Denmark (it reportedly means “darkness” in Icelandic). You probably haven’t heard of Myrkur before, but I’m highly confident this won’t be the last time you hear the name — partly because Relapse Records is now behind the band and partly because the music is strikingly good. Despite the fact that Myrkur has released no music before a self-titled EP that Relapse now plans to release in September — and has done nothing to publicize her existence as far as I can tell — both Pitchfork and Stereogum were lavishing praise on her yesterday, and it won’t stop there. I know this because I’m about to do the same thing right now.

One of the seven songs on the EP became available for streaming yesterday and its name is “Nattens Barn” (“Night’s Child” in Danish). Myrkur’s pure a cappella voice, layered to create the sound of a choir, is immediately arresting, and so are the wolfish, ripping howls that come forth later. The powerful waves of dark guitar melody that roll in like a storm front are hugely appealing, and so is the combination of jagged, jabbing riffs and rippling tremolo streamers that shimmer above them like an aurora borealis.

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