We first made the acquaintance of Mickael André in the early days of this blog when we developed a fascination for the French metal band of which he is the bassist — Eryn Non Dae.. I counted, and we’ve posted about them seven times since 2010, most recently here. The band’s own description of their music is one I would endorse: “Complex and brutal structures, black and apocalyptic moods, an obscure music where dissonant compositions carry an in-your-face, aggressive vocal style… A trip into the depths of the soul.”
I asked Mika if he would share with us a list of the metal he enjoyed most during 2011, and he responded with a list, which I’ll come to eventually. But this post also gives me an excuse to feature music from the many projects in which Mika is involved. Eryn Non Dae. is only one of those projects, though it’s Mika’s main one. The latest news from END. is very sweet news indeed — they are now beginning to record their second album. Their 2009 Metal Blade release, Hydra Lernaïa, was a remarkable debut, and I’m really curious to hear what the band will come up with next.
But END. is not Mika André’s only musical project. He’s also the guitarist for an instrumental band called Nojia (that’s their photo at the top of this post), who recently released a fascinating debut album called Solarchitect. (available here).
The album starts with a 6-minute overture and then proceeds through four long songs, ranging from 11 to 18 minutes in duration. It was recorded live, with all the musicians performing together in the studio — and when you hear the range and complexity of the music, you’ll appreciate even more what that means. I’ve embedded a music player later in this post that will stream the entire album — listening is an intense, mesmerizing experience.
But Mika’s musical endeavors don’t stop there either. He has also been performing as a live session guitarist for a band called Zubrowska.
It was Mika who first suggested I listen to Zubrowska’s music, back in January 2010, which I think was before he started performing with them. That led to a post about their most recent album, Zubrowska Are Dead, which hadn’t yet been released when I wrote about it in May 2010. Though I didn’t know it at the time, Zubrowska also included in its ranks the current vocalist (Julien “Nutz” Deyres) and drummer (Samuel Santiago) of Gorod. Julien has been the band’s guitarist since the beginning and now handles vocal duties, though Samuel has moved on to Gorod full-time.
Zubrowska has made all of its recordings available for streaming and download at Bandcamp — HERE. I’ll have some of their music later in this post, too.
But that still doesn’t exhaust what Mika has been up to musically. He is also the guitarist in a progressive metal band called ethersens. ethersens released their debut album, Ordinary Days, in 2008 through the Italian label Scarlet Records. Music from that album, as well as a more recent demo track, can be streamed at the band’s MySpace page (here).
Well, with that long lead-in, here’s the list that Mika sent me, along with his comments. By way of explanation, Mika listens to a wide range of music, but in this list he limited himself to extreme metal, and the albums that caught his attention in 2011 (though some were released earlier than last year):
Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
An amazing moment of controled chaos. That album is an amazing journey through darkness, it’s brilliant from begining to the end. I always wonder how they manage to build these crazy songs. I don’t know how to explain it, but when I listen to that album it’s like something that seems to come from somewhere else speaking to me!
Terra Tenebrosa – The Tunnels
Some guys from Breach made this project. It sounds like nothing i’ve ever heard. There are some typical melodies from Breach, but it’s drowning in a magma of samples and programmings, weird beats and haunting voices. It’s more like an experience than simply listening to music. It’s so dark, and I’m in love with the cover — definitely one of my best 2011 discoveries.
Blut Aus Nord – 777 (sects)
A french Black Metal band again, and one that is truly disturbing. Like the Deathspell Omega, it’s a whole experience — you have to listen to the whole album to fully feel what it’s about. Completely hypnotic!
I Pilot Daemon – Come What May
These are good friends and people with whom we shared some bands. They have reached a great level of intensity on this album. I think they should have more visibility, but we can consider them as a best kept secret in a way! You have to check them out!
Rotten Sound – Cursed
We played with them at Obscene Extreme festival this year, and even if I’m not much into grindcore I have to admit that they kicked my ass on stage. They’re so intense. There are a lot of extreme metal bands who have amazing studio production, and then when it comes to the live it sounds they’re just disappointing. But Rotten Sound sounds even more violent live than on record. This album is probably not their best, but it’s the one that I listen to when I want to feel that violence again.
Thanks to Mika for providing this list. Now, as promised, here are tracks to stream from Nojia and Zubrowska: