SEEN AND HEARD: WARPSTONE, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, AND METAL ALBUM COVERS WITH GOOGLY EYES
Due to the demands of my fucking day job, I haven’t had much time to go exploring for new music and news items over the last 24 hours, but on a very quick excursion through the interhole and my NCS in-box I did spy the following three items for your edification and enjoyment.
The last time I mentioned the name Warpstone on NCS was in April 2012, in the context of a feature on the painted art of that great Italian madman, Paolo Girardi. One of the pieces I used in that feature was Girardi’s cover for a then-forthcoming album by Warpstone entitled Daemonic Warpfire. At that time, I could find no music from the band available for streaming and I failed to follow up and check out the album when it was released.
This morning I noticed the painting by Paolo Girardi for Warpstone’s forthcoming second album, Into the Phantasmancer Celestial Castle, and it’s simply stunning. To see a larger view of the cover, click the image above. Fantastic.
Warpstone have also put three songs from the new album on Bandcamp for streaming, and I’m including the player for them below, as well as a YouTube clip for one of the new songs. They are genuinely impressive.
The music falls somewhere along a continuum between Atheist-style death metal and the more progressive black-metal excursions of Enslaved. The songs are generally fast-paced but the band frequently shift gears as the intricate and often layered guitar performances twist, turn, flicker, and swarm. The head-spinning instrumental performances are topped off by incandescent clean guitar solos, usually flashing white-hot over the thunder of a double-bass kick. And the vocals are almost as much fun as the instrumental acrobatics, varying from vitriolic roars to ugly gargling to clean harmonies. Fans of progressive death or black metal really owe it to themselves to check this out.
Warpstone have begun a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for making CD versions of the album. To contribute, go here. People who pledge 5 Euro or more will receive a download code for a digital copy of the album upon successful completion of the funding campaign in about 45 days.
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
The most recent music released by Wolves In the Throne Room (Aaron and Nathan Weaver) came last fall via S0uthern Lord — a two-track live album recorded at the BBC. Yesterday, I got a press release announcing that the band will follow that with a new 2014 album to be entitled Celestite. Rather than attempt to summarize or paraphrase the description of the album in the press release, which I’m probably incapable of doing, I’ll just quote it:
“Taking a different approach than their previous LPs, Celestite is a completely newly envisioned, parallel-universe version of Celestial Lineage, the beautifully blackened fourth studio full-length epic WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM released via Southern Lord in 2011. Celestite arises with a whole new, ethereal approach. There are no drums and no vocals. Rather, deep, heavy crystalline synthesizer journeying, Eno-inspired analog processing and arcane acoustic instrumentation expand upon dimensions folded within the universe of Celestial Lineage.
“The Weavers tell us: ‘To make Celestite, we delved into the subterranean sonics that are buried in the mix of Celestial Lineage. We isolated them, processed them and took this unearthed soundscape as our starting point. Upon this base we recorded an entirely new album. Some melodies from Celestial Lineage are recognizable, but these familiar sounds appear as ghosts, barely tethered to the original compositions. This new album is an unorthodox foray; a fully instrumental, experimental companion record to Celestial Lineage. We left some work undone with Celestial Lineage. The recording of that album in the Winter of 2011 was a monumental project for us personally, and the creative fire from those recording sessions was still burning. This recording process was an opportunity to journey into our own inner universe to complete that which needed to be completed.’
“Paired once again with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Master Musicians Of Bukkake), Celestite came to fruition at Avast Studios and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM’s own Olympia-based studio Owl Lodge. While cloistered during the recording sessions they made use of a mammoth arsenal of crumbling vintage equipment including a Serge Modular System, Korg Poly6, Korg MS20, Korg Mono/Poly, Roland Juno 106, Roland Jupiter 6, Roland Super jx10, Jomox Airbase 99, Access Virus and more. The album also features a guest wind ensemble including friends Josiah Boothby on French Horn, Steve Moore (Earth, Sunn O))), Stebmo) on Trombone, and both Mara Winter and Veronica Dye on flute.”
The press release goes on to explain that WITTR have founded their own label — Diadem Records — to release this new album and others as well.
I doubt that anyone who has followed the band’s musical progression will be terribly surprised at the direction they’re taking with Celestite. Honestly, I suspect I’ll be happier when they return to the guitars, drums, and fat stacks of amplifiers and give vent to a little more vehemence and aggression, but at the same time I’m intrigued and curious to hear what Celestite sounds like, because there’s no doubt the Weaver brothers are two very talented dudes.
METAL ALBUMS WITH GOOGLY EYES
This last item spread like wildfire across the interhole this morning. For all I know, it has been going on for some time, but today many people sent me links to it and many others posted links on their FB pages. It’s goofy as hell, but it’s also a truly inspired idea and I think it will make you smile.
In a nutshell (and a nutshell is really all you need for this idea), some demented soul has added googly eyes to lots of classic metal album covers. One is above and a few more are below, and still more can be seen via this link; enjoy:
No not those googly eyes again!! I heard that Warpstone track a few days back. Interesting stuff indeed. Also Descend’s ‘Wither’ which sounds a lot like In Mourning is a record that i dig as well.
“There are no drums and no vocals”
Yeah, I could do without vocals, but no drums would be a hard sell for me. But WITTR have never really knocked me out before, so what do I know? Maybe it’ll be an improvement.
Yeah Tom, what the fuck do you know? Eh?
Ah, the age old question. This was one of the original zen koans, but they scrapped it due to its offensive nature.
True. They replaced it with this one: A monk asked Dongshan Shouchu, “What is Buddha?” Dongshan said, “Three pounds of flax.”
Dude this Warpstone is fucking warped! Loving the hell out of this, thanks for sharing!
Anyone know if the Warpstone will be available as a digital purchase on their BC site?
If you go to the site for their crowd-funding campaign using the link in the post, you’ll see that for a pledge of 5 Euro or more, you will get a download code for the album (via Bandcamp) upon successful completion of the funding campaign in about 43 days from now.
New Wolves? Sign me up!
An experimental Wolves record? Sign the up twice!
Wolves using vintage analogue synths? Well, fuck me, that’s three points for!
“The Weavers tell us: ‘To make Celestite, we delved into the subterranean sonics that are buried in the mix of Celestial Lineage. We isolated them, processed them and took this unearthed soundscape as our starting point. Upon this base we recorded an entirely new album. Some melodies from Celestial Lineage are recognizable, but these familiar sounds appear as ghosts, barely tethered to the original compositions. This new album is an unorthodox foray; a fully instrumental, experimental companion record to Celestial Lineage.”
Tribes of Thronerot?
This is true.
Seeing that again, it reminds me a bit of the mindset of Katatonia’s Dethroned and Uncrowned (I may have messed up the title, but whatever).
Warpstone is delicious.
Glad you dig it. Out of nowhere, this has become an album I’m really hot to hear all the way through.
i will never ever get tired of seeing new Girardi album art
Seriously. The guy is amazingly good, especially considering how prolific he is.
Warpstone was a great find! Feels like a proggy mix of Okular/Borknagar. Loving all the different vocal styles.
that Warpstone track. Such kill.
Man, that googly version of Altars Of Madness….
No drums and no vocals can work if you’ve the right elements involved. But when what you described sounds like it could be a Yanni B-Sides album, all does not bode well. Maybe it’ll sound pretty good, but being unfamiliar with the band, are they good enough to pull it off? Is there material from Celestial Lineage to build upon in this manner?
I think the answers to your questions are yes and yes. Celestial Lineage included atmospheric passages, lots of synthesizers and other non-metal instrumentation, and two instrumental-only interludes — interwoven with more recognizably black metal parts.
So, they’re taking an Ulver-esque route and making an album that’s not identifiably metal?
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. I’m all for experimentation and trying things out, but maybe the way they’ve worded this gives the wrong impression, especially for someone who’s not familiar with their work.
Hello guys! thanks a lot for your positive feedback about Warpstone’s music! our crowdfunding is advancing well, so, we put online another song from this new album! this one is one of my personal favorite:D
Thanks for letting us know! Looking forward to hearing this.
FULL STREAMING OF NEW WARPSTONE’s ALBUM :
“Into the Phantasmancer Celestial Castle”
From now and until the end of the crowdfunding, you can listen “Into the Phantasmancer Celestial Castle” full album in streaming on KKBB, Facebook and Bandcamp pages.
Thank you all for your support, we hope we’ll be able to deliver you the Cd’s and posters !
To support the creation of the physical release, follow this way