Three days ago, in an amazing episode of serendipity (and/or synchronicity — I’m not quite sure of the difference), I listened to three songs in a row by three different bands that blew my socks off (I’m missing other items of clothing as well). The sound of each song is unusual and different from the others, but hearing them all together was an even more remarkable experience because despite their musical differences they all seem to operate on the same wavelength.
I use the word “wavelength” because I can’t think of a better word at the moment. All the songs are mainly slow or mid-paced, they all generate a very dark atmosphere, and they all become quite intense in their bleakness.
So, here are the three songs in the order in which I heard them. If you’re willing to go exploring with me, I recommend you listen to all three back-to-back. (I feel like a DJ.)
I learned of this band through a recommendation by Kim Kelly ( to whom I bow in gratitude). Their name is Atomikylä, and their members consist of people from Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, which may give you a clue about what you’re about to hear — but that’s all it is, a clue.
The song is named “Musta Kulta” and it comes from Atomikylä’s debut album Erkale, which will be released by Future Lunch on October 10 (in a limited edition of 500 CDs). It’s a long song, and it’s a classic build. It begins slowly, stripped down to a simple drum beat, a reverberating bass line, and a spooky, psychedelic lead guitar. As time passes, the music grows in volume and becomes increasingly unhinged. The guitar erupts in a squall of distorted noise, accompanied by blood-curdling shrieks, and the pacing accelerates into a grinding gallop — the opium dream becomes a fever dream.
Stilla are a Swedish band with two albums to their credit, the most recent of which (Ensamhetens Andar) was released by Nordvis Produktion in February of this year. The album is now available for listening and download on Bandcamp, where it can also be ordered on CD.
I listened to only one song before tearing myself away (and that’s what it took to escape the music’s hold) in order to move on to other things I wanted to check out. Believe me, I do intend to return to Ensamhetens Andar.
That one song is “Till slutet”, which happens to be queued up for playing first when you reach the Bandcamp page. The song is dreary and dark, drenched in a mood of anguish and loss, with a rippling guitar melody matched to powerful jagged roars. An acoustic interlude in the song’s mid-section acts as a transition point to an increasingly intense (and even frenzied) second half marked by impassioned clean vocals that are just s potent as the bestial ones.
The final song in this collection is named “Terminus” and it comes from an album entitled Deathsteps To Oblivion by an Australian band named The Dead. Deathsteps is the band’s third album and it’s due for release on CD by Transcending Obscurity on about November 15 — though the album is available as a Bandcamp download right now.
“Terminus” is the fourth of five songs on the album, but the one I heard first when I visit the Bandcamp page. It opens with a striking, extended instrumental introduction, accented by the sound of tribal hand-drumming, and what comes after is both remorselessly brutal and completely transfixing — a blending of sludge/doom and death metal that sounds crushingly hopeless, but has a magnetic quality. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve listened to it.
Deathsteps To Oblivion can be pre-ordered on CD and downloaded at the Bandcamp page linked below.
After writing this post I decided to return to Deathsteps, and after hearing all of it I impulsively decided to write about the album as a whole. That review is here.