(Two weeks ago (here) Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood) shared with us and you a list of musical suggestions to help us get through the current “end of the world” times, and today he follows that with another selection.)
So not a hell of a lot has changed since the last time I sat down to do one of these. Seems that a lot of you are still stuck at home, bitching and moaning that you’re bored while another batch of you (myself included) is considered “essential” and stuck being out with the public every day, most of whom have no real reason to be out of their house except “boredom”. These are the same assholes who’re going to be shocked they’re waiting for a ventilator in a few weeks while the poor sap who never finished college who’s behind whatever counter (me again) still has to go to work without extra pay, wishing they/we/I could be at home or at the very least stop being told by our jobs to be grateful we still have them while the “Today Show” has some montage about how essential employees are “heroes”, a sentiment not reflected in the majority of their paychecks.
That shit-show aside, I’ve compiled a few bands and labels that, since you have the time, are worth your consideration. Hopefully you find something interesting you haven’t heard before or you think my taste is pure horseshit and are moved to compile your own lists. Either way it gives you something to emotionally invest in for a few minutes while you try to figure out what household item you can use to wipe your ass with.
I’m pretty sure if you’ve at all followed my ego-feeding ramblings the last few years, especially since I rediscovered my affinity for dungeon synth, you’ve seen me talk about Jaaportit. This project popped up on my recommendeds a few years back and since then haven’t left rotation. Even with the gradual evolution from wintry dungeon synth into multi instrumental proggy type material, a genre I mostly loathe, he manages to really create very visual music and while, much like wearing white after Arbor Day or whatever that fucking rule is, winter synth isn’t very seasonably appropriate, I still very much encourage you to sit down with his music. The excellent Out of Season label just reissued two of his earliest works, which alongside Mortiis and Old Tower stand as my favorite in the genre. And speaking of Out of Season…
Out of Season
Out of Season has consistently been at the forefront of quality dungeon synth and their last batch of releases really brings a lot to the table. The aforementioned Jaaportit reissue, new Fief and most recently a slew of Thangorodrim reissues, on vinyl, cassette & CD. There’s very little that I don’t like on this label, but even the things that don’t tickle me still all share a level of quality and dedication that you don’t see in a lot of labels.
And even though this isn’t a part of the reissues, or as far as I can tell available anywhere besides YouTube, I’d be remiss not to toss in this early Thangorodrim recording. While it’s different from later works it’s still a really cool piece and absolutely worth your time.
Charnel Oubliette / Withering Presence
Part of the Avra Collective, these two related projects finish out the synth portion of our program today. Super hypnotic, bleak, and incredibly moody projects that seem to go into the more morbid side of dungeon synth/ambient (think Vampire Tower) instead of the swords ‘n’ sorcery that permeate a lot of the genre — annoyingly so in the online groups dedicated to them. I don’t know very much about this collective but will be looking further into them as I really have enjoyed what I’ve heard so far.
Like I said in the last piece, Caligari reissued the Nyredolk 2018 demo recently and is doing the cassette pressing of their new one, which is out now and fucking year-end material. That should be enough of a reason to send this label the money you were going to use to buy Lysol if you didn’t end up sleeping too late and it being sold out EVERYWHERE. And if that’s not enough, I put up links to two releases that I’ve been listening to a lot. Unfortunately, the Majestic Mass is sold out so that’s going to have to be put on my wish list to Santa, but still available for digital.
Unusual black metal not your thing? Caligari has fucking dozens of death metal releases and I know you kids are digging that shit nowadays, but unlike the stadium bullshit that’s getting passed around Caligari picks deserving bands that still play gross death metal a la back in the day when you were listening to whatever nonsense kids listened to I guess. I dunno, it’s difficult to be condescending about people’s music tastes when you just spent an hour writing about yours. Regardless, this label has something for pretty much everyone reading this and, especially in times like this, really needs your support. Plus they’re responsible for most people in the lower 48’s first exposure to Rope Sect, and that alone deserves at least a cursory glance.
While I’m sure a lot of reviews of this are going to mention how close to the golden age of the 1990s this record gets, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of really deep diving into what that means, but since I’m not a journalist I don’t need to give you a background of who’s in the band etc or whatever it is that seems to give writers a sense of credibility. Instead let’s talk about how this truly sounds like it should have been on the 1995 Fullmoon Productions release schedule next to the debut Algaion and Swordmaster records. Algaion is actually my biggest point of reference to the whole sound/feel of this record, and while that’s more than likely not what they were going for, it’s as big of a compliment as I can give. This is a record that transports me back to sitting in front of my stereo in high school while I was spending all my time writing letters to bands or waiting for tapes in the mail. A deeply satisfying listen.
I was introduced to Sarin through their split with VEGAS last year that ended up in my best-of. I figured this would be the perfect time to explore their other work. They fall in well with a lot of the Youth Attack stuff I mentioned in the last piece but also have a fairly strong Integrity feeling to them, which I count as a positive. If you like nasty shit like Hoax then this should already be in your sights but if not then take this as your warning.
I’ll end this with something a little bit different. Errant also takes me back to the 1990s but in a few different ways. Equal parts dreamy alternative (I guess Slowdive meets the gloomier moments of Screaming Trees) and early/mid ’90s death/doom (first The Gathering record/Waves of Erotasia-era Pyogenesis) blended together in a way that doesn’t feel like a gimmick or forced the way a lot of bands that people can use seven to ten genre tags blended together in one awful run-on description can be. I can tell a lot of people are going to be insufferable in describing this record elsewhere but all you need to know (if you’re still reading and haven’t hit “play”) is that it’s moody without being immature, dreamlike without putting you to sleep, and difficult to categorize but not pretentious. A perfect Springtime record if we’re going to be fucking seasonal about it.
And so ends another one of these time killers. Hopefully you found something new in it to get into and maybe I’ve kept one or two of you from doing drugs, changing the way your life will turn out because, like the “Today Show” keeps telling me, I’m a hero.
If you do like anything you’ve heard here please consider supporting the artists directly, I’ve given links where I could for everything. And if you’re fucking broke then consider sharing what you did enjoy, anything to help artists who’re probably in the same sinking boat right now. I’m already working on the next list which will hopefully take less time than this. Until then, wash your fucking hands.