Islander

May 302020
 

 

Until this morning I didn’t realize that 7 weeks had passed since the last time I invited people to share their thoughts about what was happening to them and their communities during the pandemic. I didn’t think that much time had passed. On the other hand, when I think back to what was going on during the second week in April and what has happened since then, it seems like seven months ago. I guess we’ve all experienced the distortions in our sense of time that the virus lockdowns have produced. I sure as hell have.

So here we are almost at the beginning of June, the start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Lots of communities are beginning to “open up”, though of course things are still far from normal. Some people are worrying that more frequent social interaction will lead to a “second wave” or at least a “second peak”. It’s becoming apparent that there won’t be any quick rebound in economies around the world. And even if we get through the summer without any dramatic surges in infections or deaths, is the virus (or some mutation of it) going to return with a vengeance in the fall?

It seems to me that even 7 weeks down the road from the last time I wrote one of these posts, the future is still as uncertain as it was then. There are so many unknowns. One of the few certainties is that 7 weeks from now life will not have returned to “normal”. Maybe we’re going to have to get used to a “new normal” that’s radically different from life as it existed just four months ago. Actually, no “maybe” about it. Continue reading »

May 292020
 

 

This has been a weird week: Until now, I haven’t managed to assemble a single round-up of new music and videos. I have written a dozen premieres, some of those full albums or EPs, as well as getting other people’s writings ready to post, so it’s not as if I’ve been a complete slug. But even with all that, in a normal time I’d still manage to curate a collection or two of new things.

Instead, this week I’ve noticed that after mid-day I tend to fall into a malaise, and find it difficult to do much of anything except force myself to tend to the occasional demands of my increasingly not-very-demanding day job. I think I know why this is happening, and might explain it tomorrow. But for now I’ve roused myself enough to get this round-up completed before giving up again. I’m way behind and hope to do more tomorrow.

SELBST

In this first kaleidoscopic selection, you’ll be engulfed by riotous drumming and cascades of harrowing and blazing guitars, whose multi-textured sounds channel feelings of grim devastation and flashes of feral ebullience. The deep roaring vocals have a tormented countenance, and the dense sounds that surround them have a sweeping quality, creating a mixture of mayhem and extravagant brilliance. Continue reading »

May 292020
 

 

Over the course of the nearly 20 years that have passed since the spawning of Irae in the Portuguese black metal underground, the project has been prolific, with Irae’s music being released in three dozen demos, splits, compilations, live recordings, and five full-length albums, the most recent of which will be released by Signal Rex on the 20th of June.

Operating from within a Portuguese alliance known as the Black Circle, whose members also include Mons Veneris, Vetala, Decrepitude, and Rainha Cólera, Irae’s sole creator Vulturius has pursued a nihilistic vision of malice and misanthropy through a distinctive formulation that combines the aggressive abrasion of raw black metal with melodies of penetrating emotional power. On this new album, Lurking in the Depths, he was aided by session members on drums and synths, with the latter adding an important dimension to the music’s multi-faceted sound. Continue reading »

May 292020
 

 

Vanhelga are a Swedish band, the brainchild of J. Ottosson (aka “145188”), who from its inception in 2001 until roughly 2013 was the band’s vocalist and sole instrumentalist. Beginning with the release of the 2013 EP Sommar (which followed a pair of albums and a handful of shorter releases), he has been joined by a changing line-up of other musicians.

We’ve been following Vanhelga’s progress since Sommar, taking us through three more albums and further shorter releases, which demonstrated an evolving integration of stylistic ingredients that made the music (which could be simplistically labeled “melancholic black metal”) ever more difficult to pin down in genre terms but continually interesting.

Vanhelga have been at work on a new release, which follows up on their excellent 2018 album Fredagsmys, and today we’re announcing that by the end of June or early July we will be premiering a song from it named “Dagar som denna” — which translates to “days like these”. Continue reading »

May 292020
 


In the Company of Serpents

 

(Today Andy Synn completes his week-long foray into the realms of doom with another trio of reviews. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you’ll find them here and here.)

The one thing which unites the three bands featured in this article, the third and final edition of my week-long focus on all things slow, heavy, haunting, and atmospheric, is their sheer quality, as each one of them could be considered a highlight of this year’s bumper crop of doomy delicacies. Continue reading »

May 292020
 

 

At least from a distance the vision I have of Sicily is a sun-drenched land, hilly and pastoral, surrounded by the brilliance of Mediterranean waters, culturally rich and filled with the evidence of ancient civilizations. To be sure, there are contrasts with those visions — aspects of human darkness and brutal violence (as there are wherever human beings congregate), and the looming menace of Mount Etna, whose active vulcanism still periodically casts black ash over this vast island.

It is the darkness that fuels the creations of the Sicilian band Fordomth, along with the inspirations of ancient esoteric mystery. The warmth of the sun does not touch their music, even though it often blazes. Instead, through a striking combination of black, death, and doom metal, Fordomth deliver explosive power, and create sensations of dread, despair, and revelation, with unnerving intensity.

Their new second album, Is, Qui Mortem Audit, is certain to leave deep and unsettling impressions that will linger long after its June 26 release by Auric Records — just as memorable as the gripping cover art created by Khaos Diktator Design. There, a Capuchin monk gazes into the abyss. The abyss is revealed through the music as well. Continue reading »

May 282020
 

 

Fans of brutal and technical death metal should need no introduction to Germany’s Defeated Sanity. Still helmed by co-founder Lille Gruber (drummer and current guitarist), the band have been releasing savage and scintillating music since the mid-’90s, with five albums to their credit, the most recent of which — The Sanguinary Impetus — will be discharged by Willowtip Records on July 24th.

One track from the new album, “Propelled Into Sacrilege“, has previously been released, and today it’s our privilege to present a second one through an official music video in which the band perform the song. Its name is “Imposed Corporeal Inhabitation“. Continue reading »

May 282020
 

 

Over time most ardent music fans learn to identify different experiences that provide listening thrills. There’s the pleasure of listening to new music from old favorites, even though those old favorites may not be bringing anything new to the table in comparison to their defined sound. There’s the delight of making new discoveries — finding new bands doing new things. And then there’s the pleasure that comes from following the progress of bands, like Minnesota’s Amiensus, who start strong and then evolve, becoming both more intriguing and even stronger as the years pass by.

We’ve been following the progress of Amiensus, essentially step-by-step, since the release of their 2013 debut album Restoration (which, by the way, has lost none of its appeal in the ensuing years). It was evident from the beginning that this was a very talented group of songwriters and musicians, and what has become evident since then is that they are confident enough in their talents, and exploratory enough in their interests, to branch out in ways that enrich their brand of atmospheric and progressive black metal. And that adds intrigue to the announcements of new Amiensus music.

The latest source of intrigue was the news that later this year Amiensus will be releasing their third album, Abreaction, through Transcending Records. We’ve all already had one interesting peek into the album, when the band released an acoustic version of a song called “A Convocation of Spirits“, and today we’re providing a further insight as we premiere a different version of that same song. Continue reading »

May 282020
 

 

Today we have an opportunity to revisit a band, and a particular song, we’ve written about before — and an opportunity to provide a further recommendation (and review) of their latest album.

The band is Gorilla Wizard from Long Island, New York. As we observed when we first encountered their music late last summer, their outward trappings almost dare you not to take them seriously, perhaps most especially the white-bearded, wizard-capped gorilla costume in which guitarist Bertrum (the Gorilla Wizard himself) performs while his bandmates Mikal (Bang Boom), Ry (Slap Bap), and Gabrel (Howl) kick up a ruckus around him.

But as we also observed, you shouldn’t be misled by all that, because although the music definitely is a raucous kick in the head, it’s no joke. “The songcraft is excellent, the performances are razor-sharp, and when you hear the band’s debut album, Tales From the Cauldron, you’ll understand why this fearsome foursome chose a name like Gorilla Wizard” (they can pound you to smithereens, but the music is also magical).

What we have today is a video for a song from Tales… named “Maple Crunch” — a video in which the hungry protagonist makes the mistake of digging into a bowl of Gorilla Wizard cereal that’s not meant for human consumption, and winds up going on an unexpected excursion. And then after that we’ve got some thoughts about the rest of the album. Continue reading »

May 282020
 

 

(This time Comrade Aleks has brought us an interview with Ian Arkley, a founder of the UK’s My Silent Wake, who have a new acoustic/ambient/experimental album due for release by Opa Loka Records in July 2020.)

My Silent Wake was born from the dust of another UK doom death band Ashen Mortality, one of the first bands of that kind, born in 1993 and disbanded with two full-length albums in its discography in 2005. So My Silent Wake was given birth by Ian Arkley (guitars, vocals and more), Andi Lee (bass, vocals), and Jasen Whyte (drums, vocals). Doom-followers should know mister Arkley well because he’s one of Seventh Angel’s founders, a legend of thrash / doom metal that started in 1987, two years after the founding of their USA colleagues Dream Death.

Having such huge experience of playing doom-oriented music, Ian Arkley is known for his interest in experiments, so My Silent Wake’s eleventh album Damnum Per Saeculorum will offer you some… We’ve spoken with Ian about nature of his experiments and things doomy beyond measure. Continue reading »