Jul 212022
 

(Andy Synn provides another insight into the rich diversity and vitality of the UK scene)

Living in the UK, but being very much on the fringes of the UK “scene” – I’d say we were the black sheep but that presupposes we were ever part of the flock in the first place! – is an odd situation to be in.

On the one hand it feels like, no matter how many of these columns I write, and no matter how many shows we play, I’m always going to be an outsider.

On the other, however, it’s oddly freeing… I don’t have to worry about upsetting people (and, trust me on this, some people can’t take even the mildest criticism) and can write about who and what I want, from big names to relative unknowns, without anyone accusing me of having any sort of hidden agenda or ulterior motive.

So when I tell you that all three of these albums – one from last week, one from this week, and one scheduled for next week – are all worth your time you should be confident that I’m not just blowing smoke… I really mean it.

Continue reading »

May 212022
 

 

In yesterday’s roundup of new music and videos I explained that I had pushed forward by one day a lot of choices I originally intended to spread around yesterday. I did that to make room for some even more-late-breaking stuff, But now, as promised, I’m circling back to those original picks — and of course I added a couple.

What lies ahead of you is in some instances off the usual beaten paths, especially in the first two tracks and the last two. The very last track represents the biggest divergence of them all, but might just be the most brilliant offering of everything here. And now that I’ve (hopefully) teased you into staying with me to the end, let’s begin….

AZTLAN (Mexico)

I begin with two songs that I suppose could crudely be summed up as “folk metal”, but I don’t mean folk metal in the vein of this new song by Schandmaul. Both are much more interesting (though that Schandmaul song definitely is a toe-tapper). Continue reading »

Jan 312017
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Ashenspire from Glasgow, Scotland.)

I’m into a lot of really emotive, depressing, progressive or avant-garde metal lately, and no scene does emotive, depressing, progressive or avant-garde like black metal right now. Ashenspire are in that vein, and even wear the avant-garde black metal label, although they are so avant-garde that they barely even qualify as black metal.

This band is very meta. They have more in common instrumentally with bands like Opeth or Ne Obliviscarus (they seem to have a full-time violinist like NeO, or at least his presence is a full-time feature of this album) combined with some very post-black metal-y stuff going on. Combine this with a vocal style that’s… not clean singing, but is? It doesn’t particularly try to be melodic in any way but it’s kind of like a harsher version of Warrel Dane’s operatic bellowing. It’s impossible to articulate. Continue reading »