Dec 302018
 

 

Here we are, nearing the end of that strange seven-day period that begins with the Christmas holiday and ends with New Year’s Day, when many of us have more lazy free time than usual but also experience something like sensory overload from an onslaught of family, friends, food, drink, commercialized excess everywhere you turn, and the looming dread of a new year beginning with a return to jobs and no more holiday reprieves on the visible horizon. It can be both a joyous time of year and a depressing one, more of the former than the latter if you’re lucky, but with both conditions defined with greater intensity than the plodding progression of a normal week.

Even as odd and disorienting as this annual occurrence usually is, the one we’re in the midst of now has struck me as even more bewildering, even comically so, from my perspective as an obsessive fan of extreme music with a compulsion to share recommendations. On that front at least, things are supposed to slow down, with fewer albums being released (given the likelihood they’ll be overlooked against the background froth of so many other holiday diversions) and something of a pause in the promotional activity around albums slated for release in the new year, including the debut of new songs. And while that has in fact happened to a degree, it’s been a smaller degree than usual, especially in the genres of music that are the focus of this column. Continue reading »

Feb 242015
 

 

It has always been
It has come to this
Family mansion for this life
Family tomb for the next
 

Shroud of Despondency have done it to me again. Last November, not knowing much about the band, I decided to devote just a few minutes to their new EP, Defective Overpass, just to see what it was like. And the music promptly shoved all my other plans over the side and wouldn’t let me alone until I had gotten my thoughts about it up on this site.

I found out yesterday that the band’s final album, Family Tomb, is now available on Bandcamp. I thought I was better prepared this time, having heard the EP. But I wasn’t. And here I am again, unable to do anything else I had planned to do until I’ve spilled my thoughts all over this page.

I haven’t listened to the album as much as I should, and I haven’t spent as much time writing this review as I should — but I have to tell you about this album, and I need to do it now. Continue reading »

Nov 292014
 

 

I’ve been swarmed by new short releases that I want to write about. I had a list of five that I’ve been listening to this week, from which I wanted to pick one for this Saturday post. And then the new Shroud of Despondency EP de-railed those plans. I only meant to give it a minute or two this morning, just to get a sense of what was going on, and, well, here we are.

For those unfamiliar with the project, it’s the brainchild of musician Rory Heikkila, originally from Upper Michigan and now a resident of Wisconsin. Prior to this new EP, the last studio release was a double-album from earlier this year entitled Tied To A Dying Animal, which featured a mix of metal and acoustic songs. This new EP does, too.

The EP also marks the beginning of the end of the project. It’s a way-station on the road to the band’s final album, the recording of which is nearing completion, before Heikkila turns his attention elsewhere (to folk music, it appears). Continue reading »