Sep 162019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Ukrainian band White Ward, which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on September 20.)

To say that White Ward are the band Ulver might be today if they hadn’t totally abandoned the Black Metal aesthetic would, probably, be an over-simplification.

Both bands are, after all, distinct entities in their own right, and to imply that the former are simply a more metallic variant of the latter would be to do them a major disservice.

And, yet, there’s more than a hint of Perdition City to the Ukranian quintet’s new album, whose unusual mix of biting riffs, moody jazz inflections and neo-noirish vibes purposefully eschews the more “traditional” aspects of Black Metal – the nature worship, the rustic spirituality – in favour of a sound that’s distinctly urban in both tone and texture, all neon and glass and cold concrete.

But whereas Perdition City was billed as “music to an interior film”, this one is much more physical and grounded. It’s the soundtrack to the world outside your window, a world of digital prophets and ephemeral profits, social media sirens and vicarious virtual violence.

A world where what we put in no longer equals what we get out. Where what we give no longer balances what we take. A world on the brink of total Love Exchange Failure. Continue reading »

Aug 272019
 

 

In 2017 we devoted significant attention to Futility Report, the debut album of the Ukrainian iconoclasts White Ward, hosting the premieres of two songs and then of the album as a whole. It was (and still is) brilliant in a way that few albums are in any year. In its extravagant inventiveness and unexpected stylistic juxtapositions it could have been a train wreck, mangled bodies strewn about like broken toys, and fractured machines burning in a jumble of warped iron and splattered diesel. Instead, like mad scientists who are in fact visionaries, White Ward produced something through their unorthodox splicing of diverse musical genres (which included black metal and jazz) that was as enthralling as it was deviant.

In the abstract, contemplating how White Ward might have improved upon Futility Report in a second album is an odd exercise, because it assumes the possibility of gauging greater or lesser degrees of success when there is no objective measuring stick at hand for their kind of bohemian rhapsodies. At a minimum, however, it’s possible to say that the band’s second album, Love Exchange Failure (due for release on September 20 by Debemur Morti Productions), is still non-conformist, still surprising, still electrifying. And while it’s obvious that White Ward still have no inclination to follow any straight and narrow path, their new compositions seem more cohesive, and more powerful in their capacity to evoke strong emotional responses, without at all repressing the adventurous spirit that drove the first album from beginning to end. Continue reading »

Jul 252019
 

 

You wanna know how many new songs I added to my listening list over just the 48 hours since I posted the last round-up of new music? Of course you don’t, but the number was 45. Don’t even bother trying to guess how many were already on the list from preceding days. There is a reason why the category tag on these posts is “Random Fucking Music”, because there’s not much rhyme or reason to making these selections from such a large universe of choices.

Of course, I haven’t listened to all 45 of those new songs I was curious to check out. Of the ones I did hear, I picked these five, going with my gut, and of course my highly refined sense of good taste. With luck, I’ll collect some more for tomorrow, to bring the week to an end with a BANG.

SARCASM

From their formative years in the early ’90s through today, the Swedish death metal band Sarcasm have had their fair share of obstacles, including personal tragedies, line-up changes, and the other vicissitudes of life that have often led bands of this vintage to sink beneath the waves, never to surface again. But Sarcasm have survived, although their sound has evolved since the earliest years.

Their first album (Burial Dimensions) didn’t surface until 2016, but they followed that quickly with 2017’s Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds, and now their third album is headed our way via Chaos Records. Entitled Esoteric Tales Of The Unserene, it will be released on October 14th. Continue reading »

May 122017
 

 

Futility Report is brilliant in a way that few albums are in any year. As much as anything else, it’s brilliant because in its vaulting inventiveness and unexpected juxtapositions it could have been a train wreck, mangled bodies strewn about like broken toys, and fractured machines burning in a jumble of warped iron and splattered diesel. Instead, like mad scientists who are in fact visionaries, White Ward have produced something through their freakish gene-splicing of genre families that’s utterly mesmerizing.

We’ve had the pleasure of premiering two songs from Futility Report already, and I could hardly be happier that we’ve been asked now to premiere a full stream of this remarkable album on the date of its release. Continue reading »

Mar 282017
 

 

I have a hypothesis, not one supported by statistical evidence, only by anecdotal observation: All of us have attractions to specific styles of music that ring the chimes in our heads. We know what we like, we gravitate toward it. But we are also open to new sounds that may ring different chimes, in ways we couldn’t predict, and the most surprising revelations can turn out to be the most compelling and the most memorable.

The song we’re premiering here had that completely unexpected effect on me. It may have that effect on you, but I have no way of knowing that. It’s a musical dice roll, one that I hope will come up sevens for you, as it did for me. It’s the most unusual piece of music I’ve heard this year, and one of the most striking.

The name is “Stillborn Knowledge“, by the Ukrainian band White Ward. The song is extracted from the band’s debut album Futility Report, which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on May 12th. Continue reading »