Once more I’ve tried to pick out some new interesting records from the underground to inform you of what is out there. This time I’ve got for you Sea Witch, Drudkh, Laster and Frown.
Sea Witch – As Above (demo 1)
I like the band name Sea Witch. It immediately feels like one can easily get into the greatest depths of doom. The bottomless sea and its many mysteries forms a great basis for a band that plays the clean and deep sound of the abyss, like Sea Witch does. The band from Nova Scotia incorporates atmospheric black metal, drone and a pinch of folk into their ‘nautical doom’. Inspiration obviously comes from the sea. There’s also a video released recently.
The full demo can be listened to on their bandcamp and is part of a series of two, the second titled ‘…So Below’ (like you didn’t see that one coming). The element ‘nautical’ is fairly important here, since it inspires the distinct sound the band demonstrates. There’s a threatening element to the sound, something looming in the dark. The slow sound is clear but full of reverberation. The listener loses sense of up or down on ‘The Atlantic’. Or the slow and atmospheric ‘Out Of The Depths’. It’s a haunting and wonderful experience, to get submerged in their music.
Drudkh – Eastern Frontiers On Fire
Drudkh from Ukraine has never shied away from a little provocation in their words and titles. Obviously, the dangerous NSBM tag has been mentioned in relation to the band. This record is a collection of songs from the EP’s ‘Anti Urban’ and ‘Slavonic Chronicles’ and their work released on the split the band did with Winterfylleth “Thousands of Moons Ago / The Gates”. Slow mesmerizing black metal opens on ‘Fallen Into Oblivion’, followed by the jangling ‘Ashes’. The tracks feel grey and dry.
The tracks ‘Tam gdzie gaśnie dzień… (Sacrilegium cover)’ and ‘Indiánská píseň hrůzy (Master’s Hammer cover)’ are more raw, but brought in an unmistakable Drudkh way. The slow, cascading sound has an epic quality and atmosphere to it. The atmosphere is like the far lands of Ukraine on a dusty summer day. What no one seems to wish to get into is the title of the compilation, which is a clear reference to the current situation. It is unclear to me why only the title and probably cover refer to this. That does however not diminish the beauty of the music that Drudkh shares us. It does serve as a reminder of the harsh place the origin of their sound has become.
Laster – Die Verste Verte Is Hier
The Utrecht atmospheric black metal band Laster has released their debut album with four tracks, seemingly lasting forever. Their slow and dense sounding tracks have little agression in them and focus mainly on a cold and thought provoking atmosphere. The lyrics are in Dutch and have a wonderfull poetic quality to them.
‘Tot de tocht ons verlicht’ is a torrent of sound, swirling around the listener who will get the feeling depicted on the cover of the album of falling down through this haze. The sudden clean singing marks a shift to more shoegaze-like atmospheres. There are some industrial elements towards the end of the track. ‘Mijn Masker’ is much more furious and hectic, though maintaining the static, sonic layers of sound. Screams pierce the cloudy sound, creating an grim atmopshere of depressing and dark sound. The music ebbs away, giving room for gentle piano play which wraps up this intriguing track. ‘De Verste Verte Is Hier’ stands out with its gothic chanting and postpunk/shoegaze rhythm. Howling vocals and clean sounds mark those influences even more in what is the most dreamy song on this album. The impressive sound of Laster makes them clearly an intriguing band to take heed of.
Frown – The Greatest Gift To Give
Though I have to admit to finding the name Frown a bit awkward, the unique sound of this band was quite impressive and captivating. The raw and abbrasive vocal style is what stands out most. After the prayer bells sound, the opening riffs of ‘Trial By Ordeal’ storm in with a kolossal strenght. The nasal and barked vocals of their singer reminds the listener of primitive black metal. The sound lacks the muddy, full sound of a sludgy doom band. It’s really the atmosphere that counts and the reverb in the guitar sound.
‘Harpocrates Unborn’ is a reference to the God of Silence of Greek mythology. The venomous dripping sounds that open up the track are a prelude to the gloomy sound that the guys produce. A dark and mesmerizing descent into despair follows. Apparently it takes up more muscles to frown than you need to smile. That says something about the complexity the band looks for in their different and unique sound. The Australians blow distorted and gravelling guitar sounds through the thrudging doom of ‘Cold Gail That Blows My Lonely Grave’. The slow and droning track is calm but full of this feeling that something wicked this way comes. ‘Offering’ closes the record with an almost ten minutes lasting drag that would not be amiss on a Sabbath album.