Tag Archives: music

Sounds of the Underground #16

Again, some tunes to bop your head to in Sounds of the Underground! This time A Forest Of Stars, Woods Of Desolation, Shylmagoghnar and Promethean Horde.

A Forest Of Stars – A Shadowplay for Yesterdays 

Source: A Forest Of Stars Bandcamp

Yes, I know this is not the latest album of these Brittish troubadours. I listened to them before, but due to a friends enthousiasm I did so again yesterday. I was amazed. The band brings together sounds of despair, string sections in minor, gritty black metal and the carnavalesque in a blend that is wonderfully powerful. A track like ‘A Prophet For A Pound Of Flesh’ embodies that blend of epic doom, laced with twinkling folk passages and playful prog elements. The wailing ‘The Blight Of God’s Acre’ is another example of organic black metal embracing the play with elements.

Listening to this record brings memories of neofolk groups like Current 03, but also of doomers My Dying Bride. That has a lot to do with the Victorian charm of this league of gentlemen, as they describe themselves on their website. They don’t draw their inspiration from pagan Gods and nature, but from a time where romanticism and beauty was still something of importance. ‘Gatherer of the Pure’ is one of those unrelentingly beautiful tracks that display all elements in a blistering torrent of sound that has a warm, golden gleam to it. ‘Left Behind As Static’ lets you hear polished English and the ghost stories associated with electricity seem to be the inspiration for another magic song with static in the air.  The haunting ‘Dead Love’ is the great closer of this magic album.

I can’t wait to check out the new one.

Woods of Desolation – As The Stars

Source: Bandcamp Woods Of Desolation

The sound of Woods of Desolation is like the cold autumn sun, that caresses your face while your fingers feel frozen. The pain and beauty intermingle in a warm bath of nostalgia on this fantastic album full of post-blackmetal with static riffs and soaring elements in major, tremolo guitar picking and that unwavering cascade of atmospheric layers… I just want to rant about it, till I run out of breath. The song ‘Unfold’ is one of my favorites on this record.

I guess its the layers of ambient that make this record so alluring and filled with atmosphere that one can relate to. It has a simple beauty that still transcends the regular, the harmonies are just right. ‘An Autumn Light’ is another great track that seems to captivate exactly wht I said before. The vocals blend in with the rest of the music to create a unity. In a way they are the only dissonant sound in the music you can hear. These Australians did a wonderfull job in making this beautiful album, that still captivates the grim and cold of black metal. I could go on and on about it, but I feel that words fail to describe what my gut tells me while listening to this.

Shylmagoghnar – Emergence 

Source: Bandcamp band

I just happened to stumble across these Dutch prog-BM’ers on bandcamp. Clean sounding, technical and catchy are some keywords. Atmosphere does not need to be  dense tapestry of tremolo guitar obviously. It can also be the clean, hard walls of riffs that these guys unleash on their 2014 album. The long opener ‘Abyss’ immediately lets you hear some classical influences as well, this is not easy metal. An approach that hits the listener in the gut can also be taken, like on ‘This World Shall Fall’ and ‘Squandered Paradise’.

‘The Cosmic Tide’ is a track that stands out due to its soaring sound, full of aventure and bravery. The music is on that Cosmic level, always maintaining a feeling of tension and intensity. ‘A New Dawn’ delivers another blistering track with classic elements and full of epic grandeur. The band is not afraid of implementing anything in their dense and straight forward sound. The magic is in the exectution this great collection of songs. I’m well impressed with the variation and the openness of their sound. Recommended material!

Promethean Horde – Ashes of the Empyrean

Source: bandcamp Promethean Horde

What an awesome find, these blackening death tyrants from the United States. I love the frantic sound of the riffs and dense walls of guitars. The vocals remind me of the cleanish sounding black metal, like that of Keep of Kalessin on this album filled with pagan black metal. I’m not sure how deep that pagan aspect runs, but just bear with me for a bit more, while these boys roll on. The epic riffs are quite impressive, though not too original. This band is definitely energetic and filled with rage, creating an impressive rolling sound.

The vocals are a hoarse bark, a bit like Abbath, but lacking the deep cutting gritty qualities. Many people are fussed about some clean parts on the album, but I find those very easy to ignore and forget. The coiling sound and sheer intensity makes up for whatever flaws it may have, like some out of place tremolo playing on ‘Ördögszereto’. I will admit that during the listening to this album, my enthousiasm startst to go down a bit. It’s not the most original release and might not really have that forwards move in its sound, which is so typical for USBM. Still, I enjoy this record.

Barreuh Label Night #4 @ TAC, Eindhoven

It is always good to do something on your friday night. This friday I went to the Temporary Art Centre in Eindhoven for the fourth label night of Barreuh Records. A label that has found a spot somewhere on the line where art and music touch and get intertwined.

The label aims to release affordable and special products of music that is challenging and experimental. This is available on their quite intriguing label nights, usualy filled with strange happenings. Strange tunes are played in between and a small, but interested crowd gathers for this live experience.

There’s also the release tonight of the new Skymme record, that you can enjoy on bandcamp as well.

First up is the experimental electronics of Rumatov. Three guys molding a mixture of ambient sounds and blipping noise on a range of devices. This creates soundscapes that drone on for the length of the set. The trio manages to put a bit of humor in their preformance of intriguing sounds, that challenge the notiono of what music is.

Barreuh Logo

Danielle Liebeskind is next up, playing a mixture of free-jazz postpunk jams, that frame the poetry of their singer. The explosive music offers a big contrast witht he stammered, flat spoken poetry lines that get spoken into the microphone in between. Though this is an interesting approach, it offers little in the way of harmony between the two elements and the poetry does not really appeal to me. Luckily there’s room for some respite in the cool venue, with some expositions open for visiting.

Final act of the night is Thaumaturgist, offering some bass driven beats. The music sounds old school, without the polished synthy stuff that you’re used to these days. Energetic and raw, the act captivates the audience in what seems to be a long, groovy jam.

Romuvos Interview

Romuvos is the kind of band you will find only when you start looking for it. Pagan metal, inspired by the ancient Baltic tribes that roamed the lands we now know on our maps as Lithuania and Latvia. One could include the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, though the Prussian Balts are long extinct.

Behind the band is one person who goes by the name Velnias, which is Lithuanian for Devil. Most pagan entities seem to have been taken over by devils, which is shown in the Žmuidzinavičius museum in Kaunas by a large collection of statues. If we look a bit further the name Velnias is taken from the Baltic god of the dead, similar to Odin in Norse mythology. A trickster of sorts, one could say.

I got in touch with Velnias and he was keen to tell us more about his music. Like the trickster he took his name from, there’s more to him than you would think. He doesn’t actually live in the Baltic region, but lives in Israel. He moved there as a child with his family and once in a while he returns to his beloved Lithuania. Because his father is Latvian, he has decided to represent in his music the Baltic tribes as a whole in their pre-Christian form. It’s only fitting then, that I write down these words in the heart of Samogitia, the last pagans to be conquered in Europe back in 1413.

Though Lithuania seems strongly Christian now, not surprising due to their long lasting union with devout Poland in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, there are still plenty of traditions and customs here that remind you of a pagan past and the deep roots they have in both the people and the land. Velnias longs to move back to his beloved country, but feels like the viking warriors who got stranded in far of lands. But one day perhaps, he will return.

Who is Romuvos and how did you get started with this act?

Romuvos is my one man band, the operation is entirely in my hands. I started playing folk music after being part of various black metal projects. I started digging deeper for my roots and the folklore that I hold so dear and decided to dedicate a musical project to it.

Romuvos is music dedicated to the Baltic pagan traditions and way of life. It has always been in my heart, but only now I’ve come to the point where I express it in song. Thus Romuvos was created, a name that refers to reviving the religious practices and pagan traditions of the Lithuanians and Baltic people before their Christianization.

Did you play in other bands before Romuvos?

 Yep, though its nothing worth mentioning. Nothing that got into thte studio or anything. Every band I played in had many rehearsals, worked on songs for a long time until it was time to record and then split up. Most of those were black metal bands with folk influences.

I’m not sure if this is interesting to mention, but I fought in the Israeli army. I fought wars and most of this music I wrote under threat of missiles and bombs. I’m not saying I’m a warrior of old or some brave knight, but I experienced war. Those were not my battles to fight though, not my wars. That however is a different story altogether.

Picture: Lithuanian Devils Museum 'Two very recognizable devils'
Picture: Lithuanian Devils Museum ‘Two very recognizable devils’

Romuvos is clearly a reference to the pagan religion of Lithuania. Can you tell a bit more about what it entails and also the Durwi spin-off?

Well, Romuva is a way of life, tradition and belief. It’s rooted in every Lithuanian heart and deep in the history of the Lithuanian people. Romuva is the name of the most important sanctuary of the Prussians, which was destroyed by crusaders in the 13th century.

One of the most important aspects in the Romuva faith is respect for nature. There are many gods, rituals and festivals that take place and form a part of the yearly calender in the tradition. Many old folksongs teach us about the ways of the Romuva and pagan people fromt he past. Those are the Dainos (folk songs), which play an important role in the religion. They are ancient songs and hymns. There’s so much to tell you about this, fortunately the internet offers much resources for the audience to find out more about this. Im very proud to let people know about our Romuva traditions in my music.

Durwi in old Prussian means faith, its also a revival of the Baltic ancient religions. You can csee how the Lithauanians and other Baltic tribes are untill this very day connected to their traditions and pagan beliefs from before their christianization. I hope the movement will grow and get stronger.

Can you tell a bit more about these traditions, what would these be like?

The Baltic people have preserved their traditions through the ages and Romuva is a direct expression of these unique traditions. It gives a name to the folklore and beliefs that have existed for a long time in the region. I will give you some examples

Krikštas

This refers to the rituals surrounding birth. Before a child was born, the ancient Lithuanians believed in spirits that would influence the unborn child in a bad way. One never directly referred to someone being pregnant to safeguard the mother and the future child. Expressions are still being used in Lithuania, like “The oven fell apart at Petras” or “It’s joyfull at Antanas”.

Once the child was born, it would be inducted into the community. The christening was bound up with various ancient rituals, which tie the new-born to the world, his family and community. These would be performed either at home or in nature when it is the time of the full moon. The room would be decorated with plants and greenery, birds made of straw would be hung from the ceiling and in the middle of the room the hearth would be lit at all time during the ritual. Other materials were prepaired, a bowl of water, clean cloth and scissors. The room would be well lit with candles. In the ritual the mother, father, child, name-givers, relatives and other childern would be present, together with the priestess  – Pribuveja (midwife), who would guide the event and take care of the child

The child is dressed in a festive linen shirt. A sash woven with folk decorations is used as a waist-band.

The feast is a cake, brought by the name-givers. The food upon the table traditionally includes eggs, scrambled eggs, bread, cheese, beer and such. Gifts are brought to the new-born and the mother. It’s all part of this important moment.

Picture: Lithuanian coast of inner-lake near Nida
Picture: Lithuanian coast of inner-lake near Nida

Vestuves

Vestuves is the word for a wedding, which was not just the concern for the young lovers. The entire community had an interest in the marriage and joining in the celebration. Weddings are so important in the ancient taditions, that there were over 100.000 dainos (songs) for Lithuanian weddings. There’s an extensive set of dances that represent the wedding  – starting with the match maker introducing the young couple to each other, the parents agreeing, the young bride weaving her trousseau, and then the wedding ceremony.

There’s a myth of Perkūnas and the Heavenly Wedding: On his way to the wedding, Perkūnas strikes a gold oak – an exorcism to repel evil spirits (Velnias frequently hides under the roots of an oak). When a young bridal couple comes into their new home, before they enter it, the lintel is struck, leaving a “cross” – to ward off evil.

Laidotuves

Funeral/Burial – the traditions surrounding funerals are fairly standard the world over. It is a time of mourning, and of friends gathering in support of the grieving family. But, there are some differences. In villages the coffin would lie in “state” for approximately 6 days, and in cities about 2 days. Every evening there would be the singing of laments, and prayers for the dead members of the family for three generations – each one mentioned by name. Every evening after the prayers a funeral meal is served, prepared by the best cook in the community. If the family has a pig, it is slaughtered for the occasion.

In villages the dead are usually buried in the morning, with final kisses being bestowed upon the loved one.

Velnias has given much more info on the pagan traditions in ancient Lithuania. For the sake of readability, you will find these at the bottom of this article. He mentions the yearly calendar, essential in the pagan rites, and the deities that the ancient Balts worshipped. One deity he goes into very elaborately, which I’m glad he did: Velnias.

In Lithuanian folklore Velnias is the character you will find most often, he originates from the god Velnias or Velinas. He has a relation to the animals, underworld, the dead, economy and magical things. In later Christian times Velnias became the devil.

The folkloric devil in the ethnic legends creates the world together, either alone or with God or only God (there are different versions). God is in some traditions his brother. They both have the same goals in creating the world, but also some opposingones, mainly all the bad things are explained by interference of Velnias. The God creates useful animals and the devil creates ones that harm people and are useless. Velnias is also connected with horses, oxen and cows, of which he would keep herds. In the legends he often harnasses and rides the horses. From the wild life, the wolf, rabbit and bear are closest to him and he assumes their forms.

Velnias is associated with low and wet locations, like moors and lakes, or he may appear in the forest. His dwelling is under the earth, inside the mountain, behind the water. He also may appear in the sky, flying or seen in a storm. The relation between Velnias and treesis also emphasized, he might be found sitting on tree stumps (the reference to the chtonic world, the lower part of the Tree of the World) or hiding in trees (like he hid from Perkunas). The fir tree and birch tree are his trees.

Velnias, also in later times as the devil, would often appears amongst women (at the village parties devils dance with the village girls or the devil would celebrate a wedding with a hanged woman and dances with her) and, in general, he is interested in the weddings and funerals. He often appears when a person dies to take his soul. The devil under the influence of christianity becomes the ruler of the hell (in lith. “pekla”) and there he rules the dead mostly in shape of the animals.

Generally Velnias is close to humans, it is not difficult to find him or call him he also comes without any invitation, let’s say if people decide to play ripka or other games. He often offers his services in farming, to clear the field and such. The manifestations of the devil have a sense of music, often they contract a violinist, play musical instruments themselves and dance. Both life and death are under the jurisdiction of the devil. He is an intermediary or guide for the living, but also was involved with the fertility of people and the land. The harvest was also his. He is inbetween the world of the living and the dead, between earth and the underworld. Therefor he received the patronage of the people who are connected to the both parts of this worlds (i.e. priests, magicians etc). Also, musicians, poets and artists, who are inspired by both worlds fall under this patronage, as they are set in an old Indo-European tradition that associates them with magic and the devil.

What are your personal beliefs when it comes to these traditions?

I can say that my beliefs are very similar to the beliefs of my ancient forefathers. It relies mostly on the pagan past, but I have to say that I walk my own path in this and I walk that alone. I am much influenced by the Romuva. The paganism is a big part of my life, but I follow the path I feel is right to take. I don’t want to impose chains on my life, that are in the hands of another. I will find the truth that is out there for me, which will bring me closer to enlightenment.

I appreciate nature and the pagan religion embraces those elements with deities that are the key to harmony or chaos in what surrounds us as humans. I tyr to represent that in my music, though in a smaller scale. When I use the word pagan in relation to my beliefs, my view is very much connected to those ideas that are part of the pagan traditions. I participated in rituals in the past, spending nights outdoors, camping and having a fire, getting inspired by the sound of the fauna and earth that I feel when I’m out there alone or with my wife. I try to put those experiences in my music, those are they keys or muses for the atmosphere I try to invoke.

I have mentioned my interest in the Baltic history and that is a big part of my music. It’s something I grew up with, the tales told by my grandmother, the sculptures and paintings in my childhoods home. Those inspired me since the day I was born. When I put this to song, the subject is a bit more general and I try to make it larger than life.

Lithuania is now one of the most devout Christian countries in Europe, though the pagan traditions can still be seen in a slightly mutated form. How do you feel about that?

Well, I think we can all agree that Christianity and other missionary religions have utterly destroyed native cultures around the world. I don’t hold any hatred towards them, but I draw strenght from this, deep emotions I can put in my music. Each religion seems to face the same stages and now the Islam has come to a point where people commit atrocities in its name. It led me to believing that one should shy away from crowds and mobs of people. I’m not a misanthrophist, but it gets close to becoming one. I like to be outdoors more nowadays, groups of people make me claustrofobic.

Many bands that pay homage to culture or country get lumped into the NSBM category rather easily. How do you feel about that and is there any political side to Romuvos?

I have no political views, nor do I think people are entitled to express such extreme political ideas as metal heads tend to do these days. Yes, everyone is born and living in a ‘country’, which we consider to be ours. That we think will stand by us and have our back when we need something. That country has been formed by past rulers and is governed by whatever government it currently has. They also have taught us to be proud of it and stand by its laws and order. Well, that is not for me. I can understand and respect other opinions about this topic, to each their own, but that crosses a border when people try to hurt or offend another.

The way I see it, I have no country. I don’t look at it that way atleast, which might be because I left my ‘homeland’ or maybe because I dont hold a vision like the common herd. Therefor I won’t see a country as a value to stand for. Countrys are owned by their governments, which might even be corrupt, and filled with people I can’t call my brothers, yet I would be expected to stand by it in war. The same people that will curse, violate, interfere with and disrespect you while living next to you, while sharing the land you should call ‘ours’ with them.

Yes, I will seek peace in my lasnd and I have the right as a human being to live on such a piece of land that I call home. I will raise a family and will seek friends, but also defend it from foes, but not as an act related to an old ideology and herd mentality that is alient o mine. I would do it as a person who wishes to be left alone by the brainwashing of society that surrounds him. I try to be free in my own space and accept no shackles from others forced on me. So NSBM? No, thats not for me. I would also not like to live in the old days under a man with a crown who can decide my fate, whitout me having any say in it. I dislike the ‘nazi’ ideas and steer clear of them. If others go there, its their choice.

Why did you chose to make music on your own?

I can’t say that I consciously made a choice to make music on my own. Because most bands I was part of ended up splitting up or just fading away, this was the easiest wat to go about things for me. I create music on my own terms, with my visions and no distractions.

Do you plan to play live? How would you go about forming a band?

Yes, I think that in the future I will gather few session musicians that I will play live shows with. Musically I will keep things in my own hands though.

Picture: Lithuanian landscapes
Picture: Lithuanian landscapes

What is the general idea you try to get across to your listeners? What story are you trying to tell?

In some of the songs I tell stories from the Lithuanian folklore, in others I make up a story myself based on my ideas. Sometimes I will use old folk songs from the old days, other times I will write songs that represent Baltic faith and traditions. With Romuvos I wish to represent Baltic history and the pagan beliefs of the people in close relation to the nature.

Your record has a very clear sound that is not typical.  What inspired you to make this style of music? To mind comes a band like Glittertind, does that sound like a fair comparison?

Well, Glittertind is a great band and thanks for the comparison though they are not my main inspiration. I can say that Falkenbach is a big influence and one of my favorite artists for sure, Summoning, early Vintersorg, Storm, Hades, viking era of Bathory and few more…

Even today I mainly listen to black metal, it still is my favorite style of music. Obviously, it is not the sound I create in Romuvos, but that was never my goal.

How did you go about recording this record? How did your writing proces go? All in all, how did you make ‘Romuvan Dainas’?

I have my own studio at home, so I just go and write the music first. Then I take a classic guitar and start playing, sometimes it can start with keboards or electric guitar as well as for the harmonica. Either way, after writing the main theme, i start working around it and build up the entire song. The next step is writing the lyrics and few more adjustments for the song. Ivecord all on my own and when the recording part is done, I mix it and finally do the mastering as well.

What is the general idea behind the record, its story and message?

The idea behind Romuvan Dainas is to make a Baltic folk metal album. In some of the songs you can find old stories from the Baltic folklore and on others tales of heroic battles and myth that I mostly invented. I dont get to see these days many folk bands representing this great area that surrounds the baltic sea and I am happy to take that subject into my music.

You say you invented some stories. Do you feel you put a lot into this record emotionally?

I think I put a lot of emotion and care into my music, it’s as if it erupts out of me and when it does I cannot stop it. I invest a lot of time and effort in it, because I have no other way of doing it. I enjoy every moment of making music, it is a very fulfilling thing to do. When I finish one thing, my mind is already on the next creation.

You released the record through No Colours Records. What kind of label are they and how did you get in touch?

No Colours Records  are a label that mainly releases underground Black Metal music, They have some releases that made it to the big pantheon. I just sent a youtube link with a song to Steffen, the AR of the label, and after few weeks he came back to me, expressing a great desire to put out my album.

What are, in your opinion, the best metal bands from Lithuania and are you in any way in touch with either the scene in Lithuania or Israel?

There’s a few great bands from Lithuania, like Obtest, Ha Lela, Peorth and Žalvarinis (though they are not that metal). There are also some great folk bands, like Rasa Serra, Gyvata and Ugniavijas. I’m not connected to any scene at the moment though.

A few people from the Baltics did buy the album and asked me some questions about it. It’s important to me that they feel connected to my music, but that goes for anyone who listens to my songs. I’m not trying to reach a specific audience or region with my music, but it is a confirmation for me when people from the region and cultural background appreciate the music though. It shows that my message of longing for the Baltic area and its nature and history is clear.

What future plans do you have?

I am planning to get session musicians for recording in a a big and high quality studio for my upcoming albums and live shows. Hope mainly to just make great albums!

 Disclaimer: I share no views with No Colours Records or any of the artists. Pictures (except header) by Justina Lukosiute

 Originally published on Wyrd’s Flight

 

 

Sounds of the Underground #6

In this little segment I review sounds of the underground, music you might not find unless you really go dig for it. From Nerdcore hiphop to depressive black metal, I love music. So check it out and maybe check the albums I checked out for you.

HOD – Book of the Worm 

source: Hod bandcamp

Violent, intense riffs open up the new album by black death band HOD on ‘When The Ghouls Feed’. The daring sound of the Texas is definitely not for the feeble listeners and gnaws away at your eardrums. Unrelenting the band slashes and burns through their songs like ‘I Am Destroyer’ and ‘Death Whores’. Musically this is the black coffee I need around 11.30 in the morning when the lunch break begins to sound very attractive and motivation is low.

There’s a specific raucous and energetic feeling to the combination of Death and black metal that comes close to a clean sounding grindcore record, without the attempt to mask bad instrumental prowess by layers and layers of distortion. Not that these guys need that, they sound tight as a chokehold on ‘Beneath the Mountains Of The Scorpion’. What their whole message is eludes me, the titles seem to be pissed off and angry, but also a bit weird. No matter, the record is awesome.

Home is Gone – Triptych

Source: Home Is Gone bandcamp

Nothing like some bleak, minimalist black metal to shake up your day. I’ve enjoyed my listening experiment around 11.30, so I continue by checking out Home Is Gone from New York. The cover alone is amazingly minimalist. Like the three panel painting the title refers to, it has 3 songs of uncompromising metal. Windy distortion and almost blown away screams make up an almost comforting melody. That is however hidden in the mist.

The end result feels very minimal, very little is actually happening apart from the careful weaving of a tapestry of sonic force, that makes up something totally different. I feel it’s as those huge parades where everyone holds up a coloured square to form an image. That’s how the seperate sonic endeavours compile the warm sound that is the end result of this beautiful, but brief record.

MC Frontalot – Question Bedtime

Source: wikipedia

What? No Metal? Yes, it’s time for some nerdcore hiphop with the new release from my favorite MC. Rocking some highly intelligent lyrics, complex rhymes and corky homebrew beats, MC Frontalot has invented the genre and put himself at the forefront of it for years. So we have a quirky list of songs that critisize a lot of things, like disagreeing with your bedtime as an expression of the democratic concept of disagreeing with authority and justice. It’s funny, but there’s always a validity, relating to the real world.

There’s a bit more soul to this record, compared to previous straight up flows it seems. Frontalot always focusses on great rhymes and very, very catchy chorusses. I mean, they are sometimes so wrong that they’re awesome. Some skits are in between, to raise the fun level even further. MC Frontalot makes a lot of fun about himself too. So why would you check out this CD? Well, I love hiphop, I’ve said so before and written about it. I do however, not have a gun or deal drugs, nor do I have a lot of  bitches hanging around. I do play WoW, love Star Trek, enjoy watching hockey, reading books and feeling Irish in the Irish pub. Most importantly, I’m a full on geek who reads science for fun. So I love hiphop that speaks to that. This is just the latest album, where the Front reaches a whole new level of weird.

The Scintilla Project – The Hybrid
I’ve always had a weakness for Saxon and their vocalist Biff Byford. His epic style was always quite an attraction to me. The band he started on the side, inspired by a sci-fi flick titled Scintilla, was interesting to me for that reason. However, it is not really something I’ll advise you to check out. It really was not a good idea.

The old voice of Biff gives everything an epic edge, but the cheesy piano’s and extra singers just make this a drowsy Disney soundtrack with very little balls and power. Let me put it to understandable words. Why did no one like the albums Maiden did with Blaze? Well, this is it. The overproduced sound makes the riffs into ready made candy bars of artificially flavoured goods. Nothing good comes of this record, trust me.

If you don’t like metal, then probably this is your album though. I’m sorry, perhaps for those who really dig the most mellow songs of Therion?

Sounds of the Underground #5

Time for some new revelations from the underground. I feel forced to not pick mysterious bands that no one has heard of this time, since there simply happen to be some brilliant bands I need to tell you about.

If you happen to have recommendations for me, they’d be most welcome. Leave me a comment!

Earth – Primitive and Deadly 

Source: echoesanddust.com/

The band from Washington has been a defining and genre-shifting force for ages and thus already captivated my attention in the past. Particularly the album ‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’, from 2008, was amazing to me. Every album the band has produced since their conception in 1989 has been brilliant and different. This one has captivated me so much, that I’ll go into every song for a bit.

Starting with “Torn By The Fox of the Crescent Moon”, the cascading riffs wash down slowly but full of foreboding. The colour of the music indeed feels pale like the moon. Darkness is in the end the main element with which Earth is playing, but there’s a light as well in that darkness, which is tangible in this songs beaming peaks that pierce the clouds. The description of a serpentine approach in music is embraced to the fullest in “There Is a Serpent Coming”, which has some riffs that give the song a movie soundtrack quality. Mark Lanegan with his charcoal black rasp provides the repetitive vocals on this track, that is filled with anticipation and warning. Bleak sound is embraced by warmth in the voice and music, which leads to a magical musical experience.

“From the Zodiacal Light” features the warm and captivating vocals of Rabia Shaheen Qazi from the band Rose Windows. Though musically far distincts, the vocals show similarities with those of The Devil’s Blood. Mystical words over soaring music and droning rhythm. Southern rock flavor is definitely detectable in the weeping guitar sounds of ‘Even Hell Has Its Heroes’. The sound seems to slow down while the chords are reverberating in the air. It’s the sound of the desert, with the sun shining in your eyes and twisting your vision, hallucinating and shrill sounding. The slow beat dragging on in the endless space around you. A similar sound can be heard on ‘Rooks Across The Gates’, featuring once again Mark Lanegan on vocal duties. This landscape is bleaker though and after almost ten minutes it just fades away.

Oh, check this interview by Steel for Brains with Dylan Carlson.

the xx – the xx / the xx  – Coexist

source: wikipedia

When the debut of this band came out, I was very keen to get my hands on it and review their sounds. I thought it was beautiful, haunting, cool and the sound of a drive through a city in the very early morning or in the deep of the night. Recently I got back into the xx and decided to listen to that other album, which I sadly ignored at the time.

The hazy youthful sound of the debut already demonstrated something unique that probably would not be reproducable. The band was on that fragile moment between youth and adulthood, expressing the sublime angst of that point in an excellent album.  That foggy, misty feeling of an early day, fresh and new, was captivated in the sounds on that first record.

That is the downfall of Coexist. Though it takes on the mellow beats, the minimal sound and gentle tones with whispered vocals, it lacks that fresh sound. The crisp break of dawn has been lifted and the monring sun has made the fog evaporate, it feels like a rehashed version of that moment when the fog was on the leaves and the cold was still in the air. When the words are whispered, no clouds appear from the mouth, just sounds. This time the angst is replaced by adulthood, certainty and a carreer. No longer is the magic in the air. It was a moment in time, that has now past. We still have the songs though.

Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden

source: Stereogum

The epic doom of Pallbearer is much appreciated in the world that adores it, so that makes it worth mentioning on itself. I like the epic quality of their sound, which reminds me a bit of Candlemass, even if it’s only a feeling for me as a listener. The clean and strong vocals are a main reason for that opinion I would think.

Oh, the pallbearer is part of the ensemble that carries a coffin. That’s kinda the drag they put in their doom, minor and sadness. It’s really everything you could want from a doom record, including its accessability. This is easy going stuff, nothing harsh, just bleak and heavy as you would want it. If you are even slightly into doom and you love feeling a bit sad with some heavy, slow guitarwork, check this band out for real.

High point is in my opinion the song ‘The Ghost I Used To Be’. Check it out. All crushing riffs, soaring guitars and picturesque vocals and strenght. Power metal meets doom? I don’t know, but this song I love.

source: austin chronicle

Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love

What got me tuned in to the band Perfect Pussy was not their music, but their charming singer Meredith Graves. An interview passed around on UPcoming (with a tacky headline in that ‘You won’t believe’.. line they’ve been pumping out like there’s no tomorrow), where she undressed while being interviewed. It was so captivating, that you forget that a beautiful lady is undressing. She spoke about punkrock, identity, looks and the self.

The music reflects that peculiar nature in a way I think. No distortion, just violent, wild passion is what the music expresses. An eclectic mixture of punkrock, noise and lofi rockmusic. The sound is energetic, uncompromising and light. The jangling guitar and the rattling drum form a warm tapestry of ragtag sound, that for some magical reason still sounds like a song.

Songs like ‘Big Stars’ and ‘Dig’ feature the almost proclaiming vocal style of Graves in their best shape. Powerful and relentless blurting out words of defiance. It is a great record and a great band that doesn’t seem to have many problems being out there and against the norm.

My Suitcase: AYS

Source: Reverb nation

Back in 2010 I did an interview with German punk-nutters AYS. Back then they were the first band on the bill for the Persistence tour, for which we did a whole dossier on ROAR E-Zine. We would write about pretty much every band on the bill and I got to do an interview with AYS.

The interview was rewritten in Dutch by me and can be found over here on the website. This is the raw interview. By now AYS is pretty much one of the leading punkrock acts from Germany, so well worth seeing where they were at in 2010.

Who are you and what is your job in AYS? And how are you doing?

Yo, my name is Gummi. I’m doing the lead guitar and a lot of the songwriting stuff in AYS. I’m fine, but I have to go to work today… that sucks!

What does AYS stand for? And what does it represent for you? How did you pick this name?

AYS stands for “Against Your Society” and was founded 2002 by our singer Schommer, who played bass, our drummer Pietz, and two other guys. One of them is our ex-guitar player Felix who left the band some months ago. They were playing melodic punk stuff like Good Riddance or Pennywise. After some lineup changes I joined the band in march 2007 as a bass player and our second guitar player Henne joined us at the beginning of 2008. Our newest member is Chris of Black Friday 29 who replaced me playing the bass when i changed to the guitar. We all have our roots in being Punks. So this name is still representing our punk attitude, being against racism and also not being satisfied what’s going on in this world. And of course: ACAB

What has the band accomplished this far? Who have you played with and where?

In the actual lineup we released an EP (“The Path Of Ages” – 2009) and two LPs (“Wreck My Soul” – 2008) and the newest one is called “Eroded By The Breeze” which was released 3 months ago. There are some old releases but they are not worth to be mentioned.

We played 7 tours in the last 3 Years and saw a lot of cool parts of europe like belgium, netherlands, france, spain, czech, poland, austria, switzerland, sweden, norway and england. At the moment we’re planning some tours and trips for 2011. In february we’ll be back in the UK and we’ll do an Australia/Malaysia Tour in April/May.

On our shows and tours we played with bands like No Turning Back, Sick Of It All, Have Heart, Carpathian, Trash Talk, Rise & Fall, Black Friday 29, Ritual, Born From Pain, The Effort, Swamp Thing, and too much more to name them all. Propably we played with almost everything what’s famous up to day and became friends with a lot of them.

What does AYS Sound like, what are your main inspirations?

I think it took a lot of time to find the sound that we’ve got today. It’s very desperate and pissed. We tried a lot to find out what we want to do, invested a lot of time and I think everybody who knows our old releases can see our development.

I think it’s important to be kinda incomparable and don’t sound like every second existing band what’s really hard because there are a lot of them who are doing a great job. Certainly we are inspirated by everything we listen to, which is not just Punk and Hardcore music.

How did you come together as a band?

Schommer, Pietz and I know each other from school, hangin around, skating, drinking, etc for 8 years. In our hometown was a quite big punk/hardcore scene at that time.

Henne is a friend of us for about 4 years and we know each other from shows in our area and his brother Chris used to play in Black Friday 29 who became good friends of us in the last 2 years.

What’s the German Hardcore scene like?

The german hardcore scene is pretty big. A lot of the kids are doing bands, setting up shows or do labels, fanzines, etc. Also they just support bands by showing up on shows whats propably the most important part. A lot of bands from oversea like our scene and appreciate the support of the german kids.

You’ve got a new album out, called Eroded By the Breeze, what can you tell us about it?

“Eroded By The Breeze” has got a tough and pissed sound combined with melancholic melodics and a lot of experimental parts. It got 13 Songs with a 35 minute playtime.

It was released on the 17th of August 2010 on LP and CD by Cobra Records (LP – Europe), Coretex Records (CD – Europe), Purgatory Records (LP – UK) and soon on Dead Souls Records (CD – Australia).

How did the writing and recording process go. What were your inspirations for this album?

After the release of our “Path Of Ages” EP in July 2009 we didn’t know how we could beat it. We had the goal to write those songs on the same level as “Snowblind” and “Nemesis”, which where re-recorded for the LP again, too. But after 10 Month of writing new stuff we we’re very satisfied with the outcome. The songs hadn’t been finished completely when we arrived at studio and the best ideas we had were while the recordings, breaking edge, playing Super Street Fighter 4, watching football and hooligan Films and eating a lot of pizza. We had a lot of time to try different sounds, settings and effects.

Who does your artwork?

Our singer Schommer is doing all the artwork stuff for us. He also made some designs for other bands as well, but at the moment he’s very busy. Schommer is studying media design so he decided to concetrate on that and just doing sick artworks for us in his freetime.

Who’s the guy with the AYS tattoo on the inside of his mouth?

That’s Schommer, too!

Apparently you guys bring a wicked show to the stage. What can people expect from you guys live?

A short set with the most possible energy we could give and hopeful withouth broken strings… fuck that.

Who are you going to watch at Persistance tour? What bands do you recommend to people?

I’m definitely looking forward to Cruel Hand. I really like their new album and of course their live shows. Also i’m glad to see the guys of Sick Of It All again, cause we just played some dates on their last europe tour together. And last but not least Blood For Blood, I think I don’t have to comment that!

If you don’t know our Album yet, you should really check it out. But you also should take an eye on bands like “Brutality Will Prevail” (UK) and the rest of the Purgatory Records bands. If you don’t know our friends “Carpathian” from Australia check their new EP “Wanderlust”, “Ritual” just released some new stuff, too, and also our friends “Man Overboard” from the US who will be on their first europe tour soon.

My suitcase: I Am Kloot

I have quite some unedited interview material I would like to share. So in this edition, I Am Kloot. I got to do a mailer with the band in 2010 for ROAR E-zine.

Source: Wikipedia

So this is the interview with Peter Jobson, I Am Kloot, position:

BASS GUITAR .

Would you be so kind to introduce yourself and your band briefly?

PETER JOBSON, JOHN BRAMWELL & ANDY HARGREAVES FROM I AM KLOOT.

I Am Kloot does not wish to be part of any ‘scene’ I’ve read in other interviews. Does coming from manchester generate certain expectations and comparisons for a band like yours?

A SCENE IS BASED ON FASHION. FASHIONS INHERINTLY COME AND GO. I AM KLOOT IS FOR LIFE. WE DO OUR OWN THING. MANCHESTER HAS A RICH CULTURE AND HISTORY. WE ALL LOVE THE CITY BUT IT IS MORE IMPORTANT WHAT YOU DO THAN WHERE YOU ARE FROM. MUSICALLY THE JUDGEMENT OF GIG GOERS IS SEVERE AND AS JOHN SAID TO ME ONCE “IF YOU MAKE IT HERE; YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE”.

Do you feel I Am Kloot fits in with the current folk/acoustic trend? (Mumford & Sons, Stornoway and such)

WE ARE UNAWARE OF SUCH A TREND. ANYONE WHO IS STILL TRYING TO PIGEON HOLE KLOOT WITH TALK OF ACOUSTIC MUSIC OR ANY OTHER RESTRICTION SHOULD REALLY GIVE UP.

How was your last album received generally?

MORE PEOPLE ARE HEARING OUR MUSIC THAN EVER BEFORE. THIS IS DUE TO RADIO PLAY AND GOOD REVIEWS. IT IS LIKE A NEW DAY FOR I AM KLOOT. THIS APPLYS MORE TO THE UK THAN ELSEWHERE AS UNTIL NOW WE HAVE NEVER BEEN PLAYED ON THE RADIO IN THE UK. GENERALLY SKY AT NIGHT HAS BEEN RECIEVED BETTER THAN ANY OF OUR PREVIOUS ALBUMS.

Can you tell something about the process of making it?

DURING THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM WE SPENT A WEEK LOOKING FOR THE NEW SOUND. ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT WE WERE HARD AT IT. ON THE SEVENTH DAY WE DISCOVERED A TOTALLY ORIGINAL COMBINATION OF FREQUENCIES THAT HAD NEVER BEEN HEARD BEFORE BY THE HUMAN EAR. IT WAS THE MOST AUDIABLY UNPLEASEANT SOUND ANY OF US HAD EVER HEARD. WE DID NOT USE IT FOR THE ALBUM.

How would you describe it yourself?

IT IS A ROMANTIC, REFLECTIVE AND RICH ALBUM. FOR THE FIRST TIME WE RECORDED AN ALBUM WITHOUT ANY REGARD FOR THE LIVE PERFORMANCE. WE ALWAYS TRIED TO KEEP OUR STUDIO OUT PUT TO A THREE PIECE BAND. THIS TIME WE RECORDED ANYTHING THAT WE FELT WOULD FIT THE MOOD AND LYRIC OF THE SONG. HENCE THERE IS A GREAT DEAL MORE INSTRUMENTATION. WHEN PLAY LIVE WE ARE JOINED FIVE EXTRA MUSICIANS TO RE-CREATE THE ALBUM. WHEN WE STARTED MAKING THE ALBUM WE HAD NO MONEY, NO LABEL, NO MANAGEMENT. WHAT WE HAD WAS TIME, SOME TUNES AND TWO VERY TALENTED AND GENEROUS FRIENDS IN GUY GARVEY AND CRAIG POTTER FROM ELBOW WHOM PRODUCED THE ALBUM. THIS SET UP ALLOWED US TO COMPLETELY REALISE OUR IDEAS FOR THE ALBUM WITHOUT ANY EXTERNAL PRESSURES AT ALL.

Source: Roar E-zine/Jörg de Groot
Source: Roar E-zine/Jörg de Groot

For your video’s you’ve used Christopher Eccleston twice to play in them. What is your relation with him and why did you choose him for the video’s or was it not your decision?

CHRIS HAS BEEN COMING TO OUR GIGS FOR YEARS NOW. HE IS A MASSIVE MUSIC FAN AND HAS AN ENCYCLIPEDIC KNOWLEDGE OF MUSIC AND ITS HISTORY. HE IS A TRULY GREAT ACTOR AND HAS INTEGRITY CHOOSING HIS PARTS. WE ALL ADMIRE CHRIS’S WORK AND ACHIEVEMENTS. WE ASKED CHRIS IF HE FANCIED BEING IN THE VIDEO AND HE WAS UP FOR IT. WE HAD A GREAT TIME SHOOTING THE VIDEOS WITH HIM. HE LIMBERS UP FOR A SCENE LIKE A BOXER BEFORE THE BELL GOES TO COMMENCE A BOUT. HE HAS AN IRRESISTABLY DARK SENSE OF HUMOUR WHICH SITS GREAT WITH US.

If the music of I Am Kloot was the soundtrack to a movie, what kinda movie would it be?

I THINK THE SOUNDTRACK TO TAXI DRIVER IS A MASTERPIECE. THE ANTI HEREO; TRAVIS BICKLE IS AN ENTHRALLING CHARACTER.

Wherefrom do you get your inspiration (music and nonmusicwise) and what is the message in your music?

INSPIRATION COMES FROM MANY PLACES. EVERYDAY LIFE, BOOKS, FILMS, STORIES, PEOPLE, NATURE. IF THERE IS A MESSAGE AS SUCH IT IS FOR THE LISTENERS PALLET. WE WOULD NOT LIKE TO SULLY THE TASTE WITH OUR OPINIONS.

What drink goes best with every I am Kloot album?

NATURAL HISTORY – A BOTTLE OF BLUE NUN / I AM KLOOT – NEGRO MODELLO WITH CHERRY VODKA SHORT / GODS & MONSTERS – TEQUILA & DRY GINGER / MOOLAH ROUGE – VODKA REDBULL / SKY AT NIGHT – CHABLIS PREMIER CRU.

You must have heard this one a million times, but what does the band name mean?

MANY THINGS.

What plans do you have for the bands future?

THIS YEAR WE WILL BE TOURING AS MUCH AS WE CAN. WE HAVE SOME NEW TUNES. THERE IS TALK OF SOME AUDIO VISUAL COLABERATIONS WITH VARIOUS FILM DIRECTORS THAT WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING STUCK INTO EARLY NEXT YEAR.

If your band was a kind of food, what would it be?

GOULASCH SOUP.

Original posting: ROAR E-zine

Sounds of the Underground #3

I listen to music, so you don’t have to. You can decide if you want to check out what I’ve been checking out by reading what I thought about these sounds.  I’m usually pretty honest. I do tend to listen to what I like though.

Source: Somic002.ucoz.ru

Mondvolland – D’Olde Roop

When metal becomes too folky, it becomes Paganfest material and that is something to avoid. I never felt a band like Heidevolk should fit in at Paganfest, though their sound was accesible. There’s something authentic and sincere about bands like that, which distinguishes them from the Alestorms and Ensiferums of this world (even Finntroll lost the plot with their weird steampunk gimmick). Mondvolland does everything right, occultish, melodic folk elements combined with atmospheric and dark black metal. It’s truly an experience.

So yes, this is not their latest album, but its the one I got to listen to so deal with it. Mondvolland hails from the Arnhem region and apparently started out as a folk band. Their sound is a bit out there, blending black, avantgarde and some post elements in what seems to be a potent cocktail. Ofcourse, you can hear something silly if you want to with the clean vocals that sing of a legendary past. It would be a shame, because you mock the brilliance of music that feels both new as well as authentic and rooted in the culture its born in.

Source: Metal Archives

Master’s Hammer – Vagus Vetus

Czech black metallers Master’s Hammer have been around forever, they were already mocking up demo’s back when Euronymous was alive and that means a lot in BM-history. Their album ‘Jilemnický Okultista’ was a fundamental album for the development of the genre, as well as their record ‘Ritual’ being dubbed the first Norwegian Black Metal album by Fenriz (though made in Czechoslovakia).

This is what Master’s Hammer has to say about the record: “An imaginary old wanderer (vagus vetus) journeys through an unfamiliar labyrinth and there’s nothing good waiting for him. Disgusted with progress and modernity of all kinds, he enjoys listening to aeolian harps and sounds of postmortal flatulence. He finds his consolation in hedonic experiences of natural origin. ” I just leave out the bit where they say extreme metal is hopeless, because if that was their opinion really, they should go play aeolian harps instead.

I have a love for brooding black metal full of atmosphere and folk references.  I also have a love for bands from Eastern Europe, like Skyforger, Arkona or Metsatöll for putting something unique in their music. Something undefinable that is rooted in the land the music is made in, it’s that one factor that makes the music this little bit different and more amazing. This goes for Master’s Hammer, who have formed their sound in an age of hiding and secrecy and now never sounded quite like anyone else. Great record.

Source: Metal archives

Forgotten Tomb – …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil

I literally just decided to look for a random BM band and stumbled upon Forgotten Tomb. Their sound is utterly depressing,  bleak and devoid of hope.  What is interesting is that this band seems to have taken an approach to their music, which heavily relies on rock music and not just the black metal roots. There’s something accesible to the sound of these Italians, that can be rarely found in BM these days. The first song ‘Deprived’ already displays that under layers of icy guitar waves.

Apart from that the music is depressing, dealing with things the light does not bear to be witness to. Not everyone may enjoy the clean feeling of this band and comparisons with The Shining are way to easy to make. I think it is beautifull in it’s ‘everything dies’ way and would definitely recommend this record.

Source: Mxdwn.com

The Hell – Groovehammer

I have not been as excited about a hardcore record for a long time. I guess since Ignite released ‘Darkest Days’. Oh, wait there was H2O with ‘Nothing To Prove’. The point is that it has taken quite some time for an awesome record to come out. The twelve headed English group is in their own way absurdist, violent and out there. They might go over the top on virtually every song this record offers, but that ballzy brawn gives them a lot of charm.

“You have to bring a swarm of killer bees, a sea of white sharks!” roars one of their vocalists on opening track ‘Take Me Out’. The lyrics are just awesome, add to that the full groove of heavy, hard hitting hardcore music. The band likes to keep up an air of mystery on their identity, which is a bit over the top again. It’s  cool though, I i’m fairly sure the purists won’t like this band, because they might not be that real to you. That’s bullshit ofcourse, unless you say the same about Madball, Hoods, One Life Crew or Pitboss 2000. Dig in and enjoy The Hell!

By Guido Segers

Sounds of the Underground #2

I listen to music, so you don’t have to. You can decide if you want to check out what I’ve been checking out by reading what I thought about them. I’m usually pretty honest. I do tend to listen to what I like though.

Source: Deathmetal.org

Incantation – Dirges of Elysium

58558_1479431999462_148176_nI’m not a fan of death metal usually, though I appreciate a well structured bit now and then. Incantation has been a presence in my musical environment for years. The name kept popping up and I never bothered to listen to them. Best reference for me is the shirt my friend Andis seems to always wear when I meet him with the band logo sprawled on it. So that’s from the 2010 Skyforger gig in Little Devil, Tilburg. But to music now. For me, Bolt Thrower is the standard by which I measure death metal. It’s crooked and lame, but everyone needs their gateway band. Henceforth the clean and intense sound of Incantation resonates with me. The brutal vocals are like an instrument in the mixture to my ears and the lyrics are profane and very clearly anti-religious. The sound is dense and atmospheric, which is something I enjoy. I’m most impressed by the track ‘Elysium (eternity is nigh)’, which is the final song on the album. It takes the listener through the underworld and the rivers that flow through it (Greek mythology) in an epic 16 minute adventure.  Pretty impressive indeed.

Source: Metalsucks.net

Devin Townsend – Casualties of Cool

Normally, when an artist makes a record so far of their normal path, it’s like a novelty. Nothing to worry too much about or spend too much attention on. It’s different when that person is Devin Townsend, who did a lovely americana album with a lady on vocals. The music is very rootsy and natural, no bells or effects but songs.

Now and then it has a dark side, a southern soul feeling with a bit of voodoo vibe going on. The gentle voice of (I assume) Townsend gives  mystic aura to the sound here. In general there are a lot of enchanting moments on this bewildering, but oh so beautifull release.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent

As rare as that sunny day in Glasgee (Irvine Welsch style) is the intriguing sound of this release. Think Explosions In The Sky drinking tea with The Postal Service, while MGMT dropped the right drugs in the tea pot? Yeah, something like that. Oh, it has to be sunny.
Well, they call it Dream Pop and the group hails from the other side of the ocean, Philadelphia and Brooklyn to be precise. The music feels upbeat an cheery, light as the sun breaking through the clouds at such a location as the grey Scottish capital. I think the sun actually started shining a bit brighter here. Weeee! I don’t really have much to say about this record.

Layered waves of sound, synths and sometimes fuzzy effects make it a full sound barrage of sunrays in minor. Well worth for those sudden rainy summer days.

Source: Lyrics.wikia.com

Wild Throne – Blood Maker

I’m not yet sure what it is I’m hearing here. I know it’s awesome. This band was recommended to me by a friend and they combine the vibe of cheesy pop music, mathy riffs, Mastodon like intensity and stadium like grandeur like… let’s say Iron Maiden and The Mars Volta’s bastard child. The artwork has that wonderful neo-romantic appearance of pagan flirtations. It’s epic.

I suppose I made it clear I like this record. It’s only four tracks, but blows the listener away with its unique sound. There’s a harmony between the elements you would not immediately expect. with the combination of things described. The combination of intense music with the clean, poppy sound reminds me a bit of The Protomen. If you don’t know those, check them out, specially if you like Megaman/Rockman video games.

I think we can expect big things from these guys, I really do. If Mastodon and Red Fang (perennial support band in my opinion) can fill up venues, why not these guys.

Sounds of the Underground #1

I listen to music, so you don’t have to. You can decide if you want to check out what I’ve been checking out by reading what I thought about them. I’m usually pretty honest. I do tend to listen to what I like myself though.

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – S/T

Gritty post-black metal/sludge from the city of Nantes in France by what I’ve perceived to be quite a young band still. The omnious sound takes up the topic of ‘The Fall’. Not in the way that you fall and hurt your knee, no it’s much bigger. The fall of humanity, the biblical image of the fall, atleast that’s what I get from the whole imagery of their sound and artwork which refers to the tower of Babel and such. They make it sounds great. Long, dreary guitar wails, heavy hitting drums that sound like giants dragging their feet, vocals that bark the inevitable despair of loss. A great record for a sunny sunday in it’s twisted way.

Godflesh – Decline And Fall

I’ve developed a love for the raw sound of urban decay of Godflesh. Their iconic imagery and typical sound of Justin K. Broadrick’s crew has maintained it’s relevance throughout their almost 20 year existence. A new EP in that case is always good news. There’s the industrial beats and the rasping riffs. The vocals express either the weary feeling of being in a daily rut, or the frustration that comes with urban life. The constant tension, boredom and restlesness. Four songs that express this current state of affairs. Blending industrial with metal has always been a tricky thing, but no one knows or defines how it works as much as these guys. I’m not sure yet what is the best time to listen to this record though. It’s not comfortable listening music, that’s for sure.

Default decline ruled by dead fires
Don’t wait, think last, act now, destroy

Enslaved – RIITIIR

The album ‘RIITIIR’ is by now two years old but still filled with brimming and biting energy of a whole new level than the first records of the band from Norway. Part of the black metal wave, the band quickly turned it around and became a genre on their own, pushing the boundaries and possibilities. I got to see them live on their ‘Vertebrae’ tour in 2008 or 2009 and their majestic sound was nothing like I anticipated. The rasping vocals of Grutle Kjellson are the last bit that betrays the roots of what can now be called a black/death blend with avant-garde pretense and prog fuelled riffing. The sound is clean and well produced, the artwork is beautiful. Truly captivating sounding music is produced by these guys by now and I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out, even when you are scared of extreme metal. Not without reason where they named as a band pushing the genre forwards by Sam Dunn in that final episode of Metal Evolution.

Lantlôs – Melting Sun

Though formerly known as a black metal outfit, the Germans from Lantlôs have exchanged that grim sound for a more shoegaze/postrock feeling on their new EP, which lasts about as long as a regular album. Soft, colourfull soundscapes are produced by the three bandmembers, It’s music for dreamers, slowly floating through the air in unity. The name of the band means ‘without homeland’ and it truly feels like the music takes you away from such earthly things as nationality. Peacefull sunrays fall on your face as you float away, this could be the soundtrack of ‘de Droomvlucht’ in nearby theme park ‘The Efteling’.

I’m well impressed with the sound of these Germans, who give beauty to a style so often described as gloomy and dark, this is music of light.