Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This new column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions has released some very strong albums over the years, so I always like to keep up with what they’re putting out. Imagine my horror when I discovered that I was a good couple of months behind with their releases. To rectify, I’ve collected the three below for your delectation…
The first release, which appeared back in August, is a split between two solo acts. Limbes seems to be the new incarnation of Blurr Thrower, and starts the split off with a single 25-minute track.
Howling with raw violence and underground atmosphere, Vérité is simultaneously inaccessible and immersive. The track is a fuzzy ball of darkness and ugly aggression, yet also within and alongside this come moments of understated atmospheric grandeur. The music sometimes has a blackgaze quality to it that’s quite enticing, especially when it becomes more atmospheric. Vérité follows on nicely from Blurr Thrower’s past output, and is strong addition to the artist’s work.
After that we’re on to Mütterlein single 19-minute track, charmingly titled Liars Wankers. I’m not familiar with the artist behind this band’s previous work, but this track reveals itself to be a great introduction to what she is capable of.
Liars Wankers offers a distinctly different experience to that of Limbes’ side of the split. This is a heavily atmospheric piece that mixes together elements of dark ambient, avant-garde singer/songwriter-style writing, and a doom-fuelled feeling of creeping catastrophe. The end result is an eerie and captivating musical journey that has some truly exceptional moments within its running time. It’s slow and unhurried, and focused on mood and feeling over any other consideration. It recalls a mix of artists like Chelsea Wolfe and Lingua Ignota if they produced a track of harrowing doom. It’s hard to express how much I love this song. Mütterlein has seriously impressed.
Don’t miss out on this split.
Aorlhac‘s bright melodic black metal is engaging and enjoyable. There’s an epic streak to the band’s music, but also a sharp and fast aggression. When combined, as they frequently are, these two aspects of the band’s sound are extremely effective in making for a very exciting and energising collection of tracks. When a band combines speed, melody, and blackened atmosphere as well as Aorlhac do here, it’s hard to dislike what they do. Although I’ve mentioned speed a couple of times now, there’s more than just this here. The band texture their music with other paces here and there. It’s at these times that the bass guitar, (which already has more presence than it usually does for this sort of music), makes itself especially known. Overall, the songs are well-written and very moreish.
I loved this year’s album from Jours Pâles, and as that band and Aorlhac share a singer, it’s great to hear his voice once more. His vocals are frequently just the right side of unhinged, while at other times they become unexpectedly emotive. I like his style a lot.
Pierres Brûlées is a very satisfying listen, and I highly recommend getting lost in it if you’re a fan of melodic darkness.
Despite being around since the late 90s, I’ve never encountered Hegemon before. Sidereus Nuncius is their fifth album, and I like what I hear very much.
Hegemon’s music is aggressive and grim. It’s played in the classic blackened style, with plenty of serrated riffs and melodic venom. I like that even though the core heart of darkness of Sidereus Nuncius is an old-school one, the band have still been creative with the construction of these songs. Some of the piercing melodies and threatening riffs are quite striking. The songwriting takes advantage of the band’s creativity, frequently producing an unexpected sound here, or a non-standard riff there. It’s all very accomplished and compelling.
Hegemon may have been around for a long time, but they’re not lacking in ideas or passion. Basically, Hegemon are very good at what they do and Sidereus Nuncius is a very strong album. This is a record to keep returning to.