Abisso – WRNSS (Review)

AbissoAbisso are a black metal band from Italy and this is their début album.

Abisso specialise in underground atmospheric black metal that has an emphasis on the murk and grime of the underworld, rather than the starry, keyboard enhanced heavens that a lot of atmospheric black metal sets its sights on.

As such, this album contains atmospheric dissonance with Continue reading

Convulsif – CD3 (Review)

ConvulsifConvulsif are from Switzerland and this is their third album.

Well this is quite insane. Imagine Ephel Duath, Fantômas, Blut Aus Nord, Atomsmasher and Sunn 0))) all working together to bring on the apocalypse…it’s intense.

The recording is first rate, with everything sounding clear and precise, but not overly so. I especially like the bass presence, which provides a full contribution to the aural chaos.

This features eclectic Metal, freestyle Jazz and Progressive workouts as well as Drone/Doom sections, all plastered together in a melange of Blackened undertones. What to classify this as? Who knows, but it’s pretty damn good. I suppose you could loosely term it Experimental Black Metal, but Convulsif are a band that genre tags just don’t work for.

There are no guitars, which makes CD3 an even more interesting listening experience. Instead, we get drums, bass, clarinet, violins and electronica. Just what the (mad) doctor ordered.

And when you think you’ve heard it all, they do something else that makes you sit up and take notice. The unexpected, demented screaming that suddenly appears just when you’ve taken them for an instrumental band is a case in point.

This is highly creative and individual music that nonetheless manages to create coherent atmospheres across these 29 minutes. The eerie sounds and otherworldly noises emanating from this recording is a testament to the talent of the individuals involved in its birth.

CD3 just needs to be experienced. This is challenging, interesting music that demands your attention.

I love this. What’s not to love? You’ll love it too. LOVE IT!

Crowhurst – Crowhurst (Review)

CrowhurstCrowhurst are from the US. This is their latest album and it’s a bit different from their usual experimental, noise-drenched output; this is Black Metal.

The guitars are as thick as syrup and they’re both heavy and melodic. Crowhurst foster an interesting atmosphere of colourful darkness that is rich in both texture and emotional content. This is Black Metal that may have a cold heart but it has an exterior that’s warm to the touch.

The screaming vocals are high pitched and piercing. They’re set low enough in the mix to become one with the music but high enough so that they’re not lost or overwhelmed.

Part Blut Aus Nord, part Xasthur and part Deafheaven; this is richly evocative music that has elements of the Cascadian and Shoegaze movements in addition to the band’s own heart of darkness.

The final track, Luna Falsata, finally gives in to some of their usual style of harsh electronics and experimentalism, as well as also featuring the vocalist of Oxbow.

This is a highly impressive collection of songs that show a mastery of a genre that the band don’t normally dabble in.

Highly recommended.

Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry (Review)

Blut Aus NordBlut Aus Nord are from France and this is their 11th album.

Blut Aus Nord are one of the most inventive and unique bands out there, and you never know what brand of darkness they’re going to unleash. As such, this new album is somewhat of a surprise to me as gone are the Industrial influences and this time we’re back into the realm of Melodic Black Metal, Blut Aus Nord-style.

Atmospheric Black Metal, rousing cleans, muddy-yet-warm drums, windswept melodies; Blut Aus Nord show that they’re perfectly at home with this style of Black Metal as they are with their more experimental/Industrial works. As the third installment in the Memoria Vetusta series this album is a majestic triumph.

This is an epic album, wide in scope yet focused and well-fleshed out. The music and album cover combined evoke feelings of natural landscapes and pagan times. It also harkens back to the glory days of the first Emperor album. If In the Nightside Eclipse is the darkness in the dead of night then Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry is what follows.

But this is not cold, evil Black Metal, although there are certainly elements of frost strewn throughout the landscape; no, this is warmer and pulsating. This is the sound of the frost melting and vigour returning to the forest. Rather than the sound of winter this is the sound of spring just starting to thaw and come alive.

Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry is beautifully aggressive and poetically powerful. Blut Aus Nord have once again proven why their name is a synonymous with quality.

Essential Black Metal listening.

ART 238 – Atavism (Review)

ART 238ART 238 are from France and play Industrial Extreme Metal. This is their latest EP.

Here we have three tracks lasting almost 22 minutes in total that showcase the band’s harsh blend of Industrial sounds and Death/Black Metal know-how.

Usually when bands attempt to merge these two genres the result is some half-hearted Death Metal with keyboards on top. ART 238 don’t fall into this trap, as the Extreme Metal they play is actually extreme, and the Industrial influences seem coded into the band’s make-up at the genetic level and then hybridised with cybernetics to create this fascinating beast.

ART 238 manage to merge ultra-brutal blast beats with more atmospheric Industrial workouts in a way that recalls Aborym if they had gone the Death Metal route rather than the Black Metal one.

Another thing I really like about this EP is that the songs take the time to explore their surroundings, like they’re genuinely trying to find the best fit for their various component parts. In a feat of ingenuity the band manage to work with both sides of their sound expertly and incorporate them into an Industrial Extreme Metal whole.

It’s a musical framework that not many bands try, as most that do usually sound weak, incoherent or like some 80’s synth parody. ART 238 sidestep all of this by going straight for the jugular with their creative brand of urban Metal.

For fans of and mixing influences from – Aborym, Mithras, Red Harvest, Axis of Perdition, Blut Aus Nord, Ministry, DødheimsgardKekal, Invertia, etc.

Highly enjoyable and highly recommended. This is the sound of a mechanised apocalypse.

Blut Aus Nord/P.H.O.B.O.S. – Triunity Split (Review)

Blut Aus Nord P.H.O.B.O.S.Blut Aus Nord are France’s premier Black Metal/Avant Garde/Industrial/Dark Metal kings, and this is their split with fellow French band P.H.O.B.O.S. who play Industrial Doom.

Each band contributes three songs, with Blut Aus Nord up first. Their songs are as impressive as you would imagine and follow their standard Dark Metal template of Blackened riffs, proficient drumming, atmospheric auras and semi-industrial feelings; like watching urban decay sped up and slowed down at the same time.

Warped and haunting melodies layer these three tracks and engage the listener fully. The first track De Librio Arbitrio is so involving that it’s almost startling to hear vocals in the latter part of the song.

These three songs are bleakly emotive Black Metal and it’s once more apparent why Blut Aus Nord are in a league of their own with very few bands even coming close to a similar style of any real quality. And even though the band are better known for their atmospheres than their riffs, they still know how to kick them out when they need to; listen to that grinding mid-paced riffing in Hùbris. Quality.

And on to the second half of the split; all three tracks by P.H.O.B.O.S. are 7:00 in length, which immediately made me take notice.

This is Dark Industrial Doom that may be different from Blut Aus Nord’s Black Metal but shares the same stylistic headspace. The tracks slither and wind their way around to a backdrop of pounding drums that sound like heavy items being dropped from great height.

If Blut Aus Nord were remixed and regurgitated by Godflesh then the result might not be too far from this. The three tracks pulse nicely with automated, mechanistic darkness and I’m quite happy that I’ve now encountered P.H.O.B.O.S.

This is a premium split that showcases the exceptional talents of both bands and at 40 minutes in length it’s a darn sight longer than most splits.

Check it out.

Wormlust – The Feral Wisdom (Review)

WormlustThis is eerie, progressive Black Metal. Imagine a more aggressive Blut Aus Nord in some ways; Blut Aus Nord crossed with Mayhem perhaps. A good starting point. In fact I’d like to coin the phrase Ambient Aggressive to describe them. They have plenty of ethereal, ambient-esque feelings and melodies in them, whilst having an underlying aggressive core. First song Sex Augu, Tolf Stjornur is a classic example of this – blasting drums, frenetic bass, with insanity-inducing almost-ambient guitar work/noise on top.

The album cover initially can make you wonder what kind of music is contained within, but when you’re listening it makes sense – spooky, trippy, insane, out-of-the-ordinary. This is a brand of Black Metal that is much more unique and interesting than most. They also do mellow very well. There is not an abundance of it; but in between bouts of discordance and mayhem there are quieter moments, (A Altari Meistarans in particular), and the atmosphere here is suitably unhinged as you may expect, only without the chaos.

The melodies used throughout this album are all high-quality and are designed to slowly send the listener insane, or at the very least to wrench up the tension levels. It’s this combination of brilliance and craziness that, for me, marks this as an exceptional release. That and the fact that the band make it sound so effortless. An album such as this could easily sound like a patchwork of conflicting styles in lesser hands. In the hands of artisans however, we have a soundscape birthed from insanity and directed by demented geniuses who know how to control the chaos for their own ends.

Wormlust are like the wind; capable of going from a gentle breeze to howling terror in the space of a second. As such they are liable to scare the casual listener away. Those who persevere however will be richly rewarded.