Louise Lemón – Purge (Review)

Louise LemonLouise Lemón is a Swedish death gospel artist and this is her debut album.

Mixing folk, soul, Gothic, electronic, pop, and ambient into slow, meaningful songs, Purge contains 31 minutes of exquisite material. Pretty much every second of it is tinged with darkness and melancholy, which has all contributed towards the creation of a superlative collection of tracks. Continue reading

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Mekigah – Litost (Review)

MekigahThis is the third album from Australia’s Mekigah. They play Industrial/Classical Doom.

This is a tortuous combination of Doom, Noise, Industrial, Ambient and Classical that somehow ends up pulling you into its embrace before you even really know what’s going on. I’m not a huge fan of Noise and a lot of Ambient leaves me cold, usually because there’s nothing to draw you in. Litost is different.

Here we have elements of Noise and Ambient but they’re joined by the usually far more spirited Classical style. Orchestral sounds and emotive synths provide these minimalistic elements with a vibrancy, albeit a dark, malevolent one.

On top of this we have the Industrial aspect to their sound, and, of course, the Doom. This is not a guitar-oriented project though. It’s there, but used just as one instrument of many. Guest musicians aplenty feature on this release, providing everything from vocals, to mellotron, to taishgoto.

Vocals are few and far between. When they appear they’re quite varied and performed by multiple singers across the album. They’re usually quite low-key and are frequently employed as just another method of delivery; another instrument in this disturbing symphony.

This album is surprisingly emotive and engaging. The layers of synths and orchestral sounds work perfectly with the harsher Industrial base to fashion songs that work their way into your subconscious like hooks into flesh.

There’s a Gothic element to this music, but it’s one that has been killed and buried so that its influence is felt through the remainder of the thing that’s growing in its place. Almost as if the remains of a Gothic ancestry were feeding the music we hear here, so that the influence seeps into the cellos and Industrial sounds almost without anyone noticing at first.

If you’re into music that fuses the Industrial and the emotive with a dark atmosphere then this is definitely one to track down. Whether you’re a fan of Ævangelist, Axis of Perdition, Cloak of Altering, Ulver or Indian, Litost has something to offer you.

A very impressive release; I wasn’t expecting something to merge darkness and light so completely. Litost is a thing of grim beauty.

Atriarch – An Unending Pathway (Review)

AtriarchAtriarch are from the US and this is their third album. They play Blackened Doom Metal.

Atriarch play a curious mix of Doom and Blackened Gothic Rock. Neurosis-style Doom and dark-Stoner sensibilities combine with almost-Darkwave Pop moments and Blackened influences. The juxtaposition of the two is handled well and is an uncommon approach. The band have certainly developed their own style in this regard and are to be applauded.

Each of the tracks take elements of these influences and blend them together to greater or lesser extents so that the resulting album has a unique character and flavour to it.

Genre-shifting in mid-song is a hard thing to do well and not many bands attempt it for this reason. Atriarch have not completely mastered it but they’re definitely more proficient at it than most. There is a lot of variety, interest and depth to these songs because of how good they are at merging their differing influences and distilling them into something that works well for the listener to enjoy.

An Unending Pathway is the kind of album that is unexpected and abnormal. Some people won’t take to their individuality, of course, but I believe that as long as the music’s good anything a bit different should be embraced and supported.

Atriarch are a bit different, their music is very good indeed and therefore you should embrace and support them. Off you go.

The World State – Flier (Review)

The World StateDanish band The World State have released their first EP Flier.

Orchestral sounds and touches of Rock and Metal collide in this ambitious release.

The ex-Sirenia singer shows that she still has an amazing voice and her vocals here are exquisite.

The tracks have lots of ideas and effects to hold attention. Ambience and subtlety are used effectively as well as heavier and more intense sections.

Well written songs with a great sense of dynamics and pace pound or slink their way out of the speakers and it’s clear that this is a very talented band.

Each song captures a different mood but all of them are involved and have a playful experimental edge that sounds fresh and exciting. There are three main songs and one piano instrumental.

After listening to this over and over I can’t get enough of it. It’s simply wonderful, that’s all there is to say about it.

At under 20 minutes across 4 tracks this EP is brief but effective. A full album of this would be most welcome!

Interview with Lethe

Lethe LogoLethe have been responsible for one of the best multi-textural dark-Rock albums of some time in their début album When Dreams Become Nightmares. I asked them some questions to see how it all came about…

Hi! For those who are unfamiliar with your band, introduce yourself!

Tor-Helge Skei (THS): Hi everybody! We are Lethe.. 🙂 We’re a Norwegian/Swiss band, or project, consisting of Anna Murphy (Eluveitie, solo, Fräkmundt, nucleus torn, and heaps of other bands/projects) and Tor-Helge Skei (Manes, Manii, Kkoagulaa, etc.).

As Lethe is comprised of members of other bands, how did this project come about?

THS: Mostly by chance, actually. I posted something on my blog a while ago, about me thinking abut doing an album of cover songs, and wondering where I could start looking for vocalists and contributors to that. Shortly after, I got an email from Anna, and we almost immediately started working on a few songs (among others, ‘Hutterite Mile’ by 16 Horsepower). It didn’t take long before we just knew we had to do more music together…and the idea about Lethe was born..

Anna Murphy (A): A journalist (singer of Three Days of Silence) contacted me because Tor-Helge was looking for musical collaborators. So we got in touch, started on some music, finished some cover songs and decided to do a real project.

Lethe 1Is it important to keep Lethe a fully separate entity from Manes/Eluveitie?

THS: The chemistry in the various bands and between the members are quite different, and that influences how we approach music and presentation and everything, so there’s not much real effort being done keeping them separate, really. It comes naturally.

A: Well with Eluveitie it’s pretty obvious that Lethe has nothing to do with it apart from some members maybe pitching in from time to time, but Lethe and Manes share a lot of the same collaborators so there’s more connection there. I can imagine doing shows together and combined things like that, but of course they’re still to be looked at as separate projects.

What were the influences you drew on for the sound of Lethe?

THS: Oh, the usual, I guess. Life, death, mental processes, nightmares. Everything that happen/s/ed in our lives.

A: Lyrically as well as musically we have no limits, that’s probably what influences us most, because then we can draw inspiration from everywhere 🙂

The songs are multi-textured and very well composed. How did the writing process work for this album?

Lethe aloneTHS: I can only speak for myself, but it’s quite similar to how the ‘writing’ is done in the other bands/projects I’m involved with…chaotic, unplanned, whimsical…the music kind of grows on its own, and we just follow along 🙂

A: All hail the internet. Most of it was done by exchanging files back and forth. Most of the initial sketches came from Tor-Helge and I built my parts on top of them. To finalize everything and also record some things together I went on a trip to Trondheim.

Do you feel you accomplished what you set out to with this release?

THS: Yeah, since we had no concrete plans for the final result. It was more like pushing it in a direction we would like to see it go.

A: Yes!

What would you do differently next time, if anything?

THS: Hmm.. Anna talks about some smaller mixing and audio issues she would like to do better on the next album, but I don’t hear much of that 🙂 She works in a studio, and is a lot more focused on sound quality and frequencies and stuff like that, while I’m obsessed with the general feeling and mood only. I guess we’ll do it quite similar to how we made this album, but with other songs and ideas, of course. Actually, we’re working on a set of songs for the next album already, even if the first one isn’t officially released yet 😀

A: Nothing except maybe the mixing. I’m not quite 100% happy with it and I’m learning more and more each day so I think the next one will sound better 🙂

How do you feel this album fits into the wider music scene?

THS: A little on ‘the outside’ of everything, I guess. Never been interested in being in the middle of any genres or milieus. For me, the exploration of new and unknown musical paths is massively satisfying and motivating, but I have no idea if the ‘general music listener’ thinks like that. Can’t start focusing on the potential reaction while making music! The only thing that would do, is putting breaks on the creative process. No way.

A: I have no idea if it fits anywhere, but I don’t really care either.

Lethe 2What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?

THS: It’s been a lot of Lethe and Manes lately, of course, because of the new albums from both. Apart from that…varied stuff, mainly…Dälek, Shpongle, Blut Aus Nord, Jega, Ggfh, Billie Holiday, Buddy Rich,

A: Frostmoon Eclipse, they’re cool

What does the future hold for Lethe?

THS: New music, new albums, new personal horror stories.

A: No idea, let’s see! 🙂

Thanks!