Cardinal – Áwiergedon (Review)

CardinalCardinal are an experimental blackened doom/drone band.

This is a dark mix of experimental doom/drone, noise, neo-folk and atmospheric music, all roughly contained in a vaguely blackened framework.

The songs mainly focus on Continue reading

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Natanas – Eram Numquam Amicum Vestrum (Review)

NatanasA one-man Black Metal act from the US; this is the latest release from Natanas, although at the prolific rate he releases material, it might not be by the time I’ve written this…

I’ve enjoyed watching Natanas progress in the relatively short time since its inception, (here, here, here and here), and it’s always a pleasure to listen to the latest horrorful dirge that the man unleashes on the world.

Eram Numquam Amicum Vestrum is a little different than previous releases. It still shares a lot of the same hallmarks, but this time it’s a bit angrier and more Black Metal. That might sound like an odd thing to say, considering all of his releases have been Black Metal, but I suppose I mean it’s a bit more traditionally Black Metal – although a lot of Black Metal fans would probably still blanch at this as his work remains on the raw, underground, under-produced side of things.

The music is Doom-laden, filth-ridden Black Metal that carries an artistry to it despite the primitive veneer that it wields like a sharp stick. The rhythm guitars somehow find a way to be mournful and rabid at the same time, while the leads add a lot of rich content to the songs and provide a pointed outlet for all of these emotions. The screamed vocals are some of his best to date; understated and low in the mix, but still totally despondently savage.

The tracks are less songs and more essays on how to channel anger and sorrow in musical form in an atavistic and cathartic way.

I think this is probably my favourite Natanas release, actually. Although I really enjoy the more experimentally dark nature of his other work, this album has more coherence and focus about it, resulting in an album that has a lot going for it. Traces of his previous work remain, of course, and these add extra flavour to the album, ensuring that it doesn’t become stale or one-dimensional.

If you’re the kind of person who gets off on raw, underground Black Metal then this is a must.

Telerumination – Telerumination I (Review)

TeleruminationTelerumination are from the US and this is their début release. They play Atmospheric Black Metal.

Purely Ambient/Drone/whatever music doesn’t really do it for me most of the time. Sure there are exceptions; I enjoy bands like Haate and Pogrom, as well as Wolves in the Throne Room’s experimentations. From a non-Black Metal perspective, you also have releases such as those from IIVII and Aires, which I have also taken to quite nicely. For the most part though, it’s not for me.

So, what’s this got to do with Telerumination? Well, over the years it’s occurred to me that one of the main things, (although not the only thing), that is missing from the style is drums. I’m a percussion man. I love drums, beats and everything associated with them. This rather long-winded introduction is essentially a way of saying that Telerumination is, at heart, a Dark Ambient release, only with percussion.

Hmm. Maybe I should have just said that at the start, brevity being the soul of wit, and all that…

Anyway, low-key drums, creepy, understated screams and the odd bit of guitar is added to a strong synth-based core to create music that takes the best of Dark Ambient and, in my mind at least, improves upon it.

One of the brains behind Telerumination is the guy who does Natanas, so in a way you can view this as a less evil, more atmospheric version of his work with his main project. Telerumination does have a restrained malevolence to it, but nothing like the overt nightmare sounds that Natanas fosters so well. If Natanas is a portal into the underworld, a vision of Hell and all damnation, then Telerumination is a mirror that shows what’s behind the suffering; the subtle torments that lie underneath.

This is an oddly relaxing release. I mean, it probably isn’t if you’re just Joe Public and you had to listen to it. God knows what they’d make of it. I imagine it would probably give them nightmares. For us seasoned music fans though, it’s as if a swathe of sentient darkness has been filtered through a lens so that only the finest and most subtle of horrors were allowed through, creating textured explorations of distilled Black Metal that can comfort and amiably disturb those who have the will to succumb to its soothing terror.

This is an impressive collection of music that succeeds in its task of spawning a Blackened Ambience that improves upon the purestrain parent style to become something greater.

Turn off the lights and enter the world of Telerumination.

Natanas – Xylophar (Review)

XylopharThis is the fifth album from Natanas, a one-man Black Metal band from the US.

As I’ve quipped before – another month, another Natanas album…

This time though, as prolific as he is, he’s really outdone himself. Xylophar contains 19 tracks, a whopping 88 minutes of music.

If you’re allergic to challenging, dark music then it’s probably going to be akin to torture for you. However, if, like me, you can’t help but masochistically enjoy this kind of thing, then Xylophar takes on the form of some kind of warped film score with each track representing a different scene and a variation on a malignant feeling.

This is almost ambient work in the sense that it draws you in and relaxes you…well, as relaxing as bone-chilling screaming over an empty abyss can be, of course.

As I sit here writing this on a Sunday morning, it’s absolutely hammering it down with rain outside and the ancient trees I can see outside my window look amazing. I note this as I’m struck by the thought that some Black Metal can act as the perfect accompaniment to nature, seeming to touch on something primal. Natanas, however, is more like the perfect antidote to nature. This is music that seems to want to blacken and despoil nature’s purity and scorch the earth with fire in its wake.

At least that’s my impression.

I find that my review of this latest Natanas release is noticeably less descriptive than previous ones, as once you get to a certain point, (as with any style of music), it becomes variations on a theme. There are differences between releases and songs of course, but it’s more a case of a slow moving progression rather than an evolutionary leap.

Having said that though, comparing Xylophar to the last release смертность, things have moved on, as they always do, and if you compare it to All Is Permitted then Natanas has come a long way indeed.

Building on his earlier work, this is somewhat of a twisted masterpiece. As such, I’d argue that Xylophar is Natanas’ best work, and probably his most bleakly consistent.

There seems to be a theme of a lone, mournful, off-kilter lead guitar running throughout the album too, almost like it’s documenting the activity of the protagonist in the fictional film that this scores in my mind.

As always. Natanas has produced some compelling work, and as always it’s not for everyone. Again though, as always, I highly recommend it.

I’m looking at those trees again. Hmmm…if I could only remember where I put my flamethrower…

Natanas – смертность (Review)

NatanasThis is the fourth album from Natanas, a one-man Black Metal band from the US.

Another month, another Natanas album…

Okay so I exaggerate, but the man is Hellishly productive. And it’s good stuff too. He may have manufactured some form of Black Metal assembly line but his Quality Control department are clearly paying attention to the goods that are produced.

Having said that of course, this is clearly not for everyone, which is something I’ve mentioned before about the last two Natanas releases All Is Permitted and Treachery; the casual listener, the casual Black Metal listener, even, will probably find this a tad challenging.

If you like your Black Metal dark, challenging, atypical and in the vein of bands like Xasthur, Portal, Mitochondrion, Enbilulugugal, Ævangelist, etc. then Natanas is worth checking out.

Also, I’m sure his screeching vocals have gotten higher, raspier and wetter this time. It sounds like he’s rupturing himself every time he opens his mouth. This is not a complaint of course, rather the opposite. He takes time out from trying to turn himself inside out though, as other vocals are included from spoken word to deeper screams that almost remind of Neurosis/Crowbar in style.

смертность has a good amount of variety within its self-imposed framework, with the album retaining the tribal, hypnotic, pseudo-Industrial feel that Treachery did so well. As such this is a very holistic album; listening to a song in isolation is all well and good, but for the full effect it’s best to put on the entire album and just get lost in the murk.

Every time I listen to Natanas by the time I get to the second or third song I’m totally absorbed in the dark, unfriendly, bleak, rotten, urban sprawl that seems to be described. The low-key, lo-fi, production actually adds to the feeling of the album rather than detracting from it.

Natanas has always been a band that goes against the odds for me. If I had just flicked through one of these albums I’d probably think, “No, I don’t think so”, but against all expectations and prejudices смертность, and the previous albums…well, they just work. The various disparate elements and the raw, uncompromisingly lo-fi sound gel into something that just does it; it hits that hidden spot that you didn’t even know you had.

As such, I’m a big supporter of Natanas and heartily recommend that you give смертность a try. It may not do it for you, but who knows, maybe it really, really will…

Natanas – Treachery (Review)

NatanasNatanas is a one-man Black Metal project from the US. This is his third album.

This is a very prolific project and this is the third album from Natanas this year. I reviewed the second album All Is Permitted not that long ago, and already I find there is this new release.

All Is Permitted was in the style of bands such as Xasthur, Portal, Mitochondrion, Enbilulugugal, Ævangelist and the like, and Treachery continues the theme.

Treachery feels like a good progression, (in a short period of time), from the previous album in that it, as a whole, feels more coherent and better constructed. The tracks are still raw, lo-fi expressions of hatred and malevolence, but this time they seem to gel and work better than previously.

The vocals have improved also, and this time they seem to have more bite to them, as well as being generally higher pitched and sharper.

Although the tracks here still have a pulsating organic looseness to them there’s also much more of a pseudo-Industrial and an almost hypnotic, tribal influence to them as well. Discordant, murky drum ‘n’ bass for the Black Metal generation? Maybe, but this album definitely has a more percussive edge to it regardless.

I said last time that this kind of Black Metal is not for everyone, and that still stands. It is, however, an enjoyable sidestep from the bog-standard and has a lot to offer those with the time, patience and stomach for it.

Give it a listen.

Natanas – All Is Permitted (Review)

NatanasNatanas is a one man Black Metal project from the US. This is Natanas’ second album.

This is atonal, obscure, underground Black Metal that’s more focused on creating particular moods and feelings rather than songs in the traditional sense.

The vocals are deep gargles and spewings; barely-human sounds and daemonic mutterings are the stock in trade of this warped intellect.

The drums are off-kilter and sometimes seem quite out of place with the more organic guitars and bestial vocalisations. I get the impression that this is done intentionally however, thus fostering the strange atmosphere that All Is Permitted shows off.

This is not a release for everyone, not even necessarily the hardened Black Metal fan. This is for people who enjoy bands that put uncomfortable feelings and sounds before everything else, even production values and traditional Black Metal.

Think bands like Xasthur, Portal, Mitochondrion, Enbilulugugal, Ævangelist and the like, and although I don’t think the guy behind Natanas is currently playing at their level just yet, given enough time and development he could be.

If this is the kind of Black Metal that does it for you then check out Natanas and see what you think.