Balance Interruption – Door 218 (Review)

Balance InterruptionThis is the third album from Ukrainian experimental black metal band Balance Interruption.

All I knew about this band before I listened to them was that they were a black metal band of some description. As such, I was not prepared at all for what I found inside Door 218.

Here we have an album that might not sound as you expect it to upon hearing the black metal tag. Yes, a lot of the familiar elements are present and correct, but there’s a lot of unusual aspects to the music too. Continue reading

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Aborym – Shifting.negative (Review)

AborymThis is the seventh Aborym album. They play industrial metal and hail from Italy.

I love Aborym’s earlier work, but after Generator I lost track of the band unfortunately, so Shifting.negative is my first experience with them in about ten years or so. What a shocking omission on my part! This review will inevitably come from this viewpoint, as I have missed out on their last two albums, which would probably, (I imagine), have given me a more smoother transition to the current incarnation of Aborym. Continue reading

Wolfpack 44 – The Scourge (Review)

Wolfpack 44Wolfpack 44 are an industrial black metal band from the US. This is their début album.

This is a side project between members of Kult of Azazel and The Electric Hellfire Club, featuring guests from such bands as The Electric Hellfire Club, (again), Demonic Christ, Dark Funeral and Coven.

The Scourge is an album with a lot going on, and the band manage to Continue reading

Aethyr – Corpus (Review)

AethyrThis is the second album from Russian Doom band Aethyr.

This is dark and evil music with a Blackened aura to it that accompanies the Doom core like a shroud of malignancy.

The band utilise emotive riffs that play on the negative feelings of the listener and tease them out, bare and vulnerable for all to see. They then take these exposed emotions and weave them into guitar parts that embody them.

In this respect there’s a Post-Metal quality to the guitars as they’re often transcendent and expressive whilst being dragged down into the gloom of Doom.

Mournful hatred and despondent anger seem to simmer just below the surface. If the music is the main receptacle for the miserable aspect of their sound then the vocals are the vehicle for the anger and rage.

The singer alternates between Blackened screams and dark growls. Both are performed well and neither sound entirely human.

Faster sections are included too and the band have a grasp of elegant dynamics. Corpus is a well-paced album with lots of well-written tracks that easily hold attention.

Overall this is an involving and complete listen. Aethyr remind me of a cross between Red Harvest, Zatokrev and some form of primordial Doom Metal.

Aethyr have clear direction in their sound and use the 50 minutes of music here to showcase their abilities with great effect.

Corpus is an impressive album by a talented band. Give them a listen.

Orbseven – .ismos. (Review)

OrbsevenOrbseven is a solo project from the US and this is the third album of Experimental Black Metal that the project has unleashed.

This is a combination of electric Black Metal, sleek Post-Black Metal and ambient/avant-garde darkness. It’s an interesting combination and the resulting album is an exploration of state-of-the-art Blackness and atmospheric expression.

Darkened sounds and interesting effects enhance the tracks in a way that’s subtle enough to not steal any thunder from the main driving force of the guitars but has enough impact to be noticeable.

The songs are propelled by Blackened melodies and experimental sound structures, but there’s also enough Post-Black Metal wanderings to allow the room for shades of both light and dark. They’re well written, have great dynamics and are potent affairs.

.ismos. fosters an atmosphere that’s vaguely mechanistic but overtly malevolent and mysterious. Everything about this album from the music itself to the album cover deals in these mysteries and although there are no answers forthcoming the search for them is what’s important.

The vocals are a curious and varied affair. Multiple styles collide as spoken/distorted words, barely audible pseudo-ethereal sounds and subtle cleans all appear at various times during the tracks.

If you think along the lines of Dødheimsgard, Aborym, Red Harvest and Arcturus then you’ll have a good idea of the basic building blocks of the Orbseven sound. There’s even a couple of riffs here and there that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mastodon album.

Orbseven is a creative and novel approach to what Black Metal should sound like in 2014. Taking the basic Black Metal template and building/distorting it is common enough, but the always interesting thing is where the band ends up once they have done this. In the case of Orbseven we end up with Experimental/Post-Black Metal that rolls smoothly out of the speakers.

A great effort – show your support.

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.

Epistasis – Light Through Dead Glass (Review)

EpistasisEpistasis are a US band that play experimental Metal.

It’s relatively hard to classify; combining elements of Black Metal, Hardcore and Progressive Metal. With a trumpet.

Let me see…if you take the urban decay and atmospheric barrage of a band like Red Harvest, mix in the experimental extremity from some of Converge’s work and add splashes of Ephel Duath you’ll be on the right lines. Add to that a singer who screams with the best of the Black Metal/Scream-core elite and you’ll have a package for a very interesting and gratifying release.

There is a lot going on in these songs and although they have brutality and intensity in spades they also offer a whole lot more than that. When they want to they can be very atmospheric and create darkened moods ripe with promise of arcane fulfilment, if only the price is right of course.

The use of the trumpet is inspired and is nowhere near as intrusive and incongruous as you might expect; its contributions are relatively subtle and work wonders in adding a further layer to their labyrinthine sound.

Unfortunately this release is only 26 minutes long, which is a shame as the band clearly have a lot to offer. However what they do give us as exceptional and worthy of repeat listens.

Individual and distinctive. Highly recommended.