LÜÜP – Canticles of the Holy Scythe (Review)

LÜÜPLÜÜP is a, (deep breath), Greek one man experimental avant-garde blackened classical band, (phew), and this is his third album.

Canticles of the Holy Scythe features 37 minutes of music that consists of a black metal undercoat, which has then been fully fleshed out and painted with colours from folk, progressive, avant-garde, ambient, and classical music. Continue reading

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White Ward – Futility Report (Review)

White WardThis is the debut album from White Ward, a Ukrainian post-black metal band.

This is post-black metal with avant-garde tendencies. However, this is a very simplistic description of what you’ll find on Futility Report; the music is anything but simple.

Mix Ihsahn, Ulver, Ephel Duath, Blut Aus Nord, Deafheaven, and Wolves in the Throne Room together, and you’ll still only have the barest glimpse of what White Ward play. Continue reading

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.

Corpo-Mente – Corpo-Mente (Review)

Corpo-MenteCorpo-Mente are from France and this is their début album.

Now this is something a bit different, a bit special.

This is exotic, sensual music that combines Dark Rock, Trip-Hop and Electro Avant-Garde.

This is powerful stuff that grips from the start with it’s highly individualistic sound.

The songs seem to slip and slide through the musical landscape and they seem to pulse with a deeply vibrant internal heat. The way the album moves through the running time is almost carnal in nature.

The vocals are operatic in nature and yet somehow still manage to remain intimate and personal. The singer has a strong voice and is extremely talented at what she does. She injects personality and charismatic inflection into the singing which results in the music avoiding the trap of rather faceless, impersonal operatic vocals that some bands who employ them can sometimes fall into.

The music is multi-textural and richly evocative of sumptuous soundscapes. It’s also filled with haunting melodies and quite beautiful compositions. There is a definite darkness here, sometimes quite menacing in tone.

With enough “hair-standing-on-end” moments to stop anyone in their tracks, this is a must. What a highly accomplished collection of songs!

If you like bands like Ulver, Lethe, Manes, etc. then this is a definite highlight to be seized.

A surprise and a pleasure; Corpo-Mente have made a firm fan here.

Manes – Be All End All (Review)

ManesManes are from Norway and this is their fourth album.

Following on from their last release Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets, which was an anthology, this is the first new Manes album in seven years.

Manes play a beguiling blend of artistic Rock, Darkwave Trip Hop, Avant Garde and 80’s-style Pop. It’s subtle, charming, disarming and insidious.

These songs have a laid back quality to them that’s almost detached from the actual music; as if something has been created by the music that hovers just out of view yet its effects can be felt by a lasting aura of deceptive comfort and false familiarity. This lends the songs a certain flavour of the otherworldly and the different.

There is a low-key catchiness to the tracks as well. Again, it’s a subtle affair, as even though the songs obviously contain hooks the first time you listen to them, it takes multiple listens for them to fully work their magic. Such is the nature of all great albums that have true longevity and depth.

There is so much to experience here. Manes create across a vast canvas using a rich palette of colours. There’s a lot that’s easily missed on first glance and only after taking it in for a good amount of time can you really appreciate what they have done here.

The singer’s captivating vocals are on strong form and the bleak-yet-uplifting-yet-not melodies that he uses complement the instruments perfectly adding layers of emotion to already emotive and layered songs.

This is music for dark nights and even darker activities. This is music that drips with soul and is ethereal in nature.

Fans of bands such as Arcturus, Ulver, Lethe, Dødheimsgard, Green Carnation, In The Woods…, etc. will lap this up, and with good reason.

It’s time to enter the world of Manes.

We Have A Ghost – We Have A Ghost (Review)

We Have A GhostWe Have A Ghost are from the US and this is their début.

The band play Electronica/Industrial-laced Rock. Think Nine Inch Nails/Mogwai/Ulver and you’re on the right lines.

Other points of reference include the little-known/remembered Electronic Rock band Vitro, who released an excellent album named Distort in 1999 of a similar style, as well as the fantastic experimental Paradise Lost album Host.

This is surprisingly complex music that weaves elaborate soundscapes around itself like a cloak of static and charged beats.

Atmosphere and tone are an important part of the We Have A Ghost sound, as well as fostering a futuristic sense of mystery.

A feeling of foreboding is hidden throughout this album. Sometimes it’s hidden underneath energetic sections and other times it’s right out there in the open.

This reminds me of the build-and-release style of Post-Rock/Metal if it had been given an Electronic/Industrial overhaul and the build/release sections were chopped up, warped and separately focused down into shorter songs.

Varied and expansive, this is a great listen, especially if you’re in the mood for something a bit different. The entire thing plays out like some form of soundtrack and the album is suitably cinematic in scope in this regard.

A slow builder that impresses on first listen but nonetheless really shows its charms after repeated spins; this album is a keeper.

Check this out – highly recommended.

Sunn 0))) & Ulver – Terrestrials (Review)

Sunn 0))) & UlverThis is a collaboration between Sunn 0))) and Ulver, both well-respected artists in their own right. This is a worthy collaboration resulting in brilliance.

The first track Let There Be Light starts off slow and minimalistic, with a lone saxophone forlornly reaching out from a fog. It builds up and up until the only real way to describe it is to use words such as epic and cinematic. So there we are – epic and cinematic music.

Second song Western Horn is an ominous journey through dark corridors where the lights have all been smashed by persons unknown, for reasons unknown. It’s an eerie place and even though you suspect that you can sense salvation just on the edge of your hearing the overarching feeling of black despair is weighing down on you. You end up crawling through the maze of abandoned doorways crying to yourself, hoping that someone will save you and fearing that they will not. This song sounds like that.

The third and final track Eternal Return is a lengthy foray into ghostly melodics and features the only vocals on the album. Feeling like a twisted, warped version of Laura Palmer’s Theme by Angelo Badalamenti from the Twin Peaks soundtrack; it evokes similar feelings and drips hypnotic beauty.

An album for lonely nights. An album for sleep’s dark embrace.