Moloch – Verwüstung (Review)

MolochMoloch is a Ukrainian one-man Black Metal band. This is his latest album.

This is Old-School Black Metal that’s bookended by two Dark Ambient pieces, both of which are strangely effective.

The main feast is primitive, raw Black Metal that’s of the lo-fi persuasion and reminds of bands like Burzum and Xasthur. Elements of the Depressive Black Metal style rear their despondent heads on occasion, lending a painful edge to Moloch’s cold Black Metal.

These songs seem barely held together, but not because they are sloppily played or anything like that. The playing is in fact quite tight, but the style of Black Metal on Verwüstung has an inherently chaotic, tortured feel to it; it’s almost as if this has been created and released under extreme duress and some significant amount of pain.

The vocals howl, shriek and seemingly claw their way through the tracks with the sharpness of a sword. An impressive performance is given and I can only imagine the man was emotionally ruined near the end of the recording process. At least, it sounds that way.

Good variety and songwriting means that Verwüstung is an involving and engaging listen, with enough changes in speed and feeling to keep things interesting without becoming inconsistent.

With a recording that’s underground enough to be raw yet coherent enough to work well with the material, Verwüstung is a very satisfying album and a very strong listen.

Be sure to check this out.

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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.

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.

Wrong – Pessimistic Outcomes (Review)

WrongWrong are a Black Metal band from Spain and this is their second album.

Created by two people; one from a Thrash Metal background and one from a Technical Death Metal background. From these unlikely roots an album has grown which is surprising in that it is both the epitome of what is meant to be but also pleasingly fresh and full of morbid life.

Wrong play creepy, fragile, melancholic Black Metal with a depressive/nihilistic edge akin to some of the work by Xasthur and Leviathan only not quite as minimalistic and with more of a Paradise Lost/Katatonia/etc. influence to some of the Doomier riffs; think Forgotten Tomb for some of the parts in fact.

The songs are long compositions and have many different facets to their delivery, from fast and sharp to slow and misery-laden. It’s an approach that serves them well.

The sound is suitably fuzzy and Blackened but it has a solid backbone of precise, focused drumming that grounds the band no matter what they’re playing.

Wrong take you on a Blackened nihilistic journey through the underworld, tastefully underscored by some subtle riffing and even subtler effects that hide underneath the torrent of darkness and the pounding drums.

Pessimistic Outcomes takes me back to prime-time 00’s underground Black Metal and all the associated feelings it has for me. This is a great album full of bleak melodics and nuanced moments propelled forwards by some powerful drumming, expressive riffing and scathing, slicing vocal emanations.

If you only have a choice of one album full of emotive Black Metal this month then make it Wrong.