Album Review

Chester Hawkins – Semisolids (Intangible Arts,2014)

chester hawkins - semisolids album cover
Chester HawkinsIodine (Intangible Arts)

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DC noise vet Chester Hawkins has shed his long running previous project, Blue Sausage Infant, and starts fresh with his regular name. With the new/old name comes a newish sound, so if you’re a fan of the BSI stuff you’ll still most certainly dig this, the industrial creep & wonderfully bizarre factors are still plentiful, lots of oozing synth, nauseating wobble, and piercing squelches, but also deep grooves running throughout, a heavenly hypno-buzz that’s a bit transcendent, taking cues from psychedelic krautrock and cosmic jammers, a killer retro-futuristic vibe that’s just as perfect for a horror sci-fi score as it is for freaky party times, a dark & dangerous mind eraser record. Dude definitely leveled up with the name change. Excellent fucking work.

Album Review

Have A Nice Life – The Unnatural World (The Flenser, 2014)

have a nice life - the unnatural world album cover
Have A Nice Life – Guggenheim Wax Museum (The Flenser)

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I’m going to refrain from bragging about how much I love Have A Nice Life, but for the sake of this review you should know that a) I hate the term “fanboy” and b) I would without hesitation call myself a hardcore Have A Nice Life fanboy. Their debut Deathconsciousness is fucking untouchable, easily in my all time Top 10, if not my Top 5.

If this is the first you’ve heard of HANL (Dan Barrett & Tim Macuga), I’m so fucking psyched to share them with you. Think Nadja plus Joy Division then forget that and just listen to that sample up there. Fucking life changing. Honestly, some of the best sounds to ever grace this sweet doomed planet of ours. The gloom is infinite and I accept it wholly. This is the massive dejected pop you’ve always needed but could never find, with bombastic pulverizing percussion echoing in an empty warehouse, deafening catchy riffs, smooth black synths, and boundless reverbed ghost vocals singing about the closeness of death and the woe of Nothingness.

Compared to Deathconsciousness, The Unnatural World is cleaner, better produced, more consistent, and more mature (whatever the fuck that means). But it still sounds like a blown out lo-fi home recording, it’s just that the atmospheric tracks don’t sound like sound they’re being played by your neighbors next door. The beautifully suffocating “Music Will Untune The Sky” is a perfect example, instead penetrating your core and making you feel like you’re drowning in slow motion, watching the life dust float in sunlit water, waiting for your last breath to expire in your lungs. And while Dan & Tim might be in a healthier emotional state while making TUW than they were for DC (pure conjecture on my part), this is every bit as depressing & devastating as their first record.

I hold DC up on the highest fucking pedestal. I mean on its own DC closer “Earthmover” is the single most soul obliterating song I’ve ever heard, and TUW never reaches that level of apocalyptic dread. But compared to TUW, DC feels a lot like an experiment. This new record is HANL leveled up, everything that you love about DC has been refined, turning the genre-less madness into a motherfucking masterpiece. I had insanely high expectations for TUW and it’s hands down one of the best goddamn records I’ve ever heard. It might not overthrow DC in my all time Top 10 but that’s probably more for sentimental reasons than anything else. I know I’m an enthusiastic hyperbolic kinda guy but I say this without the slightest bit of exaggeration: TUW couldn’t possibly be any fucking better. It’s literally flawless.

Concert Review

Raspberry Bulbs, Alberich, Salvation, Pharmakon at Castlebar

Presented by Ride The Snake Records and Existence Establishment.
More photos on Flickr.

 
Pharmakon




 
Salvation


 
Alberich


 
Raspberry Bulbs



Album Review

Gog – Ironworks (Utech, 2012)


GogA Promised Eternity Fulfilled With Cancer (Utech)

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Hard to believe this is just one dude makin all this fuckin racket. So much volume on this. Ironworks, aka “an epitaph for the death of the American dream,” is a monster of black industrial noise, huge walls of distorted guitar scrape, cliffs crumbling from the reverb, with a persistent percussion that doesn’t so much keep rhythm as it creates a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, machines running on their own because there was no time to shut them off, a thick black cloud that lasts for miles, vocals that range from shamanistic chants to DSBM howls, a somber piano’s final eulogy, a lifeless greyscape where the massive drone rolls and the dirt is caked in blood, brooding & brutal, this is perfect destruction. Do not miss.

Album Review

Sujo – Kahane (Fedora Corpse, 2012)


SujoAchille (Fedora Corpse)

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One of my favorite dudes finally gets his jams pressed to wax. Somehow Sujo hasn’t blown up yet (although his recent collab with Sun Hammer seems to be doing pretty well) but hopefully this new LP on Fedora Corpse will change that. Kahane is Sujo’s most clear vision to date, finding a stupendous midpoint between bleak blackened noise geeks Locrian and Jesu’s near-patented metalgazing. This is fucking outstanding work, insanely lush, sweet melodies eclipsed by crushing chaos, grim static capable of summoning the darkest demons, pink drones blissing out in the clouds, crumbling walls of destructive industrial noise, a swarm of stuttering percussion like Pyramids on broken stilts, absolutely massive, beautifully triumphant, & fucking devastating. This is screaming at you to let it melt your hi-fi. Don’t disappoint.

Album Review

Kapustin Yar – Trithemius (Land Of Decay, 2012)


Kapustin YarDirge (Land Of Decay)

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GodDAMN this is some heavy shit. Antonio Gallucci coming from every genre out there and conjuring up something wholly new & awesome. Trithemius takes industrial to a new level, incorporating black ambient, metalgaze, noise, darkwave, and anything else that’s bleak & destructive, tossing in some twisted spaciness because obviously. Ear bleeding bass that hits harder than your speakers can handle, huge walls of heavenly nightmarish static, a massive lumbering nightwalker lost in an urban wasteland, tearing down skyscrapers and generators, a cacophony born from a decayed post-nuclear Earth, faulty machinery humming in the distance with vocals buried in the chaos or hissed & distorted beyond recognition, black hole terrors, drifting in space drugged out of your fucking mind, feeling your every atom warp the fabric of spacetime, your body swallowed by the heaviness. 100% amazing record. Then again, I expect nothing less from the untouchable Land Of Decay.

Album Review

Trepaneringsritualen – Deathward, To The Womb (Release The Bats, 2012)


TrepaneringsritualenOsiris, Slain & Risen (Release The Bats)

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The first vinyl outing of Thomas Ekelund’s (aka Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words) other dark project. An occult worshiping, devastatingly bleak horror of a record, oozing Death from its decrepit core, this is black ambient risen from hellish bogs, clouded in an industrial wasteland with echoing vocals shouted through pea soup fog and a brain vaporizing bass rumble deeper than the darkest Sunn O))) drones, the ritual sounds of undead shamans captured in a crypt for millennia and unleashed upon your unworthy soul. Deathward, To The Womb pushes ambient to its fucked & depraved limits. Sold out at the sadly defunct Release The Bats, perhaps available elsewhere, but already re-released on cassette courtesy to the fine folks at both Black Horizons & Merz Tapes.

Album Review

Treha Sektori – Endessiah (Cyclic Law, 2012)


Treha SektoriSolvah (Cyclic Law)

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Newish solo project of Dehn Sora (from Sembler Deah with Amenra dudes) that’s some seriously dark & stormy shit. It blends euphoria and terror into a doomed black ambience that’s fitting October just perfectly, fallen angelic choirs sounding like if Xela scored Argento, haunted snippets of rewound vocals done so tastefully, relying totally on airflow and barely using his vocal chords at all, elegiac drones & glacial drums that hang in the air forever, a crystal clear blackness from the deepest caverns, industrial drone that discards all shreds of cheese and transcends to a new level of horror, this is done so fucking right, so refreshing, so goddamn awesome.

Album Review

Olekranon – Barbarians (Inam, 2012)


OlekranonPila’s Lament (Inam)

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Ryan Huber, the dude running the sweetest label with the least web presence, Inam Records, and who makes the most brutal/blissful noise metalgaze as Sujo, also pumps out some mind altering drones as Olekranon. His new one, Barbarians, is some truly fantastic shit, the first track jamming this badass darkened industrial beat sounding a bit like Vatican Shadow, stuck in a loop and mesmerizing as hell. The rest of the songs are way more minimal and mostly sans rhythms, like a dense grey mist rolling in from the shore, quiet, subtle, & beautiful, pan and scan static swirls slowly creeping in your skull, rapid echoed snare sounding like a slo-mo fast forward nightmare where nothing is in sync, everything dark & dank as fuck with a strong layer of bliss hidden underneath, content with playing the sidekick. So so fucking good. And like most things Inam, Barbarians is free, but it only costs you $2, literally two fucking dollars, to get an elaborately hand packaged/numbered CD. Ain’t no way you can say no to this.

Album Review

Dead Times / TRTRKMMR Split (Aum War, 2011)


Dead Times & TRTRKMMRAn Appendectomy (Aum War)

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Holy fuck. How has this been out for almost a year and had barely any press? This is insane. Both of these dudes are going to be on everyone’s radar pretty soon. Dead Times is currently Steven Vallot’s solo thing, he also runs Aum War, did some vocals on The Body’s All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood and occasionally played with them live. Lee Buford (drummer for The Body) used to be involved until The Body relocated South. TRTRKMMR is a solo thing for Brad Dumville, who was the vocalist for the tragically disbanded Otesanek). So, wow, lots of awesome already bundled up in this split and they’re unbelievably perfect to share some vinyl space together.

But it’s something bigger than the sum of its parts. This split is unholy, pure black and twisted as fuck. A potently caustic black noise with a lots of doom & gloom, industrial & power electronics, and even some melodic synthy organ & bell sounds, like a funereal black pop à la The Mausoleums except way less golden. Tons of samples that talk about redemption & homicide & shit making this creepy as hell. Absolute chaos with plodding crumbling drums, decrepit guitars, blown out electronics, demonic vocals shrieking & creaking up from beyond the grave (with Sewer Goddess joining in on Dead Times’ “Pain Arrives”) everything falling apart in a gloriously fucked up way that could only mean the end of the world. They even do two collaborations, one on each side, and they’re totally fucking killer.

This is truly some of the best of the genre, and all the better that both of these guys are just getting started with these new aliases. Both have new material in the works, TRTRKMMR has an upcoming debut full length on Iron Lung, and Dead Times’ work will likely show up on Aum War again. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled because this is not something you want to miss out on. I’d probably be putting this on some year end list if it didn’t come out last year. All the same, it’s still available and I wouldn’t hold off on picking up this beast.

Album Review

Sun Splitter – III (BloodLust!, 2012)


Sun SplitterEye Of Jupiter (BloodLust!)

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How these Chicago dudes aren’t as well known as Locrian is beyond me. Sun Splitter have just as must genre blending as Locrian, just a different blend. They’ve got this incredible black industrial psych doom thing with some dark ambient noise/drone and even a little HANL style gloomgaze tossed in. I think III is their first vinyl (limited to 500, white, sexy, etc) and it’s monolithic & pure fucking evil. Seriously, this is just monstrous in every way. The riffs are skull crushing, a wall of reverb and distortion sounding like napalm melting your core, drum machines hitting harder than any human could, explosive blasts that level cities, with an abusive assault of rapid-fire fury for the second half of “The Serpent’s Golden Death” where the individual hits coalesce into a waterfall of insanity, static vocals that roar their way to the surface, guitars that chug & rattle, at home only in Hell’s scorched valley, crusted under the black sun. These guys get in a groove and don’t let up until they’ve reached total devastation, the drum machine locked in a loop, sealing their fate as endless riff demons. If you need some fucking heavy in your life, this is where you should be looking. This is the fucking best and most original metal. And with killer artwork by band member Anthony A. Dunn, you would be doing yourself a major disservice by passing this up.

Album Review

T.O.M.B. – UAG (Crucial Blast, 2012)


T.O.M.B.Tribe Of The Corpse (Crucial Blast)

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Normally these PA dudes (full name: Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) do black metal type things, with some other strangeness thrown in. UAG (aka Undercovered Ancient Gateways, aka we get it you like acronyms) has them stripping all metal from their sound but going blacker than ever. Black noise, black ambient, black industrial, just completely fucking black. The metal fury is gone and replaced with a bleak industrial howl, a post-mortem skullcracking drone that rots your bones from the inside out. I’m not sure where UAG was recorded, but they’ve been known to do field recordings in asylums & crypts, so who knows the location of these haunted sounds. These guys can take the sound of the wind and turn it evil, and there’s lots of percussive elements, cemetery gates and butcherware clanging in an arhythmic lurch, and on one track it’s even akin to a faded blastbeat, heard through six feet of earth a thousand miles away. Boiling static and hissing rain, thick with decay, harrowing walls of death, so much creep & screech that it’ll be hard to sleep soundly after hearing this. There’s even a track that’s made from the sounds of scraping a contact mic “across the rotting flesh of an actual corpse.” It doesn’t get more fucking necro than that. T.O.M.B. really outdid themselves on UAG. So glad there are labels like Crucial Blast putting out awesome shit like this.

Concert Review

GRKZGL, A Snake In The Garden, Planning For Burial, Retribution Body, Kunskapslådan at Starlab

 

Hosted by Existence Establishment.

 

GRKZGL

 

A Snake In The Garden

 

Planning For Burial

 

Retribution Body

 

Kunskapslådan

Album Review

Medroxy Progesterone Acetate – I Am An Empty House Longing To Be Haunted (Black Horizons, 2012)


Medroxy Progesterone AcetateThe Ghost Of Dried Wells (Black Horizons)

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The one & only Medroxy Progesterone Acetate is back with a fuckin beast of a double tape, 2 hours of insanity that gets the deluxe packaging treatment from Black Horizons (side note: the image up there is only an interpretation, a snippet of the full artwork). This is some downright fucked up shit, wavering between diseased drones, black ambient, filthy industrial, nightmarish noise, and drifting shimmer. All sorts of weirdness on here with Darren Bauler taking on most of the responsibilities and various friends adding such talents as “Possession States,” “Concussion Machines,” and “Recording Anomalies.” The sounds are fucking out of this world, disgusting & horrific, festering & boiling drones, straight from the demon’s stomach, voices abound, dazed whispers rambling paranoia and death, haunting your very soul, shrill tinnitus bleeding out of every pore until it’s no longer part of the tape, it’s taken up residence and infected your ears, subtle rhythms grow into discrete beats that sound like old rusted machinery trying to reclaim their previous lives, and strangest of all, the moments of pleasant dreams and blissful ambience, tiny beacons shining out of the rotted wasteland. The bleak & harrowing doesn’t get much better than this.

Album Review

Sky Burial – Threnody For Collapsing Suns (Small Doses / Phage Tapes, 2011)


Sky BurialThe Cadence Of Collapse (Small Doses / Phage Tapes)

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This is one book you shouldn’t judge by its cover because this one is fucking AWESOME (and that album art just ain’t my style). Michael Page, the dude from Fire In The Head, goes cosmic, with Threnody For Collapsing Suns comprising the middle of a loose trilogy (in between Kiehtan and the brand new Aaegri Somnia). This one is a huge slab of deep space. Black wind howling through wastelands, haunted humming power lines, an exploded galaxy’s worth of space dust dirtying up the place, synths ranging from demonic heartbeat pulses to zen drift euphoria, soothing shimmer next to brain stopping blasts and bleak industrial tension. It’s both dark & light, the sun in all its glory and the resulting black hole, with beauty scattered throughout. Only three tracks, clocking in at 50+ minutes, absolutely huge, sprawling to infinity. Black bliss kosmische for the next century.