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.

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

Aidan Baker – The Spectrum Of Distraction (Robotic Empire, 2012)


Aidan BakerReturn To The Cave Of Time (Robotic Empire)

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Aidan Baker, who is undeniably the most epically prolific dude of our generation, has somehow even outdone himself on this new one. 97 tracks, with something like 18 drummers from bands like Locrian, Swans, The Jesus Lizard, Slowdive, Jesu, Batillus, and Neptune, 2 CDs worth of music, all meant for random play, making each time you throw it on more or less a new experience. Baker solicited drum tracks from masters the world over and ended up with 6 hours of drums (which I think you have access to if you drop some cash on this?) and then boiled it down to about 2 hours of finely chopped tracks that he laid guitars & bass lines over.

Most songs are pretty damn short (less than a minute) but there’s some fully formed songs on here too, some spiking up to 7 minutes. The sound of Distraction is all over the fuckin place, there’s skittery free jazz, furious black metal, white hot psych grooves, gritty black ambient, lullaby drones, and, most importantly, massive Nadja-esque metalgaze. This is every side imaginable of Baker, and he shines at every moment.

The whole “distraction” thing is a valid theme, very topical, etc, but I think the best part of this is the complete opposite of everything else that Aidan Baker has created, aka chaotic as fuck. So much of his work requires your full attention, you need to put it on and do nothing but listen to it. This is something I’ll put on so that it won’t keep my attention. This is supremely awesome, it showcases all of his mad skillz from every direction making it a record for the background of everything. Fucking brilliant. Dude still remains the best ever.

Album Review

Locrian – The Clearing (Fan Death, 2011)


LocrianChalk Point (Fan Death)

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Locrian have found themselves firmly in the “If you haven’t heard them yet STOP EVERYTHING” category. Every album they put out seems like it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. Which is true. But I don’t know how they do it. And The Clearing is no different. It is literally the best thing they’ve ever done. It’s massively evil & evilly massive. Sticking with the genre mixing (doom, noise, metal, ambient, everything else) but making sure to throw a hefty dose of BLACK all over it. Although this time around they’ve juiced on the electronics, ground up some psych in there as well, and upped the bleak shrieks to a more noticeable level, maybe because everyone’s been digging on The Body lately?

The first track is like a blackened Barn Owl, opening with a lurching looped piano and moving to streamlined feedback, slow thunderous drums, and cult monk moaning. Evil. Massive. Then shit gets even bigger, a fury of blast beats, power electronics, and horrific howling. Totally massive. Bringing things down for the third track with depressed acoustics laid over a rumbling feedback, sparse drums, eeriness abound, less massive, just as evil. The final sidelong piece is a motherfuckin burner, Goblin like pulsed electronics, everything seething a wretched tension, foreboding as hell, some awful shit on the horizon. Slow, methodic, and as evil as it gets. Building but never getting anywhere, relentless tension. Like running up the down escalators of hell, finally getting to the top and finding Locrian screaming at you with an eternal wall of speakers behind them and they kick you in the face back down. Unbelievably massive & evil & fucking AWESOME. Do not miss this.

Album Review

Kinit Her – Gratitudes (Small Doses, 2011)


Kinit HerWalled (Small Doses)

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Fucked as hell and 100% original. Tortured Gnaw Their Tongues horror, blackened Niblock trombones, melodic pagan incantations, mourning Godspeed strings, power metal guitar wailings, furious neo-folk, pioneering levels of prog, inhuman demonic growls, black metal tricklings, all steeped for years in a vat of DOOM. Absolutely. Fucking. RIDICULOUS. This album is as brilliant as it gets, dudes. I haven’t heard anything this astoundingly unique in years. It’s bleak, dank, and goddamn creepy. I want to have it’s baby?

Video

Pure

“A meditation on violence and visual tropes” in action movies set to The Jesus Lizard’s “7 vs 8″ by Jacob Bricca.

SO BADASS <3 explosions

Concert Review

Barn Owl, MV & EE, The Body, High Aura’d at PA’s Lounge

High Aura’d: blissful oceanic guitar drone, shimmering watertops, glowing majestic heart, layers & layers of washing euphoria

The Body: the most massively evil live band I’ve seen since Portal, body destroying doom metal noise, the dude sang without a mic and I was still able to hear him, absolute fucking brutality

MV & EE: delicate & lush drugged out psych folk, twisted colors, daisy dreams float in the breeze, hazy fogged fields, electrified banjo-turned-sitar shredding

Barn Owl: sounded like this, except a hundred thousand times better because it was live and fucking unbelievably epic

More/bigger photos on Flickr.
 
 

High Aura’dHigh Aura'd

 
The BodyThe Body
The Body

 
MV & EEMV & EE
MV & EE

 
Barn OwlBarn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl

Album Review

Avgrunden – Gremorian Chants (self released, 2010)


AvgrundenBeneath The Pyramids

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Sweden might not be the first place you think of when you want to hear some new droney glacial doom metal but Avgrunden (Victor Granat) is doing his part to change your mind about that. Gremorian Chants is a fucking monolith of chugging drone that’s badass to the core.

The first track, “The Gate Of A Hundred Sorrows,” is a catatonic somber loop, very low key, no crushing chords or buzzing feedback. Just a lone guitar echoing through a frozen piece of shit wasteland. But it sets the tone for the entire 75 minute album. It’s not very dynamic, a guitar finds one riff that it digs its heals into, repeats it ad infinitum with varying yet minimal alterations, giving you a ridiculously hypnotic mantra to get lost in.

Granat takes his time, paces everything precisely, rushes nothing. The first hint of anything metal doesn’t show up until about halfway through the second track, when the tension and wind (literally) builds, you’re just waiting for the thunder, it slowly gets more & more intense, until the FX pedals kick in, the amps get cranked up, and it turns into a hulking monster of furious buzzing metal gloom. So fucking amazing.

But all of that is just a precursor, letting you get settled in for an additional hour of bestial reverb & howling slabs of sludge. This is loud, grim, & heavy to the fucking maxx, but still rooted in hypno drone. Walls of solid fuzz detailed with intricate patterns made for burning holes through your skull. The final track is almost a half hour long, a single massive riff exploding & crumbling into a black hole of pure awesome, making damn sure you’re completely incapacitated by the end of it.

Avgrunden is right up there with Sunn O))), Earth, & Aun in perfectly meshing mesmerizing knockout drone with brutal crushing metal. He clearly has a vision, and that vision might be a bit bleak but it’s definitely one that deserves to be in the hands of all those looking to turn their speakers into white hot molten puddles of goo while they try to find the meaning of life on the back of their eyelids.