As hinted by the title, Doom II (Self-Released) isn’t Witnesses’ second overall album but rather their second to expand on the Doom Metal style that was established on 2019’s To Disappear And To Be Nothing. Its predecessor’s combination of glacial riffing, distraught vocals and bleak mood is well-preserved here and the overarching narrative of a ship lost at sea allows them to be conveyed even more powerfully than before. Convoluted naming conventions aside, it’s a bold leap forward by every metric.
Those who’ve known me for some time will have had their ears blunted by my constant praise for Birmingham, UK Industrial Doom duo Khost. Equal parts sampled violence, malevolent strings and vocal apocalypse, beautiful Eastern lamentations often deflect from that harsh path and create a nuance flavoured by the likes of VAST and Moby. Their fourth album Buried Steel (Cold Spring Records) sees a band now truly at ease with its style, happy to have edgy two-minute psalms populating a set in the knowledge that they serve a purpose for the whole.
As well as being a mainstay of Psych-Noise stalwarts Comets On Fire, and frequent collaborator with such Experimental artists as Current 93, Ben Chasny is frighteningly prolific in the guise of his solo Folk / Americana project Six Organs of Admittance. Latest album Companion Rises (Drag City) is a shimmering trip through the stars which enriches the soul. Continue reading
One of the most underrated extreme metal albums of 2019 is Serpents’ (US) release Temet Nosce. The brainchild of Andrew Mikhail (ex-Oceano), the guitarist, vocalist and composer has taken the solo Blackened Death Metal influenced, auteur-driven work of his previous albums into a fully fleshed-out band. We caught up with Andrew to discuss the genesis of the project, his approach to composing and producing, philosophy and other influences on the band, prospects of the band touring, the Spooky Empire Horror and Tattoo convention, and much more!
After the heavy concepts of their previous couple of albums, London trio The Meads of Asphodel have thrown off those shackles and just fucking gone for it on their latest release, Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing (Godreah Records). Continue reading
Ambient music is tricky. Get it right and you can create some of the most mind-blowing, expansive, forward-thinking art imaginable. Get it wrong and you’re left looking like a pretentious mess. It’s very difficult to ride the line of pretension and come out on the right side when making anything that forsakes a conventional song structure, but by album six, you’d think K-X-P would be pretty adept, right? Continue reading
A thunderous crack of guitars explode outwards above a deluge of dextrous percussion. It all swirls around the listener before reaching a fever pitch and bursting into its main atonal, bending riff. This is just the mere beginning of ‘When You Stare’ from Blackened post-Hardcore outfit, Glassing, a band clearly out to not just pique interest, but demand attention. The vocals have an ominous amount of reverb to them, giving the same halfway-down-a-corridor feel of the likes of early Emperor or any Black Metal luminaries for that matter. The actual screaming itself, however, has far more in common with contemporaries like Tripsitter and We Never Learned To Live, with its strained and passionate delivery evoking repressed tender emotions rather than scathing the eardrums with rhapsodies of hellfire. Continue reading
I think Holy Fawn summed themselves up brilliantly with their band summary: “four creatures making loud, heavy, pretty noises”. Combining ambience, walls of distortion and ethereal vocals, Death Spells (Holy Roar) is the embodiment of these contrasting musical textures. Continue reading
One-person Seattle outfit Sataray is the brainchild of Katarina E. and purports to be a dark, ritualistic experience. Ploughing a live furrow over the last few years with her Performance Art-style shows, Nocturnum (Scry Recordings) is the first long-player from this enigmatic artist. Continue reading
Arctic Gates is a collaboration of two prolific artists from the Cryo Chamber label: fellow Ukrainians Ugasanie (Pavel Malyshkin, aka Polterngeist) and Dronny Darko (Oleg Puzan). Its overall feel is oddly subdued, in a manner indicative of Puzan’s idiosyncratic ‘lowercase dark ambient’ that emphasises its intimate relationship with the subject matter through subtle sound-collages and a heavy use of field music. What is perhaps most striking about its use in Arctic Gates, though, is the extent to which the distinction of synthesised sound and field recording is blurred. Continue reading