When Axl Rose waxed romantically about cold November rain in back in 1992, he clearly wasn’t singing about Leeds on a Saturday morning. A cold, depressing day darkened by oppressive black clouds showering their misery relentlessly from above, there is nothing romantic about Leeds city centre. However, above the sound of rain pelting against umbrella canopies, and cars splashing through ankle-high lakes of dirty water, there is hope. Somewhere out there is Damnation Festival. Continue reading
Twenty-five years on from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Deathlike Silence) and Norwegian Black Metal act Mayhem still face the unenviable task of living up to their infamous debut. Steeped in arson and murder, the legend of De Mysteriis… will never be surpassed, but with new album Daemon (Century Media), the band have arguably crafted their finest collection of songs since that tumultuous time.
The roots of supergroup Sinsaenum date back to 1998 when DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq decided he wanted to try something a little different, and a little nastier. The project lay dormant for years, but in 2010 Leclercq eventually made things happen by joining forces with fellow Frenchmen, Seth, bassist Heimoth, and guitarist Stéphane Buriez of Loudblast. Now playing guitar, he also recruited the dual vocal partnership of Attila Csihar of black metal titans Mayhem, and Sean Zatorsky of Dååth. The bands’ line-up is completed by former Slipknot drummer and general legend Joey Jordison. Continue reading
The Ghost Cult album round-up is back in town, for your vulgar delectation… Continue reading
Sinsaenum, the group featuring Slipknot‘s former drummer Joey Jordison, Frédéric Leclercq (Dragonforce), Attila Csihar (Mayhem), Sean Zatorsky (DÅÅTH), Seth Heimoth (bass), and Stephane Buriez (Loudblast), will be releasing their new EP, Ashes, on November 10th. Continue reading
Regardless of the quality of the output, it is a feat of creativity and ambition to cultivate a fully realized Black Metal theatrical production; a concept story spread over five “scenes” and amassing nearly 100 minutes of occult, evil music to unveil the full “play” that is Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love (Hells Headbangers). Continue reading
It’s a staggering yet frequent reoccurrence: the hardest music to explain, often due to an apparent lack of infectious hook or because of the fact that little is actually happening, sees its orchestrators revered with an almost pathological devotion. Such is the case, of course, with US Drone gods Sunn O))). An overwhelming crush of Ambient noise, their worshippers hang onto every note, every sparing chime, as if it were a word from the heavens: their live shows remarkable for an inhuman level of sonic pain; each new recorded output more of an event, an experience, than a mere album or EP.
Latest full-length Kannon (Southern Lord) evolves in three movements, the first a sequence of pedal-strewn, cosmic, soaring chords. Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley take turns in expanding the eerie yet soothing soundscapes whilst positively terrifying guttural sounds emanate from the mouth of Mayhem’s Attila Csihar. Save for the brief introduction of didgeridoo and the atmospheric air coursing through this fifteen-minute opener, not much else of note occurs: yet it is inexplicably euphoric, haunting, muscle tightening; a spiritual epiphany which the guys conduct with almost superhuman understanding and control.
The opening chords of ‘Kannon 2’, just as economical, are nevertheless more ‘fuzzed’ and allowed to howl over an almost undetectable bass resonance. Chilling chants are intoned across a throbbing, fulminating body in an almost mournful yet Zen-like expression of emotion: an overtone of synthesised harmonics adding a barely recognisable sense of intrigue to an already hypnotic, captivating sound.
If ‘…2’ is the lament, ‘Kannon 3’ is the grave ascension. A similar structure sees that minimalist riff spike and clash with horrific anger, whilst the chanting bass voices become more sinister yet, paradoxically, reverberating to the verge of messianic celebration: a triumphal, fearful tribute to a returning, victorious tyrant. The intermittent Blackened roars, terrifying yet beatific, are both the counterpoint and the embodiment of the ability to stir and surprise while retaining control of an almost unbearably slow pace.
Masters of their sphere, legends of the galaxies, Kannon sees Sunn O))) display every shimmering ounce of their resplendent power.
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