CONCERT REVIEW: Today Is The Day – The Obsessed – Somnuri – Prostitution: Live at Market Hotel

There are few lineups that conjure up the magic of underground metal like the twin pairing of Today Is The Day and The Obsessed. Both groups have had an outsized influence on the underground and it’s hard not to be enamored with what they have done for this scene. With their charismatic frontmen, Steve Austin and Wino respectively, this lineup came together as a sort of minor miracle, celebrating the magic of the new Today is the Day record at a release show that reminded those of us in attendance exactly why these guys are viewed as the true masters of noise metal. Riffs and heavy vibes abounded on the Brooklyn faithful, and after a heady warmup set from Prostitution and then punishing riffage from Somnuri, we were ready for the main events! Continue reading

Vreid- Lifehunger

Anyone who thinks that Black Metal is a conservative and formulaic sound need only look at (amongst the plethora of progressive and avant-garde entities) Norwegian’s Vreid and how have incorporated outside and wider aspects into their black metal fabric. Whilst that more typical black metal sound is firmly at the band’s core, their willingness to bring in the sounds of Hard Rock and sixties and seventies influence has afforded them the “Black n’ Roll” moniker and thus helps them stand out in some capacity to many of their peers. Following on in this trend, eighth album, and first on Season Of Mist, Lifehunger is not only one of their strongest to date, but possibly the easiest of their catalogue to break into. Continue reading

Stellar Master Elite – III: Eternalism – The Psychospherical Chapter

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Okay, what’s the deal with bands who name themselves after song titles? Being honest about your influences is one thing, of course, but naming yourself after an album- or song-title – especially when it’s from an acknowledged classic of your genre – seems like one step up from being a tribute band and only playing covers.

Stellar Master Elite, you won’t be surprised to learn, are rather fond of Thorns, and the music on III: Eternalism – The Psychospherical Chapter (Essential Purification) takes its main cues from their eponymous classic debut. Shimmering, riff-heavy Black(ish) Metal drenched in spacey synths and effect-laden vocals, it also borrows openly from 666 International (Moonfog) and Grand Declaration Of War (Season of Mist/Necropolis), firmly embracing that late-90’s vision of the future that’s starting to sound like an artefact of a specific place and time.  Not that this is pure nostalgia – they’ve also picked up a beefy modern sound that lends a weight and power that few of its predecessors had.

There’s a lot to like about Eternalism – some genuinely effective riffs, a good sense of atmosphere and a strong vocal performance in particular can validate time invested in it – but just as many things against it. It’s very late 90s approach to experimentalism sounds almost twee compared to (slightly) more recent BM deviants like Blut Aus Nord or DSO. The slow pace and reliance on spooky noises can sap some of the energy from the music and create moments of boredom. Most of all, though, they suffer in comparison to the band they’ve taken their name from – while their sound is superficially very similar to that of Thorns, they lack the feeling of sheer, unbridled creativity and otherness that made that album such a punch in the face at the time.

Competent, often engaging but, ultimately, too content to simply re-tread someone else’s former glories, Eternalism is an album that just doesn’t have enough of its own character to justify its existence in a world where “weird” and “experimental” are often more common than generic.

 

6.5/10

 

RICHIE HR

Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen

Ihsahn - Das SeelenbrechenAs a man of many talents, Vegard “Ihsahn” Tveitan has long drawn inspiration from many genres of music which has ensured the works of both seminal Black Metallers Emperor, Folk project Hardingrock, the classically inclined Peccatum and his sprawling progressive solo work have all remained at the forefront of innovation. Continue reading

Vulture Industries – The Tower

Vulture-Industries-The-TowerReleased by Seasons Of Mist, The Tower is Vulture Industries’ third album. It’s also the third round of press that will compare them to Arcturus, which is both fair and unfair concurrently. See, vocalist Bjornar Nilsen sounds like Trickster G/Garm/Kristopher Rygg. A lot. So much so, I actually Googled just to check it wasn’t another alter-ego. It isn’t. We can move on now. Elephant discussed. Continue reading

Avant-Garde Darkness – An Interview With Fjoergyn

FjoergynAvant-garde/experimental metal outfit Fjoergyn is arguably one of Germany’s best kept metal secrets Frontman Stephan L clears the shroud of mystery to Ghost Cult in an attempt at making the band seem not quite such an enigma and to reveal the details of latest album Monument Ende. Continue reading