We’re nearing the end of another year and no doubt we’re all scrabbling together our now mandatory album of the year lists, all the while agonizing over those handful of records that we leave out or forget, to showcase our personal highlights and the standouts that will be used in future years as a signifier for the high quality of music 2018 has bestowed upon us. Continue reading
Just before his death in 2015, Motörhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister finished what would become his final solo studio recording. The track, titled ‘We Are The Ones’, was a collaboration with Chris Declercq, Josh Freese and Martin Guigui, and has now made its way online. Continue reading
A collaborative effort between two or more bands is not an unheard of concept, especially within our world’s more avant garde entities, from the sublime – Scott Walker and Sunn O))) – to the not so good (Metallica and Lou Reed just to open a can of worms). Experimental extremists The Body are certainly no strangers to such work, with their previous collaborations with the likes of Thou and this release with black metallers Krieg (At A Loss).
The first thing to note is how dissonant and visceral this release is. As with their previous joint works, The Body choose to bolster the white rage intensity of Krieg, building on a distinctly metal record with their dark traits. Rather than the more distinctive black metal blast beats however, this is much more electronic based, programmed beats, high pitched frequencies and feedback and a bulldozing pace, albeit with Neill Jameson’s piercing growls and shrieks on top.
This clash of raw black metal and the mechanized and programmed beats match up so well in what is an equally horrifying, dizzying and hypnotic effort, while Jameson’s vocals add an even weightier punch of pure terror as this conveys the absolute epitome of dismay and filth.
This is extreme metal crawling to its warped and perverse limits, dragging it kicking and screaming to the future.
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Let’s be honest – collaborations in Metal almost never work. The point is surely to create something which combines elements of both bands into something both distinctive and familiar, but in practice it normally ends up as either a crude patchwork or simply a retread of whichever band has the most distinctive style.
Gnaw Their Tongues and Dragged Into Sunlight are in many ways the perfect combination of bands for this kind of collaboration – not only because of their shared theme and atmosphere, but because both bands occupy a shifting sonic territory whose boundaries are regularly reformed. GTT have long been in the habit of altering the exact balance of Noise and Black Metal between albums, whereas DIS’ two non-collaborative albums both explore notably different styles and tones. As a result, it’s not easy to identify exactly what each party has contributed to NV (Prosthetic) – this is very much its own thing, not a crude combination of the two.
Which is not to say that this is their surprise Polka album. The five tracks on NV explore the mixture of Black Metal, harsh Noise and grim Sludge/Doom that you’d expect from these two names, and it’s a genuinely effective mixture. It may be GTT mastermind Mories’ hand that keeps the balance on the atmospheric and sinister rather than outright brutal, and Dragged Into Sunlight may have written the crusty Black Metal riffs that slither out of the shadows throughout, but the elements unite into a genuinely effective whole. It may initially seem surprising that the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them in the style of Aevangelist, but both bands understand the value of not over-egging the pudding all the time.
Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, NV is an unrestrained success, and – alongside Gnaw Their Tongues’ own Abyss Of Longing Throats (Crucial Blast) – one of the more interesting albums in this style that you’re likely to hear in 2015.
Split albums are an excellent tool for bands to come together and unleash an onslaught of material which you may not necessarily have been familiar with beforehand – and with Collaboration LP (Handshake Inc., 7 Degrees Records, and Nerve Altarboth) Haapoja and Dephosphorus have not missed the trick at all. Whether intentional or not, these collaborative records encourage a certain level of competition as well – who goes harder than the other? The competitive edge has allowed both bands to absolutely raise their game – in this case it is Finland vs. Greece.
A really interesting element to this split LP is the fact that on both of the respective opening tracks the bands traded front men – and oddly enough both the opening tracks of each section are the better tracks.
The first portion of the album then comes from the Finnish maniacs in Haapoja, who shoot out of the blocks with a phenomenal level of aggression and calculated speed. Opening track ‘We See With Teeth’ builds and builds with this brilliantly executed Thrash style. In fact the pace never really lets up in their half of the album as they race through four tracks in just over ten minutes. The band mesh different influences together, sounding a bit like early Kvelertak – and as you reach the conclusion of their half you’ll find yourself thinking that Dephosphorus will seriously need to deliver something special after a breathless ten minutes, and to be fair to them they absolutely do.
Dephosphorus explode in to the track ‘Aika’ boasting the same level of aggression but with an added element of groove. Away from the first track, the vocals on their side of the LP sound like desperate cries, similar to the power and aggression delivered by the likes of Frank Carter in the early days of Gallows. The two bands on this record do sound similar, but where Haapoja deliver solely a smash mouth flurry of aggression, Dephosphorus smash that same style together with some slower, heavier moments which accentuates the groove.
One thing is for sure, with both bands you’re left salivating for more. This will almost certainly be an album which will sit under the radar, but give it a go – you will not be disappointed. Both bands deliver their music with such passion you cannot help but be taken in by its infectious nature as the quality of the output encourages repeat listens. Yeah the production is a bit shaky at times, but it gives the whole Collaboration LP that added bit of character, it is a raw and snarling beast.