Instrumental metal act Huelga is the brainchild of artist/activist and jazz multi-instrumentalist Michael Fonseca of Austin, TX. Huelga is bringing the release of his debut EP next month, promising to rewrite the book on progressive metal. Huelga, mixed by Mick Kenny of Anaal Nathrahk, will be released in digital and cassette format on April 5th, 2019. Inspired by modern composers Charles Ives, Frank Zappa, and Elliot Carter, as well as the Chicano Movement and the current political tensions that have come to a boil on the Texas/Mexico border, Huelga is making an emphatic statement musically and politically. Check out the new single ‘Chinga de Perro’ right here at Ghost Cult! Continue reading
Having your LP go past the hour mark can be pretty daring these days, so to reach past 70 minutes must be the sign of great confidence and greater creative output. Primarily the musical vision of the multi-talented Justin Greaves, Crippled Black Phoenix, particularly on Great Escape (Season of Mist) doesn’t much care for traditional songwriting or popular convention. What you’ll find here is an assembly of amplified guitars, pulsing electronics, whispery vocals and somber beats. Continue reading
Terminal (Southern Lord) is Circle’s thirty-second album, not counting sixteen live albums and three soundtracks (!). To say they are constantly putting out new material is an understatement. Continue reading
Normally, when a press release boasts that no samples were used on an album, we can infer two things about the band in question: firstly that they’re trapped in a time-loop that extends no later than 1994 and secondly that they play some kind of raw, sloppy Punk/Metal that no-one would imagine for a second used samples. For the first time in the history of music, however, there is actually a point to declaring that – if you go in to Igorrr’s kitchen-sink onslaught of Metal, dance, Balkan music, 8-bit synths and whatever else solo permanent member Gautier Selle feels like chucking in, you could be forgiven for thinking that samples play a heavy role. They certainly used to, but in the decade-plus since the first Igorrr demo was released, Selle has gradually built up both his own musical ability and his circle of connections and collaborators, until every sound on Savage Sinusoid (Metal Blade) was created specifically for the album. Continue reading
Since their inception in 2010, Dynfari have proven to be a true, unearthed gem for forward thinking metal; and yet another entity in Iceland’s thriving and rich Extreme Metal scene. Continuously showing evolutionary steps across their early albums, 2015’s Vegferð Tímans (Code666) was at the time their creative zenith, bridging atmospheric Black Metal with post-Rock and ambient landscapes to stunning effect. On latest album The Four Doors Of The Mind (Code666/Aural), this duo have majorly upped the ante both in musical execution and in subject matter. Continue reading
The word “experimental” is a double-edged sword. For some it classifies anything veering from the typical form people are used to. Thus it renders whatever it is; be it medicine or art, undigestable to safer minds. To others the word conjures a magical playground where truly anything is possible. When foisted upon artists, such as guitarist/vocalist Ron Varod (Kayo Dot) and his solo outlet Zvi, we get the latter. Arriving in 2014 Zvi I challenged the listener to feel a piece of music on Varod’s terms. His new release II: Death Stops Us All (Halfpear Records) is no less of an emotional tug of war for the senses.
Composed of just three pieces, Zvi:II differs from its sister release in some ways.’You’ve Charmed Me, I Will Stay’ begins with a swelling guitar repeated like waves with other instrumentation flowing in. The layers of harmony vocals in the background suck in your attention. While the plucked guitars parts are calming, there is a unease that sets the table for what is to come.
‘Black Leaves’ (featuring Alan Dubin of Khanate and Gnaw on vocals) begins with more unsettling bassy notes. They soon stop and the song takes shape with Varod crooning forlornly at first. Moody strangeness pervades the track with, but never confusing you. Finally, a familiar harrowing shriek from Dubin fades in and out from the mix over and over. Jarring stabbing chords, detuning strings along with underlying keyboards flood in, giving a feeling of sonic vertigo. Ending with a mantra type singing wail, some malicious whispering, and other oddities from beyond, we glide into the final track.
We again meet Varod and his voice to some off-kilter balladry and guitar, with a motif close to the first track. What ‘Whale Bone Cage’ does is beckon you to come down from the anguish and recover. A final strum of an open chord seems to breathe out a phrase….. rest.
A release like this can only come from vision of a person without bounds as a writer. Matching Varod’s work are the talents of engineer Colin Marston (Gorguts/Kralice) and James Plotkin (Khanate) to engineer. The only shame of these releases is they are too brief, and leave you lusting for more.
Primitive Race is a supergroup consisting of, among others, Chris Kniker, Mark Thwaite, Graham Crabb, Erie Loch, Tommy Victor, Raymond Watts, Dave Ogilvie, Kourtney Klein, and Mark Brooks, and thus this self-titled album (Metropolis) consists of parts of very nearly every great Industrial band that there is or has been. Consequently, the album does not have one single sound, but bounces around between various forms of the Industrial style, from the bluesy sound of ‘Cage Rattler’ to the catchy rock riffs of ‘Taking Things Back’, to the dark recesses of gothic rock of ‘Below Zero’.
One of the songs that makes a good impression is ‘So Strange’. It is nicely electronic but happily industrial. The vocals are clean, but with a slightly constricted sound that is actually quite nice as an effect making the overall thing very catchy yet non-intrusive. ‘Cage Rattler’ is also very good, although the backing vocals are monotonous to the point of annoyance. The riffs are excellent, nice and bluesy, with good solos even, but the vocals are less impressive. The screaming at the end is the best vocal performance of the song.
‘Addict Now’, ‘Give Up The Ghost’, and ‘Taking Things Back’ are very different songs, but they are all solid and effective compositions. However, the best song on the album may well be ‘Below Zero’, with its incredible vocals and lovingly depressing style; reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails or Lacrimas Profundere, this is a very pleasing sound.
Not all is fun and games on this album, however. While ‘Acceptance of Reality’ has some good riffs, and enough variation to be interesting, the solo is abysmal – even for an eclectic solo there are rather few notes in the proper key. ‘Platinum Balls’ is rather boring, and ‘Follow the Leader’ is grating as the vocals are not mixed in to the music, but are layered over. The worst offender is ‘DJFH’, which has terribly annoying synths coupled with terribly bad vocals. There are just too many dropped or downright dissonant notes.
On the one hand it is great to have a lot of different styles, on the other hand, the album lacks cohesion. It bounces around from totally awesome to rather unpleasant, and with such an experienced bunch of musicians it really ought to be better.
Starting off on a very limited run of just 500 copies, Self Spiller have evidently decided that Worms in the Keys (Varia) should not stay restricted from the world any longer and reissued the LP. The project led by Jason Walton of Agalloch, alongside fellow band member Don Anderson, is an ambitious piece comprising of 14 members from across the globe. Most of the contributors can boast some serious history, with Sigh’s Dr. Mikannibal and Mirai Kawashima, the latter also playing for US based Necrophagia part of the fold. All this comes together to form an unusual; unique; almost indescribable sound that virtually defies categorisation.
Comprising of layer upon layers of different pieces, the album takes capsules of previous work spanning 6 years from the artists, brought together by Walton and layered into an avant-garde culmination of sound. Rather than feeling fractured and disconnected however, the many different pieces of music have been arranged in a way that seems to make sense together (well, sort of). The result? A surprisingly enjoyable piece, although not altogether flowing. Numerous voice layers backed with distorted guitars break suddenly into classical piano or a jazzy saxophone sections. If you were hoping the vocals might provide some form of story to tie it all together, think again. The snippets make a disturbing and broken narrative that is virtually impossible to piece together into a fully formed entity.
Worms in the Keys is brave and bold project that has been executed with extreme skill to form what is an oddly enjoyable album that is hard to turn off. Do I remember any of the songs? Well, no. Snippets stand out but it’s often hard to grasp whole tracks even while listening to the album. It really is a piece that demands either your full attention or nothing at all. Those that do take the time to give this album a try will find a record that it has bridged avant-garde madness while remaining fun. It may not be the most memorable of pieces as a whole, but it is refreshingly engaging as it challenges everything you thought you understood about modern music.
American experimental sludgey post-rockers Earthrise are releasing their excellent 2012 debut Eras Lost on limited edition collectors vinyl through an agreement with Threshold of Pain Records. They also have taken the opportunity to introduce their new singer and announce some new live dates as well.
Earthrise burst on the scene with Eras Lost, a self-released affair that saw them tearing up stages, deafening audiences and drawing comparisons from Rosetta, Pelican, The Atlas Moth and some of the more experimental moments of Converge.
Eras Lost track listing:
01. Challenger Deep
04. Former Worlds
05. Polar Low
08. Eighteen Hundred
11. Frame Dragging
Following the departure of former vocalist Tom Hillman, the band has enlisted Chester Yourczek to pick up where Hillman left off on Eras Lost. Earthrise first show in 2014 will be on August 6th at Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN. The band is already working on their next album and plan to debut new music at this show.
08/06 -Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club w/ North, Lungs, Oblivion
Threshold of Pain is a Massachusetts-based indie label that features limited runs of collectors edition vinyls for the discerning metal music fan and the vinyl obsessed at reasonable prices.
From the offices of Threshold of Pain:
Eras Lost was initially released in June of 2012 digitally/CD by the band themselves, since then the band has teamed up with Threshold of Pain Records, to release the 11-track album on a 2xLP on 180gram, gatefold, hand-numbered vinyl offering. The package comes with six 11″x11″ panel inserts of the artwork featured in the CD layout complete with lyrics. One disc imitates the front cover with translucent blue with white clouds, while the other is translucent orange with red magma spilling from the faults.
Earthrise guitarist Mike Britson comments:
“I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. Taking a dream that we had discarded and turning it into reality.”
As with all Threshold of Pain releases, this is limited to only one pressing of 250 copies. Vinyl orders can be made through IndieMerch, while CDs can be obtained from the band directly via their Bandcamp, where you may also snag ‘Eras Lost‘ digitally as a name-your-price offering.
‘Eras Lost‘ was recorded with Adam Tucker (Mouth of the Architect, Minsk, The Crinn, Thou) at Signaturetone Recording Studios in Minneapolis, MN and mastered at Focus Mastering. The stellar artwork was handled by Paul Friemel (Between The Buried And Me, Darkest Hour, Beneath The Sky).
Ghost Cult is honored today to bring you an exclusive message from Davide Tiso, known for his work with Ephel Duath. Davide’s current passion is the creation of his ongoing project with his muse and partner, Karyn Crisis: Gospel of the Witches. Intended to be Karyn’s long anticipated solo project, it is being crafted with heavy hitters Ross Dolan (Immolation), Danny Walker (Intronaut, Murder Construct, Exhumed) and super star producer Jamie King (Between the Buried And Me). Davide walks us through the genesis of the project:
“I started composing songs for Karyn Crisis’ Gospel of the Witches in
2009: it is now 5 years that I’m working on and off on this project.
Karyn and I dealt with, arranged, recorded, rehearsed and lived with
dozen of songs to choose from and I’m nothing short of amazed at how
good the 13 lucky ones that we picked sound. Most of these tracks are
literally born from bursts of inspiration. There were moments where I
had to run to my desk with the guitar, turn on my laptop, record and
make sure to press the save button. Most of the time, half an hour was
enough. I don’t recall much about the composition process, I was
probably channeling from my good star. What I have stuck in mind are
the following days of arranging process: every bar in this album has
been maniacally shaped and refined to sound heart shattering and
intense. Musically, I feel like the key factors of this work are sonic
layers and mantra-like shapes. To me these songs are like an emotional
vortex that steal you away from reality for much more than their few
minutes of duration. I’m so proud and impatient to finally record this
album. I wanted to offer Karyn the very best I can as a musician and
band member and I feel that my dedication and obstinacy paid off big
time. These songs are what Karyn Crisis proudly sounds like these
days: to my ears, and as a fan, I feel like this album is going to
touch the very core of who has followed her thus far in her career.
Karyn is one of a kind – too challenging for many, too twisted for
others. I say we are lucky to have her around the way she is.”
–Davide Tiso, April 2014
To launch Gospel of Witches and bring it to the masses, the group has launched a Kickstarter. The rewards are mostly personal, unique and crafted from Karyn’s visionary brilliance. There are just 9 days left, so check out their page and give what you canhere:
More about Gospel of the Witches:
Ghost Cult will bring you further updates on this project from now until its release.