EP REVIEWS: The Acacia Strain – D and E EPs – Rise Records

In these very strange, unprecedented times for the world over (and not just the music world) it must make a few of us uneasy in terms of when does “new music” stop coming out thanks to the pandemic. Well, the good news is the music we are getting right now is simply fantastic! The Acacia Strain have dropped two EPs this year after a surprise full release at the end of 2019. These new EPs entitled, simply, D and E (Rise Records) are certainly under the “short but sweet” category. Each EP only has two tracks apiece, however, this only helps in getting listeners to want more.

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Un / Coltsblood – Un / Coltsblood

When I heard about this particular collaboration, I swear a little bit of wee came out. Seattle’s Un is still reveling in the success of last year’s coruscating, moving Sentiment (Translation Loss Records), while Scouse / Scottish hybrid Coltsblood have laid waste to the UK Underground for the last five years. This split, therefore, promises to be a leveller on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading

The Faceless – In Becoming a Ghost

A five-year gap between records and a litany of line-up changes would slow down the momentum of any band, but Michael Keene has always been driven to make The Faceless work, even if it means taking on the majority of musical roles on himself. However, with a new set of musicians backing him up, Keene hopes to push The Faceless back to the forefront of people’s minds with In Becoming A Ghost (Sumerian) and prove that, despite the trials and tribulations of the band’s history, his ambition for creating the most extravagant music possible can still lead to great things. Continue reading

Archgoat –  Svartidauði – Bölzer: Live At Het Bos

On Saturday October 7th 2017, almost exactly a year after hosting the excellent Mannveira/Wormlust package, Het Bos has another delectable line-up for anyone into the dark and destructive. Opening the night are Eggs of Gomorrah, the Swiss band has a fat and muddy sound, with lower end vocals, and a clear dose of death metal influence and while the performance doesn’t have major mistakes it just fails to capture me as anything inherently special. Visually, while it’s clear the band put their most into the performance, there’s not a clear idea how to present it all. The band is relatively young though, having dropped their début in 2016, so who knows what they will develop into. Continue reading

All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal

You must respect any band that lives up to their moniker. Imagine being an impressionable metallic youth raiding the local record store and picking up albums from acts known as Poison and Slaughter. Seems metal enough, but then you get home only to realize the swindle and that those tapes were as hard as the Pillsbury Doughboy. When you listen to Hostage Animal (Southern Lord) by All Pigs Must Die, you don’t have that problem. Continue reading

Primitive Man – Caustic

If God took the seventh day off for some rest, then Satan was hard at work piecing together Denver, Colorado’s Primitive Man. The nihilistic and tortured sounds encased in Caustic (Relapse) are the proof you need that the devil is not only kicking but that his influence is still very much among us. Approach this beast on your own accord, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Continue reading

Ehnahre – The Marrow

Let’s be honest – for all its talk of “extremes”, Metal is largely a pretty conservative genre. Few bands experiment beyond the controlled combination of rigorously defined subgenres, and even those who do truly push the boundaries are normally content to do so only once. Ehnahre – formed with the stated intention of creating the most horrible and perverse music imaginable – have been a dedicated exception to this rule from the beginning, to the extent that they frequently don’t sound like a Metal band at all. Continue reading

Ex Eye – Ex Eye

Ex Eye’s self-titled album (Relapse) is something extraordinarily different, so hold on to your hats and brace yourself!  The soon-to-be-legendary group consists of renowned, experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson, Greg Fox on drums, Shahzad Ismaily on synths and Toby Summerfield on guitar and these dudes will literally blow your mind! Continue reading

Guest Post: José Carlos Santos Top Ten Albums Of 2015

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As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends  from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have José Carlos Santos, who writes a lot about music, being Senior Writer for both Terrorizer and Rock-a-Rolla UK, Chief of staff for LOUD! from Portugal, shared with us his favorite 10 albums of 2015.

 

1. Solefald – World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud (Indie Recordings)

Solefald - World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud album cover 2015

 

Pushing the envelope isn’t the half of it. The first song on this truly revolutionary record is called ‘World Music With Black Edges’, and that’s exactly what it is. It should be just about all the guideline you’ll need before embarking on this journey. Black metal, electronics, Frank Zappa and African sounds, among many, many other things, are thrown into a free-flowing, astoundingly cohesive whole. In an age where having two songs that don’t sound like each other is already considered “genre-hopping”, Solefald are one of the few bands worthy of the term avant-garde.

2. Royal ThunderCrooked Doors (Relapse)

The best pure, true rock album in years, Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder fulfill the potential they have always shown, and move up to the pantheon of the greats. It feels and sounds timeless – if you hand it to someone and say that it’s a lost 1978 classic, it’ll make the same sense as if you’ll tell them it’s 2024’s album of the year you just brought back from the future in your time machine. A great song is a great song, and they’re all great here.

 

3. My Dying BrideFeel The Misery (Peaceville)

My Dying Bride Verftet 220214-8613

My Dying Bride, by Kenneth Sporsheim

My Dying Bride are back to the masterpieces – 14 years after their last truly great record, The Dreadful Hours, Feel The Misery recaptures the tragic sorrow and the decadent grandeur we’ve always loved from them.

4. RevengeBehold.Total.Rejection (Season Of Mist)

Revenge Behold.Total.Rejection album cover

Because fuck you.

5. DødheimsgardA Umbra Omega (Peaceville)

dodheimsgard-a-umbra-omega

The other band alongside Solefald that warrants the proper use of the avant-garde tag, Dødheimsgard have given us a mysterious, shape shifting record, full of dark nuances and details that we’ll still be discovering come the time for the 2016 lists. The best thing Vicotnik’s done since ‘Written In Waters’ – and yes, I’m including ‘666 International’ in that appraisal.

 

6. Tau CrossTau Cross (Relapse)

Tau Cross 2015 band

Amebix are no more, long live Tau Cross. Not only is this the logical successor to the astounding ‘Sonic Mass’, it’s also enriched by the extra talents of Voivod’s Michel “Away” Langevin and crusty guitarists Jon Misery and Andy Lefton, all of them lead to greatness by the might of Rob Miller, who is still one of the most unique songwriters in extreme music.

 

7. Sigh – Graveward (Candlelight)

sigh

Sometimes you’ll have to pause halfway through ‘Graveward’ and wonder how is this possible – roughly five million tracks are all going in a different direction, all at once, and yet everything makes perfect sense, there is order and flow in the middle of the craziness and chaos. Alongside Solefald and Dødheimsgard, you’ve got enough insanity this year to wreck your brain for years to come.

 

8. Therapy?Disquiet (Amazing Record Company)

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Most of you might only know Therapy?’s most popular phase, but the true essence of the band has been in their last four or five fiery, adventurous and energetic records. ‘Disquiet’ is the best of them all, a mix between instant punk-ish gratification and deep, deceptively simple songwriting that’ll allow for multiple repeat plays without a hint of exhaustion. Also, closer ‘Deathstimate’ is a serious contender for song of the year, or decade, or whatever.

9. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues (Southern Lord)

goatsnake

It’s been a 15 year wait, but for each year of absence there’s a kickass bluesy riff that’ll stay in your head forever. Goatsnake just picked up where they left off, literally – the first song is called ‘Another River To Cross’, a nod to ‘Flower Of Disease’s closer ‘The River’.

10. Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (Neurot)

steve von till a life unto itself

Rarely has such a subtle and generally quiet record packed such a thunderous emotional punch – the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist might present himself in the sparser, most minimalist fashion, just one man lost in the woods with an acoustic guitar, some effects and his coarse, haunting voice, but these songs will reach down into your heart and squeeze it with the force of a thousand men.