Ahead of its release on Friday 13th April, Ghost Cult is delighted to team up with eclectic, mesmeric twisted, psychedelic Doom merchants Spider Kitten to première the stream of their new album, Concise & Sinister. 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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Metal, especially Extreme Metal, can be somewhat… single-minded. It doesn’t need to be a bad thing – this unsubtle devotion to conjuring a particular mood or emotion has led to some of the most beloved classics of the genre – but sometimes a can be so focussed on their goal that they forget to include anything else.
Nightslug are horrible. Being horrible is what they do. It’s all they do. Sewage thick guitars, crude, ugly riffs, tortured vocals and bursts of feedback-laden noise create a genuinely unpleasant atmosphere, but it’s not clear what they really want to do with that atmosphere once they have it. Riffs churn endlessly with no clear aim in sight, tension is built and not effectively released, and tracks run into another with no real sense of purpose. One of the biggest traps in playing this kind of Sludge or slow Doom is the very fine line between hypnotic and boring – and it’s a trap that Nightslug never really release themselves from.
Part of the problem with Loathe (Broken Limbs/Dry Cough/Lost Pilgrims) is that in the last few years a number of bands – Keeper, Primitive Man and Indian amongst them – have been pushing the envelope on music which is both disgusting and interesting. Abstract compositions and elements of psychedelia and Electronic Noise have taken sludge metal into disturbing, engaging new territories – but Nightslug just want to keep playing big horrible riffs all day and croaking. I can imagine them going down well live in the right context, but on record there’s just not enough to distinguish them from a large number of other bands who’ve done the same thing.
If you’ve been reading this and wondering what I’m complaining about, then it’s probably worth giving Loathe a shot. Nightslug achieve exactly what they set out to, and they’re certainly garnering positive reviews elsewhere for doing so, but if your expectations of disgusting, slow music have been raised by recent releases from more adventurous bands, you’re likely to find Loathe disappointing in its lack of ambition.
Venowl must hate journalists. It’s the only explanation – why else would they put out music simultaneously this compelling and this hard to positively describe, if not to frustrate the people whose job it is to do exactly that. I really want you to know how great Patterns Of Failure (self-released) is, but I have no idea how to put it across in words. Those devious bastards.
Starting with the crudest genre-labels then, the three long tracks on Patterns Of Failure essay an abstract, deconstructed form of Sludge/Doom which borders on outright Noise. Feedback-drenched guitars, drums and piercing shrieked vocals are the core musical building blocks, but how they are deployed is unusual even within their niche genre. Rather than mashed together into a sprawling whole as you might expect, each track follows its own discrete journey from beginning to end, moving through often very intricate shapes while retaining the same punishing tempo and pitch-black tone.
Time, then, for Lazy Journalism trick #2 – comparisons. There are a fair few bands that can be meaningfully name-dropped here, but none are a perfect match; Wormphlegm playing Ehnahre songs, or Grave Upheaval watching snuff movies at Khanate’s house with a crate of ketamine? Sabazius if they squeezed all eleven hours of Descent Of Man into fifty-five minutes?
The very best Noise music, I was told once by a fan of the genre, is that which sounds entirely structured in its chaos – creating the impression not of pure randomness but of an order which is too arcane for the listener to easily engage with, but yet is clearly there. That’s perhaps the greatest quality of Patterns Of Failure, along with the fact that something is always “happening” in the music. It would be too easy for an album like this to sit on its hands recycling empty feedback and looking smug, but there’s a real depth to what Venowl achieve here – a depth which captivates even as it frustrates the ability to describe it.
Quite simply – every other tactic having failed – Patterns Of Failure is one of the most distinctively horrible things you’ll hear all year.
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I’m conflicted about Emmure’s latest release. Upon first inspection, it’s a 45 minute exercise in banality. However, there is a part of me that wishes to salute Frankie Palmeri and his cohorts on this latest endeavor. I salute them because in 2014 they are willing to write an album like Eternal Enemies (Victory). They have the courage to compose such an open love letter to the musical pariah that was nu-metal.
While on tracks like ‘Rat King’ and ‘Nemesis’ Emmure find themselves rehashing the same ebb and flow of past and (quite frankly) tired jams like ‘Solar Flare Homicide’ and ‘Children of Cybertron’. Most of Eternal Enemies has Palmeri and Co. channeling their undying adoration of Limp Bizkit and Korn. By sitting through jams like ‘Most Hated;’ ‘Girls Don’t Like Boys, Girls Like 40s and Blunts’ and the DJ scratching masterpiece that is ‘E’ its abundantly clear that all Emmure want to do is party like its Ozzfest 98.
And if turntables and subpar playing don’t have you ransacking your closet to find your pair of JNCO jeans, then you haven’t heard Palmeri’s lyrical prowess. A gifted pupil of the (hed) p.e. school of lyrics, Palmeri proudly informs us that: “I’m the realest motherfucker in the game/I see you faggots living perfect lives” and “I’m gunna fuck your pretty face/ Try the cum, and tell me how does it taste?” While most will find his language disgusting, he’s no misogynist or homophobe. He merely pays tribute to heroes like Jonathan Davis and Fred Durst. Pioneers in channeling white suburban angst cloaked in foul language and incoherence. After all what in life could be more difficult than being heckled online or signed to Victory Records? Emmure may reside in Queens New York, but these gentlemen got their start in Connecticut. The struggle is not real.
I can see it now. Somewhere in the desserts of Barstow sit an aging Durst and Davis. In between hits of crank and everclear they’ll whisper to each other and smile. They’ll say we’re here to stay. We’ve somehow evaded total irrelevancy and once again have had a say in corrupting the young and impressionable.