So far, 2020 has been a cruel mistress as the reaper has claimed several giants of the drumming world. One that hits us particularly hard is the sudden death of Wiliam “Reed” Mullin of Corrosion of Conformity, at the young age of 53. Reed was not only a stellar drummer and musician, but he was also almost universally loved by the Hardcore Punk, Thrash Metal, Doom and Stoner Rock community, which is both amazing and insane. It just goes to show the talent Reed had and the breadth of different styles he helped encompass with C.O.C. Equal to his impact on record and behind the drumkit and the microphone, Mullin impacted a ton of people in the scene with his kindness and sense of humor. Continue reading
You can say what you like about Niklas Kvarforth, and many quite justifiably and quite rightly do, and his Shining project, now on their ninth release IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends (Season Of Mist), but he has managed to keep his music from sounding like everyone else, and actually doing something with his darkened black metal act that few others do, creating a sound and atmosphere that doesn’t just ape his predecessor, and that varies from album to album while still being identifiable. The actual success rate in terms of quality of output is a bit more hit and miss (with the common reasoning being that it is the odd numbered albums that are worth bothering with, while the even numbered releases can fail to deliver).
With the intent of Shining to cause discomfort and pain to others, and with IX being described as an album to inspire feelings and reflections of revenge and retribution, the music to hand is surprisingly (disappointingly?) safe; there are certainly no challenging moments that the likes of Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord inspire, or horrific atmospheres akin to a Pyrrhon or Portal in full flow (accepting they are megalodons swimming in a very different pool).
With most of the compositions uncurling to around 7 minutes in length, the blueprint here is one that steps outside traditional Black Metal trappings and away from the cold, depressive harshness of their previous works. Opener ‘Vilja & Dröm’ kicks off with a belligerent chugging groove, and the album flits from modern aggressive Black Metal, like Dimmu Borgir minus the symphonics and theatrics, to cleaner, more Gothic moments as, much like Watain did on The Wild Hunt (Century Media), IX brings a Fields of the Nephilim swathe to the proceedings and a cowboy Western kiss to ‘Inga Broar Kvar Att Bränna’ in particular.
In terms of where IX sits in the Kvarforth canon, it’s fair to say it doesn’t rival V: Halmstad as the go to and defining release of his career, but is more of a worthwhile investment of your time than the limp Klagospalmer (both Osmose). Much like a lot of the music on display, though, it sits comfortably in the middle. If its intention is to unnerve and distress, the protagonist does much more of that away from the music, than he does with it.
In their 20 year history, Austin, Texas act …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have never been a by the book kind of band, always shifting and turning in unpredictable directions. An incredibly hard band to pigeonhole, one that has over time been adorned tags such from hardcore, to prog, to indie rock and even mathcore; trying to quickly define this band is a waste of time.
This ‘trend’ of the unexpected continues on ninth album, IX (Superball Music), with songs that were originally intended for use in film and television as instrumentals, before the creative rivers flowed some more. Also surprisingly is how refined and near simplistic it all is (in comparison to previous work at least). Still far from being an AC/DC template like band but IX does relinquish their sense of indulgence and expansion for a more streamlined approach, somewhere between their punk influences and indie rock, with the merest suggestion of prog. ‘A Million Random Digits’ is one of the more up tempo moments and has an aggressive streak in comparison to the synth driven ‘Jaded Apostles’ that precedes it.
On the first instrumental effort, ‘How To Avoid Huge Ships’ is where we are reminded just how bombastic this band can be when they turn up the prog; with piano and strings bolstering and building the song over its course, bigger and bigger. It is in this latter half of the album where the band’s extravagant side rears its head again, with these instrumentals and the long players like ‘Lost In The Grand Scheme’, in contrast to the short and sharper blocks in the previous half.
IX is another turn in this band’s very winding road and one that sees many of their sides come together, and at times in an all new perspective. There are signs of their punk like volatility and their whimsical prog side and a little in between. Another fine addition to their already captivating catalogue; this band simply refuses to be boring.
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead on Facebook
US Alt Rock giants ….And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have unveiled the first track from their upcoming new album. The Ghost Within is streaming here and comes from the bands forthcoming new album IX which is due for release at some point this year.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead are set to release their new album IX in the US on November 10 and in Europe on October 20 and now they can reveal the first new music in the shape of ‘The Ghost Within’:
Pre Orders available at Superball Music shop US: http://smarturl.it/AYWBTDIXdigi
There are no U.S Tour dates confirmed at the moment however they are pleased to announce a second London show for the 18th November on their forthcoming European run, which will see them play their classic album Source Tags & Codes in its entirety. They will also be doing a DJ set at Proud Camden, London after the show on the 17th November.
On this European run they will be joined by Canada’s Your Favorite Enemies, as well as Midnight Masses, the band featuring Autry Fulbright & Jason Reece of …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. Their debut album ‘Departures’ was released last month, and this tour will see their live debut in Europe. You can see the video for ‘Broken Mirror’ from Midnight Masses here:
The full list of dates can be found below:
3-Nov Germany, Marburg – KFZ
4-Nov Switzerland, Bern Reitschule-Dachstock
5-Nov Switzerland, Winterthur – Salzhaus
6-Nov Switzerland, Luzern – Konzerthaus Schuur
7-Nov Austria, Linz – ahoi! Pop Festival (Posthof)
8-Nov Switzerland, Laufen – Biomill
9-Nov Germany, Munich – Ampere
10-Nov Germany, Berlin – Bi Nuu
11-Nov Germany, Hamburg – Knust
12-Nov Germany, Cologne – Gebaude 9
14-Nov UK, Glasgow – The Art School
15-Nov UK, Coventry – Kasbah
16-Nov UK, Manchester – Ruby Lounge
17-Nov UK, London – Dingwalls
18-Nov UK, London – Dingwalls
20-Nov Germany, Hannover – Café Glocksee
21-Nov Germany, Bielefeld – Forum
22-Nov Netherlands, Eindhoven – Speedfest
23-Nov Belgium, Brussels – VK
24-Nov France, Paris – La Maroquinerie
Be still, my beating heart! One of my fondest memories was when I discovered that my father was a Corrosion of Conformity fan so imagine our mutual excitement when this beauty was thrown my way.
My favorite track off of IX (Candlelight Records) has to be ‘The Hanged Man’. I actually threw it on repeat for a good while. I would normally hate the little radio intro but it works when kept as short as it is here. The song overall has that old, doomy vibe to it that you feel right in your bones but with a faster pace. Seriously, just go put it on right now., it’s hauntingly beautiful and feels like it should be part of a much longer piece.
Some honorable mentions include the second track, ‘Elphyn’. I found it to be more catchy and interesting than some of the other songs and certainly worthy of terrible karaoke. ‘Who You Need to Blame’ falls into the same vein with its infectious grooves. It’s this kind of songwriting that has continued to draw fans in despite the lineup and stylistic changes over the years.
As for what I didn’t care for, let’s take a look at ‘Interlude’ and ‘The Nectar Reprised’. I know that a lot of bands and artists will include something similar on their releases but I’ve never seen much of a point to it when you can take that time to include another song or something that doesn’t otherwise interrupt the flow of the album. If I had to pick one song that I don’t care for, it would be ‘Denmark Vesey’. I respect the throwback to their punk side of things but it’s just not my bag. That being said, ‘Tarquinius Superbus’ isn’t bad.
There was a lot of hype surrounding this album and, while it’s not absolutely mind melting, it has its strong parts to suck you in. If you’re a fan of southern metal (and you really should be), IX is a great record that deserves a listen. I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to enjoying this around a bonfire or two this summer.
ALEIDA LA LLAVE