Greg Fox (Liturgy, Ex-Eye, Z’s) will release a new solo album, Contact, available on May 29, 2020 on vinyl and digital formats. This follows his 2017 album The Gradual Progression. We’re looking forward to this new album since Greg is an exceptional, thoughtful artist. The album features original artwork by Emma Kohlmann and design by Will Work For Good. Produced and mixed by Randall Dunn, Contact sees Fox accessing ever more raw and ruminative states. Greg has also launched a Kickstarter to release the album and build a new studio. Watch the new video for the single ‘From the Cessation of What’, directed by Michael A. Flanagan and artwork by Emma Kohlmann. Continue reading
If you have followed Ghost Cult from the olden days when we were a magazine more than a website, you might know we have a deep love for the Avant-garde, experimental, the underground, and the unusual music that dots the landscape as much or more than the mainstream. Coming from way out, but definitely falling under avant-garde and exceptions is NOUS who are releasing their second album, NOUS II tomorrow via Our Silent Canvas. Made up of a who’s who of legendary underground artists such as Christopher Bono (Ghost Against Ghost), Greg Fox (ex-Liturgy), Shahzad Ismaily (Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Bonnie Prince Billy), Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater), Grey McMurray (itsnotyouitsme, Tyondai Braxton) with ACME & yMusic string players, NOUS II is challenging and entrancing to the listener. Turn off your typical playlist and digest this musical brainfood at once right now. Pre-order and stream the full album now!
And now the end is near, and so we face 2015’s final curtain, and once more the Ghost Cult army got together to vote for their favourites. The results? More than 20 writers pitched and voted on over 220 albums ranging from indie pop to the most horrific savage tentacle laden death metal showing the depth, breadth of the official Ghost Cult Album of the Year for 2015.
The votes have been cast, the dust has settled… let the countdown commence…
“Despite what you may have heard, The Ark Work is neither the ultimate transformation of stupid music into art nor the final betrayal of Metal’s values by the poser hordes. It is, however, one of the boldest, most distinctive and utterly unflinching Metal albums you’ll hear all year”
“A startling, spellbinding piece of work. Having given us Sabbath, Napalm Death, Godflesh, and Anaal Nathrakh, Birmingham – and Khost – has just provided Metal’s latest evolution.”
“A strong, distinctive album with its own character and some genuinely excellent songwriting and works well as both an introduction to one of the most genuinely interesting metal bands of the last twenty years and an album in its own right.”
47. Rivers of Nihil – ‘Monarchy’ (Metal Blade)
“Rather than fifty minutes of a constant snare and uninspiring distorted low tuned guitars, Rivers of Nihil have really focused on expanding, adding more atmosphere and a dynamic to keep a hold.”
“Now that they can’t be pigeonholed to djent or the “Sumerian sound” it leaves Periphery open to be viewed for what they truly are, a brilliant metal band. ”
45. Publicist UK – ‘Forgive Yourself’ (Relapse)
“When I cranked this album on my laptop the last thing I expected was the musical equivalent of Joy Division on a collision course with Cave In, but what a lovely wreck it turned out to be.”
“Complete with Gorod’s signature Bossa Nova-infused jazzy riffs and complex arrangements, A Maze of Recycled Creeds stands not only as Gorod’s crowning achievement, but also that of 2015.”
‘Monotony Fields’ adds a touch of light to the overwhelming darkness of Funeral Doom yet, far from trivialising it, only increases its power to move and intrigue. This is as refreshing as it is heartfelt and affecting.”
42. Bell Witch – ‘Four Phantoms’ (Profound Lore)
“Bell Witch continue to confound, enthral, terrify and move in equal measure; and in creating a second album of such weight and emotion prove themselves peerless.”
“Armed with 12 new ditties toasting humanity’s self-destruction, the new Slayer album is a complex one. Overall Repentless is an enjoyable, fierce album that sounds essentially like a Slayer album should.”
Reaction to Chicago trio Locrian has often been mixed: their melody-infused, Black-edged expression offending as many purists as it delights fans of obsidian innovation. Latest album Infinite Dissolution (Relapse) initially continues that progressive sound with opener ‘Arc of Extinction’ possessing the kind of introductory swell perfected by the likes of Yes and Pink Floyd. The blackened horror soon emerges, however: Terence Hannum’s rasps exploding against the sudden quickening of pace, André Foisy’s Post-black leads “bipping” furiously over a hissing cacophony à la fellow US dark experimentalists Liturgy.
The ensuing ‘Dark Shales’ begins with melancholic twangs, ethereal airs coating muffled tub-thumping, and some emotive soloing from Foisy. Here it becomes clear that Locrian has evolved from its nebulous indecision into a talented outfit, determined to parade all of their influences. ‘…Shales’ truly evokes grey, wash-battered stone beaches yet marries them to an odyssey through space, delicately yet with latent power. The first of the ‘KXL’ trilogy, meanwhile, incorporates industrial sampling into its mournful yet spiky melodies before squalling, ominous feedback reintroduces the band’s edge: a bitterness which infuses the spacier, grandiose parts of the second movement’s eerie, orchestral keys.
Symphonics play a subtle yet important role in Infinite Dissolution’s character. Lush Moogs, at times cosmic, at others Numan-esque, quell the van Eeckhout-style vocal agonies of ‘The Future of Death’. The swelling atmospherics of album centrepiece ‘An Index of Air’ ascend to frostbitten roars and a frenetic gallop, soulful harmonies climaxing the epitome of superior quality, inventive, melodic Black metal.
There are imperfections – it takes time for the pulsing rush of ‘The Great Dying’ to kick in but the heart is eventually piqued; the over-gentle rhythms and electronica of ‘Heavy Water’, meanwhile, are enlivened by the odd venture into harsher territory and more cold, “post” guitar. The main issue here is that the band still fall between two huge stools: still too soft and whimsical for pure Black hearts; whilst possessing too many harsh interludes for fans of melodious Rock.
Infinite Dissolution, however, is arguably the band’s strongest to date: a stirring, inventive work that will undoubtedly win Locrian much admiration.
The 2015 North By Northeast Festival has announced their first round of names of artists to perform. More names are expected to be announced but these are the first batch to be announced.The event is being held on June 17-21, 2015.
A Place To Bury Strangers (Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Action Bronson (Queens, NY, United States)
Aidan Knight (Victoria, BC, Canada)
Alice Glass (DJ Set) (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Amen Dunes (New York City, NY, United States)
Anamai (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Angel Olsen (Asheville, NC, United States)
Baths (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Best Coast (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Betty Who (Sydney, Australia)
Bishop Nehru (Rockland County, NY, United States)
Blonde Redhead (New York City, NY, United States)
Cathedrals (San Francisco, CA, United States)
Cauldron (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Coliseum (Louisville, KY, United States)
Container (Providence, RI, United States)
Deafheaven (San Francisco, CA, United States)
Dilly Dally (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Dinner (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Glass Animals (Oxford, UK)
The Gories (Detroit, MI, United States)
HEALTH (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Heems (Queens, NY, United States)
Hundred Waters (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Ibeyi (Paris, France)
Iceage (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Jacco Gardner (Hoorn, Netherlands)
Jessica Pratt (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
K.Flay (San Francisco, CA, United States)
Kate Tempest (London, UK)
Liturgy (Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Lower Dens (Baltimore, MD, United States)
Lydia Ainsworth (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Majical Cloudz (Montreal, QC, Canada)
Mise en Scene (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)
The New Pornographers (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
No Joy (Montreal, QC, Canada)
Obliterations (Los Angeles, CA, California)
Odonis Odonis (Toronto, ON, Canada)
OM (San Francisco, CA, United States)
Pentagram (Alexandria, VA, United States)
Rae Sremmurd (Tupelo, MS, United States)
Real Estate (Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Ryley Walker (Chicago, IL, United States)
San Fermin (Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Sannhet (Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Son Lux (New York City, NY, United States)
Tink (Chicago, IL, United States)
Ty Dolla $ign (Los Angeles, CA, United States)
UNiiQU3 (Newark, NJ, United States)
USA Out Of Vietnam (Montreal, QC, Canada)
Vince Staples (Long Beach, CA, United States)
White Lung (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Zola Jesus (United States)
Supersonic Festival 2015 has announced their lineup, which is scheduled for June 11-14, 2015 in Birmingham, England (UK).
Cicuit Des Yeux
Liima – Efterklang + Tatu Rönkkö
Ravioli Me Away
Six Organs of Admittance/
The Pop Group
Wildbirds and Peacedrums
If you pay any attention to internet forums or social media venues concerning Black Metal, strap yourself in and get ready for the waterworks. Liturgy’s 2011 album Aesthetica (Thrill Jockey) practically set those parts of the internet where panda-paint and studded armbands are still the law on fire with howling and recriminations – they were hipsters who didn’t understand Metal; they were disrespecting or even betraying Metal; anyone who liked them was a poser and personally responsible for the death of Cliff Burton.
The internet being what it is, of course, the other side were as bad, gleefully throwing around hyperbole about “transcending” Metal’s limitations and the death of the caveman headbanger. Four years later, the follow-up to this divisive album has been released, and in terms of honouring Black Metal’s traditions and aesthetics, it makes Aesthetica look like A Blaze In The Northern Sky (Peaceville). There will be tears.
Liturgy, of course, are entirely aware of this reputation. Setting out their stall from the very beginning, The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey Records) opens with that most Black Metal of clichés – the portentous synth intro – and turns it on its head. Fanfare opens with the parpiest keyboards we’ve heard since Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (Candlelight), but uses repetitions, discord and glitches to turn it into something resembling Bal-Sagoth having a stroke – both triumphant and broken, familiar yet challenging. Aesthetically, the rest of the album takes its cues from this, blending glitchy electronics, parpy synths, jingly bells and programmed drums in with Liturgy’s usual guitars and… ahem… “burst beats” to create a dense, shifting wall of sound. It’s the vocals, however, which are likely be the biggest sticking point – the more traditional screams of Aesthetica making way for a withdrawn, chant-like mumble, clean yet muddied, and unusually passive and withdrawn for a Metal band of any kind. The internet has already had a massive coronary over ‘Vitriol’, in which vocalist Hunter Hunt-Hendricks “raps” – though in truth it’s more like Middle-Class Spoken Word than anything you’d find on a Hip-Hop album.
Musically, this is a much more varied collection than we’d normally expect from a “Black Metal” band – ranging from triumphant fanfares and surprisingly ferocious blasts through to languid, contemplative passages and shuffling, trance-like electronica – but Liturgy succeed in retaining a feeling of identity and purpose throughout. Even on the afore-mentioned ‘Vitriol’, it never feels like they’re throwing all their cool new influences against a wall to see what sticks – there’s a sense of purpose and intent here that separates them from the aimless hipsterish mess they’ve been accused of being. This is an ALBUM, not just a collection of point-scoring references, and it unfolds with an arrogance and forcefulness that is entirely Metal
That’s the most surprising thing about The Ark Work, as much as both fans and detractors alike would argue otherwise – it is absolutely Metal As Fuck. The Ark Work doesn’t always sound like Heavy Metal, let alone Black Metal, but it couldn’t have come from any other genre. Whereas their equally-controversial peers Deafheaven take fairly conservative Black Metal music and play it with a completely different attitude and aesthetic, Liturgy do almost the opposite, drawing on musical elements quite far from genre traditions, but always investing it with the arrogance, power and sense of sheer unashamed ludicrousness that has always marked the best Metal. Even the vocals make sense once you realise how utterly un-self-conscious they are, and what a massive middle finger to genre conventions they represent. You spluttered in disbelief when you first heard Hunter droning away on Quetzlcoatl? How do you think 80’s Trad Metal fans felt when they first heard Tom G Warrior?
Despite what you may have heard, The Ark Work is neither the ultimate transformation of stupid music into art nor the final betrayal of Metal’s values by the poser hordes. It is, however, one of the boldest, most distinctive and utterly unflinching Metal albums you’ll hear all year, and the perfect example of a band with a strong vision and a determination to walk their own path until the end.
Rhode Island noise duo Lightning Bolt will be touring the US with Liturgy this spring. They will be touring in support of their forthcoming Fantasy Empire album, due March 24, 2015 via Thrill Jockey. Stream “The Metal East” here.
Apr 15: Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY w/ METZ
Apr 16: Double Happiness – Columbus, OH w/ METZ
Apr 17: Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH w/ METZ
Apr 18: The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ METZ
Apr 19: Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
Apr 20: Turf Club – Saint Paul, MN
Apr 21: The Luminary Center for the Arts – St. Louis, MO
Apr 22: Jackpot Music Hall – Lawrence, KS
Apr 24: GLOB – Denver, CO
Apr 25: Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 27: The Shredder – Boise, ID
Apr 28: Neumos – Seattle, WA w/ Liturgy
Apr 29: Dantes – Portland, OR w/ Liturgy
May 01: The Chapel – San Francisco , CA w/ Liturgy
May 02: Leo’s – Oakland, CA w/ Liturgy
May 03: Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA w/ Liturgy
May 04: Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA w/ Liturgy
May 05: Casbah – San Diego, CA w/ Liturgy
May 06: Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
May 08: Austin Psych Fest – Austin, TX
May 09: Siberia – New Orleans, LA
May 10: Mammal Gallery – Atlanta, GA
May 11: Kings – Raleigh, NC
May 12: Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
May 13: Floristree – Baltimore, MD
May 14: Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
May 15: The Wick – Brooklyn, NY
May 16: Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY