I think it’s fair to say that no-one expected Karl Willetts to journey too far outside his musical safe zone. That Memoriam bear more than a passing similarity to Bolt Thrower is so obvious that pointing it out feels like bad journalism, but it’s worth noting because the very factor that makes The Silent Vigil (Nuclear Blast) so worthwhile is how masterfully it captures its chosen style. Continue reading
I’ve never really gone in for the whole Weather Dependant Music thing. You know, listening to Pop Punk in Summer, Immortal in Winter, Megadeth when the clouds spell out the word “dickhead” in the sky? It always felt a little superficial to me, turning music into a glorified decoration, when REAL music fans listen to whatever they want whenever they want it. Continue reading
The thing that everyone always forgets about “Post-Rock” is that it was never intended to be a defined style of music. Essentially journalistic shorthand for “I don’t really know what this is, but they use guitars”, it was a useful semi-label for the otherwise unlabelable until someone decided that it was a genre defined by stroke-inducing levels of boredom and its use in a review became the Touch Of Death for all right-thinking people. Continue reading
When a band that formed in 2006 have already recorded ten full-length albums and so many EPs and splits that I can’t be bothered counting them, it’s fair to assume that they’ve (I know, it’s only one person, but you use a band-name you get called by a plural – science) nailed their sound down by now. With Metal/Noise pioneers Gnaw Their Tongues, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that – they’ve somehow managed to develop a style that is instantly recognisable but changes subtly across each album, to the extent that you’re never sure exactly what you’re going to get when a new one is announced, and how heavily it will lean towards their disparate sides. Continue reading
These days, blending Black Metal with Noise/Ambient electronics is so common it’s become a cliché (or, at least, it seems that way if you’re the one Ghost Cult asks to review EVERY SINGLE ALBUM IN THAT STYLE THAT EVER GETS RELEASED), but that wasn’t always the case. During the late 90’s and early 2000’s using Noise for intros or segues was standard, but actually letting it into your SONGS was still largely frowned upon. Along with his peers in Axis Of Perdition, Mories (the man solely responsible for Gnaw Their Tongues) was among the first to really explore the potential of these two often contradictory styles, and still among the very best. Continue reading
It’s starting to feel like I’m repeating myself here, but “Cinematic Dark Ambient” specialists Cryo Chamber remain one of the most consistently engaging and accomplished in any genre, and one of their more interesting qualities is their themed collaborations between artists. For a Metal label these would likely be little more than indulgent acts of vanity, but Cryo Chamber’s collaborations are always among the most distinctive and evocative of their releases, the artists combining their disparate approaches to create a shared atmosphere, often based around a narrative or themed. Continue reading
Does no-one care about End Of Year Lists anymore? [shakes fist angrily]
Releasing an album like Retrocausal (Web Of Mimicry) in mid-December almost seems designed to antagonise self-righteous reviewers who freak out about making their lists as accurate as they can – but speaking as one, it’s easy to forgive Cleric when their slap comes in the form of an album this good.
Slayer are the only band I have ever fallen in love with without hearing a note.
It was in 1994 when I was sixteen – despite growing up in a house full of Rock music I started caring about it quite late. Until fifteen, my only interests were video games, movies and books (initially about dragons, later about eldritch tentacle horrors – I must be one of the few Metal fans who got into Lovecraft before the music), with Rock arriving very suddenly through the surprising medium of Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet (Mercury). From there it was a rapid journey through Guns n’ Roses, Motörhead and Black Sabbath, and then a family friend put Master Of Puppets (Elektra) on and by the time ‘Battery’ had finished I was a different person. Continue reading
Portal are one of the most important Death Metal bands in the world.
In a genre as conservative as Heavy Metal it is no surprise that lists of influential bands generally don’t go beyond a pre-approved set of “classics”, but Portal have earned their place among the Deaths and Morbid Angels. Over four albums and nearly fifteen years, they took Death Metal apart and reassembled the pieces into nightmarish, abstract shapes that for the first time managed to sound how the artwork looked. Like most innovators, it took time for their impact to sink in, but over the last few years they have – quite against their will, it seems – triggered a mini-trend of impersonators and left Death Metal in quite a different place than it was in 2013 when Vexovoid (Profound Lore), was released. Continue reading
In which Richie HR dives into the maelstrom of abstract Metal, Noise and Ambient, and comes back up with something awful… Continue reading