Memoriam – The Silent Vigil

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

Ugasanie – Ice Breath of Antarctica

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

Insect Ark – Marrow Hymns

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

Gnaw Their Tongues – Genocidal Majesty

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

Gnaw Their Tongues – Collected Atrocities

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

Cryo Chamber: Miles To Midnight & Ur Djupan Da

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

Cleric – Retrocausal

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.  

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