Into Sorrow Evermore (Napalm Records) marks the return of the German Black Metal two-piece Imperium Dekadenz, who wears the influence of the Norwegian second wave firmly on their sleeve, along with the inspiration of their Black Forest surroundings. The album is their seventh full-length release and dives deep into a landscape of atmospheric black metal, written as a symphony of aggressive yet uplifting music, woven around sweeping and mesmerising guitar riffs.Continue reading
Helsinki-formed outfit Green King’s debut album, Hidden Beyond Time (The Sign) encourages you to Travel Back In Time, to the NWOBHM – in a good way. It’s all expertly done, all great fun, and, as a long-playing calling card, introduces a quality band that obviously have a grasp of several genres while strongly suggesting there is much more still to come.
Metal in its various forms has a reasonably long-standing practice of making concept albums based on historical events, and the latest album from Dystopian Future Movies, War of the Ether (Septaphonic Records) continues that trend with what is almost certainly the most intense musical experience I have ever had.
Swedish post metal outfit The Moth Gatherer have just released their second album, The Earth is the Sky (Agonia) Apparently the band was started to help deal with the loss of loved ones, which is believable given the dark, melancholic nature of the music on offer.
From the opening notes of the excellent ‘Pale Explosions’, here is six tracks of dark, slowly unfolding depression via the medium of crushing riffs. As with any good post-metal record, there’s plenty of light and shade; the vocals swing between sombre melodies and almost Jamey Jasta-like screams, while the riffs juxtapose between clean quiet moments and wall of sound heaviness. It’s long, winding and largely instrumental, with the focus being on the unnerving nature of the music rather than a verse-chorus-verse-solo song structure.
‘Attacus Atlas’ is nine minutes of atmospheric and claustrophobic guitar work. ‘Dylatlov’s Pass’ is a largely ambient interlude that acts as a long respite before the droning noise of ‘The Black Antlers’, while album closer ‘In Awe Before the Rapture’ slowly builds via clean riffs and spoken word passages towards a slow but hypnotic finally.
Post metal is a hard style of music to get right, and despite having some really good moments and starting strong, The Earth is the Sky starts to fade away by the end of the record. It lacks the variety and quality song writing to keep you entertained right to the very end. However, when they’re good, The Moth Gatherer are very good and well worth your time if you’re into this kind of music.
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Although Lee Brown Coye passed on over 30 years ago, his stories and macabre drawings live on. His son, Robert Coye, brings some of his late father’s imaginings to life on the spoken word album Where Is Abby? (Cadabra Records). Not only does he do his father justice, but he creates an enjoyable album that can be listened to my generations to come.
The stories on the album are of varying length. For instance, ‘The Undertaker’ is under a minute long but is as much of a gem as any other track. It is one of the only ones where the first person narrative is used. The bizarrely positive aspect of the story is part of what makes the entire album so fun to listen to.
Title track ‘Where Is Abby?’ treads the line between a far away time and modernity. It is part of what makes the tales feel grounded in reality. The story starts off with an observation of how humans hold up against haunting experiences. It also touches upon a theme of the stories; they often happen to a “friend” of the narrator. This way of telling the story was part of Lee Brown Coye’s brilliance. The removed feel from the narrator gives a sort of credibility to the tale.
One of the best developed and most imaginative short stories is ‘The Lincoln Train’. A Twilight Zone type aura figures heavily into the narrative. The story is ghostly but also grounded into history. It is this dynamic that creates a number of great American myths and ‘The Lincoln Train’ is no exception. Both Coyes bring every single passenger on the train to life with the descriptions and how they sound.
The art featured on the album is just as important as the tales. There is far more to Lee Brown Coye’s work than could ever be displayed with an album, but the chosen drawings are a good start. The pictures accurately convey the spookiness and strangeness of the tracks. As can be surmised from them, this album is perfect for the upcoming Halloween season or year-round for those with a special interest in the macabre.
New Jersey isn’t a place you’d imagine was capable of spawning a Black Metal act that could appease the kvlt masses, all 666 of them. Indeed, the Garden State had best prepare for the oncoming blizzard. Being a band for nearly 20 years, Krieg has been among the forerunners of the USBM movement alongside Judas Iscariot, Weakling, and Leviathan, a distinction well deserved if it culminates in the release at hand, entitled Transient. The unassuming cover art features naught but a ruined building in black & white; no logo, no title, just an unassuming portrait of decay to accompany the equally grim music.
Far from being merely an imitation of the Norse masters, one can still pick out glimmers of old Immortal, and DarkThrone, as well as that distinctively American (fuck yeah) sound that pays homage to Crust Punk. Speaking of that, there’s a killer cover of Amebix’s ‘Winter’, with faithfully replicated vocals, cleverly placed in the middle of the album as opposed to being tacked on at the end. Not many bands do this, but I feel as though Transient on its own could have gotten away with that, seeing as the material is strong enough to hold its own merit. The drumming’s cannonading assault is rhythmically sound, and even provides enough subtlety, particularly in the cymbalwork, to keep me tuned in throughout. The guitar work is simple, but does its job well enough that they don’t need flashy solos, complex intertwining harmonies, etc. Just endless snow. Even the bass is audible, and that extra layer of low end goes a long way in enhancing the already potent axes.
Overall, I found myself preferring the tracks with the catchiest melodies, as I’m a sucker for songwriting in my Black Metal. ‘Atlas With A Broken Arm’ has a particularly sorrowful, even catchy melody, and near the end puts in a rockin’ headbang section, complete with an atmospheric lead (or is it a synth?), finishing with a spectacularly anguished wail that departs from Lord Imperial’s standard delivery. ‘Ruin Our Lives’ opens slow, has a brief electronic interlude, and returns with renewed malice in the form of Satanic Warmaster-esque pummeling. Closing track ‘Gospel Hand’ is perhaps, alongside ‘Atlas’, one of the strongest tracks, due to its melody also being quite the earworm, insofar as Black Metal can have catchy riffs without being false. Take notes, aspiring Black Metallers, before strapping on those spiked gauntlets: You can make music.
Picturesque bleakness and a comforting sense of nihility pervade this release. No filler makes itself known here, even though the average song is around 4-5 minutes, the longest being ‘Home’, an ambient track featuring a seasonably bleak spoken word piece that drives er… home the essence and heart of the album. Enriched by electronics and a simple acoustic guitar riff, it’s a welcome shift musically, tonally cohesive enough to earn its place. In all, the album doesn’t reek of modernity, nor wallow in its vinyl closet, but offers quality at every turn. A highly recommended soundtrack for your impending death.