Ethan McCarthy‘s myriad recordings under his classification of ‘Noise’ are what many of us might name Harsh Ambient or Ambient Drone. Dystopian, disturbian, yet with elements of clarity that break through the crushing sound (and occasional soundbites of sex), many fans will have encountered these often challenging passages through his work with Primitive Man and here with his solo project Many Blessings. Sophomore album Emanation Body (Translation Loss Records) embraces more atmospheric airs whilst retaining much of that visceral anger. Continue reading
When I heard about this particular collaboration, I swear a little bit of wee came out. Seattle’s Un is still reveling in the success of last year’s coruscating, moving Sentiment (Translation Loss Records), while Scouse / Scottish hybrid Coltsblood have laid waste to the UK Underground for the last five years. This split, therefore, promises to be a leveller on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading
Jarboe, or Jarboe La Salle Devereaux as she is known to her accountant, is also the other founding member of the legendary Swans. So, no pressure there, then. She’s also shockingly busy, with a looooong discography, and a new ambient/experimental rock album, Cut Of The Warrior (Translation Loss Records) out this month. But is it her swan song, or will it break this reviewer’s arm? Continue reading
Denver-based sludge/doom band Primitive Man has shared a new song, ‘Oily Tears’. The track is from the blistering new split lp featuring brand new music with and Hell. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the release (both original vinyl variants sold out in under 5 hours), Translation Loss Records have unveiled a third limited edition variant. The new variant is limited to 300 copies and is available for pre-order now at the link below. The EP releases on February 22nd, 2019. Album artwork by Primitive Man’s Ethan McCarthy. Continue reading
Legendary chanteuse and artist Jarboe is releasing a new album next month, The Cut of the Warrior on December 14th via Translation Loss Records. Now listen to the stream the brand new track “Karuna’. Pre-orders are live at the links below. Continue reading
It’s taken eight years for US tortured Doom activists Amarok to create an album but, finally, here it is. With four tracks clocking in at almost 70 minutes you know that Devoured (Translation Loss) is going to be a long ride, but the news here is that it’s an emotionally draining one also. Continue reading
Doom metal continues to evolve and impress me even though it has been around just as long if not longer than any other subgenre of heavy metal. One such fantastic example of this is the latest release from progressive doom group, Lesbian. Hallucinogenesis (Translation Loss) is a forty-six minute trip through endless riffs and psychedelia. The album is a perfect length for what Lesbian was looking to do here as it does not seem to drag on, nor did I feel shorted once the last track ended.
The first track, ‘Pyramidal Existinctualism’, starts off the album with a bang. The guitar riffs are frantic and right in the front of the mix, giving off a feeling like your hallucinogenic journey has suddenly began without any warning. The next track off of Hallucinogenesis is the longest on the album and maybe my favorite, ‘Labrea Borealis’. This song has one of my favorite elements that only the best of doom writers can do and that is to get their listener to absolutely lose themselves in the song. By the time the first riff pattern ends and the second part of the song hits, nearly five minutes has come and gone, but yet it does not feel dragged out or stale. The third song, ‘Kosmoceratops’, is one of the more upbeat songs on the album that is sure to get your fist pumping with the snare hits. Right as your arm gets numb from that, around two and a half minutes in is a nice breakdown (no deathcore here, chill out) which is sure to get the rest of your body moving. The closer, ‘Aqualibrium’, does a great job of bringing your drug induced journey to an end. The last-minute or so has an effect where it feels like the listener is getting sucked out of this psychedelic dream world right before the last refrain of the main riff and fade out that really caps off the album well.
Lesbian is another doom/sludge band that easily made their way into my music library and will continue to reside there. Hallucinogenesis only has four tracks but are different from one another enough to make each track feel fresh and a new leg of the adventure that the album seeks out to send you on. The only portions of some of the songs that had me confused were the almost black metal screeches that occasionally popped up. The first few times I listened to the album, they felt out-of-place. Overall, this late summer doom release should leave a mark on all fans as we approach autumn.
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It took me about three seconds of the opening bars of ‘The Light You Stole’, the first track on City of Ships’ third, full length album, the really quite brilliant Ultraluminal (Translation Loss) to know that I had fallen in love with it. In fact, it took just one listen of this record to realise that Ultraluminal had gotten under my skin and was going to stay there like a freshly inked tattoo. City of Ships are positively brimming with intelligence, insight and verve. This is the sort of record that makes you feel a little bit smarter, a bit better about yourself and a lot better about the world.
On the band’s second record, the underground classic of Minor World (Sound Study), their brilliance with atmospherics and textures was matched by a muscularity and power that beguiled and bewitched. On Ultraluminal, the first thing you’re struck by is the brevity of it all. This is a album of distillation: of thought process, of musical dexterity, of creative imagination.
As with many bands where lazy listeners look for an easy and comforting pigeonhole, you could lump City of Ships into that strange hinterland known as post-rock whatever that means. Admittedly, there’s certainly plenty of guitar driven histrionics that anyone with a passing knowledge of Thrice or Quicksand would find to their liking but I think that does them something of a disservice. On ‘Alarm’, for example, I found myself being swept back to my college shoe-gazing days with all the psychedelic and swooning melodies that conjures in the memory. Equally, the plaintive and emotional vocals of lead singer Eric Jernigan means that you’re vicariously living his pain, joy and ennui as clearly and acutely as he is rather than looking for a convenient label to pin on them. Have a listen to the mournful ‘Lost It’ or the punky and feedback drenched ‘Private Party’ and you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about.
There’s a focus and immediacy to the tracks on Ultraluminal that also impresses. Ultraluminal is notable for its punk aesthetic allied to a renewed belief in the power of writing, you know, actual songs. The closing track ‘Mile High’ perhaps being a case in point: it’s a minor chord, melancholic masterpiece. You don’t get alliteration like that everyday, kids.
Ultraluminal is a record that I keep thinking about when it’s not on and keep thinking about when it is on. You know that old, familiar adage about a band being able to do no wrong; on Ultraluminal, you get the idea that the hyperbole might just be justified.
Philadelphia hardcore punk/metal crossover outfit Starkweather will be reissuing their classic underground albums Crossbearer (1992) and Into the Wire (1995) as a deluxe two CD package on April 21, 2015 via Translation Loss Records.
The reissue includes the two albums that have been completely remastered, have new cover artwork, and repackaged by BCHC along with extras that are no longer in print. The track listing is as follows:
02. Mean Streets
03. Rest the Soul
04. Lazarus Runs
05. Murder in Technicolor
07. Unto Me
08. Picture It Obsidian
09. The Rift
10. Above the Rafters
Into the Wire tracklist:
03. Unto Me
04. Murder in Technicolor
05. Into the Wire
09. The Divine Art of Exquisite Torment
11. Hushabye and Goodnight
12. Taming Leeches with Fire
Starkweather 2015 is: Rennie Resmini (vocals), Jim Winters (guitar), Harry Rosa (drums), Sean Jacobs (bass) and Vincent Rosa (bass).