Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Album: In Your Neck Of The Woods Dying
Melbourne, Australia's Ahkmed is really on to something. Their self-described sound is "post-stoner," and that's an apt des c r i p tion, as the band fuses the more traditional psych and fuzz utilized so often by the best of the stoner bunch with the more atmospheric instrumental approach of bands such as Pelican and the more recent Mogwai albums. Cool concept - it's like somebody put chocolate in my peanut butter, and peanut butter in my chocolate, and I'm loving it. What's even cooler is that this trio isn't afraid to throw a little kraut into the mix as well, and while that might sound really disgusting if we were still talking about peanut butter and chocolate, musically it works well.* I hear echoes of Neu!, Amon Duul II, and Tangerine Dream in some of these sprawling tracks. Oh, and for the record, the last track has vocals; the other three do not. These guys have been around since 1998, and it's a shame that they haven't gathered more notoriety, because this is pretty intriguing stuff, and they actually manage to take modern heavy psych and put their own spin on it. I really can't recommend this enough. Now come to America so I can see it all live. (StonerRock.com)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Artist: Mouth Of The Architect
Album: The Ties That Blind
Label: Translation Loss
02. No One Wished To Settle Here
03. Carry On
04. Harboring An Apparition
05. At Arms Length
06. Wake Me When It's Over
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Artist: Across Tundras
Album: Lonesome Wails from the Weeping Willow
Label: Forgotten Empire Records
01. Before the Rooster Crows
02. Blackbird Sanguine Sky
03. Holes II: High River Dirge
04. The Wall of Breathless Sleep
05. Lowlands Low & Thunderstorm Wake
06. Last Breath over Venom Falls
07. Massive Echo Mountain
08. Cold Earth Death Scrolls
09. Lonesome Whistle Blues
10. Requiem for Luke the Drifter
As of late, Across Tundras' clever take on sludge and doom metal has certainly been appreciated amongst the Neur-Isis disciple bands. The band's previous record took a robust helping of the standard stoner metal ingredients and blended in dashes of country twang, vintage rock, and folk undertones to create a unique combination of raw heaviness with a western psyche. Lonesome Wails from the Weeping Willow, their debut release for Forgotten Empire Records, showcases the band's ever increasing attention to detail, as the trio's sound is filled out with a wide range of traditional folk instruments (mandolin, slide guitar, etc.). These elements, though present on Western Sky Ride, permeate each and every track, allowing LWFTWW to represent the bands most unified and fluid record yet.
LWFTWW also displays a bit of a step away from Neurosis and Black Sabbath-type songwriting styles toward a sparser sound more akin to a blend of Earth and Neil Young. While the latter pair of influences was certainly instrumental in the musical mood of Western Sky Ride, they have moved to front and center on this release, pushing the stoner metal elements to the rear. In fact, many of the heavier moments of LWFTWW aren't necessarily heavy at all--they've got much more in common with 70s psychedelic rock than anything that would be classified as a traditional metal. So while the cohesiveness of this record is extremely impressive given the wide range of influences, many sludge/doom metal fans may find that Across Tundras has evolved to where they no longer sit on the edge of the genre.
But that's not to say that this album couldn't still appeal to this fan base. "Blackbird Sanguine Sky" and "Cold Earth Death Scrolls" both feature fantastic slow-moving chord progressions, vintage rock licks, raw drumming, and vocals buried deep in the mix--all of which could draw numerous comparisons to the songwriting mentality of many doom bands. Even the opener, "Before the Rooster Crows" exhibits an impressively dark mood through somber acoustic guitar work and murky ambiance. However, the great folk influence of tracks like "Lonesome Whistle Blues," "Lowlands Low & Thunderstorm Wa," and "Requiem for Luke the Drifter," represents quite a sizable songwriting shift from the band's last record. But alas, the band pulls it all together with ease, so listeners more inclined toward spacey vintage rock, or simply those tired with the often limited variety amongst doom and sludge releases will have no trouble getting into this.
Bottom Line: Across Tundras' Lonesome Wails from the Weeping Willow might not be as heavy as the band's previous record, but a more unified songwriting approach and the inclusion of all the bells and whistles of great folk and vintage rock albums easily make it a hit. It's perfect for fans of Earth, Neil Young, or those looking to trade a few big doom/sludge riffs for some equally dark western twang. -by lambgoat.com
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Album: Hiror Enniffer
Label: Hydra Head Records
01. This Land
02. Death Shawl
04. Black Running Water
05. Suckling A Dead Litter
Like an adamant darkening mist, Mamiffer’s Hirror Enniffer is a skulking presence that persists in its sense of despair only to evolve into distant calm right at the point when all hope appears lost.
Mamiffer is Faith Coloccia, a Seattle-based pianist, and a collective of song-weavers and visionaries. Under the watchful eye of Coloccia and her trusty tape recorder, friends Aaron Turner from Isis and Chris Common from These Arms Are Snakes have gathered to compile an environmental scourge of noise and atmosphere that is elegant, striking, and evocative.
Hirror Enniffer is Mamiffer’s debut and it breathes with all of the artistic sensibility one would expect from a musical visionary like Coloccia. Her sense of sound, her sense of feeling through sound, is exhibited in profound ways that intensify the experience with portions of classical, noise, and atmospheric rock.
At times, the air feels close.
But Mamiffer’s command of the atmosphere and the music is strong and the group exposes the elements, strips them bare, and places intricate song structures on top of sound and fog that more than likely was recorded in a dark, friendless field or perhaps in a Desert Hot Springs storm tunnel…
Hirror Enniffer comes like a dream, like an unrelenting vision that persists in deepening the tunnel until the bottom is all but forgotten. The tones are lush and somewhat damp, offering a glistening haze that carries through all six hypnotic tracks.
What really matters for Coloccia and Co. is the mood and the insistence of the passage of time. Chords hold and fade, easing through new notes perhaps by accident (“Death Shawl”) while still providing a clear direction. Other moments cascade like overlapping dreams, coating the listener in an episodic drama (“Black Running Water”) that subsides only when the full story is told.
Mamiffer’s Hirror Enniffer is dream music. It is the soundtrack in one’s head that winds through scenes of open fields, through hands on blades of grass, through moonlit mysteries. It is also the last stop as the dream passes from glorious cheerfulness to disastrous nightmare. The eeriness is pitiless and the alluring tide of darkness is often interminable like an endless hall filled with locked red doors (“Suckling a Dead Litter”).
Music like this cannot merely be described; music like this must be felt.Mamiffer’s debut is a beautiful piece of unremitting dream music, an arc of soft diaphanous emotion wrapped in pieces of classical music and brilliant noise. Hirror Enniffer is constructed out of the materials that engage our minds, fuel our dreams, and reveal our hopes. (blogcritics.org)
Artist: Our Ceasing Voice
Album: Steadied Stars In The Morphium Sky
Label: Self released
01. The Inevitable Fall
02. Of Lives Once Lost
03. As The Horizon's On Fire
04. Dazzled Eyes Are Shut
Our Ceasing Voice is a post-rock band from Tirol, Austria that started in late 2006. The band consists of three members and after a few changes and musical identification processes the current line up is:
Sebastian: guitars and programming
Reinhard: guitars/ vocals
The band's sound consists of a mix of ambient sounds along with (sometimes heavy) guitar riffs and the result is really interesting and enjoyable during the almost half-hour length of this ep. Furthermore, though Steadied Stars In The Morphium Sky was self-produced in the band's home-studio, the sound of this ep is pretty solid. So, Our Ceasing Voice offers us, already, one really remarkable release for this new year... -by DE-LOUSED (post-engineering.blogspot.com)
Monday, January 12, 2009
Label: Rising Pulse Records
01. Haunting A Ghost
03. Together We Become Forever
04. Staring at the Sound
05. I Should Have Known You Would
What do you get when you combine one part The Dillinger Escape Plan (Greg Puciato), one part Candiria (John LaMacchia), one part Isis (Jeff Caxide) and one part Made Out of Babies/Battle of Mice (Julie Christmas)? Well, you have the supergroup project called Spylacopa, who are now releasing their self-titled debut EP on Rising Pulse Records. Not quite metal, not quite post-rock, but certainly something along the lines of avant-garde flavored rock, Spylacopia certainly mix it up here on this 5-song EP. Puciato's tortured screams and wailings work well alongside the gentle vocals of Christmas on the manic opener "Haunting A Ghost", LaMacchia's textured guitar work providing plenty of the fireworks for this otherwise varied opening cut. More of the same can be heard on the raucous "Bloodletting", giving way to melodic piano on the gentle "Together We Become Forever". They come back with raging yet funky extreme metal on "Staring At the Sound", a ripping number with crunch riffs, pounding drum work, and lots of effective vocals from Puciato, in what is no doubt the song that shows the most promise for this ensemble on this EP. The closer "I Should Have Known You Would" takes an almost Pink Floyd meets Isis approach to atmospheric & ambient rock, dreamy vocals meshing with Dave Gilmour inspired guitar work and plenty of dark overtones.
As strong as this is, it just seems like the tip of the iceberg. We obviously know of the pedigree of these folks, so now that we have a taste of what they can do, let's hope next time around they can give us a full blast of the potential that's shown here.-by Pete Pardo (seaoftranquility.com)
Friday, January 9, 2009
Album: Wolves ANd Wishes
01. Don't Wait For The Needle To Drop
02. Bury The Ghost
03. If You Want To, You Have To
04. First Impossible
05. Hit And Pearle
07. Food Cycles
08. Keep Up Appereance
09. The Magic Stick
10. Capture The Flag
Dosh fits many of the backpack rapper stereotypes. He sits on the Anticon roster, a bastion of rule-breaking hip-hop that has no truck with the likes of, say, Cam'ron or Petey Pablo. He comes from Minneapolis, home of the Replacements and Prince, but wanting for nationally known rappers, save the canonized-on-the-quad Atmosphere. Dosh's beats aren't composed of soul samples, drowning in bass, or expressly built to house verses and choruses: they are impressionistic, surging, cut loose of 4/4 constraints. Over the frenzy of drum machines and looped samples, he would take the pensive swirl of his vintage Rhodes and pile it dramatically-- with a flair for surprise-- on top of something else.
But he doesn't rap. His connection to the genre won't be obvious to most listeners. In fact, you might call him electronica's answer to the rising tide, reported in The New York Times Magazine, of one-man operations that sound like bands. But listening to Dosh, as opposed to listening to the equally skilled Four Tet, you don't have the sense of technology rudely intruding into the creative process, of the wizard too busy to care whether we can see him behind the curtain. He does care: where Four Tet parades his mastery of vivid, unapologetic collage, Dosh goes for a mastery of illusion.
So like any illusionist, he takes care to start and end with a bang. Only Dosh could imagine, let alone orchestrate, a meeting of Andrew Bird's tender violin and Fog's hyperactive guitar and bass. The play of vibes and keys lends this, the album opener "Don't Wait for the Needle to Drop", a mesmerizing texture, the grooves recalling a funk-tinged, gamelan symphony. "Capture the Flag" falls on the other end of Wolves and Wishes, where it reaches for the same exotic grandeur. Strings appear again, in sampled form, along with the Dosh's fuzzy arpeggios. But now we hear a sax pumping away. And more surprisingly, we hear Dosh's own voice lowered over the maze of noise, cutting a passage of coolness and clarity into the thickets of dense, off-kilter instrumentation.
Between these bursts of color, the album rarely tones it down. Without sounding repetitive, a network of reappearing themes, people, and sounds holds Wolves and Wishes together. Andrew Bird returns to grace "Kit and Pearle", for instance, with more anguished turns on his violin, underneath Dark Dark Dark's sighing vocals. The outer tracks' air of exoticism pours back in on the rhythmically brilliant "Food Cycles" and "Keep Up Appearances". And Dosh's protégé Mike Lewis launches his sax into Jeremy Ylvisaker's vibrating, room-filling sheets of reverb on "Wolves". Not until we reach the final minutes of the tectonic, Sun Ra-repping, Arthur Russell-influenced epic "First Impossible" do we hear an unexpected, unmistakable rap beat. It fits right in. People want to call this IDM. The label tells vendor to file this under "Rock". Bristling with jazzy forms, infused with a global soul, Wolves and Wishes turns hip-hop's philosophy of bricolage into a glitchy, raucous, genre-spanning achievement. - by Roque Strew (pitchforkmedia.com)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Artist: The Storm Explosion
Album: Wasteland EP
02. Everything That's Living
03. Not Alone
The Storm Explosion are a 4 piece experimental guitar band making waves in their hometown of Reading in the South of England. Consisting of Jamie Allaway Guitar/vocals, Gary McSorley/Guitar, Andy Henderson/Bass, Pedro Borralho/Drums.
The band had been jammin as a 3-piece for the last 2 years, locked away in their practice room in Readinf, writing music that would "Blow People Away". The band didn't follow any rules in making music and do thing the way they want without any boundaries or limits. In March 2008 the band decided although still a strong force as a 3 piece, that they would sound bigger with 2 guitarists. So McSorley, also a talented guitarist, would now play guitar. Then by chance Andrew Henderson, a close associate of the band stepped forward, more than willing to play bass. Now with the line-up complete, the band once again retreated to the practice room to learn to play as a 4 piece, which was an instant and natural transition. The band is now getting ready for its summer gigs and to unleash their sound to the people.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Artist: The Amenta
Formed in 2000 by guitarist Erik Miehs and sampler Timothy Pope, THE AMENTA quickly came to embody a new movement in both the worldwide, and local extreme metal scenes. Fusing industrial noisescapes, brutal distortion, and mind numbingly complex riffs, THE AMENTA defined its distinctiveness early in its career. The band recorded and released the Mictlan MCD in 2002. Four tracks depicting mourning and intellectual decay set to unsettling industrial ambiance: Mictlan set the standard for THE AMENTA’s future releases. In addition to excellent reviews and significant praise across the globe, the MCD also gained the attention of France’s Listenable Records; in turn, setting the stage for the evolution of THE AMENTA from a local band to a group of professional artists.
Listenable Records released Occasus, the band’s 2004 full-length debut, worldwide. The album was recorded and mixed by Lachlan Mitchell and THE AMENTA at Room of Doom Studios, Que Studios, and BJB Studios in Sydney and mastered at Studio 301 by Steve Smart. The ten-track epic, which touches on themes of revolt against tradition; human stagnancy; slave society fostered by religion and socio-political dogma; consists of masterful riffing and melancholy ambiance. Occasus was received by the media with raving reviews, and by the end of 2004, THE AMENTA tied for second place in Terrorizer Magazines’ ‘Best New Band” category, and won “Best New Band” from Australian Kerrang!. Between the release of Ocassus and 2006, THE AMENTA toured Australia three times: opening for Alchemist, Behemoth, and as a headliner. In 2005, Mictlan was released on limited 7” vinyl, and Ocassus was re-released as a limited edition with a bonus “Virus” DVD/EP in 2007.
THE AMENTA returned to the studio in late 2007 to record their sophomore effort n0n. Rather than relying on the clichéd sound and style in which other bands are content to wallow, THE AMENTA has constructed an album built on new ideas, concepts, sounds and techniques. n0n is the fusion of white noise, shards of dissonant guitars, and dense layers of radio chatter. Lyrically, n0n is a newscast, contextualizing the listener into his vice-driven society with suicide bombers and evangelists: freeways, and dead ends. n0n is an indictment on today’s media and technology addicted hyperactive society. With each song featuring over 100 instrument and sample tracks, the album pushes technology to its absolute limits. The recording of n0n spans many countries and seven different studios, with a myriad of different contributors and performers including Jason Mendonca (Akercocke), Alice Daquet (Sir Alice), Alex Pope (Ruins) and more. Fusing the ugliest parts of extreme metal, electronic noise, and dub; with a ferocious and scathing world view, n0n is the future of extreme music! In October 2007 THE AMENTA toured Australia with The Berzerker. Due to overwhelming success and demand, the two will once again tour Australia and New Zealand in January 2008 on the Industrial Corruption Tour. n0n was released in Europe on 20 October via Listenable Records, and will be released in North America on 10 February 2009. THE AMENTA will hit European shores for the first time, supporting DEICIDE and VADER on the Winter Fest 2009 tour. THE AMENTA will deliver unrelenting brutality on a massive scale to dissidents worldwide, while redefining death metal.