29 Apr 2016

Roky Erickson @ Voxhall, Aarhus DK 28.04.2016

A shadow of his former self, a semi-rehabilitated Roky Erickson goes through the motions on life support
It was a tired looking Roger Kynard Erickson who entered the stage at Voxhall the 28th of April, 2016. Whether this is the current state of the influential musician or a result of excessive touring is uncertain, but nonetheless coloured the evening's mood a bleak shade of blue.

You don't have to be much of a rock fan to know who Roky Erickson is. Together with bands like The Seeds and Electric Prunes, Roky's band The 13th Floor Elevators more or less created psychedelic rock in the mid sixties. Their '66 debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, remains a classic to this day, with the track You're Gonna Miss Me being regarded as the group's biggest hit. Two albums followed, Easter Everywhere and Bull of the Woods, before the band dissolved and Erickson continued with other projects.

28 Apr 2016

Dead Hills: "Purgatory / Winds of Time"

Master crafted atmospheres and grey vibes
Australia has a track record of great metal bands, and in a huge variety of subgenres too. Most well known is probably the country-continent's affinity for blackened thrash bands like Deströyer 666, but with big names like Portal, Psycroptic, The Berzerker, Abyssic Hate, Hobbs' Angel of Death, Mortal Sin and more, it's safe to say they know what they're doing down under. Dead Hills, however, is a rare occurence yet. A black metal band at heart, the one-man band rends depressive soundscapes with electronic clouds of ambience and lengthy passages of withering distortion.

27 Apr 2016

Sanity Obscure: "Subterranean Constellation"

Hard pressed for lasting attention, but capable of an enjoyable end-product
The press release states something along the lines that Sanity Obscure is for fans of such bands as Pestilence, Nocturnus, Coroner, Atheist and Death. Naturally comparing a band to such legends of technical and progressive metal are big words - Can the Singaporeans truly deliver what they promise? If they really are what they claim, those names are a good start for sure.

26 Apr 2016

Hammerspace: "The Kings of Mediocrity" & "Volume 1: Reset, Repair, Restore"

Cliché-ridden heavy metal for the edgiest of fedora-enthusiastic neckbeards
While the 80s was probably the decade that saw the most progress and evolution for heavy metal as a genre, it is also the decade that many current bands revisit and mimic - Some more succesfully than others. The joining of old and new seems much more paraxodical, though, with a "band" such as Hammerspace. Created by Timothy Branch as a sort of virtual concept band with imaginary members, or characters, the conceptual group borrows from fantasy and heavy metal culture alike.

The following is a sort of double-up review, holding up against each other the project's two releases The Kings of Mediocrity EP and Volume 1: Reset, Repair, Restore, released by Torn Flesh Records.

25 Apr 2016

Nordland: "Nordland"

A welcome addition to the black metal roster
Vorh, a resident of North East England, has with his project Nordland joined the forces of one-man black metal bands. Since the early days, bands like Burzum, Satanic Warmaster and Xasthur have proven that the basic concept isn't necessarily a stillborn attempt at the genre. A plethora of singular individuals have sought to mimic the success of the few; most have failed. But with the eponymous debut, Nordland from the UK is a strong contender among legends.

24 Apr 2016

Eudaimonia: "Hymn to the Dying World"

Ambiguous performance in black metal, atmospheres and moods
The Danish one-man effort Eudaimonia, while not entirely beyond categorization, is a project of highly diverse compositions. At a point you think you've gotten to know the band and its sound with all its facets of ambience, atmospheres and black metal-esque fluctuations, only to get thrown off by the addition of other foreign elements, forcing you to reevaluate you thoughts of Eudaimonia. As such it is a band that avoid pigeonholing.

23 Apr 2016

Darkend: "Grand Guignol: Book I"

Symphonic black metal done right
When you mention symphonic black metal, most people will instantly think of Dimmu Borgir. The funny thing is that a band like Italy's Darkend in much greater capacity encompass the essence of the genre in many aspects. Though their lyrics aren't overtly satanic - as is usual custom, their riffs aren't thin tremolo-fests, their vocals aren't solely the throaty rasping usually combined with the style, and the drumming is much more varied than the conventional blast beats, at heart they are much more a black metal band than Dimmu Borgir (they were, after all, featured on a split with power metal bands Avantasia and Sonata Arctica in 2014) - or similarly prominent bands in the scene - currently are.

22 Apr 2016

The Living Dead of Film Scores

The Living Dead of Film Scores
or: The Lasting Appeal and Influence of Horror Film Soundtracks

There is no way around it. The soundtracks and scores for films are among the most powerful pop-cultural rallying points, and have remained so for quite some time. In many ways they help define generations, while in other cases they transcend age groups. John Williams' Star Wars theme seems to be the prime example - Literally anyone knows it right off the bat. Let It Go from 2013’s smash hit Frozen lingers too, and will in all likelihood be this generation's Circle of Life (from The Lion King, duh).

21 Apr 2016

Black Chalice: "Submission"

On the right track to the apocalypse
The sonic versions of burdening depression and imposing matters is exactly what you would expect from a project named Black Chalice, and the project delivers. The undertaking of one Patrick Hasson, a resident of Maine, USA, continues to return with more outings of mind-crippling doom.

20 Apr 2016

Okketaehm: "Stones"

The wintry grey north has never looked or sounded better
I was on my way out the door one early winter morning in freezing Denmark. I got in the car to go to work on the hitherto coldest and snowiest morning that year, and like so many times before I was going over my CDs to find a couple to bring on the trip. I was going to go with some Entombed and Darkthrone, feeling like listening to some old school stuff, but then I found Okketaehm's 2012 demo Stones from Contaminated Tones Productions and thought I might as well give it a listen on the way to work. Though the total play-time of Stones is a mere 18 minutes in length, those 18 minutes consist of the most grey, wintry, space-like ambience and raw black metal imaginable. The demo never left the car's CD player that day.

19 Apr 2016

Black Chalice: "Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour"

Perhaps a bit too esoterical for its own good
Today we revisit Patrick Hasson's Black Chalice. The last review - of the Black Chalice 2011 demo Years of Flame - yielded a 6/10 score, and now the time has come to get acquainted with the Maine one-man project's debut demo, Prayers for Our Lord and Saviour - Unleashed upon mainkind earlier in 2011. As mentioned in earlier reviews, Hasson is a busy man, also being involved in the black metal outing Auspicium.

18 Apr 2016

Diseased Oblivion: "Portals of Past & Present"

With compelling evidence the corrupting duo sign your death sentence
From the dismal darkness of some obscure, long forgotten chasm in the depths of the earth came Diseased Oblivion in 2009. With them the ominous duo brought several incantations of enigmatic, arcane droning metal in the forms of various blackened processions of funeral doom metal. The sixth incarnation of Diseased Oblivion's music is found on the 4-track demo from 2012 entitled Portals of Past and Present, which features songs from the very initiation of Diseased Oblivion in 2009 to some of their newer material from 2011.

17 Apr 2016

Prajna: "Lost in the Void"

South-American crowd pleaser, strong in attitude but thin in essence
Reviewing lesser known bands from all over the world can reveal huge talent yet unknown to the masses, but first and foremost there's a lot of surprise to be had. With Prajna from Colombia it's hard to tell what to expect just from the name and cover, but in essence it is a band whose efforts wallow in several 80s heavy metal currents, lending speed and power from bands like Helloween, Fates Warning, Anthrax and more.

16 Apr 2016

Sewercide: "Severe Trauma"

Dynamite Sepultura-thrash from Australia's young hope
Lengthy introductions aside, Sewercide is a 4-piece thrash metal band from Melbourne, Australia. Their genesis was in 2011, but they waste no time, having by 2012 already released this demo - Severe Trauma - and a split with fellow Aussie band Randomorder. Though the two releases combined consist only of 7 minutes of Sewercide, their hails of machine gun rapid fire are plenty effective to make up for it.

15 Apr 2016

Bombino: "Azel"

Another wide-brushed stroke of rocking desert tunes from the Tuareg darling
As a bluesy sandstorm of Tuareg folk rock sweaps across the land in the form of bands like Terakaft, Tinariwen and Tamikrest, few bands stand out like Bombino. The style has become synonymous with the virtually untapped and largely ignored potential of the African music scene, with Grammy-award winning group Tinariwen being the prime example. Bombino, however, didn't exactly go by unnoticed when his first internationally released album Agadez came out in 2011. Attracting the attention of, among many others, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys fame, it culminated in the 2013 album Nomad which Auerbach himself produced. Through Nonesuch Records the album received incredible reviews from international critics and fans alike. Now Bombino, also known by his common name Goumar Almoctar - or Omara Moctar, returns with Azel.

14 Apr 2016

Nyarlathotep: "The End is Always Near"

Lovecraftian suggestions make way for greater altitudes and depths
Doom metal is a genre highly dependent on a certain setting and mindset to reach critical mass in terms of effectfulness of the musical enjoyment. Whether invoking a gust of sepulchral angst, summoning drugged out washes of psychedelia or churning out some gut-wrenching heaviness, the greatest practitioners of doom metal usually are masters of atmosphere. American blackened doom metal band Nyarlathotep, name after the Crawling Chaos deity invented by famed weird fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft, bring to life visions of dusty, desolate and dystopic wastes thich with the scent of impending doom and the ever-nearing apocalypse.

13 Apr 2016

Tormentstorm: "Up From the Grave"

Venomhammer-worship with nothing to prove but everything to lose
Though the product of a time long gone, countless modern day bands seek back to the roots of extreme metal in tribute to bands like Sarcófago, Hellhammer and Venom. Tormentstorm from Oklahoma, USA, is a one man effort aimed at taking part in the enormous collective homage to that period in the early 80s where extreme metal began to flourish with his Up From the Grave demo.

12 Apr 2016

Messenger: "Illusory Blues"

Highly recommendable variety in murky depths
Messenger from the UK may not have the most original of band names, but the trio played as warm-up on Katatonia's acoustic tour in England and comes recommended by none other than Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg of Ulver fame. Credentials like that aren't easy to come by, and with Messenger they seem very well deserved.

11 Apr 2016

Defilementory: "Infatuated with Deformity"

Two bass-driven death metal monstrosities
Defilementory is a band that has been lurking in the shadows of the Danish death metal scene only for a little while. While their 2010 EP Gory Defilement resulted only in a limited following, their 2011 demo Infatuated with Deformity is a bold statement on the state of brutal death metal. When I saw them warming up, along with Castrensis - another great Danish brutal death metal band, for Putrid Pile in Copenhagen they stood out as a talented bunch. The Danish quartet have a very precise way of conveying every delicate little detail within their music, even if it seems weird using a term like 'delicate' with this type of music.

10 Apr 2016

Fabricant: "2010 Demo"

Vigorous compositions with the power to move mountains
Listening to some albums can be like opening a door to another world. With Fabricant's 2010 demo, that is exactly what it is like. Put it on, and you're rushed by visions of dystopic industrial landscapes, Gigeresque biomechanics, Lovecraftian themes and suggested topics bordering on the dreams from a broken mind. It would seem that the duo from California, USA, are fed up with your typical death metal that relies so heavily on brutality, offensive lyrics and disgusting imagery, instead focusing their efforts on a concept almost mystical, atmospheric and deeply vibrant.

9 Apr 2016

Legionary: "Arcane Divisions"

Promising US band with an equally promising album debut
Most old school death metal is inherently thrashy, and yet hordes of bands are tripping over one another to claim how thrashy their death metal is. In a lot of cases it seems like a trick to distance their melodic death metal sound from the melo-death term. But Legionary is indeed thrashy death metal in every sense of the words. 10 tracks of rolling tremolo thrash riffs, melodic solos and primal vocals aplenty, Arcane Divisions, the band's first full length album venture, is a force to be reckoned with.

8 Apr 2016

John Carpenter: "Lost Themes II"

The Master of Horror returns with an album both ambitious and extrovert
John Carpenter's films have power and force even just by visual means. Add to his claustrophobic, impactful cinematography those chilling, minimalistic synthpieces he - often in collaboration with Alan Howarth - conjured up, and you've got a recipe for films that not only stand the test of time, but have also influenced countless of other filmmakers and musicians in a great variety of genres over the years. Though Carpenter is in some way retired from filmmaking, he has been keeping busy with music instead. 2015 saw his debut non-soundtrack album, Lost Themes, with the follow up album, Lost Themes II, coming out in 2016.

7 Apr 2016

Deus Otiosus: "Godless"

Immense riffs take the helm on this blasting death metal sophomore album
With a rather convincing debut album - Murderer from 2010 - Deus Otiosus from Denmark proved that between the five members, they harbour immense and lethal potential for death metal. On their second album, Godless from 2012, continues on and diplays an ongoing contempt for life as they celebrate the end of humanity and godless extermination of civilization.

6 Apr 2016

Second Chance - Part 2: Perturbator "Dangerous Days"

Continuing in the series of returning to albums that didn't originally strike a fancy, we return now with Perturbator's fourth album, Dangerous Days from 2014.

James Kent, aka Perturbator
The Frenchman James Kent, to most probably better known as Perturbator, is by now a mainstay in the synthwave scene. His shadowy cyberpunk sound has captivated many, and he has more or less become the epitome of the darkest variety of synthwave music. At the very least he forms a crystal clear vision of the potential within the scene, both sonically and commercially.

5 Apr 2016

Inferius Torment: "Ceremony of Godslaying"

Holding the torch of Scandinavia in Russia, burning with brighter embers
First impressions are always hugely important. Like it or not, the cover in itself may put you off for the coming listening experience. With a band name like Inferius Torment, and an album title like Ceremony of Godslaying, you'd be inclined to think that this is going to be another bottom-feeding text book black metal record. While the Russian band doesn't exactly break the mold of genre songwriting, the group's second album is among the best blastbeat-based black metal I've heard in recent years.

4 Apr 2016

Brain Famine: "Brain Famine"

Grindsploitation from the States, ready to fight
Grindcore, mostly too harsh for the masses, is a genre that on its own can be quite devastating, but combined with death metal, thrash metal - or both - is an even more lethal setup. Proven time and time again by bands like Frightmare and Ghoul, among many others, Brain Famine from Massachusetts, USA, take up the mantle of mosh-friendly grind with gusto and abrasive enthusiasm.

3 Apr 2016

Malfeitor: "Dum Morior Orior"

Standing in the shadows of giants, peeking out every once in a while
Malfeitor was originally concieved right at the height of popularity of Swedish death metal in the early 90s - But even so, their name doesn't invoke the same reverence that bands like Dismember or Grave do, possibly because they seemingly never amounted to any form of release during their original five year tenure in Sweden's capitol. After a fifteen year break, the band reformed in 2010 with two of its original members, guitarist Benny Moberg and vocalist slash bassist Mattias Parkkila, both of which were also involved in Blood Mortized - Another Swedish death metal band.

2 Apr 2016

Garoted: "Evil Personified"

Strong death metal performance
Whether you enjoy your death metal at a high or low pace, there's bound to always be hordes of bands to satisfy your needs. If breakneck speeds are what gets you off, look no further than Garoted from Nebraska, USA, to fill your appetite. This band does not waste time building atmosphere, and even if crazy speeds and demented blast beats are what dominate their music most of their tracks exceed five minutes in length. The hallmark growled vocals, grisly riffs and ripping drums are all present to form an explosion of old school death metal on the Evil Personified EP.

1 Apr 2016

Com Truise: "Silicon Tare"

The trendsetter returns with another genious EP
Right from the release of his first EP, Cyanide Sisters in 2010, Com Truise - the pseudonym of one Seth Haley - has been steadily gaining a dedicated following. With the Galactic Melt debut album from 2011 things really started to get out of control, and people all over the world have been falling in love with Com Truise' dreamy semi-80s frequencies at a rapid pace. Through what Haley himself calls "mid-fi synthwave slow-mo funk" has made a niche for himself that is now, more than ever, much more than just a corner market.