Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Flight Of Sleipnir - Essence Of Nine

More unfinished reviews from earlier this year coming right up!


The Flight Of Sleipnir's Essence Of Nine was amongst my favorite albums of 2011 and undoubtedly the best in their discography so far. Like Lore, this album contains all their hallmark sounds: fuzzed-out doom riffing, folk interludes and acoustic guitar accompaniment, harsh and clean vocals, and a stark Scandinavian atmosphere. 

Unlike Lore however, is a feeling of energy that pervades the entirety of Essence Of Nine. The album is still whimsical and dreamlike, but the more aggressive tracks like opener "Transcendence" and post-intro "Nine Worlds" are much more intense than most of the material on Lore. This works to The Flight Of Sleipnir's advantage as they carefully balance this out with dense, acoustically dominated tracks like "A Thousand Stones" and "As Cinders Burn (The Wake Of Dawn)." I'm entirely fine with the trade off and it gives the album more of an active listening appeal.

The mixing is of note in that the vocals, like they were on Lore, are mixed low and the fuzzy riffing rules over the rest of the instrumentation. David Csicsely's Snare still sounds nice and loud yet his whole kit sounds organic and fitting for The Flight Of Sleipnir's material. One thing that I did notice was the much louder bass tone. It rumbles and rattles beneath all the fuzz to give a stark low-end to each of the more, shall I say aggressive, tracks.

The folk atmosphere is strongest on here with the acoustics being played up, and as a whole the album feels more coherent than Lore for that reason. "The Serpent Ring" closes Essence Of Nine out nicely. If you haven't heard these guys yet you really should get around to it.

8.5 out of 10

Tracklisting:
1. Transcendence
2. Upon This Path We Tread
3. A Thousand Stones
4. As Ashes Rise (The Embrace Of Dusk)
5. Nine Worlds
6. The Seer In White
7. As Cinders Burn (The Wake Of Dawn)
8. The Serpent Ring

Bandcamp

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Flight Of Sleipnir - Lore

More unfinished reviews. Get excited.


If I had to compare The Flight Of Sleipnir to any band, it would be early Bergtatt-era Ulver with plenty of stoner doom and very minor sludge elements. Their sophomore release Lore is much more interesting than Kvelertak's debut, but that might be because the more 'Americanized' stoner doom sound appeals to me more than half-baked hardcore and sludge sprinkled with black metal. These Colorado doomsters do incorporate the same ethereal folk elements you're used to hearing from Garm and gang into their sound. They even have the whole Scandinavian mythology thematic going for them too, although it is a bit less genuine than their sound.

Much to my surprise on Lore the folk elements and clean vocalwork are what stand out the most. The distorted guitarwork is mostly standard, mid-paced doom fare. The acoustic guitar interplay with the thicker, fuzzed-out chugging makes for a compelling atmosphere that the clean vocals compliment perfectly. I'm not sure whether drummer and guitarist David Csicsely or guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist Clayton Cushman is the primary clean singer, but they both have some coinciding lines and are both excellent at what they do. I know it's a rarity for me to appreciate clean vocals in metal, but The Flight Of Sleipnir keep it low-key enough to maintain their integrity. Then again the vocals are mixed low in general, but I don't mind. Keeps the music sounding distant, like the roaring of thunder in a great fjord.

More on that acoustic guitarwork -- it's beautiful in all the right ways. The acoustic segments are haunting yet not overly cheesy like The Mantle-era Agalloch, organic without sounding forced, and intricate enough to remain interesting. "Fenrisulfr" and "The End Begun" is their peak on the album, with the former being more haunting and the latter being more flowery. There's an abrupt change in tone with "No Man Will Spare Another," as the closing part is the most aggressive I've ever heard The Flight Of Sleipnir. There's even guttural lows hidden in the mix, although that might just be an effect added as a separate layer. The closer "Let Us Drink Till We Die" is aptly morose and melancholic and features female (backing?) vocals.

With a solid mix, great acoustic - electric interplay, and a more atmospheric take on stoner doom, The Flight Of Sleipnir's Lore is a great release. I wish the doom elements were more along the lines of those present on their third release, Essence Of Nine though.

7.5 out of 10

Tracklisting:
1. Legends
2. Of Words And Ravens
3. Asgardreid
4. Fenrisulfr
5. The End Begun
6. Black Swans
7. No Man Will Spare Another
8. Winter Nocturne
9. Let Us Drink Till We Die

Bandcamp

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kvelertak - Kvelertak

I need to get my shit together. This is 2013 and these are all old reviews I started back in 2012. I'll put them all under December 2012 since I didn't update at all during that timeframe and most of these albums are ancient news now.

I bet most of these will end up sounding half-assed. Let's do it anyway.

Kvelertak's self-titled debut has been out for awhile now and I listened to it back in 2010. It achieved popularity amongst the hipster hardcore crowd, in beardcore circles, and with people who legitimately still think Baroness is quality sludge. It also achieved critical and commercial success, going gold and receiving two Spellemann awards.  Kvelertak merge lite-crust elements into a bright sludgecore mold. Their style is often upbeat, rompous, and energetic. There's no Eyehategod or Acid Bath comparisons to be made here, and maybe that's what puts me off. The infectious riffing certainly doesn't.

These guys are masters at writing simple, catchy riff anthems. Singles "Mjød" and "Blodtørst" are both memorable, the latter for its chorus and the former for its anthemic pulse. They're both solid tracks, and along with "Fossegrim," which has a great solo, make up the best tracks on Kvelertak. In fact, if these tracks weren't on the album, it would be completely forgettable. The second half of the album is pretty unlikable. It's filled with frustrating intermittent cleans ("Ordsmedar av Rang") and the repetitious 'happy' riffing is downright irritating since it seems like you've heard the full breadth of Kvelertak's musical repertoire by that point. "Nekroskop" stands out a little bit because it has some black metal riffing in it at least.

The mixing and production job on Kvelertak's self-titled is alright -- fitting enough for the music. The problem for me comes in the form of style, and while it's hard to really fault the band for what they were going for, it certainly doesn't appeal to me on this album. The upbeat play is flowery and rather innocuous, and the lack of variation makes it annoying by the end of Kvelertak. Not bad if you like Baroness-style 'sludge' though.

6.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:
1. Ulvetid
2. Mjød
3. Fossegrim
4. Blodtørst
5. Offernatt
6. Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer)
7. Sultans Of Satan
8. Nekroskop
9. Liktorn
10. Ordsmedar av Rang
11. Utrydd dei Svake

Bandcamp

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Revolting - Hymns Of Ghastly Horror

When it comes to schlocky horror fun, you can't go wrong with '70s slasher films. The modern musical equivalent to these is Rogga's Revolting, or pretty much any band that was featured at some point or another on Razorback Recordings.


Perhaps one of Rogga's more consistent groups, Revolting have released their fourth studio full-length Hymns Of Ghastly Horror. Even if you're not familiar with Revolting, their cover art is pretty telling. What else can we expect from these guys but more of the same? Nothin'. That's exactly what we get: d-beat death metal romps filled with wailing whammy solos and horror-themed lyrics.

Revolting is the definition of hook-laden death metal. Literally everything these aficionados of terror (primarily Rogga) pump out is catchy and deserving of some replay value. Riffs are chunky and beefed up with a classic Swedish-sounding distortion. It is a bit more compressed than the classic Sunlight Sound but it still carries with it a degree of brutality. The opener "The Mother Of Darkness" begins with a synthesizer effect that wouldn't sound out of place in a '70s B-horror, and instrumental "The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be" is a groovy reference to a long-forgotten cult film. Occasionally Revolting will throw some samples in there to further that vibe too that I'm sure the devoted horror fan will enjoy.

There's plenty of quality melodic riffing on Hymns Of Ghastly Horror. "The Black Queen" is a lead-heavy mosher with a fun triplet breakdown in the middle. "Prey To Katahdin" and "The Hatchet Murders" are both potent tracks with catchy melodies as well. The silly "Kinderfeeder" feels more like a Jungle Rot track but it does add some variety to an album that sticks to its guns. There's only one weak track on Hymns Of Ghastly Horror and it's "Psychoplasmics." The track is completely serviceable but boring death metal. When Rogga isn't blaring his leads the quality of the music really takes a dip.

For fans of Revolting, this is more of the same goodness. For people who've never heard Revolting before, this is as good a place to jump into their discography as any.

7.5 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. The Mother of Darkness
 
2. Their Thoughts Can Kill
 
3. Ravenous Alien Spawn
 
4. Lair of the Black Queen
 
5. The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be

6. Psychoplasmics

7. Prey to Katahdin

8. Kinderfeeder

9. The Hatchet Murders

Listen // Buy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Putrevore - Macabre Kingdom

Roger "Rogga" Johansson has always been a hyperprolific musician. He's a member of quite a few bands, including but not limited to Bloodgut, Bone Gnawer, Demiurg, Paganizer, Putrevore, Ribspreader, The Grotesquery, and the obvious Revolting. With Halloween right around the corner, who doesn't want to celebrate with some horror-schlock themed death metal? Nobody. That's why I'm going to review some of this guy's 2012 works.

Putrevore comes first as one of his more interesting, slightly (I stress slightly) less traditional acts.



Macabre Kingdom caught me off guard. This is a punishingly dark album. Remember the first time you heard a blast beat or a dirty chromatic riff littered with well-placed pinch harmonics? You can actually get a bit of that feel on this album with how pummeling and aggressive the drumming and production is. The vocalwork is deep, guttural, and not unlike Chris Weber's in obvious old school influences Rottrevore. Macabre Kingdom goes well beyond the simplicity of being a revival effort though if just in its modernized intensity.

As a complete experience, Macabre Kingdom will take you through hurdles of death metal ferocity. There's a degree of subtlety in the dense sound as well. From time to time a synthesizer harmony pops up that is properly utilized to enhance the sound and add texture, such as during the tremolo riffing at the end of the second track "The Mysteries Of The Worm (Part II)." Other tracks are more blurry but immersive, keeping you actively engaged with little flourishes and nuances. "Beyond Human Comprehension," "The Mysteries Of The Worm (Part I)," and "Universal Devourer" all play like this and are some of the more blistering on Macabre Kingdom.

Macabre Kingdom takes a turn for the chuggy during it's second half, and Putrevore often falls into groove-laden sections that do work well with the potent production. "Awaiting Awakening Again," "The Tentacles Through Time," and closer "Tattooed Skin Map" all feature sections of down-tuned chugging or bends. It could be seen as a breather from the more speed-oriented tracks of the first half, but the speed is irrelevant to Putrevore. The second half smashes like a hammer before descending into a berserk frenzy and they often compliment the occasional doomy passage with a good double bass session.

The heaviness of this album is attributable to the production and mixing. Harmonics split eardrums, the kicks actually have bass, and the distortion is all-enveloping. The guitars are mixed to carry the weight of the music, the cymbals are low-key, the snare is pummeling and always present, and well...the bass is just there Rottrevore influence be damned.

Macabre Kingdom is a death metal titan in the year 2012. Even for old school death metal which has seen plenty of great albums over the past few years, this album stands head and shoulders above the majority as one of the few worth actually giving a damn about. Also it doesn't sound directly like fucking Incantation.

8.75 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. The Mysteries of the Worm Part I
 
2. The Mysteries of the Worm Part II
 
3. Beyond Human Comprehension
 
4. Universal Devourer
 
5. Awaiting Awakening Again
 
6. The Morbid Mass of Swarming Entities
 
7. The Tentacles Through Time
 
8. Tattooed Skin Map

Listen // Buy

Blut Aus Nord - Cosmosophy

Now for a more serious review...

Sect(s)
put a new spin on old Blut Aus Nord material from 2003, The Work Which Transforms God, and borrowed heavily from popular countrymates Deathspell Omega. I enjoyed the winding guitarwork, interesting dynamics, and even the minimal industrial elements. This album was a hit with me that really made me wonder where they were planning to go with the sequels.

The Desanctification was a bit different and featured more atmospheric, plodding tracks that were also heavier on the industrial elements. It had it's moments, but felt uninvolved at times.


Now Cosmosophy concludes the trilogy with dominant clean vocalwork. The plodding guitarwork and industrial drones of The Desanctification make a return and once again some listeners will be alienated by these elements and the lack of the whole black metal aesthetic. Others like me will be put off by the dominant and forced-sounding clean vocals, and the fact the tracks never really seem to go anywhere.

I went into this album expecting a grandiose, layered, and powerful conclusion to the '777' trilogy. Initially I can't say I was disappointed. "Epitome XIV" is well a well-conceived opener that builds atmosphere without stealing the thunder from the later tracks. "XIV" subtly builds on its own drones and it sounds like the track culminates without realizing it. This is a recurring habit of the tracks on Cosmosophy. They all seem to reach their apex without feeling like they've gone the whole way, leading to some disappointing build-ups.

It's not really bad since the journey is a decent one if you can handle the weak clean vocals. They reach their lowest point on the second track ("Epitome XV") which sounds like an ambient or synth spoken-word track for most of its six-minute span. To me it is frustrating, tough to get through, and really breaks immersion. An unnecessary waste of album space. There are some harsh vocals at times, most notably during the apex of "XVI." For the most part though, Blut Aus Nord stick to low-mixed cleans.

The production and drumming on here is as it sounded on The Desanctification and its predecessor. Clicky and a little off-putting in its electronicness. The guitarwork is still just as chromatic as you've come to expect from these guys, and the wonderfully atmospheric ascending / descending pattern they abuse is back. The instrumentation reaches a sort of climax on "Epitome XVII," which is also one of the catchier tracks on the album. The riffing is simple and easy to hum along to in its slow-paced, high-register development. "Epitome XVIII" is the darkest track on the album, borrowing from the later tracks on The Desanctification for it's drum beat and serving as the conclusion to the trilogy.

I found Cosmosophy to be the weakest of the three in the trilogy, but that doesn't mean it's a bad album. Definitely recommended if you enjoyed the other two and want to hear some (very) iffy clean vocals.

6.75 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Epitome XIV

2. Epitome XV

3. Epitome XVI

4. Epitome XVII

5. Epitome XVIII 

Listen // Buy

Disfiguring The Goddess - Sleeper

Why am I reviewing Disfiguring The Goddess? I feel like I should at least look into one of the posterchilds of wigger pseudo-slam. I mean slams are fun, so maybe Big Chocolate can bring them to the masses with catchy hooks and hi-fi production.


It was an obvious mistake to bother with Sleeper. There's not much in the way of slams here. Hell there's not much in the way of music here. It's just the same shitty "djent" monotones played over one of the worst sounding drum machines ever with a no-balls, no-bass production. That's not to mention the most humorous aspect of the album: the synthesizer.

So how can I make this more fun? Let's do a track by track breakdown (pun intended) of Big Chocolate's latest fecal disgorgement.

Opener "Sleeper" begins with some absolutely forgettable riffage and cupped-microphone vocals done by none other than everyone's favorite dubstep-producing asshole. On a sidenote I'm sure he's a nice guy. I mean he did work on Burning The Masses, but honestly I have to say I prefer their debut that I was gifted over their material with him. Anyway as "Sleeper" drags it's self-deprecating carcass along, Chocolate breaks out the synthesizer to remind us that his music can get worse, and it's literally one of the most fruity and cheesy sounding things ever. I literally couldn't stop laughing at the synth melody that becomes the focal point of the track.

"Queen Kingdom," the unfortunate sequel to "Sleeper" is a disappointment. Too many djent tones, too little synthesizer. Zero laughs out of ten. Perhaps one of the few listenable tracks on the album if you can muster the strength to handle the monotone guitarwork. I think you'd have to be deaf though.

"Daughter of Depths" is a much more engrossing track. The synth line that develops out of the breakdown at 1:44 sounds like a Syfy channel original horror movie track. Eventually the track goes to revisit this very developed and very nuanced melody, but only after a bunch of palm-muting bass drops and an odd turntable-esque sound.

"Lady Epicenter" is a completely unmemorable track save for the last forty-five seconds where ridiculous noodling on the synthesizer takes over from the breakdown. It sounds like Chocolate's playing minor arpeggios on a Casio keyboard. I wouldn't be surprised if that's actually what he's doing. Keep it up guy, it's making me laugh.

Now "Vines Of Aftermath" isn't entirely bad. You get some harmonics and an actual melody! It might be fleeting, but it is there right before another breakdown that eventually segways into a synthesizer segment. It crops up near the end of the track too. Definitely the highlight of the album from a musical perspective, and one that I'm sure many fans will be listening to for years to come.

"Mountain" is dumb but at some points it reminds me of other genre greats like Dimmu Borgir. Yeah, silly "evil" symphonic metal is exactly what slam should sound like. "Ocean Tomb" is just a djent-static-djent-borefest. Nothing to hear there.

I feel like my scale can't do this comedy masterpiece justice. Normally I would say that an album of this caliber is a ten out of ten, but this album transcends the scale entirely, hitting an eleven out of ten.

1.0 out of 10

Oops I think I missed a 1 there. Oh well.

Tracklisting:

1. Sleeper
2. Queen Kingdom
3. Daughter of Depths
4. Lady Epicenter
5. Vines of Aftermath
6. Mountain
7. Ocean Tomb

Laugh on.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Swans - The Seer

Maybe I'll extend this "weekend" into the week. Music is surprisingly back on my mind with a few new releases, and a let up on my workload means I can finally check in more often. Coming down to the end of the year, it's about time to start covering all that I want to and haven't so far. Here's The Seer.


Swans is a challenging act that has a long and intensive backlog of records, although their breakup in the late '90s left a big gap in their discography. Other than Filth and a few tracks here and there, I can't say I've really gone out of my way to listen to them. The hype for Swans' return and the whole post-punk aesthetic and the DIY marketing of their releases led me to look into their material. The Seer doesn't impress. Before you aneurysm, let me explain.

The Seer is a unique album. There's plenty in the ways of instrumental variety, atmosphere, and layering that make it a standout release. I was absolutely floored by "Avatar" and "The Apostate." Both are marvelously droning masterworks and will have you enthralled from beginning to end. The bells and chimes of the former evoke an eerie atmosphere of nostalgia combined with the theatrics of a funeral procession. Like it should sound by that description, the music on these tracks is immersing and powerful. It is something I wish The Seer had more of.

The Seer is an ambitious album, and a good portion of the album comes off as flat. That's a big deal when the album is two hours long and best enjoyed while actively listening. With the variety comes a wide range of emotions, sounds, and arrangements that some people will undoubtedly applaud. Each track on The Seer seems to express some new feeling through it's droning simplicity and layering. The title track embodies this wide range of ideas itself, yet really doesn't explore any of that range in full. To me, this is both a blessing and a curse. The album doesn't tend to explore familiar territory, but sometimes it passes over new ground without taking a stop to admire the scenery. "Song For A Warrior" and "Mother Of The World" in particular come across as underdeveloped. The first being nearly akin to an early '90s bubblegum-pop throwback is particularly painful to listen to (coming from someone who enjoys Sorrow) while "Mother Of The World" is a song that never really goes anywhere over it's ten minutes. Both are hackneyed lyrically and there's really nothing "deep" or remotely interesting to hear here.

The post-rock and post-punk elements are alive and well on The Seer even if some of the atmosphere falls flat. Guitars are often distorted and low in the mix, drums are immense, and the overall feel of the album combined with the atmosphere is one that weighs down on your shoulders after listening. When Swans wants to, they work instruments together in a layered drone pattern, weaving soundscapes that leave you entranced. They manage to properly apply it to the odd dissonant tracks like "93 Ave. B Blues" and the more ambient "A Piece Of The Sky"where screeching and static are reminders of the noise scene Swans came out of. It's wonderful when done subtly on the second part of the title track "The Seer Returns" too. Definitely a piece I overlooked on my first listen. It really goes to show not all droning music is dull and sometimes repeated listens can change your opinion of an album like this. I'm sure the rock and punk elements make it more bearable to listen to repeatedly as well.

After all that, I still feel like this album is one that really missed the mark with me. Perhaps I was expecting too much, or perhaps I was hoping for something a bit more engrossing. The Seer's few uncompelling tracks really bring down the whole, and I have to take a step out of the atmosphere to find the 'next' button on repeated listens. Basically it's hit or miss as a contextually compelling album, but strong in it's individual tracks if that makes any sense.

I can definitely see why Michael Gira expressed his feeling that The Seer was unfinished.

6.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Lunacy
2. Mother of the World
3. The Wolf
4. The Seer
5. The Seer Returns
6. 93 Ave. B Blues
7. The Daughter Brings the Water
8. Song for a Warrior
9. Avatar
10. A Piece of the Sky
11. The Apostate

Listen // Buy

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chordotomy - The Precious Ideal

Hello everyone. You should be used to my sporadic checking-ins of The Disgust by this point. I'm really busy as of late and all you extreme music fans may have heard, the great JGD at The Living Doorway is taking a break from posting for awhile. His hiatus inspired me to come back from my own hiatus, but chances are it'll inspire me to take another in a few days considering I left for the same reasons he did.

Anyway since I haven't been posting or checking my email too regularly, I've decided to dedicate a majority of October 7th and 8th to writing reviews on albums I've been listening to or have listened to in the last few weeks. There's a lot of shit to cover, and our first album of the day is Chordotomy's The Precious Ideal.


Chordotomy is a brutal slamming death metal band from Deutschland that lacks any semblance of originality. Cheesy samples and monotonous vocalwork plague The Precious Ideal from beginning to end. But nobody gives a fuck about that: these slams are diabolically catchy and make up for all the genre-pandering bullshit that tends to pervade this sort of music.

Tracks like the "Structures Of Inexistence" and "Hostile Annihilation" are relentless, high-speed tracks that devolve into cavemen-beating-each-other brutality. The slams are mid to slow-paced and absolutely addicting in their simplicity. Others begin simple and gradually reach higher tempos like "Bludgeoned Into Demise" where the track culminates in a gravity blast about halfway through. Rhythmically speaking, The Precious Ideal serves as great entertainment. If you like hearing two guys give it their all by chugging away on palm-muted chords in arrangements that'll have you humming (headbanging) along, then this album is for you.

Despite playing to stereotypes there's a few standout moments. "Human Derangement" is oddly melodic and features some vocal pitch-changing, and the production being heavy in low-end makes the part after the melody feel earth-shakingly brutal. "Structures Of Inexistence" reminds me of "Lashed To The Slave Stick" by Nile, but it quickly gets stuck in a slam-rut that makes Nile look like flower-power hippies in comparison. A few of the later tracks are more forgettable bar the stupid samples (isn't it sad when the only memorable feature of a track is the sample?), like "Implements Of Natural Selection." The majority of the album is solid enough to make up for it and you can always pick and choose from your favorite slams.

The Precious Ideal is a great example of an album that doesn't have to do new things to be entertaining and although I'm sure I'll forget the album in a few months' time, I thoroughly enjoyed everything on here.

7.25 out of 10




Tracklisting:

1. Einklang
 
2. Philosophy of Suffering
 
3. Structures of Inexistence
 
4. Systematic Extermination
 
5. Cassandra Effect
 
6. Bludgeoned into Demise
 
7. Human Derangement
 
8. Hostile Annihilation
 
9. Implements of Natural Selection
 
10. A Mind in Ruins

Listen // Buy

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Azoic - Gateways

Azoic's debut dropped out of nowhere. Icelandic metallers sharing members with brutal band-brothers Beneath, these guys have one thing in common with that band: brutality. Not in the same vein, but the pure abrasiveness of Gateways is something to be marveled at.


This is largely due to the black metal influence on the record. The drumming is militant, the guitars are buried in a sea of distortion, and the howling vocals create a dense, bleak atmosphere not unlike traveling in a desert amidst a sandstorm. If your skull was a stone, the battering winds of that storm would likely erode your head. As I said before, Gateways is punishing, and no amount of metaphor will describe the feel of the album.

The beauty of Gateways however is that it remains melodic, interesting, and contains odd musical elements which pique my interest on each listen. "Wisdoms Prayer" features some surprisingly addictive three-note melodies that evolve into a much longer melodic passage, and opener "Apeiron" coalesces into a hammering blastbeat dominated by a subtle melody that harmonizes with the cacophonous noise underneath created by the heavily distorted guitar. The interplay here is what keeps what could be just another dull black metal release feeling fresh and interesting.

This musicality makes Gateways impressive for a black-metal-dominated release, and it shows that these guys really know their instruments. The material here isn't impossible to play, but they're not afraid to abuse odd time signatures or chords to get their point across. "A Portal" is a colossal track that really embodies that aforementioned atmosphere. From a slow-paced hammerblast Azoic climbs into a much more sinister riff before ascending to a colossal closing riff which gets stuck in your head. Luckily they don't abuse the riff either, letting it only repeat twice before it collapses in on itself like a black hole. The track ends with disturbing gasps and cries, and what almost sounds like a gag. It's a creepy end to the best track on the album. Later track "Monasterium" has a tinge of doom-influence and "Spirituphysics" has the whole monk-chanting black metal feel to it. Honestly "Spirituphysics" is probably the most predictable, and black metal, track on the album with its seemingly standard beat and timing, and it leads into the droning two-minute outro "Eldlina."

Clocking in at just over 29 minutes, it's a shame Gateways isn't longer. The atmosphere this album creates for the short time that it plays is worthy of mention alone. The dense distortion and surprisingly prominent basslines will repulse a few, but I feel like they're not an issue here at all. They work to Azoic's advantage, helping to create that powerful atmosphere. A very, very strong debut overall. I'm absolutely stoked to see what these guys come up with in the future.

9.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Apeiron
2. Skywatchers
3. A Portal
4. Hold bindur tómið
5. Wisdoms Prayer
6. Monasterium
7. Spirituphysics
8. Eldlína

Listen // Get (It's Free!)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Death Grips - No Love Deep Web

No more promises. I should really stop with those. I'll just write reviews when I can. Sorry for letting you guys down over the past few weeks, but it seems like obligations keep popping up out of nowhere effectively killing all my free time for blogging. Someday I'll get to my inbox too. Got a few goodies in there for later...

As for now the internet seems to have ejaculated another Death Grips album to the top of the hype charts. I'm sure the drama with their label supposedly shutting down their website and Death Grips' response (leaking the album with such wonderful artwork) only added to the fanboys' accumulated keyboard gunk.


Poised to reinvent themselves with every new release, Death Grips have proven themselves to be a force in the noise/experimental hip-hop scene. No Love Deep Web is another chapter in Death Grips ever-evolving beatography. We saw the inconsistent yet mildly stimulating The Money Store earlier this year and No Love is essentially a continuation of that sound, so don't get your hopes up.

One thing any Death Grips listener will notice is that No Love Deep Web incorporates a few sinister beats and the distorted shouts of Exmilitary. To my dismay they also incorporate the (often forgettable) dance elements of The Money Store equally as often leading to a varied but inconsistent album. The quality of aggro-heavy tracks like "No Love," "Come Up And Get Me," "Bass Rattles Stars Out Of The Sky," and "Lock Your Doors" is mitigated by weak dance-heavy tracks "Pop" and filler-garbage like "Whammy" or "Stockton." It makes listening to the whole album a chore and I often find myself reaching for the skip button.

The drum sounds on here are incredibly superficial. I can't tell if it's the distortion applied to them or the whole dance-beat bullshit that pervades the entirety of post-The Money Store Death Grips. Zach Hill has plenty of talent (just listen to Hella) but his work here is superficial and feels as arbitrary as the droning meters. "Hunger Games" is especially atrocious with it's 'ding-boop' drum samples.

Another big issue I have is the layered vocals which are a half-hearted attempt at adding "noise" to tracks where it's not necessary. Gone are the days where Death Grips carries itself with aggression and forceful vocalwork. Now it's just layered FL Studio beats and distorted vocals with no real feeling behind them. Normally it's fine to evolve your sound, but this evolution didn't result in a more developed product. Whatever the case, this is a problem that could be remedied by ACTUALLY SPENDING SOME TIME ON WRITING MUSIC, as opposed to pumping out shit to feed the hypetrain.

That's what the problem is here. This album literally feels like The Money Store Part II, where B-sides are scattered equally on both albums to make both feel meaningless. It's like these guys decided to write one album and then write a bunch of filler just to have two albums that they could feed the willing e-morons. At least a few tracks on No Love have balls. Can't really say the same for The Money Store.

6.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Come Up And Get Me
2. Lil Boy
3. No Love
4. Black Dice
5. World of Dogs
6. Lock Your Doors
7. Whammy
8. Hunger Games
9. Deep Web
10. Stockton
11. Pop
12. Bass Rattle Stars Out The Sky
13. Artificial Death In The West

Listen // Get

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chelsea Wolfe - The Grime And The Glow



Last year I reviewed Chelsea Wolfe's Apokalypsis. I thought it was a good release that kept my attention with surprisingly bearable female leads and its dark atmosphere. I recently refound my love for it so I decided to check out her previous release and 2010 debut, The Grime And The Glow.


It's similar in some ways, and different in many to Apokalypsis.

Sugarcoating a turd is pointless and I'll tell you right up front the production on The Grime And The Glow is shit. I'd go so far as to say the production is the top reason this album wasn't so well-received, and it gave her the 'noise' tag. I don't even mind noise rock or noise-influenced music (Ghola represent!) but The Grime And The Glow feels very inconsistent. Tracks like the "The Whys" are very lo-fi and it does have a novelty to it, but that novelty wears off about thirty seconds into the song. The mixing is weak on here too. "Fangs," has a bass sound that literally makes me cringe, and that's one of the better written tracks with a relatively 'decent' production compared to the rest of the album.

The songwriting on here isn't half as bad though, and Chelsea Wolfe does display a competence in writing decent doom-and-folk influenced rock. "Bounce House Demons" would later become the track "Demons" from Apokalypsis, and "Moses" would become my favorite Chelsea Wolfe track thanks to the redux. "Noorus" is a bending track that sports some very key-warping when the layered grooving takes a break. The Grime And The Glow is a very subtle album, although I'm not sure if that's a byproduct of the production or the songwriting. The grooves don't directly 'stick,' but they're noticeable, making the album bearable if not memorable.

Wolfe's great, woeful vocalwork is here in a less refined state. "Halfsleeper" is in my opinion her vocal apex on this album with its beautiful simplicity. Her voice harmonizes with itself to create a haunting, funeral atmosphere. This contrasts pretty actively with the bouncy opener, "Advice & Vices," which is surprisingly more upbeat and catchy. Like the majority of the album, it sounds like the whole master recording of this track fell into a vat of reverb and didn't quite make it out the same. The bonus tracks on The Grime And The Glow are listenable but that's about it. You won't be remembering them anytime soon.

Shame her debut wasn't as strong, but I guess it paved the way for Apokalypsis.

4.25 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Advice & Vices
2. Cousins Of The Antichrist
3. Moses
4. Deep Talks
5. Fang
6. Benjamin
7. The Whys
8. Noorus
9. Halfsleeper
10. Bounce House Demons
11. Widow
12. Gene Wilder (Bonus track)
13. Move (Bonus track)
14. You Are My Sunshine (Bonus track)

Buy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Holograms - Holograms

Now comes a foray into a musical genre I tend to shy away from: post punk. Holograms is a Swedish band with a neat sound, some 'down' electro-vibes, and '70s throwback vocalwork.


As a subgenre I'm not used to listening to, Holograms' self-titled release comes across as unique and interesting. The electronic influences in particular strike me as appealing. They're subtle and effective, and although they don't always pop up, when they do it changes the entire feel of the track. This self-titled is generally drenched in urban despair - the hallmark of many post rock and shoegaze bands mixed with the angst of late '70s punk - and the electronic element creates some variety. "ABC City" is a wonderfully addictive track that uses an electronic synth beat to carry the melody. Others like the follow-up "Stress" are extremely dissonant. Oft littered with janky, dissonant guitarwork, these songs are appealing and jarring in the context of the album.

Still there are some more standard tracks on the album like "Apostate" and "Astray." The former features mellowed snare rolls which contrast nicely with the denser distortion applied to the energetic guitarwork. It's easily one of the heavier tracks on the album along with the absolutely janky "A Tower." This delightful track has my favorite riffs on the album. They work wonderfully with the bouncing bassline.

The synth and electro elements never become overbearing and generally serve as nuances and effective enhancements of Holograms' core sound. It's nice hearing a band use these subtleties to such a high degree of quality. The production and mixing is generous to these elements as well, and each instrument is given its fair share of the frequency platform. Contextually each track works too, which is nice. I tend to like when an artist creates a 'complete' album with their tracklist, even if it's as simple as exploring one special idea through the variety in their tracks.

Some of the tracks, although contextually fitting, are a bit dull however. The closer is a five-minute borefest for example. The aforementioned "Astray" is also completely forgettable. "Fever" luckily evolves into something more interesting than the upbeat intro riff, but sadly "Transform" never really gets there. It's a short song, and it resolves without accomplishing anything. I feel more when I listen to thirty-second grindcore tracks, and that's a bit more than mildly depressing.

I have to say the vocals definitely won't be for everyone, and they tend to carry their own melody. Good thing I'm not everyone. I'd have to say Holograms' self-titled is a success. Definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future.

7.5 out of 10


Tracklisting:

1. Monolith
2. Chasing My Mind
3. Orpheo
4.. Memories of Sweat
5. Transform
6. Apostate
7. ABC City
8. Stress
9. Astray
10. A Tower
11. Fever
12. You Are Ancient (Sweden's Pride)
Listen // Buy

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bestial Borelust: A Rant + Desecresy - The Doom Skeptron

After a few busy months, I'm finally back and ready to continue blogging. I was planning on creating a new banner and coming up with a new, more user-friendly layout. However like all things productive I put that off until I completely forgot to do it altogether. Maybe soon, maybe soon...

Now you might be wondering what has been taking me so goddamn long to get back on here. It is summer after all. I should have loads of free time. Well to tell you the truth I do, but I've been spending it on other activities. Music, bar my instruments, has irritated the fuck out of me in the last few months, and 2012 has been shaping up to be one of the weaker years in extreme music outside of the demo scene. Why? There's plenty of erm...great bestial black metal right? We've got Pseudogod, the recently released Wrathprayer, and a bunch of quality demos and EPs. What else do we have? Not much. Even outside of metal it's been a relatively forgettable year.

The whole bestial black metal movement was initially fine by me. There's a bunch of solid acts like Diocletian, Archgoat, and numerous others who make all the Ross Bay Cult worshippers cream themselves in delight. The problem with this movement in 2012 is that, like with all subgenres, it's reached a point of oversaturation. That wouldn't be such a bad thing if it wasn't so sudden.  Maybe it really is just me, but it feels like the whole bestial black metal and associated "war metal" scenes literally exploded in late 2009 and have since been carried over the end of the world on the waters of excess. If it's just me then I apologize now, but it's a thought that's kept me from even feigning interest in black metal for quite some time.

Now comes the part where I come across as a hypocrite. I'm going to recommend that you listen to fucking DESECRESY: gloriously groovy doom-influenced death metal.



Sounds derivative right? Who cares. This shit is wonderful. Told you I'd sound like a hypocrite.

These Finns really know what they're doing when it comes to songwriting. Despite being about as technically challenging as tying one's shoes, The Doom Skeptron is littered with cool phrases and great headbanging grooves. The numerous nods to Bolt Thrower and the similarities to Slugathor's (featuring the same members) less slow side make the album worth listening to. The Doom Skeptron isn't the most original material on the face of death metal (anything but considering the influx of old school death metal bands - almost as bad as bestial black metal), but these guys do a great job with it. That's a lesson that can be learned by all these basement-dwelling bestial black metal acts that keep popping up overnight. If you're going to mimic a style or feel, do it right and with your own spin. Becoming the umpteenth clone of Blasphemy is about as cool as wearing corpsepaint in public.

The Doom Skeptron is consistently catchy and appealing. Each track has a particular standout riff or passage that creates a strong atmosphere and usually leaves my neck sore. "Sons Of The Burning God" is probably the speediest on the album, but the groovy chugging gives way to some interlaced melodies that carry the weight of the song. This is the case even with the slower tracks. The pummeling nature of the low-end creates a gap for the nuanced guitar melodies to become the focal point. In essence the lead guitar isn't competing with any other instrument for the limelight for most of The Doom Skeptron, although you won't be headbanging to the leads so much as the pounding rhythm. An exception is the personal favorite of mine and opener "Forged From Chaos," which features a sinister melody that plays during breaks and ends the song on a softer note. "Declined Resplendence" and the powerful "Burial Adorations" both make for a strong middle and the fitting ender "The Solemn End" closes up the album.

I'm definitely a fan of the solo work and the production values on the album too. The solos are less distracting than usual and serve to immerse more than anything on The Doom Skeptron. As if the production doesn't do a good enough job of that as is. The album is dark, with a hearty low-end and a solid bass although the instrument itself is mixed rather low beneath all the distorted cacophony. The vocals bear a bit on the side of monotony though, and although they fit, they could use a bit more variety. Other than that this is a solid release worth checking out in a year that hasn't been so kind to any metal subgenre.

8.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Forged from Chaos

2. The Sleep of Titans

3. The Sceptre of Damnation

4. Burial Adorations

5. Declined Resplendence

6. Vortex Unwinding

7. Sons of the Burning God

8. The Solemn End

Listen // Buy

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Diskord - Dystopics

Diskord is a name that needs recognition amongst death metal fans. If Diskord was a creature, Doomscapes was its (glorious) birth in archaic slime. On Dystopics we see that creature grow and evolve into a titanic monster that's just as amorphous as the ooze it was born from.


The sheer unpredictability of Dystopics makes it a worthy listen. You never know when a measure will end or a riff will lead. Something about it is off - in a good way. Diskord isn't afraid to show their love for mangling and shaping the beast that is Autopsy's sound into new and dangerous tracks. Opener "Entropic Death" is an old school death track that has a bit of a grind flair and just a smidgeon of dissonant jankiness. Diskord is a band that doesn't take just one sound and stick to it though. These Norwegians are all over the place, and you can literally tell that each track is deliberately unique. There's the dissonant jazz influence, grind and hardcore d-beats and shouts, the occasional black metal rasp, a flirtation with doom, and some absolutely crushing death metal riffs.

Dissonances and technical flair aren't the highlight on Dystopics, but they serve to convey the weird atmosphere wonderfully. Eyvind Wærsted Axelsen's basslines are the driving force behind much of the music, creating a powerful sound that despite all the time signature-bending remains headbangable. As a bassist, I'm a huge sucker for bass dynamics and the occasional solo, and Axelsen delivers multiple times throughout Dystopics. "Overseer," "Godsends and Hellbents," and "As The Circus Leaves The Galaxy" all feature numerous memorable basslines, often toying with guitar riffs while enveloping them in low-frequency sound. Rhythmically speaking, the album is fantastic. The basslines and Hans Jørgen Ersvik's drumming work together to create a disharmonious background with which to spew troubled and cataclysmic sounds. Guitarist Espen T. Hangård is a powerful actor in the sound of Dystopics as well, and he and Axelsen often play off of each other, one's instrument taking dominance over the other multiple times throughout the album. His solos are well-written and aren't an exuberant display of technicality despite actually taking talent - something to admire in modern death metal.

If Dystopics had come out twenty years ago, I honestly believe Diskord would be up there with genre greats Atheist, Autopsy, and Gorguts. The production makes Dystopics actually feel like it came out in that time period, amplifying the old-school appeal of the music itself. The album is refreshingly organic much like Doomscapes and it's equally as weird. Even the more doom-influenced tracks like "Tremble" and "Ambisinistral" are interesting, both contextually and as individual tracks. They help convey the odd vortex of emotions that is Dystopics perfectly and fluently, keeping everything paced.

I found Dystopics a bit tougher to jump right into than I did Doomscapes, but after a few spins I was hooked. Albums like this tend to be growers by nature, and that was the case for me. Like a big ball of potential energy that slowly becomes kinetic, Dystopics' waves of tortured sonics wash over you in increasingly potent measures. If you want truly unique death metal, look no further than Diskord's Dystopics - you won't be disappointed.

9.0 out of 10


Tracklisting:

1. Entropic Death
 
2. Overseer
 
3. Epochal
 
4. Tremble
 
5. Woebegoneness
 
6. Ambisinistral
 
7. Psychotic Process
 
8. As the Circus leaves the Galaxy
 
9. Rambling Words from a sore Throat
 
10. Metamorphosis
 
11. Godsends and Hellbents
 
12. Primitive Doom


Samples on Soundcloud // No Posers Please!

Whirr - Pipe Dreams

I've had recurring anxiety these past few months due to workload, a tachycardia attack (which biologically means nothing; it was set off by extreme caffeine intake), and a bunch of other stressors. Whirr, and shoegaze in general, saved me from falling into the panic attack/mid-life crisis feel that most people get at some point. Fuck that shit. Seriously.

That's part of the reason I haven't been posting as often, but it's starting to subside as summer is finally hitting me..


Vibrant and flavorful, Whirr's Pipe Dreams conjures up dreamlike sequences and sepia-colored memories. It's everything Neige wishes he could do with Alcest, but that's beside the point that this album is fantastic. I've yet to delve into Whirl but I can only hope their material is as good as this.

Pipe Dreams plays off your past: mostly the good, but also the bad and ugly. There's a good variety in song structuring and styling that lets Whirr cover these crevasses.You've got your upbeat dream-punk riffologies like "Bogus" and "Toss," slow-yet-powerful psychedelia on tracks like "Flashback" and "Hide," and the bad times you just want to forget on "Wait," "Formulas and Frequencies," and album opener "Reverse." You can take your pick from any of them and be enjoyed - even if the memories themselves aren't that enjoyable, although individually I have to say "Formulas and Frequencies" is pretty dull, like a gray mouse huddling in the corner of a room filled with roaring lions. However contextually the song works wonders in conjunction with the rest of the album.

Three guitarists m a shoegaze band works wonders. I have to say the layering and texture of the sound on Pipe Dreams is great. Add in the dreamy, incomprehensible vocals of Alexandra Morte and you have one of the most soothing yet driving releases in recent memory. I know this album oft gets compared to classics My Bloody Valentine but so does all shoegaze, and to be quite honest comparing them is fucking stupid. The guitar tone(s) and songwriting make Pipe Dreams stand out amongst the horde of My Bloody Valentine copycats, although I wouldn't go so far as to call it the most original thing ever created either.

The production is thick and obviously layered to a good degree. The occasional twang of the guitar is heard over layer upon layer of effect and distortion, much like any good shoegaze. The bass is strong as well, and some of the tracks could fit in more with psychedelic/stoner rock. "Hide" is a great example with it's straight eighth note riffs. It's a solid, relaxing listen and a break from the endless grind (and grindcore) I've had to endure recently. Highly recommended.

8.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Reverse
2. Junebouvier
3. Bogus
4. Flashback
5. Formulas and Frequencies
6. Home Is Where My Head Is
7. Toss
8. Hide
9. Wait
10. Reverie


Listen to older albums

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Oblivionized - Nullify The Cycle


Well this was unexpected. Oblivionized released a second demo and it's significantly shittier than their EP. Let me reiterate: demo status does not excuse it from being bad.

Two things you'll notice upon listening to Nullify The Cycle: the production and the vocals. They're significantly weaker and more flimsy than those featured on Abhorrent Evolution, with highs being the primary form of enunciation. Not that highs are bad, but these are just pathetic. They sound like a dying parrot squawking out to a hardcore song. The production and mixing makes them that much more annoying since there's hardly any low-end at all. In fact the bass drum sounds like a defunct metronome. It's not the sound you want to hear when it's set to the high tempos one would expect from a grind band.

The guitar tone is more subdued, the drumming and rhythm is muddied up by a weak snare, and the songwriting...well, at least the first two tracks are pretty okay in that department. The title track however is a completely forgettable clean guitar, clean vocals track. It's BORING. I don't care if you think it's "artistic," I think it's fucking stupid and a dumb way to end what should've been a killer deathgrind demo. There's only three tracks, so there's not much to really listen to here either.

Here's hoping the next release won't be this unquestionably bad.

3.25 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. The Nullification of Philanthropy

2. Cycle of Deprivation

3. Nullify the Cycle

Oblivionized - Abhorrent Evolution

Alright, finally back to reviewing. It's going to be a sporadic summer with all these shows going on. Last night I just saw Ulcerate with Tombs and Svart Crown at an extremely small venue. Needless to say it was fucking awesome, but sadly their set was relatively short. Jet lagged, I assume. Next week there's a few hardcore shows and Nasum. That alone should leave me incapacitated for awhile.

Anyway...


UK technical deathgrind band Oblivionized awed the world with their extremely accessible debut EP Abhorrent Evolution last year. It reached a degree of acclaim that solidified Oblivionized at the top of the "to watch" lists for many.

Capturing the grind essence of aggression with a tasteful sense of melody and technicality, Abhorrent Evolution doesn't disappoint. "Born Into Decadence" is a strong opener with multilayered vocals and some cool effects, while "Subject to Extinction" and the title track are both more pummeling exercises in brutality. The title track features a solo as well, something most grind-influenced bands would be proud to exclude. Each track is memorable, although they are a bit more in line with technical death metal length-wise.

The aggression on here is primarily thanks to the powerful production and mixing. The snare is loud, dominating, and pounding. The guitar tone is strong as well, and the multiple vocal tracks make for a solid sense of texture. Abhorrent Evolution is a solid release if perhaps not exactly the most unique one. A great first stepping stone for a band that I look forward to seeing more from.

7.5 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Born Into Decadence

2. Abhorrent Evolution

3. Subject to Extinction

4. A Modern Prometheus

Bandcamp.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mithras - Worlds Beyond The Veil

Continuing where Mithras left off with their debut, Worlds Beyond The Veil takes the listener to an entirely different realm. The cosmic atmosphere and soaring production of Worlds Beyond The Veil help differentiate it from their debut, but when your first release is as good as Forever Advancing...Legions, there's not much you can improve on.


Here we have Mithras doing what they do best: combining atmospherically dense songs with bizarre, technical riffs and structures giving them an otherwordly sound. Perhaps the biggest difference a Mithras fan will notice right off the bat is the different production techniques used on Worlds Beyond The Veil. The riffs all have an echo to them, giving the album that aforementioned “spacey” feel, and the synth is much more subdued than it was on their previous release, which I believe fits this album's theme much better. The drumming is as brutal as ever, and the solos have gotten a lot more developed. There's also a distinct lack of the short interludes that the previous album used to break apart the intensity of it's main offering, instead replacing them with tracks like “Sands Of Time” and “Search The Endless Planes,” where synth and guitar intertwine to bring the listener into the dense sonic soundscape.

The space atmosphere is the second thing any Mithras fan (or new listener for that matter) will notice on Worlds Beyond The Veil. The entire feel of the album is very cosmic and enticing, explorative and yet grand in scope. Thankfully, unlike some more atmospheric bands, the songwriting on Worlds Beyond The Veil doesn't suffer because of this in any way. Mithras continue their aural assault unhindered by such issues, providing the listener with a living, breathing impression of the universe.

Although it might be similar to Mithras' previous work, Worlds Beyond The Veil is still fantastic. The atmosphere alone is enough to take any listener to another plane of existence, but when combined with the crushing drumwork and technical riffing, it can really immerse the listener for the 46 minutes it lasts. Without a weak track on the album it's a very well-developed album by one of my favorite artists.

9.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Portal to the... (Intro)

2. Worlds Beyond the Veil

3. Bequeath Thy Visions

4. The Caller and the Listener

5. Break the Worlds' Divide

6. Lords and Masters

7. Psyrens

8. Voices in the Void

9. The Sands of Time

10. Search the Endless Planes

11. They Came and You Were Silent

12. Transcendence

13. Beyond the Eyes of Man 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pseudogod - Deathwomb Catechesis

Pseudogod's debut LP Deathwomb Catechesis landed sometime last month and the album is everything I wanted to hear from this band coming from their previous releases.


This is some bestiality I can get behind. As Deathwomb Catechesis pours molten rock down your gullet, you'll heartily agree with me that this is thus far the best bestial black metal release of 2012. It's a riff-heavy spiral unto knuckle-dragging brutality that only a Russian band could accomplish. Jokes about Abominable Putridity aside, this album is intelligently composed with tracks featuring distinctly evolutionary song structures. Nothing bothers me more than hearing bestial bands just plod away on the same two-note riff. On their debut Pseudogod amps up the technicality a little bit and turns janky time signatures into Satanic headbanging fun.

Oh and did I mention the album art is fucking awesome?

Deathwomb Catechesis gets more potent as it progresses. "Malignant Spears" is a rampaging devil of a track, but it's small time compared to the colossal demonic monstrosities that are conjured by apocalyptic "The Triangular Phosphorescence" and "Necromancy of Iron Darkness." The third track, "Saturnalia (The Night of the Return)" is pretty good too. These tracks all feature slower, more dense riffing which makes them memorable and fun. This is everything bestial black metal should be, although black metal purists might cringe at the mention of "fun" and black metal in the same sentence.

The first thing I noticed coming to Deathwomb Catechesis from the previous compilation and splits was the vastly improved production. The grit and rage are still contained perfectly in the mix while each of the instruments remain audible. The whole thing feels natural, and don't let the "enhanced" production fool you - this album is every bit as dark as Pseudogod's other material. Perhaps moreso now that the atmospheric element of the album is multiplied tenfold thanks to more coherent songwriting. The cult-like feel of bestial black metal remains intact throughout all of Pseudogod's debut, and it's as dark and as harsh as ever thanks to a well-rounded mix.

Clearly this is still bestial black metal. It doesn't deviate from the norm, but it does a great job of making the norm entertaining again.

8.5 out of 10


Tracklisting:

1. Vehement Decimation
 
2. Malignant Spears
 
3. Saturnalia (The Night of the Return...)
 
4. Azazel
 
5. The Antichrist Victory
 
6. Necromancy of the Iron Darkness
 
7. Encarnación del mal
 
8. The Triangular Phosphorescence

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pseudogod - Triumphus Serpentis Magni

Bestial black metal - we all love it or love to hate it. Pseudogod is a Russian band, and up until 2012 they've only performed on splits. Their new LP Deathwomb Catechesis just dropped last month and I'll be covering that one shortly. As for now, I'll be reviewing their compilation album, Triumphus Serpentis Magni.




I'm not impressed. Bestial black metal is supposed to be gritty, dark, and brutal with tinges of cult-like atmosphere. Triumphus Serpentis Magni has the grittiness, the "dark" sound, and tinges of the atmosphere, but the brutality is lost in the poor mixing and muffled production.

Now before you bitch me out with rants about how black metal (especially bestial black metal) is supposed to be muddled and poorly produced, this album doesn't have the songwriting to back it up. Everything on Triumphus Serpentis Magni is predictable and as uninspired as the legions of Canadian bands that wish they were Blasphemy. Honestly even after listening to the album a few times, I can't recall anything about the first two tracks "Branded By Hornz" and "The Firstborn of Abhorrence." They're both very typical exercises in bestiality with a generic structure and forgettable soloing. The compilation ends with a Beherit cover from the kvlt classic Drawing Down The Moon. It's alright, but still a cover.

However I did find myself somewhat enjoying the track "Illusion of Salvation." Obviously it's dense and murky like the rest of the release, but it has a great headbanging riff and a few slower segments making it less formulaic. The track "Azazel" is by and far the best on here though, with some extremely aggressive drumming and a discernible main riff. It's a pounding whirlwind with slightly better production than the rest of the release.

Even as a compilation I guess Triumphus Serpentis Magni falls flat since it only covers one of their splits with Blaze Of Perdition (and technically some demo material), but whatever. Based on the number of quality tracks (two out of five) and the half-decent cover, I feel like this short compilation is pretty average.

5.0 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Branded By Hornz

2. The Firstborn of Abhorrence

3. Illusion of Salvation

4. Azazel

5. Gate of Nanna (Beherit cover)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Alive and Killing

I'm back fuckers. Back and filled to the brim with rage. Having an extremely rough time with school and finals will do that to a person. I sincerely apologize for not letting you folks know what I was up to. As the weeks go by I'll slowly finish all the reviews I half-wrote for April and then keep The Disgust up to date (daily) for the summer. I'll continue my tech death series until it's done as well.

All of you will be covered in my venomous slag by the end as I rip into all the newest music, so open your mouths and get ready for a pounding - there'll be a ton of updates to come.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Death Grips - The Money Store

The Money Store is Death Grips' (technically first) full-length slated to come out this month. Apparently Exmilitary was just a mixtape but I didn't recognize any borrowed beats or raps, so whatever.


On first listen, it's easy to see that The Money Store is not Exmilitary. The aggression of Burnett's voice has been mitigated by noisier beats and more mellowed out melodies. It's not all gone, but by and large the hooks on here are family-friendly in comparison to the sharp vitriol of Exmilitary. You still get it in spurts though. After the interesting introduction "Get Got," roiler "The Fever (Aye Aye)" features racy lyrics about cocaine and sugar, lyrically alluding to them like they're diamonds. The track relies extensively on the hook, as do other great tracks like "The Cage," noise-and-drum-driven "I've Seen Footage," and electro-dance closer "Hacker." I'm totally fine with this. It's not like Exmilitary wasn't hook-driven, but I feel like some of the extra substance is missing on The Money Store.

Less lo-fi but more bare bones, Zach Hill's producing on here is hit or miss. The beats are of higher quality and feature more melodies, as well as more unwavering dance rhythms. It makes The Money Store feel more groove-oriented and predictable than it's predecessor, which often meandered but never wavered from it's empowering, gut-driven expressions. Some of the more low-key tracks like "Double Helix" and "Punk Weight" are a bit boring and let the noise wash over the anger, dulling the sharp edge of the vocal tracks. There's also a touch of industrial on here, popping up occasionally to add texture to the myriad beats.

There are times where the new approach does work well on The Money Store. In particular "Hustle Bones" is a great track in this style that combines a groovy vocal track with a repetitive melody. The vocals are prominent and aggro-filled, making the track one of the more fun on the album. As I mentioned earlier though, the many repetitions on The Money Store make it feel a bit more predictable. The dominant drumming by Zach Hill on certain tracks adds to that. His drumwork on The Money Store is very consistent as opposed to sporadic, and he does do a great job playing in this style (as he tends to do with every style; listen to Hella). I think one of his more spontaneous moments is on "Double Helix," but sadly the diminished vocal presence makes it feel forgettable. I just preferred the previous album's (er mixtapes') style to this one, and maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.

5.75 out of 10

Tracklisting:

1. Get Got 
2. The Fever (Aye Aye)
3. Lost Boys
4. Blackjack 
6. I've Seen Footage 
7. Double Helix 
8. System Blower 
9. The Cage 
10. Punk Weight 
11. Fuck That 
12. Bitch Please 
13. Hacker 

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