The moon plays a lead role in our lives, whether it be eclipsing the sun as it did recently as witnessed in north America, or pulling on the tides through to controlling those of us with a lycanthropic persuasion… Folkvangr Records are releasing two Moon titled artists this autumn in the shape of Chaos Moon and Hate Moon.
Chaos Moon sees the tenth anniversary re-release of ‘Origin of Apparition…..Languor into Echoes, Beyond’ as a double cassette, limited to 50, as always to excite you tape heads, and alternating a black and white theme across both these albums in layout and cassette shell packaging. Especially for those who enjoy harsh, visceral black metal as this gives no quarter from the beginning, with ‘Illusions of Dusk and Dawn’ containing one almighty howl, relentless drumming and buzzsaw guitar to create one hellish nightmare. The vocals at times, sound like a roaring big cat, which I must say I have never come across before! Most of the tracks on ‘Origin of Apparition’ end with a soft and drifting outro, even if the middle has been some of the most abrasive and pummelling black metal I have heard of late. And as this album unfolds more synth pieces become apparent to balance the tsunami of guitars and drums.
There’s something in my reptilian brain that connects with crossover thrash. It was the first scene or genre that really ignited my teenage passion, and of course being a teenager, I had a lot of passion pumping in those adolescent veins of mine! Mid to late 80s discovering the UK, US and European scenes I was my own inner journey, a pilgrimage of putrefaction.
So, when coming across bands that excite me in similar ways 30 years later is so refreshing, and here we have The Mons and Agony Kings, both fishing in a similar gene pool of creativity. The Mons draw on that angular early punk sound of the ’77 revolution along with the rhythm and drive of 1980s US hardcore of Minor Threat and Black Flag etc.
Devil’s Emissary – Demiurge Asceticism
The Devil’s Emissary is sent amongst us, spewed forth from the gut of Lord Satan himself, well Third Eye Temple Records, growling and grunting amongst the putrid remains of humanity that he finds. And what a time to arrive, threats of war and final conflict, tremendous storms, horrifying famines, political and social upheaval.
This Polish trio aren’t purveyors of typical harsh and hateful black metal, as this leans towards a slower and lower death metal sound. Taking musical pointers from the wider European sounds it offers a filthy, slime dripping, flesh ripping torment of hymns to horned one. Maybe.
This is a beautiful collection of organic, pastoral and sometimes bucolic tunes played mostly on guitar or simple electrification and percussion evoking images of nature, forests, mountain lakes and crisp clear air. Jo Döden is known for his work in other guises such as Sorgeldom and Whirling, but here he allows his solo work to emanate through this album which translates as sitting in the lake with water above your head. I am still trying to understand this title and what it really means….
The album cover oozes Scandinavian Norse Men which informs the images that develop in my mind as I make my way through pastures, and mountain passes, until midway track ‘Vemod fyllde tronsalen’ starts to concern me with its enquiring repetitive guitar and a new sound is born. Rhythmic folk infused blackened metal that includes keyboards synth sounds I remember from 1980s spooky children’s TV shows. The title track relaxes me and reassures me that we have returned now to the strumming and finger picking acoustic guitars. But oh. what happens next, maybe JoDöden has chanced upon a pumping nightclub, as the acoustic strains suddenly get shut down by a goblin disco!
Britain, London, roast beef, and Big Ben chimes News at Ten! But Big Ben has been silenced for essential maintenance, and the chattering classes are up in arms! And it takes a foreigner, a Canadian, to rub it in releasing this album which starts off with tolling bells! Coincidence? Or saboteur?
I don’t think anyone chooses art as a career path, art chooses you! And an artist cannot stop creating, which brings me to Takhisis, another one-man project by Rich of Blackened Death Records. Rich’s output is varied as it is prolific, he is the World Controller, the man behind Elk, he lives in the Carnivorous Forest of Croydon, South London recording death metal, blackened doom, thrash and anti-fascist neo-folk under as many monikers as he has had hot dinners of poutine! And when he’s not ding that he is releasing other band’s work on his label.
August brings the annual multinational and multi-cultural grindcore festival to north London. And I love it for its sheer variety, warmth of welcome and downright DIY crust credentials. We had politics abound with European bands (and some from further afield) discussing the rise of the far right, the terms of Brexit and the plight of refugees as well as the less serious take on the world with many a tune about anuses from the likes of Gout and Birdflesh.
Since the 70s there’s nothing more metal than an umlaut, thanks to Motorhead and Blue Oyster Cult for popularising the grammatical nuance. And my inbox has been invaded by new releases by The Sign Records including Hällas and Märvel plus a fine crop of others, some of which surprised me. Hint, the heaviest didn’t include any umlauts in the logos!
Märvel – this is ideal for long summer evenings with long drinks, and long sighs. Hits a few power chords and drum rolls reminiscent of that Swedish retro Witchcraft vibe with some excellent tambourine and shakers work!
To review this album, I have decided this should be interactive with audience participation. Here’s what you need to do:
Fetch pen, paper and ruler. Draw a grid 5 x 5 leaving you squares big enough to write in.
Now fill the 25 boxes with a variety of your favourite rock, pop and metal acts. Purchase the album Laser Flames on the Big News by the Tennessee band of the same name which was out on Wood and Stone Productions on June 30th, 2017, and cross off the bands in your grid as and when you hear them on this record.
Press play and join John Judkins of Rwake and Stephanie Bailey as they play vocal blows off each other whilst the band scot around a number of genres, sub-genres and classic standards.
Cassette collectors and tape heads rejoice!! Folkvangr Records is releasing of the cassette version of Inexorable Grimness by USBM band Gravespawn on August 25th 2017 as a limited edition solid black cassette with white ink and hand-numbered, plus double sided 4-panel sleeve in a crystal clear case.
Although this album was released late 2016, it is seeing a cassette release this August, and it is my first time listening in. Opening with a Mortiis style depressing dungeon dirge, the rest of the band soon kick in with fierce and fast black metal and gargling with gravel vocals.