Reviews

Suicide forest – Descend into Despair

Suicide Forest Bandcamp Cover

Slow black metal – an oxymoron? Well not in Suicide Forest’s case. Depressive, leaving that hollow yearning feeling, US black metallers Suicide Forest, which are another one-man band outfit, have created a beautiful piece of dark melancholy. Spread across 8 tracks the listener is reminded of how futile life is, track 4 sums it up with ‘A Sobering Reflection’ ..good grief, and this is being released in July 2017, when the northern hemisphere is enjoying summer, and I’ll be hanging ten on my board, evenings spent chillaxing round a campfire on the beach…. No wait… I think I shall close the curtains and indulge in DSBM and await the end of the world.

Dungeon sounds, lasting, lilting slow guitar riffs, seething vocal noises and gentle piano pieces and keyboard interludes are used to create this menacing, gloomy atmosphere. And to cement this dark feeling the album is released on black cassette, ‘non more black’ as Spinal Tap might say, limited to 100 hand numbered with carefully assembled 3 panel sleeve.
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Exmordium – Into the Sepulchral Spectrum EP

Exmordium

Life gets in the way at times, and due to the sad loss of Andrew Rehberger of Tridroid Records in 2016 this album got lost under the weight of everything, however it is now seeing the light of day as the first of the ‘Lost Releases’ and is now given a full and fair release in July 2017.
Starting off with a ‘Pinball Wizard’ style acoustic guitar intro you may be fooled in to expecting a gentle ride, oh no, as ‘Portals Beyond the Imprisonment of Time’ launches in to ferocious black metal style fury. This is balanced by some thrash breakdowns and more very soothing gentle guitar interludes.

This album is expertly conceived and delivered, encompassing the wide variety of the duo’s abilities. Evan French and Evan Page came together in 2011, and after a few demos this EP was recorded in 2015 and has laid hidden under sands of time. With this EP one can hear the very souls of both Evans coming out, the very essence of the Evans, maybe they could change their band name to…. Oh hang on, it’s been taken!
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#Shorttokes – Summer Smoke, Psych and….. Sheep?

Maid Vale

In Maida Vale, there is a famous BBC recording studio in London, and I guess this is their reasoning for the name, as opposed to just the name of the district…. This album kicks off with some swagger and strutting like Hendrix playing with Rage Against the Machine all although they sound like they could hail from Haight Ashbury circa ’68 there is a definite modernism to the vocalist’s delivery. Yet, they hail from Sweden, not San Francisco, forming in 2012. There are solid drums, and between the percussion and the vocalist the guitars lay down some swimmingly soothing psychedelic guitar licks. ‘Dirty War’ opens like Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, but soon they stamp their own moniker on the tune. And ‘Heaven and Earth’ closes the album as it opens up with exploratory expanses of guitar reverb and gently takes me by the hand and leads the way….
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Panopticon – Kentucky

NVP058-Cover

This seems to be closer to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ than to Slayer or Celtic Frost! It is a bleak, cold landscape, harsh times and hard men as they strive to eke out a living in the mining towns to provide for their families and to survive the stern business owners. This fifth album for Panopticon forges black metal coldness with folk and Americana of the locality it is describing and is being re-released by Bindrune Recordings and Nordvis Produktion at an optimum time just as Paris Accords, fossil fuels and changing climates are top news.
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Folkvangr Records Spring update

Folkvanrgr Records are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Become one of the folk.
Chiral

Chiral – Gazing Light Eternity

‘Gazing Light Eternity’ by Chiral is a slow burning atmospheric black metal piece by Italian one man outfit. Mixing the majestic Wolves in the Throne Room sprawling sound with tight Burzumic pounding and lead guitars that elevate the sound that much higher than organic howling black metal. Folkvangr are releasing this on a strictly limited cassette run which includes an additional track.

There’s something rather cosmic and kosmiche about the tunes, ‘The Haze’ certainly is a trippy keyboard piece interlaid with dialogue, as if I am listening in to a conversation that I am not privy to. ‘The Crown’ returns the guitar to the driving seat, as I feel I am wandering lost in a dark, cold forest. Chiral balance the ambience and the fierce, the beauty and the danger to an organic orgiastic effect.
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Fragile Branch releases.

Great oaks grow from tiny acorns…. and with this crop of fine releases a fragile branch soon becomes a tremendous forest!

Vials of Wrath - Cover1
Vials of Wrath offer us a blend of theatrical blackened ambience alongside more traditional black metal with a nature themed content, however we are led to believe by the biog that it discusses the ideas around a supreme being creating the flora and fauna. An interesting concept for this genre, as it’s not the overt satanic, or anti-Christian themes, nor does it appear to be the neo pagan ‘back to nature’ ethos of Wolves in the Throne Room and their ilk. More like ’marvel at your environment and think about our interaction with these surroundings and what power created it all’ Is this the first Intelligent Design black metal offering?

Musically it is very controlled and vastly competent. A balance of beauty and chaos; whether it is the atmospheric ambient electronics, or the emotive highs and lows of the guitar work, it bubbles over the deeper, darker bass and drum work that elude to the chaos within, packaged together with the gurgling strangulation styled vocals. Another way of representing the energies of nature, beautiful chaos!
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Death of Kings – Kneel Before None

DoK-KBN Album cover

REGICIDAL!!…….REGICIDAL!!…..

Not so new boys on the block, Regicidal Tendencies, I mean Death of Kings are due to bring forth ‘Kneel Before None’ and let it loose on the world. Thrash, what an adrenalin rush… and the opening track ‘Shadow of the Reaper’ opens with some trademark thrash notes, double barrelled guitar interplay and screaming vocals. Only a few months after they released the Hell Comes to Life 7” we have the follow up LP, and it doesn’t disappoint.
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