Re-issues galore here for Panphage fans. Nordvis are looking after all your gloomy gothic needs with re-releasing two classic early releases by Panphage. Their debut ‘Storm’ and split with Thul gets a wider release as they were previously a cassette only deals. ‘Storm’ breaks us in gently with an ambient intro of ‘Lugnet’ to be soundly woken from slumber with the Swedish strong vocal punchy style, as if barking order to you in the title track.
There is a strong Scandinavian funeral doom feel to this with tracks like ‘Frusna Varsel’, along with dark blackened European overtones of vocal approach with the odd Tom Warrior style ‘Ugh’ thrown in. ‘Hemmavid’ and ‘Forfader’ brings out a more traditional 80s black metal vein of Panphage, simplistic, in yer face slice of dark horror coupled with the majestic orchestration to keep up the excitement! And we close on ‘Fenomen’ another ambient piece to book end the album.
Folvangr Records have got some folking excellent album releases this spring. Selvans offer a hybrid mix of guttural blackened metal with light folk touches aiding their aim for atmospheric tales of folklore. Synths are used to recreate sounds of strings and orchestral accompaniment to the buzzing guitar and floating flutes. This album ‘Lupercalia’ was due for release in 2015, but now sees the light of day on a cassette release.
During the 60 minutes of music we travel through eons of time charting the differing peoples who have populated Selvans native Italy. So, a history lesson in itself, delivered by pounding drums, widdling guitars and throat warbling growls. At times it touches the symphonic black metal areas, as it isn’t afraid to incorporate grandiose ideas in to its canon. But the guttural scream is not far away to ground it back into the dark forests of bygone times. Like the soundtrack to Sam Raimi directing Shakespeare’s Macbeth!
Sojourner, from the other side of the world, New Zealand, offer a far tighter technical approach to their black metal with their album ‘Empires of Ash’. To me, it is less organic and more scientific as the drums, super-fast drums at times, berate the listener, the vocals are metred in an orderly fashion and the breaks punctuate the barrage with soft woodwind rest periods. It is very clean, along the lines of recent Saor album ‘Guardians’ in a very controlled environment. Their mix of quiet and loud is well balanced, however a little more variety in the noisy parts would keep my attention longer.
Black Bow records have done it again. That’s it, that’s all you need to know. Black Bow are becoming like Earache Records was like back in the 80s when you knew you could trust them.
Merchant are from Melbourne, Australia. A four piece that break down the doors of perception with their very own sludgehammer! Slow and low, like Conan or Monolord, and tantalising our inner ears with slight diversions of warping effects leading in to bludgeoning psyche out territory. Brown acid trips galore, baked out dry on a deserted highway with only the ghost of Lemmy as company. I mention him as second track ‘Succumbing’ reminds me of ‘Orgasmatron’ played at the wrong slow speed.
Speed, now I mention it, Merchant deliver an amphetamine comedown, that drawn out feeling of a weekend spent in five minutes and the next five days of hangover and repair before the next weekend hits.
Powerviolence is fast like a short sharp shock a cousin of grindcore, and both are not known for their gentle volume levels. But here I find Arkansas’s Terminal Nation recorded rather on the quiet-side and Absolute Control will appear via Deep Six Records on June 9 2017. Bludgeoning their way through 9 tracks lasting from 30 to 160 seconds even sounding a little like Lawnmower Deth on their track ‘Grave’
Powerviolence waits for no man, and the trademark frenetic race to the end is evident through the majority of these tracks. The latter half stretch their time out over 2 minutes, which allows for some deviation and even some rhythm sections on songs like ‘Pulse of the Dead’.
And set closer ‘Broken’ could be a different band all together, as it slows down to the relentless grind barrage of a shell bombardment.
In the mid 90s I DJ-ed a club night called Sticky Youth Club, all very kitsch and tongue in cheek, but nothing as sticky as this lot Morass of Molasses! They are self proclaimed ’Swamp Masters’ but it is a marsh of THICK treacle they dwell in as this oozes forth and drips from the speakers when you hit Play. A power trio along the lines of an updated Blue Cheer for the modern era, or ZZ Top at their most dirtiest and dustiest. Or heavy weight masters Mountain pushed through a mangle and then shredded through a grater.
Released on HeviSike Records this follows on from their So Flows Our Fate 2015 four tracker and continues to pile on the pounds of heavy duty sleazy blooze with heavy dooty titles such as “Serpentine”, “My Leviathan” and “Wrath of Aphrodite” which are all held together, anchored by the drummer Chris. Having shared the stage with luminaries such as Orange Goblin as well as local UK scene setters Sea Bastard, Desert Storm, Elephant Tree and Gurt they would appeal to fans of any of those afore mentioned acts as there is the sheer volume and power, the doom tinged topics of mysticism and ancient legend and the tightness of a well rolled doobie!
Swedish doomsayers Alastor are releasing this EP on Twin Earth in March 2017 digitally and CD, and maybe a vinyl copy will follow…and it has a very Swedish sound, as it’s opening riffs remind me of Monolord and that fuzzed-out-greebo-leather-clad-stained-denim-biker-stoner-rock. The vocals have that kinda disorientating distant recorded in the next room feel to them, and the guitar wah-wahs are sublime accompanied by crunching feedback. They play rather slow, so songs are on the longer side, and take time to develop and ripen up.
Since I last cavorted with these witches in their sacred grove, they have either added an old crone to their coven or retrained at Spell School as vocals are now a thing, and originally, I am sure Space Witch were an instrumental based (with the odd speech sample) space rocking psyche doom band. However, the vocals are not a central part of their mix as this launches, they still excel at electronic synth weirdness.
Opener “Cosomonid” has some smart snappy drumming by Daniel to take this through the rabbit hole in to the nether regions of Wonderland. The full-frontal keyboard electronic effects are displayed heavily here, although at times they do sound a little cheesy, but that’s just my take on it, but this is countered by the driving guitar of Darren who makes sure this gets over the line at the end.
“Astro Genocide” starts off with one of those bowel-loosening guitar riffs that first reared its head in the early days of grindcore, but this time it is to open up a space exploratory mission, where the instruments mix together like different oils on the top of still water. And here we see the first appearance of Peter’s vocals, barking like they are commands to Starship Space Witch as it hurtles on through this space exploration. Maybe Space Witch are the space child of Hawkwind who will continue the mission boldly going where no space cadet has gone before.
This record sang to me even before I pressed play as I was reading the press release notes, it is a concept album around the issue of pain.
And this is very close to me as I have experienced neuropathic nerve damage pain for about 8 years after a very nasty and unexplained infection.
So let’s get on to Dynfari, who play a black metal infused prog tinged shoe gazing post rock. Using a fantasy writer’s theories on the mind and its processing of pain. Aldous Huxley and Jim Morrison discussed the doors of perception, and Patrick Rothfuss is speaking of the four doors here. To me, it can feel like a revolving door of pain at times. And this musical journey evokes that as well as it moves through differing emotions and moods as it entwines Icelandic poet Jóhann Sigurjónsson’s view of human existence, so we are back with Huxley and Mr. Mojo Risin’!
Trump maybe getting ‘really bad drudes out,’ but this bad Drude is here to stay! And that is because it hides and morphs and blends in like a musical chameleon.
You know how it is, you get comfy with something you know and feel familiar with for a minute or two, then it explodes in to an outpouring of harsh sludge which flattens me to the floor.
Drude hail from Indiana, and I am guessing that it’s Eerie, Indiana (I’m showing my age, aren’t I?) as they mix and contort their sound along the lines of reality distortion expected of some Sam Rami horror movie.
After the opening horror of “Drude,” we slow down to a bong pace for “Barbelo,” as it builds slowly layer upon layer like silt at the bottom of a river… and the music swirls around as the smoke begins to rise.