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.
I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like this. I think Void Ritual are a one-man outfit producing black metal, and there are many of these kinda outfits out there, and sometimes I listen and feel it doesn’t work, however on ‘Heretical Wisdom’ I hear a maturity and musicianship that is worthy of your time and money. ‘The Flood’ starts us off in an expected frenetic way, yet it is ‘Breathing Ice’ that really piques my attention as it slows down its rhythm to that beautiful Bathory-esque momentum and my head cannot but worship with a meditative nod.
This is the first full album release by Dan and his Void Ritual moniker who probably don’t need much of an introduction in these pages. After an EP and a split EP this album is seeing a full CD release on Throats Productions and cassette via Tridroid Records in August 2017, so proper backing and exposure! The instruments are all equally used and balanced throughout, so the drums get a bit of an expose on ‘Heretical Wisdom’ title track bringing them forward from purely a beat keeper, ‘Frozen Altar’ includes a very slight keyboard presence, but handled in a subtle way as to not overpower the track.
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.
Folkvanrgr Records are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Become one of the folk.
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.
Well, another year is gone.
Beside its fine, pleasing moments, which were few, it was awful and most parts of it sucked. There were countless sad moments, unfortunate events, and more important than the others many great artists, many legends left us, gone forever but their memories remain, with us, eternally.
However, at the same time, many tremendous albums came alive, pleased us, left huge traces of joy and eternal pleasures carved in our souls, kept us all alive, gave us power to face difficulties, through all the ass-kicking rough times.
I’m cutting it short. I just want to mention the words of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
I enjoyed a lot of really good music this year. Here is an alphabetized list of additional releases that I think require your attention.
Goodbye, good riddance and FUCK YOU, 2016.
While I begin writing this, I am overcome with a rush of emotions. To say that is was a rough year for my family would be an understatement.
As some of you already know, my wife of 20 years and my best friend and soul mate of almost 30 had a heart attack and nearly died during a scheduled open heart surgery to replace a defective valve. She would end up having two more open heart surgeries (three total over three days), and then flat line several times in the days that followed, two of those times while myself and our two teenage children were in the room.
In the weeks that followed, days seemed to never end. Time pretty much stood still. She spent 21 days in the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) in a drug induced coma, while 16 different drips, two cardiac machines and a heart pump helped keep her alive and her heart beating as close to a normal sinus rhythm as possible, until it was strong enough to beat on its own.