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.
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!
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….
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.
Three word band name: Cave of Swimmers
Three word review: Pavarotti fronts Megadeth
Order here: http://southerndruidrecords.storenvy.com/products/19899056-cave-of-swimmers-the-sun-7-ep
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!
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.