Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Soul Called Perdition - Into the Formless Dawn

A Soul Called Perdition are the brainchild of Tuomas Kuusinen from Finnish veterans Pain Confessor, and their debut record is made up of mainly unreleased tracks from his Pain Confessor days. It has just been released in digital format that you can find on the band’s website, and it is a creation from many facets of heavy metal.

Opener ‘Woe’ is a fast, melodeath number with some cool riffing and a great slice of melody. ‘There is No Shelter’ is more of the same, but with even dashes of blackened ferocity thrown in there too. That doesn’t stop the more melodic choruses from working though. A Soul Called Perdition have worked hard on created just the right blend of melody and extremity. Tracks like ‘Severance’ showcase this very well, while ‘Emptiness’ is an exercise in controlled brutality.

A Soul Called Perdition keep it pretty heavy most of the way through, and only let the most insidious of melodies sneak through, so that their sound is not controlled by it. The guitarwork is stellar, and this is displayed most proudly in the shredtastic ‘To Those Who Shall Follow’. But you’d be safe with pretty much track of this high quality, sleek, melodeath killing machine. Shred til death!

Chthonic Cult - I Am the Scourge of Eternity

So, a four track, 47 minute record by a band called Chthonic Cult, on Iron Bonehead, with a cover that looks like that? I’m gonna guess its the musical encapsulation of every madness causing entity HP Lovecraft ever dreamt up. Guess what? I wasn’t that far away!

Opener ‘As the Void Beckons’ roars with barely contained rage; a scything death metal blade straight through your heart, vibrating your very soul. As twelve minute opening tracks go, this bucks the trend. No slow build, no overly long samples. Just bloodcurdling death metal, soaked in black metal atmospheres and a vocal that has something vaguely unsettling about it. It barely even slows in its assault, although a menacing chug that makes a few appearances, is pretty badass. When a spacious quiet rears its head after a full nine minutes, the looming dark doom appears.

What Chthonic Cult build within this album, however, is a vast space for this music to breathe. Yeah, there is a razor sharp savagery about each riff, but with the song lengths comes opportunities to grow each song. Take that earth shaking close to the opener where black and doom mesh into a maddening brutality, or the looming insanity of ‘The Abyss Triumphant’, Chthonic Cult build their black/death/doom hybrid with shades of grey, so each mammoth song feels like part of a journey.

The Triptykon like crunch of ‘Asunder!’ seems to portray what Chthonic Cult want to become; a perpetual entity of darkness and brutal existence. The further gestation of this project is going to be very interesting, because with such a definitive debut statement, one wonders where Chthonic Cult will take their next steps. They are defining extremity within dense ritualistic music, creation defined by madness incarnate. ‘I Am the Scourge of Eternity’ is one of the most impressive albums I have come across in recent times, and if you have the time to sink into its dark waters, you’ll find yourself drawn deeper into their crushing infinity.

Repulsive Dissection - Church of the Five Precious Wounds

‘Church of the Five Precious Wounds’ is Repulsive Dissection’s long awaited follow up to 2009’s scorching ‘Cut Open the Aberration’. An international band, including members from UK, Ukraine, Sweden and Japan, Repulsive Dissection’s brand of fiery death metal is warming in this cold winter!

If ‘Cut Open the Aberration’ promised big things, ‘Church of the Five Precious Wounds’ has delivered on them. ‘Baptism (Nurtured in the Void)’ detonates with the force of an atomic bomb, devastating riffing and earth grinding growls spewing forth with barely contained rage. The inhuman technicality of songs like ‘Confirmation’ and the dazzlingly brutal ‘Ordination’ couple with the vocal abilities of Tom Bradfield, who switches between a bloodcurdling shriek and a brutal growl without a second thought.

‘Church of the Five Precious Wounds’ is one of tech death/brutal death’s most intense and musically stunning records of this year. Hardly letting up, other than for a chilling sample here and there, Repulsive Dissection take the less is more attitude and batter you senseless for half an hour, leaving you breathless and broken. Cramming more great riffs into a short release than most bands manage in a career, knowing just when and where to hold off, and when to crank it up. Intense, relentless and heavier than a really heavy thing.

Occult black metal from the frozen, icy north of Finland sounds like just the ticket to me. Funerary Bell are in the midst of writing their second record, four years on since their debut ‘The Coven’. In order to whet the appetite for blood, this two track EP has come out on Saturnal Records as a taster of what is to come.

‘Afterlife on Earth’ is a hypnotic menacing slice of black metal, with a slower deliberate pace, and lacking a general straight to the jugular assault. This works well, as it helps Funerary Bell stand out amongst every sub standard Darkthrone/Mayhem clone out there. The atmosphere is choking, cloying, with dashes of Eastern melodies in there too. There’s a definite feel of the ritualistic here, the summoning of ancient demons and darkness untold. There’s maybe even a bit of Mercyful Fate hiding in there too.

‘Eleanor’s Garden’ growls forth from a cold void, a place of emptiness. It’s harrowingly bleak, but still retains that hummability that is strangely innate to their music. Funerary Bell make memorable dark music, and their EP is definitely making me look forward to the full length. Hail darkness!

Originally published here:

Anaal Nathrakh are, and always have been, one of black metal’s most violent and yet aurally interesting bands. With equal parts aggression and vast, fucking epic parts, the duo of Mick Kenny and Dave Hunt have pushed their music into darker and darker corners, and nowhere is that more evident than on Desideratum. I went in search of the source of the hatred fountain.

Anaal Nathrakh

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. First off, what is the most direct inspiration on your new record Desideratum?

The most direct inspiration? I confess I’m not entirely sure what that means. The desire to make an album of new music.  The inspiration is to use the new musical ideas to make something that sounds ace, and to lance the mind pustules that built up since the last album.  Our music can be complicated, but in terms of intent it’s quite simple – a rush, an atmosphere, a feeling.  That’s our inspiration.  All the bollocks I’ll probably come out with over the next few minutes is part of that, yeah, but the core thing that we’re about is making music with impact.

Anaal Nathrakh seem to have a very direct message of annihilation and nihilism. What makes that so relevant in today’s society?

I’d argue that our message is anything but direct, since we’re not actually trying to convey a message.  Most music is like that, it has implicit values a lot of the time, but it’s not about specific statements.  But yeah, annihilation and nihilism are important parts of our general aesthetic and sentiments.  What makes them relevant?  I’m not sure they are relevant to society.  It’s more that I see them as inherent to or entailed by society, and they, along with things like rage, sum up a reaction to society.

I see nihilism everywhere, certainly most mainstream culture seems nihilistic to me, because of its commoditisation of everything for ultimately pointless gains.  When something that seems like it should be genuine expression is co-opted for cynically manipulative reasons, that seems pretty nihilistic to me.  Butterflies caught, killed and kept in a case held down by pins, and the reason has nothing to do with butterflies, only with what they can fetch as a niche product.  A fascination with eschatological ideas and stuff like the anti-natalism in Schopenhauer just seems natural to me. I suppose in some ways it’s born out of a minor obsession with mortality, and that’s a pretty basic human thing.  Really that’s all a pointlessly wordy way of saying that I think they’re themes relevant to being alive full stop.

To me you’re like the bearers of the end-time message. Are we as a race more likely to go out in a cataclysmic event or simply fade out into nothingness and obscurity as a species?

I used to think it’d be a distinct group of catastrophic events – a nuclear war or something like that.  Nowadays I’m more inclined to think the species will endure through a form of internalised slavery.  That is, we will essentially be slaves, but we’ll think that the way society works is right, and that we’re not enslaved.  There are various things along those lines already in place, dogmatic support of capitalism, acceptance of society being in a permanent state of conflict with an ‘other’, the subdivision of populations into visible mutually antipathetic groups by less visible impersonal manipulators and so on.  The literature most likely to reflect the way things will be isn’t footage of nuclear tests, it’s 1984 or something like a less naive Hunger Games. Only it won’t actually look like that.  It’ll look like something much more normal.

Anaal Nathrakh 'Desideratum' Artwork

The majority of your work is very highly acclaimed, is that satisfying or do you always feel there is more to achieve, more to improve between records?

If our stuff is well regarded then of course that’s gratifying, and we appreciate people’s enthusiasm.  But we have never set out to generate acclaim, we’ve only ever been interested in making music that we think is brilliant.  Surely that’s what all bands should be doing? To be honest, if you’re doing anything for the reaction of other people rather than because you feel it’s worthwhile in itself, I think you’re doing something wrong.  I saw an interview with Pete Steele years ago. When asked what music meant to him, he said something like ‘a logical progression of tones intended to elicit a positive response from a listener’.  Basically, he had no interest in it himself, it was a vehicle. Now I’m not saying that’s what he really thought deep down, in fact it seems very unlikely, but even if he just thought that at the time, how awful that sounds compared to the passionate involvement in music that other people have.

So yes, there is always more to achieve, but it has nothing to do with being on magazine covers or getting another album of the month or anything like that.  It’s a better expression of what was there, imperfectly articulated, all along, or the expression of new things.  If you can do that, then yes, the more superficial stuff could well follow, but it’s the task itself which is the point.

Desideratum is your eighth record, has there been any kind of link running through all the records or are they all standalone pieces?

I suppose you could link them by saying they all embody the same creative voice, or some try-hard bollocks like that, but apart from the fact that they’re all us, no, there’s no intentional link.

You’re a very productive band, what with 8 records in 13 years. Do you have a particularly work ethic that inspires such quick turnaround between records?

The Beatles released ten or more albums in five years, most of which went to number one and changed the world of popular music.  I don’t think eight in thirteen years is all that much, it’s just that most other bands like us release less.  We just record when we feel ready to record.  No schedule, very little planning, just instinct.

Anaal Nathrakh - Photo by Paul Kenney

You’ve used a number of samples throughout your career, is there anything you’ve really wanted to use on a track but not been able to? Do you have anybody you’d really like to record a spoken word intro or the like for you?

I’d absolutely love to have Philip Best do something like that.  Or even better, have him write it and Joss Ackland read it out.  He has one of the most amazing voices I know of. It’d certainly be striking, having a screed of fury and tales of dirty little secrets and self misrepresentation read out in that gravelly, expressive voice.  Other than that, nothing leaps irrepressibly to mind.  What we would like to do is some sort-of-cover versions of some unpredictable songs.  By which I mean change them quite a bit but keep some of the spirit of the originals.  Whether we’ll actually do any of them is another matter, we’ll have to see. But it would be cool to try.

An element of your music that I’ve always been fond of is the vast, clean vocals that seem to increase the scope of your lyrics and message simply with their grandeur and presence. In such a musical community where the addition of such elements could be considered ‘selling out’, was that a consideration when adding it to your sound?

No, it wasn’t a consideration in the slightest. We do what we do in order to try to make the best stuff we can.  If some self appointed taste tsar considers something we decide to be impermissible, the only thing we’d feel is irritated.  Certainly not that we shouldn’t do it.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  We use those vocals because we like them and think they fit with the feeling we’re trying to create – just like every single other thing we use.

Is there a record in your discography that you’re particularly proud of?

Desideratum.  It might be a cliché, but if you’re not enthused by your own most recent stuff, you didn’t work hard enough on it.

Finally, what does the future hold for you guys, are we likely to see another album in the next year or is it likely to be more touring instead?

Within the next year?  Possibly, but probably not.  But we have already started talking internally about the next one, so it might not be much longer than a year away.  We agreed on the working title earlier today, in fact. Touring isn’t necessarily instead of writing, but we are playing a fair number of shows this year.  I always fail to keep track of what’s announced and what isn’t, so I can’t give you a list or anything – promoters can get awfully upset if you say you’re playing a show before they’re ready to say so themselves.  But there’s quite a few happening one way or another!

Thanks for your time, if you have anything else you’d like to add, feel free!

Go and watch the film Network.

The idea that, in this day and age of genres being invented every hour, calling yourself ‘extreme metal’ is a good bet is only reliable if you fall into the better of two categories. The first is the ‘we play metal and we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves with a label’ camp. The second is the ‘we can’t choose a style so keep experimenting and therefore sound like arse’ camp. You’re gonna want to stick to part one if you want to go along that road. Australia’s Hybrid Nightmares do their level best to stick to the former, and in most parts it works very well.

The intro track, ‘Satya’, lends you no hint as to what is to come. A pleasant enough, if slightly cliche, acoustic piece that is all very nice but we are here for ‘extreme’! Fortunately, ‘Illumination’ brings that, kicking off with a prime latter period Satyricon riff that oozes regal menace. there’s some blasting, and some sweet trad metal moments before the black metal returns. There’s a glacial fury to the track, without descending too far into tremolo waspriffing; there’s some definite meat on these bones.

‘Black Heart’ is purely black metal, with the occasional dash of death metal weight to it. An uber melodic solo is technically sound, but seems slightly out of place with the blackened rage enveloping it. ‘Dead Star Goddess’ has some moments that sound so like Trivium its unreal, probably an unfortunate accident of riffs in a song that doesn’t really do much for me if I’m honest. Closing with ‘Inside’ was a good move however. Propulsive drumming takes you forward into some crashing and catchy riffs, where the more obviously heavy metal influences work very well. Some soaring guitar melodies give the song some breathing room, while a mellow acoustic section brings to mind Opeth. Spiralling progressive metal riffs create a hypnotising moment before its all buried under thunderous double bass.

‘The First Age’ is the first of a four album cycle for Hybrid Nightmares, and it seems like the focus was somewhat lacking in parts for the first one. ‘The First Age’ has some great music on there, particularly on ‘Inside’ and ‘Illumination’, but also some dud moments (‘Dead Star Goddess’ could’ve been left off entirely). If Hybrid Nightmares can stick to what they’re good at, namely blending some solid, inventive heavy metal with that black metal ferocity, then the next release could be something pretty cool. ‘The First Age’ will hopefully just be growing pains.





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2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.