Manchester’s Caïna has been slowly but surely making a comeback onto the black metal scene and with a fresh new perspective due to striking a deal with cult label Church Of Fuck.. Andrew Curtis-Brignell offers two brand new tracks on this split with fellow Manchester crew Esoteric Youth (who are streaming one of their tracks with Tight To The Nail right now) and the two sides of Caïna have never been so apparent. While “We Sleep” is a fiery and often gorgeous ode, “Apocrypha” owes more to early hardcore and Andy’s roots in music.
Vindensång’s Alpha has been a long time coming with the band carefully perfecting and adjusting their second full-length and pushing back the release date on more than one occasion in order to completely lock down the sound. Due to be released in 2013, Alpha is a record that’s more than worth that wait and its development time has only added to the weight and beauty of the work.
Vindensång first came to light with 2006s demo Themes of Snow and Sorrow and with 2008s Terminus: Rebirth In Eight Parts... and their inclusion on the Der Wanderer über Dem Nebelmeer compilation (despite “The Reaper and the Seed” being unlike most of their output) in 2010 nudging them further into consciousness, the band took to the studio to prepare for their next record in 2011. Occasionally a band will take many years to create and record their music and from the outside it seems a little too much, yet when an album such as Alpha comes along and that time is heard quite clearly in the threads and landscapes of sound then the album takes on new dimensions and breathes a genuine soul into the proceedings.
The news that legendary bands Sunn O))) and Ulver had recorded music together was met with much delight and intrigue. What would it sound like? Who would it sound like? Would it be loud and disturbing or delicate and pretty? The answers are not as simple as the questions as the collaboration travels across the space of both projects’ and of course, two men who push forward their music as much as they possibly can.
Terrestrials was recorded a fair while ago, after Sunn O)))’s 200th performance which took place at Norway’s Øya Festival in 2008. Afterwards the band were invited to Ulver’s Crystal Canyon studio and lo, Terrestrials was born, a record that is an ode to the coming morning as much as it is a lament for the departing night. The two bands worked through the night, staying awake to complete the work and track the core of the record. A little editing was done afterwards but what we hear on Terrestrials is certainly a coming together of minds.
PTAHIL deal in some of the most disgustingly filthy black metal there is. It’s gross and weird and dirty and great and their last two releases – For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory and The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair – are enough to make you want to vomit everywhere.
We’re very pleased to bring you the premiere of the official PTAHIL video for “Pact With The Devil.”
“Pact With the Devil” is a fairly straightforward tune until the spaced out trip that pushes through the blackness suddenly takes a hold of the entire song and more weird as heck backwards intonations flow into the psychedelic voyage to the heart of darkness. It’s really fucking strange. Cool, but very, weird – which is something that can be said for their output in general. PTAHIL are a band that know how to drag you to hell and back again, kicking and screaming and praying for the end.
Words for this were taken from my own reviews of their last two full lengths which can be found in full here, if you like.
The albums mentioned above, plus many others worth investigating can be found on Wraith Productions.
Czech based Cult Of Fire may not be the most familiar of names just yet, but मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान will surely be the album that introduces them to a wider audience. Already the band are on their second full length in as many years and already they have created the kind of buzz that most groups can only dream of. Is it warranted? Heck yes it is. मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान is a work of extremely intense proportions and the European’s do much to push black metal further from its core and out into the more exotic tones of Eastern influence. Adorned by an incredible rendition of the Hindu Goddes Kali, मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान works a magical tone into its more standard black metal patterns and introduces passages of sitar as well as some truly fantastic chants into a palette of sounds that are as broad as they are divine.
It’s been an incredible year for music and choosing only six releases for any kind of list is a tough event.
The UK has a wide-ranging amount of bands – from doom to sludge, black metal to grind and everything in between – and there’s been a lot to take in this year. Still though, I feel like I haven’t heard anywhere near enough from the homeland this year so this list will be the top 6 UK releases that I’ve been particularly drawn to and actually managed to listen to.
As per personal custom, this list is alphabetical.
Does this really need any explanation? Carcass are Gods within the UK grind scene and they are rightly revered for their ability to constantly push forward their genre. Many thought that after 1996s Swansong the band were done with releasing music and while they played live often they never got around to a new album. Then 2013 came around and holy shit, “Captive Bolt Pistol” found its way online and everything was right with the world.
Caïna is one of the most revered acts on the UKBM scene and since the first days of the project sole member Andrew Curtis-Brignell has pushed the sounds of his band further and further from the initial steps taken on 2006s demo, The King Beneath. Since that time, Caïna has evolved and taken on new identities – from “post” black metal to experimental improvisation which has seen the band constantly shift and flow with the mind of its creator.
In 2011 Curtis-Brignell announced a new record and that it would, unfortunately, be the end of Caïna. The musical journey for the band came to an end with the incredible Hands That Pluck. Yet, in the latter stages of 2012 Caïna was resurrected and a return to the live arena was established in September of this year. The live experience of Caïna was markedly different and having been away from the stage for over four years, Curtis-Brignell began to experiment with sound and on stage improvisation (live footage can be seen below).
Splits are a funny old thing. One side might be terrible, one side might be great, the other side completely overshadows the other, both sides might be awful, neither side makes any sense when put with the other or, in the case of this Botanist and Palace of Worms split, both sides might be complete polar opposites and yet somehow perfectly in sync at the same time. It’s some kind of magic.
The two artists behind this release have been in talks to do something together for a while (see our below interview with Otrebor of Botanist) and as such the themes and currents running through their tracks align and give us a deeper insight into the Bay Area’s black metal scene. While Botanist treads the unconventional path, Palace of Worms sidles along a more orthodox route but the two projects throw curiosities into their music – Botanist via those incredible dulcimer parts and Palace of Worms through gorgeous synths and uneasy clean vocals – and both move forward from their previous releases into new territories and sounds.
There must be something in the air of late – darkness and gloom is permeating the world of rock and roll in a more obvious manner these last few months and it’s in bands such as Soror Dolorosa, Beastmilk and Vaura that this melancholy resonates. It’s almost pertinent to note that all of those acts have a history with much more extreme genres of music but all have, for some reason, wandered over to the side of sadness and embraced the cold, dark waves of modern goth. Vaura have, among their ranks, a member of Gorguts (Kevin Hufnagel – guitar), Toby Driver of Kayo Dot (bass) and they are lead by the ever busy Joshua Strawn (Blacklist, Religious to Damn – vocals, guitar) along with drummer Charlie Schmid (also ex-Religious to Damn); it’s clear, though, that despite their backgrounds, all four musicians share a love for the sounds of the gothic movement.
Pelican have always been a steady presence within the rock scene despite taking a step back after the release of 2009s What We All Come to Need. It seems as though people never really forgot about the instrumental group despite them scaling back their efforts a tad after four full lengths and countless EPs. The band have been through some tough times and although last year’s Ataraxia/Taraxis EP was a welcome return for the quartet, there was something much more pressing at hand for the Chicago-based group and their, until then, solid line-up.
After forming in 2001 as a sort of side-project to most of the members other band, Tusk, Pelican have been a constant force. They’re adept at creating sweeping landscapes of sound and travelling through many an emotion without ever uttering a word, yet the excitement surround new material and touring plans had a darker side for the band as long-time guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec wasn’t feeling as into Pelican as he had done in the past. Luckily Pelican were able to still play live and drafted in Dallas Thomas of The Swan King and in the interview we have with Trevor de Brauw (guitar) below, you’ll learn about how this whole process and change was handled.
Forever Becoming then, holds a lot of Pelican within its walls of sound and evocative title and the band feel as new and as refreshing on this new record as they did way back in the beginning. It’s a joyful record, a sad record, and a record of forward motion. Forever Becoming is the sound of a band learning their place within their own lives, and within the post-rock/instrumental/wherever the heck you want to place them scene and it is wonderful.