I feel compulsive to rant here, given the time, of my favorite dark ambient artist who has yet to live. His mother and friends call him Brian Williams, but he has taken shelter under the intimidating pseudonym of Lustmord for his dark craft. There is hardly anyone with more than half a brain stem that would counter the recognition of herr Lustmord being the originator of this sub genre. He has, whether consciously or not, becoming the prototype for hundreds of other, mostly sub par, noise projects. And through his dark history or existence, a prolific amount of material has been unveiled through his evil side. He has offered soundtracks to an unhealthy amount of films, and collaborated with several other noteworthy musicians, like those of Robert Rich & Hecate.
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After reading that the prehistoric cavemen of Antediluvian were about to embark their skinned hooves into my territory, this was an immediate must attend. The rarity of their performances are perhaps are just as scarce as the information about them. If exposed to their purely organic and primitive castings, one might not know exactly how to embrace it. Contradicting the modernity of metal, and aesthetics as a whole. On this night they were joined by a collective formation of black/war metal legions, those of somewhat prominent Nuclearhammer & Adversarial, & Befouled Serenity. I have no idea of the set list of each act, but instead will attempt to describe the auras and impacts of the night.
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Number One Oranssi Pazuzu
Fuck labels, fuck putting music into little boxes to make it easier for people to understand. Call me weird, but I really fucking dig it when bands break free of the labeling bondage! Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu is one of those bands that truly defy genres to create their own sound that has so many different radical layers to it that they are almost never-ending! On their latest album, Kosmonument, via Spinefarm, they have envisoned a huge universe of dark exciting music that changes shape by the second, shapeshifting from song to song. I was amazed by Oranssi Pazuzu’s first record, I respected them for being brave and open-minded in the way that wrote songs, and with Kosmonument they surpassed my expectations. These humans are willing to take their creative spirits to places that leave them open and emotionally naked, but that’s what makes Oranssi Pazuzu so fucking special! Also, I respect the way that this band is able to combine all of their influences together in a way that flows like the running water of an enchanted stream. Every song on this album is like its own planet, and the band’s creative energy force is the sun that all of the songs rotate around. The opening track, “Sienipilvi,” is a blackened space doom audio UFO that will have your braincells flying off to an alternative galaxy. You will hear sounds in this song that will etch themselves into your memory, and bass lines that seem to be hovering above you on the wings of a raven, while the vocals in this tune soar into another world. “Uusi olento nousee” is an extremely dark place, where the chilly drumming has the power to shatter huge glaciers, but before it’s all over they will have you traveling into a cave of nothingness. There are so many gnarly riffs hidden in Kosmonument that with each play, your ears will hear new nuggets of of black gold! I could write for days about how awesome this record is, but in reality, the only fucking way you will know the greatness of Oranssi Pazuzu is by encountering Kosmonument on your own terms.
It’s so rad that CVLT Nation is becoming a platform where creative humans from all over the world can express themselves. We totally dig it when people share their creative spirit with us. Alec McKay, from Bernard Books, shared with us a film he wrote and directed, and one of the most inspiring short films that I have seen in a long time. Don’t Call Me I Won’t Call You features members of Toronto’s CURSED and MARE breaking it down to the nitty gritty about why the bands created what they did, the way they did. Just as important as the subject matter is the way this film was shot by cameraman Richard Powell Smith – it’s pretty breathtaking. I’m not going to give too much away because we want you to see and hear it for yourself. I will say this: there are some things said in Don’t Call Me I Won’t Call You that are straight mental jewels! So after the jump, peep this thought-building film about CURSED and MARE!
Have you ever looked out on to the ocean, then thought to yourself in wonderment how vast it is & how it seems to go on forever? Have you ever looked at the mountains & wondered how were these artistic giant rock formations were created? Have you ever allowed music to change the way you think music can be made? The band Altar Of Plagues has changed the way I listen to the atmosphere that surrounds my humanity. Their album Mammal, out via Profound Lore Records, really is on it’s own plane of creation, where time can be frozen, then melt into cascading walls of ethereal sonics. Freedom is a word, but for many people it’s not an action. Altar Of Plagues embody creative freedom – to make the kind of album that they did, you have to be free & confident in the power you have over what you make. To me, the songs on this album are almost mini-albums unto themselves. The first composition on this album is a mammoth 18-minute track called “Neptune is Dead” – the drums are a layer of tension that awakens your spirit. On top of this are shrill screams of triumph that promote a sense of strength & blackened hope. The emotional glue of this song is the emotive guitar that transforms with each passing note. This is a song that will make you reflect. The ancient chant that starts off “When the Sun Drowns in the Ocean” is totally spell-binding, then there are tones of descent & as you start to feel like you’re floating downward, you are brought back up by more ancient chanting. Altar Of Plagues have this real organic feeling to what they do & when I listen to this band I begin to know what infinity might feel like! Honestly, I found it hard to write this review, not because I did not like this album, on the contrary, this record has left me in total fucking amazement and at a loss for words to describe its’ greatness. After the jump, check out some really rad live footage!
#6 Fell Voices at Eli’s Mile High Club
I was able to see Fell Voices and Ash Borer three times during their time in the Bay, but their appearance in Oakland was particularly special. The lineup consisted of Oakland funeral doom band Lycus, San Francisco blackened noise trio Sutekh Hexen, Oregon doom band Hell made their California debut, and Velnias from Colorado played by candle light. The combination of a diverse lineup, good friends and a solid turnout helped make this one of the best shows of the year.
Read the rest of the list and find out who’s number one after the jump.
From planet deranged comes Barren Waste with another ultra killer release, Dreaming In Aeons. These sick tracks were all recorded live in some filthy basement in Milford, New Hampshire. I have BARREN WASTE Review” target=”_blank”>reviewed Barren Waste’s music in the past, so if you don’t know by now, this band really fucking gets me going. These humans are in their own weird universe when they create music, and the end result is always highly original. On Dreaming In Aeons, the band pushes their assault on death metal, hardcore, doom & grindcore to the outer limits of reality. Whenever I hear this band, it makes me think that El Duce of the Mentors must have had intercourse with the gods of death metal, and Barren Waste was their hell spawn. The production on this release is dirty in all the right places, and the we don’t give a fuck factor is turned up to ten on every song! What also makes this band rad as hell is the way that they write their songs – it might seem that it’s pure chaos, but they have rancid method to their madness. Check out songs like “Smokers Cough” so you can hear how they will spray black melody all in your eardrums. The riffs are packed full of angst and demented dirge. Then there are the vocals, which seem like they were recorded in a trash can of voice rot. The drumming on this EP is raw like a freshly butchered Republican. People should take note that a whole lot of heart and zany thoughts can go a long fucking way, and make for some gnarly WASTE.
You can download their first record HERE!
Imagine a huge mountain that reaches all way up into the clouds, with one solitary mammoth castle perched on top. Then wonder if the castle walls could talk, or how the wind sounds as it creeps its way around this structure of light & darkness. One album holds the answers to these questions – it’s the new Locrian album, The Clearing, which is out now via Fan Death Records. From the smallest to the biggest soundscape, this album is rich in emotion and texture. From the first song, “Chalk Point,” you know that you will encounter all sorts of audio rawness. When I heard this track, I felt like I was that lost, lonely soul in a horror movie, seeking redemption and trying to find my way out of this laboratory called life. Next, Locrian guides you on your walk with minimal receptive piano notes, and ghostly chants act as candlelight for your way. I really dig how this tune evokes a heavy feeling without the use of very many instruments. The Clearing is epic on many different levels – one of them being that Locrian is able to take your darkest sonic thoughts and inject them with a sense of blackened warmth. The best way to understand where I’m coming from would be to listen to their gnarly song “Augury in an Evaporating Tower”
- the dark majesty of this tune will give you the answers you need. I’m so amazed by this song, because it twists my thoughts around weird bleeps, then dips them into the abyss where only screaming skeletons dwell, before bathing my nightmares in a shower of cryptic melody. The songwriting on this record is full of surprises that will awaken parts of your being that you might not see on the regular. As I listen to The Clearing, I feel like a snake shedding its skin, because with every spin of this record I hear something new. Locrian knows how to say so much without the use of vocals, because they truly know how convey what they want you to hear or feel with their instruments. But there are vocals on this album, and when they do come in they will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It’s so fucking cool that so much thought and soul goes into what this band does, but you never get the sense that their music is overly thought out, instead there is an effortless, organic feel to this album. The Clearing will be the album that you put on no matter the weather, because from the darkness comes light!
Here is the question: do you enjoy epic awesome hellbent blackened crust that could burn off the wings of an angel? If the answer is yes, then you must seek out the split between ALPINIST/MASAKARI, coming out via Halo of Flies for North America & Alerta Anitfascista for Europe. I must admit, I’m finding it really hard to keep my excitement from distracting me from this review. Both bands have grown so much in an extreme radical way since their last releases. I also feel that ALPINIST/MASAKARI totally inspired each other to rip shit like never before, basically they amplified everything that makes both of them awesome by 600%. Let’s talk about the ALPINIST side first – they created 7 songs that are just drenched in metallic urgency that will awaken all of your senses. Honestly, this band’s songwriting skills are so tight it makes you wonder how the fuck do they do what they do, because their tunes have so many gnarly ebbs, flows & twists. So imagine this: if Fugazi was genetically modified with the rage & sonic mayhem of Anit-Cimex, His Hero is Gone & Jr.Ewing, the end product would almost be close to how sick ALPINIST are on this split. Take songs like “Unwanted Encore,” fucking fury on steroids; it will punch in your grill with killer beats & snarling guitars for like the first 20 seconds, then these hands of mercy come out of no where to heal your wounds from their audio onslaught! When I hear ALPINIST’s songs, certain words come to mind like “cinematic crust,” because to me their songs are mini movies filled with drama, tension, emotion, tragedy & always these great endings. I get this vibe that the band is on a mission to change how punk is heard & they are doing a damn epic job. Although on songs like “Instrumental,” you can hear that they have a really open mind & are willing to bend sound into something interesting & new, that’s why I will always dig where these humans are coming from.
Next up, the blackened storm riders MASAKARI. I will tell you right here, right now: these dudes do not fuck around on this release, it’s like they woke up every morning while recording this split & ate gun powder for breakfast. They put all of their rabid angry into every second of every song, & even the mellow parts to their songs have a sinister vibe about them that will make your jaws tighten up. Huge drums, sick crusty basslines & nuclear riffs is what you are going to get when you blast “Progress” – wow, this song is so fucking epic. It has a rad quality about it, like it feels like you are in souped-up car that takes off with only speed as it’s master, then gets carjacked by an orchestra conductor. The reason why I say this is because of the intense changes that band will put you through this tune, which makes it a great work out. MASAKARI solos & riffs on this split seem inhuman, with this ultra wild manic quality to them…be careful, because they will get you hyped enough to smash a riot cop in the head. No matter at what stage of fury one of their songs might be, MASAKARI always maintains massive amounts of the blackened melodic groove in their songs. What will always make me admire this band is the way they work their conviction & emotion into every note of music they create. Go see ALPINIST/MASAKARI when they come to your town or city this summer, you will not be disappointed, but you might need a neck brace the next day, you’ll be another victim of bangover! One last thing, it’s sort of weird calling this a split, because in actuality, this record is a mammoth lesson in unity!
Next Five Splits after the Jump!
It’s pretty rad when you can see people are comfortable in their own skin – it makes whatever they create so much better. This review is just as much about a label as it is about a band. I have said before, I have so much respect for labels that have a strong foundation of integrity, which spreads into everything about it as a musically entity, even down to their aesthetic. One label that has been blowing my mind lately is HANDMADE BIRDS, which is run by R Loren. I must say that this human has been amazing me – he has been releasing albums that defy any genre. Looking at the world from the perspective of not labeling things keeps everything way more interesting & allows things to shapeshift into new, unknown forces that have never been seen or heard. This month HANDMADE BIRDS is releasing a new record by CROOKED NECKS called ALRIGHT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT ISN’T, which you can pre-order HERE now. Only one label will do this album justice: fantastic fucking music that will pull your spirit in so many awesome directions it will be your source of a new kind of high. I will tell you how listening to CROOKED NECKS makes me feel. One song that I’m really hooked on is “Smelling the Sounds” – it reminds of a beautiful summer’s day clothed in black silk. The guitar on this song will have your saddest times flying away, never to return again, plus the melody of the vocals will enchant you as if you just turned into magic mushroom! Drone layered on top emotive sound is the structure for another one my favorite tunes, “Every Step Seems Backwards”. The vocals are not sung in a traditional sense, but almost whispered, only to be joined by their crazy black metal cousin who crashes the party to also throw down some vocals. I know this all seems a little weird, but when you hear it for yourself, it will all become clear. CROOKED NECKS did such a great job at creating their own world, where their musical imagination rules its’ own sonic kingdom. I actually feel really happy & honored to have a chance to write about such a killer piece of audio history. All I can say is open you heart & let this rad band do their thing, you will not be disappointed!