There are very few times when I listen to music and am completely at a loss for how to describe it. Most metal bands, for all their mixing and experimentation, can still be broken down into the constituent parts they are channeling: this is sludge, this is post-rock, this is black metal, etc. Even the best, most adventurous records, like Inter Arma’s great Sky Burial, can fit this kind of classification. That doesn’t mean they are less for it, just that my mind can more easily describe them.
But, with Teethed Injury and Glory, the newest from Ireland’s Altar of Plagues, I’m completely stumped. On its surface, it contains many of the same elements as previous AoP albums, screeches and blast beats and hazy guitars. But all of those pieces fit together in new, alien patterns, drawing from an inanely wide range of sources, yet wholly original. You likely won’t listen to a better, more interesting extreme album this year.
And that extreme tag, rather than metal, perfectly sums up this record. It contains many of the signifiers of traditional and experimental metal, blast beats, growls and palm-muted guitars. But what is most striking is how these standard elements somehow make the album sound less like something a metal band would produce, because for every ‘normal’ bit, five other elements undercut or twist it until you don’t know what you’re listening to. The most human sounds somehow become the most alien.
While not a frequent listener of D-beat or crust, Kromosom have broken that trend and will undoubtedly frequent my listening devices from this point moving forward. This Melbourne outfit boasts a sound that reeks of the unclean purity that punk demands, fifteen tracks of the festering underbelly of society smothered in distortion. “Live Forever” compiles their vinyl-exclusive material in one skin-grating release, including their self-titled 12″, their contributions to their split with Isterismo and “Paranoid” 7″. These selections culminate into one shattering release featuring nothing but the most repulsive punk. Consider yourself pleased already.
The ferocity here is palpable: this record wants to spit in your face, break in your teeth and put a cigarette out on you for the shit of it. Splendidly lo-fi, Kromosom have no qualms shifting the inaudibility to noxious levels. Of note here is the megaton “Fallout,” a gun-metal flourish that stands out as one of the best offerings on this compilation. As style goes, Kromosom’s is by-the-numbers, but executed with such raw bravado that it is not even noticeable. “Live Forever” is a culminated love letter by punk adherents, signed in illegible, nosebleed red. All the rage and all the fun, this inspired violence is consistent throughout. No breaks, with pleasure. “Living Dead” is sleek but rusted, a war cry carried on bloody knuckled riffs that strike with unapologetic speed. Southern Lord, expanding on their now rather eclectic roster, were even more the wise selecting Kromosom for extraction. “Live Forever” is worth every unpleasant second it slams into you. Effervescent, ravenous and unabashedly classic, Kromosom’s discography is a gratefully accepted marvelous, pungent bouquet of “fuck yous.”
Brisbane’s Idylls play fast and surprisingly gloomy metallic punk. “Indian Circle” is a solid offering of four equally solid tracks, each a raging, visceral suckerpunch. Rooted in its metallic roots, Idylls bend their genre to their will, flip-flopping and otherwise morphing from outright aggression to a bad trip made physical. While this release may not push the genre, it without doubt has manic fun with it.
The specialty here is bringing the listener utmost existential discomfort . Rather successfully, one might add. The first track, “Concord Prison,” invites with its tortured echoes, snap-punk musicianship and borderline psychadelia. The most foreboding piece on “Indian Circles,” “Concord Prison” executes its sounds with graphic precision. The artwork, a simple picture of discarded pill packages, reflects the nature of excess and abuse worn upon the body. “Indian Circle” at times plays like a swansong to damaged youth and the inescapable truths that leaving adolescence unveils. This is most prevalent on the second track, “Pay with Youth,” an intense, abrasive ode to addiction and the slavery it brings. The imagery it conjures is moving: drugs like a savior, the addict pressed to corrupted feet for solace.
Track three is a well-done Lubricated Goat cover, “Beyond the Grave.” The track permeates with sinister vibes, a full-frontal scream for vengeance and apathy. The sound here is of pure delirium and faraway, a ghostly oasis in desert of nuclear ash. Final track, “Blood Ambient,” continues the beleaguered tone of “Beyond the Grave,” a trudging barrage of mood and burgeoning aggression. The words haunt in the background, forging a shaking foundation on which the sound maintains prominence until the final fade away.
“Indian Circle” is a quality and entertaining release from Idylls, where many an eye should be aimed at their horizon.
Its been over 20 years in the making, but New Zealand death metal machines Sinistrous Diabolus have finally unleashed their full length debut upon the hapless ears of humankind. Formed with ties to infamous occult acts Witchrist and Diocletian, Sinistrous Diabolus pay homage to a soundscape invoked in 1993 that pushed forth with the idealism of absolute soul crushing blasphemy. Total Doom // Desecration is 40-minutes of ritualized misery spanning across scathing constructs that push an atmosphere wrought with trepidation, and utter decay. Within, Sinistrous Diabolus reinvent older tracks, shaping them into a form that become a mesmerizing void, drawing all into its monolithic gaze.
Defined by the abhorrence of divine doctrine, Total Doom // Desecration maintains an aura of intense dispair that negate luminescent drones, and bury them in filth. Personified by torturous harmonies that dwell in the recesses of the mind, stagnating within putrid noise screeching amidst torrential waves of endless torment. Barbaric by design, this is an album that is enveloped by creeping movements that bore themselves into the chasms of your most desperate pleas, inexorably building towards a swirling downfall littered with apprehensive dread. Perverse passages give way to further doom that punishes throughout, offset by somber lachrymose undertones that hold no reverence for comfort.
England’s CORRUPT MORAL ALTAR are about to unleash another slap of totally fucked up Grind/Sludge/Death Metal madness upon their willing disciples in the embodiment of a 7″ titled Whiskey Sierra. Just as the name professes I assume all of the material was created under the influence of quite some booze and probably a bunch of other substances as well. And this shows not only in the naming but also in the headache provoking music that is taking only the heaviest, sickest bits of every genre that is already extreme in itself.
By doing so CMA perfectly pursue what they also did on the previous (and excellent) Luciferian Deathcult EP, except that these four obviously very angry men became even tighter and heavier, making Whiskey Sierra an absolutely convincing release that should please the ’83 Napalm Death shirt sporting 40-something guy as much as the 15 year old dude who only recently got introduced to Spazz by his older brother.
The four songs of Whiskey Sierra get straight to the point, hit you in the face, kick the shit out of you and disappear as fast as they came, leaving you as a bloody wreck begging for more. In about ten and a half minutes CMA do really everything it takes to tear your shiny happy world apart. The down-tempo’ish, sludgy parts are wisely placed and mostly leave you only a few seconds to breathe before one of these really ridiculous fast blast-beats bevels your skullcap or a 10.000 ton breakdown beats your head onto the concrete floor. If you still don’t have enough, the dual vocal assault makes sure you feel completely fucked. The high screams ultimately sound like a buch of rusty nails onto a blackboard. Nice eh?
What’s really remarkable about this unhealthy mixture is that CMA have in down like not too many other bands to make all this sound very coherent. At no point you have the feeling that Whiskey Sierra sounds put on or strangely constructed. It’s more like CMA found a way to melt down over 30 years of extreme music and turn it into a merciless, unforgiving sonic mayhem. Try this at your own risk.
This 7″ EP is up for pre-order via Dead Chemist Records.
Dallas crossover thrash titans Power Trip has been making a name for themselves since the release of their 2008 demo tape. The band has toured nonstop, recently completing a tour with Expire and Xibalba and making appearances at festivals such as The Rumble and New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Five years since its debut, the band has unleashed something that the blast doors just couldn’t contain: Mainfest Decimation. Recorded by War Hungry guitarist Arthur Rizk and Daniel Schmuck, and featuring art from Italy’s Paolo “Madman” Girardi, Manifest Decimation barges its way through your speakers and stomps a mud hole in your soul.
I’d been seeing Corrections House’s insignia all over the place lately, but had passed up every listening opportunity that came my way. So, when I gave this bad boy a try, I went into the experience totally blind. I knew this was the project of phenomenal musicians, who are definitely not new to the game of putting out crushing jams, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.
My mind was trying to prepare itself for a Neurosis, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Eyehategod blending, and wasn’t sure if that sort of sound-fusion would bode well or be troublesome for the ears. When I mustered up enough courage to quit fantasizing and start listening, I hit play and was astonished; not in a ‘nooooouuu, artists that I have become creepily personally invested in, why did you do this to meeeeeee!‘ kind of way, but instead in a ‘fuck yeah, how could I have ever been nervous; this rules,’ kind of way.
This split comprises the best material either band has put forth thus far. Period. Two examples of monstrous, pristine blends of punk and metal wreak havoc on this split. Withdrawal roar under the Holy Terror banner, spewing their thrash-laden hardcore with chilling malcontent. Charlotte’s Young and in the Way succeed at breaking your ear-drumheads with their grim blitzkrieg-marriage of crust and black metal. Their split is all indulgence, one of those wholesome sacrificial offerings that begs to simply be raged to.
Young and in the Way‘s contribution brings us two tracks, the first of which being the assault called “Psychopathy.” Much blacker than past material, “Psychopathy” is a song that makes bounds in showcasing Young and in the Way’s mastery of their craft. The spells and smells of rotten cowheads have summoned, successfully, into this world, one of the band’s best tracks to date. The riffs sweep like winds over barren snow drifts, Nordic ice chipping-off as the chords are ran blood bare. “Psychopathy” snarls its malevolence, a berserk creature, focused on the blast-beat blizzard at hand. “Vaticide” opens like scream translated into music, surrounding the listener, consuming them and carrying them on rising church fires. Young and in the Way amazes in the capturing of their roots; “Vaticide” has horns that gleam in candlelight and is dirtier than late January sleet. Of greatest substance is that this split continues the band’s recent tradition of upping their own ante.
Last year I was approached by a mysterious gent going by the name of NoOne – he’d seen a piece that was published for ThisIsNotAScene regarding a reissue of an album called Uncovered Ancient Gateways and he was interested in having it published on CVLT Nation. I of course obliged with this request and found myself corresponding with NoOne fairly often, and it was during this correspondence that I was made privy to a new record, Third Wave Holocaust as well as a short film that T.O.M.B. (Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) had created as a companion piece to UAG. Much has been written concerning the lengths NoOne and his shadowy collective will go to in order to create the atmospheres and negative energies surrounding their recordings, and the three minute film that I saw goes a long way to prove just how far NoOne has gone and will go in the future. I’m not at liberty to post said video, but I was given permission to at least upload screenshots. I think it’s much more intriguing to let you make up your own minds as to what is contained on that film. But rest assured, it will give you nightmares.
Over two years ago, I was listening to Harvestman, another persona of Steve von Till. The phone rang and my sister, who I don’t see much, told me my father had been given six months to live, he had gotten pancreatic cancer. I put down the phone and my whole perception was altered, this was a death sentence for him. The Harvestman album was like a soundtrack to intensified somber thoughts. It was a huge epiphany of rock bottom, a pure emptiness. He lasted only four months. The music I connected to deeply was Harvestman/Steve Von Till, Zoë Keating, Clint Mansell and the Nick Cave and Warren Ellis score for ‘The Road.’ All helped me cope with this mental state.
Music can evoke multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through our minds. It can reflect and even shape our environment rather than be just another product for us to accumulate until the next one.