Introspectively, the demo tape has always been the first glimpse we see into any up and coming musicians’ futures, and for better or worse this first impression determines the potential success of that future. In a market where music is dissected, labeled and mass produced instead of merely listened to, the simple and sacred process of artists sharing their vision with the world has never been more influential. In the case of Belgium’s blackened thrash amalgamation Possession, we are privy to a return to roots effort that exacts its ferocity through an homage to a time when classification did not exist, and all that mattered was producing the most tangibly destructive effort possible.
Patrick Hasson is the kind of person that makes you feel like you’re wasting your life. A one-man musical behemoth, Hasson currently operates five (that I know of) different solo projects, and all of them are fucking amazing. Without pigeonholing them too much, because each of these endeavours is surprisingly diverse: Black Chalice is Hasson’s vessel for exploring the possibilities of death and doom metal, Avulse and Auspicium mine the respectively raw, punky and epic, atmospheric poles of black metal, Field Of Spears traverses the more subdued darkness of neofolk, and Wholy Failure, the hardest to categorise, exists somewhere in the post-punk/electronic realm.
Wholy Failure’s latest, Abortion Eucharist, is absolutely not what you would expect from Hasson, although if you’ve been paying attention that should be exactly what you have come to expect from him. That being said, Wholy Failure is undoubtedly the weirdest thing Hasson has done to date, even when considered apart from the context of his other endeavours. Abortion Eucharist is definitely hard to pin down, full of electronic beats, synthesizers, electric piano, organ, acoustic guitar, heavily effected vocals, and without a doubt the weirdest and most unexpected song Patrick Hasson has ever released, “Smile”, a three and a half minute pop song. I’m not shitting you.
It’s difficult to recall when, upon first listening to Enharmonic Intervals, I was reminded of William Friedkin’s classic horror film, The Exorcist*, but the title of the album may well have been my point of departure: in layman’s terms, a musical interval is the difference between two notes, measured in steps; and an enharmonic interval is so called because its two notes are actually identical in pitch – they only have the appearance of being distinct notes because of the way they’re written – which makes it something of an illusion, like one of M.C. Escher’s paradoxical staircases, that appear to simultaneously ascend and descend without ever reaching an end point. (One might be tempted to view this unique collaboration between Seattle’s Mamiffer (Faith Coloccia, Aaron Turner) and Finnish outfit Circle (Jussi Lehtisalo, Mika Rättö) as an interval in its own right, as each act explores similar sounds that give one the impression of cold, hard light, vast distances, punishing conditions and, perhaps most importantly, the sense of ascent and descent.) Arguably, the morality play that is The Exorcist presents a literal and figurative trip up and down the staircase of good and evil, and Enharmonic Intervals – ironically, recorded in an old church – offers some interesting parallel steps, particularly in the context of the film’s climax.
In the 2013 death metal pantheon, Washington label 20 Buck Spin has done reasonably well for itself (see: Bone Sickness) but with just two months or so left in the year, the label seems intent on rolling out one more cluster of filthy DM, this time in the shape of Vastum’s sophomore album, Patricidal Lust.
The San Franciscan unit has just one album to their name thus far, 2011’s Carnal Law, but with members of Acephalix and Hammers of Misfortune amongst their ranks, they’re certainly dab hands at their craft, evidenced by this terse but obliterating effort.
Review by Ear/Splitters
BOTTOM FEEDER, Grinding Teeth
Raw Birth Records
Grinding Teeth, an accurately titled debut LP from Bottom Feeder, is one of the most raw and unrelenting albums I’ve heard in a long while. Opening with a peculiar sample to be followed by a brief, introductory drum fill, the vocals and guitars shriek together in an immediately punishing manner. No hesitation or mercy for a couple minutes when a brief, feedback-induced pause gives you a moment to catch your breath before the band returns with pummeling ferocity. Raining violence and cruelty, these Danish sludge underdwellers bring the misanthropic sound of Grief, attitude and rhythmic chaos of Eyehategod, the punishing intensity of Iron Monkey, and hinting to a hard-hitting, aggressive hedonism reminiscent of Black Flag and Discharge together to produce a non-stop sludge serenade soaked in feedback and disdain.
Sweden’s Ignominy create apocalyptically bleak music that crushes musical barriers with death wish abandon. Come Abuse incorporates everything from blistering hardcore and funereal doom metal dirge to hypnotic ambience, post metal, and power electronics, with the one uniting factor being that it all sounds dark as fuck.
Where doom metal plumbs the seeming depths of sonic possibility in its exploration of funereal emotion, Ignominy manage to aim even lower in both regards. Come Abuse is emotional on a grand scale, with crushingly bleak subject matter paired with an astonishingly grim sound. Drums distort and crackle and mix with harsh electronic abuse, guitars crash and fall and are treated to occasionally unrecognizable levels, and cavernous vocals echo and swim in the ruination. If doom metal is apocalyptic music, Come Abuse is the sound of the apocalypse itself.
The phrase “super-group” needs to be put away. It’s come to the point of overuse that the word has lost all its meaning and appears on any old review that happens to feature two or more members of a band that you might have heard of before.
Take Corrections House for example. They will be called a super-group by many and perhaps justly. Their personnel includes Neurosis’ Scott Kelly, Sanford Parker of Minsk and Buried At Sea and Bruce Lamont from Yakuza and Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams. However, multiple bands/projects are regular feats for these guys and Last City Zero is the first record under this new guise.
Do you like to see blood pour out of the walls of your room while you listen to metal? If that is the case, then sit down and take a minute to listen to this track from Irish black metal bruisers MALTHUSIAN, a band featuring ALTAR OF PLAGUES (RIP) drummer Johnny King, here too of course sitting once again behind the kit. Why do we want you to listen to this music you say? Well, simply put, the music of MALTHUSIAN simply fucking slays in all sorts of ways. The band has thus far unleashed on the masses only one song, so it’s still early to really gauge the true nature of this project, but, oh my, what a blistering slab of destruction this piece of rabid black metal is, and what is even more exciting about it is that it’s pretty much unlike anything we have ever heard and totally new and different – this is why we’ve loved every scary second of it. The band’s demo is coming out sometime in November through Invictus Productions so keep your eyes peeled for it. In the meantime, check out Hallucinogen after the jump!
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.
VOM FETISCH DER UNBEIRRTHEIT (VFDU) is… well, I’m not sure what exactly this band is. Their new album, titled Vertilger, is released by the Swedish Temple Of Torturous, a label that has quite a knack for finding and releasing more remote bands of the Black Metal underground. But even in terms of ToT (which released for example the last, highly experimental Total Negation record) VFDU is beyond everything you would expect, know and think of. It would be easy to declassify Vertilger just as weird, and honestly I think it is. But this record is SO weird, uncompromising and obscure it has a certain fascination to it I really can’t deny.
The two guys of VFDU are coming from a Black Metal background (their first album Psychohygiene from 2010 proves this more obvious) and traces of Black Metal can be found on Vertilger, too, expecially riff-wise. Just don’t expect anything melodic here, the riffs are of the most arcane kind, if discernible at all. Now and then there are also blast-beats to be heard. And there are loads of stoic, almost danceable beats on Vertilger, not unlike EBM. Supported by sickening guitar noises, the hysteric and disgusting vocals and the incredible hectic, manic songwriting VFDU create an horrible and nightmare’ish theme that won’t stop punishing you for over one hour. That is, if you’re able to endure this sonic torture for so long. Wanna try?
Vertilger is madness set to music. Provided that this is classifiable as music. In a lot of ways this album rather appears to be a piece of modern art, you know, like a rotting carcass of a horse being placed in a museum. Say what you want, but the thoroughgoingness of VFDU is nothing but impressing.