Belarus’ Anton Yeroma is the man behind Difleger, a post metal project that is self-described as drawing influence “from many different sources of inspiration”. This is vivid upon first listen of Black Whales; there is a lot going on here and while its attempts at crafting out an eclectic piece of work are admirable, it ends up becoming muddled and unfocused.
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.
One often finds that the dark ambient genre – while no less diverse than any other field of music, in terms of the variety and number of its artists – has a tendency to over-invoke the concepts of “cold” and “infinite” to the extent that many recordings can seem indistinguishable from one another ( I hasten to add that, as a fan of the genre, I rather enjoy its preoccupation with sprawling voids and cosmic timelessness.) Fortunately, however, there is life in this dark universe, swirling in the grand designs of Michael Page’s Sky Burial.
Return to the Source: A Dereliction of Beauty is the eleventh full-length Sky Burial release and Page’s second one this year after the well-received Pas The Sarvering Gallack Seas And Flaming Nebyul Eye (Obfuscated Records). Return’s lone 48-minute track diverges from the ecstatic trajectory charted on Pas the Sarvering – the familiar dynamism remains, but the overall tone is formidably darker, vertiginous, and unsettling. All of Page’s releases exude a powerful elemental quality, but this one is aptly named given that its effects are primal, humbling, and occasionally terrifying.
It took me a fair few listens of this album to get even the slightest understanding of anything that was going on, but now it probably rates as one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Inaccessible is a gross understatement. Portal play impenetrable, brutal, fucking crazy music that commonly gets referred to as death metal but sounds absolutely nothing like most death metal I’ve ever heard. Waaaay down-tuned guitars spew just unrecognisable streams of noisy murk that is actually impossibly technical (once you start to realise what is actually going on, after about listen six), drums hammer and blast like armies of mammoths using jackhammers and wrecking balls to fight each another, and the vocals sound like the battle cries of some fucking alien beast that lives deep underwater. This whole album sounds like it came from the ocean floor, or a world made entirely of concrete, or two massive spaceships colliding. Clearly I can come up with no shortage of hyperbole when it comes to this album and it all gets nowhere near conveying the indescribably heavy reality of this colossus.
It’s really hard to describe and understand the entity that we know as Death Grips, as a matter of fact I think we won’t never understand (not fully, at least). Starting by the sound – they have been described, since their debut, the 2011′s mixtape Exmilitary, as being a hip hop act but there are so many elements thrown into the mix, like industrial and experimental, that made half of the hip hop fans to deny Death Grips any real association with the genre – and ending in the very controversial moves of the trio.
This year saw many good if not outstanding records from all over the world. Germany has been no exception. But although the records to choose from for this year’s German Top 6 are a lot, I found it really easy to pick the “winners”. Some are more obvious than others, but each entry has something special to offer. Here we go.
When you read about DEPRAVATION, the term “Blackened Hardcore” will drop sooner or later. In many ways “Blackened Hardcore” is what “Metalcore” was in the 90ies. At first it described something really exciting and new, but quickly became a totally soulless expression that was exploited and due to this got a really negative connotation (or what’s the latest record you actually liked that was “Metalcore” by self-definition?). Of course it hasn’t come so far with “Blackened Hardcore” until now, but it doesn’t seem too unrealistic that pretty much the same will happen sooner or later. So why am I thinking about this?
by Oliver Sheppard
It was a hard field to narrow down to only 6, but here’s my take on the Top 6 deathrock/goth-punk/etc releases for 2013. At the end of the list are further releases that could have easily rounded out a Top 10 or Top 20 (CVLT Nation prefers to do “Top 6″ lists, so that’s the format I’m following; see the end of the piece, however, for other releases that merit attention!).
As I mentioned in my Top 6 from last year, the term “deathrock” can inspire endless debate, both online and off. The strictest, least forgiving, and most pedantic definition of the term would be that it was a dark punk and postpunk phenomenon that lasted from 1979 until about 1986 or 1987, and was primarily local to Los Angeles — or the US southwest in general, including California (Burning Image were from Bakersfield; Shadow Image were from San Francisco), Nevada (Theatre of Ice), and Arizona (Mighty Sphincter, The Consumers). And yet for many later bands, like Cinema Strange, and current bands, like Christ vs Warhol, Los Carniceros del Norte, or Las Gorgonas, there is simply no other genre tag that fits, although increasingly terms like “goth-punk” and “dark punk” are used. Parallel regional music phenomena — Spain’s “Siniestro” music (Paralasis Permanente), Germany’s “Depro-Punk” (EA80), Japan’s “Positive Punk” (Auto-Mod and Phaidia), “French Coldwave” (Siglo XX and Clair Obscur), the East Coast’s horror punk (The Cramps and Misfits), England’s “positive punk”/gothic rock (UK Decay, Sex Gang Children), etc. — developed in tandem, but for simplicity’s sake I’m just referring to all this current interrelated material under one catch-all rubric. (I’ve even seen the phrase “dark neo-postpunk” bandied about. Arrrrgh!!)
HERE THEY ARE, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
Reviving its snarling head from its original pressing in 2009 comes Shadow of the Torturer’s Marching Into Chaos in full re-recorded splendor. For those of you keeping track, the band’s third revision of the album has recently surfaced and features mild deviations from its original content. The title track has been completely omitted this time around, as well as “The Walk” and “Alone At Night” being formed into a single track instead of the separate entities they had been prior to this release. Something for everyone definitely rings brilliantly true here – an LP, CD and digital version of the same album all different in some fashion or form. Regardless of its current facet, Marching Into Chaos stamped SOTT’s scathing vision of creating some of the most haunting and sensory-obliterating doom known to humankind.
by Oliver Sheppard
In 1993, Crypt Records released The New Bomb Turks’ “Destroy-Oh-Boy!!” LP. This LP landed like a smart bomb into the very weird early 1990s punk scene, one that was torn between the then-very popular riot grrl punk scene, the newfound interest in grunge & indie rock evinced by music columnists – rock critics who suddenly had been hip to punk all along, but had apparently felt no need to write about it or let anyone in on the secret before 1991, before Nirvana – and actual hardcore punk, which was delving more deeply into crusty Japanese and Scandinavian hardcore. It was a weird time for underground punk music.
John Peel almost immediately enlisted the New Bomb Turks for some Peel Sessions. And those Peel Sessions are below. As well, a New Bomb Turks split with Swedish death metal band The Entombed followed. That is also below. And Maximum Rock n’ Roll [specifically, MRR editor Tim Yohannan] said the New Bomb Turks’ debut LP was one of the best LPs since the founding of punk rock. Two decades since its 1993 release, Destroy-Oh-Boy!! is due for a proper appreciation.
Britain’s Caïna has returned to black metal; so declares Earth Inferno’s press sheet. After emerging from hiatus, seemingly concluding with the sublime Hands That Pluck, Andrew Curtis-Brignell’s Caïna began occupying a totally different musical realm with Litanies of Abjection, a record more in tune with Coil, Swans and shades of noise and power electronics. The raw black metal of, say, When We Are Grown, We Will Be Strong, seemed like a distant memory. Or not.
Earth Inferno’s tracks aren’t exactly new – save for one – with most of the material penned between 2008 and 2011, when our knowledge of Caïna included records like Temporary Antennae or the split with Krieg, so the cassette release occupies a decidedly BM realm.
Suitably lo-fi and grimy, Earth Inferno is a defiant call to sounds of yore. While much more in the vein of orthodox black metal, there are still strains of melodic grandeur from the likes of Temporary Antennae to maintain a recent flair, keeping the EP from ever being one dimensional.