Underground Sounds: Anturgle – Oursgaard

Label: Howling Griffons Music
Band: Anturgle
Origin: ?

I know virtually nothing of this one man project, apart from that I suspect that is a French project. The maker must have an affinity with a wide array of music, because the sound of Anturgle betrays a lot of interesting elements, ranging from folk and black metal to maybe even a classical element.

While there’s only little information available, it becomes clear that the recordings were done in the Savoy Region in the south-west of France. Unfortunately who is behind the project is a mystery. A mix of English, French and Norwegian makes up the vocals and with little editing in the studio the songs  are just put together. The directness of this record is audible instantly.

The record opens with bombastic drums. Deep sonorous chanting accompanies the banging percussion on ‘Licou’. Then an eerie bit of distortion seeps into the sound and  harsh vocals can be heard. Heavy and very foreboding it’s hard to realise that these are mostly recorded sounds. It’s like a demonic string instrument is creating a dark bit of swing music. The manner in which the sound shapes up hardly feels like ambient, but in essence that is what you hear.

That feeling of a nekrofolk sound remains on the next tracks on the album. The ‘Cadaver Chute’ swings up and down but suddenly stops in a weird way at the end. There’s something playful with a dark twist to the sound of Anturgle. The vibe is an almost sardonic one, when the tune unfolds out on ‘Ours Deniers’. A noisy wave overtakes the melody and lisped vocals  by the musician, suggesting dark things. Speculative fears and mystery make this record what it is.

Dissonant riffs and howling screams delivered in a most peculiar way,help in unnerving the listener. The whole record assaults the ear and lacks the expected and comfort and also, in case I didn’t emphasize it, rather strange. Densely atmospheric and undeniably tribal like on ‘Back To The Forest’, the music remains an object of fascination. You should give this a spin.

Underground Sounds: Dissimulation -Juodo Mėnulio Archyvai

Label: Ledo Takas Records
Band: Dissimulation
Origin: Lithuania

Lithuanian black thrashers Dissimulation are one of the longest running bands in the genre for the Baltic country. Internationally the scene is little known, with rare exception for bands like Obtest and Luctus. Having been around since 1993, the band has plenty to show for it, which is released on this record ‘Juodo Mėnulio Archyvai’.

The record is a collection of their work, but therefor also a good introduction into the work of this band. The three piece from Kaunas plays a mixture of black metal and raw thrash. In the early days that was much more pure black. An interesting other fact is that as far as I know there was little time for other projects.

Listening to the album, you notice that the band clearly has that messy thrash element to them. That is interestingly combined with synths, creating folkish peculiar songs like ‘Būk Prakeiktas’. The energetic tune is captivating and fun for the listener and a little remniscent of Finntroll in their early days. The blistering, gritty sound features bleak lo-fi sound, blast beats, unearthly barks and an overall break-neck speed. The thrashy elements are easily detectable in the overall messy sound of the Lithuanians. That is, I think, what gives Dissimulation its unique dark flavor and raw fury. Peculiar vocals now and then are even adding to that sense of begin unnerved.

‘Mūšis Rūke’ is a typical track, with the heavy synths giving of the sort of epic dungeon vibe that is actually prevalent in all the work by Dissimulation. A typical looped synth jingle gives that special fantasy-feel of later ’90s black metal. It’s not sticking to that though, a few songs futher we get the blistering blackened thrash again, mayb exemplified by the cover of ‘Countess Bathory’, originally by Venom.

The quality on this record varies between some tight materian and rather distorted, gritty demo tracks (like ‘Pilnaties Kerai’, which sounds completely demented with its frantic, nervous roaring vocals). The all over impression of this record is a career spanning overview of extreme metal. Dissimulation definitely has their own flavor of raw, straight up black metal.

Underground Sounds: Bròn – Ànrach

Label: Kunsthauch
Band: Brón
Origin: United Kingdom

The word Ànrach hails from Gaelic and means as much as forlorn person, which is very much the mood of this debut album by the Brittish band Bròn. Apparently a liking has been taken to the Gaelic Scotland by its member, since the bandname is also in the language, meaning sorrow.

Bròn is the project of Krigeist, also known from his band Barshasketh. Where that project is relentless black metal, Bròn appears to be much more focussed on the atmospheric with a lot of synths and keys in the sound. After two demo’s is this the first full length album for the project.

The eerie sound with which the record opens, is more akin of a haunting ambient album. Gently droning, it grows and it feels fitting to the mesmerizing artwork. A nature depiction of mountains and trees and the majestic play of light in the sky by Diana Tuchs. It smoothlymelds in with a piece of blistering black metal, holding the dense atmosphere of the keys intact. This is only the title track yet, a wavery, majestic piece that lasts about 20 minutes. The synths are prevailing here

‘Lutalica’ comes from Serbo-Croatic and means wanderer. It’s also the second track, where static guitars announce the opening of another long tune. The slow reverberation is like the ripples on a lake with the mountains in the background, before it all truly unleashes with a frantic burst of guitar work, laced with synths again. The vocals come from deep, they’re almost squeeled as if constricted, choked off and offer a strange contrast with the peaceful trickling of the synths. The final track is ‘Tipiwhenua’, which means pretty much the same, but then in Maori. Another slow thredding, thickly atmospheric track that seems to drag you to the Abbyss with a vibe that comes close to some Burzum albums. Nature beckons.

It’s funny how an album can sound almost desperately blissful and make those two into one. I have to say it feels very fitting. If you take a walk in the forest, drifting by yourself through the nature, there’s always a risk or danger to it. But there’s also the bliss of being free of the constraints around you. I think that this album perfectly illustrates that feeling.