Category Archives: Music

Sounds of the Underground #9

So much good music, so little time. Let’s focus on some great underground metal that has been coming out lately. This time I listened to Winterfylleth, Alkerdeel/Nihill, Fogg and Goatwhore.

Winterfylleth – The Divination Of Antiquity 

Source: Metal Archives

I first came across Winterfylleth in the most unusual way, through a scholarly article on black metal by Caroline Lucas. I have to admit, that I have since also read some work of Miss Lucas, who writes catching and academic pieces. At first I felt reluctant to listen to this band, due to the white supremacist link in the article, which is ofcourse mainly refuting it. After reading the lyrical words about the band in Metal Hammer, I checked out Winterfylleth. They paint the English country in sonic patterns, describing its inherent complexity and beauty.

There’s a touch of grey skies and misty forests in the dense sound of Winterfylleth, which feels a bit like Wolves In The Throne Room. Granted, they sound very little like them, but the same love for their surroundings and the earth they live on is totally there. Listen to a song like ‘Whisper Of The Elements’ or the warm tones of ‘A Careworn Heart’. This is not your ordinary grimdark black metal band. Recently they also released a split with Drudkh, which might tell a bit more about where this band comes from. It’s a love that drives these guys, not hatred and not death, to make beauty. Beauty that unfortunately very little people will ever fully understand.

Alkerdeel/Nihill – Split

Source: Hypertension Records

The label Hypertension Records is releasing some excellent splits. They are named ‘The Abyss Stares Back series’ and this is prat IV. Combining the nihilistic onslaught of these two bands brings a record that is hard to listen to, but so rewarding in its ferocious katharsis. I mean, listening to this record feels like a journey through the dark pits of your own existence in some way. Facing the grim and dark reality of oneself through intensity and continuous sonic violence.

Alright, more detail to the two sides of this record. Dissonant tones anounce the start of Alkerdeel’s side. Threatening and dense atmospheric guitar sounds create a constant tension. The mad torrent of chaos that slowly envelops you is like the swirling chaos in which Azathoth dances according to Lovecraft. The wicked screams haunting you from all sides, while perpetual riffs seem to accelerate the speed in which you are flying about. Alkerdeel manages to sound both subtle and Celtic Frost-like blunt. The Nihill part contains swirling and intense black metal, so thick that it merges into a continuous swirling stream of sound. The songs surge ever onwards, creating atmospheric patterns woven through the pattern the rhythm spills out. The songs sound static in one moment and spiralling out of control in a wild crescendo on another. I can tell you its worth waiting for that new Nihill album in a few weeks.

CVLTnation is holding up the stream over here.

Fogg – Death

Source: Fogg Bandcamp

With a title that leaves no questions, you’d expect something more intense, but the foggy, fuzzy psych-doom of Fogg is just fine the way it is. The Texans play a dirty bit of music on this new record, with a lot of eerie reverb and wooly sound patterns. They sound a bit like the general generation of hipster garage/psych bands that has been enveloping the world in recent years. The difference is that these guys sound creepy and slightly evil in thier songs.

The sound is a bit oldschool and reminds me as listener a bit of bands like Blue Cheer with the full on aural attack.  Think of the primitive punk and metal sounds and that is somewhere in between where Fogg has its sound. Lazy, drugged out riffs swirl around in an attempt to grasp the spirit of the past. This is a perfect record for your friday afternoon, just to chill out and lean back a bit before the weekend finally hits.

Goatwhore – Constricting Rage of the Merciless

Source: Metalblade

The raging sound of Goatwhore is one that combines black metal raw with rock’n’roll power. Think of Venom and pretty much that is the closest you get to what this strange NOLA band sounds like. Yes, the band from New Orleans was part of the recent documentary on Noisey that was aired online. The music is played in a high pace with understandable, but barked vocals. Blistering and grim guitars rage throughout the song.

There’s a particular swag to the sound of Goatwhore, that distinguishes them from others. They might have made the album here that even Darkthrone didn’t feel comfortable releasing. Atmospheric in darkness but always full of speed and energy, full of vile words and satanic praise.  Oh, they were also pretty incredible live and such nice guys in person. That is the thing with this band, they are not being some strange act, just some guys playing some nasty metal.

Untypical Hiphop that sounds awesome.

Ok, this title works, better than the 20 word one I had before. I want to write a bit about hiphop from cool places where you probably never knew they made some nor how it sounded. Seems cool? Read on please! Let’s talk Lethal Dialect, Silibil N’Brains, Llwybr Llaethog and MC Lars.

Ireland’s Finest: Lethal Dialect

Irish hiphop is not really something to write home about. In fact, it has not really managed to make a good name for itself, which is thanks to documentaries like that one of RTE & BBC (that you can watch down here. The general impression the rappers in this video make is far from the bitches and bling that they seem to aspire to. What it does speak of is a genuine honest passion for making the music against all odds.

I kinda felt attracted to the irish accent and the general poetic sensibilities of the green island, so checking out some hiphop was not a big step. The first one I found that really appealed to me was Lethal Dialect. Generally considered to be one of the better rappers from the area of Dublin, this guy manages to make rhymes that sound deep and honest. The beats he tends to use are calm, laid back and characterized by a certain serenity that I find really appealing. The track I’d like to share is titled ‘The Sermon’.

The beat is hectic and calm at the same time. The slow raps let the words linger in the air for a moment before they are replaced by the next ones. Lethal Dialect sounds like a preacher, giving you a peace of the truth. It is however up to you to take it up or not. Do you like the sound of this? You can download the album for free here. Or just share it, he deserves it.

Original Pranksters: Silibil N’Brains

The boys who conned the music industry. Two guys from Dundee, making excellent hiphop but just having been born in the wrong place. Damn, that sucked so hard that they came back to London with a vengeance. But let me not spoil everything about that story by telling you. Better watch ‘The Hiphop Hoax’.  That as well, you can just watch on Youtube.

Now, we are a couple of years further and the boys have gotten back together to release some good jams that let you hear the passion for making real good hiphop the boys have. Their aim? To prove that their might have been a hoax, but that their skills were not a hype.

Packed with rude humour, hack’n’slash rhymes and funky melody lines, this is exactly what you’d expect from the dynamic duo. Self deflating, but never under achieving the song is just one of those on their debut LP ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’. Again, this is one to check out and yes, you can! Just not for free, unless listening to bandcamp is enough for you.

Call of the Wild: Llwybr Llaethog

Alright, contrary to the previous acts, this is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever heard. Imagine some Welsh dudes making hiphop over what sounds like Jean-Michel Jarre jamming out some tasty esoteric beats. All this is at the tea table, where biscuits are served. They have been around since 1984 however and come from the deep end of Wales, a town named Blaenau Ffestiniog. Once a thriving mining town, it was by then desolate and desperate. Surfing the waves of what may be called the Welsh cultural awakening, the band gained fame and a general series of confused looks.

So I don’t know if you should check this out. Fo rthe sake of giving them the credit they deserve, I think you should.

Nerdcore can rise up!: MC Lars

Ok, I’m a massive fan of MC Lars. His rhymes are out of this world intellectual and just supercatchy. Taking inspiration from third wave ska as much as he does from Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, he is a unique rap artist that has released a big amount of records as yet. Being part of the Nerdcore movement, he put the Nintendo controller in the hands of MC’s.  Did I mention he was in Nerdcore Rising? Check that documentary out!

Apart from being a nerdy MC, Lars is also an English major who studied the aforementioned writers. Ergo, he knows enough about them to lecture about hiphop and poetry at them TED talks.

Alright, so here a track of MC Lars, who worked with Weird Al Yankovic, cementing nerdcore as the ultimate music for nerds who also love some tasty rhymes and beats. There is a certain cool sound to his raps and an intellectual twist.

So, that was some weird hiphop for you. Thanks for reading!

 

Sounds of the Underground #8 WoW Edition

For this edition of my look at new music I will go underground into the World of Warcraft and link to you the five records that made playing WoW most enjoyable. Therefor this post is dedicated to Kostas K.

Marduk – World Funeral 

Source: Metal Archives

Some albums are good for grinding. The blundering force of the Swedish death metal band has some added razorsharp guitar work that goes well with slaughtering a lot of enemies in WoW. Specially fitting for those who play a melee class I always felt, or a fireballin’ M.A.G.E. The sheer fury might not matche the questing though.

The songs pound ever onwards, unrelenting and full of rage. The harsh, barked vocals add that warlike feeling to the songs. Marduk is one of a kind I always think. They mix the atmospheric elements of black metal with the devastation of death metal in a unique way. Live it was less impressive I have to admit, but this band is definitely one of my WoW soundtrack ones.

Keep Of Kalessin – Kolossus

Source: Metal Archives

With ‘Kolossus’, the band from Norway has unleashed a melodic and epic masterpiece on the world. The record came out in 2008 and struck me immediately. Perhaps in some ways it was the gateway record for me to get into black metal in the first place. Particularly the song ‘Ascendant’ is a perennial favorite for me. One of the characteristics of the album is the tight sound. The record sounds well produced and clean, which makes it rather accesible.

The second thing is the enormous amount of catchy riffs that keeps pouring out of the speakers. Layered songstructures give space for a lot of those, creating a semblance of the distorted sound commonly used in black metal. It helps that this band looks like a bunch of Elven warriors. I played this music while questing/levelling a lot. Epic black metal is best metal!

Therion – Gothic Kaballah

Source: Metal Archives

Hearing ‘T.O.F. – The Trinity’ the first time opened my mind to a whole unknown side of heavy metal music and to Therion itself. Soon after I downloaded this album and later purchased it. I have listened to this music so endlesly that I pretty much knew every song by heart. I’ve seen Therion live since then 3 times, unfortunately two of those were after the release of ‘Sithra Ahra’ and one after ‘Les Fleurs Du Mal’ (a record I can not love…sorry).

If this band had not been recommended to me, I would never have found them. I’m pretty sure I would not have gotten heavily into Celtic Frost either then and maybe a lot of stuff would not have happened then. The songs are full of occult references, mysterious topics and confusing wordings. My favorite, I guess, has become ‘The Perennial Sofia’. No band really sounds like Therion and Gothic Kabballah is the most unique work they produced.

This record is one of the few that really are essential to my record collection. Without Therion, I would have missed out on so much beauty. I know some people find it easy to hate on them now, but to me they’ll always be a bright light in the scene.

Bolt Thrower – Those Once Loyal

Source: Metal Archives

I guess the whole idea of recommending this record had a lot to do with our guild name. Titled ‘The Angels Of Death’, there was an obvious link to the universe of Warhammer 40k and thus to Bolt Thrower. Their specific brand of death metal has never ceased to amaze me up to a few weeks ago when I saw them live. They’ve only affirmed their greatness to me. Though my favorite song is ‘World Eater’ from one of their first albums, the record I started listening to was ‘Those Once Loyal’. For some reason the order of songs was messed up in my mp3 list, so first was always ‘Anti-Tank (Dead Armor).

The sound is rather clean, compared to their original work, and embraces a continuous, pounding sound that gives you the feeling that a tank is about to over run you. Powerful rhythms and churning bass sounds pave the way for the onslaught that is Bolt Thrower. Particularly suited for the heavy grinding work (with a higher level char).

Ensiferum – Victory Songs 

Source: Metal Archives

Maybe the most WoW band out there, since their folk elements really have nothing to do with any folk music. A bunch of guys in kilts playing a blend of melodic death and power metal about wielding swords, drinking magic potions and sailing out to fight. We even had a tank called Ensiferum in the guild so that adds to the whole things. The epic songs with a big fun factor and not too much complicated elelements were great for a night of questing on your own and enjoying guild chat.

We also had a tank named Fluff, but that’s a whole different story… With this fun band I’ve come to the end of my WoW album list. When I started playing, I listened to a lot of shitty stuff during the levelling. I’m still levelling characters in WoW. Currently a Dwarf Shaman and a Night Elf Death Knight. Soon Warlords of Draenor will be out and I’ll level onwards alone.

But with these great tunes, perhaps more will join the cause.

 

Sounds of the Underground #7

In this little segment I review sounds of the underground, music you might not find unless you really go dig for it. From Nerdcore hiphop to depressive black metal, I love music. So check it out and maybe check the albums I checked out for you.

The Wolves of Avalon – Carrion Crows Over Camlan

Source: metal archives

So why pick their 2011 album over the 2014 release ‘Boudica’s Last Stand’? Well, I simply couldn’t get my hands on it. I’m sure this band of Britons had worries about becoming a laughing stock in the whole pagan genre. There’s a lot of things ‘off’ on this record, things that just don’t fit in with the regular sound of pagan black metal bands (under what banner they are apparently labelled). Firstly, the band is making more folk and epic orchestrated music than black metal. Secondly, vocalist Metatron (what???) has a bark that is more a raspy death grunt, like Skyforgers’ Peteris Kvetkovskis. It’s a bit not there.

Still the total package makes the band sound epic and daring. The vocals fit in with the different, folky sound. True, the bombastic sound is inevetably cheesy. The roaring orchestral sound reminds me of the records where Finntroll liked to use that as an intro (not as something to liven up their music).  Metal is the one genre however, where cheesy is not a problem. These guys seem genuine, not a bunch of Paganfest wannabees. That makes their cheesy alright and interesting.
PS: There’s a hint of national prideand historical inaccuracy, so steer clear if these things make you edgy.

Ides of Gemini – Old World New Wave 

Source: The Obelisk

I don’t know how to call the style of music that this the product of this LA trio. What tripped my sensors is participation of music journalist Jason Bennett in this and. It always is intriguing when elements meet and as a music journalist myself (I AM OPEN FOR YOUR PAYED JOBS! CALL ME!) I know how different my look at music is, compared to the one musicians themselves have. The sound is clearly occult, metal infused but also gently rubbing itself agains the cold wave bands of the 80’s, think Siouxi & The Banshees, Dead Can Dance and The Cure?

The slow pace and captivating vocals by Sera Timms are the red line throughout the hazy sounds of Ides of Gemini. Long flowing riffs and dreamy sounds. This is an intriguing record, but it might bore the metal fan who likes some sharper edges to his music a bit. The dreamy sounds for me do start being a bit difficult to stay focussed on after five or six songs. It has a certain static feeling to it, without much energetic moments. There is plenty of stuff happening in their music though, like the steady riffing with the wild drums on ‘May 22, 1453’ or the majestic opening of ‘The Adversary’. Oh, the song is not from the album but represents them well.

T.S. Eliot Appreciation Society – A New History

Source: website band

Seldom I have been so touched by music I picked up on Bandcamp, just because it has one of my favorite writers/thinkers in its name. The T.S. Eliot Appreciation Society is a one man singer-songwriter formation as it’s called. Organic, not entirely in tune, a bit too loud and a rough mix, together these elements make up for what is a warm and pleasant record with a melancholic feeling. It feels like the road, the traveller weary of walking and the heart tired of hurt.

Songs like ‘The Wicked Messenger’ and ‘Heydrich’ are my absolute favorites. I’ve been listening to the preceding EP’s ever since I first heard the music of Tom Gerritsen. Live they were delivered with the same passion that is tangible on the record. There’s a love and sincerity to the music that you can not fake or buy. I would really recommend this record to anyone who loves the guitar playing wanderer and authentic sounds.

Solstafir – Ótta

Source: Napalm Records

Sometimes it just takes a little more time for me to grasp the beauty of music that I hear. Solstafir is definitely one of those cases. I saw the band live a couple of years ago at Fortarock, which was a dreadful show. Every subtle element was blown away by the wind, the atmosphere was missing and the band never really connected with the audience. Their music on Ótta is made for autumn, to be listened to in a dark room, with the right lights and intimate atmosphere. Solstafir is a club band, not a outdoor fest group.

The music is not even that fierce and metal-like. There’s a subtlety ot it, a bit of mystery even. It’s as if the band sings about their land and has translated its unique qualities into song. Dreamy, organic and somtimes a little folky even, it’s as if the band has blended pagan metal with shoegaze or postrock, replaced the vocals and created a whole different beast. The more I listen to Ótta, the more lovely I find it. The Icelandic vocals I do not understand, but it is as if you feel them. The piano, the eerie sounds and misty clouds  of sound, with Solstafir you enter a different world entirely and it is brilliant.

Bolt Thrower, Morgoth, Vallenfyre @Muziekodroom, Hasselt

Source: Metalblade

It is a dreary sunday evening when we get in the car to drive down to Hasselt for an evening of old school death metal with Bolt Thrower. One long, straight road from Eindoven and then we cross a bridge, end up right next to a channel and there is the Muziekodroom. An awesome venue with the old feeling of excitement and danger attached to the experience for us as first time visitors. We get in and start enjoying the noise.

Vallenfyre
Having ex-members in their ranks from bands like At The Gates, Paradise Lost, The Haunted and what not, it must be clear that this band definitely has plenty of experience under their belts. The set is filled with quick jokes by vocalist Greg Mackintosh, about his ex-wife and other silly topics like religion. The death metal of them has an old school quality to it, but feels sludgy as if infused with the gothic and doom inflluences the bandmembers draw from their other groups.

Its interesting how they also pull of a grindcore track in the same vein as Napalm Death in the time of scum. The set is strong and convincing, but with a band fully aware of the sonic violence that is still to come. Taking it easy on the crowd seems to have been the mission, but that doesn’t mean not having fun.

Morgoth
The German band Morgoth has had many names, split up a bit and got together again because they just can not give it up. Well, why should they? The Tolkien inspired group is clearly in the mood to get the audience pumped with their bulky no nonsense sound, pounding and spitting out song after song, giving of a slight punkrock/oi! vibe while at it. Playing songs from over two decades of metal, the band surely has not lost its energy.

Funny element is the well ment enthousiasm of vocalist Marc Grewe, who is obviously of the generation that didn’t fully master the English language, which leads to some funny moments. He never stops firing up the stage with songs dedicated to the other bands, to oppose racism and such and just by jumping up and down and shouting. The music sounds less complex and dense, but is entertaining for sure.

source: Muziekodroom

Bolt Thrower
With an epic melody playing, the band enters the stage. The Warhammer 40k inspired banner decorates the back of the stage, where the band members position themselves, all smiles and cheerfull. Though the band hasn’t released an album in almost ten years, the name remains one of the house hold names for the death metal genre. Starting the set quickly, mainly frontman Karl Willets stands out for his endless smiles and joy. Pictures with fans, hugs and all, everyone is having a ball.

The real kick-off for the set is the obvious ‘World Eater’, pounding ever onwards like a huge all-crushing siege tank. The wide choice of songs from their back catalogue gives the band plenty of liberty to bring a bit from everything. The steady rhythmic guitar play brings a tranquil vibe over the stage, even when heavy songs like ‘Anti-Tank’ make the Muziekodroom shake on its foundations. The steady rumble of the drums makes heads bop and fists rise.

From the epic ‘The IVth Crusade’, to the brawling ‘No Guts, No Glory’, Bolt Thrower could just do whatever they’d do in the rehearsal space and still conquer the venue with their war inspired songs. The tight playing and energetic performance make fan favorites like ‘Warmaster’ (another Warhammer song!) and ‘The Killchain’ to a great experience. This batallion still conquers, wherever they go.

This review was published on Inlog.org

Sounds of the Underground #6

In this little segment I review sounds of the underground, music you might not find unless you really go dig for it. From Nerdcore hiphop to depressive black metal, I love music. So check it out and maybe check the albums I checked out for you.

HOD – Book of the Worm 

source: Hod bandcamp

Violent, intense riffs open up the new album by black death band HOD on ‘When The Ghouls Feed’. The daring sound of the Texas is definitely not for the feeble listeners and gnaws away at your eardrums. Unrelenting the band slashes and burns through their songs like ‘I Am Destroyer’ and ‘Death Whores’. Musically this is the black coffee I need around 11.30 in the morning when the lunch break begins to sound very attractive and motivation is low.

There’s a specific raucous and energetic feeling to the combination of Death and black metal that comes close to a clean sounding grindcore record, without the attempt to mask bad instrumental prowess by layers and layers of distortion. Not that these guys need that, they sound tight as a chokehold on ‘Beneath the Mountains Of The Scorpion’. What their whole message is eludes me, the titles seem to be pissed off and angry, but also a bit weird. No matter, the record is awesome.

Home is Gone – Triptych

Source: Home Is Gone bandcamp

Nothing like some bleak, minimalist black metal to shake up your day. I’ve enjoyed my listening experiment around 11.30, so I continue by checking out Home Is Gone from New York. The cover alone is amazingly minimalist. Like the three panel painting the title refers to, it has 3 songs of uncompromising metal. Windy distortion and almost blown away screams make up an almost comforting melody. That is however hidden in the mist.

The end result feels very minimal, very little is actually happening apart from the careful weaving of a tapestry of sonic force, that makes up something totally different. I feel it’s as those huge parades where everyone holds up a coloured square to form an image. That’s how the seperate sonic endeavours compile the warm sound that is the end result of this beautiful, but brief record.

MC Frontalot – Question Bedtime

Source: wikipedia

What? No Metal? Yes, it’s time for some nerdcore hiphop with the new release from my favorite MC. Rocking some highly intelligent lyrics, complex rhymes and corky homebrew beats, MC Frontalot has invented the genre and put himself at the forefront of it for years. So we have a quirky list of songs that critisize a lot of things, like disagreeing with your bedtime as an expression of the democratic concept of disagreeing with authority and justice. It’s funny, but there’s always a validity, relating to the real world.

There’s a bit more soul to this record, compared to previous straight up flows it seems. Frontalot always focusses on great rhymes and very, very catchy chorusses. I mean, they are sometimes so wrong that they’re awesome. Some skits are in between, to raise the fun level even further. MC Frontalot makes a lot of fun about himself too. So why would you check out this CD? Well, I love hiphop, I’ve said so before and written about it. I do however, not have a gun or deal drugs, nor do I have a lot of  bitches hanging around. I do play WoW, love Star Trek, enjoy watching hockey, reading books and feeling Irish in the Irish pub. Most importantly, I’m a full on geek who reads science for fun. So I love hiphop that speaks to that. This is just the latest album, where the Front reaches a whole new level of weird.

The Scintilla Project – The Hybrid
I’ve always had a weakness for Saxon and their vocalist Biff Byford. His epic style was always quite an attraction to me. The band he started on the side, inspired by a sci-fi flick titled Scintilla, was interesting to me for that reason. However, it is not really something I’ll advise you to check out. It really was not a good idea.

The old voice of Biff gives everything an epic edge, but the cheesy piano’s and extra singers just make this a drowsy Disney soundtrack with very little balls and power. Let me put it to understandable words. Why did no one like the albums Maiden did with Blaze? Well, this is it. The overproduced sound makes the riffs into ready made candy bars of artificially flavoured goods. Nothing good comes of this record, trust me.

If you don’t like metal, then probably this is your album though. I’m sorry, perhaps for those who really dig the most mellow songs of Therion?

Sounds of the Underground #5

Time for some new revelations from the underground. I feel forced to not pick mysterious bands that no one has heard of this time, since there simply happen to be some brilliant bands I need to tell you about.

If you happen to have recommendations for me, they’d be most welcome. Leave me a comment!

Earth – Primitive and Deadly 

Source: echoesanddust.com/

The band from Washington has been a defining and genre-shifting force for ages and thus already captivated my attention in the past. Particularly the album ‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull’, from 2008, was amazing to me. Every album the band has produced since their conception in 1989 has been brilliant and different. This one has captivated me so much, that I’ll go into every song for a bit.

Starting with “Torn By The Fox of the Crescent Moon”, the cascading riffs wash down slowly but full of foreboding. The colour of the music indeed feels pale like the moon. Darkness is in the end the main element with which Earth is playing, but there’s a light as well in that darkness, which is tangible in this songs beaming peaks that pierce the clouds. The description of a serpentine approach in music is embraced to the fullest in “There Is a Serpent Coming”, which has some riffs that give the song a movie soundtrack quality. Mark Lanegan with his charcoal black rasp provides the repetitive vocals on this track, that is filled with anticipation and warning. Bleak sound is embraced by warmth in the voice and music, which leads to a magical musical experience.

“From the Zodiacal Light” features the warm and captivating vocals of Rabia Shaheen Qazi from the band Rose Windows. Though musically far distincts, the vocals show similarities with those of The Devil’s Blood. Mystical words over soaring music and droning rhythm. Southern rock flavor is definitely detectable in the weeping guitar sounds of ‘Even Hell Has Its Heroes’. The sound seems to slow down while the chords are reverberating in the air. It’s the sound of the desert, with the sun shining in your eyes and twisting your vision, hallucinating and shrill sounding. The slow beat dragging on in the endless space around you. A similar sound can be heard on ‘Rooks Across The Gates’, featuring once again Mark Lanegan on vocal duties. This landscape is bleaker though and after almost ten minutes it just fades away.

Oh, check this interview by Steel for Brains with Dylan Carlson.

the xx – the xx / the xx  – Coexist

source: wikipedia

When the debut of this band came out, I was very keen to get my hands on it and review their sounds. I thought it was beautiful, haunting, cool and the sound of a drive through a city in the very early morning or in the deep of the night. Recently I got back into the xx and decided to listen to that other album, which I sadly ignored at the time.

The hazy youthful sound of the debut already demonstrated something unique that probably would not be reproducable. The band was on that fragile moment between youth and adulthood, expressing the sublime angst of that point in an excellent album.  That foggy, misty feeling of an early day, fresh and new, was captivated in the sounds on that first record.

That is the downfall of Coexist. Though it takes on the mellow beats, the minimal sound and gentle tones with whispered vocals, it lacks that fresh sound. The crisp break of dawn has been lifted and the monring sun has made the fog evaporate, it feels like a rehashed version of that moment when the fog was on the leaves and the cold was still in the air. When the words are whispered, no clouds appear from the mouth, just sounds. This time the angst is replaced by adulthood, certainty and a carreer. No longer is the magic in the air. It was a moment in time, that has now past. We still have the songs though.

Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden

source: Stereogum

The epic doom of Pallbearer is much appreciated in the world that adores it, so that makes it worth mentioning on itself. I like the epic quality of their sound, which reminds me a bit of Candlemass, even if it’s only a feeling for me as a listener. The clean and strong vocals are a main reason for that opinion I would think.

Oh, the pallbearer is part of the ensemble that carries a coffin. That’s kinda the drag they put in their doom, minor and sadness. It’s really everything you could want from a doom record, including its accessability. This is easy going stuff, nothing harsh, just bleak and heavy as you would want it. If you are even slightly into doom and you love feeling a bit sad with some heavy, slow guitarwork, check this band out for real.

High point is in my opinion the song ‘The Ghost I Used To Be’. Check it out. All crushing riffs, soaring guitars and picturesque vocals and strenght. Power metal meets doom? I don’t know, but this song I love.

source: austin chronicle

Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love

What got me tuned in to the band Perfect Pussy was not their music, but their charming singer Meredith Graves. An interview passed around on UPcoming (with a tacky headline in that ‘You won’t believe’.. line they’ve been pumping out like there’s no tomorrow), where she undressed while being interviewed. It was so captivating, that you forget that a beautiful lady is undressing. She spoke about punkrock, identity, looks and the self.

The music reflects that peculiar nature in a way I think. No distortion, just violent, wild passion is what the music expresses. An eclectic mixture of punkrock, noise and lofi rockmusic. The sound is energetic, uncompromising and light. The jangling guitar and the rattling drum form a warm tapestry of ragtag sound, that for some magical reason still sounds like a song.

Songs like ‘Big Stars’ and ‘Dig’ feature the almost proclaiming vocal style of Graves in their best shape. Powerful and relentless blurting out words of defiance. It is a great record and a great band that doesn’t seem to have many problems being out there and against the norm.

My Suitcase: AYS

Source: Reverb nation

Back in 2010 I did an interview with German punk-nutters AYS. Back then they were the first band on the bill for the Persistence tour, for which we did a whole dossier on ROAR E-Zine. We would write about pretty much every band on the bill and I got to do an interview with AYS.

The interview was rewritten in Dutch by me and can be found over here on the website. This is the raw interview. By now AYS is pretty much one of the leading punkrock acts from Germany, so well worth seeing where they were at in 2010.

Who are you and what is your job in AYS? And how are you doing?

Yo, my name is Gummi. I’m doing the lead guitar and a lot of the songwriting stuff in AYS. I’m fine, but I have to go to work today… that sucks!

What does AYS stand for? And what does it represent for you? How did you pick this name?

AYS stands for “Against Your Society” and was founded 2002 by our singer Schommer, who played bass, our drummer Pietz, and two other guys. One of them is our ex-guitar player Felix who left the band some months ago. They were playing melodic punk stuff like Good Riddance or Pennywise. After some lineup changes I joined the band in march 2007 as a bass player and our second guitar player Henne joined us at the beginning of 2008. Our newest member is Chris of Black Friday 29 who replaced me playing the bass when i changed to the guitar. We all have our roots in being Punks. So this name is still representing our punk attitude, being against racism and also not being satisfied what’s going on in this world. And of course: ACAB

What has the band accomplished this far? Who have you played with and where?

In the actual lineup we released an EP (“The Path Of Ages” – 2009) and two LPs (“Wreck My Soul” – 2008) and the newest one is called “Eroded By The Breeze” which was released 3 months ago. There are some old releases but they are not worth to be mentioned.

We played 7 tours in the last 3 Years and saw a lot of cool parts of europe like belgium, netherlands, france, spain, czech, poland, austria, switzerland, sweden, norway and england. At the moment we’re planning some tours and trips for 2011. In february we’ll be back in the UK and we’ll do an Australia/Malaysia Tour in April/May.

On our shows and tours we played with bands like No Turning Back, Sick Of It All, Have Heart, Carpathian, Trash Talk, Rise & Fall, Black Friday 29, Ritual, Born From Pain, The Effort, Swamp Thing, and too much more to name them all. Propably we played with almost everything what’s famous up to day and became friends with a lot of them.

What does AYS Sound like, what are your main inspirations?

I think it took a lot of time to find the sound that we’ve got today. It’s very desperate and pissed. We tried a lot to find out what we want to do, invested a lot of time and I think everybody who knows our old releases can see our development.

I think it’s important to be kinda incomparable and don’t sound like every second existing band what’s really hard because there are a lot of them who are doing a great job. Certainly we are inspirated by everything we listen to, which is not just Punk and Hardcore music.

How did you come together as a band?

Schommer, Pietz and I know each other from school, hangin around, skating, drinking, etc for 8 years. In our hometown was a quite big punk/hardcore scene at that time.

Henne is a friend of us for about 4 years and we know each other from shows in our area and his brother Chris used to play in Black Friday 29 who became good friends of us in the last 2 years.

What’s the German Hardcore scene like?

The german hardcore scene is pretty big. A lot of the kids are doing bands, setting up shows or do labels, fanzines, etc. Also they just support bands by showing up on shows whats propably the most important part. A lot of bands from oversea like our scene and appreciate the support of the german kids.

You’ve got a new album out, called Eroded By the Breeze, what can you tell us about it?

“Eroded By The Breeze” has got a tough and pissed sound combined with melancholic melodics and a lot of experimental parts. It got 13 Songs with a 35 minute playtime.

It was released on the 17th of August 2010 on LP and CD by Cobra Records (LP – Europe), Coretex Records (CD – Europe), Purgatory Records (LP – UK) and soon on Dead Souls Records (CD – Australia).

How did the writing and recording process go. What were your inspirations for this album?

After the release of our “Path Of Ages” EP in July 2009 we didn’t know how we could beat it. We had the goal to write those songs on the same level as “Snowblind” and “Nemesis”, which where re-recorded for the LP again, too. But after 10 Month of writing new stuff we we’re very satisfied with the outcome. The songs hadn’t been finished completely when we arrived at studio and the best ideas we had were while the recordings, breaking edge, playing Super Street Fighter 4, watching football and hooligan Films and eating a lot of pizza. We had a lot of time to try different sounds, settings and effects.

Who does your artwork?

Our singer Schommer is doing all the artwork stuff for us. He also made some designs for other bands as well, but at the moment he’s very busy. Schommer is studying media design so he decided to concetrate on that and just doing sick artworks for us in his freetime.

Who’s the guy with the AYS tattoo on the inside of his mouth?

That’s Schommer, too!

Apparently you guys bring a wicked show to the stage. What can people expect from you guys live?

A short set with the most possible energy we could give and hopeful withouth broken strings… fuck that.

Who are you going to watch at Persistance tour? What bands do you recommend to people?

I’m definitely looking forward to Cruel Hand. I really like their new album and of course their live shows. Also i’m glad to see the guys of Sick Of It All again, cause we just played some dates on their last europe tour together. And last but not least Blood For Blood, I think I don’t have to comment that!

If you don’t know our Album yet, you should really check it out. But you also should take an eye on bands like “Brutality Will Prevail” (UK) and the rest of the Purgatory Records bands. If you don’t know our friends “Carpathian” from Australia check their new EP “Wanderlust”, “Ritual” just released some new stuff, too, and also our friends “Man Overboard” from the US who will be on their first europe tour soon.

Sounds of the Underground #4

I listen to music, so you don’t have to. You can decide if you want to check out what I’ve been checking out by reading what I thought about these sounds. All taken from the underground, these are the sounds for this edition. I will write a new intro text next time.

Saor – Aura

source: metal-archives.com

Scotland offers us some great music now and then. It normally does require you to accept the peculiar accent and rugged elements in it. On the front of black metal, I didn’t hear much about the North. If the first connection you make to their black metal sound is Saor, you’re in for a good one, like your first fried candybar. The music feels like the landscape of Scotland, with the subtle folk melodische woven into the fabric of the land as well. Powerful and subtle at the same time, the music offers a timeless journey.

The band describes their music as Celtic metal, which I think does justice to its organic, natural sound. The songs feel like  a storybook, the album is like a unity. Focus seems to be a ful immersing in the atmosphere Saor has in mind for their listeners, which works out great in my humble opinion. The departure from the sound they embraced under their previous moniker Àrsaidh  seems to have been left behind partly, continuing the whole postrock vibe, but making things more intense and rougher. I’m totally impressed by this, by the way One Man, project. It will blow you away. Andy Marshall, also known from Falloch, did a great job.

Jungle Rot – Terror Regime

Source: Metal-archives.com

So today I learned that the band who’s name I’ve seen around a lot of times is a death metal band. I also learned that Jungle Rot is a nasty disease that yields a lot of gruesome imagery, which I’ve never been too crazy about. Sorry, I’m not into gore and I really can’t help it. This band is frigging brilliant though.

Though called a death metal band, there’s something different going on here. It’s been called death rock in some spots and I guess some comparisons to that rock’n’rolling style of Entombed cannot be discarded. There’s a fun factor to their sound, the band also happens to have been around forever (well since 1994). The clean producation makes this a perfect album to drum along to, slap your air-guitar like it’s ‘yo bitch’ and just bang your head to.  It just sounds tight and in my opinion very accesible. I wrote before that I’m reluctant to listen to death metal and I haven’t really found my hook on the style yet. This band is not on Victory Records without reason. Their sound is almost poppy to me, like many of the hip metalcore/deathcore stuff, but simply more real and pure. Enjoyable record taht I would recommend to most metal fans who also need to find a gateway record for DM.

Source: Metal-Archives.com

Tryptikon – Melana Chasmata

I love Celtic Frost. I don’t know if it was the amazing titles of their albums (not the stage names, Tom G. Warrior still sounds like it was made for gay porn), or their distinctly oldschool sound with touches of genius distinctive experiment or perhaps just their aura of grandeur. I didn’t like Tryptikon much at first though, but it grows on you and so does Melana Chasmata.  I’d love to somehow bash the establishment a little, which is perfectly possible with this record since it somehow doesn’t pack the punch it was intended to have. That doesn’t make it less awesome.

Let’s call it a doom record, translating sludge to the Swiss bands flavour with the old gothic demeanor.  Tryptikon never sounds dirty like a damp, grim black metal band. Nor does it feel like the abandoned graveyard where doom bands lurk. It dwells in castles and cathedrals, in grandeur and might with a touch of despair and decay. There is a nobility to the sound of this band that has a lot to to with its frontman. I think that Fischer doesn’t want to shock, but just show the stories he wishes to tell to the fulles. Leaving nothing out, holding nothing back. That is the raw core of the record that delivers its powerful message. So yeah, everything stays a bit mid-pace. Heavy metal is not reshaped, but there’s refinement here.

Source: Wikipedia

Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn

I’ve enjoyed listening to Summoning for years, but it has always been on and off. I was amazed to discover bands playing music inspired by Tolkien and making it seem dangerous, exciting and totally new. I reckon I wasn’t ready for the atmospheric black metal at first from these Austrians. Now perhaps I am, but maybe their 2013 album just leaves behind a lot of the danger. It almost seems like a soundtrack when listening to it. Less raw, more atmosphere and synthesizers.

The songs are filled up with the mysterie from Tolkiens ‘Silmarillion’, inspired by the daring of the Mariner Earendil who sailed into the unknown. Some moments its foreboding, others gnashing and grim but always captivating and beautiful. I guess it might sound pretentious to those who are a bit purist about their black metal, but as far as I’m concerned, this album is a masterpiece that combines the best of ambient, atmosphere and black into one mesmerizing whole.

That was all for this time, lets see what else we can pick from the underground next time.

My suitcase: I Am Kloot

I have quite some unedited interview material I would like to share. So in this edition, I Am Kloot. I got to do a mailer with the band in 2010 for ROAR E-zine.

Source: Wikipedia

So this is the interview with Peter Jobson, I Am Kloot, position:

BASS GUITAR .

Would you be so kind to introduce yourself and your band briefly?

PETER JOBSON, JOHN BRAMWELL & ANDY HARGREAVES FROM I AM KLOOT.

I Am Kloot does not wish to be part of any ‘scene’ I’ve read in other interviews. Does coming from manchester generate certain expectations and comparisons for a band like yours?

A SCENE IS BASED ON FASHION. FASHIONS INHERINTLY COME AND GO. I AM KLOOT IS FOR LIFE. WE DO OUR OWN THING. MANCHESTER HAS A RICH CULTURE AND HISTORY. WE ALL LOVE THE CITY BUT IT IS MORE IMPORTANT WHAT YOU DO THAN WHERE YOU ARE FROM. MUSICALLY THE JUDGEMENT OF GIG GOERS IS SEVERE AND AS JOHN SAID TO ME ONCE “IF YOU MAKE IT HERE; YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE”.

Do you feel I Am Kloot fits in with the current folk/acoustic trend? (Mumford & Sons, Stornoway and such)

WE ARE UNAWARE OF SUCH A TREND. ANYONE WHO IS STILL TRYING TO PIGEON HOLE KLOOT WITH TALK OF ACOUSTIC MUSIC OR ANY OTHER RESTRICTION SHOULD REALLY GIVE UP.

How was your last album received generally?

MORE PEOPLE ARE HEARING OUR MUSIC THAN EVER BEFORE. THIS IS DUE TO RADIO PLAY AND GOOD REVIEWS. IT IS LIKE A NEW DAY FOR I AM KLOOT. THIS APPLYS MORE TO THE UK THAN ELSEWHERE AS UNTIL NOW WE HAVE NEVER BEEN PLAYED ON THE RADIO IN THE UK. GENERALLY SKY AT NIGHT HAS BEEN RECIEVED BETTER THAN ANY OF OUR PREVIOUS ALBUMS.

Can you tell something about the process of making it?

DURING THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM WE SPENT A WEEK LOOKING FOR THE NEW SOUND. ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT WE WERE HARD AT IT. ON THE SEVENTH DAY WE DISCOVERED A TOTALLY ORIGINAL COMBINATION OF FREQUENCIES THAT HAD NEVER BEEN HEARD BEFORE BY THE HUMAN EAR. IT WAS THE MOST AUDIABLY UNPLEASEANT SOUND ANY OF US HAD EVER HEARD. WE DID NOT USE IT FOR THE ALBUM.

How would you describe it yourself?

IT IS A ROMANTIC, REFLECTIVE AND RICH ALBUM. FOR THE FIRST TIME WE RECORDED AN ALBUM WITHOUT ANY REGARD FOR THE LIVE PERFORMANCE. WE ALWAYS TRIED TO KEEP OUR STUDIO OUT PUT TO A THREE PIECE BAND. THIS TIME WE RECORDED ANYTHING THAT WE FELT WOULD FIT THE MOOD AND LYRIC OF THE SONG. HENCE THERE IS A GREAT DEAL MORE INSTRUMENTATION. WHEN PLAY LIVE WE ARE JOINED FIVE EXTRA MUSICIANS TO RE-CREATE THE ALBUM. WHEN WE STARTED MAKING THE ALBUM WE HAD NO MONEY, NO LABEL, NO MANAGEMENT. WHAT WE HAD WAS TIME, SOME TUNES AND TWO VERY TALENTED AND GENEROUS FRIENDS IN GUY GARVEY AND CRAIG POTTER FROM ELBOW WHOM PRODUCED THE ALBUM. THIS SET UP ALLOWED US TO COMPLETELY REALISE OUR IDEAS FOR THE ALBUM WITHOUT ANY EXTERNAL PRESSURES AT ALL.

Source: Roar E-zine/Jörg de Groot
Source: Roar E-zine/Jörg de Groot

For your video’s you’ve used Christopher Eccleston twice to play in them. What is your relation with him and why did you choose him for the video’s or was it not your decision?

CHRIS HAS BEEN COMING TO OUR GIGS FOR YEARS NOW. HE IS A MASSIVE MUSIC FAN AND HAS AN ENCYCLIPEDIC KNOWLEDGE OF MUSIC AND ITS HISTORY. HE IS A TRULY GREAT ACTOR AND HAS INTEGRITY CHOOSING HIS PARTS. WE ALL ADMIRE CHRIS’S WORK AND ACHIEVEMENTS. WE ASKED CHRIS IF HE FANCIED BEING IN THE VIDEO AND HE WAS UP FOR IT. WE HAD A GREAT TIME SHOOTING THE VIDEOS WITH HIM. HE LIMBERS UP FOR A SCENE LIKE A BOXER BEFORE THE BELL GOES TO COMMENCE A BOUT. HE HAS AN IRRESISTABLY DARK SENSE OF HUMOUR WHICH SITS GREAT WITH US.

If the music of I Am Kloot was the soundtrack to a movie, what kinda movie would it be?

I THINK THE SOUNDTRACK TO TAXI DRIVER IS A MASTERPIECE. THE ANTI HEREO; TRAVIS BICKLE IS AN ENTHRALLING CHARACTER.

Wherefrom do you get your inspiration (music and nonmusicwise) and what is the message in your music?

INSPIRATION COMES FROM MANY PLACES. EVERYDAY LIFE, BOOKS, FILMS, STORIES, PEOPLE, NATURE. IF THERE IS A MESSAGE AS SUCH IT IS FOR THE LISTENERS PALLET. WE WOULD NOT LIKE TO SULLY THE TASTE WITH OUR OPINIONS.

What drink goes best with every I am Kloot album?

NATURAL HISTORY – A BOTTLE OF BLUE NUN / I AM KLOOT – NEGRO MODELLO WITH CHERRY VODKA SHORT / GODS & MONSTERS – TEQUILA & DRY GINGER / MOOLAH ROUGE – VODKA REDBULL / SKY AT NIGHT – CHABLIS PREMIER CRU.

You must have heard this one a million times, but what does the band name mean?

MANY THINGS.

What plans do you have for the bands future?

THIS YEAR WE WILL BE TOURING AS MUCH AS WE CAN. WE HAVE SOME NEW TUNES. THERE IS TALK OF SOME AUDIO VISUAL COLABERATIONS WITH VARIOUS FILM DIRECTORS THAT WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING STUCK INTO EARLY NEXT YEAR.

If your band was a kind of food, what would it be?

GOULASCH SOUP.

Original posting: ROAR E-zine