Category Archives: Uncategorized

Underground Sounds: Vėlių Namai – Laumių Šokis

Label: P3lican Partisans
Band: Vėlių Namai
Origin: Lithuania

Ambient music is like most electronic music genres quite a thing in the Baltics. It’s fairly easy to acquire the means to make it and I suppose it fits in the nouveau hip state of the countries, which you find in the capitals mostly. Still, ambient can also turn back and look at the past or nature, which is exactly what Vėlių Namai is doing on this record ‘Laumių Šokis’.

This one man project is done by Julius Mité, who is a Lithuanian that appears to travel a lot. Still, his music or art (I feel that ambient often drifts in that direction more) is firmly rooted in his motherland. The album is dedicated to Laima, the goddess of earth and pictures of him in ethnic clothing can be found on the Facebook page. This immediately draws me even closer to the music, having just undergone a Romuva wedding in Lithuania myself, this feels close to the heart (yes, my own wedding indeed).

‘Migla’ sounds like what it means, misty with drops falling and gentle piano play piercing the hazy air. It feels a little like some of the ’90s postrock bands.  The sound shifts after a good 7 minutes when we shift into ‘Prabundu’ (I’m waking up). The music is introverted, maximizing only the elements it needs to achieve its purpose. Carefully crafted drones fill the lower sound regions and convey the voice of the earthy, while the cobwebs are still lingering in the fuzzy sounds.

The music lends itself for silent contemplation and introspection, it’s slow progressions and eerie soundscapes seem to be of the darker sort, but so is the mind. The listener is suddenly awoken from those thoughts by the vocals on ‘Mudu du, pilkume’ (us, in grey), by Hannah Knowles. Easy going, it breaks the solitude of the songs and breaks the cycle for the listener. After this we get back tot the solemnnity of the drones, synths and rare guitar line, as we find on ‘Laumių šokis (The dance of laumės). The record is not a very open one, the sounds are cavernous even and therefor the earth feels like the surrounding element.

Also there’s a sense of feeling forlorn, drifting through this undeground world and its wide expanses by yourself, weightless with just the mesmerizing drones accompanying you and painting the sight that fails in darkness. Slowly buts surely, all the other stuff falls away and just the elements remain on a minimal song with lamenting tones like ‘Vėlių takais visi mes eisim (The home beyond)’. Graceful and with a natural beauty.

This album is an experience, possibly best enjoyed with the Baltic landscape in view. Get closer to the essence and to the self and this is your soundtrack.

Your ultimate Lovecraft soundtrack part 2

Continuing on the topic of audio expressions of Lovecraftian lore, love and random fandom, I would like to take you down to a more serious form of expression, that is more Roadburny in nature.

The Doom that came over Lovecraft

To me, ever since Thergothron, doom is the ultimate music for reading Lovecraft. There’s been some great stuff on that, so I’m now venturing into personal recommendations. It’s something about that heavy pummeling, the anticipation and the cosmic stand still. In Lovecraft’s work, humans are the most puny, insignificant things. The slow pace of doom feels remniscent of that, so that’s the core of what I was looking for and I found kindred sounds.

A bit different for starters than, Nikoletta from Arizona makes Stars Eat Worlds, which she dubs surfer metal. Though this is just a demo, it shows a lot of promise. If the surf can take over a bit, it might become something grand to listen to. The songs now sometimes end up just being barrages of noise, lacking the atmospheric.

Now, I know I’m pushing this even further, but Mr. Zoth and the Werespiders produce a drone like music, infected with dungeon synth and ambient elements, to create a harrowing, nerve wracking sound effect, great for your Lovecraftian moments. More cool, these guys are designing games too.

If you can get into it, some really good, blistering noise could be working in your favor. Xothun does a great job in creating eerie soundscapes of crackling distortion and screams. Might be too much again, but I must say I dig it.

Again more ambient/drone, but with a name like Erich Zann Chamber Orchestra we can hardly ignore this Polish contribution to the sonic pantheon of Lovecraftian idolatry, right?

Time to get serious, with no other than Obed Marsh. This Perth, Australia originated group of doomsters makes the sounds of uncanny sludge and  heavy proportions. This is the soundtrack to which the nameless ones rise from the deep and sing their unholy songs to ancient Cthulhu. This is indeed exactly what I ment, talking about doom.

I got to see Arkham Witch play live in Malta, where they did songs from their old band The Lamp Of Thoth. The old school heavy metal mixed with doom is catchy and just in a very simple way cool. I think they’re a nice listen during the enjoyment of a good New England story.

My personal favorite and I think one of the most awesome bands out there is The Great Old Ones. Already having an awesome bandname, their sound is monolythic, grand and full of the looming danger that is represented by the great old gods. This is the right atmospheric tune for your moment of immersing into the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft.

A bit more theatrical, but also dirty and grimey is the Dutch collective Swampcult, who pay homage to the master of the cosmic horror with their recent album. The album is a version of the Lovecraft story ‘The Festival’, in its entirety and it’s  one gloomy immersion that you’re facing here.

Enjoy these bands, they’re really cool but also channeling their very own experiences and feelings with the stories of Lovecraft into music. That in itself is a great thing. Listening to these bands might allow you to explore new flavors and colour to the timeless works of Lovecraft.

I say Dillinger Escape Plan? She says let’s go

Marriage, that’s old fashioned… Well, it’s just one of the things I heard when I told people I was getting married. Not in a negative sense, but as in surprise that someone still does this archaic stuff. Marriage is massively uncool but I’m nervous and excited for it anyways.

People that don’t feel positive about marriage usually associate it with the casual manner in which relationships are handled these days, and I can’t blame them. I see the cycle around me of people getting together, moving in, getting a pet, getting married, getting kids… and getting horribly fed up with eachother.

But sometimes you get to win, sometimes you find that person that you want to stay with. Yeah, sure, sometimes you’ll think that you’ve made the biggest mistake, sometimes you’ll be annoyed by everything. Relationships are hard work, they’re never easy and the work only keeps coming. You might feel that this is not what you signed up for. Not what you want.

Luckily, I get to think… but would any other just say ‘Yes!’  if I suggested going to see Dillinger Escape Plan?  She just says ‘when?’. Not because she loves the band, but because she knows it matters to me. And then I know that I’ve found the bestest bestie in the world… And I can’t wait to put that ring on her finger.

how do you top that?

Underground Sounds: Gilded Lily – Mongrel’s Light

Label: Lions Jawbone
Band: Gilded Lily
Origin: Canada

For anyone who believes Canadians to be peace loving and timid, there’s some news for you and it’s called Gilded Lily. The group hails from Barrie, Ontario and has thus far only released a demo. This full length is a statement to say the least.

Something must be stirring in the northern regions, because bad-ass genre defying bands seem to emerge from Canada a lot in recent years. Bands with a disposition to stand outside of the outsider art in a way, which is emphasized by the peculiar neo-realism artwork by Quinn Henderson on the cover. It really defies expectations in its cocktail of genres and folky riffs.

The record clocks around 32 minutes of furious, unrelenting fury that seems to combine black metal with grindcore and more. Most noteworthy and possibly overlooked are the lyrics, which are poetic and speak of a desolate place where only the lowest of the low is present.

The romantic sense of longing you clung to
Is beaten into the cement of the curb
Anointed with a mixture of alcohol
And piss and spit and cum
Where the carnal is holy

This is packed up in guttural vocals, cascading guitars and bludgeoning blast beats. It’s a big noisey composition of dissonance and blaring reverb. Whirlwinds of guitar shredding and dense atmospheric passages, sometimes all hammering at the listener at once. Never relenting and always brilliant, it gives the true feeling of inescapably to the listener. Though notoriously filled with blackened elements, sometimes there’s just the cold hardcore vibe present as well, like on the beating intro of ‘Yellow Dog’s Song’, which turns into a dirty, gritty ride.

Most tangible is the urban despair of Gilded Lilly on ‘A Sparse Room’, where over a buzzing noise vocals are screamed in what, played out in your imagination, feels like an empty factory hall. After that opening rant, the track kicks of with an almost tribal rhythm and industrial drones. The whole album is a show of force to me, but there’s that remaining feeling of gritty squats and the rawest, bleakest hardcore shows ingrained in the sound of this band. Why? Because that’s exactly the feeling these gentlemen are trying to evoke with this record, which I think they succeeded in with flying colors.

 

Shut up and go back to your hipster metal cave

There was a little riot in extreme metal land the other day, which probably seems futile and minor to anyone who isn’t into it, but is also, like every confrontation saying a bit more than you’d think.

Even the whole #kimexposedtaylorparty concerning Taylor Swift and Kanye West (and Kim Kardashian, but whatever), is a debate that tries to create something bigger or maybe is. People choose sides on things, its the way it works. I have passionate Taylor Swift fans among my friends, hence me knowing about this… and I have a twitter account so yeah…

So what gives?

Since pretty much everyone I’ve seen debating this issue has retracted their statements and removed facebook posts, I’ll just get to some vague picture of what happened.

A band behaved badly and that was picked up by a metal zine. It then levelled some accusations at the band this pissed of the band, lets call them… SatanGoat. Something with goats, you see… Now, the journalist in question, might have made up some shit about the band or had drawn some conclusions that the band disagreed with. In response, they posted their rant.

But that wasn’t enough for the evil men in SatanGoat, who ofcourse all have pseudonyms and are very secretive. The band needed to doxx the writer (for what doxxing is, check wiki). Meaning, they posted a picture and all personal data of this person.

uncool bra, uncool…. But if you mention that, you’re told to go back to your hipster metal cave.

So…

I’ve never written under a pseudonym, I’ve had bands say they were sad to read I didn’t dig their stuff and had bands say thanks for the nice words. Now, on this blog I cover stuff I like mostly. I don’t see the point in writing about a album I didn’t dig, sorry. Life is short and I have many things to do. But what if I would be doxxed? What if I’d written that SatanGoat was unoriginal (I think I did) and not really doing anything innovative, but was in the end a fun listen… What if I suggested that some lyrics are a bit edgy. I’m talking about a mostly anonymous band… should I be doxxed?

I hope not. I read two responses, one from another blogger who took offense and one from a black metal musician who considered it taking a stand. I have to say, I agreed with both. Branding someone as anything and writing cheap headlines to get clicks is just the sort of stuff that put #brexit in motion and might put Trump in the White House. Two things we will, I don’t doubt it, regret. Journalism needs to be honest, checking their stuff and getting that info others cant get.

Does that make it ok to ostracize these people and put them at the mercy of the audience? Not really, no. Specially from the comfort of anonymity. But this stuff goes both ways. Respect your topic, they are people too and respect people taking the time to write about stuff. I don’t know how it works for the big sites, but I, like many others, do this in my spare time for the love of the music.

I could and should write toaster manuals instead, it would make me some money.

Respect is the absolute key, but it’s only something you can give, not something you can demand.