Underground tunes for the ears with Dark Phantom, Fyrnask, Lisa Cuthbert and Deadspace. Surely a platter for the ones with good taste is on offer here.
If you read this, please check out the music of Dark Phantom from Iraq.If you dig it, find an article or a song (or my bit) to share to give these guys the audience they deserve. Thanks
Dark Phantom – Nation of Dogs
Kirkuk, thats where this band comes from. Kirkuk, that is a town in the north of Iraq. Now take a moment to let that settle in. Not only is it a city in the beleagered nation, it’s also an overly Kurdish city. In the past I spoke with their singer Mir about his project Cyaxares, but now the band Dark Phantom has an album too. While war is raging around them, these guys put all that grief, anger and frustration in a death metal record you will not soon forget. Unfortunately, they’re still running independently, so this is also a call to labels, promoters and others of that ilk to get these boys signed. Why would I want this band that has existed since 2007 signed? Well, the main reason for that is called ‘Nation of Dogs’, which is metal the way it sounds when you really mean it.
Dark Phantom sounds brutal. Deep guttural vocals are spat out over repetitive, but catchy riffs that have a pretty clear sound. The bass is a bit more twangy and creaky, but it sounds quite nice in combinationwith the clear sounding elements. What struck me most is the lyrics, which offer a fuck you to religion, terror and politics. A brutal statement, regarding the origins of the band. Cool fact is that the vocals don’t stick to the regular cookie monster growls, but also chant and sing cleanly in what feels like an ethnic way. It’s a clear reminder of the unlikely and irregular nature of this band, finding their own style and way of sound.
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that my knowledge of death metal is limited, but I really love this record. I feel that it is special and most urgently expresses a sentiment coming from the middle east. The production is not perfect, there are little dents and bruises to the songs, but it rocks and kicks ass. Check it out!
Fyrnask – Fórn
Bonn appears to me as a strange city, this former capital of Western Germany. Where did it get its charm to be capital? I know little of the place, but now I know that one man black metal band Fyrnask hails from there. This record is the third for the project in the last five years. Inspired by nature, but also containing elements of bombastic epic sections, this sounds like much more than a one man endeavor. Fyrnask is an overwhelming experience that sounds much bigger than you’d think. Check it out.
The overwhelming sound of Fyrnask is a force to behold. A surging tidal wave of frantic compositions, hard to comprehend in their fullest, washes over you. Venomous barks are exchanged with baritone mumblings of a dark priest for the vocals. In the middle of the maelstorm the tremolo guitar play blasts away everything. The sound of this record is one of two extremes, minimal classical elements and blistering black metal are intertwining, working together harmoniously. This is ritualistic music, with strong violence and a link to the northland in both language and lyrics. It offers something for the more atmosphere loving listener as well as the black metal afficionado. Good stuff here.
Lisa Cuthbert – Hextapes
Born in Dublin, Ireland, making music seems to come natural to Lisa Cuthbert, who appears to have made a movement towards a more occult realm on this most recent endeavour. Most of the music Cuthbert makes herself, but additions were done by violinist Hanna van Gorcum (Pyrates!) and drums and percussion was done by Marvin Morelle. The recording comes in recycled materials, which is pretty cool to be honest. Cuthbert is an instrumentalist and vocalist, who plays guitar, piano, synths and stuff that makes noize according to the bio.
What the music of Lisa Cuthbert is exactly is hard to catch in genre terms. It’s music inspired by it’s Celtic roots, but neofolk misses out on some drone aspects and perhaps some ritualistic elements in the music. There’s definitely something dark to the music and the guitars on a song like ‘The Host Wants a Parasite’ remind you of the more drone doom orientated acts like Earth. It’s a peculiar record, that seems to draw from anywhere, as long as it gives of the right vibe. The intro for ‘Eyes’ reminds you of an old gospel record, while ‘Pillar’ comes closer to Clanned. It’s a mysterious album, that you can get lost in, as in foggy crypts and forests. There’s a darkness, but one that contains a unique beauty.
Deadspace – In Ecstatic Sorrow
Hailing from down under, the band Deadspace plays their very own brand of depressive black metal. They call it blackened post goth-rock, which quite frankly might rank as the most ridiculous genre term ever, but is also sort of fitting. In their bio the band states to make art, but also that their art will not change anything. It’s just what they do. The depressive element is already apparent from this self effacing description. It’s an interesting approach for this uncommon band, check their artwork for example. This is the second unleashing of the band and I think its quite amazing.
The emphasis of the sound that these Ozzies deliver is much more on the theatrics, creating space for the vocalist and the keys to create the right setting. One can hear this very clearly in opener ‘Nostalgia, Like A Plague, She Rapes Me To Sleep’. The guitar is very present as well, sounding crisp clear and razorsharp in its tremolo playing style. The intro for ‘Venus’ for example blows the listener away. Originally the band intented for this to be a concept album, that had never seen the light of day. Now they’ve decided to put it out and it does shine in its cohesion. There’s a cleanliness to the sound, making it easy to get into, but also hard to really stick to it due to the rapid changes of pace and vibe of the songs. They might consider it not their best release, I think it’s a great record worthy of attention.