Friday, September 22, 2017

Forgotten Tomb : "We Owe You Nothing"

This band from Italy has changed greatly over the years. The went from being an almost depressive black metal band to a doomy sludge band and now to thrashy grooved death metal. This is their 9th album so something would be wrong if it was not as dialed in production wise as it is. In fact the sharper distortion of the crisp production leads you to believer these riffs  owe as much to Pantera in places as the do Celtic Frost. There is a groove that is hard to deny or to not bang our head to. There is almost more of an Obituary like feeling to the raw gargled aggression of "Second Chances". The difference being the darker dissonance that comes from once being a black metal band that these guys have yet to shake.It feels more like death metal than black metal when they speed up in a few sections here and there.

"Sabotuer" doesn't demand my attention as fervently as the first two songs had. The guitar sounds more up front with a current of double bass babbling like a brook beneath it. There is a more polished thrash bass sound to the rumble heading into "Abandon Everything". The vocals hold more punk in their snarl than blackness. The guitar tone is pretty interesting. The solo like single note run is a well placed bridge. As far as being a composition goes this song has more to sink your ears into than the previous song. The mid paced "Longing For Decay" has the most melodic elements so far. The riffs are really interesting and the dynamics remind me of their earlier work.

The last song is more of a instrumental piece that feels like an outro than a song in the way they have presented songs to us up to this point in the album. So while it's while played , but otherwise nothing special I am going to ignore it for the purpose of this review. As a whole it feels like the songwriting on this album is more concise and more sticks to my ears so I am going to give this album a 9, who knows if I listen to it more, but for fans of the band this is another one in the win column for those of you keeping score at home.

Songs For the Apocalypse

So the world is supposed to end tomorrow. There are many videos about it online that you can find on your own, end of the world tomorrow's date on Youtube brings up a great deal of them, the reason I won't post them here is because, most of based in some kind of Bible bull shit and I don't cover Christian music on here so I sure as hell am not going to give them any air time. Granted the fact Christians are behind this is what casts the biggest shadow of doubt in my mind, so I am trying not to get my hopes up, as it will surely prove to be another disappointment. But here are my top 10 apocalypse anthems or songs for the end of your world. I'll let the music do the talking from here. If we get an apocalyptic wasteland to frolic  that will be worth looking forward to as well, but here's for hoping for the best worst case scenario.

Killing Joke - "Glitch"


;Dissection - "Starless Aeon"


Goatwhore- "Apocalyptic Havoc"

 Morbid Angel - "World of Shit"


Darkthrone - 'Earth's Last Picture"


KMFDM- "Son of a Gun"


 Neurosis - "Locust Star"


 Ministry - "Perfect Storm"

 Megadeth- "Set the World Afire"


Fearing : "A Life Of None"

The search for new Halloween season music is back in full effect, though if you are a regular reader you know I am not fooling anyone and this is just everyday listening. Where many of the goth revival bands get it wrong is just settling for a Ian Curtis imitation for vocals , and that is one of the better case scenarios more of than not it's baritone punk shouting. So when a band comes along that puts passion and resonance in the vocals I am very grateful. The first song its all about the vocals and the shadows of their vibe. This band from Oakland California is hard to pin down into one sub-genre of goth. The first song has more of an indie rock flair , with sonic somewhat in line with a band like the National. However they do not have the mainstream aspirations .The second song the mix is a little weird and the over all flow of the song is not as hooky. Here they step further into the bat cave, in fact the album progressively gets darker as it plays out.

The guitar mix is all over the place and production is a little bit of an issue though it feels like they are going for a death rocked out take on Jesus and the Mary Chain by the time we get to "A Way With Me". They continue to dive down darker in the night sounds with a more pondering pulse of the bass line on "Another Night". This might remind you of Night Sins before they go to dancey and had more of a organic thing going. The vocals go even lower and have more of a hollow sound here. I think I am glad I heard them get other sounds vocally before hearing this one as I need to know he has a dynamic range. I do like it as it almost has more in common with Fields of the Nephillim.

They released this album on Funeral Party Records. Who from what I have heard is a label trying to bring back goth, but they need to hire a p/r firm because I had not heard any buzz about this band or this album until stumbling across them on my friend Ichabod's pod cast. So shout out to Out Ov the Coffin for turning me onto some good music again. Normally I get one of his mix cds at Dragon-con, but I didn't hit the "State of the Goth Scene " panel because Dragon Con really just has the same bands who say the same scene and really have no pulse on the underground because they are to invested in their Hot Topic state of mind with dreams of their 15 minutes of Myspace stardom. Which is why bands like this are important. They pay their respects to the old guard, but are not tied down to goth night with the 50 year olds. I'll give this album an 8.5, its great for what it is, I am not sure how much air time it will get out of me, but if you missed out on the kind of goth the first time around, meaning you are under 35, then you might be more impressed. This is not to discredit what this band does in fact I am going to look foreard to hearing a full length from them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bellwitch : "Mirror Reaper"

First off let me tell you how much I hate the fact that this new album is one 83 track. So the for the purpose of this review I am breaking it down into fifteen minute increments.

  the first 15 The first four minutes is a very tentative drone that has more in common with a slow unfolding post- rock song than doom. It lacks the oppressive and sorrow nature of doom. They lost their drummer during the making of this album and I don't feel the sense of loss they spoke of in press releases. Billy Anderson worked the board on this so it sounds very spacious. The low growl of vocal come in around the seven minute mark.It swells into a droning chant of clean vocals that are used as a ghostly instrument on their own. This sounds great , but walks the line when it comes to funeral doom as I would not say this is especially dark.

 The second 15

 Approaching the 17 minute mark it's clear this could have been trimmed and at 17 minutes in this could have been edited into the second song. The tension is broken we have a clear delineation where this second song should begin, unless you want to be self indulgent and turn this into the grandiose thing that it is. Its right before we hit the 30 minute mark that the vocals go into more of a nasty death rasp and things being to get heavier in a more aggressive metal sense than I recall hearing the band dig into.

 The third 15

 This is a droning continuation of the theme already developed lower sung vocals do echo out of the dark abyss they are trying to casting light from, but I am not sure it's enough for me to have invested the previous 15 minutes for. The sonic scope of what they are doing is however impressive.

 The fourth 15

 There is more of a psychedelic 60s feel to the folk like vocals that ride the fragile drone, that seeks to find space more than it does heaviness. This carries echoes of Jesu, though with a slightly less shoe gaze feel.

 The fifth 15

 The vocals carry over here, though they are more layered and harmonized as it is a residual from the build of the last movement. The guitar stays dreamy rather than dark or heavy. It drifts further out into the atmosphere.

the sixth 15 and ending

There is an organ that appears here to usher in the slow rise of the doom returning at what is at this point and hour and ten minutes into things. It swells into something more metal though we are talking about metal in Jesu's zip code which means by merit of hypnotic power. The final four minutes finds it fading back into nothingness with fragile fanfare to say farewell. I will give this album a 7.5 , there are cool sections an it sounds great , the vocals have also improved.


lovelesslust : " And Her Actions Failed To Matter"

Here is another attempt to find music to get me ready for Halloween. This time it's an album of remixes from a darker electronic act. Since I have never heard them them and well aware sometimes remixes sound better than the original I am just going with what I am presented here. It falls some where between William Control and Mindless Self Indulgence. Two acts I like so that is a good start.The vocals are harmonized and double tracked.Chris Corner from the Sneaker Pimps remixes the first song.  The bass line is strong in a bouncy Marilyn Manson kinda way. The drummer of Depeche Mode takes a shot at "Heavens Black and White". It makes sense that these guys are from LA as this is the musical equivalent of the kinda name dropping that goes on there. This song is more vocal focused by not as interesting and the vocals kinda form a plastic coated drone until the disco beat comes in.

So far my favorite song was "Lowlife Novelties" that was remixed by Aesthetic Perfection. It has a touch of sleaze to it. The most impressive however is what they do with Jay Gordon of Orgy on the song "Pristine" . This doesn't feel like re-read edm posing as dark wave. The beats are pretty innovative and the vocals are mixed further back him them. It's also when the female vocals comes in even just for a few words that it gives them a sexier sound.This creates almost a hip hop feel and it is also interesting how far back they mixed what sounds to be the original tracks.

These guys have peaked my interest in them with this. I am not sure this is something I feel the need to have in my iPod at present.I'll give this a 8.5 Looking for some mainstream sounding goth influenced alternative rock tinged edm and are a fan of any of the bands involved in remixing this album then it is going to be up your dark alley.

Blank Spell : "Miasma"

Getting ready for Halloween I wanted more death rock in my life, so I went on the inner webs looking for what I had missed in this regard...note of reader fell free to hit me up with suggestions , I'll except darkwave, death rock , industrial or pot-punk though when it comes to post punk it needs to really be rucking dark and not too punk. Not too punk is also a problem you can run into with bands claiming to be death rock. Not that I have a problem with punk when I am in the mood for it , but there is a difference. The first song comes close to being the more anarcho-version of death rock, but then the album pretty much devolves into punk. It's very straight forward , the only darker element is the effects on the guitars. The vocals are a shrill shouted little girl. They make more of an attempt to give me something to latch onto with "Plastic Devil which has a more jagged riff that jerks you around.

The drummer is pretty talented and all over the place. I think the bass player could step up their game and play something catchier and then we would be closer to being death rock, though the guitars are the dominate force here, with the vocals just kind of happening. The title track is an instrumental with nothing special happening. They do get a little darker on " Nervous Language". The singer better be really hot in order to make their live show interesting as she can not sing to save her life which is why she must avoid doing so by shouting. After clicking around on Facebook I find she is not , but is also the bass player , making her both of this band's weak links. This drummer and guitarist are really wasting their time as they are both talented.

I'll round this down to a 4.5. I think I pretty clearly outlined the bands problems. With that said there are some interesting guitar parts so if you are just bored with you current selection of female fronted punk and very 1,2,3,...go still no non sense punk then give them a listen, this was not what I was looking for and was a waste of my time but it might not be a waste of yours if this is your thing.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Godspeedyoublackemperor! : "Luciferian Towers"

There is a a lot of talk going on round in regards to the world ending on Saturday, so I am glad these guys came out with a new one in case I need a soundtrack to ponder a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland to. The opening title track so a slow atmospheric shimmer of the music coming to life with brass instrumentation blowing the melodies out of the fog. I would not say this is their most fully formed song or their best work ,but it does create a mood, and for that it is a success as the orchestra tunes their instruments and comes to life. While still heavily orchestrated in a manner not unlike there previous work, though perhaps a shade lighter moody wise there is a rock n roll like melody that merges from the high traffic density of instrumentation. II suppose when I say rock it falls some where between Radiohead and the Beatles as the melody sounds like a wist on "A Little Help From My Friends" .  I can also here some of the Who's proggier moments if we are going to dissect this by tracing it all the way back to it's classic rock roots.

"Fam Famine" has a little more tension in the feedback that brings this wave of sound in. It starts off more psychedelic in the trippy way the sounds dances around you.  The focus however is more ambiance that a song that moves in more than a droning pulse even with some of the melodies that hover over this but never land.The album closes with "Anthem For No State". It starts off not wanting to touch the ground either but have the weightless lunar feel of kruat rock which also makes me think of  walking on the moon. A western strum of guitar begins to take form and gives this song the sound as if it is a the soundtrack to a sad space western. Trumpets begin to blare more exotic chord voicing and the song begins to turn into one of Jimi Hendrix's guitar freak outs transposed for orchestra. The drums help give it some movement and further the spaghetti western comparisons. It does build into something with more of a powerful rock punch.

I think is album could have been a little more grounded. It does flow within the established guidelines of what these band does and is a fair representation of what they do though orchestral element might even be bigger on this album. I will give it an 8, though I do not expect to get more listens than the ones it took me to review this album, since it can be long winded in the ambiance. The band's ardent fan base with find plenty to latch onto here.