Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Last Nail

Equivoke has been noticeably quiet for a while now, inconsistent at best with posts prior to recent absences. Arguably the blog is dead. I’d like to say it’s not really up to me if Equivoke kicks it because despite the fact I contribute the most here this wasn’t originally (nor solely) my blog. Sagi's gone but Inres and Regulator still hang around I think so if they want to continue it more power to that absolutely.

However if they don’t want to update the blog and continue to share music then it feels like a good time to put it to rest from my perspective. Motivation has waned recently for me - the reasons don’t matter. I’ll be doing my thing somewhat more regularly soon just not here. There’s still a core of excellent dl blogs and underground webzines/review blogs doing things consistently well so please continue supporting them. I certainly will.

So cheers and all that. It was early May 2009 when Sagi published the first post here and a few months later in August that year for me, so thats a good four and a half years of existence for Equivoke. Without being deleted once too, not bad.

For those interested I’ll be using a broader review site at some point (The Plow Behind You). I’ll also be occasionally contributing to Summoning Spirits (under either Sanakan or ‘knifemissile’ for now) and Cvlt Nation too.

Thank you.

- Sanakan

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Night Heir - A Maze Of Evenings (2013)

Full Length, Self-released /Independent
July 28th, 2013

Genre: Experimental/Avant-garde Black Metal
Region: USA

NOTE: These hard working fellows are looking for a label of some kind that would be interested in releasing this record in physical form, so I'm putting the word out. If you think you could help them out I suggest you contact them ( because this is a record I'd very much like to see on wax or tape or something. A release very much deserving of a physical home.
I’m excited! The new Night Heir album has finally appeared. It’s funny because I was wondering a few months ago if this year we’d see something new from Night Heir. Their last album Wind In My Dream Mist In My House is a sleeper gem of 2010, it’s impression grew on me significantly since I first heard it — so I’ve been wondering what exactly this now growing collective would come up for a follow-up.

Well, it’s quite brilliant. Overall it’s stronger and more generous than the aforementioned record. This new effort quickly ensnares you with it’s charm, unique atmosphere and bold approach which has been refined and expanded since last we encountered Night Heir.

A Maze Of Evenings brings more members (or contributors) into the circle, and with them more sounds and textures along with extended life; it hits about an hour and twelve minutes. While it was largely a one and two person project last time this record brings a swath of different vocal contributions and styles which enhance their tradition of wide scope in that arena, smoothly buttressing the swooning progressions both in the traditional guitar/bass/drums threesome, but also in the synth/keys and noise. These last two elements come to play an even bigger role than last time overall.

All of this thickens the already eerie atmosphere, new and larger amounts of varied, layered vocals add new dimensions to this records sound. The production was handled by the band rather than Colin Marston resulting in a more coarse, lo-fi quality compared to a surprisingly finer one on the previous record. This leaves the distorted and loud moments sounding grittier and the quiet valleys are a little more crisp.

It has made the drumming (snare for sure) a little more distant and thin but this hasn’t dampened the impact of those gripping bass grooves which played a prominent part on their Wind In My Dream... and now do so here. Especially on a lot of the clean sections, but also for instance on the the opening ritual “Inamorata”, and later on “Inner Female”, "Daymare" and “Draw Me Down The Moon” where those licks stick out and play prominently.

The journey feels more contemplative in its pace and volume this time around — even when it is being loud. Night Heir has not lost anything by doing this as their strengths buoyed further in the longer treks on the album allowing them to explore both parts equally and more fruitfully it seems; where the builds can be big and slow with just as much pay-off.

I’m talking about tracks like “Giver & Receiver” and “Inner Female”. The former is a perfect example of tricking the listener into thinking the metal has taken a back seat, crafting an alluring chorus haunting sounds; somehow incorporating twinkling pianos and not sounding annoyingly out-of-place. Quite a beautiful track. The latter is the climax of the record, possibly my favorite and very enchanting. Quiet and ghostly and ramps up to overwhelming but never coming unhinged.

Rainfall and silence. Remember that bass? Damn do the riffs on “Inner Female” kill. By the time the female vocals split through the distortion those grooves have begun their spell in full force; a few choice harmonics punctuating the heavy rhythm satisfyingly. It definitely has a very ethereal atmosphere by the end, aided greatly by those synths.

Having said that, a lean towards the rapt has not loosened the grip of metal on this project. As is made clear in tracks like “Daymare”, the change in production can allow that more fundamental ‘black’ metal quality to return with full force, scratching and galloping into some stunning territory. It's a bright track and one of my favorites and rivals “No Sympathy For Demanding Idols” off the previous record. Excellent vocals, it’s a monster by the end that whirls and roars coldly with a melancholic tone thriving in the lo-fi environment.

Yes the opener “Inamorata” shows a different side of this, the anguished cries over a looping rhythm unceasing with a final spectral push into the wicked "Daymare". So too do “Draw Me Down The Moon”, “Solar Piexus” and “The Curator” (both nearly nine minutes) which all bring the aggressive chime-like tremolo progressions, chunky rhythms, and stormy percussion as they have evolved between records.

The assault of “The Curator” accompanied by creepy, slithery singing,  is only interrupted midway through for ambient/noise manipulation, and that leads into some really chunky riffing and modulated female screams to close. Some of the lead’s vocals after the gap stray into quirky Daughters territory and amongst the crushing, dragging cacophony it works to their advantage.

So by the time we’re stretching into the second half of A Maze Of Evenings after multiple listens things are becoming clearer. Night Heir have given themselves both the span of time between records and the overall length on this record to allow for growth and breathing room. The clean and quiet elements taking as strong a role as the louder metal infused ones, but far more concentrated and focused than in their previous effort.

The result is some contrasting and very stunning sounds on both ends of their unique spectrum. The two “Inviolate” intros, “Theme From Slowland”, “Inner Female”, and “The Wheel” all creep on you but are no less captivating and creative than the more blunt attack. Tracks like “The Wheel”, a gentle throb bursting with radiance that starts quiet and almost loses control, but never dropping the meditation while gaining in aggression. A wobbly and entrancing trip.

Even “Solar Piexus” which contains mounting craggy riffs for a time (almost in oldschool Melechesh fashion) dives deep into a dark and contemplative chasm for a time. The gulf of quiet after the shredding just over three minutes in is breath-taking, the gentle atmosphere is thick and cool with organ keys and the splashes of percussion lighting up the dark. When the return to distortion is made over mourning hymns it’s heavy as the ocean from which their bursting forth.

I think near the end of this record is where it gets more intriguing, the contrasts continuing.

First we have “The Snakewife” which I think is one of the more interesting or surprising songs here just in terms of the switch off in styles and tones from the beginning to middle, and then the slow change thereafter. At seven minutes it’s almost noise-scape-y at first with a slight creeping horror veneer: off kilter, severely slowed-down, almost twilight-circus styled tones melt through feedback which in turn builds into howling and screaming synth — really nice — and finally gives way to bleak, hypnotic riffs as the build behind gets louder.

Suddenly the style changes again into something that feels more oldschool death-thrash, and the vocals fall in line as well. It’s bizarre but enjoyable especially as the track progresses, the drumming becomes more complex and the vocals are spiked with clean howls.

Then you follow this up with “Theme From Slowland”, which is somewhat self-explanatory I suppose, and you have a decent span of music in just these two tracks that tries and succeeds at exploring new ways of combining influences. This track is simple, clean and smooth in the vein of True Widow but less groove oriented, employing some beautiful vocals from both genders as it slinks along. I’d even say it begins to develop a slight Neurosis flavor (Enemy of the Sun era perhaps) just after halfway but it recedes by the end.

A huge and memorable song for sure. Subtle effects behind the build at points really make the track powerful. There’s not confusion or haphazardness in their placement or structure either, it works quite well. Right into the more shrieking blackened gloom of “Draw Me Down The Moon” (Beherit pun?) which when combined with “Inner Female” make for a fuckin wicked climax on this record’s end.

Final verdict? Fucking home run all the way for this humble outfit and A Maze Of Evenings. Black metal? Maybe, how about yes just to bug people. Regardless of its label it’s a wonderful record that will probably be passed over and be relegated to lost gem status years from now much like their first. It will no doubt be on my year end list.

All things considered there’s not a lot wrong with A Maze Of Evenings (length is debatable, after a few listens it doesn't seem long at all) and a whole bunch right with it. The time and effort over the last few years have clearly paid off with a rewarding record that retains originality. Night Heir continue to be awesome and interesting, and hard to place.

Please go support this project by paying what you can for this record if you’re able to, of course over on bandcamp. It is up for free for now, no physical release yet but I assume (like the previous album) a cassette may be in the future so keep an eye on that. I’ll update this post once that shit’s a reality.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis (2012)

Full Length, Debemur Morti Productions
October 16th, 2012

Genre: Black/Death Metal/Industrial
Region: USA

From the minds responsible for Benighted In Sodom, the duo known as Ævangelist have created De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis a unique and sinister hallucinogenic death-cloud. I thought it would be in your interest in knowing, listening to the machinations recorded here.

Actually I’m pretty late on it myself and these guys have been busy, releasing Nightmare Flesh Offering a new 7” in the last few months, To the Dream Plateau of Hideous Revelation a new split with Esoterica soon (their side is already available), and their new LP Omen Ex Simulacra in the works already — evidence below:

Yes Cthulhu, yes H. P. Lovecraft, and you can bet that title and the lyrical themes revolve around the man’s work and influences to some degree. This is all a plus for those interested but it is used quite a bit, and doesn’t do a whole lot for me usually — however Ævangelist’s wear it very well and in an original way. There's more at work than just this thematic influence so let’s get to this record’s other aspects which are also fantastic.

The cover art depicts a tentacle-web of ancient horror, deformity, death, etc. and that’s pretty much what this duo have constructed here, specifically through emphasis on atmospherics: digital, symphonic, this all feeds into the foreboding quasi-angelic haze suffocating every square inch of this tomb. The production adds to the static, crunchy tone that permeates the record.

None of this is surprising to those enjoy the previous projects both members have been involved in, though this new formation is evidence that they have more intriguing insights into the void of death from these two.

Buried under the sheer weight of the terror and horror is a repugnant plume of death metal with certain black metal influences (cue the eye-rolling) that strangles the listener slowly. When those influences are strongest it more often sounds like Darkspace through Wormed (terrible analogy), and overall I would say this record leans a little more to the side of death metal than anything else even with the huge emphasis on atmosphere.

In fact their unique breed of pestilence is strewn liberally throughout this record but again never without being accompanied by negative illumination and sour flows of the dark symphonies you hear on the first track; which is the only one which indulges in stretching that atmosphere as long as it does.

Out of the box an eerie sample greets us on “Anno mortii : Gnostic Transcendental Heresy”, something I’d describe as an industrial terror-dimension themed soundscape that drifts from the rough and cybernetic, then to cathedral and ghoulishly angelic patches of undulating sound-craft. This is different than one may expect, far more tech/machine driven rather than fleshy or organic as the cover suggests. Supernatural for sure.

This purgatory extends becoming all the more cavernous and the atmosphere is certainly foreboding and rich, and it is interrupted by a death and black metal siege: malformed tremolo frenzies eventually give way to a swaying rhythm that dominates the track. A wall of distorted fear tearing through the atmosphere, a stream of psychotic and indecipherable roars, strangled and muffled growls no doubt relaying some kind of primordial curse.

Vocals are sick and varied if not very out of the ordinary and get a little muddled in the conjuring noises but that may just be the hypnosis working. They do contribute to the frightening haze though. This is a track, the longest, where all the ingredients Ævangelist deal in are at their most reactive and expansive. They opt for different combinations later as you’ll notice.

While the similarities with recent aberrations of the genre are easy to spot the structure overall are less complex in technical structure than say Mitochondrion in the guitar/drum arena, and not as amorphous as Portal’s. Ævangelist craft these and other influences into new forms unlike their peers, they have their own approach and it's effective. While there’s still there’s a strong tradition of crawling, often thicker-than-expected riffs the key is in repetition, swirling, and this builds alongside those aforementioned elements (usually slow to mid paced

This is definitely not to say this doesn’t get pretty complex and full at times, the opening track for example, but this more so to do with a convergence of well crafted industrial “noise” or symphonic atmosphere with these other aspects than more twisted riffs and fast drumming.

Look to “The Longevity of Second Death” for example of reliance on repetitive blows while simultaneously poisoning through atmosphere: we’re treated to a huge and spellbinding set of slow, swaying rhythms which saturated the majority of the track, over those fearsome snarls and floating symphonic ether that erode sanity from all angles.

Even at it’s most simple they resonate strongly, and the nightmare ethereality never parts from the earth-chewing death metal. Take the three shortest, most straightforward tracks “Pendulum”, “Funeral Monolith”, and "Blood & Darkness” where those influences are strongest.

“Pendulum” shows a better balance compared to the opener and an example of how well it works. As chunky and dissonant rhythms plow through the six minutes the droning cavalry wails like nuclear war sirens. These wails contaminate and adhere to everything despite the continuous and belligerent hammering from the other instruments, on a more traditional and deliberate path. There’s some pleasing moments here.

“Funeral Monolith” is similar in this respect, and more easily grasped. The passages are more well lit and decipherable, chunkier and death metal oriented — but it does not relent in its darkness, horror-drone atmospherics clouding the deluge of death beneath.

The occasional rise to the fore of eerie feedback between the both meaty rhythms and twangy sustained discord is perfect, like an orbiting entity affecting everything it comes close to. It morphs and modulated beneath as well as if it were being held under a liquid often alongside the vocals.

This track and the chaotic forerunner to it “Death Illumination”, which really flattens shit in it’s wake, are stand outs for me, though it’s a record where there’s very few weak points and all tracks stand like pillars.

So, what could sometimes seem like a concept that could easily get messy and confused, or even boring if not approached with skill or passion Matron Thorn and Ascaris show to be a worth while exploration in horror and metal. They’ve been thorough. De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis is organized thoughtfully and Ævangelist’s creative output on this record is impressive. Like some kind of inverted, crippled Lykathea Aflame.

There’s one instrumental, “Hierophant Disposal Facility”, and it is staggering with again a much more industrial-ethereal-horror, percussion and bass emphasis at first which entrances no less easily, and eventually bringing the guitars in for the later grooves — slowly twisting and bending over nine minutes in order to deconstructing you spiritually.

Even after being dimensionally raped over the course of this journey, the finale will still surprise you, especially on it’s immediate front with clean flanged-out progressions and bouts of instrumental reflection. “Crematorium Angelicum”fells like it was produced differently, thinner. Regardless it transforms quite a bit over these final nine minutes, going from some kind of bizarre Pantera - Planet Caravans cover to a very Darkspace-esque tone by the time we approach the middle, back again with heavier delay effects, and into a descent.

Chalk another up to the growing “awesome records that I missed last year” list. I wish I had been more attentive because De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis displays how ugly and ferocious new breeds of this genre are becoming. It’s a creaking monster of the trans-dimensional depths. If you’ve fucked up like me and didn’t get to it last year then seriously buckle down and dedicate an hour to this. Fans of Antediluvian, Portal, Mitochondrion, Darkspace — anything like that, you should give this a glance.

Pick up a copy of it if you can. Head over to Debemur Morti Productions' webshop to do just that and follow them elsewhere to keep up with their progress. I’m certainly eagerly awaiting their next record and really want to hear the split and EP once I get the chance.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Antediluvian - Septentrional Theophany (2013)

EP, Nuclear War Now! Productions
May 14th, 2013

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Region: Canada

A booster EP recorded during the λόγος sessions, Septentrional Theophany is another rapturous astral upheaval from this now infamous Canadian group. It's been well established I'm a big fan of these guys and their related hordes so any new material will have me interested. I think the only one I haven't got to yet was their Cogitating Vacuous split with Temple Nightside. For shame I know.

Yes this is a 7" that was packaged with the 80 page, heavy duty Haruspex Zine #1 (written by Jason Campbell, art and layout of Tim Grieco, in association with the label) which appeared recently along with the vinyl press of their last LP. The magazine itself is pretty fuckin beautiful in packaging and art, not to mention the content/depth of interviews and artist discussions (Denis Forkas, Tim Grieco, Marko Marov, and Manuel Tinnemans). It includes a lot of words with the Nuclear War Now! Productions cult such as: 
Ares Kingdom
Rotting Christ (Interviews with Sakis Tolis, Jim Mutilator, and Magus Vampyr Daoloth)
Bone Awl (Interview featuring HWCT and HWGT)
Bestial Raids
The interviews with Conqueror and Bone Awl are particularly interesting however there's generally some nice insights drawn out from diehard members and contributors of the community, with wicked presentation. If you're into digging deep with the bands above then definitely jump on this one. The record is streaming on bandcamp.

(Bone Awl interview)
Two new tracks with lyrics also by Jason Campbell. Something noticeable is that the clarity of this EP is higher even compared to λόγος (at least the tape version, the vinyl/cd press is clearer). It's nowhere near as muddy as TTCOH or the material prior to that which I can see being a problem for a lot of people. Maybe taking a little away from the drumming and grit but Antediluvian are inherently ugly, scratched, and weathered. This EP does retain those characteristics, and the destruction sealed within each moment of the two tracks here is still of great creative quality, and primal with the strong current of mystic cosmology.

So the chaos is still rearing it's malignant head throughout what you'll hear here. Darkly empyrean and profanely exploring ancient (Greek/Christian) theism/deism much like λόγος did but focused on a specific location or region. "North" is referred to several times, Phosphoros (morning star) and awaiting the its appearance, being guided by the destoyer's vision (Abandon),  and the title references a boreal theistic awakening or worship if I'm not mistaken,

Also I don't know if there's much intended significance but stringing together the sequence of writing and tracks gets you "Being in the opus of sacrifice at the mount of the congregation... in the sides of the North". There's obviously more meaning there coupled with the lyrical content regarding astral rebirth and journey, ritual significance of the aurora borealis and morning star (perhaps), etc.

Getting to the tracks themselves more closely. "Mount of the Congregation..." begins in a strikingly ordinary (relative yes) or orthodox manner after a brief sample, maybe returning to their Serpents Malignancy days but chunkier. The drumming remains steady and integral, complex however. Slow rocking powerchords and then just the tom pounding, then the full force of their depravity is unleashed.

Later this opening riff snakes it's way in much faster, transforming several times and in the midst of one of these horrid screams can be heard, on a higher register than the abyssal gurgled hymns that poison the surroundings. The rapidity of their direction changes and pacing reminds me of their Revelations in Excrement EP: progressively more chaotic and complex, before cutting off at the height of intensity.

(Ares Kingdom)
Then there's "...In the Sides of the North", a jarring spiral of archaic violence right from the beginning, the sour tremolo riffs slowly wrapping around you, the hasty sledgehammering from the percussive end slowing inky for measured tom hits between riffs. It's from the one minute mark where things start to get disorienting as the pace is picked up, particularly awesome riffs one after another. This is a song where they pull some more experimentation beyond their usual barbarous lashing, tactfully approaching something a more bleak or horror driven once the chaos subsides slightly.

Amid the howling bent and sustained notes and the tortured screams a thick atmosphere wells up at this point, the drumming becomes more tribal, steady, supporting the descent of the scraping rhythm behind it. It's a cosmic drowning that lingers only for so long, the return to bestial warfare is explosive for the final minute, shriveling like a closing portal.

Get this if you so desire, and I would guess many people desire more Antediluvian material. I wouldn't say it's essential but all of Antediluvian's releases are a treat for any fan of the ancient and filthy ceremonies they indulge in. You know I'll recommend it.

Available at Nuclear War Now! Productions with the first issue of their Haruspex Zine.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Haapoja - Haapoja (2013)

Full Length, Self-released / Indepenedent
March 27th, 2013

Genre: Black Metal/Hardcore
Region: Finland

Well this is an interesting transformation. Haapoja had a demo back in 20111 titled Hallitsematonta voimaa that I heard on The Living Doorway back when that dude JGD posted semi-frequently, the sounds emanating from it were stealthily riding the wave of blackened hardcore that was in full force. Except they weren't really "blackened hardcore" ala YAITW et al even on a first pass, instead like Dephosphorus the fluidity of the influences was such that it escaped complete pigeon holing. I liked it a lot and I like this even more.

So for those who don't remember Haapoja are a fairly young four piece from Finland that are play some kind of hardcore. This self-titled doesn't sound quite like the demo — the change is fairly noticable and entirely awesome. The direction is the same one they took in the EP largely, it's just the force behind it that's been supercharged.

Haapoja is just under a half hour so it seems they've sheared their best material in the interim between 2011 and 2013, coming out with nine diverse and equally engrossing, twisty songs. The grooves you heard in between the Rorschach chaos and blackened angularity is overclocked, in this record, speed and intensity is cranked the majority of the record as well. At points in tracks like "Kerosiini" it's the closest any band has come recently to touching what Dephosphorus exposed in their debut Axiom and this is very exciting.

At other points as in "Suurempi, Hallitsematon" or "Takauma" that same approach slows and the feeling the demo had returns but more enticing. The latter is a drifting labyrinthine series of rhythms that are oddly calming even when dissonant, and even with the sonic shredding of the vocalist cutting through the riffs. The drums are a bright pylon and here they toss and hurl between softer and more martial moments. It's a memorable track and one of the stand outs

The rest of their time they find something different to draw out through their style that sounds like Melechesh covered by a French black metal act playing '90's hardcore. Especially the first half of the record: it's not as obvious initially on the opener "Suuren Varjon Alla" until about the halfway marker where theirs a distinct Night Sky Transform vibe but once you hit "Ihmisyyden raja" their new tact reveals itself and it's pretty damn hyonotic. That track takes another turn later in the last quarter I wasn't expecting before circling back to the start.

The groovy and agitated riffs, enraged scratchy screams, crystal clear and fast percussion — all of it is very cohesive and easy to get hooked by. "Elämän Vaihtokauppa", which is definitely a standout for me, is another great example of this comfortable amalgamation of sounds that crushes and soothes all at once. The back end of this track has such a wicked riff, but from the beginning it's not that remarkable. Mid-paced, a little more traditionally thrashy with some proggy twang in there. A few moments where bouncy riffs and violent screams come through show where the song is heading, and once it hits about 2:15 in a truly gripping section ruptures forth and spreads to the end of the track.

They generally manage to stay away from driving something into the ground as well which can be a problem with groovy shit I suppose. For instance that last portion of that previously mentioned track doesn't stick around long despite it being hypnotic. And even in the less frantic, more slowly churning tracks like "Kolmetoista Askelta" or "Takauma" where there's less going on they don't damage them by lingering on one moment; even when particularly enjoyable.

In quicker tracks like "360 Astetta" (or again "Kerosiini", fuckin great shit) they blast through ascending discord over punk and pummeling blackened beats, then will rest momentarily to create excellent harmonious grooves with lots of string skipping. "Ikuistettu" is another example of this and closes the record nicely once showing their controlled harmonic chaos interact with the sounds of Dephosphorus, Converge and death metal.

Haapoja's potential has been given a proper exploration and outlet on this release, confidently approaching the level of excellence that Dephosphorus hold to both quickly and unexpectedly (minus the grind). Recommended. I think if you like Deathspell Omega, Rorschach, Ulcerate, Svart Crown, etc. you should at least give it a spin.

It's up for pay-what-you-want on bandcamp so there's no price other than your time. And lets be honest, if you're reading this you've probably already wasted more time doing something far less entertaining than listening to Haapoja.

DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wreck And Reference - C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶ (2013)

EP, The Flenser
May 21st, 2013

Genre: Experimental/Electronic Doom/Noise/Industrial/Post-Punk
Region: USA

I always love requests like this one because I would've put it up anyway as the band involved is killer. Wreck And Reference just happen to be on a streak with everything in their creative history since 2008 (?) being strictly different and enjoyable while also cathartic. C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶  (or No Content, dual meaning) is their most recent record and continues onward eager to explore, remaining unsurprisingly heavy and delightfully gloom ridden.

Through two short tracks this humble duo can convey quite a lot. C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶  feels like a brief revisiting of Black Cassette's themes in some ways or maybe excerpts from No Youth at it's most 'metal' moments if you can call them that. The material has not weakened, only furthered tempered and those behind it thirsty.

It's not as shocking as No Youth was to me in that their sophomore release took longer to warm up to than the debut, and the difference here is the impact with this 7" is as powerful as when I first heard Black Cassette. I felt it as soon as I heard the vocals on the opener "Absurdities & Echoes" which it's fair to say are haunting and pretty different from their previous experimentation.

It works so well with the lyrics and for the gloomy vibe of the song. The beginning draws in a lot of sounds slowly at first without becoming cluttered while a strong digitized chime quakes out a captivating lead, and the drumming in this intro rules. Very hypnotic, indeed continuing once the vocals float shakily in. During the core of the song hoarse spectral wails reverberate in the open making for very spacy or ethereal atmosphere.

The lyrical build in this both tranquil and jarring atmosphere is strong, leading to a climax of tremolo waves and rising cymbals— and a stunning frigidity washes over the song like various moments in The Angelic Process' work which was felt in the previous record as well, "Spectrum" and "Nausea" for instance. The louder the better.

It's the rolling, crackling, concussive pulses looping behind the church bell paced MPC and organ drone and rich percussion, becoming more pungent nearing the final quarter. It feels/sounds like somethings burning softly in the distance behind the aching and cathartic performance of Felix and Ignat. The vocals are particularly explosive by the end. That style is refreshing in general not even looking at their interesting approaches.

"Abhorrence" brings back the blackened yells, making this track fuckin' awesome instantly. Lyrically far more in step with this return while the hammering on the snare, and blaring MPC texture things nicely and then when all but the 'bass' tones drop out that subtle doom atmosphere amplifies a lot more.

It feels like you've just stepped into a funeral doom jam for ten seconds which is something they do exceedingly well without bass or guitar at this point. Proceeding from that moment the climb instrumentally is intense taking cues from the lyrics and the vociferous, shredding vocals. This comes to and end quickly with those thunderous tones again and the swirling rise in high frequencies and static giving a short does of eerie anxiousness.

Absolutely recommended if you couldn't already guess.. 2012 wasn't that long ago but even since No Youth they continue to mature creatively and the hooks just dig in deeper. If you've liked everything they've done before this should not disappoint you. Passionate consistency, tense and rapturous, unorthodox heaviness — C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶  continues resolutely with all of this. It feels like there's more coming soon and they've generously shared for free a glimpse at that. You shouldn't skip it and if you're new it's as good a place as any.

You can grab a digital copy from them on bandcamp or a physical copy from The Flenser. The Flenser also put this up digitally for real cheap but everyone always appreciates "free" direct from the artists too.

DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Cower / Thou - War is the Force That Gives Us Meaning: A Two Part Analysis of Personal and Inter-Personal Conflict (2011)

Split, Vendetta Records
June 21st, 2011

Genre: Sludge/Hardcore/Doom Metal
Region: USA

I wish I was more attentive to Cower's side of this brilliant split record with Thou when I first heard it. I mean Thou's side is just more unquestionably awe-inspiring and malice-soaked doom metal so it's hard to tear one's attention away from their side of any split; even when paired with the likes of Hell and in this case Cower.

Between the two bands and their strong, proven approaches to the niches of sludgey hardcore and callous doom it goes without saying this split has excellent variety. This is not at the expense of spellbinding song weaving whether it be furious beauty or an unbearable darkness as Cower and Thou only cull their best for each release.

When matched with Thou one might assume the younger Cower may not be up to the task of balancing the monolithic tendencies of the Baton Rogue sludge beasts, but they easily hold their own. Their use of a varied of vocal styles, the strong bass foundation throughout each track, and the creative blend of genres ensures they can stand next to such towering doom pillars like Thou.

In fact I've grown to enjoy their contribution just a bit more than the second side.

Cower's side is titled "Act I: Burn The Banks" and starts with the track named after themselves, and the subject of giving up. It's heavy and between sludge and stoner rock at first, the speed is increased briefly to bring in the hardcore but after a silence the sludgy vibe returns as we barrel into "Clonorchis Sinensis. Rhythmic hardcore takes hold for a moment before the slow jog heaviness returns, it's compouded at various points through hoarse shouts and  splashing cymbals over a wicked breakdown.

"Cut Down" is only 27 seconds but not necessarily in the powerviolence mindset despite being fast — it's contrasted by the acoustic interlude direcly afterward which is melancholic and somber. It brings other elements into the collection sounds like a piano and digital modulation near the end. Later on "Vise Grip" takes a similar approach There's a concerted effort to return to devestaing sludgcore with "Sixty Years", a track that trudges at first but hits the boosters at the one minute mark and scorches shit with noisy, drum blasts and scraping riffs. The return to slugging with trilled bends and stomping riffs. Lots of big grooves in that last moment alone

This leads to "Torch" which is my second favorite on the split. It starts similar to "Sixty Years" blending stoner riffs and hardcore pacing but by the time we're into the middle of the track, delay and reverb effects engulf the sparkling tremolo riff left hanging. It becomes manipulated for about a minute creating very pretty textures befire

My favorite track by far is "Rainmaker", it sounds closest to their material on Mind Over Matter:  bouncy and terribly catchy, considerably moreso once the great bass solo hits (these guys can punch those things through at just the right moment it seems). Bursting from that to a upbeat climb and descent through multiple noise rock attitudes, they eventually setltle on something amazing. It's probably the most memorable moment on the record, simple too, coupled with the lyrics there's a longing for release pervading this song and it's heartfelt:

"So come my friends and let us share our last breath. Let me live under the sun and remember. It's only for fun. Just remember... The tides will go in. And the tides will go out, and the leaves will grow again. Every beginning has to end, and every ending brings new beginnings, don't forget to scream and shout. There is no end."

It ends on a slightly depressive series of fuzzed out notes, and bleeds into a bonus track I don't know much about; I suspect it's a cover. Cower have done well on this split and it was a great prelude to the full length last year.

Moving on to Thou's side titled "Act II: Big City" which was released as a single EP online and kicks in with a even more sluggish interpretation of a Cower song from their first record (Hatred Songs) — it's fuckin ugly. Nothing but feedback, vocals and singular tom strikes for the majority of the track.

Then we get to dig into newer material with "View of a Burning City", a clouded lament to the state and industry's siege on humanity (in classic Thou fashion) starting darkly melodic and discordant much like their Hell split — and then straight into what I recognize as the down-tuned beat in Eminem's "Guilty Conscience"... it's bizarre. The song progresses away from this into more recognizably torturous swaying through low guitars and black vocals and I immediately feel quite cozy here. No one does this better than Thou or at all like them.

"How Lonely the City Sits" continues the vitriolic assault found before it calling out bred mediocrity, urban stagnation and the alienation it brings. This one has a fucking gripping groove midway through that flows so smoothly as Brian shouts "THE DEAFENING, ENDLESS, COMPLETE ISOLATION!!!". Thou show again and again why they sit on the throne of doom. The last section of the track brings scratchy dissonance back briefly as it slowly fades in feedback.

Closing with "Milestone" the desperate struggle continues unabated. Sliding warbled downtuned slaughter for the first while, with a great use of pinched harmonics interspersed in the marching. It gets a little more claustrophobic for a few seconds for the change in pace, where Brian's vocals become increasingly haggard and deformed in his bleak recitations. Near the end the vocals turn to clean slow chants while a buried lead riff distorts and drowns, however it reverts to more slogging before the abrupt close.

An awesome split with two dedicated acts I love a lot. This is worth the cash if you can find a copy of the LP, even if you're just in it for Thou. The art is fantastic and high quality outside of the crumbling doom and sludge imprinted on the black record. I don't know of any big labels or distros who still have copies (some smaller ones like this maybe) but they might have a few while touring still (I got mine at the Gilead Media Festival)

You can grab Cower's side for free on their band camp and Thou make all of their material available on their official site.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)  <— Cower side only!
DOWNLOAD (Noladiy direct) <— Thou side only!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baptists - Bushcraft (2013)

Full Length, Southern Lord Records
February 19th, 2013

Genre: Hardcore
Region: Canada

Now that it's been out a little while here's the new Baptists record. Links will probably get taken down via DMCA complaint I would think but who knows... I haven't received one of those in a while.

Baptists had a nice 7" record a while back that showed great promise. I remember stumbling on it and enjoying it but never giving it too many replays honestly. Bushcraft is a little different obviously since I'm coming back quite often. The attitude is one of solid confidence. They know what direction they're going for and they nail it pretty damn well on record and even more so in live environments; without paying much mind to inevitable detractors. I recommend you see them if they drift by you.

So people have been comparing them to Converge a whole lot. This is not without reason, I mean a cursory listen is all you need to recognize what people are recognizing. Kurt Ballou brought them over to record this, and the guys have been admitted Converge fans from the start — it's kind of hard to not find their influence somewhere at this point.

But I would argue there's a far bigger east coast Cursed style/sound cascading throughout Bushcraft that mixes nicely with their love of Converge (whether intentional or not). Couple that with their experience within local grind/crust acts and the west coast atmosphere there's a comfortable synthesis, creating very catchy and energetic expression of hardcore somewhere between the old and new.

By comfortable I don't mean lazy. Baptists have struck a wonderful balance between the crusty-punk discord and anger of Cursed and the twangy high-speed pummeling hardcore that Converge have helped pioneer. I think a closer comparison could be made with All Pigs Must Die maybe, certainly if you compare songs like "Sacrosanct" with "In Droves" where both are drawing out that vehement punk energy from the past and bringing renewed vibrancy.

Obviously each band there has different plans of attack. For Baptists the one they've cut works well and reminds me of the type of thing Vilipend is doing by bringing back old school metalcore, where Baptists are less on the Rorschach end of things.

Their sound is kind of an anomaly in the context of their peers and colleagues regionally. At least as far as my limited experience or knowledge tells me. While the Vancouver and Victoria areas are no stranger to filthy grind and powerviolence, most of the crusty hardcore that I've heard like FAMINE, Subsist, or Erosion does not dabble in the chaotic, Deadguy/Rorschach twang arena that is becoming more recognizable (especially in the Deathwish Inc. stable). Nor the dark rusted hatred of Cursed and it's distinct 'Toronto' aura —  instead the island and mainland groups often fall along Infest and Nasum lines, while also subtly skirting the recent blackened wave too.

Baptists have embraced and tempered this selectively and injected it with a 'cascadian' ethos which casts scorn on the concrete expansion over the beauty of their west coast home. I'm not arguing that this makes their sound wholly unique but there's enough spice in there to ensure that Bushcraft escapes the 'copy-cat' label in my opinion.

Almost in a stealthy manner actually. Like I said if you give it only a few listen the comparisons to Converge are unavoidable, but I found that a few of the tracks like "Russian Spirits" and "Bullets" forced me to return due to their ridiculous hooks. Eventually I found myself running through this 27 minute record twice in a row every other day, it really crept up on me and I have a feeling this is the case for a lot of people. Even those who are tired of Southern Lord's grip on what some designate 'faux'-thrashcrust should look into Bushcraft.

As you can expect the production is rich which is great for their sound, so only gains since the 7" in that respect. The percussion is right fucking there and the guitar tone fees quite lively, bright but with some jagged edges while the bassist slickly carves a spot in the madness. Some are going to cry about the production and I understand.

Regardless, all four members are undeniably skilled in their crafts. The passion is evident as they layer on the simple and rewarding or cathartic formula of thrashcore ingrained in them. From the outset of "Betterment" we are met with a series of dark twangs and into a hissing drum surge before the track actually kicks in — switching between jerky slams and midpaced galloping, vocal chords shredding through words of regret. You get a good sample of his range from more deep death-like barks to gritty snarls/rasps. A good opener before getting to the more meaty sections.

"Think Tank Breed" is a scratchy furious tune and the shortest on the record. It makes up for it in frantic bludgeonings and later some shining injections into the rhythm and a violent chunky closing riff. On more laid back tracks like "Still Melt" my attention doesn't drift: the rhythm is hypnotic both the melodic riffs and the metaphoric, hallucinogenic lyrics together while the drumming is consistently compressing in more controlled blasts.

This aspect is always an impressive battering like axes on a felled evergreen. The intro to this track for example is real nice in that regard. "Soiled Roots" is another slow one that will bind you over it's five minute ritual, entirely groove-laden bass-filled, and as heavy as logging truck tumbling down a mountain. That weight increases ten-fold in the last minute.

On the subject of words: lyrically there's the classic punk social commentary through short and clever lines laced in venom."Mortar Head" for instance, not only blazing and awesome with a touch of that blackened vibe, but could be interpreted multiple ways. It remains interesting if it's commentary on the societal or state reliance on bureaucratic ideological power groups ("Think Tank Breed") who are disconnected from reality on the ground. Maybe I'm reading to much into it. But Baptists also tackle that raw expression of humanity's connection to the forests and biosphere blatantly as well (if the cover and title didn't tip you off).

It's not always obvious: shorter tracks like "Crutching Trails" give the impression of possible relation to the environment but deal more in carving ones own bath in terms of belief, release from moral slavery over a high-speed, slightly dissonant thrash attack which gets a little more complex during the brief chorus.

On the other end the whole title of the record and the song "Bushcraft" as well is just spelling it out plain over some wicked riffs: "I want to practice bushcraft and the leave this shit behind!" over intense snare work and feedback. I'm pretty sure anyone living in the Cascadian region (or anything like it) in the current climate has seriously considered this at one point — just it's never been expressed this well through chaotic and wailing hardcore. Normally it's a more meditative black metal approach so this is refreshing to me and the self-titled track is particularly captivating.

"Abandon", dealing with abstraction and apathy (perhaps?), is the final song and turns into an extremely boisterous one at the end following a bass solo. In a live environment this is another one that ignites the venue with it's bouncy cadence and groove.

As I already mentioned my favorites are probably "Russian Spirits" and "Bullets" because they're sincerely excellent jams on every level. If you don't have time for the whole thing at least give those two a chance. "Bullets" might take the cake: it's is wild and flailing, whining bent strings punch through and stormy percussion overwhelms for the entirety until at two minutes in the break down comes — its a magnificent moment on the record (drummer's a beast). However slams that end "Russian Spirits" make me reconsider which is heavier.

Overall Baptists have released something awesome and different from even the local fare even if external comparisons make this seem less significant. You can tell they had fun pouring their energy into this and I think it payed off. Bushcraft is the kind of album I imagine blasting in a beater pickup truck (or hatchback as is often the case here) while tearing through the gravel logging roads and muddied trails of the mainland and Vancouver Island, hollering as you escape the encroaching industrial landscapes in that brief afternoon of freedom.

That is, if people around here who went bush-bombing didn't only listen to AC/DC, Lil Jon, and Steel Panther.
You can get this probably at a local record shop but if not you go to Southern Lord or a distro who carries their titles (there are many). Or go to bandcamp because they have it up finally. You should probably follow them too.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gets Worse - Gets Worse / Year of the Bastard / Negative (2013)

EP, Hygiene Records / Evil Purple Bastard
August 3rd, 2012 / January 3rd, 2013 / May 10th, 2013

Genre: Grindcore/Powerviolence
Region: UK

This becoming a common theme but yes, once again I went about my life oblivious to something absolutely devastating last year: Get’s Worse and their self-titled 10” grind/powerviolence masterpiece. I believe it was the curator of Perpetual Strife or the guys at Built To Blast that alerted me to Gets Worse. And these guys are not fucking around. They craft savage grind, blunt and unyielding in it’s fury. Shit that is hard to top.

So while I missed that last year, you better believe I’m all over their two new EPs: Year of the Bastard which is digital only for now and Negative which was recently test-pressed in 10 copies for now. Both of these records prove Gets Worse remain stiffly at the head of the pack in vicious sonic warfare especially in the UK and are unwilling to compromise in their composition of undeniably ferocious powerviolence.

I’m going to wrap these two new EPs into one post here and also because it can’t be ignored I’m including the 10” from last year because it’s truly terrific; making this a three-in-one. Also I’m not including a link for the Negative EP that was just released right now since I don’t want to be a complete scumbag and leak shit. Besides it is a test pressing and it’ll be pressed in larger numbers and probably make it’s way onto bandcamp for free like all their other records.

Some patience if you please. I'll post a link pretty damn soon.

If you’re not familiar with Gets Worse they’re a three piece who hail from the UK and who are also pretty damn new to the scene as far as I can tell. You wouldn’t know it from listening though. Their first demo surfaced April last year and already blew shit up effectively, but it was quickly followed by the 10” which displayed powerviolence that will loosen bowels and leave massive poisonous craters; so loud and polished and tight it’s unreasonable.

Gets Worse are different from Napalm Death, Iron Lung, Water Torture, and Frightener but residing in that same realm, taking copious influence from them. Clean and filthy at the same time, the guitar and bass are thick and gritty chewing through speakers and headphones, tight drumming rattling the skull and blasting holes in windows, and vocals that will collapse lungs. Social and political themes abound, dealing in the disgust with weakness and ignorance, intolerance, all that good shit and fuck does it translate with the frontman’s pipes. The art adorning their records (by Tom is the Bastard) is pretty damn eye catching and slick too.

The self-titled 10” I grabbed maybe two months back and along with that ACxDc/Magnum Force/Sex Prisoner and SBB/Water Torture has been in heavy rotation ever since. Packaging is beautiful and so is the colour. Thirteen tracks in sixteen minutes (their longest release, including a Charles Bronson cover) and all of them gold, with a few major stand outs even then.

Three of them are within the first couple of minutes: "Tuff Guy" starts slow, an evil bass riff before the guitars join the groove— then boom, you're thrust into a squall of anger. The break down comes and then again the track accelerates savagely; the e-brake pulled one last time before the end. "Cheapass Weekend" scalds you with the blazing snare and sliding fury of powerchords before taking a very traditional punk groove and driving it into filth. It's a great thing indeed.

“False Friends” is the third monolith, craving high volume — a frenzied stomping brawl with one bringing in harmonics, and then a gap with a line worthy of a smile: "GO FUCK YOURSELF, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!" Very cathartic and also a bit amusing, proceeded by a distant shouting chorus as the riff gains momentum to a blunt ending.

Really though everything Gets Worse have recorded hear shouldn't be taken lightly. It's all written to be razor sharp and brutal. "Kill Shot" and "Armchair Activist" contain some huge grooves and nice switch-ups in pacing, easily as addictive as the former three songs. And then all of a sudden they drop "...No Fuss" on us and oh man is this ridiculously heavy. It's the first truly slow track and remains so only for a short time after a deceptive intro ramp: each blow from the guitar/bass coupled with the cymbals crashing, kicks peppering the sludge. This doesn't last however and the turn is not as predictable either: a brief grind and then into a bouncy set of rhythms.

"Straight Up Schrompfin", "Beyond Words", and "Liquor Lobotomy" have some of these lethal slow moments as well but play with them differently, and without fail coming up with spellbinding material.  Particularly "Beyond Words". The Charles Bronson cover is spot on and "Loner" should be mentioned specifically for it's Adventure Time sample at the end, if not for it's 30 seconds of stroke-inducing grind. The only other relatively short track is "Toothless" which quickly winds up and back down just as fast.

Year of the Bastard continues the attitude soaking the 10” with four filthy slivers, starting with the slow crawl intro of “No Resolve” which turns into a bloodbath not long after the sludge has settled. "Daily Fail" is 22 seconds of utter obliteration with an opening riff that will sear into your brain, followed by the no less grating and livid “Tunnel of Goat!”.

The self-titled track is the last one and is vrushing in it’s vitriolic agony, the vocals before a feedback-drenched sample (hilarious by the way) are some of the most pissed I’ve heard in a while — spazzing over top another deeply pleasing slow riff. There is no way you’re not enjoying this if you even remotely showed interest in the self-titled record.

Finally there’s the newest slice of material entitled Negative. And guess what? It’s no less terrifyingly awesome as the previous two records. Opening with a short and slow intro (“Negative PV”), Too Much Talk shows immediately Get Worse haven’t been slacking with a white hot attack, leading into a crushing break down and a frantic close.

The beast in this one though is quite obviously “Excessive Bullshit” — holy fucking shit is this aggressive and loud. This is the one that's been on repeat for me: an open that is a blistering pummel cut into by a perfect groove, which only gets more engrossing and reprehensibly enjoyable. It swings so powerfully you can't help but sway in it's gravity. The drums puncture your chest, spine-curving screams and growls shift to various styles all of which harbour great animosity in fractions of seconds. It's a track that will leave none standing.

“Scabs” sees them dive back into restless tumult, managing to entrance before droping out with only the bass left, and a final crushing riff. “Neighbourhood Ninja” opens the second side in expert fashion — eroding your bones with frenetic thrashing which opens up a bit more as the blasts become more punk-paced. “Pessimist” and “Positive PV?” might be my favorites on this side, back to back monstrous forces slamming down like granite slabs in rapid succession. The last one is “Stubborn” and it takes a similar approach to the opener but a little more bulky: tribal drums at first, then a slow writhe with layer screams and growing noise/feedback.

I suggest you do not hesitate to support these guys. I don’t know which release I like more because honestly they’re all without blemishes, equally enjoyable and jarring. This is sharp, finely tuned delicious grinding violence of the highest quality. Gets Worse have unleashed a series of precise strikes that will break bones if played at high enough volume.

The self-titled 10” is available for free download on their bandcamp while physical copies are very limited there. Same goes for over at Evil Purple Bastard (a few 10"'s, red I assume) and Hygiene Records (only the CD version) as well as probably a few distros, or from the band; they’ve said they’ll be out once the tour’s done. It comes with a download code for the Year of the Bastard EP which is not set to be released physically yet.

Negative is being pressed en mass to be released on May 10th as a co-release by Hygeine Records and Evil Purple Bastard so keep your eyes peeled for that. It is now available on bandcamp for free and in physical format. And also on bigcartel so there are many options guys.

Oh and as an added bonus they have their first demo up for free too if you’re into more free shit.


Oxtongue - Where The Light Is Mute (2013)

Full Length, Self-released / Holy Mountain Printing
January 15th, 2013

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal
Region: Canada

Brooding and fomenting in Ontario for years amongst different projects apparently, three young gentlemen come together and former Oxtongue in 2012, finally releasing this slab of doom to the public at the beginning of this year. I think fans of doom will find something to enjoy in these friends heaping their sounds into the fray, and you can thank Severed Heads Open Minds for illuminating Where The Light Is Mute.

Oxtongue are new to the game but there's no denying Where The Light Is Mute is a half hour choleric ache, down-tuned and pavement splitting in three songs mired in darkness. There seems to be a theme flowing through the tracks but I do not have lyrics so I can't confirm; just going by the song titles. There's definitely some classic sludge influence that goes alone with the desolate semi-funeral doom acts like Atriarch and Bell Witch (you can hear it in the ending progressions of several tracks here), and for a self release the production is pretty damn good. The material is even better: keeping shit simple with dour sludge tonnage that sounds like it comes from veterans.

"Humanity: Born In The Way Of Eternal Greif" is the longest clocking in at just under 15 minutes. It's a clean chord driven procession of gloom for its entirety. The thundering, trudging drums for the entire opening three minutes are like sledgehammers wedging iron into stone, later taking a more measured pace once the bass guitar demolishes the build ambiance wonderfully. The only vocals are first heard as a faint whisper in the edge of an oceanic rift of silence between tom strikes and thick plucks — then a titanic upheaval is ushered in as the callous roars flood with the distortion, a return that crumbles all walls in its wake.

At this point it's a merciless steamrolling and it's getting clearer that while supposedly young, all three members are well versed in expressing sinister energies through foul trudging. After that plowing over the second half transitions to a sludgy build, aided at first with low, clean ceremonious chants but when the explosion comes the growls do too, along with another pancaking passage.

Actually following this the final legs of this song give me feelings of familiarity. My guess is it's close to the sound of the long defunct UK sludge band Capricorns' self-titled demo (a favorite gem of mine). The rhythm is totally reminiscent of that, but slowed and aided by modulated effects, a second lead of drowned tremolo harmony is also supporting it. That is not the end however: there's one final jaunt through the sludge with a tremendous groove, wallowing in crashing cymbals and heavy fuzz. Fucking heavy man and a promising start to the record.

Then we have "Anguish: Abide With Suffering" which takes that kind of structure heard at the tail end of the first track and runs with it for a bit before returning to a agonizing slither, circling a dark pit and slowly but surly returning to a midpaced sludge ritual. Oxtongue then bring shit back up to catastrophic heaviness, adding breaks in their slams to plam mute and moan chants into the gloomy air; a great section. There's a return to the drag for the down ramp of this track that gets progressively louder on the percussive end onyl to spike back up suddenly for the final two minutes back into that deadly groove.

The feedback and cymbal frenzy that leads from the last track into the last one, "Cessastion: The Shade Rapes Nativity", settles into a bassy, ebbying feedback with only cymbals and snare/kicks keeping the rumble company; distant shouting can be heard. The kick-in comes abruptly again and we're swept into a series of slow but powerful dirges. And one evolves into an even more evil section that grinds the listener into a pulp — it drops out again like the intro for just drums and vocals, a frightening and desolate moment before the hammer blows return in earnest. Again in the last few minutes a fantastic sludge groove bursts forth through a bass solo that kills. This climax is fucking captivating.

Another excellent doom act from the east. If you like shit like Bell Witch, Sound Asleep, Capricorns, Batillus, Haggatha, or good sludge and doom in general then I suspect you'll want to check this record out. Outside of not being heart-stoppingly innovative (which isn't a real complaint in most contexts)  there's really nothing to complain about. Just turn the lights down and the volume up, and prepare to be compressed in 31 minutes.

Where The Light Is Mute will soon be available via Holy Mountain Printing on limited vinyl (only 300 pressed) but was just recently pressed and sold in test-press form of which I was lucky enough to procure one of the five available (of 11 pressed). You can also stream it on bandcamp and they've made it available as a mediafire link in the sidebar there as well. Updates over yonder if you're into that.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)