Monday, January 30, 2012

Sutekh Hexen - Luciform (2011)

Full Length, Wands
August 2nd, 2011

Genre: Black Metal/Noise/Ambient
Region: USA

I only just got around to listening to this and kind of regret waiting as long as I did. They have a new record coming out in the next month called "Larvae" so I figured I better get on this.

Luciform is a harsh and noisy animal. It seems though young, Sutekh Hexen have a masterful ability to mix orthodox styles of raw black metal with absolutely bleak noise and frightening ambiance to conjure up something unique and challenging. Sharp screeching and wailing mixes with the fuzzy, quick riffs and drumming with a few short but haunting ambient breaks to relieve you from the relentless onslaught of terrifying furor.

It may require a few listens to grasp the wicked riffs and subtle melodic touches beneath the dark, jarring static and noise that this album revels in but once you do you uncover a ferocious storm of chaotic black metal. It's short but concentrated, blasts that are unnerving but manage to retain an identifiable structure despite the initially overwhelming waves of chaos.

This record is already in its second pressing over at the Wands shop and you can get it at Nuclear War Now! as well so I suggest grabbing a copy when you can. Highly recommended for fans of strange and harsh sounds.

DOWNLOAD (Medaifire)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dodecahedron - Dodecahedron (2012)

Full Length, Season of Mist
January 20th, 2012

Genre: Avantgarde Black Metal/Death Metal
Region: Netherlands

Dodecahedron were brought to my attention by Haxan over at Forever Cursed a week back so much thanks to him and his keen ears for this one.

These guys are a new and twisted group entering an unexplored space between black metal like Deathspell Omega and to bleak death metal like Ulcerate, creating some wonderfully angular, dissonant, dark music that certainly stands out from even those creepy bands with their fresh and intriguing atmospheric avantgarde-ish alien approach.

It's a hard one to describe as there's a lot going on in this record but it never feels crowded or awkward despite the various directions it takes. Creeping, discordant riffs dipped in thick ethereal atmospherics, sometimes slow like Ulcerate's most recent offering and sometimes on the fast/technical end like Gigan, Baring Teeth, and Flourishing. The bass grooves take a very pronounced approach playing off the guitars and often spinning their own path through the chaos created by pummeling percussion, while the vocal utterances hit raspy death growl levels with some elements of alienesque phaser distortions at times.

There's a spacey, cavernous vibe that cloaks this record. It can almost be called frightening at points as it stretches its slender tendrils out and grasps you coldly, injecting gulfs of swelling ambiance amongst the harsh black and death metal riffs; or even subtly melodic in the latter half of the album. This is especially true of the final three tracks which could be considered one long, winding song. Truly something epic is shown here.

Dodecahedron bring a disturbing, cloudy batch of tracks in their first effort. Extremely solid and unique, one of the first big surprises of 2012. You can listen to this in full over on their official page which is also where you can buy the cd or preorder the vinyl version (or you can get it from the label).

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)

Vale of Miscreation - Emergence Within the Corridor of Unholy Lacerations (2007)

Full Length, Dead World Syndicate Records

Genre: Technical Death Metal/Brutal Death Metal
Region: USA

I don't know where these guys went, if they're still active and working on new material in some festering crypt somewhere but this one and only album makes me wish they'd get on that shit.

Right off the bat lets get something out of the way: the production here is sorely lacking. Some will say that it just adds to the brutality this behemoth oozes which is fine but I would still like to have the guitars and drums higher in the mix. Having acknowledged that, Emergence Within the Corridor of Unholy Lacerations is a rapid fire, relentless wall of chaotic technicality and unfettered brutal slams I feel was lost under the piles of brutal death bands that exist today.

Clocking in at just over 20 minutes it's a short ride but one I wouldn't pass on. The vocals are very much akin to Phleg from Wormed/Human Mincer, Antti from Demilich, or the various vocalists Disgorge (USA) has housed: bubbling, gurgled, undecipherable and truly vile. Guitars swing from intense slams to mind-fuck sweeps perfectly with short bursts of alternate picking between them and man does it rule. Drumming and bass lines are just as technical reaching incredible speeds, causing one to break a sweat just listening.

A veritably unknown record that I feel deserves some attention from death metal fans, certainly those who enjoy Wormed, Human Mincer, Disgorge, Vomit the Soul, Embryonic Depravity, etc. I'm not sure if this is available directly from the band or label but if you can find it pick it up.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Inveracity - Extermination of Millions (2007)

Full Length, Unique Leader Records
April 24th, 2007

Genre: Technical Death Metal/Brutal Death Metal
Region: Greece

Extermination of Millions — what a vicious and dense record of brutal and technical death metal. It has a shit ton of replay value. Inveracity obviously take a lot of influence from Suffocation but what brutal or tech death band doesn't to some degree?

The songs on this album are impressive, a testament to tight skills and excellent writing ability. They clearly know how to play the shit out of their instruments but resist the all too common temptation to let that slide into soulless wank territory. Always at a breakneck pace with only two or three slow sections, everything here is geared towards focused and precise sonic dismemberment.

Eleven tracks that rarely hit the 3 minute mark but are packed so full of sharp and face shredding riffs that it will surely knock you on your ass within the first three. I've had this in my library for a while and always come back to it due to the perfect mix of technical alternate picked riffs, deeply satisfying powerchords alongside well placed pinched harmonics and a vocalist with an unholy growl. The bass gets lost in the mix but the double kicks will blast you into the ground, and when there is a slam it's absolutely killer and will kick your balls up into your throat.

I really recommend this shit. I have a hard time picking a favorite track as they all are equally devastating and jaw dropping. Extermination of Millions is a perfect balance between blistering technicality and ugly slamming brutality, quite a sick and memorable chunk of death metal well worth your support so pick it up over at the Unique Leader store.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Bad Life - The Day You Die (2011)

Full Length, Music Ruins Lives
October 11th, 2011

Genre: Experimental/Post-Punk/Shoegaze
Region: USA

More weird and gloomy DIY hipster experimental shit that I was made aware of recently. From Music Ruins Lives:

"Every day blurs the same. The lines under your eyes are a map of your mistakes. The day you die, nothing changes. Bad Life is a procession of every half-heard sound that ever seeped through heat-cracked walls distorted. The Day You Die is eleven death rattles as rallying cries, grinding against the walls of this world."

Less bizarre and experimental than Wreck And Reference but still falling within that sound for the most part, Bad Life bring elements of doom, post-punk, shoegaze and pop together to create some strange but accessible experimental tunes. The vocals at times remind me of The Cure or The Killers with a clean, shaky, gloomy droning tone and this is put alongside the mix of sparkling synths, midi elements, sometimes shoegaze/sometimes doomy riffs bringing the depressive feeling even further into focus.

It's a distinctive sound and can be a little jarring at first but as is the case with this genre-splitting style as you continue listening it becomes less grating and more hypnotizing, with most songs not sounding to similar to each other. It's dark, warped and quirky but at the same time deceptively easy to grasp. A weird mix that works surprisingly well without becoming tired.

Definitely a sleeper of 2011. Highly recommended for fans of Wreck And Reference, Have A Nice Life, Swans, Hateful Abandon, etc. The final track of the album is not available online so you should pick up the cd from Music Ruins Lives. You can however hear the rest of the album on the label's bandcamp, and the rest of their material on Bad Life's bandcamp. Follow them over here.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Amenra / Oathbreaker - Bretheren Bound By Blood Split (2011)

Split, Self-released / Church of Ra
May 15th, 2011

Genre: Atmospheric Sludge / Hardcore/Metalcore
Region: Belgium

A big thanks to the guys over at The Elementary Revolt for putting this up. I didn't get a chance to rip this and before I got it I was scouring the internet for a link even before that. Two excellent bands with one offering each.

This is the third split in the Bretheren Bound By Blood series and what a perfect pairing. Amenra's side is the first half of the first track from the spellbinding 23.10 Live DVD they released not long ago, and the rendition of Shapeless Pain here is possibly more destructive and heavy than the album version.

Amenra are unparalleled in their creation of soul crushing darkness and pain. It may only be the first 5 minutes of the song but it's simply incredible and if you don't believe me just fucking watch the full version:

Buy that DVD guys. It's impressive without a doubt.

The second side is a track from Oathbreaker who last year unleashed their first full length Maelstrom. This was not on their demo or full length but is well worth hearing as it's a wicked storm of pissed hardcore with that Converge-ish tone with a few slower moments. Great riffs and Caro's vocals are absolutely terrific, she kills it both when clean and screaming.

Get this now. It's a perfect split.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Black Monolith - Demo EP (2011)

Demo, Self-released / Independent
May 7th, 2011

Genre: Crust/Blackened Hardcore/Hardcore
Region: USA

A short demo from Black Monolith, but a fierce and beastly one at that.

Powerful and dark. Bristling with copious amounts of thrashy blackened hardcore throughout the 3 tracks, twangy riffs and frantic drumming, and a dude with a wicked rasp spitting over them. The last track begins a lot more slowly and with a darker tone, an angry chick laughing mockingly before the more substantial dissonant and crushing leads kick in. This gives way to more of what you heard in the first two tracks: addictive crusty powerchords, fast paced drums and hoarse yells.

This is a solid effort that leaves you wanting more, and I do hope they're working on full length. Highly recommended especially for those who love Young and In The Way. Up for free on bandcamp and follow their blog over here.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)

The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters (2007)

Full Length, Fat Cat
April 3rd, 2007

Genre: Shoegaze/Indie
Region: Scotland

This might not go over well with everyone here (though we seem to have a pretty well rounded following) but fuck it. The Twilight Sad are excellent, they have a new album coming out soon and I'm seeing them live at the end of February.

Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters is a very warm and full album overall with a sad atmosphere draped over the majority of tracks. Dreamy and some what depressive. Not exactly full-on shoegaze or noise rock/indie rock but the elements are certainly there.

I love the thick Scottish accent from the vocalist and the vast amounts of reverb and noise behind him from the guitars which are very bright, whining and twinkling over the thick bass lines and the strong drumming which is supporting everything proudly. The lyrics are excellent if you can pick them up through that accent. I find myself repeating them in an admittedly awful version of his accent but it's very addictive and comforting, especially the cadence he uses. Subtle use of keyboard and accordion at points adds greatly to the unique feel of the record without being forced or cheesy.

Definitely my favorite of their releases. You can pick this up at Fat Cat's webstore in cd and vinyl form, and I highly recommend you do so. Follow them on their site.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Lento - Icon || Mini-Review / Re-Post

Icon is a very special album. There's so much that's so fucking good on this album that's it's hard to absorb it all in one or two listens. The album gets exponentially better with each listen. It demands your attention. The riffs grow on you like a thick, heavy moss. They weigh you down. The ambient interludes that the band chose to include are 100% needed. Icon is absolutely fucking relentless.

Icon is quickly rising to the very top of my list for favourite sludge album and if you haven't heard it or have forgotten about it, I urge you to check it out or re-visit it.

Here it is in mp3 format, 320kbps.

Will post .FLAC and .ALAC once I get a CD copy.

Download (Mediafire)

P.S. dat cymbal ducking.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Links Are Dead But We Are Not

As you may have noticed many mediafire links here and elsewhere are down (most of the high traffic links) and big blogs are dropping all over the place so I felt that an update was appropriate.

We will not be replacing the links that are dead as, for me personally, I'm pretty busy as it is and the amount that are down are too numerous for me to search out and replace. There are posts that get less traffic that have the links up for now (but I can't say they'll stay like that for long) and the bandcamp links obviously still work.

However we are not dead. Equivoke will be taking example from JGD at The Living Doorway and continue hosting, reviewing, supporting, and promoting albums and bands (requests or not) until it's just no longer possible.

Equivoke is small relative to other popular music blogs out there so it's not a huge blow to the music sharing community if we disappear, but I and others here enjoy doing this and want to continue. Maybe if Sagi and others want to turn this into something else when that happens (maybe something like the guys over at HSS have done) we'll do that but for now we're keeping shit alive.

Enjoy it while it lasts and thanks for reading our posts, supporting the bands, and following our blog guys!


Just wanted to add a little info on what's happening to the file sharing sites, according to Finsternis (and various tech news sites) who just recently declared they're shutting their blog down due to the link purging that fellow blogs such as The Elementary Revolt, Coffinpslams, The Living Doorway, Forever Cursed, I Don't Care About Sleep, and many others are reeling from. No word on rapidshare (they're claiming to be completely legal) or Zshare at the moment but I'm sure they're soon to follow.

From Finsternis:

The Aftermath of MegaUpload takedown →
  • - MegaUpload - Closed.
  • - FileServe - Closing does not sell premium.
  • - FileJungle - Deleting files. Locked in the U.S..
  • - UploadStation - Locked in the U.S..
  • - FileSonic - the news is arbitrary (under FBI investigation).
  • - VideoBB - Closed! would disappear soon.
  • - Uploaded - Banned U.S. and the FBI went after the owners who are gone.
  • - FilePost - Deleting all material (so will leave executables, pdfs, txts)
  • - Videoz - closed and locked in the countries affiliated with the USA.
  • - 4shared - Deleting files with copyright and waits in line at the FBI.
  • - MediaFire - Called to testify in the next 90 days and it will open doors pro FBI
  • -Org torrent - could vanish with everything within 30 days "he is under criminal investigation"
  • - Network Share mIRC - awaiting the decision of the case to continue or terminate Torrente

Friday, January 20, 2012

Alda - : Tahoma : (2011)

Full Length, Eternal Warfare
January 9th, 2011

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Region: USA

This is one that I sadly missed last year. I had heard Alda's previous 2009 self-titled album and while it was a decent effort I felt that there was certainly some room for improvement. With Tahoma I can say that they have clearly grown and stepped up their game tremendously.

Falling into the "cascadian" atmospheric black metal scene with a slightly folky twist one might compare to the Canadian Skagos, however Alda manage to set themselves apart by crafting Tahoma: a soulful and majestic record from beginning to end. Offering 5 tracks which have moments of tranquil acoustic guitar, soft and clean singing (as well as other stringed instruments and an accordion at one point I believe)  between the howling vocals, tribal drumming, and frigid yet beautiful tremolo waves that wash over you all throughout this journey.

Overall Tahoma is paced and arranged superbly, the calm or clean moments strike you just as hard as the harsher elements do creating a wonderful balance. It opens with a beautiful acoustic passage and closes with a dark and chilling ambiance, and spread throughout is the occasional sample of the ocean or of native chants and crackling fire which do much to thicken the already very dense cascadian atmosphere.

A killer record that will place you directly into the vast wilderness. Many have probably overlooked this one but it is an excellent release worthy of attention and highly recommended. Tahoma will be especially interesting for those of you who are into Ash Borer, Skagos, early Panopitcon, and Wolves in the Throne Room.

You can listen to and download this record on bandcamp, or pick up the cassette over at Eternal Warfare once they have restocked it, or you may still be able to get one over at Singularity Publishing. It's being pressed on vinyl soon as well by Replenish Records.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)

Numb - Numb (2011)

EP, Unsigned
March 1st, 2011

Genre: Hardcore/Grindcore
Region: USA

Pretty savage release with a dark and sludgey edge. It's a self-titled EP with 14 slamming tracks composed of some serious grooves and conservative use of evil, heavy and ugly breakdowns laced with some cold dissonance when they're not hitting blast territory. I think these guys use crushing breakdowns and slams perfectly — placing them in a calculated manner amongst the blistering riffs, making them shift smoothly into dissonance and creating a huge and devastating sound for the brief moments they rear their head. A great example would be in Bloody Fingers about 1:17 minutes in, afterwards picking up the pace briefly before it trudges to the finish line. Man is that some heavy stuff.

A very nice tone on the guitar, and satisfyingly low especially with the occasional bouts of clean intermissions in songs, which can bring it all down to a creepy almost doom or sludge level (as Psalm shows), or be more bouncy (like in Fading Lights) before ratcheting up the intensity again. Vicious vocals that hit both terrifying low growls and angry rasps over-top of the explosive percussion and sometimes crawling/sometimes ripping leads makes for a slamming good time.

Quite a powerful and draining record from this little-known three piece. You can download the whole thing for free on bandcamp.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fall For Your Creation

Despite the fact that SOPA was temporarily stopped, Megaupload was shut down recently and it is very possible that other file-sharing sites like Mediafire, Zshare, Rapidshare, RGhost, etc. will be next.

While this may be overly dramatic and we still have (and probably will always have) some alternatives, blogs like ours might being having a slightly tougher time as these events unfold. Even if we start using alternatives don't be surprised if they get taken out in the near future. Most of our Mediafire links should be up for now.

On the topic of SOPA/PIPA, I would like to direct you to the great Maddox's most recent article as it suggests some important and obvious steps those of you who live in USA (and even international people) can take to not just stop shitty bills like SOPA/PIPA but actually bring about systemic change which will be significant. This is something far more important and which has been needed for a very long time.

"SOPA is the "Stop Online Piracy Act." It's a shitty piece of legislation put together by puppetmaster lobbyists and politician puppets who don't know IP addresses from their assholes. My problem with this huge online protest against SOPA, and the reason I rarely take part in such protests, is because it doesn't address any problems, only the symptom. The problem isn't this shitty bill, it's the people who sponsored it. So we protest this bill today, bang enough pots and pans to shame a few backers into not letting this bill pass, then what? Those same dipshits who wrote this legislation still have jobs. They're going to try again, and again, and again until some mutation of this legislation passes. They'll sneak it into an appropriation bill while nobody's looking during recess, because there's too much lobbyist money at stake for them not to. We defeat SOPA today, only to face it again tomorrow. It's like trying to stop a cold by blowing your nose. It's time we go after the virus. 

There have been many bills attempted (and some passed) like SOPA before it. There's the DMCA act of 1998, PRO-IP Act of 2008, the 2011 Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and now the PROTECT IP Act of 2012. Think this victory means anything? A new bill gets introduced every year or two like clockwork. Check back in a few years, and there'll be another SOPA or Protect IP Act being squeezed down the lower intestinal tracts of congress. And then what? We black out our websites again like a merry band of idiots?"

He has a list of companies that support shit like SOPA/PIPA as well as ways to contact them to voice discontent. I understand that you guys only come here for the music and posts like these are getting tiresome. Still, do what you can.

We'll still be posting. I've been busy but I'll have a few posts up in the next couple of days.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

TotorRo - All Glory to John Baltor (2011)

Artist: Totoro
Album: All Glory to John Baltor
Genre: Post-Rock / Post-Metal

This is some of the best-sounding post-rock I have heard in ages. Unbelievable drum, bass, and guitar tone. The production is incredibly wet and downright pleasing to the ears. The riffs are excellent - this is like combining the best of Year of No Light, Russian Circles, and Light Bearer. Absolutely gorgeous.

Listen to it on bandcamp, support them at Tokyo Jupiter Records.

Download (Mediafire)

ZOM - Demo (2011)

Demo, Invictus Productions
December 29th, 2011

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Region: Ireland

Coming from the depths of Ireland is a new death metal act by the name of ZOM, and what a great demo they've unleashed. It treads the oldschool ground that Beherit, Archgoat, Morbid Angel, early Death, and Possessed once tread but with a few twists to keep it fresh and gripping.

ZOM's demo contains echoing rasps over thrashy blackened riffs moving at a frantic pace which flip to powerfully groovy, dark hooks that break up the former expertly. Each track ends with a spiraling, foreboding sample that heightens the grim atmosphere and prepares you for another volley of delicious orthodox death metal

Fans of the oldschool and stuff like Katharsis, Ritual Necromancy, Grave Ritual, etc. will be interested in this. The tape released by Invictus Productions is completely sold out but can be heard over here.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)

Obolus - Demo (2011)

Demo, Sunyata Recordings
November 11th, 2011

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Region: USA

A very short but promising 2 track demo from this young band.

Obolus play a familiar style of atmospheric black metal and very well too, something akin to Ash Borer and Fell Voices but in a very distilled format. The tracks here barely reach the 4 minute mark but manage to embody all the sorrow and intensity that a 15-20 minute track would. Bleak and melancholic, a very simple and effective formula on display.

You can listen to this demo over at their bandcamp page. They also have a new full length called "Desolation" coming out soon, a new track was sent up for streaming at Cvlt Nation not long ago (download it here) so keep your eyes peeled for news on that as it will surely be an interesting release. You can pick this up over here or at Sunyata Recordings when it's pressed on cassette later this year.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Megaupload)

Teitanblood - Purging Tongues (2011)

EP, Norma Evangelium Diaboli
December 21st, 2011

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Region: Spain

Post #400! Big thanks to my friend Haxan over at Forever Cursed for the link on this one, saving me some work once my copy arrives.

Who wouldn't want new shit from Teitanblood? This is a single 15 minute track of horrendous, writhing, putrid, pitch black death metal from these Spanish sorcerers. Heavily distorted, frightening and dark in all aspects with plenty of angry and ominous Spanish ranting about the apocalypse strewn throughout the disturbing chaos of swirling riffs and incredibly muddy production.

Teitanblood has truly carved out something worthy of following their insane Seven Chalices debut with enough blinding, searing fury to turn your face to ash and leave you in a crumbled, burnt mound. Unparalleled in their dedication to raw filth.

Ugly shit. Pick it up directly from Norma Evangelium Diaboli or from The Ajna Offensive on vinyl, cd will be out later this year. Do it.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Enemies List Home Recordings - Santa Is Real (2012)

Full Length, Enemies List Home Recordings
January 7th, 2012

Genre: Industrial/Shoegaze/Post-Punk/Pop/Electronic/Noise
Region: USA

"For the first time ever, the misanthropes and bedroom weirdos of ENEMIES LIST HOME RECORDINGS have banded together to celebrate the disappearance of the sun from the skies of New England with a completely free digital release featuring disturbing and turgid meditations on holiday gloom." - Enemies List Home Recordings

I was waiting for this. The only Christmas album worthy of spreading around.

The strange dudes over at Enemies List Home Recordings have composed 9 tracks for this album, 4 covers and 5 originals that read as follows:

1. Guggenheim Wax Museum – HAVE A NICE LIFE
2. Marches – Sleep In
3. The Icon and The Axe (HAVE A NICE LIFE Cover) – Giles Corey
5. Way Down In The Hole (Tom Waits Cover) – The Flowers of Saint Francis
6. TALK AGAIN – Sleep In
7. A World Well Lost – America Addio
8. All Teeth (Afterlives Cover) – HAVE A NICE LIFE
9. Just Like Christmas (Low Cover) – Giles Corey

Yeah that's right: among the greatness there's 2 new Have A Nice Life tracks plus a Afterlives cover, a Have A Nice Life cover and Low cover by Giles Corey, and a Tom Waits cover by Tim's noise project The Flowers of Saint Francis. Those two Giles Corey covers man — wow. New Have A Nice Life is excellent and a perfect gift for the holidays, and everything else is just a tasty bonus for any ELHR fan.

They put this up for free and only ask in return that if you can, donate to the Enough Project. Enjoy and support ELHR however you can.

DOWNLOAD (Direct via ELHR)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Circle of Ouroborus - Armon Keitaalla (2011)

Demo, Kuunpalvelus /Versets Noirs
October 31st, 2011

Genre: Black Metal
Region: Finland

More Circle of Ouroborus! There's a cassette rip of this floating around but this is the vinyl version that was just released by Kuunpalvelus.

Armon Keitaalla is a 14 track demo of more traditional styled black metal which Circle of Ouroborus has touched on in earlier releases in their discography. It's still strange, very lo-fi and lots of bendy riffs that have a similar unique groove found on Eleven Fingers and their Moonflares split with far less post-punk/shoegazey touches and virtually no clean vocals, while still retaining that cold, dreamy and isolated air. At times its distorted and blanketed in soft atmospheric chords and soaring leads while in others its more upbeat and bouncy, hitting a faster tempo with sharp tremolo riffs.

Highly recommended, this is some excellent material. If you didn't like the post-punk elements of Eleven Fingers then this may be far more interesting to you. This is another one that should've made it on my "best of" list. The cassette set is sold out but the vinyl was just released and is available over at Kuunpalvelus (site is temporarily down) and Versets Noirs.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Megaupload)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wreck And Reference - Black Cassette (2011)

EP, Flenser Records / Music Ruins Lives
February 25, 2011

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

Here's one of those 2011 releases that I didn't listen to soon enough but had heard of vaguely throughout the year.

Wreck and Reference are a hard one to place and describe. The Flenser describes them as "pure misanthropic electronic doom". They're clearly influenced by the likes of Big Black and Swans to some degree, and I would even compare them to Have A Nice Life and The Angelic Process in some sense. Lo-fi, noisy, DIY basement/bedroom industrial doomgaze pop? Sounds idiotic and contrived but Black Cassette is definitely a unique and challenging record which really can't be boxed in by genres. One of those love or hate releases.

Vocals are what I noticed right away, clean and a little off key with that Dan Barrett style of singing from your heart, and there are very short sections where he reaches a yell you might hear in hardcore or screamo. Lyrics are focused on the "darker components of existentialist philosophy including the non-existence of god and fated death."  From what I can glean from other sources the only other elements used outside of vocals are live drums and an MPC which other than samples takes the place of a guitar and bass, and to be honest until I read up on it I almost couldn't tell it wasn't a guitar/bass. It's used exceedingly well throughout the record to conjure a bleary, despair-filled atmosphere. Drums range from slow and sludgy to jazzy to a hardcore/black metal pace, doing a great job of throwing you off before laying a nice foundation to the gloom.

There are some interesting sounds to be heard here and a big dose of atmosphere to be enveloped in. Black Cassette has very ethereal and melodic moments interlaced with the heavier machine-like trudging. "Surrendering" starts off quiet with what you would swear was a bass with creaking samples behind it, eventually squirming into a dense and noisey haze with a wicked warped synth section. Melodic, intense and depressive.

"In Chains, Awakening" throws you for a loop with a fast drum section that moves into a satisfying bassy, distorted groove that grows, getting louder and louder as the drums pound and the vocals dive below the noise. "Evening Redness" starts of twangy and sludgy with pained yells and ends with a bouncy coda heavily affected by the volume nob and some ace drumming. Halfway through "Desire, Ether" a huge switch to a psychedelic and very heavy industrial doom sound is made, very gloomy and dark. All the way through its strange knowing what you hear is not a guitar though some moments do jar you just enough to question it.

I think Wreck And Reference show great promise and have laid down something strange and bold here. This definitely isn't for everyone but I certainly suggest giving it a try. It's grown on me immensely. Those who like Have A Nice Life, Swans, Big Black, Mamaleek, etc. should take a chance on Black Cassette. You can get a copy on vinyl over at The Flenser and you can download it for free on bandcamp.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Megaupload)

Embryonic Depravity - Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest (2009)

Full Length, Permeated Records
October, 2009

Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Region: UK

I don't post much brutal death metal so I thought it would be a nice break from the more common genres found here. Admittedly I used to listen to teh slamz a lot more in previous years but until the new Wormed album is unleashed I can't see myself listening to much outside of the classics I enjoy already (Defeated Sanity, Disgorge, Human Mincer, Inveracity, Wormed, etc.); unless something unique like Proteus rears its head.

Embryonic Depravity were a short lived and hideous monster from the UK but holy fuck did they unearth something ridiculous here before they split up. I definitely wouldn't say its entirely original but who cares? This is some extremely well executed brutal death metal all around.

Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest is a 26 minute orgy of some wicked slams, stop-starty technical riffs, tasty pinched harmonics, ugly bends, machine gun drumming, and ear melting guttural vocals. There's some great use of sweeps here stuck between the huge crushing leads without them becoming the focal point or cheesing it up, and the reliance on breakdowns is largely avoided while maintaining a healthy dose of slams. The breakdowns that do appear are crunchy and heavy bridges between the frantic deformed riffs and gallops. The final track slows it down a little bit with crawling palm-muted powerchords and fades into a creepy atmospheric sample.

If you enjoy shit like Vomit The Soul, Human Mincer, Wormed, etc. then I recommend getting this. I think you can still pick up a copy over at Permeated Records.

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Children of Maani - The Veil of Osiris (1998)

EP, Velvet Music International

Genre: Black Metal
Region: France

I've been meaning to get this up here for a while. This is a true gem brought to you by Vindsval, the man behind that jarring blackened mass Blut Aus Nord. I actually enjoy this more than any full album by Blut Aus Nord honestly. Do not judge this album by the cover art alone as you would be making a serious mistake and end up passing over a fantastic, little known EP by this defunct side project.

The Veil of Osiris is four tracks of melodic black metal bursting with absolutely creative, powerful writing and musicianship in all aspects: solos that are truly epic and memorable without sweeping wankery, snaking and soaring riffs in a unique guitar tone, face blasting drumming, a big low end, subtle use of keys, and a vocal style shifting from occasional gravelly roars to strained rasps/screams.

"Tradition: The Birth" sets the pace perfectly with quick repeating serpentine tremolo riffs that build to a short bridge and the first excellent solo: technical and graceful with a rhythm section accompanying it that is just as strong. This is the basic formula followed throughout the EP and it gets progressively better each song. There are moments of slow and chunky riffs as shown in the next track immediately which shows off the tamer melodic side, before dropping into blast beats and more quick winding riffs, a short ambient section and then ending with another shredding solo.

The final two tracks are by far my favorites. "Tiphareth" shows off the perfect balance between fury and melody with ugly vocals over the harmonious guitars and a touch of keyboards. At 2:20 the best solo on the album kicks in. It's damn beautiful, with a crushing rhythm underneath — when the tapping starts I get chills. This is the section that sticks out in my mind when I recall this album. A brief bridge follows but the final riff is carried from the tail end of the solo.

"My Birth" does not have a solo and is the slowest on the album but again displays a perfect combination of all elements. The two primary riffs here are disgustingly addictive and extend throughout the song, probably the best riffs on the album. The two guitars are playing almost identically but with a slight variation sometimes. Once these pass a slower section follows that has a slight keyboard backing reinforcing the melody, it circles itself for a while before hitting those previous sweet riffs again and ends with some slight tapping and a slow fade.

Quite possibly one of the best black metal EPs out there to be honest, holding its ground more than a decade since its release. Crisp, mesmerizing, well written, unique, powerful. How one man pulled this off and dropped it afterwards I just don't understand. I cannot express how addicting this is (I listened to it 3 times while writing this) and I highly recommend it.

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Spire - Metamorph (2011)

EP, Art of Propaganda
November 17th, 2011

Genre: Black Metal/Ambient
Region: Australia

While they don't consider themselves exclusively black metal, Spire definitely reside within its sphere of influence. Their self-titled EP (which you can hear on their bandcamp page) reminded me of Lunar Aurora and Deafest with more emphasis on the ambient elements (like Darkspace), and Metamorph continues with a similar feel. Five tracks which are composed of slow riffs, noteworthy drumming, scratchy moans and howls, and eerie ambiance.

Metamorph opens with a whirling, pulsing hum over muffled radio transmission samples, spilling into the next track  which of all the tracks is the most orthodox in its approach to black metal riffing, but having said this it's still swamped in cold ambiance and ends with a buzzing, distroted drone (as most tracks here do). "Larva" contains more crawling atmospheric riffs with a section around 2 minutes in that (very briefly) veers into Thantifaxath territory with a slightly twisted take on the dragging riffs that preceded before returning to the slower pace.

"Parturience" opens with a section that reminds me of a much slower, early Amon Amarth or even early Wolves in the Throne Room. This is carried the full length of the song and has a less spacey, more cascadian feeling to it, and I quite like the drumming here. The last track starts at a faster pace then the previous songs, incorporating occasional blast beats for the first 2 minutes, dropping into a slower section of chords, dry howls and screams with. Icy tremolo riffs and melodic bass lines return with a sad tone, pressing on to the conclusion: silence followed by muffled, echoing booms.

A slow, cold journey. I must say I like their previous effort a little more at points — regardless this is a focused and solid release with some room for growth. If you want a little chilling spacy atmosphere with your black metal without it straying into "hipster" territory I would suggest giving this and their self-titled EP a shot.

You can pick it up here or directly from the band by contacting them here.

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