Saturday, April 28, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
April 22nd, 2012
Genre: Folk/Alternative Country/Post-Rock/Noise-Rock/Post-Hardcore
Like others who follow Enemies List, I've been curiously anticipating the release of material from Dweller On The Threshold, a quietly blooming group of shifting seasoned musicians from Death To Tyrants, Daniel Striped Tiger, and The Toll.
This album could definitely be described as enchanting, but even more than that it's surprising and dense. I had assumed that it was going to be calm and dark, in the realm of alt-country/folk/ambient something like Wovenhand or O'Death. Knowing that this is Enemies List though I suspected that what I had heard from the short preview clip on their site was only the smoothest tip of a monolithic, jagged iceberg. I just didn't know what to expect.
The first few tracks are very warm and dark acoustic pieces with very honest, clean singing accompanying the quiet ghostly chords — these tracks are tranquil and melodic, glowing like a summer sunset in the country as echos spread to fill the air. "The Woods: Electric" is the perfect example of this as it lulls you into a nostalgic haze while it's tail end gets a little more rough; "Bell", "Where Did You Go?", and "Gallery of Stars" all experiment with this sound. All members (at times eight) play well together however the singing is particularly hypnotizing: unearthly, light and creeping with a lot of reverb.
The first time where you'll be thrown completely (as I was) is on the third track: "Crumbling House". It suddenly sounds like we've stepped into a very early Cave In EP and it's oh so good. Hardcore backgrounds of the musicians are given free reign here it would seem as the tone has been flipped completely to a post-hardcore or noise-rock pace: raw, bouncy and fast. As this track ends, the punk melts away quickly but is expressed elsewhere between the laid back and introspective folk. "Waves" is an example where we can hear some touches of sludge creep into the very distorted and coarse sounds, as the main riff repeats with a chorus of voices yelling overhead.
"Cantos 984" shows another unexpected blend. Beginning quietly on all fronts at a ritualistic pace, as the fuzz gets rolled on gradually and the volume increases you can almost hear the light tread of shoegaze right up to the five minute mark. The shift here is a step into a more sludgy-hardcore groove (like early Capricorns or Mare), the dose of heavy noise seals the track well without a doubt. One of my favorites here.
"The Drone" is another brilliant track with a change in style though not as jarring, moving from again warm country and halfway through bursting with feedback and multiple snaking leads to a very abrupt cold end. It's a powerful track, ambitious and treading softly on shoegaze at points but I really would've liked to hear that build last longer rather than the sudden drop out.
The final song, "Bell", has a similar atmosphere about it. The acoustic strings chime and twang alone beautifully for the opening three minutes; very magical with a gloomy edge as the slowly fade. It feels like a second song starts at this point as the spectral vocals come through with a playful melody for a time; very graceful. Then a break occurs where some of that post-hardcore shines through for a final crescendo but with the haunting voice remaining, echoing softly atop waves of noisy riffs.
Dweller On The Threshold's debut is impressive, fitting comfortably among the other strange acts in the increasingly excellent Enemies List stable. I almost want to compare these guys to Do Make Say Think in some ways. The number of talented rotating musicians with varied backgrounds is similar in both, and while I wouldn't call this post-rock the moments that approach this style feel much more like DMST then say Explosions In The Sky. As with most Enemies List releases this is something that may not be everyone's cup of tea. The changes in style could come off feeling a little disconnected and the album is definitely on the short side arguably. I would say they've managed the flips very well, pacing both elements smoothly considering the length.
I couldn't encourage you more to check this one out — it's an ELHR release so I shouldn't need to convince anyone to at least give it a chance if you've enjoyed anything from the label. Certainly those of you who like it can go to ELHR and preorder the vinyl or pay-what-you-want to download it digitally. Support these guys. You can also follow their tumblr.
DOWNLOAD (Enemies List)
DOWNLOAD (Direct Link)
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
April 15th, 2012
Genre: Experimental/Electronic Doom/Noise/Industrial/Post-Punk
This is a pleasant surprise. Wreck And Reference have just released their new album No Youth as a pay-what-you-want digital download on their bandcamp. They've requested I get this up here for you guys to check out. Be kind and give them something for their extreme generosity.
Another record mastered by Colin Marston (this guy is fuckin busy), but self-released by this duo that seem to be the only group outside of possibly Bad Life that approach the great Have A Nice Life in terms of strange weighted beauty, haunting ethereality, and their ability to escape categorization with their sound.
Wreck And Reference continue to develop and hone their unique style to new interesting levels with No Youth. It still retains that despondent atmosphere. No Youth is a little more tame and symphonic at the outset compared to Black Cassette, but and at various points this is contrasted with the ever-changing vocals and with many more sections of black metal percussion as well — for instance on "Cannot", "Inverted Soul", and "Nausea", with the MPC being subtly introduced underneath, buzzing and pulsing between the craters of silence and eerie sounds. "Nausea" has some excellent soothing vocals that contrast sharply with the blasts present and is one of my favorites on this album, next to "Cannot".
Moments of doom-like heaviness do appear though among the spoken passages laced with ambiance (the opener "Spectrum", "I Am A Sieve", or "The Solstitial"). Far less often than on Black Cassette admittedly but not to the album's detriment: No Youth is still plenty heavy but the approach has shifted slightly. Many tracks like "Obsession", "Edifice of Silt", and "Stage Collapse" are heavily symphonic, thick with cold entrancing melody and gloom. Sparks of industrial noise, humming, cycling psychedelia created by the MPC are far more haunting this time around.
As mentioned the vocals can be soothing and soft or droning, then in the next track they're scratchy and blackened, only to be followed by sombre speech or shaky singing. This can all occur within a single track ("I Am A Sieve", "Cannot"). It always works in the strange spectral atmosphere they create. And again the drumming drifts through multiple genres as well, sometimes tribal or semi-jazzy, sometimes doomy or black metal but as a key component it draws a lot of attention and is consistently entrancing.
Big recommendation for those who enjoyed their last one, another trip through the eletronic-industrial doom haze. Unlike Black Cassette I'm not sleeping on No Youth. I'll updated this if there's ever news of a physical release but their is no comment on that topic yet.
2. The Matador - Parallax Error [3:47]
3. The Matador - Eclipse [5:07]
4. The Matador - The Woman Clothed In The Sun With The Moon Under Her Feet [5:43]
5. The Matador - Vurt [7:12]
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Genre: Death/Doom Metal
One of the albums I've been anticipating greatly this year has finally arrived. With more excellent artwork from Alexander Brown and released on the great Dark Descent Records this had all the makings of something epic even prior to having heard it.
Netherwards presents four behemoth songs equaling 40 minutes that perfectly straddle doom and death metal, more leaning towards doom the majority of the time. And man can they blend the two expertly. The writing here is excellent, placing slow gulfs of abyssal doom metal then at the perfect moments cranking up the intensity with bursts of slow, almost Portal or Witchrsit-esque chunky, filthy gallops and tremolo riffs. Reverb and other effects are used carefully to bring out the cavernous tone even more so. This is a mighty step up from The Drear.
Putrid growls shudder forth from chasms unknown, only in one section do they switch to a cleaner moan in the middle of one track. The bass quakes under the rhythm with a snarl, as the spellbinding drumming swings easily and comfortably from slow, plodding smashes for doom and the faster torrent of clattering in the more death-like moments. Each track offers something different with simple elements but entirely saturated with suffocating atmosphere, sorrow and pain.
"Saturnine" definitely shows off clearly how well these guys use both of the genres. It opens with a low hissing and cycling as rumbles slowly emerge growing in volume. Suddenly we're met with the first wicked riff, dirty and dark. This slams into a slow groove soon and just as you're nodding your head, a more hypnotizing chunky doom gallop appears with a well placed bend/pinched harmonic. A solo dives behind it for several measures, disappears, and we return to the death riffs after a nice string scrape. After a return to that wicked galloping grove there's a section with effects, and then the filthy death rears it's head, closing with an eerie clean section.
"Estrangement" was the first track released and is far more like The Drear than the rest of the album, taking us back to a somewhat melodic, depressive traipse. Starting with clean ghostly notes, this is amped up quickly with a switch to high gain. The kickers start to pound as the riff turns very old school doomy (think Lycus or Pallbearer) and the growls surface. The pace is slowed and the riffs are sustained longer before repeating, then we're faced with a new slow tremolo riff and shrieks, which alters and picks up pace at points. Near the end a bleak solo is heard before the final riff starts: dark and gloomy and ever-entrancing. It's a melancholic track and the most straight-up doom song on the album.
"Carne Liberatus" is the shortest track. Just over five minutes but no less devastating then the others and almost entirely death metal. We're treated with death tremolo riffs immediately, a very satisfying one at that, which switches to another high intensity section which they cycle through several times. Suddenly the bottom drops out and a chunky doom rhythm emerges with spectral moans occasionally swirling out behind the echoes; a solo with a warped bends whining midway through, and then a cold out.
The final track, "Inherent Opprobrium", is the longest and again shows off Anhedonist's fantastic ability to bring the best of both genres out and craft something breathtaking. It's a clean and somber open with slow pounds from the drums — a second guitar explodes as the other continues the clean riff. The distortion is turned up on the first guitar as the gloomy riff is continued with a solo to heighten the atmosphere. As a new bleak section is continued there's a short pause for a bass line, and then both guitars crash back in with pained howls shaking throughout. After returning to earlier riffs a more death-like passage is heard with tasty coarse gallops. As the album closes previous riffs come back, haunting and desolate, before a ending with a sudden drop of all instruments except the kickers from the drums — then a swift return of the sharp lead guitar and tortured screams to seal the record with a final, slow, morose passage.
I cannot recommend this enough. Definitely one of the best releases so far this year. Huge and heavy with the perfect balance of death metal and melodic doom. Never boring, always entrancing. Don't hesitate to pick this up if you haven't already preordered it. Go to Dark Descent right now and grab the cd.
Friday, April 13, 2012
So after some consideration and due to some unfortunate circumstances elsewhere with a closing of a more private forum, I and Sagi have decided to add a discussion forum to Equivoke. If you look at the column to the left under our disclaimer you will find a link to the board.
This could either strengthen our humble community by bringing together followers and friends for good discussions about music, labels, and live shows OR completely backfire and attract people who are bigger cunts then we are, creating a horrible pit of uninformed arguments, immature flaming and hoards of trolls/spambots that we'll have to shutdown all too soon.
Place your bets people.
Anyway, we hope some of you have a modicum of interest in joining us for conversation as well as occasionally dicking around. It's going to be pretty liberal and unrestricted unless someone starts acting douchy. We've started some threads but it's pretty bare right now. I'll be adding more and hopefully those who sign up do as well.
One last thing: there will be a suggestions and download thread for music, and if admins or posters such as myself enjoy a particular suggested band or album we will post it up and give a shout out to the member who brought it to our attention. However this will not be place to request your band/project/label/snakeoil to be posted on Equivoke — we still have our email address (see the disclaimer) open for bands to request a review or post so please continue submitting there.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
March 11th, 2010
Genre: Black Metal
I don't know what it is, but when it comes to the two man project Deafest I've always enjoyed the songs they release on splits more than the full length material. That's not to say their full lengths should be passed over, I just don't get the same level of enjoyment from them that I do from their numerous excursions with other underground acts. Deafest are perpetually overlooked it seems. Originally a one man project with vocals, they're now a largely instrumental black metal act with atmospheric tendencies and a major focus on nature.
This record is a collection of their side of the various splits they released with Livimørket, Mirovia, Cynd, Severnaya, and Dunkelheit from 2008 to 2009 and it's still some of my favorite material from them; before they dropped the vocals I might add. Deafest's style of black metal certainly could be called atmospheric but completely unlike the style of more well known bands who have brought it to the forefront (WITTR et al).
The atmosphere is there but the long songs and the ambient passages are dropped for a more traditional and strong tremolo-based structure with only a few instances where the riffs drop to clean chords. Vocals here (performed by Chase, the main member) are a high, indecipherable screech comparable to the depressive black metal style — pained as they extoll natures grace, persistence and resilience, or scold the encroachment of mankind. Drumming duties are presently handled by Brett but every track here (except for the ones from the Livimørket split) was recorded before he joined, so on splinters we're hearing largely drum machine which does the job just fine honestly.
Majestic and tragic, mournful and raw: this is how I would describe the atmosphere they conjure. You can almost smell the fresh air from a recent downpour when listening to their material. Not only do they nail this aspect but the riffs are both tight and catchy, strung along at a perfect pace (most tracks lay between 5 and 6 minutes) with peaks and valleys that resemble the very subjects the music is meant to embody. Deafest are not about being fancy — over use of reverb or other effects are not needed here, nor is sampling and keyboard interludes. They lay out a very simple formula and stick to it, but do so with a great amount of passion and effort.
I have to say my favorite tracks here are taken from their split with Mirovia: Migrating Elk, Dynamic Sky and Without Rain. The final passages from each of these tracks exemplifies why I love Deafest so much as the climax is beautiful but so simple, evoking the glory of untouched nature and the ruin wrought by man. The 3 tracks which follow this are from their split with Cynd and have a similar effect, carefully arranged and executed to draw forth a soulful melodic string of coarse riffs. When the tracks aren't climbing and shimmering they take a darker turn as if into the shades of towering forests. Sometimes they open quietly with delicacy as on Winding Water, slowly opening up and exploding with melancholy, while on other songs like Coniferous they burst immediately, mowing you down with a forceful riff from the start. It's always a pleasing voyage though.
I really recommend this album. As a whole Deafest offer a refreshing albeit simple take on the "cascadian" genre and on Splinters we find some of their best material in my opinion. The songs from the bands they collaborated with on these splits are definitely worth checking out as well. They put up all their material for free on bandcamp and their official site
December 12th, 2011
Genre: Blackened Hardcore/Black Metal/Hardcore
Here's one I should've posted last year. These guys know how to create chaotic and dark vortexes of sound.
What Hexis bring with XI is a dirty blend of black metal and hardcore that comes out sounding like Celeste (if they were more liberal with their editing) mixed with a little bit of Portal's warbled twists in the structure. In the majority of the record they attack you with mounds of down-tuned, distorted, scraping tremolo sections, a thick hazy bass tone, steady drum blasts and a harsh, vile rasp spewed over the bleak twisting madness.
They offer 7 tracks of this disturbing brand of cyclonic atmosphere. As XI opens you immediately get a dose of feedback and then are slammed with a dirty spiraled riff. From there on it's a dissonant journey into a lightless abyss. You only surface once in the course of this dive: a clearing is found during Sepulus where clean notes and chords emerge — this is soon shattered with a return of the tumultuous blackened discord which continues mounting to the very end. Slower moments in Crux bring an almost sludge heaviness into the mix that helps to vary XI well.
It's a powerful record, in part due to the excellent pacing and length of the album (it barely crawls past 20 minutes) so the tracks manage to have staying power and blend almost seamlessly together, while the album itself does not overstay it's welcome. Outside of that it's well composed too. While you could definitely count them in the recent onslaught of dark hardcore like Chromes, Young And In The Way, Black Monolith, Unsacred, etc. Hexis do manage to set themselves apart quite well in a genre which many are starting to become weary with.
Definitely check this record out. These fine gentlemen from Denmark have made this available as a pay-what-you-want download on bandcamp, so please check their page out and give them support if you can by going to their store. Follow them on facebook for all other information
May 1st, 2012
Genre: Death Metal/Grindcore/Crust/Hardcore/Black Metal/Fusion
Brace yourself for some Croatian lunacy. A friend of mine in Gods Of Chaos gave me a preview of this album a while back before it was to be released, while they were looking for a label. Admittedly when I first heard it, it was a difficult one to place genre-wise and even after a few more listens recently it's still a jarring experience. The release is on the horizon and it was requested that I put up a review and link for it (so fair warning: I'm biased).
Also, one of the tags is "aidshammer". Fuck yeah?
The bands no bullshit fuck everything attitude comes through in March Into Perdition: a psychedelic, frantic romp through multiple genres — mastered by the trusted Colin Marston (Krallice, Gorguts, Behold... the Arctopus, etc.). This is a case where I would use the term fusion to describe their style. There really are no groups offhand I could compare these guys to in truth but there are brief moments when something pops up that I recognize but can't place (possibly a sliver of Krallice or Gigan), and they're gone before my mind can grasp it.
The quirky tangled maze of sound is somewhat comparable to Daughters if they lost the drunken Elvis vocals and went old school black metal-crust-punk-grindcore. This is especially apparent on several tracks like Black Alert/Lack of Earth but only momentarily.
Throughout the 32 minutes of chaotic pissed off hyperactivity you'll encounter elements of thrashy hardcore (Twitching Sours, The Drug of Joy), rough old school black and death metal (Nuclear Phantom Warhowl, Grinning with an Errection at the Gallows, Dealers of Nadir), and furious grindcore (Crush The Skulls of All Fucking Posers, Conquer All!!!) — either all in one track where they flip back and forth, fused effortlessly together, or on single tracks separated neatly.
Regardless of what avenue they take Gods Of Chaos tear it up. Occasional waves of sharp feedback, creepy ambience and creaking noise intro and outro tracks leading to frenetic, bouncy schizoid tremolo riffs and sudden trips of chunky powerchords to break up the hyper punk pace. A notable bass presence is key hear as it plows alongside the angular guitar with the fierce blasts of the drummer supporting the ugly structure. On the vocal front, a howling, distorted raspy voice slices through these elements, ravaging and hoarse with a serious blackened crust edge carving divots in the soudscape.
The record only slows down momentarily in some songs like Crystallized Telekinetic Mindfuck, or the final track Skullfucking Despair which runs for a little over 7 minutes: this track includes a nice dose of dissonance, slower chords and chunky gallops, though it eventually gives way into more unabashed destructive riffing. It's one of the less jarring tracks here. The last 2 minutes include heavy noise and feedback, appropriately closing a very strange and raw journey.
I recommend checking out March Into Perdition. It's a bizarre fusion of twisted oldschool flavor with hardcore pacing and structures; truly odd and contorted. The haphazard and schizophrenic tone could be a deal breaker for some people but for a first release it's surprisingly tight, leaving some room for expansion of their style.
If you want to give this a listen you can check out their bandcamp page, or buy a copy on The Path Less Traveled Records' bandcamp. I'll update this post with physical release information if it's made available later on but if I recall correctly I was told a physical release hasn't been planned.
— links removed due to DMCA complaint —
Thursday, April 5, 2012
April 3rd, 2012
Genre: Blackened Hardcore/Crust/Doom Metal/Black Metal
I've mentioned before I'm backed up on requests. I hope to remedy that soon. Here's one from Void Forger, a crusty blackened doom three piece from Romania who have released this demo themselves for free.
There's a lot of genres blended within these three tracks but these guys manage to keep it from getting muddled and haphazard. This is what I imagine Young and In The Way would sound like if they had more doom elements. It's a pretty even mix all the way through with the crust and hardcore moments peaking over top in many instances. The riffs from the bass and guitar are slow, coarse and chunky for the most part with bouts of faster chops both punk-like powerchords and black metal tremolo tears; the production is raw making the atmosphere quite gritty. Deep growls and blackened yells briefly surface from the murky depths and the drums splash and froth among the other members.
Pointless Media starts of mid paced and heavy before breaking into a thrashy section, and ending with nice tapped riff that starts off very YAITW-ish. Relief starts of a little faster with a crusty, bouncy, muffled rhythm that heads into a few blackened bits of territory before slowing down, hitting a nice section of chords before diving back into chaos; they make an out on a gritty bass line and a nice dark tremolo riff.
Automation is the final track and the most sludgy. A slow opening riff and pounding percussion rotates comfortably for a minute or two, changing not long after that but maintaining speed. It finally builds after some feedback and a bass line into a nice hardcore section to end, quite catchy.
There is definite promise and potential in Void Forger's demo, some room to grow and tighten up but as a whole it's a great demo. Anyone who's enjoying the wave of crusty blackened hardcore at the moment and wants a little more doom/sludge to spice up the mix would be smart to give this short release some attention. Check them out on bandcamp and facebook.
March 15th, 2011
Not that it matters to music fans that congregate on blogs such as this one but KEN mode recently won a Juno award, the equivalent of a Grammy in Canada. Now while I would've definitely picked at least 10 other bands to be nominated along side them if I really gave a shit about award shows — which I don't — (Devin Townsend and Fuck the Facts are fine, Cauldron is eh but Anvil?) and of course it's arguable whether Devin Townsend deserved it more, I have to say that it is surprising and nice to see an actually good, talented metal/hardcore act getting recognized in a mainstream music ceremony — even if it is in a ceremony akin to the watered down afterbirth of the stale abortion that is the Grammys.
Having said all that: KEN mode do fucking rule. I wouldn't be posting them here if they didn't. Quite deserving of some respect from the industry. They have a fairly distinct sound melding Converge-ish hardcore with more traditional southern sludge elements. For whatever reason their newest record, Venerable, escaped my list last year despite having heard it and thoroughly enjoyed it on multiple occasions. Each of their records makes slight adjustments to their style and this is one that in my opinion has basically perfected it, a very cohesive and strong effort indeed. Their early stuff is often compared to Mastodon, I don't like Mastodon much to be honest — to me they don't sound similar at all. Especially on Venerable.
What you get on this record is a tightly packed, dense and aggressive conjuration of angry metallic hardcore with brief glimpses of sludge in the slower moments. At times it's balls-out vicious, filled with twangy dissonance and catchy hooks (eg. Obeying The Iron Will..., Book of Muscle, The Ugliest Happy You've Ever Seen) while in others it can crawl with huge slams and creeping atmospherics (eg. Never Was, The Irate Jumbuck) but it's always intense, noisy, loud and heavy. It has a great amount of variance throughout the 40 minute march as well, letting the styles encountered breath nicely. Vocals are often yelled and punkish, only occasionally hitting a growl or a spoken clean, while the guitar and bass are thick and well defined; playing well together without smothering one another. Drumming duties are carried out with controlled and dedicated fury.
Better late then never right? This is a very pleasing record from a hard working band. Go listen to it right now. I highly suggest supporting them by grabbing a record from their online store or getting a digital copy on bandcamp (where you can hear most of their albums), and checking them out on facebook.
Light Bearer is one of the best bands around right now, in my opinion. Hopefully they'll get their next full-length out to us by the end of the year. Light Bearer / Northless split will be coming out on Halo of Flies in the US and Alerta Antifascista and Moment of Collapse in Europe. Support these amazing labels by picking up the gatefold LP when it's released.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
February 1st, 2012
Genre: Doom Metal
A thick slice of doom for you guys. This is the first release from Serpentine Path who are composed of members from Unearthly Trance and Ramses so you know there's some talent behind this 7".
Two tracks here just over six minutes a piece, and while admittedly it's nothing particularly jaw dropping or special it's definitely a solid offering of glacial paced doom. Both tracks are similar in feel and quite enjoyable, very to-the-point and do not meander as they've been paced and edited well.
Serpentine Path's EP is made up of a thick guitar tone with excellent slow drumming — a steady clash of symbols, and echoing, deep gravelly vocals. In Eerebus a constant synth-like hum is floating behind the trudging grind, and a similar cycling noise can be heard near the end of Depravity; it adds much to the gloomy atmosphere. The riffs are well crafted grooves, a slow spiral downward eroding into darkness. There's only a few points where they break away from thunderous powerchords and hit single notes at a slightly faster pace (particularly in Depravity).
A nice offering of doom indeed. This EP is limited to 500 and available at Parasitic Records, and you can follow them on their blog for further news.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Recently Equivoke reached 200 followers which is something I consider impressive for a relatively small and insignificant blog in an ocean of music blogs. It's been a strange year with SOPA/PIPA and the continued interruptions in file sharing, big blogs shutting down and all that scary yet seemingly insignificant shit we all bitch about. But we're still here and going strong, and that's the plan to for the future as well.