black metal

Wolvhammer, Clawing Into Black Sun

For the lazy: Clawing Into Black Sun is a “covers-type” album by a doom/black metal band. Think Graveyard Classics-type records done by Nachtmystium, except… Wolvhammer are good enough songwriters to make this seemingly-“covers” album an original work. This is a covers album done by a band from an extreme metal genre who are actually great songwriters.

Opener, “The Silver Key,” nice intro, and nice dynamics– gives the blast beats time to work and time for the listener to heal.

“Lethe,” track two, ambient sounds effects, not unlike Salome’s only record, brief, then “Death Division,” the most straightforward, “rock”-ish track here, a bit like something off Wolverine Blues. Borderline catchy, like Sisters of Mercy on Quaaludes. Sounds like a less-indulgent Nachtmystium. Played acoustically, you’d probably never notice this was metal. It might come off as more morbid alt-country, something like Sturgill Simpson.

Arvo Pärt‘s doomy black metal. Doom rock? Death and roll?

“Slaves to the grime,” “The Desanctification,” are, to put it mildly, quite rocking tunes….

“In Reverence” rageful, ends hauntingly

This is not black metal, it’s too crude and slow: black stone, not black rock– black monolith?

All the songs are fairly long; “Death rock” works as a descriptor; almost like an emo, 120 minutes-type of band that’s too angry and despairing to write music that won’t scare off their intended audience. They’re too intense to pull off emo. Heehee. Nachtmystium-like. Jeff Wilson, guitarist, is ex-Nachtmystium. So, figures.

“A light that doesn’t yield.” Thin, abstract, flatted-third type chords that sound like Jack Johnson warped through a Absinthe-stained glass. Builds and builds and seems to progress, but inevitable doesn’t. A good thing: highlights the despair of the underlying emotions. Trapped. Claustrophobic. Gregorian blackened death rock. Listen with earphones, and your skull will resound with these hymns like a mausoleum echoing with the hymns of mourners long departed the overgrown sepulcher. Jesus Christ that was poetic.

The building chants at the end of the song should be awesome live.

“When the edge of the razor is what you need.” The adaptable, ever-evolving dirge.

“Clawing into black sun.” Simple, stone chords (not metal) over a r-tard-played primal beat. For when you wake up in a new place and realize it’s hell. And there’s been no mistake; you’re supposed to be there. Sounds like something off Assassins.

“Black! Black! Black! Black!” nice. Like the 1954 Richard Matheson short story, “Dance of the dead,” e.g., “To flesh insensate!” etc. Like that generation’s plaints of despair, of agony, of redemption. Prayers.

Black, ashen prayers. And Clawing Into Black Sun knows how to end. It just stops. No ambiance, no echoes, just… done.

It’s a consistent sound: the baleful cries of your very tissues when they’re infected, or burning, or cancerous; when, if you’re being honest with yourself, you realize that you were poorly designed for life.

Music that teaches you how to die.

Jesus Christ. I’m gonna go watch Good Luck Charlie on Netflix now for some ear bleach.

Stream Clawing Into Black Sun

 

Top 20 Heavy Albums of 2012

1609110009-1Honorable Mention: Eyehategod, New Orleans is the New Vietnam 7″

Haarp, Husks cover20    haarp, Husks

No appreciable evolution over last time, but still ugly trudge-laden aural misanthropy.

blood for the master, cover19    Goatwhore, Blood for the Master

They refined Carving Out the Eyes of God‘s formula by just a hair of a blade– but they’re  still an evil death metal Motörhead.

Hour of 13, 333 cover18    Hour of 13, 333

Ho13 always make the bottom of the year-end lists for me. Well written, unambitious traditional doom rock.

Witchsorrow - God Curse Us17    Witchsorrow, God Curse Us

Oozing stoner-y doom with a bit of Celtic Frost worship.

Dead Roots Stirring, cover16    Elder, Dead Roots Stirring

Witchsorrow if they drank hard liquor and beer and smoked less weed.

dragged-into-sunlight-Widowmaker-album-art-cover-2012-1500x150015    Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker

Blackened Sludge; the only thing outright uglier than this record is no. 13 below.

meshuggah, koloss, cover14    Meshuggah, Koloss

Again, a hairline refinement (in this case simplicity) for the kings of polymeter/ polyrhythm thinking (wo)man’s extreme music.

Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas13    Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas

UGLY. Worse than last time. The industrial grindcore of black metal.

ETwinCover300dpiCMYK12    Eagle Twin, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale

Southern Lord (the label) blues; Tom Waits jams with Greg Anderson.

effigies of evil (high res)11    Hooded Menace, Effigies of Evil

Ripped-out Fangoria pages strewn across fresh asphalt, being pressed into the muck by a steamroller: The band.

ufomammut-oro-opus-alter-cover10    Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Alter

Hated it at first, went to Colorado and then Washington and learned exactly what this album is for, and why it is the perfect Dalí plays Dark Side of the Moon-esque material for those states.

Nachtmystium-Silencing-Machine9      Nachtmystium, Silencing Machine

As catchy as black metal gets; nearly psychedelic in its sonic randomness and anarchy.

Serpentine Path, self-titled cover (hi-res)8      Serpentine Path, Serpentine Path

Members of Ramesses and Unearthly Trance make the nuclear ice-breaker of glacial paces.

The-Sword_Apocryphon7      The Sword, Apocryphon

They got heavier while still keeping the psychedelic stoner mood of Warp Riders. The concepts running lyrically through this concept album are fascinating.

Lillie F-65, cover6      Saint Vitus, Lillie:  F-65

Pharmaceutical grade stoner metal.

Sylosis, original cover (hi-res)5      Sylosis, Monolith

The first muscular, melodic mature-yet-furious thrash metal record I’ve heard in years.

Layout 14      Windhand, Windhand

Hour of 13 + Witchsorrow + Elder = Windhand. Occult traditional stoner doom metal. Psychedelic yet sinister. Evil hippies. Evil hippies who are “just into the religion of love, man… love of Satan….”

Book Burner, cover3      Pig Destroyer, Book Burner

High gain mid-range turn on a dime deathgrind fury. Just as good as their classic last LP, but very different.

Witchcraft-Legend2      Witchcraft, Legend

Beautifully-written, gracefully arranged 70s-ish occult rock, with a vocalist who can go from cold, crystal-clear, taunting malice to roaring disdain– and still stay have melody running all up in this motherfucker.

Monolith of Inhumanity, cover1      Cattle Mutilation, Monolith of Inhumanity

What death/grind is supposed to be: musically complex yet logically arranged extreme music that can change from blisteringly-fast to Inception-the-third-dream-deep slow– that is also lyrically both literate and surprisingly shocking. Kudos especially to vocalist Travis Ryan for being streets ahead of every other extreme metal singer: there were so many different variations in the vocals it sounded like all of Milton’s “thousand demi-gods on golden seats” got a shot at roaring.

Micro: Rage Nucléaire, Unrelenting Fucking Hatred

Rage Nucleaire, Unrelenting Fucking HatredCryptopsy‘s Lord Worm’s death-ish, very slightly symphonic industrial black metal band:  Anaal Nathrakh covering Marduk with Regan McNeil occasionally guest-singing.

Ridiculously ferocious, foaming-at-the-mouth psychotically manically furious, and, if you’re reading this site, Great: and This Much More So Than One Would Think.

Exemplary Numbers: “Violence is Golden,” and “Hunt with Murderworms, sculpt with Flies,” the latter of which also wins 2012 Title of the Year.

Hallowe’en 2012, Late Breakfast: Mordant, Black Evil Master

Do you miss Morbid Tales-era Celtic Frost?

If the answer is ja….

Have I…

got a band…

for you!*

“Rise of the Antichrist,” its main riff not unlike 1982-ish Diamond Head, i.e., the band who gave the world Metallica’s “Am I Evil?” and “Helpless…”

“Council of Evil” = essentially very early black metal like Celtic Frost, i.e., thrash metal, bordering on death metal, with satanic-ish lyrics.

“Sadism”: nice old school Celtic Frost riff; vaguely Kill ’em All-ish.

“Retaliation from the dark” = “Morbid Tales”… totally, Tom G. Warrior….

Overall:

generic, but obviously loving the over-the-top antics of early Venom, Celtic Frost and Manowar– and they clearly love them some Mercyful Fate as well.

It’s nothing unique, but it’s really fun, proto-black-metal riffage. If you always wanted to be around when Venom first emerged, or miss those days, get you some Mordant:

amazon.com link

*You traditionalist motherfucker, you….

On a rare and beautiful alchemy, one born of black metal and hallucinogens: Nachtmystium’s “Black Meddle” albums

I’ve been on a real, genuine, phenomenologically-valid, where-the-fuck-did-this-come-from-but-I-kinda-dig-it Nachtmystium kick lately.

I saw them live in June of 2010, touring with Eyehategod. I went to see EHG specifically (though I owned Addicts at that point), and though their closer of “Assassins” was fucking awesome and a rare combination of showmanship and black metal, I failed to fully heed the Nachtmystium call. Said clarion declaration was beyond these ears.

However, and this only of late, that cry pulls my ear– beckons my eye–  tugs my centre– and did make boldly necessary this oblation to their manifest corporeal connection to divinity… yielding this sacred equation, which I humbly submit unto thee:

Pure black metal,

plus (arguably)…

music reflective/ exalting  of experiences born from hallucinogenic states (à la Pink Floyd and/or Rimbaud’s “Systematic derangement of the senses“)

equals…

black metal born of said drug-induced states

which specifically yields:

Nachtmystium’s Assassins: Black Meddle Part I and Addicts: Black Meddle Part II.

THIS

is my thesis, at any rate.

Regarding Assassins: Black Meddle, PT. I:

IT IS the screams of the inarticulate, the groundlings, in emulating, this however with pathos, the peace they found in one or more Pink Floyd albums, much like the Ministry’s “Breathe,” in cruder, less articulate terms, though more passionate, and no less realized for that…

…the last three tracks seems to imply some sort of concept album, or at least a theme album, but if so, what story do they connote? It seems tragic, it seems angry, it seems unsettling, it seems vague… it’s most definitely moody, also there are alto sax parts, which amazingly do not sound like a late 80s-AOR rock band…

…although if it sounded like Cameo that would be more than fine….

Opener “One of These Nights,” what with its wind sounds, sounds like an ice planet somewhere, like Hoth, like the swirling storms of Jupiter, or the MDMA-esque, ravish underside of Saturn– does that make sense? No? Learn your astronomy bitches.

“Ghosts of Grace” is the most “normal” sounding tune here– an extremely “underground,” poorly-but-interestingly-lively-recorded Sex Pistols-y attempt to sound like Pink Floyd… this crudeness suggests someone like Murphy from devilishly-boldly-underrated teen comedy Charlie Bartlett, in that he’s confessing something intimate to you, like he’s not really that much of a pistol of the sexes, more of a floyd who’s also pink… but after he talks these lines, is going to be embarrassed that he even told you– there’s such a ungainly, gangly intimacy to it…

…it’s almost touching.

“Omnivore” is a black-metalled, diabolus in musica of psychedelic and mystic chords resonant of menace– then tribal drums, guttural utterances… an overall degradation and evolution at the once….

And what, prithee, what does this say about society, when our normal diet is drugs, is television highs from consumerism, from rationalism, mass manipulation, material expression*–

and not physical sustenance?

THIS IS the information age, indeed, when even our corporeality is digital, is bar-coded….

And about Addicts:

Part II is possibly evidence, actual physical contact!, with the evidence Gods, whatever their names, of how the internet sometimes contributes to greatness in music:

Addicts is an amalgam of the strangest two genres to partner– early-80s new wave pop (like Modern English, Depeche Mode, Flock of Seagulls), a tiny bit of Killing Joke and Ministry (pre-The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste) and of course (by way of Chicago)– black metal.

From what else but through the internet’s instant-access-to-any-genre capabilities could such a union be birthed?

It doesn’t always work, but it’s refreshing and singularly inspiring, that there are so many (and these, incredibly disparate) genres on this one album. “High on Hate” comes off like a Burzum track with integrity: all low bass, high treble riffs, and downbeats over 200 beats per minute….

“No Funeral” (not the truly great Revocation song from Chaos of Forms), but a Truly Great, early ministry/ killing joke tune… is a, uh… pop song with black metal vocals…? At 4:30 it couldn’t sound more like a Dawnbringer song… “Then Fires” comes off as maudlin and somewhat necessary if you’re stoned or coming off a long drunk– it comes off like a New Wave sludge tune, Killing Joke via Electric Wizard, or Zoroaster covering Depeche Mode…. and speaking of Dawnbringer, the chorus of the next tune,”Addicts” —  “All we need is more” definitely sounds like Chris Black– makes me wonder if he composed it….

The entirety of Addicts, when considered as an album and not a collection of songs–

and this in light of its following Assassins–

is almost an extended coda to Assassins, is an extended credits-scene, one heralding, celebrating and yet also mourning, the perceiver’s departure from those agreeable protagonists, from that familiar sound… an extended sonic sounding of farewell….

Well done, Blake Judd. I look forward to Silencing Machine.

 

 

 

*Thank you, Oswald Spengler.

Samothrace, Reverence to Stone

Blackened, sludgy doom, not unlike Unearthly Trance and/or Indian… with a bit more narrative/ song structural cohesion….

Reverence to Stone is the Black Herald, is what the burning bush sounded like, or The Horns of Jericho….

THIS: is God Come Down, Making Himself Known, in Fury and Disgust. Play it as loud as you can and tell me I’m wrong.

There’s two tracks: “When We Emerged,” and “A Horse of Our Own,” each quite long, each unspeakably detuned…. There is much feedback, much extended sounding of the lowest chord (and this one a fifth) on the guitar….

What if you actually got to hear the Music of the Spheres and it was unspeakably ugly to you? Does that mean you were messed up? Does that mean there was something wrong with you?

And what if it were still attractive in this ugliness…?

This is as close and perfect a marriage of doom and sludge metal as you’ll ever hear… with black metal officiating the ceremony via the vocals… there’s almost no tempo oftentimes, just a pulse to guide you through the auditory wreckage….

Chemical guide to listening©: this is stoner music, by way of general antidepressants (say, SSRIs or some such)….

“When We Emerged,” at 10 minutes, manages to sound like a doom metal version of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 (you’ve heard it)– in that it could be an auditory version of the composer’s wife’s orgasm (as was Barber’s, allegedly)….

Goatwhore, Carving Out the Eyes of God

What with a recent hype-up of their (as of this writing) upcoming album Blood For the Master, and my having tickets to see them play on Feb. 6,  I revisited Goatwhore’s previous LP, Carving Out the Eyes of God, playing it on tank-like, if outdated speakers, at jet-engine volume.*

At its best, in other words.

“Apocalyptic Havoc” the lead single (see below) opens with all-out Venom/Celtic Frost 32nd notes, updated for this year (which actually is  pretty good synopsis of the entire album), and contains the immortal line “Who needs a God, when you’ve got Satan?!”

“The All-Destroying,” next, is blastbeats then D-beats then flat-out downbeats and contines the tradition thusfar of grimly-satisfied-nodding-to-riffs, rather than out-and-out funky jams… and I love every time singer Ben Falgoust says “Ooooh!” à la Tom G. Warrior.

“Carving out the eyes of God,” has a cool, melodic blastbeaten chorus (and is pretty hummable), and on the right sterio/headphones, the triplet bass drum patterns are Alex Van Halen on “Hot For Teacher” cool.

“Shadow of a Living Knife,” in its middle section fires up a great triplet-bass-drum blast beat and segues into a sweet semi-sweep-picked solo… “Provoking the Ritual of Death” opens with tribal drums and sludge riffs before its blastbeaten percussion returns… “In Legions, I am Wars of Wrath,” with its refrain of LIES! is fucking Epic… “Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless” slows down and rocks out in 4/4, “Razor Flesh Devoured” is pure fury, blastbeat to D-beat to-blastbeat, ad infinitum, wherein it fades out (officially ending the album), although…

“To Mourn and Wander Forever Through Forgotten Doorways,” a bonus track, comes up next, ominous minor-chorded arpeggios leading to a spoken-word invocation, easily the moodiest track here, not unlike “Lucifer” from Behemoth’s Evangelion. I can see why it wasn’t on the official LP, but it probably should’ve been: it’s might’ve worked well in the middle of the released album, as a high-velocity-tempo breather….

The entire album is perfect “blackened death metal,” i.e., the guitars are detuned (i.e., bass-y as hell) and there are as many hyper-kinetic D-beats as there are blast beats, but the lyrics and imagery is occult/Satanic.

Overall, generic but completely invested in what they do:

8.5/10

amazon.com link

*my beautiful and talented wife was not home; perhaps that was obvious.