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CRUCIAL BLAST WEBSTORE: NEW ARRIVALS FOR FRIDAY AUGUST 15TH 2014

    I'm back after another extended delay with a huge list of new stuff and restocks that are swelling over the shelves here at C-Blast, lots of mind-bending metal and avant-death weirdness, vinyl slabs of outre hardcore punk and blistering power electronics assaults, a HUGE stack of horror soundtracks both recent and brand new, lots of stuff from labels like Flenser and Husk and Hell Comes Home and Parasitic. Not even sure where to start. Probably the best place would be with the new album from Isolator, Culture & Principal Of Anti-Human Exaltation , which is what I've singled out as my pick for this weel's new arrivals list; you guys know how much I love the blackest, most evil-sounding extremes of industrial music, right? This one delivers that sound in a big way, a sprawling, nightmarish din of demonic screams and blackened ambient rumble, crushing doom-laden drums lumbering through the ash-choked atmopshere, the whole sound having this entropic feel, as if the music itself is rotting away as you're listening to it. And it's incredibly heavy, which isn't surprising seeing as how the guys behind this project are also involved with death and black metal bands Father Befouled, Encoffination and Set. This album's the best wallow in sonic evil I've had all summer - anyone into the heaviest strains of death industrial and bands like Gnaw Their Tongues, Deathstench and T.O.M.B. should check this out.

    I also have a couple of new releases out on the Crucial Blaze imprint: first is a limited-edition CD from UK noise artist Hal Hutchinson, also of Pollutive Static; under his own name, Hutchinson has been recording and releasing some of the most interesting "junk metal" material I've heard in ages, his heavily layered aesthetic creating these cathartic noisescapes filled with the sounds of crashing, banging, scraping metal that sounds like a machine shop stuck in a state of eternal collapse, the sounds of metal forming into a kind of grating symphony of noise. Definitely something I'd only recommended to fans of that particular "scrap metal" aesthetic and like-minded noise artists like K2 and Alan Bloor/Knurl. If you're into this sort of acoustic "industrial" sound, though, this guy's producing some fantastic stuff, and his latest disc Wreckage Installations has over an hour of this pandemonium, presented in an edition of four hundred copies with prints of corroded machinery taken by Hutchinson that I assume consist of at least some of the stuff that was used to create this.
    There's also a pair of art zines that were issued this week under the Blaze imprint: there's Dans L'oeil Du Mort , an art zine featuring the work of INDUSTRIE CHIMČRE NOIRE, the French Canadian artist who has produced some fantastic imagery for bands like PORTAL and FISTULA; this zine collects a variety of his work both new and old, including some stuff that appears here for the first time, and it's all great eye-candy for anyone into his surrealistic, demonic visions. The other one is Vomitous Mass, a thick collection of artwork from Cody Drasser, who has been playing in a variety of death metal and experimental projects over the past few decades; focusing heavily on his 90's era death metal artwork, this art zine showcases work that ranges from crude, death metal demo-style abominations to more intricate drawings, nightmarish collage art, and more. I've been a fan of this guy's artwork after stumbling across an online repository for his work a while back, and I'd been wanting to document this stuff in physical form ever since.

Here's a rundown of the other new releases and re-stocks that are also on this week's list:

- the recent new album of lady-fronted ultra-heavy doom metal from WOUNDED KINGS, Consolamentum
- the latest album from WRECK & REFERENCE Want, further exploring their unique amalgam of black metal, goth, industrial and doom
- a skull-shredding EP of filthy, noise-damaged black sludge from WRETCHED WORST titled Funeral Burning
- the debut album from Nashville crushers YAUTJA, Songs Of Descent, which combines noisy Am Rep-style bludgeon with brutal grind
- restocks of the recent vinyl reissues of YOB's The Great Cessation and OM's Pilgrimage from Southern Lord
- two CD releases of crusty and surprisingly catchy Japanese black metal from YVONXHE
- a new 7" of ripping thrash metal from ZATH, the Chicago band featuring members of psych rock / industrial outfits OAKEATER, CAVE, COUGHS and OOZING WOUND
- a new single-sided etched 12" from Italian jazz-core/math metal crushers ZU, featuring guest appearances from members of NAPALM DEATH and THE LOCUST
- Visitor, the first album in nearly twenty years of grim industrial dub from SIMM, like an even more nightmarish Scorn
- a new 7" / DVDR set titled Window Hammer from experimental noisecore trio SISSY SPACEK
- the recent new full length of dark arctic ambient from SKORNEG
- a new 7" of vicious Holy Terror-influenced apocalyptic hardcore from SON OF MAN
- the limited edition vinyl for STARGAZER's progressive death opus A Great Work Of Ages / A Work Of Great Ages
- STATION DYSTHYMIA's impressive latest album of atmopsheric, progressive deathdoom Overhead, Without Any Fuss, The Stars Were Going Out
- a handful of bleak, soul-rotting industrial cassettes from the obscure Italian label Diazepam featuring the likes of SHIVER, DEPRIVATION, HEXEN, WAILING OF THE WINDS and ECOUTE LA MERDE
- the new album from ghastly industrial drift and extoplasmic ambience from NYC duo A MURDER OF ANGELS, Before Your Eyes
- the recent reissue of the long out of print album Intercourse & Lust from sex-crazed Japanese blackthrash maniacs ABIGAIL
- the latest album from Greek blackened prog-metallers AENAON, Extance, delivering more of their crushing blackened mathy heaviness
- a bunch of 7"s from the Hell Comes Home series, featuring splits from AKANAME, COFFINWORM, LESBIAN'S FUNGAL ABYSS, BLACK SUN, PYRAMIDO, FISTULA, DUKATALON, SUMA, ULTRAPHALLUS, RITES, UNION OF SLEEP, DEAD ELEPHANTS, BURNING LOVE, DEPHOSPHORUS, RABBITS, THROAT, GREAT FALLS, FIGHT AMP, all packaged in sleeves adorned in striking mutant insect artwork
- the debut full length from atmopsheric Nashville black metallers ALRAUN, The Process Of Self-Immolation
- the new cassette edition of the crushing ANEMONE TUBE / DISSECTING TABLE split album This Dismal World
- the latest 12" of ripping black metal/sludge from ARGENTINUM ASTRUM, and a restock of their super-limited second CD
- a recent vinyl release of Labyrinth Constellation, the amazing debut from interplanetary prog-death wizards ARTIFICIAL BRAIN
- L'Etre Et La Nausee, the latest sprawling double disc album from impassioned French doomdeath masters ATARAXIE
- the killer CD edition of THE ATLAS MOTH's latest album of sludgy prog metal The Old Believer with its wild album art design
- the new disc of chaotic technical death metal from Mitochondrion offshoot AUROCH
- the bewitching debut album from BARREN HARVEST, the neo-folk/kosmische duo of Lenny Smith (Atriarch/Trees) and Jessica Way (Worm Ouroboros)
- the debut album of eccentric death-thrash from Japanese blast warriors BASILISK
- a couple of long out-of-print Bastard Noise records from the early 90s, including splits with BIZARRE UPROAR and AUNT MARY...
- ...as well as some newer records from the mighty BASTARD NOISE, paired up with the likes of GUILTY CONNECTOR and WITCHES OF MALIBU (ex-Hunting Lodge)
- ...and a reissue of the classic 1992 MAN IS THE BASTARD 7" Backwards Species, classic mutant powerviolence
- recent 7" releases on the extreme speedcore/breakcore label Omega Warfare from DJ SKULL VOMIT / LADYSCRAPER, COMPANY FUCK / SANTISIMA VIRGEN MARIA and PENTADRVG / YUDLUGAR
- the brain-scrambling debut EP of ultra-complex confusional tech-death Mustma Dorcheme from Japan's BLEEDEAD
- new ultra-limited lathe cuts from Midwestern harsh noise wall artist BOAR and Boar-side project I WATCHED YOU DIE
- a restock of the recent collaboration from avant sludge metallers THE BODY and UK electro-creeper HAXAN CLOAK, I Shall Die Here
- a restock of the crushing 2010 Live At Roadburn album from British psychedelic sludgelords BONG
- the stunning new vinyl reissue of SIMON BOSWELL's fearsome score to Richard Stanley's visionary 1990 cyberpunk nightmare Hardware
- a new LP edition of BOTANIST's III: Doom In Bloom as well as a restock of the origina 2xCD release
- album number two of jet-black space rock oblivion from the amazing new Brainbombs offshoot BREMEN
- a new 7" from frenzied blackened hardcore fiend BROKEN CROSS, with more of his evil GISM-meets-VENOM insanity
- a cassette only final release from Kentucky psychedelic noise rock outfit CADAVER IN DRAG, featuring Josh Lay of GLASS COFFIN
- the eye-popping new Death Waltz vinyl reissue of Fabio Frizzi's fantastic score to Fulci's surrealistic splatterfest City Of The Living Dead...
- ...as well as a bunch of recent horror/exploitation soundtracks from Death Waltz back in stock, including the scores for JOHN CARPENTER's The Fog, ROB's Maniac, JOE DELIA's Ms. 45, RALPH JONES's Slumber Party Massacre, HARRY ROBINSON's Twins Of Evil and SUSAN JUSTIN's Forbidden World
- as well as the new deluxe reissue of ROBERTO DONATI's score to the cannibal chunkblower classic Cannibal Ferox
- the recent new album of dank pirate-themed death metal horror from Australian cave crawlers CAULDRON BLACK RAM (featuring members of MOURNFUL CONGREGATION)
- a recent 7" of rambling jailhouse folk from CHARLES MANSON with liners from Nikolas Schreck, released by black/death imprint Parasitic
- deluxe new CD reissues of the classic early albums In The Glare Of Burning Churches and The Celtic Winter from Polish black metallers GRAVELAND
- recent tape releases from Carbon Records featuring the heavy free-rock sludge of RASH and the raw hypno-sludge trances of CHILLUM
- the Season Of Mist CD reissues of the classic early CHRISTIAN DEATH albums Ashes and Catastrophe Ballet...
- ...and a recent Record Store Day release of a limited two-song 7" from death rockers CHRISTIAN DEATH, The Edward Colver Edition
- new vinyl reissues of GOBLIN's classic horror-prog soundtracks to Suspiria and Zombi (Dawn Of The Dead)
- an all-too-brief debut from CLAY RENDERING, Waters Above The Firmament, Mike Connelly's (WOLF EYES / HAIR POLICE) new dark industrial/dreampop duo with wife Tara
- a restock of crucial blackened death discs including CONQUEROR's War Cult Supremacy and REVENGE's Attack.Blood.Revenge
- the stunning apocalyptic power electronics/industrial darkness of CREMATION LILY's new LP Fires Frame The Silhouette
- a CD reissue of the amazingly bonkers early 80s Mexican speed metal rock opera Kuman from CRISTAL Y ACERO
- a new LP from Claudio Simonetti's heavy metal/prog side project DAEMONIA performing the score to Zombi / Dawn Of The Dead
- the latest album of dreamy, dolorous deathdoom from DARKFLIGHT, like some strange mix of Alcest and Thergothon
- the latest album of crushing, atmopsheric occult death metal from Greece's DEAD CONGREGATION, Promulgation Of The Fall
- the blazing epic black metal melodies and violent grindcore tempos of DEAD IN THE MANGER's Transience 12"
- restocks of the NED vinyl reissues of DEATHSPELL OMEGA's Drought and Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice
- the debut album from Lithuanian "blackgaze" outfit DEVLSY, who sort of resemble a killer cross between the emo-core of ENVY and depressive black metal
- vinyl releases of both the brand new four-song comeback from industrial metal legends GODFLESH, and a 2xLP reissue of their classic album Pure
- recent vinyl and cassette releases from the strange Spanish experimental black metal band EMANATION, who resembles a more furious, noisy ALUK TODOLO
- a super-limited cassette of murky, gorgeous low-fi ambient black metal from one man UK band EPOCH.OF.STARS
- a staggering triple LP vinyl edition of ESOTERIC's 2008 psychedelic deathdoom epic The Maniacal Vale
- tape and CDR versions of the debut EP from Seattle operatic prog-crust weirdos EYE OF NIX
- some cool death rock influenced blackened weirdness on FATALISM's Mystery Of Death EP
- restock of the latest album from Japanese grindcore outfit FLAGITIOUS IDIOSYNCRASY IN THE DILAPIDATION
- a big haul of old and new vinyl from former SKULLFLOWER axeman STEFAN JAWORZYN, incl his new Drained Of Connotation and Principles Of Inertia LPs
- the new ripping new 7" of psychotic noise-damaged hardcore punk from Aussie maniacs FLESH WORLD, Planned Obsolescence
- a restock of the new FLOOR comeback album Oblation on CD/LP/CS, and their brand new sludgepop blast Homegoings And Transitions / Shadowline on 12"
- the recent zodiac-themed EP of psych-tinged hardcore punk from Toronto's FUCKED UP, Year Of The Dragon
- FUNERAL MOTH's latest album of immense atmopsheric Japanese deathdoom Dense Fog, from former COFFINS members
- the sprawling new triple-disc from Japanese jet-black improv masters FUSHITSUSHA teaming up with free-jazz legend Peter Brotzmann
- the debut 12" from avant-death metal duo GERYON, featuring members of Krallice belting out some twisted Gorgutsian heaviness
- the ripping RSD limited 10" from thrash metallers GHOUL, Hang Ten, featuring their crazed mix of surf/garage rock and pummeling thrash
- the recent split 12" featuring low-fi black metal mutants GLASS COFFIN and HARASSOR, and a restock of GLASS COFFIN's 12" on Prison Tatt
- a recent CD featuring a collaboration between black industrial/noise/doom outfits GNAW THEIR TONGUES and ALKERDEEL, Dyodyo Asema
- a restock of the blazing final album from ex-Discordance Axis grindcore unit GRIDLINK, Longhena, on vinyl and CD
- the latest album of bizarre, nightmarish sound/noise collage from GUILTY CONNECTOR side project GRIM TALKERS
- more mesmeric, noisy black metal weirdness from L'ACEPHALE on their new Decollate cassette and their older Book Of Lies 7"
- the new album from HARDCORE ANAL HYDROGEN, Talas Of Satan, spewing their brand of insane Naked City-esque blastprog
- a restock of the now out of print vinyl reissue of JOHN HARRISON's classic score to Romero's Creepshow
- Nightfall, the latest album of majestic, time-stopping funeral doom from THE HOWLING VOID
- Seriés Aphonos's beautiful new LP release of KRZYSZTOF KOMEDA's (Rosemary's Baby) lyrical score to another Polanski horror film, Dance Of The Vampires
- a disgustingly abrasive split cassette featuring the bizarre dissonant black metal of JUTE GYTE paired up with the brain-damaged black doom horror of VENOWL
- the debut album from heavy duty UK doom metallers LIMB, who deliver total riff-city with their eponymous first album
- a new 3" CDR of dark improv/industrial from LOCI titled Around The Edges Of All
- the newest album of treble-overloaded experimental black metal fury from MALKUTH, Hathir Sakta
- a new repress of The Coast Explodes from psych heavies MAMMATUS, now with digital download code
- some of the last copies ever of the recent vinyl reissue of My Fruit Psychobells, the 1999 debut from avant garde death metallers MAUDLIN OF THE WELL
- Esoteric Warfare, the new album of discordant evil and ever-experimental black metal mastery from Norwegian legends MAYHEM
- a killer split 7" featuring the desperate off-kilter black metal of Ukraine's MOLOCH, and more crude low-fi necro-vengeance from GLASS COFFIN
- and a new Japanese CD release from Ukrainian black metal miserablist MOLOCH, Gebrechlichkeit, that collects various rare recordings from the band's career
- a reissue of the 2007 album Radiance Of Shadows from fuzzed-out shoegazer-doom duo NADJA
- more face-ripping powerviolence via new 7"s from NO COMMENT and SEX PRISONER
- a bunch of killer nocturnal psych albums on Japanese label Musik Atlach from KEIKO HIGUCHI/CRIS X, MAJUTSU NO NIWA, and SACHIKO & FUKUOKA RINJI
- a recent split 7" from cult prog/industrial outfit NOVY SVET and Goblin-influenced C-Blast faves SPETTRO FAMILY
- the new LP The Algea from NRIII, moving away from the projects bizarro black industrial origins into an equally bizarre occult industrial sound
- crushing noise rock/hyperfast hardcore punk mayhem from NUDES and their new Stain 7"
- a restock of the latest disc from John Zorn and Bill Laswell's longrunning dub/hardcore/improv outfit PAINKILLER, here playing with Tatsuya Yoshida of RUINS
- the latest issue (#4) from Lasse Marhaug's Norwegian experimental music magazine PERSONAL BEST
- Desideratum, the new album of gorgeous drone-n'-noise drenched gloompop from PLANNING FOR BURIAL
- new cassette releases of Swarth and Vexovoid from Australian avant garde death metallers PORTAL
- a rare split CD featuring improv-black metal creeps SMOKE teaming up with the raw black metal of Germany's PROSATANOS
- the punishing split 7" featuring punk-fueled war metallers RADIOACTIVE VOMIT and avant-powerviolence killsquad COLUMN OF HEAVEN
- the debut 7" of atmopsheric blackened doomdeath from RITUAAL, featuring members of Encoffination / Father Befouled / Mourner
- a 7" reissue of the ultra-heavy demo from sludge metallers RUINE
- another split 7" featuring noisegrinders SETE STAR SEPT, here teamed with cult 90's noisecore weirdo NUT SCREAMER
- a killer 12" debut from UK deathrock throwbacks SHALLOW SANCTION, delivering some grim Rudimentary Peni-esque aggression
- the recent vinyl reissue of SHINING's 2002 ode to self-destruction III: Angst, out from Peaceville
- a double CD reissue of out of print albums from the other Shining, the jazzy metallic prog outfit behind Grindstone and In The Kingdom Of Kitsch
- a new 7" featuring the long-lost early 90s recordings from Boston thrash extremists SIEGE, with Seth Putnam (ANAL CUNT) on vocals
- a new CD release (and a restock of the LP edition) of SUTEKH HEXEN's sprawling black noise epic Monument Of Decay
- the primitive punk-tinged blackened violence of TARE's Ritual Degradation
- the new album from Australian dark ambient master TERRA SANCTA, Exile, featuring more of his sweeping apocalyptic dronescapes
- a restock of the second issue of European power electronics / industrial / noise zine TERROR
- the latest CD release from death industrialist TREPANERINGSRITUALEN, Perfection & Permanence, featuring some of his best material yet
- more crushing retardo sludge rock from Rochester knuckle-draggers TUURD, blending together mathy riffage, bone-rattling low-end and some perniciously poppy hooks
- the one and only album of nihilistic death industrial from U-731, By All Means
- the latest edition of ULVER's classic debut album of Norwegian black metal, Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
- some of the last copies of this bangin' 12" of horror-disco remixes from UMBERTO, Temple Room
- the newest album of atmospheric old-school death metal from VANHELGD, Relics Of Sulphur Salvation
- some excavated copies of the long out-of-print Negative Approach tribute 7" Reproach, featuring Spazz, Man Is The Bastard and more
- the new CD edition of VILLAINS's latest album of transgressive, lusty black thrash, Never Abandon The Slut Train
- the newest album of slow-motion misery from WALK THROUGH FIRE, Hope Is Misery, featuring their most elegantly depressing doom to date
- a reissue of the classic album of proggy surrealism Black White & Grey by WHEN, a noted influence on the early Norwegian black metal scene
- a restock of Totem, the latest album of deranged, ultra-distorted noise rock from NYC's WHITE SUNS
- a restock of the crushing live album on Small Doses from Australian doom metal extremists WHITEHORSE
- the long-awaited new album from WIJLEN WIJ Coronachs that slips further into their unique delirium of funeral doom and prog rock
- Postsocial, the latest album from black noise masters WOLD that has some of their most aggressive stuff in years
- the latest album from WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Celestite that sees the avant black metallers going full-on Tangerine Dream


As always, we have a lot for you to check out, much more mutant extreme music and misanthropic art to be found on our shelves and in our bins...keep reading below to check out all of the strange and extreme new music, film, and art that's included in this week's new arrivals list.

Don't forget, you can click on the thumbnail image of the album cover for everything we carry in our shop to pull up a pop-up window showing an actual photograph of the item!



FEATURED RELEASE



ISOLATOR   Culture and Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation   CD   (Black Plagve)    10.99



    Self-described as "anti-human death musick", Isolator's Culture and Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation is the debut album from this new duo made up of members of death/black metal outfits Set, Encoffination and Father Befouled, their first for black industrial imprint Black Plagve. The band's collective CV only hints at how massive this album is, though, and out of all of the black/death industrial albums I've been abusing myself with lately, this might just be the most unsettling, a noxious yet mesmerizing slab of abyssal ambience and black noise horror that fully envelops you within its monstrous mass of murky midnight ambience, unfurling vast fields of muffled orchestral drift, surges of grim soundtracky synthesizer drone, and ghastly industrial rumble that often slips into some seriously heavy fields of low-end black crush.
    The five tracks that comprise Culture sprawl out for nearly an hour, each one unfolding into a delirium of growling, heavily distorted bass drones and doom-laden metallic murk, blasts of ultra-heavy sound that bloom into almost Sunn 0)))-like waves of blackened tectonic rumble. That subterranean drift is threaded with soft glimmering veins of synthlike feedback and haunting melodious drift, but alongside those vague glimpses of eerie prettiness are infestations of demonic mutterings and barely audible whispers that slip in and out of perception, evil voices adrift in the duo's dense churning sea of blackened sound. Those slow eruptions of crushing low-end heaviness continue throughout the album, continuing to echo the molten drone-metal of Sunn 0))) or Black Boned Angel when they're at their heaviest, but that downtuned rumble is slowed down to an even more torturous crawl, draped in a filthy worm-eaten blanket of distressed classical music that has been deformed and stretched and broken down into a nightmarish blown-out din. All of this stuff is buried way down in the depths of Isolator's suffocating stygian fog, joined with swells of diffused, distorted choral-like sound drifting up in ash-black plumes. These guys definitely share some of the same DNA as some of the more orchestral-tinged black ambient outfits that have previously appeared on Malignant, but this is much more malevolent and abrasive and most of all heavy as hell. On tracks like the monolithic "Mankind Shall Reap The Mistakes God Hath Sown" and "Your Heaven Will Writhe Within The Chaos Of My Hell", Isolator's sound also almost seems to suggest a Satanic version of Tim Hecker's fuzzed-out, gorgeously hazy dronescapes, shades of grim gothic majesty warped and buried beneath an ocean of swirling soft distortion and hiss. That roiling black cloudscape of rumbling noise is shattered by the recurring roar of some vast metallic heaviness blasting through the abyss, spreading out beneath far-flung fields of kosmische glow and pulsating synthesizer drones hovering in space, drifting into stretches of soundtracky, almost Carpenterian dread, while the likes of "Carrion For The Feasts Of Angels" blend those hellish groans and screams with the glacial churn of black noise that resembles a Demonologists track stretched out into an agonizing blast of hateful slow-motion blackness.
    Awesomely nightmarish, Culture And Principle is exactly what I'd want to hear from a band of death metallers developing their own version of death industrial. The whole album is one long plunge into total sonic corruption, like a time-lapsed doomscape of rust and decay amplified to deafening power, the atmosphere sickeningly heavy and oppressive, especially towards the very end of the album as the sound of drums slowly enter into the fray, a punishing slow-motion grind like that of some funeral doom drummer unwittingly dropped into the middle of a maelstrom of swirling blackened drone, surrounded by ghastly gasping death metal-like rasps, everything blanketed beneath a heavy layer of black rot. A new level of heaviness from the Black Plagve camp. Comes in an eight panel digipack, limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Mankind Shall Reap The Mistakes God Hath Sown
Sample : Into The Blood Of Our Kingdom
Sample : Carrion For The Feasts Of Angels


NEW ADDITIONS



A HAPPY DEATH / SHIVER   split   CASSETTE   (Diazepam)    8.98



  More nihilistic noise from Diazepam, this split tape features two Italian outfits teaming up to deliver some sinister psychedelic skree and charred industrial filth. It's my first time hearing A Happy Death, and their ultra-heavy industrial blackness is good stuff, but I'd already been a fan of Shiver, a solo project from Mauro Sciaccaluga of Italian occult industrial/psych band Ur that delivers a strain of nightmarish, bestial industrial noise that's definitely worth checking out if you're into the more evil-sounding fringes of power electronics.
  Latin prayers and cathedral bells pave the way for A Happy Death's putrid low-fi noise assault on the a-side, a battery of extreme blown-out distorted synth rumble and crackling burnt-out drones that quickly seep from your speakers into a haze of hateful noise. That first track "Laudamus Nihil" is intensely heavy and malevolent, and sort of resembles some low-fi doom metal recording being remixed by Dead Body Love, huge evil sounding riffs surfacing out of the smoldering static and crackling speakershred, oppressive and suffocating and crushing as it devolves into a more atmospheric mass of sound. Waves of fearsome feedback are layered over random environmental sounds, turning this into a murky locust-swarm of corroded noise. The other track is more straightforward, abrasive feedback and distorted crackle sweeping across clusters of tangled tape noise and ghostly percussive murmurs, but it's equally as atmospheric and effective.
  The four tracks on Shiver's side are the first I've heard from the project since his The Taste Of Repent tape on Prairie Fire from a few years ago. The vibe is certainly the same, building up each long track into a seething psychedelic fog of frenzied guttural screams, brain-melting synthesizer drone, and putrescent electronic noise that is possessed by a pervasive threatening atmosphere. At times, this stuff can begin to sound like some particularly nightmarish score to an early 80s British sci-fi gore flick being played back on a decomposing cassette tape. Pretty grim, especially when those hazy, gloomy synthesizer melodies start to peer through all of that rumbling black muck, and the vocals transform into a terrifying, almost black metal-like shriek that rips through the whirling scrap-metal squeal and grating feedback abuse. Slow, pulsating rhythms emerge on later tracks, shifting the sound into a kind of static death-meditation as mysterious voices echo in the depths and swells of sinister metallic guitar melody and dark atmospheric sound rise to the surface. Definitely my favorite stuff from this project so far.
   Like the other tapes I recently picked up from Diazepam, this has a similarly distressed look and feel, lettering hand-scratched onto the surface of the black cassette, the tape housed in an oversized cardstock sleeve, and it's limited to just one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : A HAPPY DEATH - Laudamus Nihil
Sample : SHIVER - I Want To Die Alone



A MURDER OF ANGELS   Before Your Eyes   CD   (Annihilvs)    9.99



  Darkest stuff yet from the NYC-based duo of Bryin Dall (of Thee Majesty and 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse) and Derek Rush (Compactor), who have worked together previously in a number of projects ranging from the experimental, surrealist goth of Loretta's Doll to the multi-faceted industrial music of Dream Into Dust and the occult soundscapery of Of Unknown Origin?. Describing their sound "damnbient", the duo craft a series of dank, phantasmal driftscapes on Before Your Eyes that are primed for listening to in the dark. Housed in a gatefold sleeve and printed inner sleeve that feature ghostly blue-tinged images of Victorian-era specters and ectoplasmic emissions, this album is spooky stuff, the ten songs drifting languidly through a midnight fog of distant wavering dissonance and murky drones that curl around cadaverous moans, swells of metallic shimmer and far-off clanking, weird echoing effects and washes of creepy minor key drift, slow washes of cello-like drone creeping low in the mix beneath the sound of strange chittering voices and the rapid flutter of insect-like wings, all of this stuff melting together into a hallucinatory din that stretches across the entire disc.
  It starts off with the ghoulish industrial ambience of "Wading Through Floating Children", as the duo make their way through increasingly creepy underworld of murmurous sound: garbled inhuman voices sputter across fragments of evil orchestral murk like coded messages from an alien tongue; heavenly choir voices ascend over the shifting black waves of over-modulated electronics, like the sound of a High Mass being slowly sucked into a gaping, ravenous inter-dimensional black hole; howling discordant noise and clattering Aube-esque noise becomes caught in vague looping patterns beneath vast black dungeon exhalations and surges of incorporeal EVP; monstrous growls drift up out of that blackness, joined by the sounds of wailing theremin-like tones and brief glimpses of glitchy, Bernard Herrmann-esque strings, as a female voice is heard speaking backwards, out of phase, like a fragmented transmission from beyond the grave. This creepy Coil-influenced post-industrial nightmare comes into sharper focus on tracks like "They Only Eat Themselves" and "Folding The Fabric Of Time", as whirring, meditative mechanical rhythms begin to emerge from beneath a roiling ectoplasmic mass of guttural, demonic mutterings, sinister soundtracky ambience and chthonic death-pulses. One of the creepier albums to come out on Leech's (Theologian) Annihilvs imprint, this inhabits a similar nightmare zone as some of Atrium Carceri's more dreamlike moments, the black ambient of Kerovnian, and Accurst's formless horrorscape Fragments Of A Nightmare; if any of those names perk your ears up, this is one to check out.
Track Samples:
Sample : Wading Through Floating Children
Sample : They Only Eat Themselves
Sample : Damaging The Hidden Light



ABIGAIL   Intercourse And Lust   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    10.98



  Available on both CD and gatefold LP.
  While not quite as balls-out weird as country mates Sigh, sleazoid Japanese black thrashers Abigail put their own eccentric spin on a classic black/thrash attack, and are still one of my favorite bands of this ilk from that corner of the globe. Their 1996 debut album Intercourse & Lust remains one of their most ferocious slabs of perverted black metal hysteria; originally released by the Aussie label Modern Invasion, Intercourse had been out of print for ages before Nuclear War Now unleashed this latest reissue on us, complete with the revised cover art that features Hokusai's infamous squidfuck masterpiece The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife. Beautiful!
   The vicious Intercourse features nine tracks of Abigail's feral, slightly sloppy blackened thrash, with most of the album's lyrics written by Chuck Keller of Order From Chaos/Ares Kingdom. The music has a definite early Mayhem influence, along with a big ol' dose of classic Teutonic thrash, but Abigail mutate those influences into a blistering speed assault that cranks the sneering punk attitude up to a frenzied new level, and splatters their sound with some of the craziest goddamn guitar solos this side of Hell Awaits-era Hanneman. Much of this album races by at blistering blasting tempos, but there's a couple of ferociously rocking tracks like "Attack With Spell" where they drop some vicious, super-catchy Venomesque blackened punk onto the listener while front man Yasuyuki retches out a rabid array of distorted yelps and screams. A weird growling synth-bass-like effect shows up briefly on the snarling blast-orgy of "Strength Of Other World" that, for a brief moment in the middle of the track, breaks into this weird, proggy little interlude right before the band crashes back in to the blazing necro-punk assault. Yasuyuki's vocals reached a sublime level of insanity on this album, often rupturing into an insanely unhinged ultra-distorted yowl that's definitely reminiscent of Takaho from noise-grinders Unholy Grave. And the band gives us another one of their trademark weirdo synthesizer interludes on the title track, with spacey soundtracky synths and a delicate xylophone melody leading right into the oddly atmospheric multi-part closer "Hail Yakuza", a sprawling instrumental that features samples from cult Japanese crime flicks playing out over a slower, swirling, jangling black metal dirge before moving into odd waltzing rhythms and blasts of anthemic thrash. Killer stuff that's right up there with the classic Forever Street Metal Bitch album, essential for anyone in thrall to the "Black Metal Yakuza".
Track Samples:
Sample : The Crown Bearer
Sample : Strength of Other World
Sample : Mephistopheles
Sample : A Witch Named Aspilcuetta



ABIGAIL   Intercourse And Lust   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    18.98



  Available on both CD and gatefold LP.
  While not quite as balls-out weird as country mates Sigh, sleazoid Japanese black thrashers Abigail put their own eccentric spin on a classic black/thrash attack, and are still one of my favorite bands of this ilk from that corner of the globe. Their 1996 debut album Intercourse & Lust remains one of their most ferocious slabs of perverted black metal hysteria; originally released by the Aussie label Modern Invasion, Intercourse had been out of print for ages before Nuclear War Now unleashed this latest reissue on us, complete with the revised cover art that features Hokusai's infamous squidfuck masterpiece The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife. Beautiful!
   The vicious Intercourse features nine tracks of Abigail's feral, slightly sloppy blackened thrash, with most of the album's lyrics written by Chuck Keller of Order From Chaos/Ares Kingdom. The music has a definite early Mayhem influence, along with a big ol' dose of classic Teutonic thrash, but Abigail mutate those influences into a blistering speed assault that cranks the sneering punk attitude up to a frenzied new level, and splatters their sound with some of the craziest goddamn guitar solos this side of Hell Awaits-era Hanneman. Much of this album races by at blistering blasting tempos, but there's a couple of ferociously rocking tracks like "Attack With Spell" where they drop some vicious, super-catchy Venomesque blackened punk onto the listener while front man Yasuyuki retches out a rabid array of distorted yelps and screams. A weird growling synth-bass-like effect shows up briefly on the snarling blast-orgy of "Strength Of Other World" that, for a brief moment in the middle of the track, breaks into this weird, proggy little interlude right before the band crashes back in to the blazing necro-punk assault. Yasuyuki's vocals reached a sublime level of insanity on this album, often rupturing into an insanely unhinged ultra-distorted yowl that's definitely reminiscent of Takaho from noise-grinders Unholy Grave. And the band gives us another one of their trademark weirdo synthesizer interludes on the title track, with spacey soundtracky synths and a delicate xylophone melody leading right into the oddly atmospheric multi-part closer "Hail Yakuza", a sprawling instrumental that features samples from cult Japanese crime flicks playing out over a slower, swirling, jangling black metal dirge before moving into odd waltzing rhythms and blasts of anthemic thrash. Killer stuff that's right up there with the classic Forever Street Metal Bitch album, essential for anyone in thrall to the "Black Metal Yakuza".
Track Samples:
Sample : The Crown Bearer
Sample : Strength of Other World
Sample : Mephistopheles
Sample : A Witch Named Aspilcuetta



AENAON   Extance   CD   (Code666)    15.98



  The second album from avant-garde Greek metallers Aenaon, the follow-up to their killer debut Cendres Et Sang that was featured on the last C-Blast new arrivals list. I loved the band's imaginative fusion of ambitious prog rock, dark jazz and violent black n' roll that made their debut one of the more unique offerings from Code666 at the time of it's release, and unlike a lot of bands that come from a similar black metal background whose music ends up moving into proggier directions, Aenaon continue to retain a strong connection to their blackened roots. Much of Extance features the band's crushing mathy angularity and blazing blackened aggression, but the eleven songs on this album are infested with strange outside sounds, taking their music into even more surreal directions than before.
   On Extance, Aenaon continues to forge a strangely elegant sound that mixes an interesting assemblage of influences (classic prog rock, Hellenic black metal) into something that has gradually grown into a distinct sound of their own. You get plenty of the crushing mathy riffage, chunky staccato grooves and blasts of violent blackness that teemed throughout their debut, with those vicious raspy screams trading off against clear, harmonized crooning that brings a heavy dose of dark drama to the music, those vocal arrangements even sometimes shifting into a kind of maniacal, operatic delivery. The songs feature surges of spacey futuristic electronics, fragments of ragtime piano and strange alien glitchery amid the blackened prog, along with atmospheric classical piano sequences, jazzy vibraphone accompaniment, sudden descents into whirling Middle Eastern folk music, choral chants, soulful harmonica playing, and best of all, more of that searing moody saxophone that strafes Aenaon's violent metallic crush.
   Fans of Enslaved, Sigh, and the recent solo albums from Emperor's Ihsahn will dig the killer progged-out black metal that emerges on songs like "Deathtrip Chronicle", especially when that crushing angular assault suddenly swerves out into a long stretch of sumptuous atmospheric jazz layered with swooping saxophone and washes of trippy Hammond organ. And songs like "Grau Diva" lay down some monstrous grooves, as that discordant, off-kilter blackened heaviness slips into a savage, infectious black n' roll riff. Aeneon infuse the whole album with these off-kilter moments and their knack for stirring melodies, with haunting minor key elegies drifting out of the complex blasting churn, the guitarists more concerned with memorable and emotive melodies than simply spewing out a self-indulgent shred-salad. Some interesting guest appearances show up, too; various tracks feature the talents of Mirai Kawashima (Sigh), Sindre Nedland (Funeral) and Haris (Hail Spirit Noir), and on "Funeral Blues", vocalist Tanya Leontiou from Greek evil doom-prog band Universe217 contributes her soulful, powerful voice over a song that does indeed get pretty bluesy, laying down a huge Sabbathian hook around a night-sea of glimmering pianos and blackened tremolo buzz. Along with Hail Spirit Noir, Aenaon are producing some of the most interesting and innovative black metal-influenced music coming out of Greece at the moment; anyone into the proggier end of contempo BM should definitely check these guys out.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Land of No Water
Sample : Palindrome
Sample : Deathtrip Chronicle



AKANAME / LESBIAN'S FUNGAL ABYSS   Rain Will Be The New Gold / Humongous Fungus   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.98



   Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
  This installment in the series pairs up proggy Aussie crushers Akaname with Seattle psych ensemble Fungal Abyss, an offshoot of heavy prog-sludge outfit Lesbian. Akaname delivers some killer sprawling sludge with their "Rain Will Be The New Gold", the drummer's intricate, off-time rhythms and complex arrangements underscoring the band's interesting mix of black metal-influenced riffing, trippy synthesizer drift and spastic metallic chug. At times resembling a more blackened version of Mastodon or Keelhaul, this is menacing and mathy stuff that slips into some seriously devastating metallic crush later in the track. I loved the prog-tinged fury of Akaname's track, one of the coolest discoveries I've made through this series of 7"s.
   The other side feature's Lesbian's psychedelic improv alter-ego Fungal Abyss emitting a cloud of dark, instrumental heaviness called "Humongous Fungus", purportedly recorded under the influence of hallucinatory mushrooms; it's a lot better than you'd expect from the goofy title, a slow building jam that forms from layers of meandering guitar over the heavy, droning groove of the rhythm section, evolving from a dreamy haze of almost shoegazy rock into something akin to Isis at their prettiest, building into an almost space rock finale that winds down into an effects-smeared haze at the end.


ALRAUNE   The Process Of Self-Immolation   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98



  The Process of Self-Immolation is the debut full-length from Nashville black metallers Alraune, a newer band made up of current and former members of Yautja and Mourner; it's the follow-up to their well-received tape that came out on Graceless Recordings not too long ago. Combining a rhythmically complex brand of blackened metal with Slinty math rock influences and intense, emotional delivery, these guys have whipped up one of the more impressive debuts to appear this year, with a confident approach towards fusing elegant icy melodies with a vicious Scandinavian-inspired attack.
  The brief intro track opens the album with the sounds of mournful, low-fi folk, the distorted buzz of the strings ringing out through a murky haze, before the band launches violently into the blazing black metal of "Exmordium". Alraune's sound immediately reveals the sort of soaring melodic sensibilities found in fellow American BM outfits like Krallice, Fell Voices and Ash Borer, that classic Nordic-influenced sound underscored by eerily pretty minor key melodies and cascades of spidery arpgeggiated notes that seem to draw from early 90's math rock just as much as they do from the frostbitten chordal forms of black metal. And as the album progresses, more of that mathiness emerges through the violent blastbeat-driven wintervisions, vicious buzzsaw riffs and rampaging d-beat tempos suddenly hurtling out of the chaos before slipping into some off-kilter, angular breakdown or wash of creepy dissonant instrumental guitar. There's a raw, low-fi edge to Process that really works in its favor, contrasting with the ambitious complexity of the songs and the Slinty digressions and eruptions into soaring, keening droning guitar leads that streak over the thunderous blasting epics like "Simulacra". The vocals have a strange distorted sheen than clings to them, at times sounding as if those desperate screams and shrieks are being transmitted out of a crackling transistor radio as the elegant, mournful tremolo riffs swarm madly around, slipping into some terrific little moments of phantasmic beauty, like how the end of "Kissed By The Red" goes from the aggressive, majestic metallic blast into the sound of Scottish folk singer Isla Cameron singing "O Willow Waly", taken from Jack Clayton's 1961 supernatural classic The Innocents. And at the end, Alraune drag their ragged frenzy down to an almost doom-laden pace on the closing title track, the song lumbering through an epic sprawl of slow pummeling tempos, blazing blastbeats and wretched screaming that leads towards the powerful combination of frantic blackened tremolo riffs and pounding tribal rhythms that take over the second half of the song.
   A promising start from this new entry in the USBM field, Process skillfully combines haunting melodic dissonance, raw savagery and a distinct progressive edge into a powerful and mournful sound of their own. Killer stuff. Comes in digipack packaging.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Process of Self-Immolation
Sample : Simulacra
Sample : Exordium



ANEMONE TUBE / DISSECTING TABLE   This Dismal World   CASSETTE   (Black Horizons)    8.99



  Previously released as a limited-edition LP on the UK label Peripheral, this split album from Anemone Tube and Dissecting Table is now available as an equally limited cassette tape (one hundred copies) from Black Horizons, presented in the label's signature silk-screened packaging, and featuring an extended version of one of the Anemone Tube tracks.
   This Dismal World crushes. A split between two of the more intense artists within the industrial sub-terrain, the long running German dark ambient/industrial noise duo Anemone Tube and Japanese noise/dirge master Dissecting Table, here teaming up for an intensely dark concept album that seems to have been at least partly inspired by Buddhist teachings.
   Continuing to explore some of the same sounds and atmospheres as their fantastic last album Death Over China, the Anemone Tube side (titled Threnody For The Dejected) features two long tracks of grim industrial rumble and drift. It begins with "In The Mausoleum", a rather ghastly sounding soundscape that utilizes field recordings taken from ancient Buddhist burial chambers at the Sun-Yat-sen-Mausoleum in Nanjing, China; the track takes shape as a violent churning storm of bellowing black winds rushing through vast underground chambers, recordings of eldritch rattling that crumble like handfuls of rot in slow-motion, a rumbling swirling cloud of black dust amplified to thunderous levels. That segues right into "From Anthropocentrism To Demonocentrism", a crushing malevolent mechanical loop that lurches beneath more of the Tube's harsh bursts of distorted noise and squealing feedback, super ominous, a lurching mechanical death-mantra looping into infinity, eventually fading out into a sea of choral drone.
   Dissecting Table's side is labeled Guanyin, and has just one monolithic twenty minute piece, "1000 Tones"; the side starts off with the sound of Japanese Buddhist chants overlaid with rhythmic clanking metal and a pounding drumbeat, the clank and screech of metal sounding off constantly in the background behind this strangely mesmeric, sinister dirge. The first half of the side is almost all heavy, clanking dread, splattered with bits of squelchy synthesizer, the sound intensely distorted, with almost death-metal like shrieks ringing out in the background. The latter half of the side detaches from that massive clanking rhythmic crush, and drifts out into a more abstract sprawl of distorted looped chanting, mangled electronics and howling metallic feedback that seems to take on the sound of warped flutes. The drums and rattling metal and blackened screams come back in at the end though, and transform the final minutes into a bizarre bit of demonic industrial delirium. That track is fucking amazing, and for me was worth the purchase of this Lp alone; whenever Dissecting Table finds its way into that sort of crushing, monstrous almost metallic industrial heaviness, the sound really isn't that far removed from the blackened industrial chaos of bands like Gnaw Their Tongues and Aphelion.


ARGENTINUM ASTRUM   Malleus Maleficarum   LP   (Forcefield)    11.98



   The second album from Knoxville, TN black/doom metallers Argentinum Astrum, their first new batch of songs following a self-titled 2008 debut and subsequent one-song EP. Just as on previous releases, Malleus Maleficarum continues the band's propensity towards an almost ascetic presentation for their art, dispensing with lyrics, band info, even track titles; despite the dearth of lyrical info, the record's title and the use of magical symbology all lean towards the presence of occult influences. Musically, though, this is the band's most accomplished material yet.
    The album takes its time getting started, slowly fading into view with a long stretch of mysterious ambient noises and distant midnight whirr. It's suggestive of field recordings of the forest featured on the cover, a swirling sonic murk of distant cries and eerie metallic noise, creaking percussive rhythms and echoing nightlife, the sound slowly threaded with distant organ-like drones and fragments of eerie minor key melody. A lone guitar enters, weaving a lonesome melody in that twilight gloom, and then the band finally crashes in with their tortured, blackened sludge, the tone of the record suddenly shifting into a roiling mass of sonic suffering. From the start, Malleus is more atmospheric than what these guys have done before, the sound more stripped down, with less of the chaotic noisiness that marked their earlier discs. Instead, Argentinum Astrum punish with a ghastly reverb-drenched atmosphere through which their hateful deathsludge lurches and lumbers, slipping gears from slow to slower, a swampy necrotic crawl splattered in squealing, astringent feedback that situates itself somewhere in between the deformed sludge of Eyehategod and the gnarled screeching evil of classic second wave black metal, with some supremely stomping riffage beneath the grim, minor key gloom, slipping from one crushing tarpit riff to the next.
    It's the other two tracks that demonstrate the band's strongest stylistic shift, as they blast off into droning, sinister black metal, each coiled around a series of savage, swarming riffs arranged in an off-kilter manner that gives this stuff a slightly mathy feel at times. This stuff has some great majestic melodies that slowly unfurl from the band's raw black blast and frantic buzzsaw strum, the last song even erupting into a gale of hyperfast melodic tremolo riffs, forming a soaring hook that almost sounds like a rawer, more cavernous Krallice. Strongest material so far from these guys, recorded with a strangely tinny production that makes this sound like it was recorded in some dank culvert on the outskirts of Knoxville. A noticeable evolution from the almost Abruptum-esque abjection of their earlier releases into a distinctly American black metal sound, blended with strong currents of brackish sludge that will no doubt appeal to fans of bands like Lord Mantis and Dragged Into Sunlight.
    Limited to five hundred copies.


ARGENTINUM ASTRUM   self titled (II)   CD   (Anti-Corporate Music Inc.)    8.98



   Perfect timing! Just as we're about to list the new Malleus Maleficarum 12" from Argentinum Astrum that came out recently on Forcefield (the band's first new release in years), a handful of copies of the 2009 EP from this Knoxville, Tennessee necro-sludge outfit surfaced in our stockroom. This long out of print disc was the second release from the band, and has a similar sound as the first track on that new 12", spewing a kind of tortured, blackened doom across one long untitled song that stretches out for nearly twenty minutes long, seething with the band's ugly, filth-encrusted fusion of abject, Khanate-esque sludge and raw black metal violence.
   This nameless exercise in grueling blackened agony opens with a hateful lava-flow of molten downtuned riffage and screeching high-pitched screams, the sound quickly degenerating into a horrific tangle of doom-laden riffs that fracture into gouts of polluted feedback and mangled string noise. It almost begins to venture into the sort of abstract, splintered blackness that Khanate explored, tinges of a kind of demonic psychedelia squirming through the cracked blackened sludge. At least, that's up until the point that the band suddenly swings into a slimy, whiskey-stained groove deeper into the track, unleashing some deranged, bluesy doom that wanders through a haze of warbling synthesizer noise and rumbling bass. From there, Argentinum Astrum's sound continues to mutate, this sprawling noise-addled dirge drifting out into vast fields of demonic drone-doom, where huge waves of Sunn-esque heaviness wash across the backdrop of atmospheric misery that stretches in every direction. Those echoing screams blossom into a chorus of howls and shrieks that are increasingly layered on top of each other, blurred into a choir of the damned, the sound shifting deeper into a rumbling blackened dronescape, smeared in terrible cries of suffering, slipping from surges of that sludgy slow-motion heaviness into violent eruptions of raw, chaotic black metal, as the final moments become swept up in an ice-storm of minor key tremolo shred and droning buzzsaw riffs spilling out over the blastbeat frenzy.
   Just as their latest 12" shifts further into blasting black metal fury, this disc likewise moved further into the realm of black metal than their debut, exchanging some of the deformed Abruptumisms of their previous disc for a slightly more structured sound; it's still pretty chaotic, though, with a sickening , mentally unstable vibe that they use to good effect to bend the listener's brain, as their frantic, fucked-up black doom spreads across this disc like a swarm of sonic pestilence.
Track Samples:
Sample : Untitled
Sample : Untitled
Sample : Untitled



ARTIFICIAL BRAIN   Labyrinth Constellation   LP   (War On Music)    22.00



   Thus far my favorite death metal debut of 2014, Artificial Brain's monstrous sci-fi progdeath nightmare is now available on vinyl from Canadian reissue imprint War On Music, in gatefold packaging with a printed inner sleeve.
   Ever since discovering Voivod's Dimension Hatröss as a kid, I've been more than a little obsessed with the union of heavy metal and science fiction imagery. What could possibly go better together? That fascination later led me to bands like Timeghoul, Nocturnus and Wormed, who all similarly ignited my imagination when I came upon their visions of time-traveling cyborg Christ assassins and nameless quantum horrors set against a backdrop of brutal, progressive death metal. With their debut album Labyrinth Constellation, the New York band Artificial Brain joins the ranks of the cosmically crushing, bringing their sweeping, proggy death metal to far-flung interstellar reaches, combining a complex, prog-infected heaviness with epic melodic flourishes and twisted, horrific imagery. Featuring some killer zomboid galactic warrior artwork from the now ubiquitous Paolo Girardi, Labyrinth blasts some seriously dizzying cosmic death metal from this new group, which features guitarist Dan Gargiulo (from technical death metallers Revocation) and Will Smith, who some of you might recognize from another weird death metal outfit called Biolich that was around for a short period in the mid-aughties.
   Offering a strange combination of nebulous prog-death and putrid sewer-trawling vocals, Artificial Brain definitely don't skimp on sonic brutality. Starting with the rumbling, ultra-heavy downtuned drones that start off opener "Brain Transplant", the band lurches into the contorted death metal assault that dominates the album, an onslaught of complex angular death metal spiked with bursts of unexpected major-key melody, and possessed by an ultra-guttural vocal assault that reaches some pretty outrageous depths of unintelligible throat-destruction, often bursting into insane pig-squeals or frantic, larynx-shredding screams. Those spiraling major key guitar parts are one of the unique aspects of the Brain's brutal bombast, and there's more than once that those chiming, bright guitar parts start to sound like something off of some early 90s math rock record, spidery Slintlike melodies crawling all over the downtuned angular churn. Just as the music seems to spin out into a total blur of jagged discordant riffage and whirlwind blastbeats, though, the Brain will suddenly bring it back into sharp focus by shifting abruptly into one of their stunning melodic riffs, stratospheric, stirring hooks that come ripping out of the warped death assault. Keith Abrami's drumming is another highlight on Labyrinth, delivering a ferocious performance that flows fluidly from rapid-fire thrash tempos to eruptions of roiling double bass to wildly angular and off-kilter time signatures. You can hear a few hints of Obscura-era Gorguts in here, but that discordant skronk is sublimated within the band's churning sludgy heaviness, and they even make some cool use of eerie pipe organ-like textures on a couple songs that help to give this stuff its weird, gothic sci-fi feel, additionally peppered with stretches of otherworldly low-frequency electronic drone and ghostly glitch.
   Technically, this is right up there with some of the more high-profile prog-death albums that have come out recently from Gorguts and Pestilence, one of my favorite albums among the various eccentric death metal offerings I've gotten in at Crucial Blast so far this year, for sure. Highly recommended if you're into the progressive, otherworldly death metal of bands like Demilich, Portal, Gigan, Ulcerate, Mitochondrion, and latter-day Gorguts.
Track Samples:
Sample : Worm Harvester
Sample : Orbital Gait
Sample : Moon Funeral
Sample : Brain Transplant



ATARAXIE   L'Etre Et La Nausee   2 x CD   (Weird Truth)    16.98



  Been awhile since I've listened to these guys, but the latest album from French doom-death beasts Ataraxie quickly reminded me just how soul-crushing this band's music can be. Indeed, their third album L'Etre Et La Nausee is one of the finest new doomdeath albums in recent memory, and finds the band further refining their monstrously heavy sound. Spread out across two discs, Nausee unleashes the sort of sickeningly heavy glacial death metal that Ataraxie have long been known for, but their flirtations with heartbreaking melodies and a skillful use of quieter passages turn this into more than just another grueling slog through the sub-Disembowelment depths.
   As the first track "Procession Of The Insane Ones" slowly unfolds, the band employs a sparse arrangement of clear clanging chords that slowly drift through the gloom, but that quickly crashes into their signature slow-motion crawl as the band's signature glacial death metal sinks in. The singer's ravenous, reverb-drenched howls blow through here in gusts of monstrous agony, billowing throughout the band's bludgeoning doom. This epic opener stretches out for more than twenty minutes, erupting into faster-paced rumbling death metal and descending into effective passages of funereal slowcore, where the heaviness drops away to reveal just the sound of sorrowful reverb-heavy guitars weeping over distant, spacious drums and the singer's half-spoken lamentations. In moments like these, Ataraxie manages to achieve an atmosphere of elegant abject despair that almost compare to Japan's Corrupted, contrasting the violently oppressive weight of their molten metallic crush with moments of maudlin, delicate beauty. And when those emotional, brightly jangling guitars are dropping in over the churning deathmetal, I'm also reminded of some of those early 90s French emo bands like Anomie and Ivich, traces of that sound seemingly seeping into Ataraxie's crushing misery. It's a cool and rather unique touch.
   Later on, Ataraxie accelerate into even more furious blastbeat-riddled power on tracks like "Face The Loss Of Your Sanity", without losing any of that pervasive miserableness, later shifting into an incredibly eerie stretch of apocalyptic jangle, with mathy, almost Slintlike guitars creeping over the drummer's sudden descent into booming, tribal rhythms. Droning dissonant chords slowly build into a majestic climax as the guitars climb to nearly Floydian heights of grandeur over the rumbling amplifier drones and elephantine advance of the rhythm section, followed by a brief sojourn into the instrumental Codeine-esque gloom of "Etats D'Âme".
   The second disc features just two tracks: the relatively shorter "Dread The Villains" unleashes more of their blasting dismal deathcrush, sinister dissonant tremolo riffs suddenly downshifting into pulverizing sludge, then later evolving into sweeping fields of almost kosmische ambience from layered and processed guitar feedback that sound surprisingly synthlike, stretching out in cold black veins of cosmic hum over massive rumbling bass drones. And the nearly half-hour "Nausée" doesn't really achieve any sort of forward momentum until nearly halfway through the song, the behemoth riffage undulating in slow-motion over the punishing glacial pace until it finally heaves forward into a crushing wave of double bass drumming and spidery minor-key guitar, building to an intense climax.
   One of the best current doom-death bands out there, Ataraxie's latest blends a distinctly French feel with their primal, Disembowelment influenced ultra-crush, smothering the listener beneath a dense, cold blanket of bleak downtuned crush, sporadic blast-violence and eruptions of frantic, expressive melancholy melody. Recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Procession of the insane ones
Sample : face the loss of your sanity
Sample : ˙ţNaussée



ATLAS MOTH, THE   The Old Believer   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98



  Chicago psych metallers The Atlas Moth are back at last after a nearly three year wait, and album number three The Old Believer sees 'em focusing their sound into something even more powerful and emotional, while continuing to build upon the spacey, textured heaviness that made their 2011 album An Ache For The Distance so impressive. To flesh out the more ambitious sound of their latest, the band brought in a number of guest musicians ranging from Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier and saxophonist Bruce Lamont of Yakuza, to violinists Kim Pack and Sarah Pendleton (Subrosa) and even former Stabbing Westward guitarist Marcus Eliopulos.
  Opening with the bellowing weather-beaten majesty of "Jet Black Passenger", The Old Believer slowly weaves it's weary magic, blending huge doom-laden riffage and elephantine tempos with layered, complex melodies, a multi-pronged vocal attack that mixes together a killer emotive croon and hair-raising feral screams to excellent effect. The Moth's melodic sludginess has often gotten them compared to bands like Jesu and Nadja, but there's really something different going on here, their sound drawing more from certain gloomy strains of post-hardcore, filtered through a searing psychedelic haze that the band forms from striking guitar work, majestic leads, and some fantastic use of effects. There are moments on this album that oddly remind me more of old favorites like Jawbox and Engine Kid than anything that folks might describe as "metalgaze", though fans of the current wave of doom-laden melodic heaviness are certainly going to find a lot to like about Atlas Moth's latest. And the singer's dramatic croon gives this a really distinctive touch as well, his dour singing bringing an almost gothic feel to the band's monstrous crush. Things take a proggier turn on the lush vibraphone-laced "Halcyon Blvd", one of the album's more subdued tracks, while tracks like "Sacred Vine" slip into a bluesy sort of goth-metal that feels like Fields Of The Nephilim getting shot up with some serious stoner-metal riffage. There's some really cool, understated use of electronics throughout the album, looping synth-like arpeggios and washes of gleaming cosmic drift that appear briefly. This stuff soars.
   And the packaging for the CD edition of Old Believer is stunning all on its own. Using a unique printing process, the removable cover for the album is designed so that the artwork (created by Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature) changes when you run water across the material, the image of a regal snow queen on her throne morphing into something much more sinister - it's one of the coolest things I've seen using this kind of thermal printing for an album package, and you can check out a short video of this neat effect here .
Track Samples:
Sample : Sacred Vine
Sample : Jet Black Passenger
Sample : Blood Will Tell



AUROCH   Taman Shud   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98



    Mitochondrion's 2011 album Parasignosis was one of my favorite death metal albums that came out that year, a warped and blistering assault of avant-garde blackened death that rivaled the likes of Antediluvian, Impetuous Ritual and Adversarial in terms of sheer chaotic brutality. Haven't heard anything from 'em since then, but when the new album from Auroch Taman Shud recently appeared from Profound Lore, I was eager to hear it simply based on the band's connection to Mitochondrion, as they share several members. Though Auroch's sound on Taman is drawn from the same swarming blackened death metal chaos as the members' other band, this album ventures in a different, more technical direction as it sheared my head off.
    This is the second album from the Vancouver, BC crushers, a nine-song mini-album further showcasing their own violent, complex take on technical death metal, which first appeared on the 2011 debut From Forgotten Worlds. It's an impressive display of discordant death-worship, combining traces of the rampaging blackened bestial chaos of the Ross Bay crowd with warped riffage and some moments of excellent eerie melody that add a strange, somewhat mystical atmosphere to parts of Taman Shud. An interesting variation on the complex, monstrous blackened death that has been coming out of the frozen north since the late 80's.
    While blasting this here in the C-Blast office, I'm occasionally reminded of bestial crushers Revenge; there's a similar psychotic feel to the band's frenzied aggro-blast and twisted, skull-scraping riffage, but Auroch interject weird atmospheric touches into their material that take this in a different direction, like the discordant acoustic guitars and subtle didgeridoo drones that surface on the title track. The songs are also infected with bursts of black static and abrasive electronic noise, suddenly diverging into bizarre passages of over-modulated bass guitar slithering through the blackness, or brief interludes of crackling alien ambience. The rabid, two-pronged vocal attack alternates a ferocious, inchoate roar with frantic yelling that appears over some of the record's slower, churning passages, adding to the frenzied feel of Auroch's sonic assault, and the crazed complexity of the riffs and the maniacal shredding solos all snake chaotically throughout these vicious blastscapes, dissonant angular riffs sprouting from the band's convoluted sonic architecture. At times like Gorgutsian tech-death filtered through the bestial violence of Revenge, and bathed in lyrical satanic surrealism and arcane imagery; this album is tough stuff, right up to the closing track "The Balkan Affair" that ends the disc with a brief but intense acoustic guitar piece steeped in an atmosphere of mystery and paranoia.
Track Samples:
Sample : Voice of Gemini
Sample : The Balkan Affair [Instrumental]
Sample : Octavo (Swiling in Capricorn)



BARREN HARVEST   Subtle Cruelties   CD   (Handmade Birds)    11.98



   Subtle Cruelties is the alluring debut from gothic folk duo Barren Harvest, featuring music that is pretty far removed from the sort of harrowing, blackened heaviness I'm accustomed to hearing from member Lenny Smith. With his often terrifying, emotionally abject vocal work for the extreme doom outfit Trees and the blackened, death-rock influenced sludge of Atriarch, Smith's voice serves as a conduit to violent, soul-charring forces, navigating the extremes of human experience. With Barren Harvest, though, Smith joins with Worm Ouroboros member Jessica Way to craft a much more fragile and introspective sound, drawing from dark neo-folk traditions and classic ambient music to evoke a beautifully gloomy atmosphere that moves like slow-drifting storm clouds across the whole of Cruelties.
    Over a somber backdrop of droning synthesizers and gently plucked acoustic strings, the duo trade off their plaintive voices, Way's light, delicate singing winding around Smith's deep drawling baritone, and this vocal interplay is more than a little reminiscent of some of the bleaker late-era Swans material; in those moments when the two singers come together (such as the eerie, heartbreaking "Heavens Age"), this album can be positively bewitching. But while the slow, brooding strum of acoustic guitars are ingrained throughout the album, giving this that vaguely neo-folky feel, it's their use of gleaming synthesizers that's really at the heart of Barren Harvest's gorgeously grim sound. Those folkier elements are mostly infused into the background, obscured by sweeping blacklit synths, bits of acoustic guitar here, some delicate minor key piano there, streaking some songs with the echoing lilt of an autoharp and an Indian stringed instrument called the bulbul tarang, whose metallic buzz drones through some of the album's more solemn moments. Everything is wrapped in a soft crepuscular haze of reverb that definitely contributes to the album's "gothy" vibe, and the songs sometimes drift into a kind of shadowed chamber-pop beauty that can definitely evoke Way's work with Worm Ouroboros, as well as the spectral strains of Amber Asylum. All good reference points for Barren Harvest's orphic ambience, and it's also somewhat like a somnambulant and stoned channeling of White Light From the Mouth of Infinity-era Swans, but draped in sheets of velvety, slowly shifting kosmische keyboards. A beautifully bleak song-suite, richly evocative of an autumnal atmosphere limned in the burnt amber glow of dying sunlight, each note weighted with a deep weariness.
    Available on both limited edition CD and limited vinyl from Handmade Birds, though vinyl enthusiasts should note that the Lp version is a shorter version of the album, missing five tracks featured on the CD.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Bleeding
Sample : Heavens Age
Sample : Claw and Feather



BARREN HARVEST   Subtle Cruelties   LP   (Handmade Birds)    22.00



   Subtle Cruelties is the alluring debut from gothic folk duo Barren Harvest, featuring music that is pretty far removed from the sort of harrowing, blackened heaviness I'm accustomed to hearing from member Lenny Smith. With his often terrifying, emotionally abject vocal work for the extreme doom outfit Trees and the blackened, death-rock influenced sludge of Atriarch, Smith's voice serves as a conduit to violent, soul-charring forces, navigating the extremes of human experience. With Barren Harvest, though, Smith joins with Worm Ouroboros member Jessica Way to craft a much more fragile and introspective sound, drawing from dark neo-folk traditions and classic ambient music to evoke a beautifully gloomy atmosphere that moves like slow-drifting storm clouds across the whole of Cruelties.
    Over a somber backdrop of droning synthesizers and gently plucked acoustic strings, the duo trade off their plaintive voices, Way's light, delicate singing winding around Smith's deep drawling baritone, and this vocal interplay is more than a little reminiscent of some of the bleaker late-era Swans material; in those moments when the two singers come together (such as the eerie, heartbreaking "Heavens Age"), this album can be positively bewitching. But while the slow, brooding strum of acoustic guitars are ingrained throughout the album, giving this that vaguely neo-folky feel, it's their use of gleaming synthesizers that's really at the heart of Barren Harvest's gorgeously grim sound. Those folkier elements are mostly infused into the background, obscured by sweeping blacklit synths, bits of acoustic guitar here, some delicate minor key piano there, streaking some songs with the echoing lilt of an autoharp and an Indian stringed instrument called the bulbul tarang, whose metallic buzz drones through some of the album's more solemn moments. Everything is wrapped in a soft crepuscular haze of reverb that definitely contributes to the album's "gothy" vibe, and the songs sometimes drift into a kind of shadowed chamber-pop beauty that can definitely evoke Way's work with Worm Ouroboros, as well as the spectral strains of Amber Asylum. All good reference points for Barren Harvest's orphic ambience, and it's also somewhat like a somnambulant and stoned channeling of White Light From the Mouth of Infinity-era Swans, but draped in sheets of velvety, slowly shifting kosmische keyboards. A beautifully bleak song-suite, richly evocative of an autumnal atmosphere limned in the burnt amber glow of dying sunlight, each note weighted with a deep weariness.
    Available on both limited edition CD and limited vinyl from Handmade Birds, though vinyl enthusiasts should note that the Lp version is a shorter version of the album, missing five tracks featured on the CD.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Bleeding
Sample : Heavens Age
Sample : Claw and Feather



BASILISK   End Of Catastrophe   CD   (Weird Truth)    12.98



   Despite the fact that the band has been around since 1997, chances are you've never heard of Japanese death-thrashers Basilisk. Formed by former members of the cult Japanese death metal outfit Monarchie Infernale, Basilisk, for some reason, took their sweet time to deliver their first album, with End Of Catastrophe finally materializing well over a decade since they first came together. The end result is pretty killer, though, a blast of eccentric death/thrash that blends together some subtle blackened elements as well as a dose of proggy complexity that reminds me of some of my fave classic prog-thrash outfits. Sort of an anomaly coming from the usually uber-doom obsessed Weird Truth imprint, but this album is well worth checking out if you're into solid but quirky thrash and the sort of offbeat sensibilities that often course through so much Japanese metal. In fact, when you start to leaf through the booklet for Catastrophe, you're confronted by band photos of these spiked and heavily leathered maniacs that look like something out of some bizarro Japanese cyberpunk epic, like amped-up extras from Sōgo Ishii's Burst City, black metal leather and chains and wild-looking spiked headgear cranked up to an absurd level of fashion terror. These guys definitely have a look.
    The music is equally as crazed, opening with the dark soundtrack-esque industrial symphonic rumblings of "Sign Of Baptism" before blasting into a nine song assault of blazing blastbeat-riddled blackthrash, the weirdly drawled vocals sung in Japanese, the songs complex progged-out thrash attacks belted out at supersonic speed. The guitar parts can get pretty crazed, often slipping into wild, almost carnivalesque melodies that most definitely recall some of the earlier Sigh stuff, and the songs surge into weird off-time breakdowns and proggy shredfests, shifting constantly from one dissonant thrash riff or odd off-kilter rhythmic breakdown to the next. Synthesizers add a cold electronic sheen to many of the songs, and bassist Takuya injects some great, nimble-fingered runs and offbeat bass parts in these songs that add another layer of technicality to Basilisk's oblique death-thrash; it's not like he's channeling Steve DiGiorgio or anything, but his performance definitely brings some interesting shading to this stuff. There are a few other tracks of vast cinematic ambience like "Fathomless Depth Crimson Dawn" that are scattered throughout the album, washes of ominous orchestral drift and distant bells breaking through the blast-fury, and there's moments of offbeat riffery, complicated drumming patterns and oddball melody like the middle of "Nosferatu" that's as unexpected and as bonkers as anything from Coroner or Sadus. I definitely had the feeling while listening to this that these guys were a lot more informed by those kinds of 80's prog-thrash greats than contemporary death or black metal, and that vibe makes Basilisk's debut stand out from much of the extreme metal I've been hearing out of Japan lately. They've got a distinct style of their own here, but fans of similarly eccentric Japanese black thrash bands like Abigail and Sigh may find this stuff well worth investigating.
Track Samples:
Sample : Nosferatu
Sample : In Most Septile
Sample : Fathomless Depth Crimson Dawn
Sample : Diabolical My Dark & Muddy Stream



BASTARD NOISE / WITCHES OF MALIBU   split   7" VINYL   (Skull Records)    7.99



   Another new collaborative recording between Eric Wood's amorphous Bastard Noise project and likeminded pals, this 7" features the Skull teaming up with another SoCal outfit called Witches Of Malibu, which turns out to be a new project from Richard Skott of 80's era industrialists Hunting Lodge and space rockers Farflung. Together, these guys blurt out a fantastic blast of monstrous power electronics across the two tracks, which ends up sounding like a bit of a throwback to BN's Rogue Astronaut-era material.
    That sound is exactly what you get with a-side "Abomination", a vicious assault of deformed caveman electronics, Wood's slurred death metal-style growl stretched into an almost somnambulant murmur as he lays out his anti-technology / anti-human screed over the whirring analogue effects and squealing synth noise. That smoldering black noisescape is laced with massive mortar-like blasts and nightmarish goblin-shrieks, the sound continuing to evolve into an ever more evil and disturbing war zone of industrial rumble and foul smoking synthesizer chaos, utter apocalyptic chaos channeled into a five minute blast of electronic hate, Wood's sound generators belching agonies of pained feedback and hellish ghostlike screams. Real bad-dream material here, and one of the band's more terrifying recent efforts. In contrast, the b-side "Infinity Sprung From Glided Machines" is virtually dark ambient, gleaming black obsidian dronescapes stretching out beneath a blasted black sun, washes of grim synthdrift gradually infected with those blasting oscillators and chirping insect electronics, but never straying all that far from that vast black Lustmordian ambience that calmly churns in the depths, the sound slowly evolving into a sinister, psychedelic glitchscape where demented demonic screams echo far in the distance, a primordial galactic deathvision.
    Limited to four hundred copies.


BASTARD NOISE + GUILTY CONNECTOR   Decimation Cycle   7" VINYL   (Utsu Tapes)    8.99



   Decimation Cycle is another older Bastard Noise 7" that recently resurfaced through one of our suppliers, apparently unearthed from somewhere in the depths of Eric Wood's closet. I never had the chance to pick this up when it first came out way back in 2002 on Japanese label Utsu Tapes (run by Guilty Connector's Kohei Nakagawa), and it's been out of print from the label for years, so BN-freaks who've been hunting for this record should probably move quick if they want to get their hands on this. The two-song EP was part of an ongoing line of collaborations between Man Is The Bastard offshoot Bastard Noise and Japanese noise outfit Guilty Connector, a partnership born of a similar sonic aesthetic and attitude that has resulted in a number of recordings; this is definitely one of the more aggressive collabs that the team produced, both sides radiating some pretty vicious electronic hatred.
    Each track is a roughly five minute long maelstrom of frenzied oscillator abuse and extreme electronic noise, roaring distorted static and caustic high-end skree all bleeding together into a mind-melting blast of abstract sonic violence. This definitely finds itself firmly footed in Bastard Noise's signature brand of psychedelic locust-blast electronics and lysergic effects-chaos on the first track "In The Face Of So Vast A Threat", which relentlessly scratches at your cranium with its torrent of sputtering, shrieking noise. But on the second side, the title track shifts into a much more evil sound, with Wood shrieking his horrific visions of apocalyptic extinction over a low, chirping noisescape, this creepy atmosphere punctuated with sudden blasts of extreme glitch, crazed synth squelch and waves of rumbling low-end frequencies that transform this track into a kind of toxic, monstrous power electronics.


BEASTMILK   Climax   LP   (Magic Bullet)    18.98



  Back in stock on limited edition colored vinyl.
One of the best new bands to emerge in the past few years out of this current 80's-era post punk revival is Beastmilk, a Finnish band who appeared in 2010 with their White Stains On Black Tape demo that was later championed by Darkthrone's Fenriz on his Band of the Week blog. It was easy to hear why - these seasoned musicians (which include front-man Kvohst of Code / Hexvessel / Dřdheimsgard, and Juho Goatspeed from the amazing avant-garde black metal band Spiderpact) appeared fully formed, performing a sort of driving, anthemic gloom-rock with a subtle metallic undercurrent and gobs of apocalyptic atmosphere, but with monumental hooks that seemed primed and ready for something arena-sized. Their first full length Climax (now back in stock here at C-Blast) polished that sound even more, delivering ten tracks of infectious, disaffected post-punk that is ridiculously catchy stuff, and which should be heard STAT by anyone into the similarly gloomy, infectious sounds of like-minded bands Vaura, Soror Dolorosa and Hateful Abandon, who all share some sort of distant black metal background. Compared to some of those bands, though, Beastmilk's roots in the Nordic metal underground are barely noticeable here, if at all.
As the propulsive drive of "Death Reflects Us" kicks off Climax with a perfectly crafted blast of soaring gloom-rock, the bass guitar and chiming riffs soar over pounding motorik drumming, the vocals clear and soaring as they ascend to the anthemic hook of the chorus. That anthemic quality is all over this album, the bass guitar WAY out front as it lays down the driving Joy Division-esque lines, fusing their huge hooks to grim visions of a world in rapid collapse and other, more personal ruminations, and Kvohst's Danzig-esque croon is at once both icy and tremulous, layered into striking harmonies at all the right moments. "The Wind Blows Through Their Skulls" paints a bleak portrait of a radioactive nightmare future, as do the likes of "Genocidal Crush" and "Nuclear Winter", nightmarish imagery set to swirling clean guitars and crunchy metallic riffs, handclaps and huge guitar hooks shifting things into a dark majestic pop that often creates an effective contrast with the eruptions of distorted guitar squall and the relentlessly rocking tempo of most of the songs. There are echoes of The Cult and Samhain and Sisters Of Mercy all through this, and there's a bunch of moments on Climax when the band seems to suddenly transform into a vaguely blackened version of Echo And The Bunneymen - with those types of names being dropped, you should have a pretty good idea iof what sort of stuff these guys are doing, though this never sounds like pastiche to me. Songs like "You Are Now Under Our Control", "Surf The Apocalypse" and "Fear Your Mind" will rattle around in your head for days after hearing it, alternating with the slower, brooding atmosphere of songs like "Ghosts Out Of Focus" and "Strange Attractors", the latter featuring guest vocals from Viveca Butler of New York gloom rockers Occultation that closes the album with it's most haunting melody. Beastmilk are unabashed in their fierce devotion to the darkest regions of classic post punk, but they re-envisioned that sound as something much more muscular and malevolent and modern. Despite the deafening amount of hype that has been hovering around this band, it really is pretty fucking great.
Track Samples:
Sample : You Are Now Under Our Control
Sample : Nuclear Winter
Sample : Genocidal Crush



BLACK SUN / THROAT   Crawling Like A Leech / Anal Paranoid   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



   Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
//It's a goddamn shame that Black Sun had to hang it up not long after their installment in this series came out; the Scottish band's brand of Swans-influenced sludge had been a big fave around here, especially with their 2010 album Twilight Of The Gods. Aside from a collaboration with Theologian that had come out the same year as a limited edition cassette, this is the final word from these masters of bleak, tortured heaviness. The crushing evil sludge of their "Crawling Like A Leech" continues to mix their scenes of sexual degradation and abject nihilism with a churning industrial-tinged undercurrent seething beneath the surface, echoes of Filth-era Swans in the churning bottom-heavy riffage and haunting melodies, those layered guitars forming into something grimly beautiful as the song tromps endlessly into the void, a militaristic lust-driven death march into oblivion. On the other side, we get those Finnish noise rock thugs Throat sluggin' us with another blast of their Am Rep-on-steroids clank and crush, via the howling discordant violence of "Anal Paranoid", welding their trademark noisy hysteria to a massive earthshaking sludge riff amid all kinds of clanging harmonics. Total crushing ugliness.


BLEEDEAD   Mustma Dorcheme   CD   (Gore House Productions)    8.99



   This has got to be one of the craziest sounding Japanese death metal bands I've come across. Nagoya-based Bleedead came out of nowhere earlier this year with their debut release Mustma Dorcheme, released by the US label Gore House Productions, and their completely nutzoid tech-death sticks out like a big fat throbbing smashed thumb from the sort of brutal gore-obsessed death metal that the label is known for. Not that Bleedead isn't as infatuated with the scenes of bloody carnage and fleshtorn horror as their labelmates Stages Of Decomposition and Cerebral Engorgement, but they wrap their gore-soaked visions in one of the most insanely crushing and confusional death metal assaults I've heard in ages. This five song, eleven minute EP will seriously scramble your brain.
    Combining complex, discordant riffage and monstrous doom-laden breakdowns with bat-shit bass solos, an almost mechanized drum performance, and a singer who's voice shifts between totally inhuman pig-squeals and an unsettling guttural gasp that gets stretched out into weird sheets of ghastly drone, Bleedead end up taking their tech-death sound into wholly alien territory. Kamada Tomohiro's rigid, precise drumming and hyperspeed blastbeats sometimes give Bleedead's sound a vaguely industrial feel, but the sudden eruptions of shredding bass guitar solos that are scattered all throughout their music sound like something that could have come off of of a modern prog/jazz recording. And when these guys suddenly drop gear into one of their grueling slower dirges, it's just ridiculously heavy. Trying to discern any traditional song structures amongst all of this ultra-violent, cyclonic riff-salad would be futile, and there's almost nothing in the way of memorable riffs or hooks in Bleedead's music, but the sheer brutality and off-kilter complexity that these kids exhibit makes this one of the weirdest, coolest albums of outré death metal that I've picked up this year. If you're into the addicted to the more bizarro fringes of brutal death metal inhabited by the likes of Wormed, Orchdiectomy, Dripping, Devast, and Terminally Your Aborted Ghost, I'm betting that Bleedead's convoluted tech-death insanity is going to be right up your plasma-splattered alley.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţ-˙U˙S˙T˙M˙A˙0$˙O˙R˙C˙H˙E˙M˙E˙
Sample : ˙ţë]€•ˇ_ —O
Sample : ˙ţ)YâSň–



BOAR   You're All Lame Fucks   5" VINYL   (Breaching Static)    6.50



   A maddeningly terse blast of skullshredding noise, You're All Lame Fucks is one of two extremely limited lathe cut records that were recently released by the harsh noise label Breaching Static run by Boar's Alex Nowacki. Boar's Lame Fucks is a snotty, unsubtle blast of confrontational electronic noise that's much more chaotic than the other, more HNW-focused recordings I've stocked from this Midwestern artist. Cut on a clear unlabeled piece of polycarbonate, this features two extremely brief tracks, "There Is No Escape From Yourself" and "Failing, But Who Cares", each one a mere minute long blast of hateful, garbled cut-up noise, filled wildly fluctuating feedback that squeals chaotically across a bed of putrid static, interspersed with weirdly horrific bass-drops and squeaking mechanical noises, bits of juddering anti-rhythmic throb and bursts of monstrous howling skree. Bein' a five inch record and all, this little outrage is over almost before you know it, rolling around in a mess of self-loathing and abject hatred for two minutes and then poof, it's gone...
Track Samples:
Sample : There is no excaping this charm
Sample : Broken Birth,Broken Human



BODY, THE ( + HAXAN CLOAK )   I Shall Die Here   CD   (RVNG Intl.)    13.98



   Each new release from avant-sludge duo The Body sees the band exploring new facets of their sound, experimenting with tone and texture while continuing to root their music in the agonized slow-motion heaviness they unveiled with their self-titled 2004 debut. From collaborations (both live and in studio) with all-girl choirs, to big-band team-ups with the likes of majestic doom metallers Thou, to this recent collaboration with dark UK electronica artist Haxan Cloak, The Body have expanded the boundaries of their music more than most bands of their ilk, reshaping their jagged, molten sludge into ever darker and more adventurous forms.
    Teaming up with British artist Bobby Krlic (aka Haxan Cloak) to produce six crushing tracks of mutated black electronics and skull-pulverizing sludge metal on I Shall Die Here, The Body have rarely sounded quite this terrifying. Each artist's fingerprints disappear into the mix; the opener "To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me" evolves from terrifying, minimal electronic shrieks that resemble the eerie whistling cue from Brad Fiedel's score for Just Before Dawn, into a droning, pulverizing sludge riff carried on saurian tempos, the sound streaked by strange processed screams and pulsating bass tones, shifting into a minimal, almost Kompakt-like technoid throb. From there, the album move further into heavily processed metallic crush, shifting into massive sludge-encrusted dubbed-out heaviness, echoing snares snapping beneath the weight of the severely down-tuned doom riffage, the music breaking apart as creepy vocal samples suddenly take over, or dissipate into stretches of minimal ambience. Chip King's high, blood-curdling shrieks are as panicked as ever, even as the music transforms into a swirling mass of distorted synthesizers and murky processed drum loops, or erupts into a wall of thunderous martial drumming and tribal rhythms. And the disembodied tectonic riffage of "The Night Knows No Dawn" is as massive and earth-rending as anything from Corrupted or Sunn 0))), but that monstrous glacial guitar-churn gets caught in a swarm of thin crackling glitchery and distant choral drift that transform into something much more otherworldly.
    The music that follows gets even stranger, those shrieking electrocuted shrieks sounding out over blasts of fractured bass-heavy electronics and abstract quasi-techno rhythms that have been warped and slowed down into a monstrous doom-laden crawl, then suddenly shifting into a noise-drenched industrial doomdirge, reverberating with bass-heavy detonations and slow, violently off-kilter dubbed-out drums that churn and thud beneath guttural droning guitars. There are moments when the music lurches into an almost pneumatic sort of rhythmic power, an ultra-heavy industrialized throb that feels like some bizarre Wax Trax remix job, and elsewhere you can hear the Haxan Cloak's vintage horror-soundtrack influences seeping into the glitch-riddled, slow-motion crush. On the final song "Darkness Surrounds Us", droning dissonant violin-like sounds introduce the track, joined by eerie female voices and distant swarms of murky noise as it slowly builds to a punishing monotonous doom dirge, that destructive downtuned doom-crush bulldozing its way through a storm of screeching metallic noise and heavily processed feedback, closing the album with a final blast of fearsome electronic chaos.
Track Samples:
Sample : To Carry the Seeds of Death Within Me
Sample : The Night Knows No Dawn
Sample : Our Souls Were Clean



BODY, THE ( + HAXAN CLOAK )   I Shall Die Here   LP   (RVNG Intl.)    16.98



   Each new release from avant-sludge duo The Body sees the band exploring new facets of their sound, experimenting with tone and texture while continuing to root their music in the agonized slow-motion heaviness they unveiled with their self-titled 2004 debut. From collaborations (both live and in studio) with all-girl choirs, to big-band team-ups with the likes of majestic doom metallers Thou, to this recent collaboration with dark UK electronica artist Haxan Cloak, The Body have expanded the boundaries of their music more than most bands of their ilk, reshaping their jagged, molten sludge into ever darker and more adventurous forms.
    Teaming up with British artist Bobby Krlic (aka Haxan Cloak) to produce six crushing tracks of mutated black electronics and skull-pulverizing sludge metal on I Shall Die Here, The Body have rarely sounded quite this terrifying. Each artist's fingerprints disappear into the mix; the opener "To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me" evolves from terrifying, minimal electronic shrieks that resemble the eerie whistling cue from Brad Fiedel's score for Just Before Dawn, into a droning, pulverizing sludge riff carried on saurian tempos, the sound streaked by strange processed screams and pulsating bass tones, shifting into a minimal, almost Kompakt-like technoid throb. From there, the album move further into heavily processed metallic crush, shifting into massive sludge-encrusted dubbed-out heaviness, echoing snares snapping beneath the weight of the severely down-tuned doom riffage, the music breaking apart as creepy vocal samples suddenly take over, or dissipate into stretches of minimal ambience. Chip King's high, blood-curdling shrieks are as panicked as ever, even as the music transforms into a swirling mass of distorted synthesizers and murky processed drum loops, or erupts into a wall of thunderous martial drumming and tribal rhythms. And the disembodied tectonic riffage of "The Night Knows No Dawn" is as massive and earth-rending as anything from Corrupted or Sunn 0))), but that monstrous glacial guitar-churn gets caught in a swarm of thin crackling glitchery and distant choral drift that transform into something much more otherworldly.
    The music that follows gets even stranger, those shrieking electrocuted shrieks sounding out over blasts of fractured bass-heavy electronics and abstract quasi-techno rhythms that have been warped and slowed down into a monstrous doom-laden crawl, then suddenly shifting into a noise-drenched industrial doomdirge, reverberating with bass-heavy detonations and slow, violently off-kilter dubbed-out drums that churn and thud beneath guttural droning guitars. There are moments when the music lurches into an almost pneumatic sort of rhythmic power, an ultra-heavy industrialized throb that feels like some bizarre Wax Trax remix job, and elsewhere you can hear the Haxan Cloak's vintage horror-soundtrack influences seeping into the glitch-riddled, slow-motion crush. On the final song "Darkness Surrounds Us", droning dissonant violin-like sounds introduce the track, joined by eerie female voices and distant swarms of murky noise as it slowly builds to a punishing monotonous doom dirge, that destructive downtuned doom-crush bulldozing its way through a storm of screeching metallic noise and heavily processed feedback, closing the album with a final blast of fearsome electronic chaos.
Track Samples:
Sample : To Carry the Seeds of Death Within Me
Sample : The Night Knows No Dawn
Sample : Our Souls Were Clean



BONG   Live At Roadburn 2010   CD   (Burning World)    14.98



   Finally got this monstrous slab of psychedelic dronecrush back in stock. It's one of the earlier live albums from British narco-psych heavies Bong, featuring massive live renditions of tracks off of their self-titled debut and their Beyond Ancient Space album, "Onward To Perdondaris" and "Wizards Of Krull". The recording was taken from their performance at the 2010 Roadburn Festival, where they unleashed their floor-rattling drone rituals and sprawling sludge jams on what sounds like a small but very enthusiastic gang of amplifier-drone junkies.
   If you already have those albums, you know what to expect: epic, bleary-eyed drone-jams that stretch out for a half hour or more, the music imbued with a strong Indian classical influence, the first track birthed from a murky haze of pulsating bass and soporific sitar and deranged slow-motion blues licks, a thick fog of druggy delirium and endless delay that sprawls out across the whole first half of the disc. A deep dramatic male voice enters in over all of the stoned noodling and low-end rumble, reciting a brief bit of mumbo jumbo seemingly read out of an ancient issue of Weird Tales right before the whole band drops into the massive intoxicated groove that proceeds to dominate the rest of the song. And from there, the first half of their set spreads out into an ever-expanding ocean of drugged-out psychdrone and meandering sitar shimmer, a vast mind-melting dronescape of rumbling bass and slow-motion drumming that continues to struggle to accelerate against that inescapable opiate fog. Creepy liturgical chanting drifts in out of the shadows, for a brief moment resembling some weird cross between Jocelyn Pook's "Masked Ball" and Electric Wizard's utterly wasted and pitch-black Sabbathian crawl. That flows right into "Wizards" on a wave of black cosmic sludge, stretching out the original into an even more spacious and sinister sprawl of sitar-flecked improvised doom that eventually gives way to a monstrous motorik groove, a colossal krautrock-like propulsion that is considerably more driving than the original album version, and is in fact probably the most "rocking" thing I've ever heard from Bong.
    Like everything else that these guys do, this stuff will bore the pants off of more ADD-afflicted listeners, but if you've got a thing for the slowest, heaviest strains of zonked-out black psychedelia, Bong are undoubtedly one of the best, dragging the most droning forms of Hawkwindian cosmic sludge down into a dim, dank abyss of Sunn-like death ragas and blood-cult ceremonies. And like most of the other Roadburn live albums that I've picked up, it's dressed up in a striking digipack package that features artwork and graphic design from Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues / Cloak Of Altering / Aderlating / Mors Sonat infamy.
Track Samples:
Sample : Wizards of Krull
Sample : Onward to Perdondaris



BOSWELL, SIMON   Hardware OST   2 x LP   (Flick Records)    42.00



   Out of all the deluxe vinyl soundtrack reissues that have come out this summer, I was most excited over this new double Lp edition of Simon Boswell's score to the cult early 90s cyberpunk art-splatter film Hardware. The first feature film from visionary director Richard Stanley (who had previously cut his teeth on acclaimed documentary work and music videos for The Fields Of The Nephilim), Hardware is still one of my all-time favorite films from the early 90s, a stylish, splattery cyberpunk nightmare about a piece of lethal military robotics that ends up in the possession of a metal sculptor, then proceeds to reactivate inside of her apartment and go on a spree of death and destruction. Hardware featured a heady mix of psychedelic visuals, some wonderfully stylized visions of a near-future hellscape, a pounding post-punk soundtrack that featured songs from Ministry and Public Image Ltd., and some seriously gnarly death sequences that included copious robotic skull-shredding and bisection by pneumatic door. Yikes!
    If you've seen Hardware, you already know that much of the film's power is derived from Simon Boswell's unique score, a mixture of moody Spaghetti Western soundtrack influences, harsh industrial textures, and fearsome orchestral sounds that Boswell had perfected with his previous work in the horror genre with Italian directors Argento, Soave and Bava. The film's music manages to be at once sorrowful and unsettling, and remains one of the most distinctive sci-fi/horror scores from the era. Boswell's opening title theme, which played out over scenes of a nameless "zone tripping" desert crawler dressed in black (played by Fields Of The Nephilim frontman Carl McCoy) first unearthing the dreaded M.A.R.K.-13, is a perfect mood setter, introducing the film's doom-laden atmosphere and twisted sensibilities with a mixture of cold futuristic synth ambience, gorgeous slide guitar twang, and swelling, ominous string sections, the bleak ambient backdrop punctuated with bursts of terrifying digital noise. As the score progresses, the music continues to nurture Stanley's ever-present vibe of impending doom, with orchestral strings laid over bone-rattling synth bass and gleaming electronic drones, while bits of other sounds take on a malevolent cast, like the tinkle of a child's music box. Electronic riffs on Indian classical sitar music are entwined around those twangy electric guitars on tracks like "Acid Meditation", and elsewhere Boswell layers his synthesizers and minimal electric guitar into skin-crawling episodes of mounting tension , smearing the grim ambience with heavily processed blasts of squealing jazz horns or dissonant orchestral samples. Otherworldly tracks like "Droid Attack" and "Shower " employ harshly arranged synthetic orchestral samples and choral voices, while the stunning black majesty of "Feathers" has a soaring, almost Floydian feel with its streaks of bluesy guitar, and the grim New Agey beauty of "Herbal" rides on waves of lush synthdrift.
    It's an extremely experimental score, drawing heavily from industrial and electronic music to evoke an overwhelming sense of despair and hopelessness, and is as perfect a soundtrack to a ruined earth as I've heard. Never before released on vinyl, Boswell's Hardware has been reissued by Flick in a comprehensive, deluxe double LP set that contains both a "clean" version of the score without any dialogue, and a version that includes effects and dialogue from the film, as well as the radio spots from Iggy Pop's DJ Bob and dialogue from Motorhead frontman Lemmy, and some cool spoken word pieces featuring the voice of director Stanley that ultimately didn't appear in the film. The records are beautifully packaged in a heavyweight gatefold jacket with printed innersleeves, with artwork from the great Graham Humphreys and liner notes from both Boswell and Stanley, issued in a limited edition of one thousand copies.


BOTANIST   III: Doom In Bloom   2 x CD   (Total Rust)    14.98



    The third album from this unique San Francisco botanical metal outfit has been released on limited-edition vinyl for the first time, a double LP pressed on black vinyl and housed in gatefold packaging, limited to three hundred fifty copies. We also just restocked the original double CD release on TotalRust, which features an entire second disc of additional material from other bands featuring Botanist's Otrebor on drums.
    There was never a moment where you could confuse Botanist with a typical black metal outfit. From the beginning, this San Francisco based one-man band crafted a wholly unique sound, taking signature elements of black metal and reshaping them using just drums and dulcimer into something new, a dissonant, ethereal sound shot through with shockingly pretty melodies that at times could remind me of old NY noise rock outfits like Band Of Susans more than anything "blackened". Main member Otrebor tied that unusual dulcimer-draped sound to an aggressive eco-consciousness, explored through a surreal fantasy world where plant life becomes the dominant life form, a concept that has expanded over the course of each new album. The combination of all of this produces one of the weirdest (and coolest) things to come out of the fringes of the US black metal underground.
    On Botanist's third album Doom In Bloom, Otrebor again shifted his approach, moving into even more melodically-rich directions from the previous releases. The seven songs come across more like some blackened, funereal post-rock, the music much slower than before, with a mournful atmosphere descending across all of these long sprawling songs. His drumming takes on a more deliberate, stately feel, with expressive percussive touches underscoring the wistful tone of the dulcimer's steel-strung melodies; there's a strong contrast with the more frenzied, pell-mell pacing of his earlier albums. Some of the songs on Bloom stretch out for twelve minutes or more, dark mournful arrangements of emotional melody shifting into waves of rumbling double-bass and chant like singing, opening up into passages of hushed piano and aching instrumental beauty. As always, the distinctive clang of the dulcimer brings an unusual folky feel, but the riffs are more muted, the "doom" aspect suggested at in the album's title materializing through the creeping dread of tracks like "Deathcap". There's a funerary vibe as well, turning some of this stuff into intensely melancholy, folk-flecked drone rock, and elsewhere the sound swells into a strange combination of neo-folk pomp and dark post-rock grandeur. What little residue of black metal remains is mainly heard in the vocals, a weird wheezy croak buried down in the mix, sometimes exploding into monstrous screeching, or reduced to a nervous, tremulous whisper; it's all an abrasive counterpoint to the gorgeous, shadow-stained darkness of the music. Fantastic stuff.
    The second disc with the double CD version of Bloom is an entirely separate beast. Titled Allies, it's a collection of material from other bands aligned with Botanist, each song using drum recordings that were created for the original album session. Appropriately, this stuff expands further on Botanist's flora-centric themes, but with quite a bit of variety between the various projects. The disc is book-ended with tracks from the obscure outfit Matrushka, who opens and closes the album with waves of minimal glitch and scrape, each a dark, dimly lit piece of industrial murkiness that feels akin to some of the more ambient early Bianchi recordings, but with the addition of distant growling vocals, soft whorls of backwards sound, and far-off pulses of black kosmische energy. From there, though, the bands offer up varying brands of metallic crush: the band Cult Of Linnaeus erupts into a long slow blast of gloomy deathdoom with their song "The War Of All Against All", slipping briefly from their leaden heaviness into stretches of choral mystery and washes of interstellar electronic texture; Trans-Atlantic black metallers Ophidian Forest deliver an impressive piece of mid-paced black metal majesty ("Total Entarchy") that seems to draw as much from latter-day Swans as it does from the frostbitten charge of classic black metal, draping it's slightly murky, vaguely industrialized rumble in symphonic ambience and stirring, folk-flecked melodies; On "It Lives Again", Arborist stomp out a strange, frantic form of folk dirge, heavy drums pounding behind the plaintive strum of acoustic guitars and the howl of some seriously wrecked slide guitar, bits of sorrowful piano melody rising behind the despairing vibe put forth by the singer's anguished, acrid howl - when the song suddenly erupts into a kind of powerful doom-laden blues stomp in it's second half, it turns into one of the most impressive moments on the album, almost akin to a more wretched and skuzzy version of the country-laced heaviness heard on that last Neurosis album; And Bestiary, made up of members of The Human Quena Orchestra and Grayceon teaming up with Otrebor, dredges up some killer gothic-tinged doom, with lovely female vocals drifting across the grim, grinding sludge.
    My favorite of all of these, though, is Lotus Thief's "Nymphaea Carulea". Another project from Botanist's Otrebor, this has him teaming up with a woman by the name of Bezaelith, the duo creating some seriously stirring dreampop-laced blackened power, and "Nymphaea" is a stunning example, the song crafted around a soaring, dreamy vocal hook and waves of gorgeous ethereal sound, but shot through with aggressive drumming and an undeniable black metal influence that is perfectly balanced with the stunning melodies, like some strange combination of Cocteau Twins and classic Nordic blackness. Can't wait to hear more from this band.
Track Samples:
Sample : Quoth Azalea, The Demon (Rhododendoom II)
Sample : Panax



BOTANIST   III: Doom In Bloom   2 x LP   (Favonian)    24.98



    The third album from this unique San Francisco botanical metal outfit has been released on limited-edition vinyl for the first time, a double LP pressed on black vinyl and housed in gatefold packaging, limited to three hundred fifty copies. We also just restocked the original double CD release on TotalRust, which features an entire second disc of additional material from other bands featuring Botanist's Otrebor on drums.
    There was never a moment where you could confuse Botanist with a typical black metal outfit. From the beginning, this San Francisco based one-man band crafted a wholly unique sound, taking signature elements of black metal and reshaping them using just drums and dulcimer into something new, a dissonant, ethereal sound shot through with shockingly pretty melodies that at times could remind me of old NY noise rock outfits like Band Of Susans more than anything "blackened". Main member Otrebor tied that unusual dulcimer-draped sound to an aggressive eco-consciousness, explored through a surreal fantasy world where plant life becomes the dominant life form, a concept that has expanded over the course of each new album. The combination of all of this produces one of the weirdest (and coolest) things to come out of the fringes of the US black metal underground.
    On Botanist's third album Doom In Bloom, Otrebor again shifted his approach, moving into even more melodically-rich directions from the previous releases. The seven songs come across more like some blackened, funereal post-rock, the music much slower than before, with a mournful atmosphere descending across all of these long sprawling songs. His drumming takes on a more deliberate, stately feel, with expressive percussive touches underscoring the wistful tone of the dulcimer's steel-strung melodies; there's a strong contrast with the more frenzied, pell-mell pacing of his earlier albums. Some of the songs on Bloom stretch out for twelve minutes or more, dark mournful arrangements of emotional melody shifting into waves of rumbling double-bass and chant like singing, opening up into passages of hushed piano and aching instrumental beauty. As always, the distinctive clang of the dulcimer brings an unusual folky feel, but the riffs are more muted, the "doom" aspect suggested at in the album's title materializing through the creeping dread of tracks like "Deathcap". There's a funerary vibe as well, turning some of this stuff into intensely melancholy, folk-flecked drone rock, and elsewhere the sound swells into a strange combination of neo-folk pomp and dark post-rock grandeur. What little residue of black metal remains is mainly heard in the vocals, a weird wheezy croak buried down in the mix, sometimes exploding into monstrous screeching, or reduced to a nervous, tremulous whisper; it's all an abrasive counterpoint to the gorgeous, shadow-stained darkness of the music. Fantastic stuff.
Track Samples:
Sample : Quoth Azalea, The Demon (Rhododendoom II)
Sample : Panax



BREMEN   Second Launch   2 x LP   (Blackest Ever Black)    33.98



   The amazing second album of malevolent, void-gazing space rock from Bremen, a Swedish duo that features Lanchy from hardcore legends Totalitär and scum-punk gods Brainbombs. Like the title suggests, Second Launch sees the band returning to the interstellar void with this new collection of sprawling, hypnotic drone-rock trances, each one stretching out for ten minutes or more as the music spills out across throbbing two-note bass riffs and wailing, delay-streaked guitar, the sound tumbling through the starlit blackness, suspended above the drummer's slow, steady, almost motorik beat, as the band chases after some sort of ego-obliteration in the face of the unfathomable immensity of space. That opening song "Entering Phase Two" alone had me glazing over completely, the simple, ominous cosmic howl sounding like some stripped-down, intensely sinister version of Hawkwind, fading in and out of view as waves of solar whoosh and glimmering organs sweep over the hypnotic ticktock pulse.
    The rest of Launch is just as goddamn terrific as that opener, from there drifting further out into the cosmos into washes of gorgeously glistening vibrato and warm organ pulse found on "Hollow Wave", singing with clusters of twinkling piano, and then into swells of murky orchestral drift and bursts of deep-space radio fuzz, lush guitar chords slowly ringing out over fragile music-box melodies, down through the spacious whirr of "Static Interferences" that slips into even vaster, more kosmische realms of lush synthdrone. The atmosphere on Launch dances between vast cosmic mystery and a darker, more dread filled feeling of wonder, locking into mesmeric looping ambience and moody, Western-tinged guitars, glitchy keyboard sounds scattered across the emptiness like fragments of communication signals. There's huge stretches of the album where the music drops away from any kind of percussive propulsion, so that when the minimal pulse of the drums do finally reappear, their sudden presence injects an immediate feeling of tension into the music; when the brief krautrock blast of "Sweepers" drifts in halfway through the album, it brings with it a sense of grim urgency that makes it one of the album's more memorable moments, even though the thing is only a couple minutes long. Elsewhere, Bremen's use of those soft, lush washes of tangy Western guitar almost seems to evoke Pentastar-era Earth, as do the softly chugging mono-riffs and noodly synths that hover over these swirling gyres of black-hole drift and repetitious church organs, like some kind of blues-stained Lynchian space rock. And on songs like the lovely lunar psychedelia of "Walking The Skies" or the elegant gothic glow of "Voxnan", or those gorgeous Badalamenti-like strings that shimmer across the closer "Sun Son", you'd be easily forgiven for forgetting that this came from one of the guys behind the dreaded 'Bombs. It's a far cry from the abject sludge-punk of those guys, though not without it's own simmering darkness. Comes in gatefold packaging.


BROKEN CROSS   Secret Destruction   7" VINYL   (Apocalyptic Visions)    5.99



   Finally, the follow-up to that killer debut 7" that this weirdo Swedish metallic punk outfit put out last year on Holy Terror, the label run by Integrity frontman Dwid (who also handled the sleeve design for this record). This latest slab of demonic metalpunk from Broken Cross delivers another four tracks of vicious, mind-bending blackened hardcore, still steeped in that strange mixture of catchy metallic riffage and fucked-up low-fi weirdness that made the band's Anti Human Life one of my favorite 7"s to surface on the Holy Terror imprint. It's just as catchy as the previous material, mixing warped G.I.S.M.-esque metallic punk and soaring heavy metal solos with those bizarre growling, slobbering vocals that are run through a cloud of delay and echo effects, the vocals a layered mess of weirdo monotone speak-sing and froglike croaks and other, more inhuman utterances, which combined with the crazy delay abuse that the band employs gives this stuff a decidedly psychedelic feel. All of these songs are catchy, anthemic blasts, "Temple Of Violation" and "Justice Squad" all ripping mid-tempo blasts of aggression, smeared in spacey effects and the effluvium of various malfunctioning loop pedals; there's also some of that bizarre quasi-industrial sound that the first EP had, via the slurred militant stomp of "Assassin's Anthem", which blends a strange almost industrial feel with a guitar lead that sounds like if was lifted right off of the score to Phantasm, a steady pounding clanking rhythm repeating endlessly beneath that eerie melody and sheets of grinding distorted noise. And the closer "Secret Destruction" sounds like mid-90's era Integrity slathered in an extra heavy dose of trippy effects and low-fi percussive stomp, and infested with a legion of demonic voices all raving and gnashing their teeth at the same time. I seriously can't get enough of this band.
Track Samples:
Sample : Secret Destruction
Sample : Assassin's Anthem
Sample : Temple of Violation



BURNING LOVE / FIGHT AMP   The Body / Shallow Grave   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



   Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
    This sixth entry in Hell Comes Home's 7" series features alternate versions of album tracks from Canadian punk outfit Burning Love, the current band from Chris Colohan of Cursed / Left For Dead / Ruination, teamed up with one of the best neo-noise rock outfits out there, Philly's Fight Amp. Those guys are on of my favorite current bands in this field, bringing an added level of ferocity and metallic crunch to their Am Rep-influenced sound; you can tell these guys have spent an inordinate amount of time blasting out the Dope-Guns-'N-Fucking In The Streets series on whatever rundown stereo they've got sparking away in the bowels of some inner city gutter fortress, but they've filtered those influences into something much heavier.
    But Burning Love are up first, with a really impressive performance of their own. The gorgeous weeping of a lap steel guitar starts "The Body", that dreamy opening washing over you just as the band suddenly launches into their burly blazing rock, sounding like a more aggressive, punkier Kyuss to my ears, all crushing desert rock groove and sludgy powerchord crunch fused to Colohan's gruff singing and the ringing melodic guitars; dunno why I've been snoozing on this band up until now, but this song is pretty rippin', rocking and furious but with a stoned heaviness that fans of the aforementioned Kyuss, Fu Manchu and even Goatsnake would probably find fairly irresistible.
    It gets substantially more aggro over on the Fight Amp side, their "Shallow Grave" a downtuned noise rock crusher in the band's trademark sludgy style, channeling the massive mean-spirited churn of bands like Unsane and Melvins into a more crazed, fast-paced assault, sinister dissonant guitars and gluey riffs grinding out over the off-kilter angular grooves that the rhythm section hammers out. Ugly, ugly stuff that's not without a certain level of catchiness.


CADAVER IN DRAG   Breaking And Entering   CASSETTE   (Husk Records)    5.98



   The final full-length release from this ramshackle psychedelic noise rock outfit out of Kentucky, which featured Josh Lay from the primitive, low-fi black metal project Glass Coffin. Released as a super-limited pro-manufactured cassette, Breaking And Entering was recorded back in 2009 but only finally surfaced sometime in the past year, the first new batch of stuff I'd heard in ages from this cult Midwestern outfit; this stuff is still as blown-out and ugly as their older releases, but when this tape kicks off, it's with a huge motorik groove that sends this into an unexpectedly krautrocky direction, a discordant hypno-boogie that circles endlessly throughout the track. Almost like a more wretched and wrecked low-fi, no-wave-tinged version of Circle or Religious Knives, perhaps, this pulsating tick-tock psych groove is smeared with warbling keyboard drones and jangling atonal chords, slowly evolving into that shambling, heavy-lidded motorik trance as it stretches out for more than thirteen minutes. Pretty killer, but from there the music starts to more closely resemble the mutant sludge-metal that I remember from their Raw Child album.
    The rest of the tape is way more deformed, from shambling brain-damaged noise-punk dirges that resemble a much more discordant and deranged Flipper wandering aimlessly through a thick fog of random psychedelic guitar splutter, bumbling free-jazz horns and gales of howling feedback; to waves of blown-out bass-heavy speakerbuzz and Skullflowery amplifier destruction that undulate over trippy, sky-streaking electronics; to blasts of skull-warping kosmische murk; throbbing, charred power electronics, and violent blasts of snarling noise rock, rabid pig-fuck assaults that unravel into squealing, squawking dirges infested with damaged horn blasts, spastic drumming, gluey riffage, and gobs of wah-drenched guitar noise that eventually lead the song out into an almost Hawkwindian psych-rock finale. Quite a curtain call from this cadre of cacophonous creeps! Limited to one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Taking A Ride
Sample : Buy A Gun
Sample : Died In His Sleep



CARPATHIAN FOREST   Black Shining Leather (Super Jewel Case Edition)   CD   (Peaceville)    12.98



We now have the European "super jewel box" version of this pervo black metal classic in stock...
Carpathian Forest have long been one of my favorite of all of the Norwegian black metal outfits, a gang of frost-encrusted perverts and provocateurs whose music has often straddled the most barbaric sounds of raw second wave black metal and an demented disposition towards experimentation that would litter their demos and albums with everything from icy kosmische electronic soundscapes to the appearance of crazed darkjazz saxophones to covers of classic early 80s post-punk. From their early, more primitive efforts that were heavily influenced by the sludgy blackened heaviness of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost to their more recent, offbeat black metal hallucinations, the music of Carpathian Forest has been consistently hateful, savage, and adventurous, an instant recipe for adulation here at C-Blast. Several of the band's older titles have recently been reissued on vinyl by their current label Peaceville, which led me to track down both those and a number of assorted other Carpathian Forest releases for inclusion in the C-Blast shop; this is all vicious stuff, a sludgy and hateful black metal assault laced with a unique strain of Nordic weirdness, presented to you for further investigation...
Now reissued in a new 2013 vinyl edition on 180 gram wax (and back in stock on CD, reissued a while back by Peaceville in digipack packaging), Carpathian Forest's 1998 debut album Black Shining Leather is where things really started to get sick. Originally released through Avantgarde Music, the album blended murky samples of hardcore pornography and BDSM films along with pungent bondage imagery, and boasts an unusually heavy bass guitar presence that gave this a much heavier sound than the usual blast of Nordic frost. Leather kicks off with the lusty black ambience of the title track before hurtling into the initial blast of raw, barbaric black metal, the song rife with savage thrash riffs and some wicked tempo changes; when these guys suddenly downshift from their ripping fast-paced thrash into one of their signature black n' roll sequences, it's absolutely ferocious. They also layer their raw ragged blackened violence with some off-kilter synthesizer sounds on this album that add a diseased, delirious atmosphere to this and subsequent songs. Tracks like "The Swordsmen" gallop and thrash through the black blizzard-visions, laced with passages of haunting kosmische synthesizer drift and shifting from there into equally eerie sounding stretches of symphonic-tinged blackness, while the likes of "Death Triumphant" plunge into slower, more doom-laden tempos and passages of anguished heaviness. The orchestral war-drums that introduce "Lunar Nights" heads into the sort of crawling, synth-smeared sludge that Carpathian Forest's demos were known for, before lurching into one of the album's most crushing passages of Wagnerian boogie. The loping black metal of "Sadomasochistic" drips with Sadeian imagery and seething bloodlust, and the band's taste for electronic synthcreep emerges again on "Lupus", a short piece of sleek neon-tinged synthesizer music laced with soft malevolent whispers and swirling horror movie atmospherics that start to edge into Goblin territory. More black n' roll terror and crushing bass-heavy blackened blast is found on "Pierced Genitalia" and "In Silence I Observe"; on "Third Attempt", vicious Frostian crush mixes with washes of dark electronic texture a la Klaus Schulze, and haunting classical acoustic guitars lilt behind waves of crushing riffage and the kosmische keyboards that billow out over the woozy, waltzing lurch of "The Northern Hemisphere". The very last song is one of the most interesting, though: Carpathian Forest close this album with their cover of The Cure's "A Forest", and it's a surprisingly faithful rendition of this classic post-punk song; the band stays true to the structure and feel of the original while incorporating some of their strange little touches to transform this into something unique, the distorted guitar rendered into a shimmering corroded pulse in the background, the motorik throb of the drums ticktocking deep in the mix, sometimes washing out into a bleary indistinct beat as the clean, reverb-drenched guitars grow more dissonant as it slowly fades off into the dark woodland shadows...
Track Samples:
Sample : Sadomasochistic
Sample : Lunar Nights
Sample : Black Shining Leather
Sample : A Forest



CARPENTER, JOHN   The Fog (Blakes Gold Edition)   2 x LP   (Death Waltz)    35.00



   Finally back in stock (and now completely out of print, sold out from the source), and finally reviewed: the Death Waltz reissue of John Carpenter's wonderfully spooky score to his 1980 nautical ghost story The Fog, a loving homage to the classic ghost stories of MR James and Arthur Machen that is jolted with doses of shocking 80's era violence and gruesome special effects. Thirty years later, The Fog still continues to be one of Carpenter's most overlooked films, but I'm of the opinion that it's one of his best, an intensely atmospheric and often deeply creepy tale of a shipwrecked crew returning from their watery grave to wreak vengeance on the denizens of the seaside town of Antonio Bay, whose ancestors originally sent the ghastly crew to their doom.
    Carpenter's score for The Fog was substantially different from his other, more minimalist electronic scores from the era, and is one of his most expansive and understated works. Blending together piano and synthesizer with sonic textures that evoke the isolation of the doomed coastal town, the music for The Fog is permeated with a mournful, accursed vibe; in place of the minimal pulsating drum machines and searing nocturnal synthesizers that one usually associates with Carpenter, this goes for a much moodier, more gothic feel as it works to evoke the eldritch feel of Carpenter's old-fashioned ghost story. The record starts off perfectly with the opening sequence of John Houseman's character recounting the tale of the Elizabeth Dane to a group of children, and from there moves on to the score itself, the main theme crafting an exquisitely creepy atmosphere of dread and sorrow as it interweaves pipe organ-like tones and Carpenter's signature minimal synthesizer style. Subsequent tracks skillfully employ hushed, echoing rhythms and minimal percussive patterns with his utterly gloomy piano theme and dark, droning keys, these sounds growing ever more dreadful and malevolent as the score progresses, a briny blighted ambience unfolding over distant bathysphere clanks, monstrous distorted rumblings and swirling stygian drift churning in the depths, fearsome sheet-metal reverberations and ominous, plaintive piano chords pulsing in the deep, surrounded by swirls of ghoulish electronic effects, and swells of nightmarish orchestral terror and ghostly organ peal like foghorn blasts through the dread mist, answered by the far off lonely cry of a distant buoy. Later in the score, these sounds build into pulse-pounding sequences of ghostly pursuit and murder, synth chords resembling the steady inexorable tolling of a bell, drifting into dread-filled passages of gothic pipe organ and deep, malevolent bass throb. Definitely a classic Carpenter score that showcased another side to his unique style, The Fog also works surprisingly well on its own as a musical piece, the length and expansiveness of the tracks turning this into a fantastic slab of ghostly, funereal ambient music.
    The second version of Carpenter's score to be released by Death Waltz, this "Blake's Gold Edition" is a 180 gram double LP set pressed on gold vinyl, released in a limited edition of one thousand copies and housed in a heavyweight gatefold jacket with fantastic ghastly album art from Dinos Chapman and liner notes from Carpenter himself, the two records featuring both the original movie score as well as a host of musical cues from the film that have never been previously made available on vinyl.


CAULDRON BLACK RAM   Stalagmire   CD   (20 Buck Spin)    10.98



   Back in stock. To be honest, pirate-themed heavy metal isn't something I'm going to get too excited over. Talk about a concept that has been played out in metal circles; leave me those early Running Wild albums, and I think I'm good. But quirky Australian death metallers Cauldron Black Ram manage to take that now timeworn pirate obsession and turns it into something genuinely grim and gruesome, immersing their old-school death in visions of violent sea-faring piracy and creaking nautical horror, crafting an atmosphere on their albums that feels more like something torn from the pages of a William Hope Hodgson story. And all without a single fucking sing-along shanty in sight, thank Christ. Much like labelmates Vastum, Cauldron Black Ram (who also features members of Mournful Congregation, Martire, and Stargazer) don't try to radically reshape traditional death metal, but rather imbue that classic old-school sound with enough of their own unique personality and imagery to create something that still manages to come across as totally their own.
    The Ram's third album Stalagmire picks right up where they left off with their previous LP, dragging the listener through nine tracks of dank, barbaric death metal, the songs rife with thunderous double-bass battery and double-time thrashing violence, descending into crawling doom-laden heaviness and strange chorus-drenched sludge, the guitarists lashing the downtuned grave-slime with chaotic leads and maniacal soloing, their massive, sometimes angular riffs driving through the dank bass-heavy murk, cutting monstrous morbid grooves throughout the whole album. Fucking killer stuff, and it's not all moldering ghastly cave-sludge, either; the Ram whip out some wicked old-school metal on songs like "Fork Through Pitch", "Cavern Fever" and "Bats", slipping from churning blast-violence and primal thrash into Maidenesque guitar harmonies, the tunes possessed with all kinds of infectious, anthemic power, with some of the catchier songs locking into some seriously rocking mid-tempo death metal. Even at it's lowest and most punishing, Stalagmire keeps going back to that strong melodic undercurrent, and some of this sort of reminds me of old-schoolers Deceased, hewing to an early interpretation of death metal more rooted in a classic thrash aesthetic. The heavy doses of off-kilter phrasing and quirky songwriting keep this stuff from ever getting too predictable though, like the shambling off-time death-lurch that puts "The Devils Trotters" all off balance, and there are neat atmospheric touches like the rhythmic cadence of clanking chains that lends a ghostly vibe to "From Whence The Old Skull Came", and the solemn chant like backing vocals that are scattered throughout the album. Like some seaweed-tangled cross between aforementioned death metallers Deceased and the sepulchral deathsludge of Autopsy, this stuff seeps with an atmosphere of sea-faring evil even as it flattens you with it's cavernous metallic crush. Killer.
Track Samples:
Sample : Speliogenesis
Sample : Fork Through Pitch
Sample : A Litany of Sailors Sins



CAULDRON BLACK RAM   Stalagmire   LP   (20 Buck Spin)    19.99



   Back in stock. To be honest, pirate-themed heavy metal isn't something I'm going to get too excited over. Talk about a concept that has been played out in metal circles; leave me those early Running Wild albums, and I think I'm good. But quirky Australian death metallers Cauldron Black Ram manage to take that now timeworn pirate obsession and turns it into something genuinely grim and gruesome, immersing their old-school death in visions of violent sea-faring piracy and creaking nautical horror, crafting an atmosphere on their albums that feels more like something torn from the pages of a William Hope Hodgson story. And all without a single fucking sing-along shanty in sight, thank Christ. Much like labelmates Vastum, Cauldron Black Ram (who also features members of Mournful Congregation, Martire, and Stargazer) don't try to radically reshape traditional death metal, but rather imbue that classic old-school sound with enough of their own unique personality and imagery to create something that still manages to come across as totally their own.
    The Ram's third album Stalagmire picks right up where they left off with their previous LP, dragging the listener through nine tracks of dank, barbaric death metal, the songs rife with thunderous double-bass battery and double-time thrashing violence, descending into crawling doom-laden heaviness and strange chorus-drenched sludge, the guitarists lashing the downtuned grave-slime with chaotic leads and maniacal soloing, their massive, sometimes angular riffs driving through the dank bass-heavy murk, cutting monstrous morbid grooves throughout the whole album. Fucking killer stuff, and it's not all moldering ghastly cave-sludge, either; the Ram whip out some wicked old-school metal on songs like "Fork Through Pitch", "Cavern Fever" and "Bats", slipping from churning blast-violence and primal thrash into Maidenesque guitar harmonies, the tunes possessed with all kinds of infectious, anthemic power, with some of the catchier songs locking into some seriously rocking mid-tempo death metal. Even at it's lowest and most punishing, Stalagmire keeps going back to that strong melodic undercurrent, and some of this sort of reminds me of old-schoolers Deceased, hewing to an early interpretation of death metal more rooted in a classic thrash aesthetic. The heavy doses of off-kilter phrasing and quirky songwriting keep this stuff from ever getting too predictable though, like the shambling off-time death-lurch that puts "The Devils Trotters" all off balance, and there are neat atmospheric touches like the rhythmic cadence of clanking chains that lends a ghostly vibe to "From Whence The Old Skull Came", and the solemn chant like backing vocals that are scattered throughout the album. Like some seaweed-tangled cross between aforementioned death metallers Deceased and the sepulchral deathsludge of Autopsy, this stuff seeps with an atmosphere of sea-faring evil even as it flattens you with it's cavernous metallic crush. Killer.
Track Samples:
Sample : Speliogenesis
Sample : Fork Through Pitch
Sample : A Litany of Sailors Sins



CHARRED REMAINS AKA MAN IS THE BASTARD   Backwards Species   7" VINYL   (Deep Six)    5.98



   The latest in a steady stream of vinyl reissues of early Man Is The Bastard recordings that have been pouring out of the vaults over at Deep Six; this 7" resurrects Charred Remains/Man Is The Bastard's 1992 EP Backwards Species, which had originally come out on the German label Ecocentric Records, the hallowed hardcore/noise imprint run by Matthias Weigand of Seven Minutes Of Nausea. The EP was eventually included on the CD collection D.I.Y.C.D. that Deep Six did, but it hasn't been available on vinyl in years. At last back in print in its original form, this reissue retains the same sleeve and insert design as the original release.
    It's one of the earliest recordings from Man Is The Bastard, seven songs of brutal powerviolence featuring the band's signature mix of technical riffs played by two bass guitars, oddball, prog-damaged arrangements, guttural beast-shrieks and blasting percussion that still doesn't sound like any other band. The EP kicks off with the mathy, angular hardcore of instrumental "Ether Rag (Permanent Smile)", then proceeds to blast through another six songs of complex bass-heavy hardcore and lurching weirdness, short eruptions of convoluted bass crush and odd time signatures, the songs careening between stretches of bludgeoning slow-motion power and surges of hyperspeed blast, while vocalist/bassist Eric Wood belts out his hateful anti-human screeds in that barbaric guttural roar of his, the songs slathered in abrasive noise, the tone utterly belligerent. Tracks like "Justice Is Swift (Jack)" more resembling some maniacal version of Nomeansno's progpunk, and it closes with a horrific industrial deathscape "Poacher" that hints at their later noise experiments under the Bastard Noise name. As with the rest of the band's output, this is some of most deranged and crushing avant-hardcore ever. Classic Skull-violence.


CHARRED REMAINS AKA MAN IS THE BASTARD / AUNT MARY   Gnu / Dis-Corporation   7" VINYL   (DP)    15.98



   Just obtained a couple of copies of the long out-of-print 7" release of the Man Is The Bastard / Aunt Mary split, released back in 1992 on MITB member Eric Wood's own DP label. This is pretty rare, and came from Wood's own stash, so when the copies I have in stock are gone, that'll be the last of 'em.
   Here's my review of the recent 10" reissue of the split: A piece of extreme hardcore/noise history, the Charred Remains/Aunt Mary split was one of the only releases to come out from this pre-Man Is The Bastard band, originally released on the DP label run by MITB's Eric Wood and out of print for well over a decade. Now re-issued by Deep Six as a 10" with a printed insert and a big poster reproduction of the Ep's cover art, this slab of fucked-up heaviness and experimental chaos is ready to be rediscovered by a new generation of blastfreaks. Although all of the songs on this 10" eventually made their way onto each band's retrospective Cd collections once the original 1992 Ep went out of print and onto the wish-lists of collector scum across the globe, there's a special primal power that is unique to this particular assembly of songs, to the combination of Charred Remains/Man Is The Bastard's brutal angular blastcore and Aunt Mary's terminally filthy and abhorrent noisecore sitting side by side on wax.
   Finnish band Aunt Mary might be better known as the band that would eventually morph into the notorious power electronics outfit Bizarre Uproar, but it was also responsible for some of the craziest blurr-violence that you'll ever hear. Aunt Mary's side has just one track, "Gnu", and it's one of the most barbaric noisecore recordings that I have ever heard cut to wax. The terminally low-fi, utterly fucked-up "song" is made up of small chunks of blasting blurr that have been cut apart and then pasted back together in apparently random fashion, and is a clear precursor to the musique concrete-influenced grind techniques that John Wiese and Sissy Spacek experimented with on their debut. The track moves chaotically across the record, sudden blasts of backwards grindcore erupt outing of warped feedback drones, the music seems to constantly change direction, moving forward then backwards and back again, instantly disorienting as you try to parse the bizarre patchwork assault of mutant noisecore and electronic fuckery. Total brain-melt, and a real good time.
   The Man Is The Bastard side counters with nine songs of their brutal angular blastcore; twenty years later, it hasn't lost any of its teeth. Tracks like "Existence Decay", "Secret Surgery" and "Attempt To Damage" churn and spasm awkwardly, a weird coagulation of jagged obtuse riffs played on distorted bass guitars, relentless chirping electronics, and blasting, near-grindcore tempos. Raw and bestial, but also weirdly progressive, the band takes their extreme hardcore sound into a totally unique direction that sounds like little before or since. Totally essential for fans of both Bastard Noise and Man Is The Bastard, and a crucial piece of powerviolence extremism.


CHILLUM   Stoned Ape / Further Mutate   CASSETTE   (Carbon)    5.99



   Recently discovered this obscure band via Rochester, NY experimental music label Carbon Records, and while the label has brought us all kinds of heavy duty guitar-based drone and glacial psychedelia in the past, this is probably the heaviest stuff I've ever heard from 'em aside from the caveman sludge of Tuurd. On this sprawling hour-long cassette, Chillum spews out long droning streams of metallic sludge that comes across like a noisier, crustier, more atavistic Sleep, with a tendency to disappear into voids of whirring low-fi drone at various points throughout their set.
   Featuring two massive half-hour tracks, the beginning of the tape is haunted by foreign tongues speaking in prayer, their voices bathed in washes of deep murky drone as the first song "Stoned Ape" slowly pours out into a wave of elongated guitar chords stretched and bent into a gluey doom-laden dirge. That downtuned sludgy heaviness rumbles out of a thick low-fi haze, but once this gets going, the band settles into a massive droning heaviness that feels like it might be partially improvised, somewhat similar to the meditative riff-rituals of Sleep, but even more primitive, stripped down to a relentless repetitive groove. It takes more than twelve minutes for the singer to finally show up, with a harsh, fearsome scream that echoes madly just as the band suddenly surges into an even more bludgeoning dronefest. They can pick up the pace though, later taking off into more raucous stoner rock raveups and dropping into rumbling Frostian sludge, even slipping into long stretches of minimal industrial-tinged ambience at the end of that first side.
    The other song "Further Mutate" is even more grueling, the band's droning downtuned sludge becoming stretched into an even more amoebic dirge. The guitars rarely move from a single rumbling powerchord, sinking deeper into oblivion as the side slowly plods towards its conclusion, that miserable slow-motion heaviness becoming threaded with what sound like faint Theremin-like tones and bits of murky, droning electronic noise. Over the last half of the side, though, Chillum drop back into that meditative heaviness, huge riffage woven into slow circular movements, lulling the listener into a state of somnambulance as an ocean of black mud shifting and enshrouding your skull.
    This blast of raw hypno-sludge comes in a silkscreened Arigato-like cassette case, and includes a digital download code.
Track Samples:
Sample : Stoned Ape
Sample : Further Mutate



CHRISTIAN DEATH   Only Theater Of Pain (PARCHMENT COVER)   CASSETTE   (Burger Records)    7.99



Now available on limited-edition cassette!
Considered by most to be the very first American death rock album that would be highly influential on the goth sound that would develop through the 80s, Christian Death's Only Theatre Of Pain is a classic of dark, blasphemous punk that has had a significant impact on so much of the music that I listen to and that I carry here at C-Blast. It's hard to imagine black metal taking form the way it did if Christian Death had never infected the underground punk scene with their anti-Christian imagery, their fascination with death and the occult, and the perpetually dark atmosphere and confrontational attitude that exudes from Only Theatre Of Pain, and the influence of this album on bands as diverse as Sixx, Deathcharge, Nuit Noire and Soror Dolorosa is unmistakable.
Released in 1982, this death punk masterpiece has been reissued for its 20th anniversary, with new artwork and layout as well as the addition of bonus tracks, and it's essential for anyone into the darkest strains of punk and hardcore. Coming out of the Southern California hardcore scene, the band combined Adolescents axeman Rikk Agnew's offbeat guitar playing and the driving rhythm section with bizarre haunted house organ flourishes, tolling bells, and a sickly, dread-filled atmosphere that refuses to let up at any point on the album. But the band's focal point was always their flamboyant front man Rozz Williams, who brought a weird glam influence to Christian Death's morbid punk. His fey whining vocal style was totally unique and perfectly fit the disaffected, negative feel of Christian Death's music, and his bizarre, surrealist lyrics and transgressive visions read like sketches of a nightmare, rife with all kinds of perversion, necrophilia, incest and murder. These themes possess Only Theatre Of Pain from the creepy death obsession of the rocking opener "Cavity - First Communion" to the classic heavy death rock of "Figurative Theatre", "Mysterium Iniquitatis", and "Dream For Mother". There are a couple of slower songs where the band drops into a buzzsaw hardcore dirge ("Spiritual Cramp", "Resurrection - Sixth Communion"), the ghoulish black psychedelia of "Burnt Offerings" and "Prayer", and the serpentine, Middle Eastern-tinged devil vision of "Stairs - Uncertain Journey". If this album would ever have had a single, though, it probably would have been the song "Romeo's Distress", one of the catchiest songs that Christian Death ever wrote, and it feels like it could have been a huge hit for the band if only the lyrics weren't so politically incorrect. All in all though, a total classic in American deathrock and macabre punk, essential listening for anyone into the recent revival of that classic 80's goth/death punk sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : Cavity - First Communion
Sample : Dogs
Sample : Mysterium Iniquitatis



CHRISTIAN DEATH   Only Theater Of Pain (SILVER COVER)   CASSETTE   (Burger Records)    7.99



Now available on limited-edition cassette!
Considered by most to be the very first American death rock album that would be highly influential on the goth sound that would develop through the 80s, Christian Death's Only Theatre Of Pain is a classic of dark, blasphemous punk that has had a significant impact on so much of the music that I listen to and that I carry here at C-Blast. It's hard to imagine black metal taking form the way it did if Christian Death had never infected the underground punk scene with their anti-Christian imagery, their fascination with death and the occult, and the perpetually dark atmosphere and confrontational attitude that exudes from Only Theatre Of Pain, and the influence of this album on bands as diverse as Sixx, Deathcharge, Nuit Noire and Soror Dolorosa is unmistakable.
Released in 1982, this death punk masterpiece has been reissued for its 20th anniversary, with new artwork and layout as well as the addition of bonus tracks, and it's essential for anyone into the darkest strains of punk and hardcore. Coming out of the Southern California hardcore scene, the band combined Adolescents axeman Rikk Agnew's offbeat guitar playing and the driving rhythm section with bizarre haunted house organ flourishes, tolling bells, and a sickly, dread-filled atmosphere that refuses to let up at any point on the album. But the band's focal point was always their flamboyant front man Rozz Williams, who brought a weird glam influence to Christian Death's morbid punk. His fey whining vocal style was totally unique and perfectly fit the disaffected, negative feel of Christian Death's music, and his bizarre, surrealist lyrics and transgressive visions read like sketches of a nightmare, rife with all kinds of perversion, necrophilia, incest and murder. These themes possess Only Theatre Of Pain from the creepy death obsession of the rocking opener "Cavity - First Communion" to the classic heavy death rock of "Figurative Theatre", "Mysterium Iniquitatis", and "Dream For Mother". There are a couple of slower songs where the band drops into a buzzsaw hardcore dirge ("Spiritual Cramp", "Resurrection - Sixth Communion"), the ghoulish black psychedelia of "Burnt Offerings" and "Prayer", and the serpentine, Middle Eastern-tinged devil vision of "Stairs - Uncertain Journey". If this album would ever have had a single, though, it probably would have been the song "Romeo's Distress", one of the catchiest songs that Christian Death ever wrote, and it feels like it could have been a huge hit for the band if only the lyrics weren't so politically incorrect. All in all though, a total classic in American deathrock and macabre punk, essential listening for anyone into the recent revival of that classic 80's goth/death punk sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : Cavity - First Communion
Sample : Dogs
Sample : Mysterium Iniquitatis



CHRISTIAN DEATH   The Edward Colver Edition   7" VINYL   (Frontier)    13.98



   Initially released as a 2014 Record Store Day exclusive, we've snagged some of the remaining copies of this cool Christian Death 7", which will be of twofold interest to fans of the influential death rockers: not only does this 7" feature vintage, never-before-seen live photos of Christian Death taken by punk photographer Edward Colver, but it also contains the same material as the bonus 7" that came with the limited edition version of the 30th anniversary LP reissue of Only Theatre Of Pain, an alternative version of "Cavity - First Communion" and the surrealistic, experimental nightmare soundscape "The Lord's Prayer".
    Couple of things I learned from listening to this 7": first, the a-side sort of sounds like Celtic Frost if you accidentally play it at 33 rpm; second, Edward Colver was one of the finest photojournalists on the frontlines of the early LA hardcore scene. Never paid much attention to his name before, but after I did a little digging, I realized that this guy was responsible for the photos that would become some of the most iconic album covers in SoCal hardcore history; it was his imagery that appeared on the covers of such classics as Black Flag's Damaged, Circle Jerks's Group Sex and Wild In The Streets, T.S.O.L.'s Dance With Me, 45 Grave's Sleep In Safety, and a shitload of other punk and hardcore records from that era. His black and white images of Christian Death that are featured on this 7" are strikingly dramatic, and are prominently featured on the high-quality gatefold jacket that the record comes in. There's also a large 18" by 24" foldout poster included in the package, and the record comes on white vinyl, the whole thing limited to one pressing of 2,500 copies.


CHRISTIAN DEATH   Only Theater Of Pain (GOLD COVER)   CASSETTE   (Burger Records)    7.99



Now available on limited-edition cassette!
Considered by most to be the very first American death rock album that would be highly influential on the goth sound that would develop through the 80s, Christian Death's Only Theatre Of Pain is a classic of dark, blasphemous punk that has had a significant impact on so much of the music that I listen to and that I carry here at C-Blast. It's hard to imagine black metal taking form the way it did if Christian Death had never infected the underground punk scene with their anti-Christian imagery, their fascination with death and the occult, and the perpetually dark atmosphere and confrontational attitude that exudes from Only Theatre Of Pain, and the influence of this album on bands as diverse as Sixx, Deathcharge, Nuit Noire and Soror Dolorosa is unmistakable.
Released in 1982, this death punk masterpiece has been reissued for its 20th anniversary, with new artwork and layout as well as the addition of bonus tracks, and it's essential for anyone into the darkest strains of punk and hardcore. Coming out of the Southern California hardcore scene, the band combined Adolescents axeman Rikk Agnew's offbeat guitar playing and the driving rhythm section with bizarre haunted house organ flourishes, tolling bells, and a sickly, dread-filled atmosphere that refuses to let up at any point on the album. But the band's focal point was always their flamboyant front man Rozz Williams, who brought a weird glam influence to Christian Death's morbid punk. His fey whining vocal style was totally unique and perfectly fit the disaffected, negative feel of Christian Death's music, and his bizarre, surrealist lyrics and transgressive visions read like sketches of a nightmare, rife with all kinds of perversion, necrophilia, incest and murder. These themes possess Only Theatre Of Pain from the creepy death obsession of the rocking opener "Cavity - First Communion" to the classic heavy death rock of "Figurative Theatre", "Mysterium Iniquitatis", and "Dream For Mother". There are a couple of slower songs where the band drops into a buzzsaw hardcore dirge ("Spiritual Cramp", "Resurrection - Sixth Communion"), the ghoulish black psychedelia of "Burnt Offerings" and "Prayer", and the serpentine, Middle Eastern-tinged devil vision of "Stairs - Uncertain Journey". If this album would ever have had a single, though, it probably would have been the song "Romeo's Distress", one of the catchiest songs that Christian Death ever wrote, and it feels like it could have been a huge hit for the band if only the lyrics weren't so politically incorrect. All in all though, a total classic in American deathrock and macabre punk, essential listening for anyone into the recent revival of that classic 80's goth/death punk sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : Cavity - First Communion
Sample : Dogs
Sample : Mysterium Iniquitatis



CHRISTIAN DEATH   Ashes   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



   While Christian Death did put out some highly listenable material after the departure of founding member Rozz Williams (at least early on), there's really only three Christian Death albums that you really, really need in your collection: the pioneering and provocative 1982 debut Only Theatre Of Pain, and the two albums with both Williams and Valor Kand that followed, Catastrophe Ballet and Ashes. All of these are key works in the death rock canon, and their combined influence has reached well into the realms of extreme metal, industrial music and beyond; any headbanger who turns their nose up at Christian Death's early works simply based on the band's campy look should consider sitting down and listening to these albums side by side with Celtic Frost's 80s output to see just how far the band's black tendrils extended. There's been a recent resurgence of interest in the early Christian Death material, though, what with this whole death rock revival thing that's been going on for the past few years, and it looks like a whole new generation of listeners has been turning on to the weird, morbid genius of Rozz Williams. Not a moment too soon, I say. We've had the reissue of Only Theatre Of Pain available here for awhile, but up till now never stocked the following two albums, both of which were reissued by Season Of Mist in 2009; featuring booklet materials from the original first edition LP releases on L'Invitation Au Suicide and newly re-mastered, both come with the highest recommendation for anyone obsessed with true death rock and the most macabre fringes of post-punk.
    Originally released in 1985 on French label L'Invitation Au Suicide, Ashes was the final album from the Rozz Williams-fronted lineup of Christian Death, and an end to an era. While I won't completely write off the post-Williams output from Christian Death (the subsequent 1986 album Atrocities is pretty goddamn good), this was the last chapter in what had been a genre-defining run of albums, now iconic entries in the American death rock canon. On their third album, Christian Death were getting even more progressive, evolving into something totally unique within the realm of American post-punk. Williams' vocals are more measured, less overwrought than before, and there's a heavier feel to this material; maybe more so here than with any of the other Christian Death records, you can really pick out the elements of their sound that so enamored Tom Warrior - one listen to the driving, almost metal-tinged power that emanates off of the opening title track, and you can hear echoes of what would later emerge on Celtic Frost's Into The Pandemonium, the end of the song showcasing a ferocity rarely heard in this era of the band. From there, the eerie instrumental "Ashes Part 2" leads into more of Rozz's penchant for experimental soundscapery, and all throughout the album he laces the tracks with peripheral traces of Gregorian chant and ghostly mechanical sounds, squealing violins and nightmarish sound collage, even dreamlike forays into Weimar cabaret on "Lament (Over The Shadows)". The actual songs are some of their best, too. "When I Was Bed" is classic death rock, catchy and propulsive and draped in elegant shadow, and "Face" is the band at their churning best, fusing a smoldering psychedelic quality to the rolling tribal drums and handclaps and cob-webbed post-punk guitars, another all time favorite. Other highlights on the album include the slow brooding atmosphere that wraps around "The Luxury Of Tears", the metallic mausoleum creep of "Before The Rain" that transforms into something surprisingly triumphant, and the bad-dream dread of closer "Of The Wound", the sound of a screaming infant laid over a nightmarish string section and discordant piano, taking the album out into a final sprawl of surrealistic weirdness. A genuine classic of morbid post-punk.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Luxury of Tears
Sample : Face
Sample : Before the Rain [#][*]
Sample : Ashes



CHRISTIAN DEATH   Catastrophe Ballet   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



   While Christian Death did put out some highly listenable material after the departure of founding member Rozz Williams (at least early on), there's really only three Christian Death albums that you really, really need in your collection: the pioneering and provocative 1982 debut Only Theatre Of Pain, and the two albums with both Williams and Valor Kand that followed, Catastrophe Ballet and Ashes. All of these are key works in the death rock canon, and their combined influence has reached well into the realms of extreme metal, industrial music and beyond; any headbanger who turns their nose up at Christian Death's early works simply based on the band's campy look should consider sitting down and listening to these albums side by side with Celtic Frost's 80s output to see just how far the band's black tendrils extended. There's been a recent resurgence of interest in the early Christian Death material, though, what with this whole death rock revival thing that's been going on for the past few years, and it looks like a whole new generation of listeners has been turning on to the weird, morbid genius of Rozz Williams. Not a moment too soon, I say. We've had the reissue of Only Theatre Of Pain available here for awhile, but up till now never stocked the following two albums, both of which were reissued by Season Of Mist in 2009; featuring booklet materials from the original first edition LP releases on L'Invitation Au Suicide and newly re-mastered, both come with the highest recommendation for anyone obsessed with true death rock and the most macabre fringes of post-punk.
   Originally released by the French label L'Invitation Au Suicide in 1984, Catastrophe Ballet is an all-time deathrock classic, part of the essential Christian Death canon. It was also the first release to feature new members Valor Kand and Gitane Demone, both of the LA post-punk outfit Pompeii 99; for this new album, Williams and his new lineup shifted away from the creepy, transgressive punk of their debut, into a more expansive and psychedelic sound that was slightly more accessible, but no less twisted. Dedicated to the memory of André Breton and featuring excerpts from Jean Lorrain's classic text of nightmarish decadence, Nightmares Of An Ether Drinker, Ballet saw Williams getting deeper into his obsession with French surrealism and Dadaism, though this did nothing to improve his terminally dour mood. From it's opening salvo of sinister, kitschy haunted house organs that pave the way for the heavy bass-driven post-punk of "Beneath His Widow" (a bonus track that appears here for the first time), to the surrealistic washes of experimental texture and droning instrumentation of "Sleepwalk", the driving, disaffected menace and gloomy elegance of "The Drowning" and "Evening Falls", the pounding tribal rhythms and twitchy, stop-start momentum of "Cervix Couch" smeared in trippy Hammond organ textures, and the ritualistic dreamlike haze of "The Glass House", the band's sound was clearly becoming more sophisticated and experimental. That fey, androgynous howl that Williams belted out on the first record is replaced by a richer, more resonant croon that's frequently been compared to David Bowie, and he was often joined by Gitane Demone's soulful, sometimes bluesy wail, which added a new wrinkle to Christian Death's sound. Many of the songs on Ballet are sublimely catchy, but they also ventured further afield into the kind of creepy experimental soundscape work that Williams would explore with his solo projects later in the decade, tracks like "The Fleeing Somnambulist" blending together looping vocals, vast sprawls of warbling drone and distant industrial rumble, swells of psychedelic electronic noise and random percussion, dreamlike terrain strafed with the dark carnival sounds of what sounds like a steam-powered calliope. This results in one of the more adventurous dark post-punk albums from the era, combining themes of violence and death and eroticism with haunting hooks and an unsettling, though often strikingly beautiful vibe as no one else could. Crucial.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Fleeing Somnambulist
Sample : Cervix Couch
Sample : Awake at the Wall
Sample : Androgynous Noise Hand Permeates



CLAY RENDERING   Waters Above The Firmament   12"   (Hospital Productions)    19.98



   The stunning second record from the husband and wife duo of Mike and Tara Connelly, performing their bewitching blend of eerie industrial music, classic gloomrock melancholy, and less ascribable heaviness under the name Clay Rendering. It would appear that Waters is already sold out at the source; the band has been causing something of a stir with their sinister psychedelic noise rock, and the four songs featured on this EP are pretty addictive, each one crafted from a blur of gauzy shoegazy distortion and swirling guitar noise, eerie droning riffs and clangorous rhythms. Fans of Connelly's previous work with Hair Police and Wolf Eyes expecting to hear more of the sort of discordant skull-scrape those projects produced are going to come up empty; on Waters, the duo play a much more ethereal strain of industrial-tinged music, fragments of percussion trailing off into the shadows, echoing waves of metallic shimmer that surge over the lush, harmonium-like drones that slowly swirl across the beginning of the title track, woozily warm waves of resonant sound that spread out into a gorgeous dark ambience. That dreamy formless drift is gradually joined by more menacing shapes, distorted chords forming into an ominous descending riff, the ghostly sounds of wind keening through the background as an almost funereal folk-flecked atmosphere is cast over the music. Parts of this are almost Troum-like, draped in vast textured drones, but the duo paint these eerie soundscapes with a richer palette, filling the space with washes of dimly luminescent dreampop that create some strikingly beautiful moments on Firmament.
    From there the band follows with the morose "Temple Walking", where Mike Connelly's vocals finally come in, a distant distorted howl rising over the pounding rhythms and haunting keyboard lines that repeat their dark melody over and over. By this point, the record starts to vaguely remind me of some of the mid-90s Swans output, or maybe even the menacing, industrial-strength gloompop of Wings Of Joy-era Cranes, but with a different sort of urgency, the sound here more tense and droning and dreary. Indeed, the washes of cold guitar distortion and faint tremolo-picked buzz even give parts of this a vaguely quasi-black metallish feel, like on the strange, icy drone-rock of "The Pest" where booming drum machines and creepy clattery percussion are woven together into a ritualistic trance, those sinister droning guitars spreading out into a cloud of minor-key murkiness, while closer "Myrrh Is Rising" sets reverberant piano adrift over more hypnotic tribal drumming, spacey synth noise soaring suddenly overhead, the sound lovely and lonesome and laced with a wintry chill. Spellbinding stuff shot through with moments of sun-blotting heaviness, totally fantastic.


COFFINWORM / FISTULA   Instant Death Syndrome / Drugs And Deception   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



   Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
//No doubt due to my general bad attitude, the Coffinworm / Fistula split is my favorite entry in this whole series. It's certainly the most vicious, featuring one new song each from blackened sludge fiends Coffinworm and Ohio bruisers Fistula; Coffinworm's "Instant Death Syndrome" is first, crushing you with grueling blackened sludge, an assault of crawling heaviness that erupts into chaotic blastbeats and blackened minor key creepiness, a rumbling black mass of down-tuned horror, scathing screams bleeding into monstrous roars, the band's hateful lumbering power encrusted in black filth and swallowing all light, a cruel deathdirge aimed straight into the abyss. And as if things couldn't get any bleaker, then Fistula show up to really ruin your day with their grinding narco-anthem "Drugs And Deception", putrid screams straining over the band's creeping Frostian sludge, the despair and disgust radiating off the record in waves of black energy, until it suddenly shifts into an epic, almost Sabbathian riff in the second half that'll leave you pounding your shaking, DT-addled fist in the air.


COMPANY FUCK / SANTISIMA VIRGEN MARIA   split   7" VINYL   (Omega Warfare)    9.99



   We've picked up all three of the initial releases from UK breakcore label Omega Warfare; much like fellow Brits Legs Akimbo, the Omega Warfare aesthetic is entrenched in the most violent and extreme fringes of breakcore / speedcore, and their offerings from the likes of Company Fuck, Yudlugar, are Dj Skull Vomit all deliver insane levels of electronic chaos. If there's a dancefloor clamoring for this stuff, it's probably somewhere within the seventh circle of Hell.
    The second 7" from Omega Warfare features Australian mashup maniac Scott Sinclair under his Company Fuck alias, teamed up with the mind-melting Frankenstitched breakcore of Spain's Santisima Virgen Maria. Company Fuck serves up three tracks of fragmented experimental speedcore ("After Afterlife Disco", "The Wordless Utterings Of The All-Ignoring Shit-God Are Just Wordless Utterings", "Metacarpal Vividness Is Still All You'll Find") that mash together skull-splintering splittercore-style noise and extreme distorted drones with a hellscape of howling voices, splattered samples, clipped song fragments, violent tape carnage, random bleeping chaos, pulsating low-end electronics, and other shredded sonic detritus into a nightmarish pandemonium of mutant blast-collage and hellish digi-grind that at some points sort of resembles a cracked-out Shitmat being chopped up, devoured and vomited back up into a Technicolor stew of plunderphonic violence. To be honest, I started to get the feeling that this guy's stuff is a heluva lot closer to the crazed noisecore delirium of bands like The Gerogerigegege or Hanatarash, albeit filtered through the maniacal speedcore extremism of the Grindcore Karaoke / Legs Akimbo speedcore scene.
    Over on the other side, the three tracks from Santisima Virgen Maria are considerably easier on the ears, though it's still plenty chaotic - hewing even closer to that Shitmat style of splattery, manic mash-up, these tracks blend together a tongue-in-cheek humor with massive skittering breaks and old school electro samples with spastic tom patterns, and lots of frantic chopped up rhythmic spasms, shifting from Latin street grooves to random profanity, classic doo-wop to big brass fanfares to mutant funk to migraine-inducing gabber raveups and 5,000 mph splittertronik blasts in the space of a minute. Abrasive as fuck.


CONQUEROR   War Cult Supremacy   2 x CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    12.98



   We've had this double-disc reissue of the complete recordings of Canadian war-metal titans Conqueror in stock for ages, just never had a chance to give it a write-up here in the catalog till now. No better time to revisit this comprehensive 2011 collection of the band's recorded works than now, I suppose, when I'm knee-deep in all manner of blasting blackdeath violence that owes at least a salutary nod to these masters of bestial chaos.
    Formed by former Cremation drummer James Read and Domini Inferi guitarist Ryan Förster, Conqueror expanded upon the frenzied blackened death metal pioneered by Oath of Black Blood-era Beherit and fellow Ross Bay Cult maniacs Blasphemy, whipping their barbaric blast into even more bone-rattling extremes that could at times border on an almost noisecore-like level of sonic extremism. This was a direct precursor to the likes of Revenge (which rose from the ashes of Conqueror) and the berserker noisecore of Intolitarian, truly extreme music endowed with an uncompromising misanthropic worldview that made most black metal bands look like card-carrying members of UNICEF. Conqueror only released one album during their existence, and it's gathered here alongside the band's demo and compilation tracks, as well as their material from the split with Black Witchery, comprising the complete discography of the group; essential listening for anyone into Read's subsequent work with Revenge, and anyone obsessed with the most violent and depraved extremes of death metal.
    The first disc in the set features Conqueror's 1999 album War Cult Supremacy, their magnum opus of bestial blackened grind. This barbaric nine-song album still rattles the senses some fifteen years on, each song a relentlessly violent eruption of Förster's abrasive, acidic guitar sound and Read's maniacal whirlwind drumming, those grinding riffs splintering into seemingly random solo splatter and those weird glissando pick-slides that are a distinguishing feature of Conqueror's sound; the riffs seem carved out of a punk-like simplicity and ferocity, and Read's strangled, hysterical screams sound absolutely inhuman. That combination of hyperspeed drumming and grating concrete-mixer riffs brought an almost noisecore-level of sonic chaos to Conqueror's cyclonic death metal attack; indeed, this stuff feels as if it more closely shares DNA with the nuclear chaos of Scum-era Napalm Death, early Siege, and Repulsion than the black/death metal of its day.
    A shitload of bands would subsequently jump onto Conqueror's coattails trying to harness the bestial blast perfected on this album, but almost nobody has managed to even come close to capturing the foul, almost avant-garde noisiness that these guys belched out. Read's horrifying snarling screams can sometimes degenerate into weird electronically-processed vocal noises, and songs will suddenly collapse into blasts of over-modulated, reverb-drenched noise, or bizarre insectile buzzing will swarm across the depths of the mix. That stuff gives this a disturbing, alien feel, like the disgusting fluttering oscillator-like effects that beat their black wings beneath the churning deathblast of "Kingdom Against Kingdom", or the blasts of almost industrial pandemonium that erupt in the middle of the title track. While the riffs are certainly vicious, they are swept up in such a storm of distortion and blastbeat chaos that it all washes together into a blur of hateful sonic violence, the most punishing moments on the album arising when Read suddenly decelerates into one of his barbaric, almost tribal breakdowns amid that blur of blackened blastnoise.
    Disc two compiles everything else the band did, including the material from the 1997 Osmose compilation World Domination II, the split with Black Witchery, the 1996 demo tape Anti-Christ Superiority, and their cover of "Christ's Death" by Sarcófago. Even on the earliest material, Conqueror's sound was incredibly savage, and there's an almost industrial feel to some of the booming metallic percussion that thunders throughout these tracks. That demo from '96 in particular is something you need to hear if you're obsessed with the whole Ross Bay/bestial noise-metal aesthetic, just undiluted savagery from start to finish. In total, this collection is pretty much the last word in irradiated nuclear metal chaos, a distillation of the unending warfare that continues to enfold our planet into pure sound, and one of the few true essential entries into the "war metal" genre you're ever going to need.
Track Samples:
Sample : War Cult Supremacy
Sample : Kingdom Against Kingdom
Sample : Infinite Majesty
Sample : Ross Bay Damnation/Chaos Domination
Sample : Hammer of SUpremacy



CREMATION LILY   Fires Frame The Silhouette   LP   (Alter)    27.99



   Since 2011's Sexless Merit, UK power electronics artist Zen Zsigo has been producing a beautifully depraved strain of electronic gloom under the name Cremation Lily, mainly through extremely limited cassette releases on his own Strange Rules imprint. These tapes have contained some of the most captivating noise experiments I've heard out of the UK lately, combining bursts of cruel power electronics with smears of ghostly ambience, gales of crushing sheet-metal chaos and, most notably, ethereal synthesizer melodies that add a forlorn musical element usually absent in this realm. New album Fires Frame The Silhouette is the first full-length vinyl release from the project, a stunning collection of dreamlike noise and harsh industrial abrasion that can sometimes rival Prurient at his most atmospheric, comprised of key tracks from previous cassette releases that have been reworked and remixed for this new release.
    For the most part, the tracks collected on Fires tend to center more around building an oppressive sonic atmosphere steeped in gloom and the banality of daily life, than assaulting the listener with extreme electronic frequencies, though there are moments of severe aural abuse. Cremation Lily's sound finds itself in a disturbing realm populated with the likes of recent Sutcliffe Jugend and Consumer Electronics, the noisier aspects of these recordings rendered in service to an overall immersive sound, an ocean of decrepit industrial collapse. The first track "Drawings Hang On Police Station Walls" that opens up the record suggests a more traditional PE direction, but after that assault of shrieking feedback and scolding screams finally drifts into the void, the album falls back into a series of haunting synthesizer melodies buried beneath endless cacophonies of collapsing scrap-metal and squealing machinery. Eerie minor key laments slowly creep over and through the gales of entropic noise that Zsigo unleashes, sometimes breaking free of the chaos completely to focus on a single murky droning synthesizer floating through the abyss, it's only accompaniment a muted, mechanical growl ensepulchered in the depths. There are parts that almost resemble a classic John Carpenter score being played out over the sounds of a machine shop coming to life, all moody dark synthdrift repeating endlessly over a symphony of rusted chains, but the distorted vocals that appear intermittently throughout the tracks are so frenzied as to resemble the vitriolic ravings of a vocalist from an old hardcore punk outfit. Elsewhere, the sounds of church choirs drift languidly over endlessly echoing volleys of metallic clank and the ambient sounds of a dank oubliette, or surge into onslaughts of reverberant percussive noise and controlled blasts of cetacean feedback, encountering fragments of what almost sounds like triumphant film score music buried beneath massive droning synths and avalanches of empty oil drums, then finally closing with the swirling melodious synthmurk of the title track, a final glimpse of stark spellbinding beauty among the scenes of industrial carnage.
    Limited to three hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţFires Frame The Silhouette
Sample : ˙ţRed Bathroom Floor
Sample : ˙ţIron Pier



CRISTAL Y ACERO   Kuman   CD   (Orfeon)    16.98



    First got turned on to the 1984 album Kuman after reading about it on Aesop Dekker's killer blog Cosmic Hearse a few years ago, which sang high praises to this completely bonkers rock opera from obscure Mexican heavy metal band Cristal y Acero. But even his enthusiastic description didn't prepare me for just how badly this record fried my brain, my circuits overloaded by the band's brilliantly scatterbrained heavy metal-fueled Spanish-language rock opera, and even moreso when I finally got around to finding actual footage of the live performance online. Jesus! Can't say I've seen or heard anything quite it's equal - Kaman comes across as a musical version of an Edgar Rice Burroughs-esque pulp sci-fi fantasy dreamt up in the heat of an angel dust-inflamed delirium, where scenes of swordplay, cosmic intrigue and excessive infant-licking are set to a pounding score comprised of ripping metal licks, Broadway-style balladry, bluesy piano-draped soft rock, Chuck Berry-esque rock n' roll, smatterings of prog and 50's style doo-wop, and brief forays into bleary Tropicália, all smeared in unsophisticated synth effects and tinny backing keyboards. Wild shit, for sure - if you think you can handle it, you can see some footage of the stage production here. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
    The ambition and creativity and unabashed weirdness on display throughout Kuman certainly gets my heart all aflutter, but I also genuinely dug the music from Cristal y Acero; sure, their ambition far outstrips their skill level, especially when it comes to tying together all of the disparate musical styles that they toss into this wild score, but the killer vintage Priest / Rainbow / Accept-influenced power-crunch that dominates the album is delivered with so much grimy gusto that I just can't resist, situated alongside the often ridiculously catchy outbursts of bombastic girl-pop (often sung by Mexican kid-pop superstar Tatiana, who also played one of the leads in the musical) or bursts of whacked-out thrift-store psychedelia that come from out of nowhere. Some of the other reviews of the album I've read have drawn comparisons to a zonked-out heavy metal version of a Meatloaf production, which makes sense, but the overall vibe is far weirder than even that suggests. If you don't already have a taste for the distinctly primal, pungent flavor of 80's era Mexican heavy metal, I seriously doubt that this is the album that would win you over, but fans of genuinely oddball old-school metal should definitely check this out. This recent CD reissue also contains the band's equally ripping self titled LP from 1983, which features a more traditional, straight-forward heavy metal sound sung in a mixture of English and Spanish, though even these songs are not without their moments of offbeat poppiness. The whole thing sounds like something that Ektro would have had a hand in reissuing, if that gives you any indication of what kind of stuff we're talking about. Comes in a full-color sleeve illustrated with some spectacularly cheesy sub-Frazetta fantasy action.
Track Samples:
Sample : Soy Un Hombre
Sample : Opening (El Debe Vivir)
Sample : Kingkaiman
Sample : Estoy Triste



DAEMONIA   Zombi / Dawn Of The Dead   LP   (Black Widow)    35.00



   While Claudio Simonetti's proggy heavy metal outfit Daemonia generally foregoes the strange, spooky atmospherics of his main band Goblin even when doing their own renditions of legendary material from the Italian horror-prog masters, their bombastic, pummeling interpretations of classic Argento soundtracks are still a blast. Anyone who saw Goblin on tour in 2013 already got a taste of Daemonia's approach, as several members of Simonetti's crew were incorporated into the live Goblin lineup for those US dates, and their more aggressive, metallic-leaning tendencies came through both live and on the four song tour EP that Goblin put out on Death Waltz. With this new LP on Italian psych/prog label Black Widow, though, those metallic elements are completely let loose, as Daemonia tackles one of Goblin's most well-known scores, 1978's Dawn Of The Dead (aka Zombi).
    Combining the eerie winding arrangements of Goblin's original score with an amped-up level of percussive power and metallic crunch, this classic soundtrack is transformed into something distinctly heavier; while Simonetti's synthesizers are instantly recognizable and the musical structures stick pretty close to the originals, the rest of the band brings a much more boisterous feel to the material, the metallic crunch of Bruno Previtali's guitar and the weight of the drumming from Titta Tani (a former member of cult death metal band Necrophagia) transforming these atmospheric tracks into something decidedly different. One of the most noticeable changes is Previtali's addition of wailing, blues rock leads that add a brashness to the music, and there's some crazed funkified jamming on tracks like "Zombi" that gets pretty wild, as well. The tribal freakout "At The Safari" is downright ridiculous, complete with jungle animal cries, and tracks like that (as well as the honky-tonk goofiness of "Torte In Faccia" and the romantic easy-listening of "Zombi Sexy") are a reminder of how comical Goblin's original soundtrack could get amid all of the pulsating, tension-building dread. Other tracks on the LP are in more of a blues rock style, or organ-drenched 70's style jazz-rock, while "Zaratozom" dispenses some killer organ-drenched prog over galloping, almost Maiden-esque riffery, and "Oblio" ascends into gorgeous, Floydian spaciness.
    The LP also includes a selection of non-soundtrack material towards the end, including a killer rendition of their classic "Roller" that updates the original with a heavier, more chugtastic groove, and man does it swing; that's followed by a fucking killer speed-metal version of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" and a thrilling rendition of Simmonetti's theme from Argento's 2004 film The Card Player. While it's more of an interesting diversion for Goblin / spook-prog fans than anything (fans of Anima Morte should particularly take note), Simonetti devotees would be advised to check this one out, as his playing is at the forefront of Daemonia's sound, given more breadth to let loose with some extended soloing and longform Moog outbursts that you don't often hear on his other recordings.


DARKFLIGHT   Closure   CD   (Metallic Media)    8.98



   Album number three from this Bulgarian blackened doom duo further descends through the band's strikingly gorgeous symphonic heaviness, which for some reason continues to be overlooked by most in the metal underground. I just don't get it - Darkflight's previous 2008 album Perfectly Calm was one of the most massive, moving doom epics I've picked up in recent years, combining vast, exquisitely crafted melodies imbued with an almost cinematic scope, awash in swells of aural heartache and laced with progressive tendencies that were way more refined than most bands in the field. Not to mention, some of the heaviest doom ever. And this new one treads similar ground, radiating with that same sad, sumptuous sense of grandeur, the crushing slow-motion doomscape interwoven with wistful melodies and gorgeous bleary-eyed hooks that most shoegazer bands would hack an arm off for; there are moments on Closure that feel as though they could have been lifted right off of an Envy album, even.
    True, the production is a little murkier and more low-fi this time around, but it still works for me, those sweeping orchestral elements (an array of synthesized strings, horns and woodwinds) that wash across the opening track "Worse Things Than Dying" becoming subsumed into the dense roiling heaviness, slow, ponderous drumming shifting into more frenetic rhythms as the duo builds into their dramatic eruptions. Multiple lead guitars are layered and intertwined throughout their songs, curling around the surging synths that swell into sweetly despondent orchestral pop over that crushing deathdoom, and more than once these captivating melancholic melodies come close to evoking some monstrous, blackened, deathdoom version of an Agalloch or Alcest. Scathing distant screams stretch far across the byzantium glow of the horizon, occasionally replaced with a gloomy half-spoken delivery that brings a heavy gothic feel to those moments, and violins and woodwinds, piano and acoustic guitars bloom into mournful gorgeous laments, joined by beautiful sorrowful guitar harmonies rising over the thunderous slow-mo crush. The eight songs coalesce into an overwhelmingly emotional blast of doleful doom-laden atmosphere, stunning orchestral gloompop fused to a monstrous monolithic doom-laden power that eventually makes its way to the gorgeous symphonic instrumental prog of the closing song "Limbo (Alive And Well)". Really, folks, give this stuff a listen.
    Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Worse Things Than Dying
Sample : Monument of Sadness
Sample : It Wasn't Meant To Be



DEAD CONGREGATION   Promulgation Of The Fall   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98



    High above the rotting mass of the Incantation-influenced death metal legions sits Dead Congregation, the Greek outfit that has been refining the seething black visage of classic death metal ever since the release of their acclaimed 2008 debut album Graves Of The Archangels. Six years later, and we finally get a follow-up to that high-water mark of contempo death, the eight song Promulgation Of The Fall, filled with intricately plotted blasts of contorted, discordant riffery and malevolent, droning leads, the latter of which are an integral part of the eerie, blasphemous atmosphere that the Congregation summon around their music. The drumming is some of the most ferocious in the field as well, loaded with churning chaotic blastbeats that erupt out of the band's signature slow-motion sepulchral dirge. Atmopsheric touches that the band provides during the album's more subdued moments bring an added depth to Promulgation missing from many likeminded death metal albums, sequences of breathtaking blackened beauty that enhance the blasts of squealing harmonic horror and bone-crushing sludginess with an increased level of emotional power. While their previous releases showcases a brilliant appropriation of the sort of monstrous downtuned deathdoom found on Incantation's Mortal Throne of Nazarene, here it's not till the fourth song "Serpentskin" that the band fully descends into the depths of pulverizing, discordant dread-filled doom that they are so renowned for, unfurling a monstrous slow-motion heaviness strafed by the drummer's rapid fire double bass that blossoms into one of the album's most devastating moments. On occasions like "Schisma", the band can also slip into violent churning chaos that can be almost reminiscent of Portal, but without totally teetering over into a total blast of incomprehensible murk; riffs and melodies are always at the core of these songs, driven by dark stirring songcraft that trades more in pure atmosphere than mere bone-snapping aggression. In their gnarled, taloned claws, the sound of classic, intricate death metal a la Incantation and Morbid Angel is skillfully wrought into something dank and twisted and thoroughly modern. Little wonder that this slab of Luciferian savagery has already made its way onto numerous best-of lists for the year.
Track Samples:
Sample : Schisma
Sample : Promulgation of the Fall
Sample : Only Ashes Remain



DEAD ELEPHANTS / RABBITS   Carne De Perro / War, Oh My   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



    Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
      The reigning masters of sinister, metallic noise rock and experimental pigfuck in Italy, Dead Elephants kick off the twelfth entry in this series with the infectious dark noise rock of "Carne De Perro", a long nearly nine minute blast of angular sludgy metallic heaviness, Am Rep-tinged crunch and downtuned crush merging together over the band's surging, fast-paced assault, the constantly shifting riffage wrapped around lurching bass-driven grooves and frantic time signatures, like an ADD-addled Unsane but with that distinct melodic streak that makes so much of Dead Elephant's music some of the catchiest modern noise rock out there; half through though, and the song suddenly shifts into a minimal cardiac pulse, a hushed whirring dronescape that takes over the track, slowly leading into fragmented drumming and spurts of oscillator whir, the second half shifting into darker, more frayed, abstract territory.
      That's followed by "War, Oh My" from Portland sludge-punks Rabbits, who put out that crushing album of lagamorphic lurch Lower Forms on Relapse back in 2011; their side is more of their bludgeoning, Melvins-esque heaviness, ugly angular guitar sludge and caveman drumming colliding with the singer's wretched yowl, smashing through this gluey riffcrush before suddenly transforming into an almost Neubauten-like industrial stomp at the very end. Great stuff.


DEAD IN THE MANGER   Transience   12"   (20 Buck Spin)    16.98



   Touted as a mixture of depressive black metal's droning misery and the stripped-down, violent barbarism of grindcore, this new band crafts a series of desolate blastscapes riddled with dismal melodic riffery and washes of atmospheric minor key misery on their debut 12". There's an air of anonymity around Dead In The Manger's first record on 20 Buck Spin; the jacket for Transience is devoid of any information about the band members and any album info at all, actually, and even the songs remain untitled, distinguished only by a series of roman numerals. The music itself feels spare, each song formed from a basic assortment of sinister melodies and violent blasting. They open the record with a moody, mournful guitar arpeggio drifting through a cloud of reverb, accompanied by the distant inhuman rasp of the singer, a slow sorrowful intro that initially suggests a more funereal, doom-laden sound. But once that's over, Dead IN The Manger furiously shift into the blasting speed and blackened tremolo riffs of the second track. It's here that the band's full form finally emerges, a fusion of violent, precise grindcore and anguished black metal that hits you on a largely visceral level. While most of the bands I listen to that blend elements of grind and black metal tend to focus on the more barbaric and abrasive aspects of that marriage, Dead In The Manger instead focus their songs on their weaving of epic, icy melodies through the rapid tremolo riffing, and while its not as unique a combination as some have said, this 12" still raged through the C-Blast office. These six songs of epic blackened grind are almost relentlessly merciless, droning buzzsaw guitars melting into strikingly forlorn melodies, the drummer's near endless blastbeats delivered with machinelike precision, his blasts looping into hypnotic blurs of machinegun power, with a smattering of creepy samples and murky ambience threaded throughout the band's frostgrind.
Track Samples:
Sample : V
Sample : III
Sample : I



DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Drought   LP   (Norma.Evangelium.Diaboli)    22.98



We now have the Norma Evangelium Diaboli vinyl release of Drought in stock.
We've reached a point where it's arguable that Deathspell Omega can even be called black metal. Not that I'm complaining - for the past decade, this French outfit has evolved from relatively straightforward Darkthrone worship into a vastly more experimental and cerebral approach comprised of themes of metaphysical Satanism, a vicious discordant strain of black metal, and pitch-black surrealist undertones that coursed through their often sprawling multi-part epics. Their mid-oughts albums are inarguably some of the most interesting and experimental recordings to come out of the black metal underground. More recently, this sound has further mutated into something that half the time sounds more like some infernal math-rock outfit playing at hyper-aggressive levels of speed and volume or a blackened, hellbound variant on the evil prog rock of bands like Univers Zero and Les Morts Vont Vite-era Shub-Niggurath; there's little at this point in their career that even resembles anything else in the French black metal underground, and there's certainly nothing here at all remotely like traditional BM.
For anyone who thought that the last Deathspell Omega album Paracletus was a little too straightforward compared to their previous stuff will no doubt appreciate the sound of Drought, a recent six-song Ep that sounds to me like the 'mathiest' stuff they've done in years, with long stretches of music that go into a much more chaotic, almost noise-rock like blast of angular aggression, or sinks into stark, brooding jangle. The opening song "Salowe Vision" begins with the sound of somber clean guitars, strummed chords ringing out in slow motion over somewhat jazzy melodic shapes and the spacious, slow-core like drumming that faintly resembles a more dour take on Codeine's sound. This slow-drifting, lugubrious crawl through clouds of reverb later unfolds into that sharp-edged discordant math-metal until the band slams into the total thrash of "Fiery Serpents"; maniacal blastbeats and bizarre jagged rhythms jut from a storm of skronky riffing and guttural vocals, a heavy Greg Ginn-esque vibe creeping through the guitarist's atonal riffs once again. The blasting frenzy of "Scorpions & Drought" and "Abrasive Swirling Murk" are where Deathspell get the closest to full-on black metal, lots of killer frostbitten tremolo riffs and blastbeats, but even here their blackened violence is warped into something more dissonant and complex, especially on the crazed "Murk" where the angular metal transforms into a rather majestic blast of regal math rock. That sort of dark mathy heaviness is also apparent on the closer "The Crackled Book of Life", a tangle of eerie riffing and complex atonal melodies that wrap themselves around lurching bass-heavy dirges and strange ghostly ambience, the sudden appearance of muted choir voices rising in delirious liturgical hymn.
Despite its short length, this is another engrossing piece of contorted blackness from Deathspell, no less heady and malevolent than their previous works despite featuring some of the bands more prog-rock informed arrangements thus far. The liturgical atmosphere remains alongside the band's willfully arcane philosophies, even as the music unfolds into unexpected (and quite un-BM-like) new forms. Features really striking, nightmarish cover artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : Salowe Vision
Sample : Scorpions & Drought
Sample : The Crackled Book of Life



DELIA, JOE   Ms. 45 OST   LP   (Death Waltz)    29.98



   As great as it is to have all of those iconic Carpenter scores available again on vinyl, it's these lesser known soundtracks that Death Waltz has been reissuing that get me really jazzed, albums of eerie electronic weirdness and pulsating prog that haven't been available on any format for decades, if at all. Easily one of the most obscure scores that the Waltz has given their attention to, Joe Delia's score for Abel Ferrara's 1981 underground classic Ms. 45 is one such artifact that has recently been resurrected on vinyl, the first time this score has ever been released in any form at all, actually, timed to accompany the recent re-release of Ferrara's notorious film by Drafthouse Films. Ms. 45 was the follow-up to Ferrara's unbelievably seedy art-gore flick Driller Killer, a grimy riff on the rape-revenge genre about a young woman repeatedly assaulted on the streets of NY, a sequence of brutal events that leads to her crusade of murderous vengeance that ends in a stunning costume party massacre where our heroine blasts everyone away with the titular weaponry while dressed in full nun regalia. It's a real kick to the eyeballs, filtered through Ferrara's misanthropic, squalid vision of New York, tinged with surreal imagery and bursts of gory violence. For this notorious piece of art-house filth, Ferrara enlisted pianist Joe Delia, who had already made a career backing the likes of Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry and The Isley Brothers; with his background in rock and jazz, Delia brought a raw energy to his score, and incorporated both atmospheric arrangements and squalling noise to excellent effect, mixing urban jazz, experimental vocal sounds, menacing Moog drones and screeching free-jazz horns into an almost avant-garde assault on the viewer that reeks of early 80's Big Apple squalor.
    The score evolves from a sparse, haunting piano theme, a delicately simple and repetitive melody that is gradually joined by tense droning synthesizers and distant metallic rattling noises evoking the harshness of Ferrara's urban hellscape. The sound slowly becomes laced with bursts of dissonant electronics that create a sudden swell of dread and fear, the soundtrack gradually becoming more abrasive and atonal as it mirrors the psychological and emotional disintegration of the main character; later in the score, Delia works in bursts of ear-scraping guitar noise and skittering drumming for brief assaults of almost No Wave-informed abrasion; you can hear the resonating squeal of the early 80's art-punk scene leeching into these tracks, especially across the latter half of the film when the action begins to ratchet up to the violent conclusion, and the jazz musicians that Delia hired for the recording torture their instruments into almost Contortions-esque jazz-punk dirges that lurch through the grimy sooty haze. That last half of the score also features the use of saxophone, funky bass guitar, Fender Rhodes and Moog synths, long passages of creepy, unsettling choral moaning voices, stretches of grimy early 80s funk, swirling sinister piano, before it all culminates with the sleazy disco backdrop that plays over the climactic costume party/bloodbath. One of Ferrara's most memorable films, for sure, backed by Delia's harrowing tapestry of sonic sleaze.
    As with most of the newer Death Waltz titles, the presentation for Delia's Ms. 45 looks fantastic, the translucent vinyl housed in a gorgeous heavyweight case-wrapped gatefold with a printed insert bound into the jacket, accompanied by liner notes from Delia himself as well as a huge full-color poster reproduction of the cover art.


DEPHOSPHORUS / GREAT FALLS   Stargazing And Violence / Everything But Lightning   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



   Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
   The third installment matches Greek grindcore outfit Dephosphorus with Seattle crushers Great Falls (featuring Demian Johnston of BLSPHM) for one of the more diverse splits in the series. Dephosphorus detonate another "astro-grind" blastbomb with "Stargazing And Violence", angular staccato crunch and blackened tremolo riffing swarming around the tightened precision of the rhythm section, bringing atmospheric almost black metal-like guitar textures to their cold, rigid blast-attack; as with their albums, the band delivers compelling, progressive grindcore that's not too far removed from the dissonant brutality of bands like Antigama and Nyia.
    On the other side, Great Falls counters with the surprisingly blasting "Everything But Lightning", an Am Rep-tinged blast of chaotic metallic heaviness with sickening discordant riffage, constantly shifting rhythmic violence and some superbly demented singing thar brings an almost David Yow-esque vibe to this vicious hybrid of discordant noise rock and grinding metallic crush. I was left scrambling for their latest full length album that just came out on Hell Comes Home within seconds of the needle leaving the wax. Powerful stuff that evokes much of the chaotic fury found in the previous bands these guys have been in (Playing Enemy, Kiss It Goodbye, 3D House Of Beef).


DEPRIVATION   I Don't Want To Grow Up Here   CASSETTE   (Diazepam)    8.98



   More grim Italian power electronics from the increasingly grimy label Diazepam. Deprivation's I Don't Want To Grow Up Here is a nine-song album of mutated electronics from this obscure outfit, dangerously packaged in a blue cardstock sleeve encased in metal wire; it definitely needs to be handled with a certain amount of care. Inspired by a series of harrowing memoirs written by mental patients that were published in the 1970's, Deprivation's tape opens with a blast of distorted and warped synthcreep that sounds like a funeral dirge being played through ancient, massively distorted Casio keyboards, the sound reverberating off the walls of some damp underground chamber. It's wonderfully sparse and atmospheric and drenched in screeching feedback, the melodies are mournful and gorgeous, almost like some massively distressed ancient kosmische music infested with bursts of PE-style abrasion.
    That's followed by a blast of garbled electronics and squealing amplifier hate that quickly assembles into a putrid, monstrous rhythmic churn, a filthy, yet oddly catchy blast of fetid low-fi power electronics. That whiff of classic Italian filth-tronics a la Atrax Morgue, Murder Corporation, Maurizio Bianchi and Mauthausen Orchestra continues to permeate the rest of the tape, introducing insanely echoing vocals that scream across a wasteland of charred electronics and chaotic scrap-metal violence, the sounds often morphing into squealing, queasy industrial loops, while other tracks stumble through murky low-fi fogbanks of sputtering electronics and billowing distorted muck, throbbing blown-out synths in the vein of Mauthausen Orchestra creeping through the black haze, vicious lashings of feedback and swarming clouds of black synth-drone turning this into a real horror show by the end, those echoing maniacal screams seemingly enshrouded in a massive swarm of black flies, scraping metal and sickening deep pulsations. It all adds up to some superbly nasty and pestilent power electronics, and fans of the kind of stuff that used to come out on the infamous Slaughter Productions label in particular will be drawn to Deprivation's old-school psychotic din.


DEVLSY   A Parade Of States   CD   (Maa Productions)    11.99



   Though on the surface Devilsy appear to be another in a long line of new bands combining modern atmospheric black metal influences with traces of shoegazey pop, this Lithuanian outfit somehow manages to avoid sounding like every other new "blackgaze" band that's drifted into view lately, thanks to a heavier-than-usual approach that actually reminds me more of contemporary post-hardcore. Their debut album A Parade Of States came out recently on the Japanese label Maa Productions, which has become one of the preeminent labels for this sort of stuff, with releases from the likes of White Ward, Happy Days and Smoking Culture; like most of the Maa roster, Devlsy ride on a heavy undercurrent of dolorous gloompop beneath all their blasting drums and effects-drenched, jagged riffage, and all six of these songs are steeped in a thick melancholic haze, their blackened metallic crush tempered by arresting guitar melodies that are intricately woven around the downtuned darkness.
    On some of Parade's more majestic songs like "To Confine" and "Cold Glow", Devlsy's metallic gloom can almost begin to resemble a more malevolent, metallized version of Japanese post-hardcore crushers Envy, with intense dramatic leads and moments of explosive emotional power. All of this stuff centers around the band's blackened, sometimes mathy riffs and roiling rhythm section, shifting from churning blasts to driving off-kilter rock tempos, the singer belting out the dour, brooding lyrics in an appropriately abrasive snarl; the songs build into crescendos of dark grandeur as they layer on heavy swooping space-rock guitars drenched in delay, washes of cold black synthesizer, swells of gleaming e-bowed feedback, and frequent shifts into passages of cold gothic gloom , the latter of which feature bleary echo-laden guitars that have a whiff of Cure-like drama and melancholy. It's catchy stuff that manages to weave together fragile emotional melody with a meaner blackened metallic streak in an effective and infectious manner; that melodic quality would probably turn off hardcore black metallers, but fans of the fairly recent wave of bands combining black metal and gloom-rock influences might dig this as much as I have.
Track Samples:
Sample : Phases
Sample : I Am No More
Sample : Cold Glow



DJ SKULL VOMIT / LADYSCRAPER   split   7" VINYL   (Omega Warfare)    9.99



   We've picked up all three of the initial releases from UK breakcore label Omega Warfare; much like fellow Brits Legs Akimbo, the Omega Warfare aesthetic is entrenched in the most violent and extreme fringes of breakcore / speedcore, and their offerings from the likes of Company Fuck, Yudlugar, are Dj Skull Vomit all deliver insane levels of electronic chaos. If there's a dancefloor clamoring for this stuff, it's probably somewhere within the seventh circle of Hell.
    I'd like to think that in some alternate universe, this is the sort of stuff that Earache Records is putting out, rather than the bluesy hard rock that seems to be the label's focus as of late. Remember when the esteemed grindcore label suddenly became obsessed with hardcore techno? This is where that should have led. Describing the music on the DJ Skull Vomit / Ladyscraper split as "breakcore" just scratches the surface of this vicious little platter. Both artists are alumni of Agoraphobic Nosebleed frontman Jay Randall's Grindcore Karaoke net-label, which should give you an inkling of how abrasive this shit is. First is Belgium's Dj Skull Vomit, one of the guys from grindcore/breakcore fusionists Eustachian; his "Bell Tower Massacre" combines monstrous breakcore with punishing death metal riffage to create a violently pounding sonic assault that soon drops into a sickening bass-heavy rhythmic battery. It's definitely reminiscent of his work in Eustachian as well as the death metal-obsessed breakcore of Bong-Ra, while breaking out into even more destructive spasms of grinding blastbeats and staccato techno violence; this shit is intensely heavy and frenetic and complex, at once informed by classic Gothenburg-stlye death and the jackhammer battery of Bloody Fist, layered in swirling electronics and fractured glitchery. I fucking love this stuff. After that, UK breakcore artist Ladyscraper belts out his own signature brand of violent breakcore with "Knob Snot", combining Shitmat-influenced break-chaos and metallic synth-riffs with a relentlessly pounding percussive assault for an ample match with Skull Vomit's metallic savagery on the previous side. Recommended.


DONATI, ROBERTO   Cannibal Ferox OST   LP   (One Way Static)    24.99



   Already sold out from the source, One Way Static's latest entry into the field of horror soundtrack reissues is a stunning new edition of Donati's score to the all-time chunkblower classic Cannibal Ferox, featuring additional material that wasn't available on previous releases of the score. Released in the US under the alternate title Make Them Die Slowly, this 1981 flick from famed director Umberto Lenzi is one of the sickest to come out of the Italian "cannibal cycle" of the late 1970s/early 80s, a cavalcade of barbarism, butchery, mutilation, torture, castration and more; the flesh-eating on display is really only the tip of the iceberg. People talk a big game about Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust and it's generally considered to be the final word in cannibal horror, but this was always my favorite of all of the Amazon-based meateater epics. Maybe it was the big box and the infamous marketing campaign that trumpeted the movie as being "banned in over 31 countries", but this one always felt more mean-spirited than the other pastaland cannibal flicks, not to mention featuring the presence of the great Giovanni Lombardo Radice (The House On The Edge Of The Park, City Of The Living Dead, The Church), possibly the most abused actor in Italian horror from the era; this guy has died horribly on screen more times than I can count.
    Anyways, Donati created quite the score for Lenzi's charnel orgy, a suitably demented soundtrack that brings together Latin percussion, tribal drumming, ultra-sinister synth-drenched prog rock, goofy marching band music for the scenes set in New York City, and gobs of sweaty disco. The main title theme utilizes brass sections and synthesizers for a bit of classic, spacey 70's era disco-laced funk, but the much more ominous "Cannibal Ferox Theme" is heavily reminiscent of Goblin's brand of synth-drenched spookprog, creepy chorales howling over a killer combo of feverish tribal drumming, droning bass guitar and trippy synth sounds. The other tracks featured here range from bits of eerie, tropical flavored sex-jazz, bouts of creepy space rock smeared in brass horns, with the influence of Goblin's work on Suspiria and Zombi seeping into many of the more synth-heavy tracks, like the amazing doom-laden prog of "Piranhas". The best and most memorable parts of Donati's score are the mournful deathmarches that are scattered throughout the latter half of the soundtrack, tracks like "Kettle Of Doom", "Evil Rising" and "Man Hunting" blending a sickening, funereal atmosphere with bursts of airy woodwinds, crunchy hard rock powerchords, and searing fuzz-drenched electric guitar that bring a nasty, nauseating vibe unique to this film. A classic carnographic soundtrack.
    This reissue of Donati's Cannibal Ferox is presented both as a gorgeous deluxe gatefold vinyl edition (with extensive liner notes from the composer, cast and crew) limited to one thousand copies, and on limited-edition cassette tape which also includes a bunch of killer vintage radio spots and trailers, including a batshit crazy Japanese trailer for the film.


DONATI, ROBERTO   Cannibal Ferox OST   CASSETTE   (One Way Static)    9.99



   Already sold out from the source, One Way Static's latest entry into the field of horror soundtrack reissues is a stunning new edition of Donati's score to the all-time chunkblower classic Cannibal Ferox, featuring additional material that wasn't available on previous releases of the score. Released in the US under the alternate title Make Them Die Slowly, this 1981 flick from famed director Umberto Lenzi is one of the sickest to come out of the Italian "cannibal cycle" of the late 1970s/early 80s, a cavalcade of barbarism, butchery, mutilation, torture, castration and more; the flesh-eating on display is really only the tip of the iceberg. People talk a big game about Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust and it's generally considered to be the final word in cannibal horror, but this was always my favorite of all of the Amazon-based meateater epics. Maybe it was the big box and the infamous marketing campaign that trumpeted the movie as being "banned in over 31 countries", but this one always felt more mean-spirited than the other pastaland cannibal flicks, not to mention featuring the presence of the great Giovanni Lombardo Radice (The House On The Edge Of The Park, City Of The Living Dead, The Church), possibly the most abused actor in Italian horror from the era; this guy has died horribly on screen more times than I can count.
    Anyways, Donati created quite the score for Lenzi's charnel orgy, a suitably demented soundtrack that brings together Latin percussion, tribal drumming, ultra-sinister synth-drenched prog rock, goofy marching band music for the scenes set in New York City, and gobs of sweaty disco. The main title theme utilizes brass sections and synthesizers for a bit of classic, spacey 70's era disco-laced funk, but the much more ominous "Cannibal Ferox Theme" is heavily reminiscent of Goblin's brand of synth-drenched spookprog, creepy chorales howling over a killer combo of feverish tribal drumming, droning bass guitar and trippy synth sounds. The other tracks featured here range from bits of eerie, tropical flavored sex-jazz, bouts of creepy space rock smeared in brass horns, with the influence of Goblin's work on Suspiria and Zombi seeping into many of the more synth-heavy tracks, like the amazing doom-laden prog of "Piranhas". The best and most memorable parts of Donati's score are the mournful deathmarches that are scattered throughout the latter half of the soundtrack, tracks like "Kettle Of Doom", "Evil Rising" and "Man Hunting" blending a sickening, funereal atmosphere with bursts of airy woodwinds, crunchy hard rock powerchords, and searing fuzz-drenched electric guitar that bring a nasty, nauseating vibe unique to this film. A classic carnographic soundtrack.
    This reissue of Donati's Cannibal Ferox is presented both as a gorgeous deluxe gatefold vinyl edition (with extensive liner notes from the composer, cast and crew) limited to one thousand copies, and on limited-edition cassette tape which also includes a bunch of killer vintage radio spots and trailers, including a batshit crazy Japanese trailer for the film.


DRASSER, CODY   Vomitous Mass   ART BOOK - SLIM   (Crucial Blaze)    6.98



Like many of the obscure underground artists that I try to document here at Crucial Blast, I first stumbled across Cody Spence Drasser's grisly surrealistic artwork by way of his musical projects. I had been digging around online for information on his releases a while back, as I wanted to stock a couple of ‘em in the Crucial Blast catalog,; in recent years, Drasser has been busy with the dark ambient/noise project Caulbearer, which combines elements of classic isolationist ambient with bursts of incendiary electronics and dark kosmische drones to create expansive sound-fields of blackened industrial drift. It was then, while looking for more information on Drasser’s recordings, that I came across a website dedicated specifically to the artwork that he has been producing over the past two decades. A couple of clicks later, and I found myself devouring a host of horrific images and tenebrous tableaux seemingly retched forth from some ghastly dreamworld. I was staring into the pulsating, chitinous black heart of the Vomitous Mass.
Long before he began floating out into the chthonic ether with Caulbearer, Drasser's involvement in the extreme music underground was born in the blood-soaked charnel pits of early 90s death metal. As the guitarist for the short-lived New York death metal band Afterbirth, Drasser helped to produce a couple of demos of weird, filthy sewercrush during the band’s brief run, including the 1994 tape Psychopathic Embryotomy. That demo would go on to gain a cult following among fans of old-school death metal for its strange, murky atmosphere and ultra-heavy sound, which has been acclaimed by some as a precursor to the whole "slam death" thing that would grow in popularity later in the decade with bands like Devourment and Internal Bleeding (and even lead the band to recently reform after nearly twenty years in order to record new material). And at the same time that Drasser was crunching out riffs in Afterbirth, he was also beginning to produce his own visual artwork fueled by all of that sonic carnage, developing a distinct style that seemed to be inspired by a conflux of HR Giger's surrealistic biomechanical visions, the otherworldly album art of artists like Dan Seagrave, Away and Andreas Marschall, and the more bizarre fringes of horror comics art belched forth from the bowels of late 80s magazines like Gore Shriek. Drowning his grey matter in the cacophony of early death metal, Drasser began to work under the name "Vomitous Mass Graphics", scrawling out an array of surreal, morbid images charged with raw, ultra-violent energy. These pieces had a similar look and feel as the crude abattoir fantasies that you would find splattered across many of the death metal demo covers of the day, but Drasser’s work often headed into even more bizarre realms of oneiric depravity.
Released as part of Crucial Blast’s ongoing art zine series focusing on little-known artists on the fringes of extreme metal / occult / horror / surrealism, this new publication collects much of the grotesque artwork that Drasser produced under the Vomitous Mass name between 1992 and 1999, as well as several full-color collage pieces, fragments of sketchbook ephemera, and a selection of more recent artwork. As you flip through the pages of Vomitous Mass, you’ll find detailed black ink illustrations of hideous biological mutations, visions of shambling sentient meat-heaps rendered in sickening pastel hues, furiously scribbled scenes of delirious bio-mechanical chaos, dreamlike landscapes of towering crustacean structures, a smattering of spiny death metal logos and primitive demo cover-style flesh carnage, occult sigils rendered in intricate line art, and more. It also serves as a document of Drasser’s evolution as an artist, drawing a line from his early youthful renderings of crude phantasmal violence to his later work that reveals a striking progression in both technique and imagination.
Released in a limited printing of one hundred copies, with a cut-out cover design that sort of resembles those old step-back covers found on horror paperbacks from the 1980's.


DUKATALON / RITES   Mainline / Barren   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



    Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
   Number nine in the Hell Comes Home 7" series, the Dukatalon / Rites split delivers a bulldozing dose of slowmo violence from both bands. I don't remember any of Dukatalon's other stuff sounding quite this vicious; their "Mailine" is a goddamn skull-crusher, a ferocious co-mingling of swampy Louisiana-influenced sludge and barbaric thrash metal that's centered around punishing riffage. The song alternates between a massive neck-snapping Sabbathian blooze-groove and violently droning buzzsaw crust, which leads it to the lumbering doomcrush of the finale, as the Israeli band slowly ejects themselves into the outer atmosphere, blasting their black saurian sludge with a storm of spaced-out, echoing feedback. A killer song that makes me want to go dig up that album they did on Relapse and listen to it again right now.
    First time hearing the Irish band Rites, but they acquit themselves nicely with their brand of barbarous metallic hardcore, which on "Barren" comes off somewhere in the vicinity of bands like Buzzoven and Cavity, meshing a brutal downtuned punk attack to surges of crushing desert rock chug and descents into sludgy slow-motion dirge. Goddamn heavy, and puts off enough aggressive energy that I bet these guys fucking kill when they perform live.


DYSTOPIA   self-titled   LP   (Skuld)    16.98



Long out of print on vinyl here in the States, Dystopia's last album is back in stock via this European version on Skuld.
Dystopia's last album took so long to come out that it almost reached mythic status, but here it is, the final album from the California crustlords. Dystopia's eponymous swan song is as vicious a statement as the band has ever made. Six all new tracks plus a cover of an unreleased song from Carcinogen, the old Southern California grindcore band that Dystopia drummer Dino used to play in. Recorded between 2004 and 2005, the album is rife with apocalyptic death metal that is heavily tainted with the stench of old Earache crust and grind, with snarling, screeching vocals, awesome mid-tempo chugging riffs, blastbeats, super slow doom parts, lengthy samples that are used Southern Nihilism Front-style and layered over plodding, bass-heavy dirges, and their trademark breaks into weird, spacey psychedelic passages. These guys are one of the best crust/grind bands ever, as crushing (and misanthropic) as Eyehategod, and as whacked out and ripping as bands like Gasp and Suffering Luna (who if anything were heavily influenced by Dystopia themselves). I'm pretty sure that anyone that has been anticipating this last Dystopia album isn't going to be disappointed, as they are going out with a roar. From the infectious crushing rocking anti-junkie anthem 'Leaning With Intent To Fall' to the tweaked out electronic fuckery that ends "My Meds Aren't Working", this record is as powerful and pissed and heavy as anything else the band has done. Highly recommended.
The LP version of Dystopia comes with an oversized 6" by 6" thick full color 20-page booklet that's loaded with lyrics, photo collages, graffiti, and writings that are again much in the style of Mike William's Southern Nihilism Front album design style (a la all of Eyehategod's inserts).
Track Samples:
Sample : DYSTOPIA-self-titled
Sample : DYSTOPIA-self-titled
Sample : DYSTOPIA-self-titled



DYSTOPIA   self-titled   CD   (Life Is Abuse)    12.98



   After being out of print on CD for awhile, Dystopia's latest eponymous album is available once again from US label Life Is Abuse.
   Dystopia's last album took so long to come out that it almost reached mythic status, but here it is, the final album from the California crustlords. Dystopia's eponymous swan song is as vicious a statement as the band has ever made. Six all new tracks plus a cover of an unreleased song from Carcinogen, the old Southern California grindcore band that Dystopia drummer Dino used to play in. Recorded between 2004 and 2005, the album is rife with apocalyptic death metal that is heavily tainted with the stench of old Earache crust and grind, with snarling, screeching vocals, awesome mid-tempo chugging riffs, blastbeats, super slow doom parts, lengthy samples that are used Southern Nihilism Front-style and layered over plodding, bass-heavy dirges, and their trademark breaks into weird, spacey psychedelic passages. These guys are one of the best crust/grind bands ever, as crushing (and misanthropic) as Eyehategod, and as whacked out and ripping as bands like Gasp and Suffering Luna (who if anything were heavily influenced by Dystopia themselves). I'm pretty sure that anyone that has been anticipating this last Dystopia album isn't going to be disappointed, as they are going out with a roar. From the infectious crushing rocking anti-junkie anthem 'Leaning With Intent To Fall' to the tweaked out electronic fuckery that ends "My Meds Aren't Working", this record is as powerful and pissed and heavy as anything else the band has done. Highly recommended. Includes a thick booklet loaded with lyrics, photo collages, graffiti, and writings that are again much in the style of Mike William's Southern Nihilism Front album design style (a la all of Eyehategod's inserts).
Track Samples:
Sample : DYSTOPIA-self-titled
Sample : DYSTOPIA-self-titled
Sample : DYSTOPIA-self-titled



EARTH   The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    29.98



Earth's phenomenal 2008 album The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull is at last back in print on vinyl, repressed by Southern Lord for a new 2014 edition that looks pretty much identical to the first pressing: bound in a super-thick textured leather-like cover with embossed metallic gold ink, the double LP package looks like nothing less than an antique oversized Bible, a perfect design for the gorgeous, Gospel-hued glacial rock embedded in these grooves. Inside of this massive jacket are two full color sleeves that have been bound into the spine like the pages of a book, with the artwork for Bees printed on huge interior panels. Still one of the most breathtaking vinyl releases that Southern Lord has produced so far. This double LP also has an additional bonus track that is only available here, a gorgeous dose of glacial blues with horns and slide guitar drifting over languorous slowcore guitars titled "Junkyard Priest". Here's the original review for this album from back when it first came out:
It's always a big deal with a new Earth record rolls around, but for one reason or another, I never got around to listing Earth's latest album The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull when it came out earlier this year. The disc is finally making it in here now since the new deluxe vinyl set for Bees is now in stock, and it's hardly a chore to sit here and tell you why I love this album so much, so here ya go in case you've missed out so far on this amazing new album of steel-cloud majesty from the legendary, influential Earth.
Ever since Earth made their big comeback in 2005 with Hex, Dylan Carlson and company have shifted ever further from the seminal dronesludge of their early albums and have moved deeper into a realm of grim, gorgeous Morricone-tinged slowcore that is arguably as heavy as anything that the band has done before. In the same way that Earth's drone-metal classic Earth 2 inspired a legion of amp worshippers to nod out against their Marshall stacks, Hex too was influential on the new crop of sludgy metal bands that have been incorporating twangy Western guitars and desolate dust-bowl atmosphere into their sound. Now with The Bees Made Honey In The Lions Skull, Earth has once again brought us an album of sun-bleached and slow-burning glacial twang, but this time around the music feels more mystical and joyous than Earth's Hex or Hibernaculum. And the album looks glorious as well, accompanied by beautifully artwork hidden behind a black textured slipcase that has the band name and the album title embossed in gold, the album cover itself bearing a gorgeous psychedelic painting from Erik Roper, with the booklet printed on thick, super-glossy paper stock. The whole thing looks fantastic and fully compliments the warm, mystical music contained on the disc.
Opening track "Omens And Portents I: The Driver" is a nine minute blast of sunlight breaking through blackness as Carlson lays down a twangy riff that cops part of the Blaster's "Dark Night" and turns it into a spacious, reverb heavy mantra, laced with the ringing colors of guest guitarist and jazz legend Bill Frisell. Slowly drifting wah tones float over the heavy, metronomic drums and gorgeous Wurlitzer keys sparkle over top; restrained feedback wells up and low amp drone rushes through the background like a river of earthquake tones. A brighter tone appears with the following song "Rise To Glory" though; a huge simple riff blossoms into tendrils of country twang and droning feedback, the piano playing that gradually joins in adding additional colors to the sound. The rest of the album is just as great, just as slow, and just as meditative. Each song, from "Engine Of Ruin" through to the title track that closes the album, evokes a stately Western gloom, the hope of daybreak over dusty, gothic American landscapes. Earth's guitars are rich and thick, their tones free of distortion but they still carry weight, filling the air alongside the stately piano and organ, sun-baked harmonics riding on thick reverberant bass lines, the instruments leaving lots of open space through which the drums move in a hypnotic, almost jazzy shuffle. Like on the previous albums, the sound of Bees is like hearing a countrified Codeine, dark and spare and massive, laced with pedal steel twang and the Gospel hues of the Hammond.
Obviously essential if you are a fan of Earth's current sound, this album is also a perfect place to begin if you haven't had a chance yet to hear their monumental, cinematic Western slowcore, It's easily turned into one of my favorite Earth albums. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Miami Morning Coming Down II (Shine)
Sample : Omens and Portents I: The Driver
Sample : EARTH-The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull



EARTH   Hex: Or Printing In The Infernal Method   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    21.00



Along with that deluxe vinyl reissue of Earth's Bees Made Honey..., we've also got the new vinyl reissue of Earth's previous album Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method, the band's first for new label Southern Lord and the first new album from the legendary drone-metallers since 1996's Pentastar: In The Style Of Demons. This was where Dylan Carlson and crew first brought us their widescreen instrumental prairie-psych, and won them an all new audience among fans of moody post-rock and dark slowcore. The first pressing of Hex on vinyl sold out before I was able to get it in stock for the shop, so this new 2014 repress is the first time I've ever had this fantastic album in stock on vinyl here at Crucial Blast. From what I can tell, the packaging for this latest edition is the same as the first, gatefold jacket with alternate artwork from the CD version, and it has that bonus untitled track on the d-side that's exclusive to the vinyl release, a long track of haunting tundra ambience that features additional percussion from guest players Brad Mowen (The Accüsed, Asva, Burning Witch, Master Musicians Of Bukkake, etc.) and John Schuller (Master Musicians Of Bukkake).
Here's my old review of this album from when it first came out in 2005: The long-awaited new album from seminal drone heavies Earth opens with something akin to a spaghetti western fugue, massive and stretched out, spacey and spacious, a druggy western/post-rock dirge that's dreamy but desolate, ominous and shuffling, a deeply mesmerizing meditation of simple, spare drumming and heavily drenched in reverb, heavy but not "metal", guitars (including lap steel), all unfolding into a haunted ghost town lament and twangy desert post-rock. Very beautiful and slow and mysterious, like Codeine and Calexico, Low and Sixteen Horsepower, a western Mazzy Star or Godspeed You Black Emperor , that sort of clean, undistorted-but-heavy, emotionally heavy, combined with Ennio Morricone style invocations. Uncoiling melodies dissipate across darkened crimson skies, and mighty swells of instrumental gloom shake under the dust of ages. Listening to this conjures images of scorpions resting on sun baked rocks, of tumbleweeds and rusted out cars, rural decay and wide open skies as far as the eye can see. A whole new type of heavy, droning Americana. Fans of Earth's earlier, heavier drone metal may be baffled by Hex, but for those of us who are just as much in love with Earth's Thrones and Dominions and Pentastar: In The Style Of Demons albums, where Dylan Carlson and company began charting more melodic, post-rock/psychedelic waters, this feels like a natural evolution, a breathtaking new chapter in Earth's storied career, and is just as heavy as anything that has come before. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Dire and Ever Circling Wolves
Sample : Mirage
Sample : Lens of Unrectified Night



ECOUTE LA MERDE   Diazépam Et Autres Benzodiazépines   CASSETTE   (Diazepam)    8.98



    More Diazepam-induced derangement; I've been getting more and more hooked on the grimy, low-fi industrial music and deformed power electronics experiments that this Italian label has been producing. Diazépam Et Autres Benzodiazépines is the latest tape of brain-damaged murk from Ecoute La Merde, the solo project from Italian mic-chewing noise maniac Vivian Grezzini, who by day works as a psychiatric nurse. His engagement with patients suffering from a variety of acute mental illnesses provides much of the inspiration for the disturbing soundscapes that he produces with this project, employing a murky low-fi aesthetic that makes this stuff sound like some ancient TDK cassette recorded back in the early 1980s, a blur of crude discordant electronics that gradually grows creepier and more disturbing as the tape unfolds.
    The first side features "Tétrazépam 50mg Comprimé", starting off with what at first sounds like a tangle of murky meandering synthesizers, but then starts to resemble some garbled, atonal alien language being transmitted through a child's Casio keyboard. After awhile, that chirping chittering circuit-bent sound gets swept into a swirling cyclone of moldy electronic murk, erupting into a strangely brittle noise assault that builds in intensity and abrasiveness, while deep buzzing drones purr like live powerlines deep in the mix, alongside layers of harsh churning distortion and mysterious field recordings, ghostly howls and blasts of crazed keyboard discordance breaking through the cloudy, rotting miasma, leading to the final ascent into kosmische delirium that closes out the side.
    The second half is "Alprazolam 50mg Per Os", emerging out of a delirious mess of sampled voices, random noises and recordings of popular Italian music, then moving into weird, reedy bugle-like melodies and far-off screams of anguish and frustration (ambient sounds of an asylum, perhaps?), while damaged electronics stutter and unspool beneath the creepy atmosphere that slowly oozes across the side. This muffled, consistent din of sounds suggests the interior cacophony that rages within the skulls of extreme mentally disturbed, like an insane free-jazz keyboardist having a meltdown while mountains of scrap metal collapse in the distance and various pieces of large machinery comes under demonic thrall, or field recordings of reality folding in on itself; at it's most disturbing, this can evoke some of the psychic disturbances as the darkest moments of Nurse With Wound, Big City Orchestra, and Violent Onsen Geisha.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţTétrazépam 50mg Comprimé
Sample : Alprazolam 50mg Per Os



ELECTRIC WIZARD   Dopethrone (DIGIPACK)   CD   (Rise Above)    16.99

Dopethrone (DIGIPACK) IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Once again back in stock as a UK import digipack.
In honor of Electric Wizard's recent induction into the Decibel Magazine "Hall Of Fame", whioch was awarded to their milestone album Dopethrone from 2000, we've got all of their crucial deluxe re-issues available through Crucial Blast for you doomhounds that are missing these mighty platters from yer library. Repackaged in sweet digipack cases with enhanced and expanded artwork, brand new liner notes, great photos captured during each album's respective era, and bonus tracks, these Electric Wizard reissues are essential for any real fan of dope-huffing, spine crushing British DOOM.
Like a lot of people, Dopethrone was the album that started it all for me. I can't even remember where I first picked up my copy of Dopethrone, but I do remember that it wasn't because I had already heard the band - nope, it was because of the fucking awesome cover art of Lucifer ripping tubes. That kind of experience just doesn't happen enough these days, you know? I'm talking about when you can pick up an album before hearing mp3s or streams of the music, picking it up purely based on how badass it looks and then just getting blown the fuck away because the music is even more killer than the cover. That's what happened when I tossed this into my stereo for the first time - I had just recently been going through a serious Sabbath / doom kick (which seemed to be the spirit of the time, looking back), and was already thirsting for some really gnarly riffage, but I was thoroughly unprepared for how zonked Electric Wizard were going to sound. The "Reefer Madness" style sample and scuzzy bassline that starts off album opener "Vinum Sabbathi" had me hooked from the first, and when Jus Oborn's distorted megaphone vocals and monstrously detuned guitar kicked in alongside Mark Greening's loose, pummeling drumming, man, I knew that this album was going to be magic. The flow of Dopethrone is perfect too, as the album grinds through the massive skull crush singalong of "Funeralopolis", the epic three-part psych scum freakout of "Weird Tales", "I, Witchfinder", and the title track, the trip gets darker and heavier and more fucked up, the riffs taking on a progressively heavier coating of grime and slime, the lyrics, satanic hippie imagery, pulp fantasy literature and 70's splatter/horror flix references becoming more arcane and trippy. "Rise...black amps will tear the sky...feedback will free your mind and set you free." FUCK YEAH. The band's previous albums were heavy as hell, sure, but for Dopethrone, it sounded like someone took Electric Wizard and dunked them in a vat of cooling tar, then releasing them to crawl through the heaviest, most blown-out Sabbath riffage possible. One of the heaviest doom metal albums of all time. Hell, one of the heaviest albums of all time. Essential. Wizard freaks need this for no other reason than it contains the 15 minute long track "Mind Transferral" which was previously only available on the Japanese import.
Track Samples:
Sample : We Hate You
Sample : Barbarian



EMANATION   Under Magnetic Sleep   12"   (Black Mass)    14.99



   The second release from this strange Spanish sorta-black metal project with connections to the bands Like Drone Razors From Flesh Sphere and Teitanblood, Under Magnetic Sleep is a three-song, one-sided 12" that picks up where the previous tape left off, delving further into the blackened, hypnotic churn that dominated much of the debut tape with a twenty minute long descent into trance-inducing blackened lurch, howling noise, and phantasmal soundscapery that continues to expand the band's bizarre confluence of spiritism, esoteric science, improvisation and hateful buzzsaw aggression. Primary member CG Santos, a frequent collaborator with death metallers Teitenblood, carves out heavily distorted, evil riffs that are coiled around a pummeling, almost motorik drumbeat of the title track, the effect very similar to the psychedelic sound of Aluk Todolo, but much noisier and more chaotic, and mostly instrumental with vocals only rarely appearing; when they do, it tends towards bursts of staticky radio transmissions and distant howling buried deep in the mix that become more prominent on "Cryptograms of Larval Desire".
    Things get really abstract with the last song "Quintessential Ectenic Psychode", though, as the drumming gets stripped down to a broken, spaced-out beat and the guitars are swallowed up in a din of chaotic noise and backwards sound, bits of vaguely jazzy music bleeding through that veil of black murk, all warped and warbling, the eerie dissonance of the guitar becoming obscured by swells of garbled electronic noise and feedback. The music slowly winds down from that mid-tempo pulse into a slower, more doped-up dirge as all of that distortion and feedback and noise washes over everything, the music growing more ghostly and indistinct, the last few minutes of the record transforming into something that almost starts to sound like grim, fuzz-enshrouded trip-hop, a Scorn-like scourge with that fractured drumbeat shuffling and skittering through the fog of droning sound and shrill buzzing tremolo riffs and mutated orchestral chaos, that din dropping out for a moment leaving just that sparse beat before crashing back in with swarming black metal guitars surging over the looping, mesmeric black noise.
    Limited to three hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Quintessential Ectenic Psychode
Sample : Cryptograms of Larval Desire
Sample : Under Magnetic Sleep



EMANATION   One Soul, One Body, One Spirit   CASSETTE   (Black Mass)    9.98



   Now sold out from the source, Emanation's One Soul One Body One Spirit is one of two somewhat recent releases from this obscure Spanish black metal-ish project with connections to Teitenblood and Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere that we've listed in the C-Blast shop this week. As with the 12" that Emanation followed this with, this five-song tape features a mixture of experimental black ambience and necro-industrial delirium that is heavily inspired by the field of spiritism and séances along with other, more esoteric leanings, crafting a ghostly murkscape that at first vaguely resembles the creepy low-fi ambience of Moëvöt, but then gradually evolves into a kind of necrotic krautrock somewhat akin to France's Aluk Todolo. In fact, it's probably not even that accurate to describe this as "black metal", as Emanation's music tends be much more experimental, in some ways coming across more like a kind of blackened hypnotic noise rock.
    Even from the start, this puts off an unmetallic vibe. The title track creeps out across the first few minutes in a hazy cloud of murky dissonance and strange gasping vocals, gusts of white noise swirling around soft distant swells of metallic thrum and muffled tones, a soft din of far-off mechanical rumblings, random knockings and television news transmissions met with the eerie cry of an infant. These noises mix together with what seems like random environmental sounds, the grimy corroded ambience ruptured with odd buzzing and bursts of malfunctioning cable noise, this strange nocturnal dronescape taking form somewhere in between the realm of surreal industrial noise a la Big City Orchestra and the hallucinatory no-fi black psychedelia of the aforementioned Les Legions Noires outfits like Moëvöt and Aäkon Këëtrëh, dark and dreary and dreamlike.
    But then around ten minutes in, the recording suddenly swells into a noisy, chaotic din of thudding drums and swarming guitars and keyboards, everything fused together into an incomprehensible blur of sound, those drums pounding out a basic heavy backbeat far, far down in the mix, everything wrapped in a thick blanket of static and distortion. Not too far off from some of Skullflower's recent black metal influenced material, actually, and there's also a similar feel to Wold's blackened blizzards of howling high-end skree and hellish obfuscated melody. Bizarre high-pitched howls echo across the background, obscured by the almost constant roar of static and hiss, but there's a definite musical quality to it as well, an eerie melodic glow emanating from deep within the inchoate noise. It slowly comes together into a steady, slowly propulsive dirge, driving through this storm of Merzbowian scrape and screech, a static-drenched funerary crawl that gradually reveals glimpses of a stunning unearthly beauty hidden behind the maelstrom, wisps of hauntingly beautiful piano that curl through the smoke-choked acrid air. It's nearly impossible to make out where one song ends and the next begins; all of these five tracks run into one another, making this like one epic-length din of blackened hysteria that stretches out for over an hour. It's not until well into the second side that Emanation finally erupts into something heavier and more "metallic", but even then it's totally blown-out, a howling chaotic shambling black dirge that, once again, is much more akin to Aluk Todolo than black metal, a pounding hypno-pummel shrouded within a storm of speakerhiss and warbling keyboard clusters, like hearing Wold transform into some sort of fractured low-fi krautrock.
    Comes in an oversized jewel case, and includes liner notes that delve into the philosophies and inspirations behind the creation of this ectenic force. Limited to one hundred hand-numbered copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : One Soul, One Body, One Spirit.
Sample : Metempsychosis
Sample : They Demand Voice



EPOCH.OF.STARS   Amethyst Aberration of the Floral Abyss   CASSETTE   (Dying Sun)    6.98



   Apparently this was the only recording that ever surfaced from the obscure and fairly short-lived one-man black metal band Epoch Of Stars, a four-song cassette that features the UK-based project's supremely murky take on kosmische blackness. Released by the killer Dutch avant-black metal label Dying Sun, Amethyst Aberration of the Floral Abyss is a furious blast of low-fi black metal that moves at blazing tempos, the sound swarming with layered minor key tremolo riffs and distant, tinny blastbeats, a frantic but regal assault of fast-paced winterblast laced with powerful, aching melodies. It's hard to tell if there are even vocals - if they are in there somewhere, they've been buried so deeply in the mix that you can hardly detect them. AS you might surmise from that, this is pretty heavy on the murky atmosphere, the instruments washing into each other to form this rather forlorn wall of sound. Tracks like "Hemlock Burial" and "When the Roots Pierce the Sky" are reminiscent of some of Wolves In The Throne Room's recent works (albeit much rawer), but Epoch Of Stars also adds in some great cosmic ambient passages that can shift the sound into a kind of desolate orchestral drone music, sprawling out into breathtaking vistas of dimly lit sonic beauty that carry hints of Tangerine Dream and early Mortiis, those warm warbling keyboards and whorls of electronic drift breaking through the starlit haze like disintegrating rays of dying sunlight. And on "Laying Thorns Down the Crimson Path", he explores some of the more post-rock influenced aspects of bands like Velvet Cacoon and Wolves In The Throne Room's, that style of lush, epic black metal so often described as "Cascadian", the music erupting into crescendos of moody, majestic melody from out of the long stretches of repetitive tremolo riffs that are so tightly woven into these mesmeric, gorgeous waves of ascendant, blastbeat-driven drama.
    Limited to fifty copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Hemlock Burial
Sample : Laying Thorns Down the Crimson Path
Sample : When the Roots Pierce the Sky



ESOTERIC   The Maniacal Vale   3 x LP   (Aesthetic Death)    55.00



   This monstrous 2008 album from British deathdoom titans Esoteric has just gotten the deluxe vinyl treatment from longtime collaborators Aesthetic Death, the same label who first brought us Esoteric's suffocatingly heavy mixture of glacial deathcrawl and empyrean psychedelia back in the 90s with the albums Epistemological Despondency and Pernicious Enigma. On their fourth album, Esoteric still pursued the slowest strains of dejected metallic dread into a bizarre abyss where no one follows, making for some of the heaviest, most chthonic deathdoom I've ever laid ears on. Released in a limited, hand-numbered edition of eight hundred fifty copies, this new vinyl version of Maniacal Vale is goddamn massive, housed in a triple gatefold jacket with a printed insert, Kati Astraeir's sepia-scorched album art spinning on the cover like some infernal mandala; we've also got the original Season of Mist double CD edition back in stock, as well.
    Those early albums from Esoteric comprised some of the most extreme doomdeath to emerge from the 90s, sprawling eruptions of raw, psychedelic, echo-laden heaviness that are still some of the strangest and most skull-flattening slabs of UK doomdeath I've ever heard, a twisted mutation of the classic Peaceville sound. But by the time the band brought us Maniacal Vale, their immense sound had moved deeper into more textured depths, employing washes of vast Floydian spaciness and soaring, emotionally punishing guitar melodies over their glacial crush. Where earlier albums were marked by a kind of twisted, reverb-drenched primitivism, here Esoteric moves a little closer to the utterly bleak emotional terrain of bands like My Dying Bride and Lost Paradise-era Paradise Lost, their crushing slow-motion death metal often unfolding into a kind of wretched elegance, though their sound always remains rooted in pitch-black soil. Greg Chandler's vicious scream rips through the gorgeous nocturnal gloom that wafts around their churning riffs, following them down into long descents into echoing, black hole ambience, delay-drenched guitars turning into black liquid and streaming through vast subterranean voids, drugged-out clouds of rumbling, almost kosmische psychedelia that makes it so much heavier and skull-crushing when the song suddenly lurches back into that slo-mo dirge, that majestic heaviness swarming with clusters of spiraling, almost classical-style guitar melodies tumbling through space, erupting into violent gales of blastbeats and ghastly shrieks. The oppressive astral crush of that first disc is only offset by the blastbeat-driven lysergic death metal of "Caucus Of Mind", which eventually topples into a final oceanic mass of whirring synths and transmissions from some distant black quasar, melting down into a sprawl of horrific ambience at the end as the band collapses in on itself.
    Over on the second disc, the music shifts between the heart-stopping slowness of tracks like "Silence", while the darkly gorgeous guitars and gloomy atmosphere of the intro could almost pass for something off of Fields Of The Nephilim's Elizium. And the twenty-two minute closer "Ignotum Per Ignotius" is Esoteric at their most stretched out and smothering, an utterly massive meeting of epic, void-staring heaviosity and viscid black synthdrift, the latter sucking the whole thing into a wormhole by the final moments of the album. Utterly titanic.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ignotum Per Ignotius
Sample : Circle
Sample : Beneath This Face



ESOTERIC   The Maniacal Vale   2 x CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



   This monstrous 2008 album from British deathdoom titans Esoteric has just gotten the deluxe vinyl treatment from longtime collaborators Aesthetic Death, the same label who first brought us Esoteric's suffocatingly heavy mixture of glacial deathcrawl and empyrean psychedelia back in the 90s with the albums Epistemological Despondency and Pernicious Enigma. On their fourth album, Esoteric still pursued the slowest strains of dejected metallic dread into a bizarre abyss where no one follows, making for some of the heaviest, most chthonic deathdoom I've ever laid ears on. Released in a limited, hand-numbered edition of eight hundred fifty copies, this new vinyl version of Maniacal Vale is goddamn massive, housed in a triple gatefold jacket with a printed insert, Kati Astraeir's sepia-scorched album art spinning on the cover like some infernal mandala; we've also got the original Season of Mist double CD edition back in stock, as well.
    Those early albums from Esoteric comprised some of the most extreme doomdeath to emerge from the 90s, sprawling eruptions of raw, psychedelic, echo-laden heaviness that are still some of the strangest and most skull-flattening slabs of UK doomdeath I've ever heard, a twisted mutation of the classic Peaceville sound. But by the time the band brought us Maniacal Vale, their immense sound had moved deeper into more textured depths, employing washes of vast Floydian spaciness and soaring, emotionally punishing guitar melodies over their glacial crush. Where earlier albums were marked by a kind of twisted, reverb-drenched primitivism, here Esoteric moves a little closer to the utterly bleak emotional terrain of bands like My Dying Bride and Lost Paradise-era Paradise Lost, their crushing slow-motion death metal often unfolding into a kind of wretched elegance, though their sound always remains rooted in pitch-black soil. Greg Chandler's vicious scream rips through the gorgeous nocturnal gloom that wafts around their churning riffs, following them down into long descents into echoing, black hole ambience, delay-drenched guitars turning into black liquid and streaming through vast subterranean voids, drugged-out clouds of rumbling, almost kosmische psychedelia that makes it so much heavier and skull-crushing when the song suddenly lurches back into that slo-mo dirge, that majestic heaviness swarming with clusters of spiraling, almost classical-style guitar melodies tumbling through space, erupting into violent gales of blastbeats and ghastly shrieks. The oppressive astral crush of that first disc is only offset by the blastbeat-driven lysergic death metal of "Caucus Of Mind", which eventually topples into a final oceanic mass of whirring synths and transmissions from some distant black quasar, melting down into a sprawl of horrific ambience at the end as the band collapses in on itself.
    Over on the second disc, the music shifts between the heart-stopping slowness of tracks like "Silence", while the darkly gorgeous guitars and gloomy atmosphere of the intro could almost pass for something off of Fields Of The Nephilim's Elizium. And the twenty-two minute closer "Ignotum Per Ignotius" is Esoteric at their most stretched out and smothering, an utterly massive meeting of epic, void-staring heaviosity and viscid black synthdrift, the latter sucking the whole thing into a wormhole by the final moments of the album. Utterly titanic.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ignotum Per Ignotius
Sample : Circle
Sample : Beneath This Face



EYE OF NIX   self-titled   CASSETTE   (Scatological Liberation Front)    5.00



   This short self-titled EP is the debut release from newer Seattle band Eye Of Nix, made up of former members of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and avant-crusties Same-Sex Dictator; these guys share some of the same proggy qualities as the latter band, blending together a strange confluence of sounds that includes vague black metal influences, jagged noise rock, the churning atmospheric crust of Christdriver or early Neurosis, their sound smeared with No Wave-esque guitar shrapnel and fronted by the unusual vocals of singer Joy Von Spain, who veers between a fearsome blackened shriek and a powerful, blues-tinged quasi-operatic delivery that sometimes reminds me of both Jarboe and Diamanda Galas. It's an interesting sound that Eye Of Nix reveals here. Bass-heavy hardcore collides with an almost Sonic Youth-esque dissonance on the opener "Rome Burned", and from there the EP moves further into noise-addled, proggy hardcore, a definite Man Is The Bastard vibe to the churning tribal rhythms and angular, dark riffs; fans of drummer Justin Straw's previous bands (Gods Among Men, Hellgrammite, the aforementioned Same-Sex Dictator) will recognize his presence here. But singer Von Spain transforms this into something quite different with her expressive singing. On "A Curse", the band slip into a seemingly improvised free-rock workout, Von Spain's voice intertwining a creepy whisper with dramatic chant-like singing over the steadily building cacophony, violent tribal rhythms seething beneath the atonal guitar noise, until it suddenly and viciously explodes into a discordant blast of aggression, an almost black metal tinged blur of blazing tempos and scathing screams and damaged tremolo riffing. There's more of that spastic, discordant ugliness on "Shroud", which starts off as a kind of lurching blown-out blackened noise rock assault but then morphs into an eerie slowcore dirge at the end. Pretty cool stuff that takes the sort of avant-crust that Straw has been working with over the past decade in a new and more powerful direction. Available on both a professionally manufactured cassette and a CDR release in a gatefold sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Shroud
Sample : Optime Vero
Sample : A Curse



EYE OF NIX   self-titled   CDR   (Scatological Liberation Front)    5.98



   This short self-titled EP is the debut release from newer Seattle band Eye Of Nix, made up of former members of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and avant-crusties Same-Sex Dictator; these guys share some of the same proggy qualities as the latter band, blending together a strange confluence of sounds that includes vague black metal influences, jagged noise rock, the churning atmospheric crust of Christdriver or early Neurosis, their sound smeared with No Wave-esque guitar shrapnel and fronted by the unusual vocals of singer Joy Von Spain, who veers between a fearsome blackened shriek and a powerful, blues-tinged quasi-operatic delivery that sometimes reminds me of both Jarboe and Diamanda Galas. It's an interesting sound that Eye Of Nix reveals here. Bass-heavy hardcore collides with an almost Sonic Youth-esque dissonance on the opener "Rome Burned", and from there the EP moves further into noise-addled, proggy hardcore, a definite Man Is The Bastard vibe to the churning tribal rhythms and angular, dark riffs; fans of drummer Justin Straw's previous bands (Gods Among Men, Hellgrammite, the aforementioned Same-Sex Dictator) will recognize his presence here. But singer Von Spain transforms this into something quite different with her expressive singing. On "A Curse", the band slip into a seemingly improvised free-rock workout, Von Spain's voice intertwining a creepy whisper with dramatic chant-like singing over the steadily building cacophony, violent tribal rhythms seething beneath the atonal guitar noise, until it suddenly and viciously explodes into a discordant blast of aggression, an almost black metal tinged blur of blazing tempos and scathing screams and damaged tremolo riffing. There's more of that spastic, discordant ugliness on "Shroud", which starts off as a kind of lurching blown-out blackened noise rock assault but then morphs into an eerie slowcore dirge at the end. Pretty cool stuff that takes the sort of avant-crust that Straw has been working with over the past decade in a new and more powerful direction. Available on both a professionally manufactured cassette and a CDR release in a gatefold sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Shroud
Sample : Optime Vero
Sample : A Curse



FATALISM   Mystery Of Death   CASSETTE + 3" CDR   (Eternal Death)    6.98



   A peculiar and ultimately quite haunting EP from the New England duo Fatalism (featuring members of black metal atavists One Master), whose music has been described by some as falling somewhere among the current wave of shoegaze-influenced black metal outfits like Alcest and Cold Body Radiation. That's not what I'm hearing here at all, however. To my ears, Fatalisms cavernous, echoing dirges evoke an even older sound; as the plodding metallic guitars and driving backbeat kick off the opening song "Isabelle", Mystery Of Death slips into a strange and dreamlike haze of repetitious heavy post-punk that for all the world resembles a narcotized, black metal-infected take on the spookshow atmosphere of early 80s deathrock, those echoing monotonous vocals, the reverb-enshrouded guitar leads, the simple, dreary melodies - it all reminds me of a more doom-laden, DXM-drenched take on the morbid punk of early Christian Death, and even more so the heavy, spaced out graveyard vibe of Mighty Sphincter.
    Granted, the endlessly echoing, monotone vocals on Mystery may be initially off-putting to a lot of listeners (and are in some ways similar to the droning delivery of Charnel House’s Black Blood from last year), but as these four songs unfold across the EP, the dozy, half-spoken lines ripple across Fatalism's chugging riffs and ethereal keyboard fog like something from a dream, and when the music surges into something more aggressive, the effect can be rather surreal. It's on the second track "Isolde" that this strange, hallucinatory death rock vibe fully collides with the duo's black metal background, as the swirling gloom and funereal dirges slowly build into something much heavier and more vicious, thunderous double bass and blackened tremolo riffs blasting out of the gloom. But then they follow that with the rather catchy delay-soaked post-punk delirium of "Isle", an infectious keyboard-drenched bit of overdriven noise-drenched gloompop that is just as ghostly and effects-laden as everything else on this release. And they cap it off with a track called "Gloom Reaper", which is essentially a death-rock reconstruction of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper" with tongue firmly in cheek, but it's actually cooler than you would expect, that instantly recognizable classic rock melody transmuted into something even more spectral and drugged out, a hauntingly beautiful sprawl of dazed darkwave that gradually drifts and fades into the abyss.
    Packaged in a clamshell plastic case, this includes both a cassette and a 3" CDR version of the recording, housed on plastic hubs inside the package.
Track Samples:
Sample : Isle
Sample : Isabelle
Sample : Gloom Reaper



FLAGITIOUS IDIOSYNCRASY IN THE DILAPIDATION   Wallow   CD   (Six Weeks)    10.98



   Back in stock. The latest from one of my favorite Japanese grindcore bands going right now; from the all-girl lineup they've had for most of their career, to the reckless off-kilter grindcore they've belted out across their two albums, to the absurd word-salad of their name, Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation are one of the wildest grindcore bands to come out of Japan in the past decade. After a five year wait, this Tokyo-based outfit finally returned with the follow-up to their eponymous debut, and the sixteen songs gathered here suggest the band's crazed grind has gotten even more twisted, if that was even possible.
    With its strange cover art depicting a feminine kimono-clad figure transformed into a wormy chaos, Wallow quivers with demented energy before you even slap this down on your turntable. The band detonates short ninety second blasts of frenzied grindcore that are jam-packed with odd time signature changes and violently awkward arrangements, shifting between chugging mid-tempo grooves and superfast blasting speed, with singer Makiko alternating between guttural death metal-style slobber and some seriously insane high-pitched shrieks that almost totally abandon the human realm. This stuff can get pretty wonky, like the weird fractured grind of "Ignorance" with its skronked-out bass and spiky, discordant riffs and arrhythmic drumming, while other songs like "What You……" and "Obstacles" break out of the whirlwind blast attack into bursts of rampaging, anthemic hardcore punk, and others slip into brief bursts of lumbering doom-laden sludge. Something that sticks out on Wallow is the bass sound; bassist Kanako is way out in front, her bone-rattling low-end chords bludgeoning the listener like a spiked club, adding an additional layer of abrasion to Flagitious's already brutal assault. And as freaked-out as their songs get, these ladies keep it together with a high degree of precision, whipping through tightly coiled stop-n'-go tempo changes in a manner that sometimes reminds me of later-era Brutal Truth, but with much more maniacal, screeching delivery. Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : What You....
Sample : Stumble
Sample : Nightflesh
Sample : Deserve



FLAGITIOUS IDIOSYNCRASY IN THE DILAPIDATION   Wallow   LP   (Six Weeks)    13.98



   Back in stock. The latest from one of my favorite Japanese grindcore bands going right now; from the all-girl lineup they've had for most of their career, to the reckless off-kilter grindcore they've belted out across their two albums, to the absurd word-salad of their name, Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation are one of the wildest grindcore bands to come out of Japan in the past decade. After a five year wait, this Tokyo-based outfit finally returned with the follow-up to their eponymous debut, and the sixteen songs gathered here suggest the band's crazed grind has gotten even more twisted, if that was even possible.
    With its strange cover art depicting a feminine kimono-clad figure transformed into a wormy chaos, Wallow quivers with demented energy before you even slap this down on your turntable. The band detonates short ninety second blasts of frenzied grindcore that are jam-packed with odd time signature changes and violently awkward arrangements, shifting between chugging mid-tempo grooves and superfast blasting speed, with singer Makiko alternating between guttural death metal-style slobber and some seriously insane high-pitched shrieks that almost totally abandon the human realm. This stuff can get pretty wonky, like the weird fractured grind of "Ignorance" with its skronked-out bass and spiky, discordant riffs and arrhythmic drumming, while other songs like "What You……" and "Obstacles" break out of the whirlwind blast attack into bursts of rampaging, anthemic hardcore punk, and others slip into brief bursts of lumbering doom-laden sludge. Something that sticks out on Wallow is the bass sound; bassist Kanako is way out in front, her bone-rattling low-end chords bludgeoning the listener like a spiked club, adding an additional layer of abrasion to Flagitious's already brutal assault. And as freaked-out as their songs get, these ladies keep it together with a high degree of precision, whipping through tightly coiled stop-n'-go tempo changes in a manner that sometimes reminds me of later-era Brutal Truth, but with much more maniacal, screeching delivery. Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : What You....
Sample : Stumble
Sample : Nightflesh
Sample : Deserve



FLESH WORLD   Planned Obsolescence   7" VINYL   (No Patience)    11.98



   A vicious new EP of mutoid hardcore from Down Under. Originally released on cassette back in 2011, Planned Obsolescence features seven songs of wrecked hardcore from Flesh World that spazz out across this 7" in grand fashion, blasting you with violent drumming, brutal three-chord riffs flying at top speed, an utterly putrid-sounding front man who froths and gibbers in a maniacal manner akin to Eric Eycke on Corrosion Of Conformity's Eye For An Eye having just undergone brain surgery, and a noxious noisy guitar attack that eschews any sort of recognizable chord structure for an assault of sputtering feedback, crazed atonal leads, and ugly discordant racket. This shit is completely crazed, one of the sickest sounding hardcore punk EPs to come through my door so far this year, a filthy low-fi recording job further uglifying their nasty Void-esque chaos. This thing hits ten on the insaneometer, constantly sounding as if the band is in the midst of totally falling apart physically, the songs sometimes splintering into pure squealing noise for a second before lurching back into another one of their rabid 1000 mph speedgasms, messed-up Greg Ginn-esque solos splattered all over the smoking heap, even getting all catchy and melodic on the closer "Fuck Time". Sensitive listeners would complain that this is tuneless anti-music. I couldn't agree more. Fucking phenomenal - if you share my obsession with noisy, psychotic hardcore in the spirit of Die Kreuzen, United Mutation and the aforementioned Void, grab this baby pronto.
   On red vinyl, limited to five hundred copies.


FLOOR   Homegoings And Transitions / Shadowline   12"   (Season Of Mist)    15.98



   Kind of an odd release, though Steve Brooks's other band Torche did a similar thing with their Healer / Across The Shields 12", which also regurgitated album material that had already been issued on a full length LP alongside a couple of exclusive tracks. This limited-edition one-sided 12" from Floor is kind of in the same vein, but only features two songs, one of 'em ("Homegoings And Transitions") already appearing on the band's recently released comeback album Oblation. It's a total double-dip, though that song is one of the catchiest on Oblation, its crushing tectonic hook fused to a strobing guitar melody, Brooks joined by Melissa Hope Friedman on vocals for the soaring harmonies on this massive slab of slow motion sludgepop majesty.
    But it's the other song that fanatical Floor fans would mainly want to pick this 12" up for, a track called "Shadowline" that was previously only available as a bonus song on the digital version of Oblation, otherwise exclusive to this record. It sounds like something that could've come off the band's self-titled 2002 album, a massive lumbering tarpit-pop anthem laced with blasts of Brooks's speaker-rattling bomb-string and driven by another one of Floor's trademark bone-crushing hooks. Pretty goddamn great. Over on the b-side, the record is etched in weird abstract doodles that look like they might be amplifier circuit schematics, or possibly the hidden code for alien DNA. Either way, it's a weird little release that'll mostly only be of interest to the most hardcore of Floor collectors, limited to one thousand five hundred copies and packaged in a simple paper sleeve - which, by the way, is easily creased; all of the copies that we picked up from the label came with creases or folds in the cover, so getting a totally pristine copy of this looks like it's going to be next to impossible. Just bear that in mind if you are particularly picky about getting one of these in flawless condition.


FLOOR   Oblation   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



   Figured that people didn't really begin to flock to Floor's massively downtuned sludgepop until well after the band had called it quits in 2004. After more than a decade of slogging it out in basements and dingy punk clubs, the band had just delivered the first album of their career, and it was a goddamn masterpiece of infectiously catchy and monstrously heavy tuneage that felt like some weird cross between the Melvins at their most skull-flattening, and the post-punk power pop of Guided By Voices. Things came apart in the wake of that album, though, and they soon parted ways, splitting off into newer projects Dove and Torche, and it looked like Floor was once more laid to rest. But that self titled album just kept on resonating, the band's audience continuing to grow as the years went by, even as frontman Steve Brooks plied a similar (though more complex and energetic) sound with Torche, and by 2010 Floor was once again resurrected, followed by promises of new material.
    So here we've finally got the long-awaited album, their first new recording in over a dozen years, and as soon as that title track opens up Oblation and the guttural, bone-rattling churn of the "bomb-string" comes grinding out of your speakers, there's no mistaking where you're at. That opening dirge is on the reserved side, a mix of soaring 'gazey beauty and saurian sludge that's more there to set the mood for the rest of the album, but from there Floor roll over you like a piece of earthmoving machinery, with thirteen songs that sound like barely any time has passed since their last album and subsequent breakup over a decade ago. Hard to believe it's been that long already, actually - nothing reminds you of just how old you're getting than a comeback album from one of your favorite bands. Oblation eases the pain, though; songs like "Rocinante", "Sister Sophia" and "The Key", while maybe not quite hitting the sublime genius of the songwriting on their eponymous album, still go down real sweet, the pace of the music seemingly informed by what Brooks has been doing with Torche in the interim, these songs moving at a slightly quicker pace, while still tossing off plenty of bomb-string grenades that blow your goddamn hair back. The lurching concrete-mixer heaviness and mathy winding riffage of "The Quill" and "Trick Scene" are pretty obliterating as well, and there's a burst of hardcore punk-velocity that appears on songs like "Raised To A Star" and "Love Comes Crushing" that came as a real shock to the system, showing another side of Floor's sound, with the former song possibly coming in as my favorite on the whole disc. Listening to this new stuff reminds me how much I've always disliked the "doom-pop" label these guys were tagged with. There's no sense of "doom" here; this stuff is triumphant.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Quill
Sample : Raised to a Star
Sample : Oblation



FLOOR   Oblation   2 x LP   (Season Of Mist)    29.98



   Figured that people didn't really begin to flock to Floor's massively downtuned sludgepop until well after the band had called it quits in 2004. After more than a decade of slogging it out in basements and dingy punk clubs, the band had just delivered the first album of their career, and it was a goddamn masterpiece of infectiously catchy and monstrously heavy tuneage that felt like some weird cross between the Melvins at their most skull-flattening, and the post-punk power pop of Guided By Voices. Things came apart in the wake of that album, though, and they soon parted ways, splitting off into newer projects Dove and Torche, and it looked like Floor was once more laid to rest. But that self titled album just kept on resonating, the band's audience continuing to grow as the years went by, even as frontman Steve Brooks plied a similar (though more complex and energetic) sound with Torche, and by 2010 Floor was once again resurrected, followed by promises of new material.
    So here we've finally got the long-awaited album, their first new recording in over a dozen years, and as soon as that title track opens up Oblation and the guttural, bone-rattling churn of the "bomb-string" comes grinding out of your speakers, there's no mistaking where you're at. That opening dirge is on the reserved side, a mix of soaring 'gazey beauty and saurian sludge that's more there to set the mood for the rest of the album, but from there Floor roll over you like a piece of earthmoving machinery, with thirteen songs that sound like barely any time has passed since their last album and subsequent breakup over a decade ago. Hard to believe it's been that long already, actually - nothing reminds you of just how old you're getting than a comeback album from one of your favorite bands. Oblation eases the pain, though; songs like "Rocinante", "Sister Sophia" and "The Key", while maybe not quite hitting the sublime genius of the songwriting on their eponymous album, still go down real sweet, the pace of the music seemingly informed by what Brooks has been doing with Torche in the interim, these songs moving at a slightly quicker pace, while still tossing off plenty of bomb-string grenades that blow your goddamn hair back. The lurching concrete-mixer heaviness and mathy winding riffage of "The Quill" and "Trick Scene" are pretty obliterating as well, and there's a burst of hardcore punk-velocity that appears on songs like "Raised To A Star" and "Love Comes Crushing" that came as a real shock to the system, showing another side of Floor's sound, with the former song possibly coming in as my favorite on the whole disc. Listening to this new stuff reminds me how much I've always disliked the "doom-pop" label these guys were tagged with. There's no sense of "doom" here; this stuff is triumphant.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Quill
Sample : Raised to a Star
Sample : Oblation



FLOOR   Oblation   CASSETTE   (Season Of Mist)    9.98



   Figured that people didn't really begin to flock to Floor's massively downtuned sludgepop until well after the band had called it quits in 2004. After more than a decade of slogging it out in basements and dingy punk clubs, the band had just delivered the first album of their career, and it was a goddamn masterpiece of infectiously catchy and monstrously heavy tuneage that felt like some weird cross between the Melvins at their most skull-flattening, and the post-punk power pop of Guided By Voices. Things came apart in the wake of that album, though, and they soon parted ways, splitting off into newer projects Dove and Torche, and it looked like Floor was once more laid to rest. But that self titled album just kept on resonating, the band's audience continuing to grow as the years went by, even as frontman Steve Brooks plied a similar (though more complex and energetic) sound with Torche, and by 2010 Floor was once again resurrected, followed by promises of new material.
    So here we've finally got the long-awaited album, their first new recording in over a dozen years, and as soon as that title track opens up Oblation and the guttural, bone-rattling churn of the "bomb-string" comes grinding out of your speakers, there's no mistaking where you're at. That opening dirge is on the reserved side, a mix of soaring 'gazey beauty and saurian sludge that's more there to set the mood for the rest of the album, but from there Floor roll over you like a piece of earthmoving machinery, with thirteen songs that sound like barely any time has passed since their last album and subsequent breakup over a decade ago. Hard to believe it's been that long already, actually - nothing reminds you of just how old you're getting than a comeback album from one of your favorite bands. Oblation eases the pain, though; songs like "Rocinante", "Sister Sophia" and "The Key", while maybe not quite hitting the sublime genius of the songwriting on their eponymous album, still go down real sweet, the pace of the music seemingly informed by what Brooks has been doing with Torche in the interim, these songs moving at a slightly quicker pace, while still tossing off plenty of bomb-string grenades that blow your goddamn hair back. The lurching concrete-mixer heaviness and mathy winding riffage of "The Quill" and "Trick Scene" are pretty obliterating as well, and there's a burst of hardcore punk-velocity that appears on songs like "Raised To A Star" and "Love Comes Crushing" that came as a real shock to the system, showing another side of Floor's sound, with the former song possibly coming in as my favorite on the whole disc. Listening to this new stuff reminds me how much I've always disliked the "doom-pop" label these guys were tagged with. There's no sense of "doom" here; this stuff is triumphant.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Quill
Sample : Raised to a Star
Sample : Oblation



FRIZZI, FABIO   City Of The Living Dead   LP   (Death Waltz)    29.99



   Everything that comes out on Death Waltz generally gets my blood pressure up, but when the label's latest offering landed on my doorstep, the long-awaited vinyl reissue of Fabio Frizzi's score to the Lucio Fulci freakout Paura nella cittŕ dei morti viventi (also released under the English titles Gates Of Hell and City Of The Living Dead), I could barely contain myself. Housed in a newly designed sleeve featuring Graham Humphreys' phenomenal artwork, this classic Frizzi blast looks and sounds better than ever, and is one of his finest collaborations with the Italian splatter master. Released back in 1980, City is one of the most notorious of Fulci's 80s films, a surrealistic nightmare that loosely told the story of a remote New England town being transformed into a portal to Hell. Sort of. Fulci's film doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and had one of the most absurdly ambiguous endings ever pasted onto the end of a horror film, but holy smokes did it deliver some eye-scorching visuals: some of Fulci's most infamous sequences were to be found here, from the insane head-drilling scene that seems to go on forever, to that unforgettable scene where poor Daniela Doria locks eyes with the film's demonic priest, then proceeds to puke up her entire intestinal tract. While Fulci was still two films away from his horror masterpiece The Beyond, this still stands as one of the most batshit Italian horror movies from the era, moving on a kind of deranged dream-logic that makes it's atmosphere and scenes of carnage impossible to forget.
   Frizzi and Fulci had already worked together on a number of films, and for City of The Living Dead Frizzi employed a similar throbbing synth-heavy style as his work on Zombi 2. Combining elements of prog rock, experimental soundscapery and primitive electronic music, this score drips with spooky, delirious atmosphere. Creepy synthesizer textures, tense violin arrangements, haunting choral voices, and some seriously fuzz-drenched funk bass that becomes a recurring motif throughout the score are all blended together into a strange graveyard ambience. The lush, ominous orchestral strings of "Introduzione" give way to plodding funeral march drums and washes of dark synth and choral voices, joined by bluesy licks peeled off an electric guitar, followed by forays into spooky piano melodies and solemn prog dirges, surges of shimmering metallic percussion and nightmarish synth effects, ghostly chittering and warped orchestral noise; Frizzi gets into some really Goblin-esque prog rock weirdness throughout his score, laying hypnotic droning bass guitar and squealing electronics around frenzied percussive freakouts, those haunted choir voices a recurrent element, and "Irrealtŕ Di Suoni" uses acoustic guitar and piano in a similarly Gobliny fashion. There's some ridiculously groovy funk that pops up at weird moments, whirring metallic drones, chortling horn sections leering out of the shadows, and eerie woodwind melodies that float over pulsating prog-funk grooves. Dolorous cinematic string sections, deranged tribal drumming and searing acid-rock guitar, swells of Floydian space-blues, and blast after blast of searing, piercing psychedelic noisiness. It's a classic slab of surrealistic splatter symphonics that has a handful of moments that could possibly even appeal to fans of the darker Italian progressive rock like Antonius Rex, Il Balletto di Bronzo and Jacula, and you'll obviously groove on this if you're already a devotee of horror-prog masters Goblin. In addition to the original score, the Lp also includes a seven minute live track at the end that features Frizzi performing selections from the City score at London’s Union Chapel in 2013, which sounds pretty fantastic.
    In typical Death Waltz fashion, this reissue is top notch in terms of sound and presentation, remastered and pressed on 180 gram vinyl and packaged in a heavyweight sleeve, fleshed out further with all-new liner notes written by Frizzi himself that illuminate his thoughts on the score and the film, and includes a large foldout poster that features Graham Humphreys' stunning cover art, which I gotta say is probably my favorite cover yet from Death Waltz. Highly recommended.


FUCKED UP   Year Of The Dragon   12"   (Tank Crimes)    14.98



   The sixth and latest entry in "Chinese Zodiac" series from Toronto hardcore provocateurs Fucked Up, which began with 2007's Year Of The Pig; as with the previous installments, this 12" features a sprawling, expansive title track where the band continues to explore the ever shifting boundaries of their version of hardcore punk, the subtle traces of prog rock and psychedelia that have distinguished their previous releases once again bubbling to the surface here; and that epic is surrounded by a couple of shorter songs, moving from the band's longform prog-tinged punk saga into shorter, more raucous blasts of hardcore fury. It's one of the best in the series, in my opinion.
    "Year Of The Dragon" fills up the entire a-side of the record, a strident eighteen minute epic that moves from the early moody jangle of the opening melody into a thunderous, propulsive hook, singer Damian Abraham pounding the air with his ferocious screams, ripping through the metallic crunch that the band whips around a steadily increasing tempo, then later slipping into slower, darker passages of 'gazey gloom-rock with wailing wah-drenched guitars, and into bursts of crushing, almost crossover-thrash style riffage that evolve into one of the band's trademark motorik grooves. Towards the end of the song, the guitarists start to unfurl some killer, almost bluesy hard rock and ornate riffery that almost suggests that they'd been listening to a lot of Blue Oyster Cult prior to recording this EP, and the end of the side finally transforms into a furious mix of classic-sounding heavy metal gallop and soaring Floydian soloing. The other two songs are pure fuckin' punk, though, covers of obscure Toronto punk outfits Cardboard Brains and The Ugly. Both of these songs ("I Wanna Be A Yank" and "Disorder", respectively), are reshaped in Fucked Up's feral image, ripping four-chord pogo-burners in that classic early 80's punk rock vein, but here made more lush and layered with twinges of the band's rabid psychedelia bleeding through into the stomping anthemic hooks.
Track Samples:
Sample : Year of the Dragon
Sample : I Wanna Be a Yank
Sample : Disorder



FUCKED UP   Year Of The Dragon   CD   (Tank Crimes)    7.98



   The sixth and latest entry in "Chinese Zodiac" series from Toronto hardcore provocateurs Fucked Up, which began with 2007's Year Of The Pig; as with the previous installments, this 12" features a sprawling, expansive title track where the band continues to explore the ever shifting boundaries of their version of hardcore punk, the subtle traces of prog rock and psychedelia that have distinguished their previous releases once again bubbling to the surface here; and that epic is surrounded by a couple of shorter songs, moving from the band's longform prog-tinged punk saga into shorter, more raucous blasts of hardcore fury. It's one of the best in the series, in my opinion.
    "Year Of The Dragon" fills up the entire a-side of the record, a strident eighteen minute epic that moves from the early moody jangle of the opening melody into a thunderous, propulsive hook, singer Damian Abraham pounding the air with his ferocious screams, ripping through the metallic crunch that the band whips around a steadily increasing tempo, then later slipping into slower, darker passages of 'gazey gloom-rock with wailing wah-drenched guitars, and into bursts of crushing, almost crossover-thrash style riffage that evolve into one of the band's trademark motorik grooves. Towards the end of the song, the guitarists start to unfurl some killer, almost bluesy hard rock and ornate riffery that almost suggests that they'd been listening to a lot of Blue Oyster Cult prior to recording this EP, and the end of the side finally transforms into a furious mix of classic-sounding heavy metal gallop and soaring Floydian soloing. The other two songs are pure fuckin' punk, though, covers of obscure Toronto punk outfits Cardboard Brains and The Ugly. Both of these songs ("I Wanna Be A Yank" and "Disorder", respectively), are reshaped in Fucked Up's feral image, ripping four-chord pogo-burners in that classic early 80's punk rock vein, but here made more lush and layered with twinges of the band's rabid psychedelia bleeding through into the stomping anthemic hooks.
Track Samples:
Sample : Year of the Dragon
Sample : I Wanna Be a Yank
Sample : Disorder



FUNERAL MOTH   Dense Fog   CD   (Weird Truth)    13.98



   These Japanese funeral doom crushers are finally back, returning with their debut full length album six years after their previous eponymous EP that I raved about back when it was released. Issued via Japanese label Weird Truth Productions alongside the likes of extreme doom elites like Ataraxie, Indesinence, Mournful Congregation, Worship, Imindain and Funeralium, the four-song slab Dense Fog delivers crushing, meditative doom from these former members of deathsludge titans Coffins and cult black metallers Deathchurch, each track an ode to self-immolation set to immense time-freezing heaviness that moves in glacial drifts across the album.
    The three main songs that make up Dense Fog are obviously rooted in that classic funereal doom aesthetic, drawing from the classic sounds of Skepticism and Therogthon as the band lays down these titanic glacial dirges that crawl across the album at agonizingly torturous tempos, but they do bring some unique touches of their own to this sound. The music has a grim beauty to it, the colossal riffs often shaping themselves into a cold, funerary grandeur, the drooling, caveman growls countering that stately heaviness with feral, abject horror that almost suggests the presence of some mad Shinto monk grunting and groaning over the rumbling slow-mo chords and syrupy drumming. There's also quite a bit of a slowcore influence that seeps into the more subdued moments on the album, long stretches where the heaviness suddenly falls away and we're left with just the sound of a rumbling bass guitar and chiming minor key chords slowly drifting through the darkness, the drummer reduced to a super-minimal backbeat as the sound shifts into something much more akin to the spare, wintry gloom of Codeine; the title track, the shortest song on here at just under four minutes, is a purely instrumental example of that icy, fog-enshrouded funerary slowcore. Those shimmering guitar textures creep all over the album though, right into the almost Badalamenti-like atmosphere that hangs over portions of the monstrous closing track "Jigai - Kill Yourself", and there's a guest appearance from Mournful Congregation guitarist Justin Hartwig, where he contributes a stunning guitar solo at the end of opener "Blindness" that really yanks at your heartstrings. Indeed, anyone into the funerary majesty of Mournful Congregation should check this out, as well as fans of the heavily atmospheric massiveness of Corrupted and the general vibe of the Weird Truth roster. Comes in a six panel digipack.
Track Samples:
Sample : kill yourself
Sample : dense fog
Sample : blindness



FUSHITSUSHA   Nothing Changes No One Can Change Anything, I Am Ever-Changing Only You Can Change Yourself   3 x CD   (Utech)    33.00



   Nothing Changes is the latest from sunglasses sportin' amplifier-shaman Keiji Haino and his legendary Japanese improv rock outfit Fushitsusha, a sprawling three-disc live album that documents an utterly monstrous psych ritual shot through with transcendent passages of dark ecstatic beauty and nightmarish discordance, recorded at a 1996 performance at Hosei University in Tokyo. And not just another Fushitsusha live set, but a collaboration with equally legendary German free-jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. It's a crusher. Over the course of these three hour-long discs, the black-clad group of stygian psych explorers (who also included bassist Yashusi Ozawa and drummer Jun Kosugi) move fluidly from expanses of minimal abstract percussion and eerie string scrape into full-on walls of skull-flattening free noise, as Haino's guitar erupts into thunderous gales of howling Hendrixian feedback and amplifier drone, and Brotzmann's sax is suffused into the mix. Everything flows together into a storm of amplified earth-shaking power, slipping from shrieking cacophony into warped off-kilter grooves as the rhythm section works out a halting, stop-start rhythm. Haino's dramatic howl drifts in around halfway through the first disc, reverb-drenched screams and shouts that manage to rise above the churning, rumbling feedback and noise, his ritualistic, intensely expressive delivery wandering through a fog of endless skronk and skree. At its loudest, this performance is as brutal and deafening as the most intense noise rock, the rhythmic section often locking into a huge, gluey hypnotic groove throughout the performance, everything else falling away for awhile as the drummer and bassist lay down a heavy, slow rock groove, the sound stripped down to just that huge sinister groove while Haino wails in the background, then suddenly the music will slip into some gorgeous, moody aching melodic jangle that tumbles out of the shadows.
    The second disc drifts through clouds of clanging guitar noise and the slow warble of controlled feedback, starting off muted and mesmeric as minimal percussion slips across the band's hushed nocturnal ambience, slowly joined by sheets of dense wheezing drone and waves of metallic skree crashing across the soft black flutter of the guitar and cymbals. The sound slowly evolves into a strange dissonant symphony of cello-like scrape and thick didgeridoo buzz that swirls around Haino's ghostly, disembodied howls, his keening voice adrift across the billowing black sonic fog. When Brotzmann finally comes in with his first solo around the eighteen minute mark, it becomes a haunting expanse of moody freeform jazziness that eventually gives way to a grade-A freak-out, turning into a lurching spazztoid assault, a barking chaos that begins to border on Painkiller/Last Exit-esque territory. The final disc has some of the creepiest moments of the performance, passages of low, moaning sax and clanking metallic percussion that can for a moment almost suggest the otherworldly charnel ambience found in the classic film scores of Hikaru Hayashi and Michiaki Watanabe, later venturing out into long stretches of heavy-lidded riff-trance and whirling dronedrift, a lumbering freeform space rock dirge that transforms into a stomping, triumphant PSF-style meltdown that dominates the final moments of Fushitsusha's set.
    Beautifully wrapped in an outer sleeve featuring artwork from Russian painter Denis Forkas Kostromitin (Dead Reptile Shrine, Horseback, Funerary Call, Grave Miasma), the three discs are enclosed in black sleeves held together by a black printed folder, and are accompanied by a printed three-panel insert that features liner notes by Wire writer / Japanese underground expert Alan Cummings (who was actually in attendance at this performance), and an additional insert that reproduces the original flyer advertising the show. Limited to one thousand copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Now Able To Know Fear, Can We Become More Exalted Than The Gods? Since They Have Stopped In Place / Acchi - Children Of Joy Overflowing / Omae - You Who Still Breathed / Nattanjanai - Akin To This
Sample : A Seldom Seen Means Of Displacing Humiliation, A Trembling Time Surely Glimpsed Far Ahead / Give Me Back All That Was Me, Here Where I Left My Soul Awhile / Ango (1996 Version) - Entering Into Depths Where Meaning Cannot Exist
Sample : ˙ţ Layer Upon Layer Of Missing Answers, Swirl In Circles Speaking To Me “Still You Ask Why?” They Say / Hazama



GERYON   self-titled   LP   (Gilead Media)    15.98



   With Krallice's Colin Marston now off handling bass duties with recently resurrected avant death metal legends Gorguts, two other members of Marston's New York avant-garde black metal outfit have followed suit, splintering off with their own brain-scrambling tech-death side-project Geryon. Made up of bassist/vocalist Nicholas McMaster (also of Bloody Panda / Castevet) and drummer Lev Weinstein (Bloody Panda / Woe), Geryon delivers roughly half an hour of droning, discordant death metal with a strong surrealistic streak, and the influence of Obscura-era Gorguts is obvious on the duo's unconventional structures and spiky, mangled riffing, even as the band dispenses with guitars for a more bottom-heavy attack. Yep, this is technical death metal played with a lineup of just bass guitar and drums, but you never even miss the six strings, as McMaster fills the space with a variety of frequencies and some serious cranial complexity.
    As soon as the record erupts into the discordant blast of opener "De Profundis", you're reminded of the atonal violence of Gorguts's classic Obscura; McMaster's churning downtuned bass riffs sprout spiky dissonant notes and eerie choral textures, the relentlessly pummeling drumming shifting between a vicious blastothon and rampaging volleys of double bass, the tough, skronky riffing occasionally peeling back to reveal eerie ringing melodies and droning bass notes twisting around the band's pummeling sonic assault, those drones becoming increasingly suspended over the blasting aggression. This and the remaining three tracks are all long, sprawling blasts of dissonant, atmospheric chaos, separated by brief soundscapes of abrasive industrial noise, swarming electronics and bleak, desolate ambience that introduce each subsequent eruption. The deeper into this you get, I can't help but feel as if I'm hearing a more minimalist, stripped-down, scaled-back version of late-90s era Gorguts, but that's hardly a criticism. Even if the whole experience becomes a little samey through the constant complexity of the bass guitar parts and McMaster's gruff, monotone bellow, these songs are constantly shifting monstrosities, the prominent bass guitar giving Geryon's songs a unique texture, especially on tracks like "Birth" where the distortion gives the bass a slightly over-modulated sound, and the spiraling minor key arpeggios start to resemble some crazed 8-bit electronic soundtrack. You can pick up on some noise rock-like qualities to Geryon's music as well, especially on the closing track "To The Silenced", whose messed-up angular aggression reminds me a little of some of the later death metal-influenced stuff from Today Is The Day. Pretty cool.
    Released in a limited edition of three hundred copies.


GHOUL   Hang Ten   10" VINYL   (Tank Crimes)    13.98



   Released for this year's Record Store Day, Hang Ten is the latest from this horror-movie obsessed thrash metal band, a gang of goons in blood-splattered hoods with names like Cremator, Digestor, Dissector, and Fermentor, who all hail from the wilds of "Creepsylvania". While mostly known for their ferocious, thrashing death metal flecked with bits of gruesome grindcore, these creeps have also long flirted with surf rock and garage rock influences in their music, manifesting on manic surf instrumentals like “Psychoplasm” off of Splatterthrash. For those of us who have been craving even more of Ghoul's beach-blanket barbarism, Hang Ten delivers the goods, a short six-song EP that features mostly instrumental material, evoking visions of Technicolor 70's era biker sleaze through a blistering assault of surf-infected thrash metal and weirdo metallic rockabilly. The blazing instrumental "The Midnight Ride of the Cannibals MC" opens the EP, followed by the weird rockabilly-tinged thrash of "Kreeg" that features guest vocals from Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste) and R.A. MacLean (Deadbolt). From there, Ghoul blend raucous garage rock grooviness with their manic speed metal on "Sidehackers", followed by the killer surf rock-tinged metal on the title track which sounds like some crazed cross between old school Metallica and the Ventures; "Blood On The Street" almost sounds like it could have been a Cramps song in another life, all street-cheetah swagger and blazing ironclad boogie, a murderous bluesy groove slithering through plumes of reverb and twangy rockabilly riffs before shifting back into the metallic crunch at the end. That groovy, gore-n'-booze soaked beach party vibe on some of these tracks is a total blast, and the record closes with a wild cover of Ervin Drake's crooner classic "It Was a Very Good Year", which weirdly enough lends itself well to a full metal makeover. This one goes down great played back to back with the latest from Satans Satyrs; here's hoping that we'll keep getting more of Ghoul's garish surf/psych-influenced side of their sleazoid speedbeast metal. On baby blue vinyl, limited to five hundred copies, accompanied by a digital download card.


GLASS COFFIN   self-titled   12"   (Prison Tatt)    16.98



   Just got this putrid slice of low-fi Kentucky black metal back in stock, the band's four-song entry in Prison Tatt's ongoing series of super-limited one-sided 12"s. Originally released back in early 2012, we snagged some of the remaining copies of this cadaverous blast of raw necro violence, which came out around the same time as the Remnants of a Cold Dead World album we put out through our own Crucial Blaze series.
   Like the material on that disc, this is crude, fucked-up, punk-fueled filth from sole member Josh Lay, formerly of noise rockers Cadaver In Drag and producer of a number of excellent releases of psychedelic blackened noise and horrific industrial deathscapes under his own name; with Glass Coffin, Lay invokes primitive graveyard spirits through these four tracks, lurching through mangled, sloppy blackened dirge and reverb-drenched blackthrash chaos, recorded with all of the crude aesthetics of an old school four-track black metal demo, the sound seething with a raw, low-fi ugliness, but that skuzzy live-to-tape energy translates into something both feral and majestic, regal guitar leads climbing into the soot-black skies. With titles like "Haunted By The Ghosts Of The Damned" and "My Hammer Will Decide My Fate", the music is imbued with a grimly triumphant atmosphere in spite of its utterly filthy delivery, the vocals blown WAY out into a scorched distorted shriek, and other the tracks careen through blasts of twisted basement blackness that sort of resemble Ildjarn trying to play a medieval madrigal, or else slip into utterly morose doom before finally closing with the nightmarish lullaby "Starless Unholy Night". On that last track, Lay's blackened low-fi violence gives way to a brief piece of demonic ambience, hellish screams and tortured bellowing rising and falling beneath the sound of a delicate music-box keyboard melody that slowly unfolds over the dolorous dank drift.
    Released in a hand-numbered edition of one hundred copies, and presented in a screen-printed sleeve adorned with Lay's trademark style of awesomely crude Trapper Keeper necro-art.


GNAW THEIR TONGUES + ALKERDEEL   Dyodyo Asema   CD   (ConSOULing Sounds)    11.98



   Although Gnaw Their Tongues has appeared a plenty of splits alongside bands like Demonologists, Sick To The Back Teeth and Corephallism, I think this EP features the first recording of the monstrous Dutch outfit actually collaborating with another band. Dyodyo Asema is a one-song, twenty minute mini-album that finds the notorious blackened doom/industrial of Gnaw Their Tongues teaming with Belgian necro-sludge mutants Alkerdeel to produce this frenzy of horrific noise and crushing avant-sludge; what's great is that Dyodyo doesn't end up sounding quite like either group, instead breaking out of its black birth sac into a gnarled necrotic nightmare that sounds pretty unique.
    Starting with the swells of rumbling, discordant piano that thunder across the insectile swarms of noise spreading across the beginning of "Dyodyo Asema", the two bands fuse to create an intensely oppressive soundscape of crawling black horror, the sound taking shape as a kind of mutated doom early on, massive downtuned bass riffs slowly undulating beneath waves of acidic electronic noise and distant howling vocals. At first, this abject creep is almost Corrupted-esque with its massive gravitational pull, a dense and crushing glacial blackness laced with bursts of dissonant orchestral strings and far-off terrifying choral voices howling like battalions of fallen seraphim. But as this continues to unfold, you can pick out some of those signature traits of Gnaw Their Tongues, those terrifying orchestral elements bubbling to the surface, but tethered to a much slower, more doom-laden approach, the swirling abstract horror anchored to that massive dirge-like pace. The song only occasionally erupts into a more black metal-like din of shrieking vocals, blown-out speaker noise, blastbeats and swirling discordance, but even then you've got that weirdly rollicking bass guitar from Alkerdeel that gives it an unusual touch.
    The disc later shifts into passages of more industrialized sound as the drums give way to murky backwards rhythms and throbbing distorted beats, then finally dissolves into an atmospheric noisescape at the end, flecked with blasts of ultra-distorted bass and random percussion, decomposing into an ocean of ghostly ambient drift and charred rumbling noise that sprawls out across the final minutes of the disc, the sound of distant tolling bells drifting over the horizon, joined by utterly demonic gargling shrieks and washes of analogue synthesizer buzz. All in all, Dyodyo is a seething mass of dense black rot, with a fractured, psychotic nature more akin to the formless experimental sludge of Khanate, but suffering from an entirely different level of deformation. Comes in a four panel digisleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dyodyo Asema
Sample : Dyodyo Asema
Sample : Dyodyo Asema



GOBLIN   Zombi   LP   (AMS / Cinevox)    35.00



   I've been wanting to stock the pre-1990 Goblin soundtracks ever since Crucial Blast first opened it's doors, but those releases (mostly issued through an Italian label that has never had any kind of decent distribution here in the U.S.) have continued to elude me for over a decade. Until now. Now that the venerable Italian prog rock band has begun to tour the U.S. for the first time in their forty-plus year career and enjoying an ever-growing audience of old-school Euro horror junkies, dark prog fanatics, and younger fans of classic analogue synthesizer music, their releases are finally becoming more accessible, at least on vinyl.
    Best known for the music that was produced during their nearly decade-long collaboration with Italian horror director Dario Argento through the 70s and 80s, Goblin's career was kicked off with three albums of some of the best dark prog ever released. The band's debut album Roller and their first two soundtracks for Argento, Profondo Rosso and Suspiria are utter classics of vintage, spooky prog, and have had a far-reaching influence over the decades that has even reached into the realms of industrial music, black metal, and experimental electronic music. It's hard to say if Goblin's popularity would ever have reached the heights that is has if it weren't for the fact that so much of their music is inextricably linked to the nightmarish, surrealistic visions of Argento, but more than almost any other soundtrack artist, Goblin's music is often capable of offering a compelling listening experience even when heard all on their own, separated from the scenes of dreamlike horror and graphic violence that inspired them. Most of the Goblin catalog has been released on the Italian prog rock reissue label AMS, and we've finally been able to get our hands on a bunch of these classic albums, with some of them actually now appearing on vinyl for the first time ever...    Like a lot of folks who first fell in love with the classic zombie epic Dawn Of The Dead via that Thorn EMI VHS tape back in the 1980s, Romero's masterpiece of survivalist horror was my first exposure to the music of legendary Italian prog rockers Goblin. But it was the Argento cut of the film (released in Europe as Zombi) that really made full use of the band's original score, which was largely cut from Romero's theatrical version. Finally back in print on 180 gram vinyl, this reissue of the original 1978 Cinevox release of Goblin's Zombi is available again for anyone who'd faced having to shell out ridiculous sums on Ebay for vinyl copies of the score. Compared to some of the other Goblin scores like Suspiria or Profundo Russo that can be enjoyed all on their own as creepy prog rock albums, Zombi doesn't separate quite as well from the film. Its still a blast for fans though, and it sticks out in the Goblin discography, being more of an action score than the sort of dread-inducing atmospherics the band was well known for. And it features some of Goblin's most iconic themes: the slow thud of bass and drums that throb beneath the eerie keyboard melody of "L'alba Dei Morti Viventi" is a masterwork of tension-building minimalism, the slow dirgelike rhythm feeling like a death march even as those choral synths and gleaming notes burst overhead, accompanied by the occasional distorted powerchord; it's one of Goblin's most recognizable tracks. The "Zombi" theme exemplifies that frenetic action-movie vibe, rolling toms and tense staccato synths leading the track into the haunting nightmarish funk, blending in unsettling moaning voices and African-influenced tribal rhythms to combine suspenseful action and horrific dread in one gesture, perfectly capturing the desperation at the heart of the film's narrative. The rest of the score ranges from more African-influenced percussion to lighthearted ragtime piano music, experimental variations on the previous main action theme, even some vintage country rock on "Tirassegno" and laid-back jazziness with "Oblio", and the pulsating hard prog of "Zaratozom" is one of the score's highlights, with wailing guitar solos and proto-metal crunch fused to Claudio Simonetti's spacey synthesizers. Out of all of the Goblin LP reissues that have been surfacing over the past year, this is one of the essentials.
Track Samples:
Sample : Risveglio
Sample : Zaratozom
Sample : Zombi
Sample : L'alba Dei Morti Viventi



GOBLIN   Suspiria   LP   (AMS / Cinevox)    35.00



   **Please note** - unfortunately, all of the copies we managed to obtain from the US distributor arrived here with small splits on the side of the printed inner sleeve. Please bear this in mind if you are picky about such things.
   I've been wanting to stock the pre-1990 Goblin soundtracks ever since Crucial Blast first opened it's doors, but those releases (mostly issued through an Italian label that has never had any kind of decent distribution here in the U.S.) have continued to elude me for over a decade. Until now. Now that the venerable Italian prog rock band has begun to tour the U.S. for the first time in their forty-plus year career and enjoying an ever-growing audience of old-school Euro horror junkies, dark prog fanatics, and younger fans of classic analogue synthesizer music, their releases are finally becoming more accessible, at least on vinyl.
    Best known for the music that was produced during their nearly decade-long collaboration with Italian horror director Dario Argento through the 70s and 80s, Goblin's career was kicked off with three albums of some of the best dark prog ever released. The band's debut album Roller and their first two soundtracks for Argento, Profondo Rosso and Suspiria are utter classics of vintage, spooky prog, and have had a far-reaching influence over the decades that has even reached into the realms of industrial music, black metal, and experimental electronic music. It's hard to say if Goblin's popularity would ever have reached the heights that is has if it weren't for the fact that so much of their music is inextricably linked to the nightmarish, surrealistic visions of Argento, but more than almost any other soundtrack artist, Goblin's music is often capable of offering a compelling listening experience even when heard all on their own, separated from the scenes of dreamlike horror and graphic violence that inspired them. Most of the Goblin catalog has been released on the Italian prog rock reissue label AMS, and we've finally been able to get our hands on a bunch of these classic albums, with some of them actually now appearing on vinyl for the first time ever...
   Long out of print on vinyl, Goblin's legendary score to Dario Argento's Suspiria is now back on wax via this new 2014 edition released by Italian label AMS. A masterpiece of phantasmal black prog, Suspiria is one of those horror movie soundtracks that can exist all on its own, separated from Argento's nightmarish pitch-black fairytale (though obviously its most powerful when entwined with those visuals). Even when removed frm the filn, Goblin's score becomes one of the creepiest and most devilish prog rock albums ever, mixing together witchy folk melodies and pulsating analogue electronics and some seriously disturbing percussive sounds alongside the band's inspired use of bouzuki and tabla, crafting the weird, otherworldly vibe that courses throughout Suspiria with an array of Moog synths, Mellotron, organs, and piano used to deepen the music's rich black shadows.
    The Lp opens, of course, with what might be Goblin's finest and freakiest sounding composition ever, the chiming bells and hideous, murderous whispers of the Suspiria theme, that booming detuned drum reverberating beneath the band's black-forest psychedelia, an instantly recognizable melody spinning out oh-so-eerily over the swirling circular arrangement, making for one of the most evocative and mysterious horror movie themes you'll ever hear. Then there's the delirious operatic frenzy of "Witch", fearsome ululating shrieks rising over the scattered drumming and blasts of majestic synth and choral chant, warped bass lines coiling malevolently around the seemingly random percussive clatter and piercing electronics. Deeper in, Goblin unveil the weird detuned funk of "Sighs", and "Markos" offers an energetic blend of Fabio Pignatelli's signature burbling bass sound and frantic percussion and swirling electronics that almost feel like something from a Terry Riley recording. "Black Forest" offers a haunting saxophone performance alongside resonant acoustic guitars, deep fretless bass and eerie synthesizer textures for one of the soundtrack's most sumptuous pieces; even the funkier jazz-rock of tracks like "Blind Concert" works here terrifically, adding to the already hallucinatory feel of the film. The whole soundtrack is infested with ghostly wailing and strange atmospheric shadings, ecstatic voices rising in harmony, bursts of searing acid guitar and fuzz-drenched hard rock chords, washes of nocturnal jazziness and deranged distorto-rock crunch, the whole soundtrack whipping up visions of midnight bacchanals and secret sacrificial rites and, of course, walking corpses under the thrall of ancient black magic. One of the finest albums of nightmarish prog rock ever, can't recommend it enough.
Track Samples:
Sample : Black Forest
Sample : Sighs
Sample : Witch
Sample : Suspiria



GODFLESH   Pure   2 x LP   (Century Media)    39.98



  This crucial early 90s industrial metal classic is now available from Century Media as a deluxe gatefold double LP, packaged with a huge foldout poster and two printed inserts.
  Everyone's pretty much in agreement that Godflesh's Streetcleaner is one of the true high-water marks of extreme music; one only has to look at the far reaching influence that album's grinding slow-motion industrial dirge metal has had on legions of bands that followed, everyone from Fear Factory to Korn to Neurosis and The Bug have referenced the fearsome apocalyptic feel and mechanical grooves of that watershed album. But it's the subsequent album Pure and the EPs and remix 12"s that came out in the wake of Streetcleaner that revealed how multi-faceted and forward-thinking Godflesh's music really was, exploring the fusion of electronic music and extreme metal even further, experimenting with techno, rock-based songwriting, ambient music and shades of the distortion overloaded ethereal qualities of the early 90's shoegaze sound, the latter of which foreshadows Justin Broadrick's later post-Godflesh work with Jesu after the turn of the century.
  Though the band was often lumped in with the burgeoning grindcore/death metal scene coming out of the UK in the late 80's, Godflesh were obviously an entirely different sort of beast, much more indebted to early British industrial music and the massive bone-crushing dirge of NYC's Swans than the thrash-influenced sounds of grindcore, and this became even more clear with the release of 1992's Pure. With an expanded lineup that now featured Robert Hampson from UK hypno-rockers Loop on guitar, Pure would feature some of the band's most accessible songs, as well as some of their most abstract and experimental, the ten tracks moving between crushing Swans-influenced mecha-dirge, old school hip-hop breakbeats, corrosive industrial textures, and ethereal rock qualities that makes it pretty clear that Broadrick and company was paying attention to the way that bands like My Bloody Valentine and other underground UK rock bands were experimenting with distortion, volume and melody. You have one of the few "hits" that Godflesh ever had, the mighty industrial rock of "Mothra", as well as the crushing, spacey industrial hip-hop/metal hybrid of "Spite", but then there's the final track "Pure II", a sprawling twenty-one minute feedback/ambient noise epic that expands on the early industrial drone work that Broadrick was doing in his pre-Godflesh band Final. The simple but punishing sludgy guitars and massive bass of the early Godflesh releases hadn't gone anywhere, but now they were welded to a mix of absolutely DESTRUCTIVE industrial breakbeats and pounding grooves. Still intensely heavy and bleak and dystopian in feel, no doubt about it, but with this album Godflesh was beginning to evolve into a much more accessible and downright catchy force. One of my favorite 'Flesh songs ever, "Spite" could pass for a super-heavy rock song if it weren't for the inhuman breakbeats and incredibly distorted/down tuned guitars, and there's even a wailing hard rock solo that erupts towards the end of the song. "Mothra" was one of Godflesh's more popular songs, one of the closest things to a single the band ever had (with a video that got a surprising amount of airplay on MTV back when Pure came out). Another favorite of mine is "Love, Hate (Slugbaiting)", which begins with several minutes of sampled industrial noise (which was actually taken from a live recording of Broadrick's old band Fall Of Because) before morphing into a massive dreamy metallic dubscape filled with pneumatic rhythms, swells of orchestral feedback, and icy ethereal vocals.
Track Samples:
Sample : Love, Hate (Slugbaiting)
Sample : Mothra
Sample : Pure
Sample : Spite
Sample : GODFLESH-Pure



GODFLESH   Decline & Fall   12"   (Avalanche Recordings)    19.98



   Though Godflesh were resurrected in 2010 for a run of festival dates (one of which ended up being their crushing performance at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest, still one of the best sets I've ever seen at the festival), it's taken them a few years to get around to actually putting together some new material for us. Released as a taste of what's to come with their impending new album A World Lit Only by Fire coming later this year, Decline & Fall finally brings us the new Godflesh that we've been waiting for, their first batch of original songs in thirteen years. And man, as soon as "Ringer" kicks in, it's like it's been no time at all, the massive propulsive crush of that opening song is classic Godflesh, that monstrous corrosive downtuned riffage and low-frequency blast of the bass, Broadrick's bellicose bellow and off-key singing, the inexorable grind of the drum machine, it's all as skullcrushing as anything the band did before Broadrick abruptly ended Godflesh in the depths of an nervous breakdown over a decade ago.
   That molten mechanical metal bulldozes across these four songs, powered by the punishing machinelike pummel of the drum machine, but that's also traced by some subtle electronics that are vaguely similar to the sort of textured noise you'd find with Jesu, some murky washed-out melodic drift lingering beneath the surface of the duo's devastating ultra-dirge. Monstrous rhythms lurch across the blown-out dystopian churn of "Dogbite", its deformed funk hammered into a punishing groove splayed over a brutal hip-hop informed breakbeat; and there's an almost tribal energy to the massive bass-driven thud of "Playing With Fire". But its the title track that really sticks out, more complex and faster than what you might expect from these guys, like a a more frenetic, intricate version of their Streetcleaner-era mecha-metal. The band definitely sounds as heavy as ever, the production is crushing. A killer comeback for sure, any skepticism as to whether Godflesh still possessed the consuming fire of their classic output is extinguished as soon as this roars forth from that first track. Can't wait for the album.
Track Samples:
Sample : Playing With Fire
Sample : Dogbite
Sample : Ringer



GODFLESH   Decline & Fall   CD   (Avalanche Recordings)    14.98



   Though Godflesh were resurrected in 2010 for a run of festival dates (one of which ended up being their crushing performance at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest, still one of the best sets I've ever seen at the festival), it's taken them a few years to get around to actually putting together some new material for us. Released as a taste of what's to come with their impending new album A World Lit Only by Fire coming later this year, Decline & Fall finally brings us the new Godflesh that we've been waiting for, their first batch of original songs in thirteen years. And man, as soon as "Ringer" kicks in, it's like it's been no time at all, the massive propulsive crush of that opening song is classic Godflesh, that monstrous corrosive downtuned riffage and low-frequency blast of the bass, Broadrick's bellicose bellow and off-key singing, the inexorable grind of the drum machine, it's all as skullcrushing as anything the band did before Broadrick abruptly ended Godflesh in the depths of an nervous breakdown over a decade ago.
   That molten mechanical metal bulldozes across these four songs, powered by the punishing machinelike pummel of the drum machine, but that's also traced by some subtle electronics that are vaguely similar to the sort of textured noise you'd find with Jesu, some murky washed-out melodic drift lingering beneath the surface of the duo's devastating ultra-dirge. Monstrous rhythms lurch across the blown-out dystopian churn of "Dogbite", its deformed funk hammered into a punishing groove splayed over a brutal hip-hop informed breakbeat; and there's an almost tribal energy to the massive bass-driven thud of "Playing With Fire". But its the title track that really sticks out, more complex and faster than what you might expect from these guys, like a a more frenetic, intricate version of their Streetcleaner-era mecha-metal. The band definitely sounds as heavy as ever, the production is crushing. A killer comeback for sure, any skepticism as to whether Godflesh still possessed the consuming fire of their classic output is extinguished as soon as this roars forth from that first track. Can't wait for the album.
Track Samples:
Sample : Playing With Fire
Sample : Dogbite
Sample : Ringer



GRAVELAND   In The Glare Of Burning Churches   CD   (Warheart)    14.99



   Love 'em or hate 'em, Graveland were a major force in the early Polish black metal underground, heavily influenced by classic Scandinavian black metal but churning out their own bitter, blown-out version of the sound. The band stirred up plenty of controversy almost from the beginning with their combination of right-wing leanings and fascination with Nordic paganism and mythology; while main member Darken has repudiated the "NSBM" label, you're certainly not going to find any philanthropic tendencies with these guys. By the time that Graveland released their first real album, 1994's Carpathian Wolves, they had established themselves as one of Poland's leading black metal outfits, and they followed that with a run of albums that are hailed as classics in the genre, from the folk-flecked Thousand Swords and the blazing symphonic fury of Following the Voice of Blood to the Wagnerian power of Immortal Pride. But their earlier recordings held a strange, noisy, ultra-raw black metal ferocity that was much weirder and harsher than their later stuff, hinting at the symphonic direction the band would eventually go in, but reveling in a low-fi, twisted sound that was pretty powerful in its own right. Two of those demos have recently been reissued, In The Glare Of Burning Churches and The Celtic Winter, both in expanded new editions with loads of bonus material; for those uncowed by the band's acerbic, fringe-dwelling politics, these early recordings offer hellish delights...
   Originally released on cassette in 1993 and later reissued on CD by German black metal label No Colours, Graveland's In The Glare Of Burning Churches is a classic blast of low-fi black metal. Opening with the fearsome roar of flames devouring a church while a woman's screams wrack the night amid the sounds of joyous folk music, Glare then quickly launches into it's ferocious tinny assault of Bathory-inspired black metal violence, those guitars swept up in a noisy, almost totally blown-out high-end buzz that gets buried beneath the stumbling, sometimes waltz like drumming and those crazed, demonic goblin shrieks drenched in speaker-shredding distortion. This insane, blown-out, hateful blackness almost ventures into Enbilulugugal / Tjolgtjar territory at times, super noisy and maniacal, but definitely imbued with a demonic regal majesty that is uniquely Graveland, those killer cheapo synthesizers swelling up beneath the lurching black blaze, sending the music off into crushing Frostian dirge or awkward blasting thrash, the sound often wracked by blasts of super-distorted cymbal noise that threaten to overwhelm the mix. The album moves from these raging blasts of low-fi blackness into rumbling passages of organ-drenched dungeon synth ambience, ghostly expanses of ancient folk music and mesmeric blackened dronescapes like the spectral cathedral murk of "Instrumental". The later bonus tracks on the disc are taken from early promo and rehearsal tapes and offer a variety of recordings, from noise-damaged black metal assaults that have a harsh, weirdly industrial feel with the clipped, distorted sound of the drumming, to shambling free-form jamming to eerie orchestral pieces that sound like a deranged Jerry Goldsmith score, while others like "Epilogue - Children Of The Moon" transform into a strange, hypnotic blackened trance of elliptical chugging riffage, clanking doom-laden drumming and surges of sweeping soundtracky orchestration.
    This expanded and remastered edition of Glare comes in full-color slipcase packaging, and includes an assortment of previously unreleased bonus tracks, the original version of the CD booklet and a thick twenty page booklet with new cover art, wild full color photos of the Graveland members in full corpse-painted glory engaged in a number of action poses, and extensive liner notes on the album from members of Behemoth, Nargaroth, Nokturnal Mortum, Temnozor/Walknut, Besatt, Blaze Of Perdition, along with old fanzine interviews, photos and artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : Through the Occult Veil
Sample : In the Glare of Burning Churches
Sample : Epilogue: The Forest Nemeton
Sample : Epilogue: Children of the Moon



GRAVELAND   The Celtic Winter   CD   (Warheart)    14.99



   Love 'em or hate 'em, Graveland were a major force in the early Polish black metal underground, heavily influenced by classic Scandinavian black metal but churning out their own bitter, blown-out version of the sound. The band stirred up plenty of controversy almost from the beginning with their combination of right-wing leanings and fascination with Nordic paganism and mythology; while main member Darken has repudiated the "NSBM" label, you're certainly not going to find any philanthropic tendencies with these guys. By the time that Graveland released their first real album, 1994's Carpathian Wolves, they had established themselves as one of Poland's leading black metal outfits, and they followed that with a run of albums that are hailed as classics in the genre, from the folk-flecked Thousand Swords and the blazing symphonic fury of Following the Voice of Blood to the Wagnerian power of Immortal Pride. But their earlier recordings held a strange, noisy, ultra-raw black metal ferocity that was much weirder and harsher than their later stuff, hinting at the symphonic direction the band would eventually go in, but reveling in a low-fi, twisted sound that was pretty powerful in its own right. Two of those demos have recently been reissued, In The Glare Of Burning Churches and The Celtic Winter, both in expanded new editions with loads of bonus material; for those uncowed by the band's acerbic, fringe-dwelling politics, these early recordings offer hellish delights...
   Opening with shrill, eerie minor key guitars and the hypnotic clang of tribal drums, Graveland's 1994 demo Celtic Winter slowly unfolds with these atmospheric tracks, moving from that opening fire dance into the frenetic folk of "The Gates To The Kingdom Of Darkness". And then into yet another, third intro, the sounds of soldiers on horseback marauding through an ancient Polish village, surrounded by the screams of slaughter, while sad synthesizers slowly seep in like tears, bathing this introduction in a solemn, sorrowful grey glow before finally launching into the black metal of "The Night Of Fullmoon". And from there, Graveland's demo belts out it's hateful blackened nightvisions, the songs mostly sticking to a slow, galloping tempo, reptilian shrieks echoing in the blackness of the background, the guitars weaving intensely grim and regal riffs around that almost war-march tempo. Definitely cut from the same primitive cloth as a lot of black metal from early 90s, with a tendency towards repetition that some might find boring; to me, Graveland's insistent buzzsaw riffs are what give this stuff it's uniquely hypnotic, bewitching atmosphere, the intermittent bursts of blastbeat drumming appearing as punctuations of violence within the dark sway of their sound. There are abrupt shifts into ferocious rocking riffs that almost seem lifted from hardcore punk (just listen to that ragged buzzsaw attack on "Call Of The Black Forest" and tell me I'm wrong), and the almost constant presence of the keyboards adds a spooky power to the songs, glimmering pipe organs washing across the cauldron of the night sky as flames lick at the stars. Other strange little touches likewise contribute to the demo's sound, the weird industrial feel of some of the drum parts, the bits of eldritch folkiness that can be heard in the background. The second half of the album features alternative versions of these songs, including several of "Black Forest"; while the differences between the various recordings are subtle, this offers a fairly exhaustive collection of the band's recordings from this session that hardcore fans will dig.
    As with the other recent Graveland reissue from Warheart, this reissue has been remastered and filled out with a bunch of alternate versions of the original demo tracks, and the packaging features both a replica of the original CD booklet and a newly designed twenty-page booklet with lyrics, artwork, photos, and liner notes from members of Nokturnal Mortum, Behemoth, Nargaroth and more, and comes in jewel case packaging in a full-color slipcase.
Track Samples:
Sample : The night of fullmoon
Sample : The gates to the kingdom of darkness
Sample : Intro



GRAVETEMPLE   The Holy Down   CD   (Southern Lord)    12.98



  Just dug up a few more copies of this long out-of-print album from this killer blackened improv-jazz-doom trio. Here's my old review of the CD from when it originally came out:
   Gravetemple consists of guitarist Stephen O'Malley (also of Sunn O))), Khanate, Burning Witch, Lotus Eaters, Ginnungagap, KTL, Thorr's Hammer), avant-guitarist Oren Ambarchi, and legendary black throat Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Tormentor), all members of the constantly evolving Sunn O))) orbit, and allstar drone metal powerhouse who assembled to collaborate on some supremely grim ambient tones that were recorded live during a series of performance in Israel during July of 2006. The Holy Down is a single hour-plus track that has been stitched together by Ambarchi using an assortment of these live recordings, and it begins softly enough with creaking, scraping sounds emerging from total silence, the creepy groans of wood (guitar necks?) being bent and a breathing presence meandering though abstract guitar noises, strings vibrating in stillness, unseen objects clattering, an eerie and mesmerizing formlessness that sounds almost sacred in the opening minutes, but you know this is going to get heavy...
  The Trio begin to slowly build their thick doom ritual with heaving swells of massively distorted feedback and grinding drone, Ambarchi's sublime bubbles of processed guitar tone plucked out and decaying over O'Malley's monstrous amplifier roar, while Csihar incants a stream of bizarre chanting and bestial throat noises that drift around the group's ambient doom like demonic temple calls. It's all very abstract and massively heavy, especially in the last half when Ambarchi sits down at the drum kit and begins to break out into a pummeling metal/jazz freakout, while the vocals become more demented and cackling and the miasma of blackened feedback and buzzing distortion swirls more and more into a utterly lightless void. Their performance is positively gripping, a massive conglom of Sunn O)))'s formless molten metal, KTL's doom-electronic synthesis, and free-improv/free jazz/ritual summonings - we can't wait to hear more from this project. This disc has been issued in a one time pressing of 3000 copies, each one numbered, and comes in a gatefold jacket with a booklet containing photos and liner notes written in both english and hebrew, and sports amazing cover art from artist Justin Bartlett.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Holy Down
Sample : The Holy Down
Sample : The Holy Down



GRIDLINK   Longhena   CD   (Selfmadegod)    12.98



   Back in stock, available on both CD (in a six-panel digisleeve package) and on limited edition vinyl. Longhena is the third and unfortunately final album from grindcore powerhouse Gridlink, the band formed by Discordance Axis frontman Jon Chang and riff-tornado Takafumi Matsubara (also of Chang's other band Hayaino Daisuki, Japanese grinders Mortalized, and harsh electronics outfit Guilty Connector); over the course of three albums, Gridlink has constructed some of the most complex and astounding grindcore of the past decade, continuing to pursue the extreme nerve conduction studies of Chang's previous band while fusing that rabid blast attack to a heavier tech-metal chassis.
    Twice as long as the band's previous releases at a whopping twenty three minutes, Longhena opens with a flurry of staccato guitar jangle, a bright crackling melody that suddenly surges into the band's trademark hyper-fast velocity, Chang's throat-peeling screams soaring over that brilliant conflux of jangly melody and vicious discordant grindcore erupting from out of the opener "Constant Autumn", which suddenly dissipates into the sound of a weeping violin at the very end. From there, the album hurtles pell-mell though thirteen more songs of this precision blast violence, epic metal hooks suddenly ripping through the clanking dissonance and monstrous blasting, those haunting violins eventually reappearing alongside some sweetly glistening synthesizer tones and washes of pastoral ambience, moments of gleaming dawn-lit beauty that rise at the opening of tracks like "Thirst Watcher", passages of stirring orchestral drama and atmospheric shadow that takes over the whole song, turning into a gorgeous piece of atmospheric chamber-prog. But that's surrounded by some insanely vicious and abrasive metallic grind, songs splattering apart into soaring harmonies over supersonic blastbeat meltdowns, the riffs spiking through the band's intricate arrangements smashed down into a two minute cyclonic blast. That contrast between the ambient sections of the album and the ultra-violent grind might make this the most emotionally complex grindcore album I've heard. Chang hasn't lightened up his scathing vocal assault one iota, though, still sounding like an electrocuted baboon spewing out a cyberpunk word salad that reads like fragments of a particularly poetic Siratori text, but the moments of clarity and beauty that emerge from amid the band's supersonic blast attack brings several new layers of feeling to the music. At it's most vicious, though, Longhena is certainly pulverizing stuff, blending in riffs and hooks into their screeching grind that seem to be equally influenced by both anthemic 1980's heavy metal and the symphonic bombast of 16-bit video games; you can go straight to the closing song "Look To Windward" for one of the nastiest amalgams of Maidenesque metalshred and PCP-fueled prog-grind you're likely to hear all year. Total goddamn terror.
Track Samples:
Sample : Thirst Watcher
Sample : Look to Windward
Sample : Longhena
Sample : Island Sun



GRIDLINK   Longhena   LP   (Handshake Inc.)    22.00



   Back in stock, available on both CD (in a six-panel digisleeve package) and on limited edition vinyl. Longhena is the third and unfortunately final album from grindcore powerhouse Gridlink, the band formed by Discordance Axis frontman Jon Chang and riff-tornado Takafumi Matsubara (also of Chang's other band Hayaino Daisuki, Japanese grinders Mortalized, and harsh electronics outfit Guilty Connector); over the course of three albums, Gridlink has constructed some of the most complex and astounding grindcore of the past decade, continuing to pursue the extreme nerve conduction studies of Chang's previous band while fusing that rabid blast attack to a heavier tech-metal chassis.
    Twice as long as the band's previous releases at a whopping twenty three minutes, Longhena opens with a flurry of staccato guitar jangle, a bright crackling melody that suddenly surges into the band's trademark hyper-fast velocity, Chang's throat-peeling screams soaring over that brilliant conflux of jangly melody and vicious discordant grindcore erupting from out of the opener "Constant Autumn", which suddenly dissipates into the sound of a weeping violin at the very end. From there, the album hurtles pell-mell though thirteen more songs of this precision blast violence, epic metal hooks suddenly ripping through the clanking dissonance and monstrous blasting, those haunting violins eventually reappearing alongside some sweetly glistening synthesizer tones and washes of pastoral ambience, moments of gleaming dawn-lit beauty that rise at the opening of tracks like "Thirst Watcher", passages of stirring orchestral drama and atmospheric shadow that takes over the whole song, turning into a gorgeous piece of atmospheric chamber-prog. But that's surrounded by some insanely vicious and abrasive metallic grind, songs splattering apart into soaring harmonies over supersonic blastbeat meltdowns, the riffs spiking through the band's intricate arrangements smashed down into a two minute cyclonic blast. That contrast between the ambient sections of the album and the ultra-violent grind might make this the most emotionally complex grindcore album I've heard. Chang hasn't lightened up his scathing vocal assault one iota, though, still sounding like an electrocuted baboon spewing out a cyberpunk word salad that reads like fragments of a particularly poetic Siratori text, but the moments of clarity and beauty that emerge from amid the band's supersonic blast attack brings several new layers of feeling to the music. At it's most vicious, though, Longhena is certainly pulverizing stuff, blending in riffs and hooks into their screeching grind that seem to be equally influenced by both anthemic 1980's heavy metal and the symphonic bombast of 16-bit video games; you can go straight to the closing song "Look To Windward" for one of the nastiest amalgams of Maidenesque metalshred and PCP-fueled prog-grind you're likely to hear all year. Total goddamn terror.
Track Samples:
Sample : Thirst Watcher
Sample : Look to Windward
Sample : Longhena
Sample : Island Sun



GRIM TALKERS   Grimy City   CD   (Gravity Swarm)    14.98



   Perhaps taking some notes from Otomo Yoshihide's most blighted moments of sampler-driven soundscapery, Japanese duo Grim Talkers employ samplers and electronic noise in tandem to create the abstract dystopian soundscapes found on their latest album Grimy City. The eleven songs featured here combine sinister hallucinatory soundscapes, surges of nightmarish ambience and bursts of cruel electronic carnage that aren't too far removed from the sort of abrasive noise that we've come to know and love from member Kohei Nakagawa, the main force behind the acclaimed Japanese noise outfit Guilty Connector.
    Grimy City unveils an abstract soundworld of clattering junk-metal slowly tumbling end over end across bleary jazz-stained ambience, recordings of frogs croaking and cawing crows en masse materializing beneath a soft cardiac throb, hypnotic hand-drum rhythms and sheets of muted electronic shimmer woven through strains of classical Japanese music and airy acoustic strings, these sounds then carved up into bloody streamers and further woven into looped deformities, smears of backwards sound and subtle free-improvised percussion and clanking metal swirling together into strange, hallucinatory forms. Not sure if these guys are into Christian Marclay's turntable-based sound collages, but it certainly sounds like they are, especially further into this album where their tracks become more loop-based. Huge breakbeats loom out of the tangled noise, massive bass-heavy blasts of boom-bap circling eternally through a storm of violent static squall and clusters of low-end drone, and on tracks like "Daydream Grime", they drift out into haunting shadowy jazziness surrounded by the sounds of a bustling city, passing traffic and distant shrieking electronics infesting the air while the soft slow shuffle of the sampled jazz is crafted into an eternal mesmeric loop, seething with charred, blackened electronics, the sound slowly shifting from that breezy dreamlike ambience into something much more disturbing and deformed, degenerating into huge expanses of rumbling Merzbowian chaos towards the end. Fans of the harsher Strotter Inst. and Herpes Ö DeLuxe material will dig this, a real creepscape of crumbling urban ambient filth.
Track Samples:
Sample : Grimy City
Sample : Grim Talk, Nightmare 2
Sample : Day & Night



HARASSOR / GLASS COFFIN   split   LP   (Husk Records)    14.99



   The latest slab of filthy necro-skuzz from Glass Coffin features Josh Lay's one-man basement black metal outfit teaming up with the equally demented California band Harassor (which includes members of Lord Time, Moonknight and Lord Foul); that latter band has been blowing me away lately with their recent records of catchy-as-hell punk-damaged black metal mania. The two groups come together for a full length blast of lunar madness and church desecration here, released on Lay's own Hush imprint, and if you're addicted to the slimiest, most hideous strains of oddball black metal, you really gotta check this out.
    Four tracks on Harassor's side, opening with the unexpectedly catchy "Promise Of Fire", an almost poppy blast of blackened hypno-metal, a dark repetitive hook churning over the heavy swing of the drums, vicious shrieking vocals swooping over this darkly infectious anthem, that blown-out riff shifting into a murderous chugging groove and then to a violent blasting chaos of swarming mosquito guitars before returning to the crushing noise rock-esque churn, almost like some evil crypt-born version of something off of My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything, blown and mangled and weirdly pretty. From there, though, it's total blazing violence, from the rampaging cavernous black thrash of "The Deathless Urge", to the pummeling dirge of "Penumbra" and the haunting guitar leads that streak overhead, awesome bestial roars emanating from within the band's circular heaviness, to the blazing necrotic hardcore of "Metadagger" that slowly mutates as weirdly over-modulated screams fly across the stripped-down punky riffs and maniacal blasting. Through all of these songs, Harassor's low-fi ugliness and wretched noisiness is belied by just how goddamn catchy this stuff is, barbaric noisy blackened terror laced with weird blips of almost melodic punkiness, awash in severe distortion overload.
    On the oher side, Glass Coffin spews four tracks of his own raw garagey black metal, lashing the intro to some killer majestic guitar soloing, a primitive heavy metal chug that gives way to the Venomesque blackthrash evil of "Satanic Sacrifice ". Lay's gargling vocals sound more powerful then ever here, the sound akin to the punkiest Darkthrone, but much sloppier and more inebriated. Just as primitive and sloppy as the other Glass Coffin stuff I have, and I love it, blazing blasphemous black metal that actually sounds more like breakneck American hardcore punk at times, like the blasting "Antichrist Enthroned". Well, at least till Lay breaks out the careening double bass drumming and drops off into a sprawl of murky industrial drift; "Enemy Of Christians" also has that raw hardcore thrash feel, jangly hyperspeed guitars racing over thrashing tempos, echo-drenched devil-shrieks tearing out of the nocturnal gloom, the song slipping suddenly into a vicious rocking mid-tempo anthem halfway through; and the last song "Order Of The Rusted Chalice" is a demented nightmare noisescape of sinister out of tune minor key guitar creep and whirring choral drones, slowly drifting out into a long, slow fading sprawl of minimal black drift.
    Limited to three hundred copies, and includes a download code for the album.


HARDCORE ANAL HYDROGEN   The Talas Of Satan   CD   (Apathia)    14.98



   Like some bizarre carwreck made up of Whourkr's glitchcore grind violence, maniacal prog rock and Indian traditional music, Hardcore Anal Hydrogen's new mini-album The Talas Of Satan serves up eleven tracks of spastic abrasive mayhem that lurches wildly between styles, while retaining a crazed monstrous logic. The damn thing only clocks in at twenty-two minutes, though I'm betting that most folks would probably say that's about all they could handle of French band's admittedly exhausting eccentric delirium. Released on Apathia Records (which also recently brought us the latest album from fellow mashup maniacs Pryapisme, further entrenching the label in the more ferocious reaches of genre-mashing extremism), the eleven songs splattering their sonic canvas with a frenzy of powerful boom-bap rhythms and sickening quasi-death metal vocalizations, forays into blackened industrial horror and weirdo jazziness, vicious black metal eruptions laced with sinister symphonic atmospherics, whacked-out vinyl scratching and demented blown-out hip-hop flow, dissonant experimental soundscapes and violent Carl Stalling-esque cartoon music, sweeping old-school New Age ambience, weird mutations of Chinese music and blasts of insane guitar shred, fucked-up and ultra-heavy math metal crush via some massive mutated Meshuggah-esque counter-grooves, wild Hammond organ meltdowns and NYHC-like breakdowns smeared with insane Yamataka Eye-like vocalizations, mesmeric tabla workouts and Indian flutes, industrialized punk rock and hyper-spastic videogame soundtrack music that suddenly drops off into stretches of high-gravity electronic doomcrush.
   This is all over the place, skipping from one extreme sonic idea to another seemingly every few seconds, like Naked City out of their minds on crank; even at it's most balls-out weird, the band maintains a high level of musicianship that makes this stuff sound even that much crazier. Definitely reminiscent of the earlier Genghis Tron material at times, but even weirder and much more frantic; fans of likeminded bands like Naked City, Mr Bungle, Buckethead, Secret Chiefs 3, Praxis (and basically anything on Web Of Mimicry) should definitely check these guys out as well. Comes in six panel digisleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Rupack
Sample : Pentamere
Sample : Kalakaka
Sample : Chautal



HARRISON, JOHN   Creepshow   LP   (Waxwork)    34.98



   Now sold out from the label, Waxwork's recent vinyl reissue for the classic early 80's horror anthology Creepshow is one of the most eye-popping LPs of 2014, resurrecting John Harrison's fantastical score in a visually stunning package with bold, colorful artwork and a killer jacket design. But just having this music available again after being out of print for years was cause enough for joy. One of two scores Harrison created for George Romero (the other being 1985's Day Of The Dead), Creepshow is both whimsical and malevolent, in keeping with the film's humorously twisted homage to the classic EC horror comics of the 1950s. Harrison created unique cues for each story in the anthology, and combined classical and Gothic elements with a very 80's electronic undercurrent to capture the nostalgic feel of those vintage horror comics.
   The score is a mixture of sinister synthesizer and piano pieces, creepy music-box orchestrations and ominous Moog drones, the movie's eerie main theme imbued with a Gothic flair that is somewhat comparable to some of Danny Elfman's darker stuff. In particular, the main theme and closing piece "Until Next Time" really reminiscent of Elfman's theme for the Tales From The Crypt television series, which was still years away from production. The score is fleshed out with numerous short pieces that move from dissonant minimal synth textures to the amusingly romantic piano arrangements for "Something To Tide You Over", washes of warped kosmische glow and pulses of almost Carpenterian menace, strains of funerary organ and keening high-end synth melodies; you can hear echoes of the kind of spacey synth that Tangerine Dream and Vangelis were infusing their soundtracks with, but there's also a lot of textural nods to the creepy soundtracks of Golden Era television as well, and Harrison incorporated primitive electronic effects to achieve some of these throwback sounds. It's all primarily keyboard based, using a variety of piano, electronic and organ tones, laced with some key sound effects from the film. For many, the most disturbing part of the soundtrack is the music for the infamous roach-swarm horror of "They're Creeping Up On You", which consists of the score's most abstract material, a series of atonal electronic pieces that were a perfect accompaniment for the story's grotesque scenes of an insectile invasion of the most intimate kind. A genuinely classic 80's horror score.
    The album features extensive liner notes from Harrison and director George Romero, pressed on 180 gram vinyl and housed in a gorgeous heavyweight casewrapped jacket that features stunning new artwork from Gary Pullin, with printed inserts bound book-style into the jacket that feature extensive liner notes, artwork and production stills, and a satin-coated 12" by 12" art print commissioned exclusively for this release.


HEXEN + WAILING OF THE WINDS   self-titled   CASSETTE   (Diazepam)    8.99



   Another super-limited art object from the low-fi occult industrial label Diazepam, this tape features a collaboration between Russian droneologists Hexen and Italian neo-folk outfit Wailing Of The Winds, who had previously released a full-length album on Paradigms back in 2013. The two "Rituals" spread across this cassette offer a creepy, fractured cemetery folk, a murky, ghoulish ambience formed from distant wavering melodies that feel like they are being transmitted from another dimension, the air laced with unnerving voices that hiss and loop through the shadows, with washes of eerie ethereal drift becoming woven into the soft strum of an acoustic guitar. There's a weird, eldritch vibe to this stuff, at times almost reminiscent of some of Goblin's more subtle works, but there's also an ever-present layer of corroded noise and reverb-laden static that slowly seethes beneath the group's ghostly meanderings.
   Some of this seems to burn with the influence of 80's era post-industrialists Coil as well as some of the more psychedelic proponents of neo-folk; as the music shifts from passages of that abstract atmospheric creep into a kind of withered, blackened psych-folk, anguished moans and mysterious feminine whispers drift in from afar, resembling snatches of electronic voice phenomena that have been laid over the somber folky strum and strange crackling dronescapes. The sound will billow out into a cloud of screeching feedback and dense, crackling distortion, and a simple, ominous chord progression will appear in the background, strummed slowly and relentlessly; for a moment, one could imagine this slightly warped funerary folk playing out behind some nocturnal set-piece from a Jean Rollin film, a delirious bluesy progression met with off-kilter violins that get caught in a loop as monstrous rumblings, garbled bestial roars and those ghastly murmurings slowly drift in from out of the blackness. And the very last part of the album totally goes over into full-blown dark folk, the group suddenly breaking into a killer, repetitive funerary dirge that has a similar evocative, ancient feel as the graveyard psychfolk of Time Moth Eye / Stone Breath.
   This collection of bewitching noise-damaged drone-folk might be my favorite of all of the Diazepam tapes I've picked up. And like the other releases I picked up from the label, this comes in a delicate hand-assembled package, the tape housed in a lightweight black cardboard box with black and white artwork and text pasted on the interior panels, a sprig of some kind of plant attached to the box with a ribbon.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ritual I
Sample : Ritual II



HIGUCHI, KEIKO + CRIS X   Melt   CD   (Musik Atlach)    15.98



   Musik Atlach brings us another stunning album of midnight psychedelia and caliginous ambience from the depths of the Japanese psych underground. Melt is a new collaboration between Tokyo-based avant-garde pianist and vocalist Keiko Higuchi (following up her equally dark and mysterious CD on Utech) and European experimentalist Cristiano Luciani, aka Cris X. The disc captures the pair collaborating in studio, weaving together deep ambient rumblings, murky field recordings and distant ominous drones accented with swells of shimmering percussion formed from amplified cymbals, the sound of Higuchi's sparse piano work taking shape as dark spare chords or lone delicate notes that ring out and fade away slowly into the blackness. This hazy dark ambience is streaked with wisps of nearly unrecognizable slide guitar, and rumbles with swells of monstrous industrial reverberation and brittle electronic noise, nearly always remaining enshrouded in shadow and mystery.
    But it's when Higuchi eventually begins to emit her soulful singing over this dark amorphous driftscape that this becomes truly chilling, as her voice flits across the five tracks, crafting an otherworldly ambience that at times feels like some sinister cross between the isolationist black fields of Yen Pox or Lustmord, and the expressive, chilling vocalizations of Diamanda Galas. There's a number of times that Higuchi's singing slips into emotive shrieking evocative of Galas or Jarboe, some of her vocal lines drawing from blues and jazz traditions while twisting them into something far darker; oh the second song "Sister / You Left Me So Insane", her voice helps to send the album drifting into seriously ominous regions, as it transforms into something resembling a depraved jazz chanteuse performing beneath swells of jet-black ambience. Its a chilling collection of nocturnal improvisations that balances fragile dreamlike beauty with dread-filled dissonance, and reaches an apex of creepiness with the sinister, ghostlike atmosphere of the title track that closes the album, the sound of rattling chains and the simple thud of what could be traditional Japanese percussion giving the music a spare, funereal feel, her bluesy wail drifting through a cloud of reverb, accompanied by washes of soft electronic drift and shadowy orchestral textures, and swarms of soft whirring electronic noise that go rippling and twisting across the space before disappearing back into blackness.
    Comes in a gatefold sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sister / You Left Me So Insane
Sample : Melt
Sample : In Obscurity



HOWLING VOID, THE   Nightfall   CD   (Solitude Productions)    11.99



   The fourth album of majestic mood music and symphonic funerary crush from Texan one-man band The Howling Void, which features Ryan Wilson of weirdo noisegrinders Intestinal Disgorge. His 2010 album Shadows Over The Cosmos was a minor masterwork of funereal doom, channeling all of the best aspects of the style pioneered by the likes of Evoken and Thergothon into a crushing, kosmische-tinged majesty; on his latest album Nightfall, Wilson doesn't break any new ground beyond what we've heard from him in the past, but he's still just as skilled at building these titanic slabs of lush planet-crushing ambient doom and the six epic songs featured here offer a supremely soothing listening experience as his layers of slow-motion doom riffs, funerary piano and pipe organs, and buried hushed singing slowly washes over you with a stately, almost religious reverence.
    There's a deft hand at work here, unearthing intense, stirring melodies out of the vast droning guitars, but the most noticeable thing about Nightfall is Wilson's conscious shift in vocal style, moving completely away from the deep guttural bellowing that rumbled across previous albums, replacing that with distant sung vocals that give this new stuff a much more spectral feel. The keyboards have a murky, ominous feel not unlike some of John Carpenter's droning synth beds, and there's an unearthly murkiness to some of these keyboard textures that really elevate the weird unearthly mood that surrounds this music. A few tracks like "God Of The Gallows" are purely orchestral ambience, cold gleaming neo-classic driftscapes that arise as the monolithic riffs and glacial blast of the drums falls away completely, leaving just the sound of those droning ethereal keyboards floating through the void, layered with hymn-like choral textures and distant tolling bells, or peel back to reveal a lone tragic guitar melody drifting through the emptiness. The churchyard ambience of Nightfall is thoroughly desolate and starkly beautiful, each song lumbering monotonously through a blinding tear-stained haze of grief and regret, the riffs churning repetitively in the depths as that dreamy, dispirited singing stretches out into the distance. It's those vocals that make parts of this more akin to the likes of Nadja than the guttural grief of Skepticism, though I'm betting that anyone equally into both bands would love this. Excellent stuff for the spiritually desolate and terminally grief-stricken.
Track Samples:
Sample : Voidward
Sample : The Chaos Beyond The Stars
Sample : In Subterranean Temples



HUTCHINSON, HAL   Wreckage Installations And Metalworks   CD   (Crucial Blaze)    9.98



   Few contemporary noise artists have explored the use of scrap metal to the extent that Hal Hutchinson has with his "Factory of Metal Sound" aesthetic. The dense, brutally forceful metalscapes that this UK noisemaker has been creating in recent years follows in a tradition of metal manipulation previously examined by Japanese noisician K2 and Canadian artist Alan Bloor (aka Knurl), but Hutchinson uses a unique approach to the way he assembles and layers his recordings of chains, pipes, sheet metal, metal barrels, and other metallic objects being smashed and dragged and beaten. What began as a cacophony of skull-scraping clatter becomes transformed into something much more complex, as his "Factory" method re-combines and blends these sounds together into a strangely structured colossus of entropic industrial pandemonium. Known previously for his forays into harsh noise and death industrial with the projects like Execution Support Act, Pollutive Static, Meatgrinder, Hutchinson's current direction moves into a truly industrial realm of sound, totally devoted to the sheer physicality of metal colliding against metal, and recent releases from Hutchinson on Freak Animal Records and Unrest Productions have produced some of the most compelling scrap-metal noisescapes to appear in recent years.
    With the new full length collection Wreckage Installations And Metalworks, Hutchinson delivers seven tracks of these immense noisescapes and blasts of orchestrated machine-shop annihilation. It's intensely abrasive, somewhat comparable to Molekular Terrorism-era K2, but stripped down to the sound of pure metal; attentive listening yields surprising results, as there's a haunting, undefinable element to these recordings heard in the ghostly groan of metal appearing beneath the more abrasive layers of crashing junk scrap. These repetitive scraping tones almost seem to take on an eerie accidental melodic quality, as the mountains of scrap metal and heavy chains slowly shift and crumble around you, forming into subliminal patterns as the tracks unfold. The album is divided into two sections: the first, Wreckage Installation I-III, consists of longer, fifteen minute-plus studies in heavily layered, oppressive scrap-metal noise, the sound dense and detailed, layer upon layer of scraping, banging metal piled on top of each other to create this grim factory-noise symphony, with a massive undercurrent of low-end noise rumbling in the depths of the mix. These tracks sound absolutely crushing when played through a set of high quality speakers, and maximum volume truly reveals the amount of depth and intricacy that exists in these sprawling, seething industrial noisescapes. The second half of the album consists of a series of shorter, more chaotic exercises in junk-metal obliteration titled Metalwork Installation I-IV, these recordings featuring a less structured and noisier sound, each one a ceaseless maelstrom of experimental metalblast, thunderous avalanches of random scrap metal and tectonic bass rumble compacted into five minutes chunks of sound.
    Along with the CD, Wreckage Installations includes a booklet with liner notes from Hutchinson that examine his creative process behind these recordings, and a set of six double-sided black and white photo prints depicting Hutchinson's stark, high-contrast images of corroded, hulking factory equipment. Released as part of the Crucial Blaze Series.
Track Samples:
Sample : Wreckage Installation I
Sample : Metalwork Installation IV
Sample : Metalwork Installation I



I WATCHED YOU DIE   I Want You All Dead   7" VINYL   (Breaching Static)    7.99



   This extremely limited, one-sided lathe cut 7" features a single blast of harsh noise wall made up of muted, nihilistic static-patterns from noise artist Alex Nowacki, who has previously ruptured our speakers with the extreme black static operations of his Boar project. While much of the material that I've listened to from Boar leans more towards crushing walls of dense distortion, the project I Watched You Die seems to explore a slightly more restrained vein of the HNW aesthetic, offering up a roughly five minute slab of smoldering distorted crackle and static that Nowacki proceeds to stretch out into what feels like vaguely rhythmic patterns, the amplified crackling noise seemingly looped into eddies of corrosive sputter and low-end flutter. While this stuff is definitely still pretty abrasive, there's a hypnotic, obsessively textural quality to this black static soundscape that reminds me of Richard Ramirez's solo stuff with Werewolf Jerusalem. A somewhat subdued stream of sonic entropy that forms itself into a death-trance at the very end of the record, as the needle slips into an endless lock groove; let that groove spin for long enough, and one can almost begin to hear a murderous command to go and kill swirling within the unspooling static.


INDUSTRIE CHIMČRE NOIRE   Dans L'oeil Du Mort   ART BOOK - SLIM   (Crucial Blaze)    7.98



Anyone who has been paying attention to the more experimental fringes of the black / death / doom metal underground in recent years has no doubt encountered the bizarre visions of the Industrie Chimčre Noire. The nom de plume of Québécois illustrator and graphic designer Joce, the Industrie has produced a striking body of work since the latter half of the aughts, first coming to the attention of many in the extreme metal scene through his twisted, nightmarish artwork for Australian avant-garde death metal cult Portal. Since then, Joce has gone on to illustrate and design a plethora of releases on labels like Profound Lore, Sepulchral Productions and Choking Hazard, producing artwork for a myriad of skull-rupturing metal/noise artists that include Fistula, Utlagr, Wormlust, Unearthly Trance, Column Of Heaven, Yoga, A.M.S.G. and Actuary, as well as developing a distinct and recognizable style of line-art illustration that has become almost synonymous with certain strains of über-bizarro death/black metal.
Dans L’oeil du Mort is the first published collection of artwork from Joce and the Industrie Chimčre Noire. Released as part of Crucial Blast’s ongoing art-zine series that focuses on lesser-known artists on the fringes of extreme metal / occult / horror / surrealism, Dans L’oeil du Mort features an array of artwork that stretches back to the Industrie's origins in 2007. A number of album art pieces are featured here in detail, as are several previously unpublished images that appear here for the first time ever. The thirty-plus macabre visions found within these pages range from Joce’s signature black-ink illustrations for bands like Portal, Nekrasov and Fistula, to more abstract experiments in manipulated photography, digital illustration, and old-school collage work. All of this stuff is possessed with a distinctive, morbid atmosphere: monochrome scenes of ancient Gallic graveyards and mottled funerary monuments; ghastly Lovecraftian nightmares of ultra-violent parasitic infection, sexually-charged tentacled monstrosities and corpulent forms in the throes of extreme mutation; snazzy industrial-influenced collage art polluted with vintage images of devil-worship; intricately rendered occult sigils and macabre panels influenced by antique woodcut engravings; gruesome digital manipulations of arachnid horror; and ghoulish full-color watercolor pieces like that found on the Unearthly Trance / The Endless Blockade split album, which seem to radiate an almost folkloric feel. While the work featured in this publication showcase a number of different techniques, all of this material is connected through a common underlying atmosphere of morbidity and mutation that has become Joce's calling card. Through his scenes of ravenous, fecund spider-demons, desolate cemeteries, seething bacterial horrors and arctic devil worship, Joce produces a kaleidoscopic collection of nightmares and mysteries in a uniquely expressionistic manner. At times, it seems to intersect the raw visual aesthetics of 80’s-era death metal and industrial music with the deranged monstrosities and vile surrealism found in 70’s-era underground horror comics like Insect Fear, bathing his images in ectoplasmic deformity and malodorous rot.
Released in a limited printing of two hundred hand-numbered copies, this art zine comes with a set of vinyl stickers and a pair of 1" badges featuring more imagery from Industrie Chimčre Noire.


ISOLATOR   Culture and Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation   CD   (Black Plagve)    10.99



    Self-described as "anti-human death musick", Isolator's Culture and Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation is the debut album from this new duo made up of members of death/black metal outfits Set, Encoffination and Father Befouled, their first for black industrial imprint Black Plagve. The band's collective CV only hints at how massive this album is, though, and out of all of the black/death industrial albums I've been abusing myself with lately, this might just be the most unsettling, a noxious yet mesmerizing slab of abyssal ambience and black noise horror that fully envelops you within its monstrous mass of murky midnight ambience, unfurling vast fields of muffled orchestral drift, surges of grim soundtracky synthesizer drone, and ghastly industrial rumble that often slips into some seriously heavy fields of low-end black crush.
    The five tracks that comprise Culture sprawl out for nearly an hour, each one unfolding into a delirium of growling, heavily distorted bass drones and doom-laden metallic murk, blasts of ultra-heavy sound that bloom into almost Sunn 0)))-like waves of blackened tectonic rumble. That subterranean drift is threaded with soft glimmering veins of synthlike feedback and haunting melodious drift, but alongside those vague glimpses of eerie prettiness are infestations of demonic mutterings and barely audible whispers that slip in and out of perception, evil voices adrift in the duo's dense churning sea of blackened sound. Those slow eruptions of crushing low-end heaviness continue throughout the album, continuing to echo the molten drone-metal of Sunn 0))) or Black Boned Angel when they're at their heaviest, but that downtuned rumble is slowed down to an even more torturous crawl, draped in a filthy worm-eaten blanket of distressed classical music that has been deformed and stretched and broken down into a nightmarish blown-out din. All of this stuff is buried way down in the depths of Isolator's suffocating stygian fog, joined with swells of diffused, distorted choral-like sound drifting up in ash-black plumes. These guys definitely share some of the same DNA as some of the more orchestral-tinged black ambient outfits that have previously appeared on Malignant, but this is much more malevolent and abrasive and most of all heavy as hell. On tracks like the monolithic "Mankind Shall Reap The Mistakes God Hath Sown" and "Your Heaven Will Writhe Within The Chaos Of My Hell", Isolator's sound also almost seems to suggest a Satanic version of Tim Hecker's fuzzed-out, gorgeously hazy dronescapes, shades of grim gothic majesty warped and buried beneath an ocean of swirling soft distortion and hiss. That roiling black cloudscape of rumbling noise is shattered by the recurring roar of some vast metallic heaviness blasting through the abyss, spreading out beneath far-flung fields of kosmische glow and pulsating synthesizer drones hovering in space, drifting into stretches of soundtracky, almost Carpenterian dread, while the likes of "Carrion For The Feasts Of Angels" blend those hellish groans and screams with the glacial churn of black noise that resembles a Demonologists track stretched out into an agonizing blast of hateful slow-motion blackness.
    Awesomely nightmarish, Culture And Principle is exactly what I'd want to hear from a band of death metallers developing their own version of death industrial. The whole album is one long plunge into total sonic corruption, like a time-lapsed doomscape of rust and decay amplified to deafening power, the atmosphere sickeningly heavy and oppressive, especially towards the very end of the album as the sound of drums slowly enter into the fray, a punishing slow-motion grind like that of some funeral doom drummer unwittingly dropped into the middle of a maelstrom of swirling blackened drone, surrounded by ghastly gasping death metal-like rasps, everything blanketed beneath a heavy layer of black rot. A new level of heaviness from the Black Plagve camp. Comes in an eight panel digipack, limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Mankind Shall Reap The Mistakes God Hath Sown
Sample : Into The Blood Of Our Kingdom
Sample : Carrion For The Feasts Of Angels



JAWORZYN, STEFAN   Drained Of Connotation   LP   (Blackest Ever Black)    29.98



   Best known for his seminal work as a founding member of the monstrous UK noise rock outfit Skullflower, Jaworzyn is one of the key players in the UK extreme music underground of the 80s and 90s, also doing a brief stint with power electronics pioneers Whitehouse as well as performing with the free-improv duo Ascension, and running the amazing avant-rock imprint Shock. Little had been heard musically from Jaworzyn since the mid 90s though, but he suddenly popped up in the past year or so, returning with a vengeance as he's resurrected the Shock label and exuded a number of LPs that range from ancient unreleased recordings to brand new noise experiments.
    Drained of Connotation is one of the former, a loose collection of long-lost solo material that Jaworzyn recorded back in 1982 prior to his stints in the aforementioned bands, featuring material that had recently resurfaced on a cassette tape while Jaworzyn was combing his tape archives for rare Skullflower material for his recent KINO series of reissues. Using only a Dr Rhythm drum machine and a primitive Korg synthesizer, Jaworzyn sculpted spare, sinister drones and malignant pulses into a series of crude industrial noise pieces powered by the almost static rhythms of the drum machine, which he allows to loop endlessly, primitive pulses that undergo only the most subtle of changes in tempo or tone as each track threads its way to oblivion. There's a similar charred, monotonous vibe as Maurizio Bianchi's early 80s output in these early recordings, with "Sinister Eroticism In Oslo" in particular taking on an ominous, almost ritualistic vibe as putrid vermiform laserblasts squiggle and swarm overhead, immediately casting the record in a grimy grey light as that track stretches across almost the entire first side before moving into the juddering, static-blinded hypnosis of "The Nightclub Toilet", a clot of harsh Merzbowian electronics and granular distortion sweeping across the feverish, mechanical drum-loop, transforming into a frigid krautrock-esque pulse that Jaworzyn drives all the way into oblivion. The other side follows suit, unleashing more of those monochrome oscillations over an obsessive, almost militaristic rhythmic throb that just doesn't relent, radiating cancerous pulses through a metallic haze of malfunctioning synth. Limited to seven hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Druid Crystals
Sample : Pillars Of Excrement
Sample : The Nightclub Toilet
Sample : Sinister Eroticism In Oslo



JAWORZYN, STEFAN   The Annihilating Light   LP   (Kye)    19.98



   Another brand new LP from the infamous Stefan Jaworzyn, one of the founding members of UK noise rock gods Skullflower and one half of the lethal improv duo Ascension, maintaining the hot streak he's been on since reappearing last year with the newly resurrected Shock imprint and a host of new releases after more than a decade and a half of near silence on the musical front. Issued on Kye, the label run by Graham Lambkin of avant-rockers Shadow Ring, The Annihilating Light is one of my favorite of all of the recent Jaworzyn efforts, featuring two new side-long tracks of immersive microbial ambience and churning electronic glitchdrift that offers a distinctly different sound from the more synth-based LPs that have emerged over the past few months.
    The first track "Oasis Of Filth" offers up a surrealistic noisescape littered with weird aquatic burblings and swirling insectile chirps, these sounds moving through what feels like a vast empty space as they slowly dip in and out of earshot; these over modulated chirps and bleeps sweep across strange reverberant rumblings and random banging noises, and one gets the impression that you're hearing the mega-amplified sounds of bacterial activity, slightly unnerving with its sudden crashes into percussive flutter and speaker-rattling collision, but not without a strange mesmerizing quality, not too far off from the acoustically generated aural hallucinations of Dave Phillips and Schimpfluch-Gruppe.
    But the other track "Cast Out" shifts into something much different, a gorgeous murk of droning dissonant synth drones and wildly fluttering pixilated electronics, the bleeping chaos of an ancient mainframe computer emitted as an endless cascade of atonal garbled glitchery, those cloudy, vaguely sinister keyboards slowly floating and curling lower in the mix, like some kosmische vision of robotic dementia, lush and psychedelic electronic entropy swept into a cloudswarm of malfunctioning bits and bytes that becomes totally entrancing, like Klaus Schulze performing the score for the convulsive death throes of some vast mad artificial intelligence.
    Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţCast Out
Sample : ˙ţOasis Of Filth



JAWORZYN, STEFAN   Lick My Pussy, Will Montgomery   10" VINYL   (Fourth Dimension)    9.98



   Here's a real vintage slab of mutant guitar skronk that might just be the most obnoxious record I've included on this week's new arrivals list. Alongside the recent spate of new material and excavated 80's recordings that have emerged from UK industrial noise/rock luminary Stefan Jaworzyn since the end of last year, this old EP that came out on Fourth Dimension back in 1996 also recently resurfaced from one of our suppliers, featuring Jaworzyn totally destroying his electric guitar in a live setting. Few noisemakers in the 90's mistreated the electric guitar quite as ruthlessly as Jaworzyn, and his work as a founding member of Skullflower helped to spur on a deluge of brain-flattening guitar noise from the mid 80s onward. By the time that this EP surfaced though, he had abandoned the riff completely for pure improvisation, and this recording was captured around the same time that Jaworzyn was active with the power-improv duo Ascension, at the peak of his form-fucking fury.
    Lick focuses on a bunch of sickening out-guitar experiments, the satirical album notes pointing towards something more "academic", but what you really get is a roughly twenty minute assault of crazed avant-guitar skree. Here he moves out of the power-duo mode of his then current improv noise project Ascension, just him and his guitar, and it's one of his nastiest recordings. "Eat Shit" and "Jazz Snob" tumble across the a-side in a blare of atonal solo guitar skronk, like some horribly deformed Sonny Sharrock jam, or some particularly putrid Derek Bailey exercise, lots of meandering atonal scrape and squonk without a melodic bone in it's spindly wretched form. On those rare moments when he really starts to strangle his axe, the resultant din is so goddamn obnoxious it'll scrape the meat from inside your skullcase. The b-side "Loud Is Best" is the best of 'em though, a deranged guitar noise dirge that ends up turning into a grand eruption of tortured guitar shred and distorted chaos that sounds like some brain-damaged heavy metal solo ripped free of it's moorings and turned inside out.
Track Samples:
Sample : loud is best
Sample : jazz snob
Sample : eat shit



JAWORZYN, STEFAN   Principles Of Inertia   LP   (Trensmat)    19.99



   Yet another recent vinyl offering from master axe-torturer Stefan Jaworzyn, one of the prime movers from the UK industrial underground of the 1980s onward as a member of the OG lineup of noise rock crushers Skullflower and blistering improv duo Ascension (as well as the editor of the terrific exploitation film mag Shock Xpress, but that's another story). All of the records I've picked up lately from Jaworzyn have offered distinctly different musical approaches, ranging from the nauseating scrabbly improv guitar noise of the Will Montgomery 10" and the primitive drum-machine driven industrial scum-synth of Drained Of Connotation, to the malfunctioning mindmelting glitchery of The Annihilating Light. This one (out on Irish psych-noise label Trensmat and now sold out at the source) might be the most conventionally approachable of the lot, though that's not saying much.
    Jaworzyn still splatters his long sprawling tracks with a seemingly endless assault of bleeping electronic noise and crude laserblast effects, the sound riddled with primitive synthesizer rot that can sometimes be reminiscent of the morbid power electronics of Maurizio Bianchi, but on the first track "Biorigged" at least, he welds that to an infectious distorted breakbeat that wouldn't be out of place on a more adventurous and noise-friendly dancefloor. That blown-out boom-bap skitters furiously along the full length of the song, almost like some aggro Tackhead track infested with garbled alien glitchery. Funky is not something I would normally attribute to one of Jaworzyn's albums, but it's certainly apropos here. The following track "Festival Of Lies" is more menacing and more akin to Jaworzyn's older, jittery industrial experiments, with modulated rhythms echoing beneath eerie ambient sounds and distant cries like that of an air raid siren, the track transforming into a creepy dub-flecked pulse, almost like Vatican Shadow's brand of noise-infected techno minimalism, but streaked with a ghastly, nightmarish ambience, moving through dense clouds of black flies.
    "Gland Collector" over on the other side is something else entirely, a menacing synthesizer workout that sort of resembles some 80's era horror movie score, pulsating distorted arpeggios circling over a consistent high end drone, the whole thing just oozing with tension as it spreads out in a propulsive blur of strobing, sinister stalker drones and fierce FX-drenched synth. Sorta like Tangerine Dream on PCP, nervous and twitchy and utterly malevolent, followed by the abstract glitch-chaos of "Apocalypse", which returns to the eerie dark drones from earlier in the album but fusing them to a cascade of garbled glitchery and skittering, sputtering anti-rhythms, dark and surrealistic and disturbing, like some ultra-paranoid dystopian sci-fi soundtrack from the 80's, a fractured alien electro strung out on nerve wracking high-end frequencies.
    Comes with a digital download that includes additional non-album material.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţApocalypse
Sample : ˙ţGland Collector
Sample : ˙ţFestival of Lies



JONES, RALPH   The Slumber Party Massacre   LP   (Death Waltz)    32.00



   Now sold out at the source, Ralph Jones' odd little score for the cult 80's slasher film The Slumber Party Massacre is one of the latest horror obscurities to get the deluxe Death Waltz treatment. Released in 1982 by Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Massacre was a quirky installment in the 80's slasher canon, a cult fave filled with gratuitous lingerie shots and rampant nudity (it being a slumber party, after all) that eventually give way to rampant power-drill atrocities and copious bloodflow. Not only was the script written by feminist author and activist Rita Mae Brown, and directed by Amy Holden Jones, who would go on to do more high profile pictures like Maid to Order and Mystic Pizza, but the film occupied a weird area somewhere between feminist-tinged satire and straight sleaze that, despite it's fairly conventional plotting, still manages to be one of the more memorable entries in the era's slasher deluge.
   Ralph Jones' beautifully warped soundtrack was a nearly perfect backdrop to the film's offbeat vibe; using nothing but a primitive Casiotone MT-30 keyboard that he picked up at a department store, along with a violin bow, a ride cymbal, and a set of crystal glasses scored at a thrift shop, Jones assembled a variety of weird bleeping soundscapes, super-minimal drones, washes of nocturnal ambience, gurgling electronics, dissonant chiming cues and fractured minor key melodies into this unusual electronic score, with a lot of the techniques used drawn from his experience gained from years spent crafting his own brand of avant-garde tape music. Many of the pieces used to build tension throughout the score consist of layered drones that resemble the sinister gothic wheeze of a pipe organ, and the main theme is surprisingly haunting and memorable, but there's also lots of wonderfully primitive electronic sounds and effects that don't leave any doubt as to whether we're hearing a low-budget horror score from the early 80s. Jones' Slumber Party sure was an odd one, part cheapo horror ambience, part primitive electronica, the combination producing a deliriously wonky experimental creepscape.
    Another killer presentation from the Waltz, of course; this LP comes in a gorgeous heavyweight casewrapped jacket that houses the thick cloudy clear vinyl, along with a full color booklet that features liner notes from Jones and cover artist Luke Insect, and a large foldout poster that reproduces Insect's cool neon-drenched album artwork.


JUSTIN, SUSAN   Forbidden World OST   LP   (Death Waltz)    27.98



   Another one of the more obscure horror soundtracks unearthed by the boutique UK soundtrack reissue label Death Waltz, Susan Justin's quirky score to 1982's Forbidden World is also among my favorites, not just because I'm a huge fan of this particular alien gore flick, but because Justin's New Wave-tinged score is one of the most unusual horror soundtracks of the era.
    One of the craziest of all of the Alien rip-offs that oozed across movie screens in the early 80s, the Roger Corman-produced Forbidden World is a minor classic of b-grade sci-fi splatter, mashing together recycled special effects and film sets from other Corman productions like Galaxy Of Terror and Battle Beyond The Stars while throwing in copious amounts of slimy alien action, over-the-top gore, and gratuitous lesbian sex. It's a perennial favorite around the C-Blast bunker, set to a memorable electronic score courtesy of Susan Justin, a classically trained pianist who was also a member of the arty New Wave band Pink Plastic. Blending together breathy, heavily echoplexed vocal sounds, schmaltzy clavinet melodies with a heavy late 70s vibe, a stripped down drum sound that generally centers around an almost krautrock-like mesmerism, and lots of spooky, "futuristic" electronic sounds and effects, Justin's work here has a really unique feel, from the infectious, ominous motorik pulse and strange New Wavey melody of "Theme From Forbidden World" and the minimal synth swells that softly pulse across the opening credits, to passages of minimal low pulsing notes and eerie quavering Theremins that drift against the vast emptiness of space. Like the majority of horror scores from the early 80s, there's a bit of a Carpenter influence on some of these synthesizer arrangements, but Justin also incorporates gorgeously mournful piano motifs. Creepy atonal noisescapes that evoke scenes of bleak alien landscapes and seething biological horrors make up a large portion of the score as well, and Justin also delves into wonderfully kosmische territory on several tracks, and her oddball synth arrangements can slip into wonderfully quirky bits of sci-fi funk. Elsewhere, Justin uses the deep cosmic blast of the "Blaster Beam", a massive stringed instrument used to generate incredibly deep droning metallic resonances that was used on a number of 70s era science fiction films, along with sudden, shocking blasts of noise to create a disturbing atmosphere that dominates the latter portion of the score.
    Phenomenal presentation as always from Death Waltz, pressed on cloudy clear heavyweight 180 gram vinyl and housed in a bulky oversized casebound jacket, and includes a large foldout poster version of Kimberley Holladay's beautifully vile splooge-drenched cover art along with an insert with liner notes from Holladay, Forbidden director (and Justin's husband) Allan Holzman, and Justin herself.
Track Samples:
Sample : theme from "forbidden world"
Sample : laser shower
Sample : mutation
Sample : birth and death



JUTE GYTE / VENOWL   split   CASSETTE   (Black Horizons)    8.99



   Another excellent recent release from Black Horizons, this teams up "microtonal black metal" outfit Jute Gyte with blackened maniacs Venowl for what has got to be one of the label's harshest offerings.
    The utterly singular Jute Gyte is first with two tracks of his bizarre, atonal black metal, the sound of discordant guitar notes slowly building into an eerie, unsettling melody across the first few minutes of "For The Nightly Ascent Of The Hunter Orion Over A Forest Clearing", soon erupting into a heavier, blown-out assault of splintered blackness, slippery seemingly out-of-tune notes scattering over the bizarre off-time chug, snarling animalistic vocals belted out over the increasingly off-kilter and noisy music. As the ten minute song further sprawls out, it slips into weird little melodic breaks, mutated doom-laden breakdowns, and evil, withered metallic riffs, the whole sound becoming weirdly mathy and angular, like the sound of a black metal band in a state of entropy, the music souring and warping as it blazes into the abyss, bits of what almost sound like orchestral tape noise unspooling and flying around, breaking down into tangles of blackened noise. The other song is more doomed, a slow lurching blackened dirge smeared in dissonant keyboards and brittle, alien melodies, truly disturbed and disturbing music, the song moving haltingly through that cloud of dreary ambience, into stretches of ghoulish slowcore creep and awkward, vicious noise rock churn, joined by what sounds like de-tuned cello growling through the blackness before finally breaking apart into an almost jazzy soundtracky softness at the end.
    On the other side, Venowl unleash a single half-hour long blast of molten hatred titled "Snowbed", and it certainly holds up against the discordant dis-ease on the previous side. The band slowly lurches through a chaotic pile of splintered piano and garbled tape noise, weird gibberish and horrific screaming and psychotic mewling, a kind of detuned, monstrously deformed doom unfurling beneath the various sonic detritus, with additional violin sounds contributed by Troy Schafer of Kinit Her/Burial Hex. Right from the start, this shit is pretty nightmarish, the music crumbing all around you as more strange sonic effluvium and fragments of dreamlike sound continue to be piled on to their lurching black doom, the guitar rarely forming into an actual riff, but rather eternally melting down into a gout of black vomit, the drummer seemingly hammering his kit at random, the scattered tom hits and formless improvisation only later coming together into a devastating, hateful dirge. Without a doubt the most fantastically fucked-up stuff I've ever heard from these guys, like some grotesque, psychedelic hybrid of Abruptum and Flipper...
    Like the other tapes that have come in from Black Horizons, this comes in a gorgeous five-panel cover with stunning, abstract art silk-screened in silver and gold ink into back linen stock, released in a limited edition of one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : JUTE GYTE - For The Nightly Ascent Of The Hunter Orion Over A Forest Clearing
Sample : VENOWL - Snowbed



KOMEDA, CHRISTOPHER (KRZYSZTOF)   Dance Of The Vampires   LP   (Seriés Aphōnos)    18.98



   Before his untimely death in 1968 from an accidental brain injury, Polish composer and pioneering modern jazz pianist Krzysztof Komeda produced original scores for four films from famed director Roman Polanski, the most well-known of which is his haunting musical backdrop to Polanski's classic 1968 film Rosemary's Baby, one of the real classics of Satanic panic. But that wasn't the first time that Komeda had worked on a horror film score; the previous year saw him producing the score for another Polanski film, the surrealistic vampire farce The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck, originally produced under the superior title Dance of the Vampires. Polanski's film is a darkly whimsical spoof of the Hammer-influenced gothic horror films that were all the rage at the time, and whose campy humor was also underscored by an eerie, dreamlike atmosphere that was jolted by some nicely crafted scares. It's one of Polanski's less regarded works, though fans of late 60's horror movies really owe it to themselves to give it a look; and this lesser-known score from Komeda certainly deserved this reassessment, after having gone on to gain a devoted following among aficionados of classic horror and experimental film scores in the decades since.
    And for good reason: Dance Of The Vampires is a surprisingly eerie score, with Komeda weaving together strains of mystical European folk music, eerie choir voices, bits of avant-garde jazziness, creeping bass lines and asthmatic horns, dreamy waltzes, the sound of harpsichord, oboe and choral singers all figuring prominently throughout these tracks, drifting together through this gorgeously chilly atmosphere. The score moves from that stunning opening theme into passages of unearthly ambience and swells of romantic strings, to haunting, low-key orchestrations and those terrifying choral sequences; some of the sections early on are light and whimsical in keeping with the film's more humorous and playful moments, but Komeda also adds a heavy dose of understated creepiness, like the ghostly wailing found on the track "Vampires To Crypt". While it doesn't reach the magnificent heights that the score for Rosemary's Baby did, this is a wonderfully offbeat soundtrack filled with a baroque, dreamlike atmosphere that remains one of the better works in the realm of late-60s Euro-horror. Released by experimental/jazz label Seriés Aphonos on vinyl for the first time ever, this new reissue of Komeda's Dance also includes a CD version of the album in a printed cardboard sleeve.


KRALLICE   Years Past Matter   2 x LP   (Gilead Media)    24.99

Years Past Matter IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Back in stock on 180 gram black vinyl via Gilead Media, in deluxe case-wrapped gatefold packaging with a lyric insert and download code.
The latest album from NYC's Krallice is their fourth album overall, and it delivers the same breathtaking blackened guitarscapes and regal blasting that we've gotten from their previous albums on Profound Lore, the songs still long and sprawling, complex progged-out blackened metal with layer upon layer of interlocking guitar shred and huge majestic riffing drowning in emotional power, the band playing these epic tracks with extreme precision, the razor-sharp rhythm section producing the driving, angular rhythms beneath the guitar duo of Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Octis, Crom-Tech, Oldest) and Colin Marston (Behold... The Arctopus, Infidel?/Castro!, Dysrhythmia, Gorguts). As Marston and Barr weave their soaring tremolo riffs and vast atmospheric melodies across the molten inferno of Years Past Matter, each of these six songs becomes a perfectly crafted symphony of driving, swirling tremolo buzz, the music shifting in the blink of an eye between furious pounding thrashing and retina-burning blasts of high-end guitar aligned into angular, geometric forms. The hyper-fast speed-picking style is straight out of Barr's work with Orthrelm, but where that band was spiky and abrasive, this is soaring and powerful, blasting choral majesty riding on monstrous machine-gun rhythms. This at times reminds me of the "guitar army" sounds of Rhys Chatham's guitar orchestras, applied to a ferocious, ultra-technical melodic black metal attack. Indeed, the music on Years Past Matter isn't quite black metal; Krallice's music tends to be much to joyous for that. Krallice take the aesthetics of the more melodic strains of black metal and re-configure it into a kind of sleek polished blackened prog that applies the tenets of black metal to intensely composed arrangements of interlocking guitar riffs and swarming cinematic blast. These guys are masters at crafting these immense, largely instrumental (the guttural roaring vocals barely appear throughout the album), each song intensely emotional and dramatic in its own way.
Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Untitled
Sample : Untitled
Sample : Untitled



L'ACEPHALE   Decollate   CASSETTE   (Black Horizons)    8.99



   Portland avant-garde black metallers L'Acephale resurfaced recently with this cassette-only collection of various material, which combines a number of cover songs and rare original works which showcase the group's singular mix of ultra-distorted, malevolent low-fi black metal, blighted black ambience, and decaying martial folkiness that aggressively dispenses with any fealty to traditional black metal form. The cover songs are only barely recognizable, transmuted through the black fire of L'Acephale's hateful energy. The cover of Emperor's "Ye Entrancemperium" that opens the tape is somewhat faithful to the original, the majestic frostbitten black metal here transformed into something vastly noisier and more rabid, a screeching low-fi assault of murky guitar distortion, glimmering tremolo melodies and putrid shrieks that are almost entirely consumed in a storm of tape-hiss, the song transformed into an almost Enbilulugugalesque maelstrom of black vomit metal while still retaining an undercurrent of icy regal power beneath all of the speaker-destroying distortion. L'Acephale's version of Darkthrone's weirdly titled "As Flittermice As Satans Spy" is the most impressive of all of these reinterpretations, however. The blistering black metal of the original is here transmuted into a grimly hypnotic neo-folk dirge, lush accordion-like drones opening the song before frenetically strummed acoustic guitars take over, melding with the haunting strains of mandolin, the sound like a blackened demonic take on Love Of Life-era Swans, super atmospheric and apocalyptic. And the cover of Current 93's "Let Us Go To The Rose" (listed here in French as "Allons Vior Si La Rose") is given a blackened makeover, that mournful folky melody here laid over a backdrop of blazing, buried blastbeats, excoriating screams buried even deeper in the mix, while washes of feedback crash across the final moments of the song.
    The original songs are pretty great, too. "Sleep Is The Enemy" opens with the sound of a metronomic clock tick tocking back and forth before it begins to seesaws between a shambling off-kilter blackened dirge and blasts of trashcan blastbeats and gasping, demonic exhalations that veers into almost Abruptumesque territory, infected with strange speaker noise and washes of tape hiss, finally returning t0 that hypnotic tick=tock as discordant piano guts rumble discordantly in the blackness. Those rumbling piano chords reappear on "Passing Into Sleep", a haunted driftscape of distant tortured feedback and ghostly moaning, weird operating singing drenched in reverb and echo, ominous percussive noises rumbling through the murk.
    Nicely packaged in black linen covers and inserts, all printed in silver ink, issued in a edition of two hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ye Entrancemperium
Sample : Sleep Is The Enemy
Sample : Allons Vior Si La Rose



L'ACEPHALE   The Book Of Lies   7" VINYL   (Parasitic)    6.00



   Book Of Lies is an older EP of L'Acephale's blazing experimental black metal that initially came out back in 2006, but which I'm getting in stock here for the first time. Its one of the band's earliest recordings, released not long after their scorching Mord Und Totsclag debut, and has the same mix of references to Aleister Crowley and Thelema , the Germanic neo-paganism of Ludwig Fahrenkrog, and the writings of Georges Bataille and the Surrealists, the source material for the concepts that the band puts forth across the vicious noisy black metal captured on this record. Opening with a wash of dramatic choral voices, the 7" swiftly shifts from that haunting liturgical atmosphere into the vicious ultra-distorted black metal of the title track, where snarling maniacal shrieks sweep across the song's violent, almost grind-tinged aggression, laced with eerie arpeggiated melodies and strange almost theremin-like voices that flit like shades across the swirling background of L'Acephale's blazing black blast. That sound is still rooted in that classic Nordic black metal vein, but its flecked with strange bits of otherworldly folkiness and those choral and operatic vocal textures that continue to rise and fall all throughout the song, before finally descending into a demonic noisescape at the end, infested with booming tympani-like percussion, monstrous gurglings and looping industrial rumbles, scoured by a mixture of operatic female singing and Satanic chanting.
    The witchy wail that appears at the beginning of "The Seventh Gate" sets an equally weird mood for the b-side, as the song explodes into more frantic black metal, the swarming blackened riffs and shrieking vocals swooping around an almost militaristic drumbeat (played by Markus Wolff of Waldteufel / Crash Worship) that alternates with more frenzied blasting, eventually evolving once more into something more abstract, a noise-laced ambience that once again sees those haunting female choral voices reappearing over the final moments of the song.
    Released in an edition of one thousand copies on red vinyl in a gatefold jacket.


LIMB   self-titled   CD   (New Heavy Sounds)    15.98



   The eponymous debut from sludge rockers Limb is the latest offering from UK based New Hevay Sounds imprint, the same label that brought us the stomping fuzz-encrusted garage-doom psychedelia of Black Moth, and this sees them continuing to align themselves with a particular corner of the British sludge/psych/doom underground. Like their labelmates, Limb deliver a generally slow n' sludgy assault of downtuned tarpit metal that nods energetically in the direction of classic Sabbath and Pentagram (not too surprising considering that these guys share the same drummer as retro-doomsters Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats), while also incorporating a more contemporary degree of heaviness. Frontman Rob Hoey delivers the band's ominous visions in a deep, throaty bellow that gives this stuff a rougher feel than many of their peers in the contempo stoner metal ranks, a distorted, gravelly roar that sometimes seems to be blasting out of a megaphone; his sudden shrieks and screams can often thrust Limb's lumbering dope-fog heaviness into a ferocious frenzy that can also be a little reminiscent of that whole New Orleans sludge-core sound. The band keeps things pretty concise with songs that rarely stray beyond the four minute mark, yet they manage to drop in huge bulldozing dirge-riffs along more spacious, jangly guitar melodies that can detour into winding, vaguely proggy instrumental workouts, with lots of massive droning riff-trances that spool out over the rhythm section's syrupy, saurian grooves.
   The somewhat frantic energy on display here is met with a variety of influences, the songs even shot through with some effective moments of Slinty, math rock-influenced complexity mixed in with the band's beaten-down, grim attitude. One of the standout tracks is "Night and Void", where Limb drop into a growling miasma of slow-motion space rock laced with some great grinding synthesizer textures, moving into titanic psych-doom boogie with those gruff, pissed-off howls echoing wildly into the stratosphere. I've seen some reviews of the album draw comparisons to New Orleans band Down, but I think that Limb's belligerent psych-sludge is a little more interesting, with catchy songwriting colliding with massive riffage on tracks like "El Salvaclaw". Nothing groundbreaking, of course, and probably won't win you over if you're not already a big fan of this sort of Sabbathian crunch, but for anyone who's still obsessed with the sounds that were wafting off of the Man's Ruin label circa 1999 (and in particular the likes of Goatsnake and Electric Wizard), these guys are well worth checking out. It's available on both CD and limited edition vinyl, both versions presented in gatefold packaging that bears some terrific, mystical artwork from Richey Beckett.
Track Samples:
Sample : Vathek
Sample : Night & Void
Sample : El Salvaclaw



LIMB   self-titled   LP   (New Heavy Sounds)    22.00



   The eponymous debut from sludge rockers Limb is the latest offering from UK based New Hevay Sounds imprint, the same label that brought us the stomping fuzz-encrusted garage-doom psychedelia of Black Moth, and this sees them continuing to align themselves with a particular corner of the British sludge/psych/doom underground. Like their labelmates, Limb deliver a generally slow n' sludgy assault of downtuned tarpit metal that nods energetically in the direction of classic Sabbath and Pentagram (not too surprising considering that these guys share the same drummer as retro-doomsters Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats), while also incorporating a more contemporary degree of heaviness. Frontman Rob Hoey delivers the band's ominous visions in a deep, throaty bellow that gives this stuff a rougher feel than many of their peers in the contempo stoner metal ranks, a distorted, gravelly roar that sometimes seems to be blasting out of a megaphone; his sudden shrieks and screams can often thrust Limb's lumbering dope-fog heaviness into a ferocious frenzy that can also be a little reminiscent of that whole New Orleans sludge-core sound. The band keeps things pretty concise with songs that rarely stray beyond the four minute mark, yet they manage to drop in huge bulldozing dirge-riffs along more spacious, jangly guitar melodies that can detour into winding, vaguely proggy instrumental workouts, with lots of massive droning riff-trances that spool out over the rhythm section's syrupy, saurian grooves.
   The somewhat frantic energy on display here is met with a variety of influences, the songs even shot through with some effective moments of Slinty, math rock-influenced complexity mixed in with the band's beaten-down, grim attitude. One of the standout tracks is "Night and Void", where Limb drop into a growling miasma of slow-motion space rock laced with some great grinding synthesizer textures, moving into titanic psych-doom boogie with those gruff, pissed-off howls echoing wildly into the stratosphere. I've seen some reviews of the album draw comparisons to New Orleans band Down, but I think that Limb's belligerent psych-sludge is a little more interesting, with catchy songwriting colliding with massive riffage on tracks like "El Salvaclaw". Nothing groundbreaking, of course, and probably won't win you over if you're not already a big fan of this sort of Sabbathian crunch, but for anyone who's still obsessed with the sounds that were wafting off of the Man's Ruin label circa 1999 (and in particular the likes of Goatsnake and Electric Wizard), these guys are well worth checking out. It's available on both CD and limited edition vinyl, both versions presented in gatefold packaging that bears some terrific, mystical artwork from Richey Beckett.
Track Samples:
Sample : Vathek
Sample : Night & Void
Sample : El Salvaclaw



LOCI   Around The Edges Of All   3" CDR   (Small Doses)    6.50



   More apocalyptic, nihilistic psychedelia from Loci. The follow-up to their debut tape Into Blindness from 2013 sees this Austin, TX trio moving from the murky, deformed blackened psychedelia of their debut into more ethereal territory. There's still plenty of grimy, creepy atmosphere that hangs over the three tracks featured on Around The Edges Of All though, washes of distant dissonant electric guitar and waves of dark swirling synth-drift creating an uneasy vibe tinged with dread as their formless acoustic guitar strum and drifting tendrils of high-end feedback skree and haunting drone slowly curl out across the beginning of the disc.
   From that first track of damaged dark improvisational drift, Loci ventures into an almost cinematic ambience on the second track "For Films Far Away", blending gleaming orchestral string sounds with undercurrents of morbid discordance and far-off environmental sounds, at times resembling a dark ambient riff on Ortolani's score for Cannibal Holocaust stretched out and slowed down into a delirious haze of sinister sound, that wavering symphonic dronescape littered with fragments of eerie, atonal psych guitar and the ever-present rumble of some distant machinery. The last track grows even darker, slipping into a delirium of free jazz saxophone slowly melting over a field of metallic thrum and buried sitar drones, deep glacial pulsations emanating from deep below, the music slowly swirling together intio a slow-motion opium-haze, a dreamy din of drugged-out malevolence and formless spaced-out rumble, like hearing saxophonist Courtney Pine's gorgeous melancholic playing from the Angel Heart score bent and warped and stretched and abused over a screeching industrial backdrop, interspersed with bursts of charred, almost doomdrone-like distorted guitar noise and mutant krautrocky grooves. A gorgeously bleak presentation of infernal improv. Limited to a tiny edition of eighty-nine copies, the disc comes in a miniature letterpress sleeve wrapped in hand-colored cotton paper.
Track Samples:
Sample : In The Cold Heart Will Fall
Sample : For Films Far Away



MAJUTSU NO NIWA   Frontera   CD   (Musik Atlach)    16.98



   Finally got this 2009 album of benighted psychedelia from Japan's Majutsu No Niwa back in stock. Made up of former members of the legendary 90's-era space/noise psych rock outfit Overhang Party, Majutsu No Niwa ventures into a similarly dense and devastating abyss of jet-black space rock formlessness with this album of mega-distorted psychfuzz blowouts and monstrous acid-drenched riff mania. Opening with a heavy-duty blast of extreme flange n' wah abuse that seems to crack open a black hole right there in the studio, the singer launching into an ecstasy of wordless wailing, these guys pile on a massive amount of mind-melting noise and effects right from the start. But then "Turn To Flames" kicks in, and we're jettisoned into an astral wave of distorted psychedelic rock that really fucking rips, catchy and garagey and blown out, a rampaging PSF-style psych-punk rager, a sound that from that point forward dominates much of this blistering album.
    It's not all blazing Acid Mothers Temple-esque fury, though. Majutsu No Niwa also ventures into groovy wah-drenched freak-outs trailing out endlessly over heavy blues-addled riffery and the lumbering, trance-inducing power of the rhythm section, and slower spacey hazes flecked with piercing electronics and eerie reverb-drenched guitars. The band frequently dissolves into crushing improvisational jamming that unleashes some pretty serious noise assaults, and guitarist Fukuoka strafes the songs with an almost endless assault of searing, smoking solos and relentless wah-pedal overload. There's some sweet, poppy hooks that show up on "Thousands Of Days, Thousands Of Nights", flecked with violins and acoustic guitars; hand drums are brought out for the haunting, dreamy folk of "Beyond The Steel Rails"; and the crushing "Night Cruise" unleashes a swarm of Hawkwindian effects over a hypnotic lumbering groove that stretches out for nearly ten minutes. It's with the massive sprawling psych jam "La Vena" that closes the album that Majutsu No Niwa finally break free of the Earth's atmosphere, ascending into a crushing, sprawling free-form psych-jam that moves from slowly unfolding blossoms of mournful reverb-drenched guitar into gales of deep-space cosmic effects and swirling synth noise, the band slowly building into a blasting wall of black-hole feedback and heavy-duty amplifier rumble, strange percussive rattling sounds and random scraping noises emerging beneath the slowly shifting psychedelic fog, spreading out into a pool of ominous cosmic blackness splattered with that endless Hendrixian guitar squall that turns this finale into something much more akin to the post-industrial psych of Vocokesh, F/I, and latter-day Ramleh.
   Comes in digipack packaging, with a lyric booklet written in both Japanese and English.
Track Samples:
Sample : MAJUTSU NO NIWA-Frontera
Sample : MAJUTSU NO NIWA-Frontera
Sample : MAJUTSU NO NIWA-Frontera
Sample : MAJUTSU NO NIWA-Frontera



MALKUTH   Hathir Sakta   LP   (Kelippah)    21.00



   This obscure American black metal outfit resurfaced late last year after an extended period of silence, delivering the four-song album Hathir Sakta with little fanfare through the Kelippah label run by member Pat Murano (also a member of famed improv/psych ensemble No-Neck Blues Band alongside bassist Matthew Heyner, as well as a participant in the NNCK avant-psych offshoot K-Salvatore). As with the band's previous releases on Hospital Productions, Hathir Sakta features the band's two guitar/drums lineup whipping up a seething low-fi black metal sound that obviously draws much of its cold energy from classic Norwegian black metal, exploring esoteric concepts through long, shambling songs titled after Islamic funerary prayers and references to Hebrew mysticism. Each song stretches out somewhat slowly for sometimes up to eighteen minutes, a raw, feral assault of trebly, imperious riffs and slower churning tempos, with the occasional burst of frenzied blastbeats and the singer's ragged shriek bringing a feeling of barely controlled chaos to the music. These guys tap into a discernible A Blaze in the Northern Sky influence, and the first half of the album is nowhere as experimental as you might expect from a black metal band made up of members of No-Neck, those songs channeling an old school black metal sound that focuses on feral energy and lots of fantastic frigid atmosphere to weave their black magic, though their songs do feature interestingly arranged riffscapes and baroque melodic leads.
    On the nearly twenty minute epic "Sieur Des Marais/Hathir Sakta" that acts as the centerpiece of the album, though, Malkuth delve into a much more surrealistic black blur, starting off with a complex and cavernous blast of thrashing black metal interlaced with eerie minor key melodies that surge and spill over the distant ramshackle blast of the drummer, moving into unusual and haunting forms as strange droning sounds and spooky counter-melodies build and swirl around the rush of echoing blackness. But that song suddenly drops off into an abyss of ghoulish howling feedback and demented chanting in its second half, passages of weird graveyard ritual looping through the darkness, a blur of ghastly abstract psychedelic drift that completely takes over, punctured by bursts of shrill high end feedback and the dissonant whirr of decaying church organs, a murkiness that at the end resembles some weird primitive industrial remix of a Hammer horror score. Their most twisted material yet, Hathir was recorded in the band's rehearsal space, and it sounds like it, drenched in chilly murkiness. Those soaring frost- encrusted guitar melodies and coldly triumphant riffs still ring clear through the band's shambling sound, and never more ferociously than on the short closing track "Salat-I-Janazah" that wraps this up in a ferocious blur of blasting black majesty.
    Limited to two hundred copies.


MAMMATUS   The Coast Explodes   LP   (Holy Mountain)    19.99



Out of print for some time, Mammatus's psych-sludge-prog opus The Coast Explodes has been reissued on vinyl, and now includes a digital download code for the album.
The second full length from Santa Cruz's Mammatus and man, it rules. Ever since I was first turned onto these guys through their debut self-titled album from last year, they've registered in my mind as sort of a tie-dyed, brain glazing response to Sleep. There are a bunch of reasons as to why that is: the awesome Arik Roper-inked artwork that Mammatus employs, the frequent plunges into MASSIVE bombastic sludge jams, the terminally stoned drone-vocals, and the general mystical vibe that surrounded their debut. The fact that their name sounds like it was taken from some kind of prehistoric beast doesn't hurt either. Aside from the Sleep comparisons, though, Mammatus are equally as immersed in spacey psychedelic rock and heavy prog as they are with the mondo-sludgy riffage. Their brand new album The Coast Explodes heads out into even trippier territory this time around. The proceedings kick off with "Dragon Of The Deep Part III (Excellent Swordfight)", which picks up where the "Dragon Of The Deep" saga laft off on the last disc, opening this album with a sprawling 12 minute jam that ties sweet snakey dual guitar harmonies astride a chunky Can-like percussive groove that stretches out for half of the tracks length, eventually meeting up with trippy cosmic electronics and weird noises that begin spewing across the rhythmic propulsion until the band finally slides into a crushing, gooey crawl. It takes 9 minutes for the vocals to finally show up on the album opener , and man are they zonked; high pitched singing bathed in effects over a punishing doom crawl, like a combination of Hawkwind and Sleep with a time-tripping Jon Anderson (Yes/Tangerine Dream) on vocals, backed by a devastating toner metal coda hat crushes everything flat. Freaking awesome! Then comes "Pierce the Darkness" and it's sprawling psych/kraut jam that gives way to an eternally blissed-out ending that piles rich guitar solos on top of Growing-esque drones right before another monstrous sludge riff emerges. That's followed by the opening robot blips and glistening ambient synthesizers of "The Changing Wind", which seems to be the one track on The Coast Explodes that fans tend to be polarized on. After that brief intro of electronic sounds, Mammatus burst into a skeletal hippie-folk jam that sounds like something off of the Wicker Man soundtrack with weird, childlike singing. Acoustic guitars and wind instruments and hand drums swirl together into a strange, ancient sounding folk song that fades away to sounds of the titular coastline, the barking of sea lions resonating loudly over the sound of waves crashing on an unseen beach. Personally, this is one of my favorite songs on the whole album. Then the album flows into the final rite with the title rack, another long-form epic that might just be one of Mammatus' finest jams, a massive mantra of Sleep-like riffage and breathtaking twin-guitar harmonies, locking into absolutely crushing riffage over the song's 12 minutes, those elfin falsetto vocals appearing again but this time airy and drifting. Utterly amazing. If you were into their debut album, than this is a must-get, and fans of all things psychedelic and crushing, sludgy and transcendental, that mighty mind-expanding rock power that lies amongst bands like Sleep and Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, well, this isn't a bad place at all to start with in terms of experiencing the awesomeness that is Mammatus. Highly recommended.


MAN IS THE BASTARD / BIZARRE UPROAR   Sanctity Of Oil / M3A1 Sub-machine Gun   7" VINYL   (DP)    13.98



  Just obtained a couple of copies of the long out-of-print 7" release of the Man Is The Bastard / Bizarre Uproar split, released back in 1993 on MITB member Eric Wood's own DP label. This is pretty rare, and came from Wood's own stash, so when the copies I have in stock are gone, that'll be the last of 'em.
  Here's my previous review of the recent 10" reissue of the spit: Newer fans of Man Is The Bastard might turn up an eyebrow at the fact that the outspoken power-violence band would appear on a record alongside the provocative Bizarre Uproar, but this was just another chapter in an ongoing collaboration between the artists that started with the Bastard split with Aunt Mary, the noisecore band that eventually morphed into Markkula's noise project.
   The Charred Remains / Man Is The Bastard side has four songs of the band's trademark bass-heavy prog-sludge, the opener "Grasp The Bug" lurching through a clot of deformed bass guitar riffs and absolutely skull-flattening drumming, a massive misshapen angular dirge that slowly scuttles over the beginning of the side like some deformed ultra-heavy crab crawl. There's a short blast of harsh electronic distortion that follows, a corrosive noise interlude that leads into the creepy doom-laden rumble of "Human Condition", monstrous groans and menacing whispering voices lurking beneath the washes of amplifier rumble and feedback, a grim minor key bass melody softly played in the background alongside tribal percussion and squealing electro-shock oscillators. It's al abstract and improvised, a kind of nightmarish caveman psychedelia, a brain-melting low-fi doomdrone horror sprawling out for most of the side. That's followed by an almost noisecore style micro-assault of blasting violence that comes and goes in the space of a minute, and then closes with the short outro "Oil Bomb", an abrasive cluster of alien synth noise and squelchy oscillator waves that quickly finishes off their side.
   On Bizarre Uproar's side of the record, Markkula unleashes the aptly titled "Session Of Extreme Nihilistic Horror", a crushing, roughly ten minute long nightmare of garbled noisecore-style chaos, extreme junk noise that's been cut up into an inchoate mass of percussive violence, the sounds coming in short thirty second blasts of power, with a second of brief silence separating each blast from the next, as if this is stitched together from a number of distinct tracks. It's a vintage harsh noise assault, a churning mass of low-fidelity scrape and roar, torturous feedback and decomposed tape noise, guttural bass noise and piles of backwards sound all shifting ceaselessly in a roiling torment of chopped up pandemonium.


MANSON, CHARLES   Horsefly   7" VINYL   (Parasitic)    9.98



   Despite attempts to the contrary, it's not so easy to dismiss the various musical releases of Charles Manson as a mere artifact of morbid murderabilia. Ever since the original release of Manson's LIE: The Love And Terror Cult on Awareness/ESP Disk back in the early 70s, America's most infamous bogyman (and successful slayer of the Hippie dream) has found an audience among enthusiasts of outsider music and of the trangressive and the spiritually outré, who glean threads of what they perceive as profound Gnostic wisdom from the cracked and rambling recordings of Manson's jailhouse folk songs. Crude stuff, to be sure, surreptitiously recorded in his cell on the most primitive of recording equipment, but the inherent no-fi nature of Manson's material only adds to the clandestine appeal for fans of his work. His more recent releases on Magic Bullet were part of a planned series of albums centering around his "ATWA" ("Air / Water / Trees / Animals") eco-philosophy, but this one-song 7" that surfaced on black/death metal label Parasitic in 2011 hews towards the sort of anti-authoritarian stream-of-consciousness ramblings found on older albums. Gorgeously packaged in a gatefold jacket with cover art from Zeena Schreck (née Lavey) and insightful and erudite liner notes from her husband (and former Radio Werewolf frontman, cultural provocateur, and author of The Manson File and Flowers from Hell: A Satanic Reader), Nikolas Schreck. Consisting of a single, previously unreleased sixteen minute song called "Horsefly", the recording features Manson's low-fi, bluesy folk lazily strummed on an acoustic guitar, his distinct gravelly voice spilling strange, seemingly nonsensical lyrics as the music comes in fits and starts in his languid, improvisational stream-of-consciousness style, which almost feels like it falls somewhere in between Captain Beefheart and old-time prison-yard blues and the occult ramblings of a street shaman.
   Limited to one thousand copies.


MAUDLIN OF THE WELL   My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible   2 x LP   (Antithetic Records)    35.00



   Finally got some of the last-ever copies of the first album from defunct Boston band Maudlin Of The Well, My Fruit Psychobells...A Seed Combustible. The band's sprawling debut featured the same strange mixture of prog, death metal and arty indie rock that Maudlin would cultivate on the later albums Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, here a bit rougher around the edges, the baroque arrangements and the often jarring stylistic shifts from jazzy ambience or moody rock into crushing guttural death metal definitely sounding a bit more awkward this early on. But this album is still a fascinating listen, especially if you're a fan of founder Toby Driver's various projects, filled with some strikingly gorgeous moments and blasts of pulverizing heaviness that were already revealing what would come with Driver's post-Maudlin band Kayo Dot. Long out of print, My Fruit Psychobells was remastered and reissued on vinyl by Antithetic Records in 2013; already long sold out from the label, we've snagged as many of these as we can for the shop, but when they're gone, that'll be the last of them.
   Please note: the copies we picked up were the last available copies from the distributor, and unfortunately some of them have some minor denting and creasing on their corners. The bends aren't completely atrocious, but if you're only looking for a mint copy of this record, you'll want to take that into consideration.
   First released on Dark Symphonies in 1999, Maudlin Of The Well's ambitious debut stood out like a sore thumb amongst the black metal and gothic doom albums the label was known for. Drawing equally from an infatuation with progressive rock and underground death metal, this surrealistic album sounded like little else at the time; the closest analogue would probably have been the artier Dan Swano-led projects like Karaboudjan and Pan.Thy.Monium, but even that doesn't really describe how poppy Maudlin's songs could get. One of the many things that made this album stick out was the emotional delivery of the singers, a mix of male and female voices that traded off lovely harmonies and off-kilter crooning when they weren't belching out putrid death metal roars. Equally quirky are the many moments when the band suddenly swerves out of one of their gloom-tinged art rock songs into a stretch of savage death metal in the space of the same song, massive jagged deathcrush guitars coiling around ornate melodies, erupting out of those passages of wistful prog-pop into crushing ophidian riffs and squealing atonal solos. Moments of pensive prettiness rest alongside blasts of violent, almost Gorgutsian atonality, like the stuttering angular heaviness and synth-draped darkness of "A Conception Pathetic", or else slip into mighty deathdoom dirges seared with soaring gloom-pop hooks. When those female vocals come in, parts of Psychobells can start to slightly resemble a less polished, more prog-fueled The Gathering circa Mandylion, and a trunkful of instrumentation is poured out across the studio floor for Maudlin's mood-building: jangly doleful guitars and washes of spacey psychedelia, fractured piano melodies, atmospheric field recordings, excursions into lush fusion jazz and swells of moody horns, demonic delay-drenched violins shrieking across organ-laced doom, somnambulant soundscapes laced with choral voices, trumpets and clarinets, creepy murmurs and dramatic goth-rock crooning drifting over the slow hypnotic pulse of tabla-like percussion. In the end, Psychobells is admittedly an uneven album, the sound of an ambitious young band working out more ideas than they know what to do with, but they still pulled off a compelling listen for fans of adventurous heavy music, especially that which resides off on the outer fringes of both prog and death metal, not to mention an interesting glimpse into the creative process that would go on to produce the stunning Bath.
    This Antithetic reissue comes in a gatefold jacket that also includes a full color poster and a digital download of the album, and it also contains two bonus tracks ("Beauty" and "The Crystal Margin") that didn't appear on the original 1999 Dark Symphonies release, issued in a limited edition of five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţCatharsis of Sea-Sleep and Dreaming Shrines
Sample : ˙ţUndine and Underwater Flowers
Sample : ˙ţFerocious Weights



MAYHEM   Esoteric Warfare (Limited Digipack Edition)   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



   Available as a limited-edition digipack CD, limited edition gatefold double LP, and limited edition cassette...
    For anyone who frequents the C-Blast shop/site, Mayhem should need no introduction. Black metal pioneers at the heart of the Norwegian underground of the late 80s/erly 90s, the long and sordid history of the band is more well-known than their music, their name synonymous with the acts of violence and desecration that thrust black metal into the global consciousness. But their music is powerful stuff; out of all of the original Norwegian black metal bands that carried on into the dawn of the twenty-first century, Mayhem's music has traveled on the most deformed arc, their albums moving in ever more experimental directions as the band has continued to warp the aesthetics of classic black metal into new, increasingly hideous forms. With album number five, Mayhem delivers a less audacious assault, but the sound is still unapologetically avant-garde; while these ten tracks don't deliver quite the sort of confounding experience we got from previous LPs like Grand Declaration of War and the angular weirdness of Ordo Ad Chao, this is still ferocious and challenging stuff, with a twisted dissonant vibe that'll no doubt appeal more to fans of Ved Buens Ende and Deathspell Omega than the necro purists.
    From the beginning, the atmosphere of Esoteric Warfare is riddled with conspiracy paranoia and dystopian dread. Opener "Watchers" carries over the cruel atonality of the last few albums, with new guitarist Teloch delivering malevolent, angular riffing and those cold, dissonant melodies over the rigid blastscape, this Icke-esque dream of humanity's origins found in interstellar gene experiments kicking this off with a bang, Atilla employing a litany of demonic chant and those now signature throat-singing ululations droning through the depths; his performance evokes a multitude of voices throughout the album, a legion of gasps and whispers, wailing and chanting, possessed screams tearing through the night, exploring the sorts of severe psychological states that he had previously engaged in with his collaborations with Sunn 0))). All as the band achieves an almost industrialized rigidity, "Trinity" offering a prayer for cleansing via nuclear fire, the hypnotic black blast laced with the ambient sounds of modern warfare; things get a little more left field with the abrupt stop/start tension of tracks like "VI.Sec." and "Pandaemon", strange murmurs appearing in the cracks between the angular discordant riffcrush as the songs build into a chaos of layered guitar noise and agonized howls, wisps of evil dissonant minor key chords burning off into the ether, or in the case of the former, unleashing a torrent of vicious, almost mechanized thrash. Expressive, almost jazzy bass and faint smears of Hammond organ underpins the more restrained, mid-paced "MILAB", which unfolds into an Slinty piece of blackened math-metal, and other standouts include the awesome evil of "Throne Of Time " and the lurching nanotech nightmare of "Posthuman"; that mathiness is a recurring element with these ten tracks, creating intensely jagged riffs that grate against Hellhammer's inhuman drumming, laced with subtle electronic textures and noise. As stated before, Mayhem's sound hasn't lost a bit of their avant-garde edge, and Esoteric Warfare delivers some of the most fucked-up, contortionist riffing and abstruse black metal I've heard lately. Recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Watchers
Sample : Pandaemon
Sample : Aion Suntalia



MAYHEM   Esoteric Warfare   2 x LP   (Season Of Mist)    29.98



   Available as a limited-edition digipack CD, limited edition gatefold double LP, and limited edition cassette...
    For anyone who frequents the C-Blast shop/site, Mayhem should need no introduction. Black metal pioneers at the heart of the Norwegian underground of the late 80s/erly 90s, the long and sordid history of the band is more well-known than their music, their name synonymous with the acts of violence and desecration that thrust black metal into the global consciousness. But their music is powerful stuff; out of all of the original Norwegian black metal bands that carried on into the dawn of the twenty-first century, Mayhem's music has traveled on the most deformed arc, their albums moving in ever more experimental directions as the band has continued to warp the aesthetics of classic black metal into new, increasingly hideous forms. With album number five, Mayhem delivers a less audacious assault, but the sound is still unapologetically avant-garde; while these ten tracks don't deliver quite the sort of confounding experience we got from previous LPs like Grand Declaration of War and the angular weirdness of Ordo Ad Chao, this is still ferocious and challenging stuff, with a twisted dissonant vibe that'll no doubt appeal more to fans of Ved Buens Ende and Deathspell Omega than the necro purists.
    From the beginning, the atmosphere of Esoteric Warfare is riddled with conspiracy paranoia and dystopian dread. Opener "Watchers" carries over the cruel atonality of the last few albums, with new guitarist Teloch delivering malevolent, angular riffing and those cold, dissonant melodies over the rigid blastscape, this Icke-esque dream of humanity's origins found in interstellar gene experiments kicking this off with a bang, Atilla employing a litany of demonic chant and those now signature throat-singing ululations droning through the depths; his performance evokes a multitude of voices throughout the album, a legion of gasps and whispers, wailing and chanting, possessed screams tearing through the night, exploring the sorts of severe psychological states that he had previously engaged in with his collaborations with Sunn 0))). All as the band achieves an almost industrialized rigidity, "Trinity" offering a prayer for cleansing via nuclear fire, the hypnotic black blast laced with the ambient sounds of modern warfare; things get a little more left field with the abrupt stop/start tension of tracks like "VI.Sec." and "Pandaemon", strange murmurs appearing in the cracks between the angular discordant riffcrush as the songs build into a chaos of layered guitar noise and agonized howls, wisps of evil dissonant minor key chords burning off into the ether, or in the case of the former, unleashing a torrent of vicious, almost mechanized thrash. Expressive, almost jazzy bass and faint smears of Hammond organ underpins the more restrained, mid-paced "MILAB", which unfolds into an Slinty piece of blackened math-metal, and other standouts include the awesome evil of "Throne Of Time " and the lurching nanotech nightmare of "Posthuman"; that mathiness is a recurring element with these ten tracks, creating intensely jagged riffs that grate against Hellhammer's inhuman drumming, laced with subtle electronic textures and noise. As stated before, Mayhem's sound hasn't lost a bit of their avant-garde edge, and Esoteric Warfare delivers some of the most fucked-up, contortionist riffing and abstruse black metal I've heard lately. Recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Watchers
Sample : Pandaemon
Sample : Aion Suntalia



MAYHEM   Esoteric Warfare   CASSETTE   (Season Of Mist)    9.98



   Available as a limited-edition digipack CD, limited edition gatefold double LP, and limited edition cassette...
    For anyone who frequents the C-Blast shop/site, Mayhem should need no introduction. Black metal pioneers at the heart of the Norwegian underground of the late 80s/erly 90s, the long and sordid history of the band is more well-known than their music, their name synonymous with the acts of violence and desecration that thrust black metal into the global consciousness. But their music is powerful stuff; out of all of the original Norwegian black metal bands that carried on into the dawn of the twenty-first century, Mayhem's music has traveled on the most deformed arc, their albums moving in ever more experimental directions as the band has continued to warp the aesthetics of classic black metal into new, increasingly hideous forms. With album number five, Mayhem delivers a less audacious assault, but the sound is still unapologetically avant-garde; while these ten tracks don't deliver quite the sort of confounding experience we got from previous LPs like Grand Declaration of War and the angular weirdness of Ordo Ad Chao, this is still ferocious and challenging stuff, with a twisted dissonant vibe that'll no doubt appeal more to fans of Ved Buens Ende and Deathspell Omega than the necro purists.
    From the beginning, the atmosphere of Esoteric Warfare is riddled with conspiracy paranoia and dystopian dread. Opener "Watchers" carries over the cruel atonality of the last few albums, with new guitarist Teloch delivering malevolent, angular riffing and those cold, dissonant melodies over the rigid blastscape, this Icke-esque dream of humanity's origins found in interstellar gene experiments kicking this off with a bang, Atilla employing a litany of demonic chant and those now signature throat-singing ululations droning through the depths; his performance evokes a multitude of voices throughout the album, a legion of gasps and whispers, wailing and chanting, possessed screams tearing through the night, exploring the sorts of severe psychological states that he had previously engaged in with his collaborations with Sunn 0))). All as the band achieves an almost industrialized rigidity, "Trinity" offering a prayer for cleansing via nuclear fire, the hypnotic black blast laced with the ambient sounds of modern warfare; things get a little more left field with the abrupt stop/start tension of tracks like "VI.Sec." and "Pandaemon", strange murmurs appearing in the cracks between the angular discordant riffcrush as the songs build into a chaos of layered guitar noise and agonized howls, wisps of evil dissonant minor key chords burning off into the ether, or in the case of the former, unleashing a torrent of vicious, almost mechanized thrash. Expressive, almost jazzy bass and faint smears of Hammond organ underpins the more restrained, mid-paced "MILAB", which unfolds into an Slinty piece of blackened math-metal, and other standouts include the awesome evil of "Throne Of Time " and the lurching nanotech nightmare of "Posthuman"; that mathiness is a recurring element with these ten tracks, creating intensely jagged riffs that grate against Hellhammer's inhuman drumming, laced with subtle electronic textures and noise. As stated before, Mayhem's sound hasn't lost a bit of their avant-garde edge, and Esoteric Warfare delivers some of the most fucked-up, contortionist riffing and abstruse black metal I've heard lately. Recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Watchers
Sample : Pandaemon
Sample : Aion Suntalia



MOLOCH   Gebrechlichkeit   CD   (Hidden Marly)    11.98



   Not a new album from this ultra-prolific experimental Ukrainian black metal outfit, but an extensive collection of material that draws from various releases from across the past ten years of Moloch's career, showcasing his off-kilter brand of messy, Shaggsian black metal misery. Released on the Japanese label Hidden Marly, this compilation collects all of the black metal songs off of the now out-of-print Isolation der Essenz and A Journey to the Vyrdin albums, select tracks from the albums Misanthropie ist der einzige Weg zur Reinheit and Der Schein des schwärzesten Schnees, Moloch's songs from the splits with Persistence In Mourning, Deviator and Begotten, as well as three unreleased tracks and some rare demo material from 2004.
   There's a lot to sink your teeth into here. The material on Gebrechlichkeit ranges from Moloch's mournful, regal dungeon-ambient epics heavily influenced by the dark synth-heavy fantasies of the early Cold Meat-era Mortiis albums, to his signature strain of shambling depressive black metal that combines distant abject shrieking and half-spoken lamentations over off-kilter rhythms and layers of buzzing, droning Burzumic guitar. Almost all of the recent black metal recordings from Moloch have moved in this direction, a personal, offbeat take on that "depressive" black metal sound that features all of the heartbreakingly gloomy minor key misery you'd expect from someone working in the genre, but it's underscored by that strange rhythmic approach that often gives this stuff a weird, counter-intuitive angularity. When I hear the climbing bass guitar notes on songs like "Die letzten Strahlen der Sonne verblassen...", there's almost a jazzy, improvisational quality to what's going on with the rhythm section beneath those sorrowful, saturated tremolo riffs and shrieking, wordless vocals; the bass guitar lurches though weirdly angular, off-kilter anti-grooves as the drumming seems to move in a completely different direction, bringing an almost Striborgian feel to some of his stuff; on the songs where the rhyhm section does manage to come together into a simple, thudding groove, it can shift the music into either a strange sort of ritualistic, processional-like feel, or else a pummeling industrialized groove. Other tracks like "Ein Teil meiner Essenz wird hier immer verweilen" showcase Moloch's flair for moody, minimal piano-based compositions, and there's some of his dissonant solo guitar ambience that echoes some of the more languid moments of the Black Legions.
    Definitely not for black metal fans looking for more structured sounds, though. This is droning, discordant, utterly dreary music with moments of over the top weepiness that'll probably come off as too melodramatic for a lot of listeners, not to mention the meandering quality of much of Moloch's material. For me, though, it's all part of Moloch's strange, shambling, brain-damaged charm. Limited to five hundred copies, and includes some bonus CD-ROM video material.
Track Samples:
Sample : Philosophie der Depression
Sample : On the ground, by blood
Sample : Nichtigkeit
Sample : Ljosalfaheimr
Sample : ˙ţDie letzten Strahlen der Sonne verblassen in der Kälte der Apathie



MOLOCH / GLASS COFFIN   split   7" VINYL   (Husk Records)    6.50



   More twisted low-fi black metal weirdness from Josh Lay's Husk label, pairing up the dejected off-kilter black metal misery of Ukraine's Moloch with the ghastly necro-mess of Lay's own one-man band Glass Coffin. Moloch's "Weg Von Dieser Welt Voller Traurigkeit" is pretty chaotic compared to his other stuff, a stumbling, wretched dirge of lopsided drumming and swarming needlepoint guitars that swirl beneath the sound of his agonized howl and weeping moans, a strange blast of slow moving black metal that becomes oddly hallucinatory as multiple voices are layered on top of each other, the nihilistic vibe permeating both the lyrics and his psychotic vocals, with a single murderous riff at the heart of this lurching black dirge.
    On the other side, Glass Coffin delivers another blast of his savage no-fi black filth with "When Ravens Black Out The Sun", with that tinny recording quality all of his stuff shares, the wretched, blown-out wretched screams swooping over furious noisy black metal, the regal quality of the song's melody offset by the sheer bonescraping rawness of the recording; the second half shifts from that damaged blackened processional into a speedy blast of noisy, punk-tinged black metal that makes Ildjarn sound polished; but as I've said regarding his other releases, that sloppy vibe just makes the haunting leads and dank atmosphere sound all the more ghoulish, as this falls apart into a final wash of murky ambience filled with the cawing of carrion crows at the close.
    Limited to two hundred copies.


NADJA   Radiance Of Shadows   CD   (Broken Spine)    15.98



   A new reissue of Nadja's earthcrushing 2007 album Radiance Of Shadows, originally released by Canadian label Alien8 on CD and by Conspiracy on vinyl, here presented in gatefold digisleeve packaging with new album art from Montreal photographer Guylaine Bédard. When it was originally released, Radiance saw Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff's dreamy doom growing even more devastating, further exploring their unique fusion of droning industrial heaviness and Fennesz-esque ambience, and it remains one of my favorite Nadja albums.
    Three massive tracks of glacial metallic slowcore, a dolorous doom-laden heaviness immersed in grainy blissed-out distortion and thunderous industrialized rhythms that move at immense ponderous tempos, each song nearly half an hour in length. The opener "Now I Am Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds" is classic Nadja, the song slowly taking form within a cloud of nebulous metallic hiss and whirr, bits of backwards sound emerging out of the void as the drums slowly drift into view, a minimal cymbal-heavy pulse that surges up from the depths, shrouded in waves of Baker's effects-drenched drone and incandescent synthesizer textures. His guitar erupts into a massively saturated distorted crunch welded to Buckareff's lumbering, narcoleptic bass, and while those Codeine-esque qualities that have long lurked within Nadja's music are at their heaviest here, the music also often shifts from that lumbering, ultra-heavy shoegazer dirge into stretches of wintry desolation, glimmering pools of electronic ambience and murky orchestral beauty muted by the duo's frosty aura. The riffs are monstrous Sabbathian dirges when these two really get going, locking into a pulverizing saurian groove on this and the other tracks, titanic doom metal drowning in a fog of noise and synths, flutes and billowing distorted buzz, the melodies wrapped in a dense cloud of heavily saturated distortion that recalls the experimental ambience of Tim Hecker, Christian Fennesz and William Basinski.
    That flows right into the second track, a dreamier expanse of droning synth and spacious slow-motion plod, dreamy vocals drifting slowly across the softened, feedback-strewn dirge, the sound akin to a washed out, drugged-out version of Jesu, that shoegazey sludge-metal muted and muffled into an even more lush and luxurious sprawl. That menacing monstrous riff gradually gives way to a vast sea of swirling orchestral drones and gleaming Loveless-esque feedback stretched wide across the horizon, a din of dubbed-out drumming building into a weird sort of motorik propulsion as the track spirals ever outward.
    The final song, however, offers something a bit more abstract and subdued, at least at first; from stretches of minimal near silent emptiness streaked with soft traces of whirring synth and staccato acoustic guitar strum, the title track slowly unfolds from that weirdly muted and droning strum into a massive creeping dirge, an almost Swans-like blast of percussive pummel and militant rhythmic power erupting beneath the blizzard of distortion and that huge, sinister riff, maybe the heaviest moment on the entire album as that crushing doom dirge rises above the swirling noise, Baker's vocals transforming into a guttural, vicious roar, the sound like some 'gazed-out doomdeath monstrosity, threaded with peals of searing feedback and orchestral power as it steadily creeps into a crushing wall of symphonic chaos and oceanic noise that almost completely takes over the rest of the album...
Track Samples:
Sample : Now I Am Become Death
Sample : I Have Tasted the Fire Inside Your Mouth



NADJA   Bodycage   CD   (Broken Spine)    17.98



    Finally got this classic 2005 album from industrial sludge-gaze dupo Nadja back in stock, reissued a while back on Aidan Baker's own Broken Spine imprint and delicately packaged in a minimal letterpressed Arigato-esque case. Originally released as a super-limited CDR on NOTHingness and then again by avant-metal powerhouse Profound Lore, this is one of the band's best recordings out of their entire sizeable catalog, essential listening for anyone into their ponderous snailtrails of dolorous doomdrift. Here's my old writeup for the album when it came out on Profound Lore:
    Bodycage is the second album from the revmaped Nadja lineup of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff, originally released as a limited edition CD-R on Nothingness Records several years back in a tiny run of only 66 copies, but now re-issued on CD with new artwork and the inclusion of two new untitled bonus tracks. Something of a moody concept album, the original Bodycage tracks make up a three-part dirgedrone suite about a rare congenital disease that forms bone around muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues, and the music creates a haunting soundtrack for this theme, alternating between huge crumbling walls of melodic, super distorted doom metal and wispy fields of shimmering feedback drone in the vein of Aidan Baker's solo guitar releases. It's heady, emotional stuff, with those eerie gleaming melodies that Nadja have become masters at creating over the past few years, and yet it's also claustrophobic and suffocating as their heavy layers of slow moving riffage and dense distortion flow over you. Hypnotic tribal rhythms crawl out of huge drum machines, and massed guitars form epic stretches of buzzing, fuzzy distortion swirling together with celestial keyboard drones that are punctuated by sparse electronic sounds and unidentified rumblings; Aidan's vocals are barely even present, only becoming visible a couple of times throughout the album, and when they do, it's a blasted, distorted croon so buried in white noise and overloaded amplifiers that his voice sounds like an angelic wind coursing through the massive riffs and mechanical trance beats. All three of the Bodycage pieces are epic, the shortest running 10 minutes long and the other two stretching out for over 20 minutes each. The two bonus tracks include a minimal drone piece that weaves quiet system sounds and subliminal tones across a field of silence, and a 12 minute track that is the most brightly melodic song on the album, very Creation Records-esque but of course super slow and heavy and crushing. While Godflesh definitely seems like a reference point with Nadja, they've really carved out their own sound that equally incorporates Aidan's distinctive drone-guitar style and the duo's appreciation of atonal classical music. Fans of the melodic, crushing blissmetal of Jesu and The Angelic Process need to check out Nadja immediately.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ossification
Sample : Autosomal



NO COMMENT   Live On KXLU 1992   7" VINYL   (Deep Six)    6.00



   Along with Infest, Neanderthal, Charred Remains/Man Is The Bastard and Crossed Out, No Comment were one of the original proponents of West Coast powerviolence, forming in 1987 and quickly establishing themselves as one of the more lethal blastcore acts lurking around the L.A. area. Ratcheting up the speed and aggression of hardcore punk to cranium-splitting levels of sonic violence, No Comment embodied a sense of millennial despair more acutely than anyone, and the few 7"s that the band released during their existence (No Comment never out an actual album before breaking up in the early 90s) ranks as some of the most vicious music of the time. Following some recent reissues of the band's seminal early Common Senseless and Downsided 7"s, Deep Six has brought us this eleven song 7" that captures the band unleashing a hellstorm of hyperspeed fury live on the Los Angeles college station KXLU in 1992, a never before released recording that sees them running through their entire Downsided EP on the air from start to finish. The band sounds fuckin' vicious here, blazing through classic hatebursts like "Hacked To Chunks", "Push Down And Turn" and "Dead Stare For Life" at top speed, with a clear and crushing recording; the material on that EP featured some of their most brutal stop-start hardcore, spiked with those weird atonal guitar parts and eerie leads that by this point had become a signature part of their sound, and closing with the droning dirgey "Curtains", and it makes for an utterly savage live set. Comes in a large foldout poster sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Push Down And Turn
Sample : Hacked To Chunks
Sample : Past Tense



NOVÝ SVĚT / SPETTRO FAMILY   split   7" VINYL   (Black Horizons)    11.50



   Italian industrial spook-prog outfit Spettro Family are back with another release on Black Horizons, this one a split with fellow post-industrial mood-setters Nový Svet. The Austrian duo is known for a grim, experimental brand of neo-folk laced with traces of dark abstract ambience, a pretty perfect fit alongside the creepy horror-score influenced sounds of the Family.
   Nový Svet's "En Soledad Perfecta" on the a-side is moody stuff, a sort of dark folk rendered through largely electronic means, vaguely symphonic keyboards carrying the gloomy melody over the duo's scattershot drum machine rhythms, layered samples of voices and wobbling effects combining with the singer's haunting half-sung croon drifting through this eerie haze. There's a definite connection to the classic militaristic folk of Der Blutharsch, whom Nový Svet has long had ties to, though this song drifts down a decidedly more surreal path.
    On the other side, Spettro Family follow with "Hotel Del Salto", beginning with the folky sounds of accordion and acoustic strings but quickly morphing into their vaguely industrialized take on Goblin/Frizzi-style horror prog that has made this project a huge favorite around here. The track teases at slipping into a synth-heavy groove, but never quite goes there, instead shifting back into that eerie folkiness, allowing those ominous synth arpeggios and low drones to wash over the layered voices and ghostly noises that lurk deeper down in the mix. The whole record is frustratingly short, but I'll take what I can get when it comes to Spettro Family. The sleeve design is interesting, if not a little incongruous, for some reason incorporating photos of Jessica Way (Worm Ouroboros / Barren Harvest) and former Swans member Jarboe into the design. Limited to five hundred copies.


NUDES   Stain   7" VINYL   (Iron Lung Records)    7.50



   Another of the new Iron Lung Records releases that landed in the shop this month, Stain is the third 7" from the oddly named Seattle hardcore band Nudes, who just popped up a year ago with a handful of ripping EPS and tape releases. Consisting of members of hardcore weirdoes White Wards, this outfit shares some of the same crazed, noise-damaged energy as that band, but Nudes zap that sort of maniacal thrash with an extra heavy dose of nerve-shredding hysteria that turns this into something totally different.
    From the skronky, atonal dirge that opens "Scared", the band belts out a grating, cathartic brand of dissonant noise rock, repetitive clanging riffs and lurching rhythms giving way to sudden eruptions of crazed speed and shredding noisy punk; when they suddenly blast off on that first song, it's almost reminiscent of early Die Kreuzen, but with a vastly more fucked up guitar attack, three chord buzzsaw riffs splintering into ear-piercing skronk, mangled, almost No Wavey discordance jutting from the band's ferocious hardcore. The other songs follow suit, "Creatures" falling all over itself as it races headfirst into oblivious, feedback-bleating chaos that suddenly swerves into a murderous circle-pit breakdown. This shit sounds totally crazed, the bassist's bludgeoning dirgelike riffs keeping it all together as the singer spirals into madness and the guitar ruptures into almost Sonny Sharrock-style skree and scrape, and closer "Germs Burn" has an awkward, lurching ferocity that evokes some weird vision of Die Kreuzen turned totally pigfuck, or an early Jesus Lizard jam suddenly erupting into maniacal blastcore. This blazing little EP is rounded out by hopelessly negative and paranoid lyrics as well as suitably creepy abstract artwork. Can't rave enough about this one - like a lot of stuff that this label has been putting out recently, it falls somewhere in between the realms of hardcore and noise rock, no new terrain of course, but man does this stuff rage. Comes in a six-panel foldout poster sleeve with a download code.
Track Samples:
Sample : Germs Burn
Sample : Bleach Stains
Sample : Creatures



OM   Pilgrimage   LP   (Southern Lord)    16.98



After years of being oput of print on vinyl, Om's brain-glazing third album Pilgrimage is back on wax, issued by Southern Lord in a new pressing of six hundred copies on black vinyl, packaged in a case-wrapped gatefold jacket for this version. Still as heavy and hypnotic and hymn-like as it was when Pilgrimage originally came out back in 2007, this is an essential addition to every Om fan's collection. Here's my old write-up of the album from when it first came out in CD seven years ago...
The transcendent riffmasters return with their third album (and first for new label Southern Lord), Pilgrimage. At this point, Om's modus operandi has been made clear: to create the most hypnotic and trance-inducing riffs possible using only bass guitar and drums, strip them down to the most spare and skeletal form, and proceed to grind them out into unending, eternal waves of serpentine heaviness. Even without the angelic cover artwork and mystical lyrics, it's hard not to attribute a kind of spiritual power to Om's music due to the flowing, circular mantra-like riffs and the druggy, incantatory vocal chants. The duo of Chris Hakius and Al Cisneros established themselves years ago as one of the heaviest rhythm sections in underground music during their tenure with the psychedelic sludgebeast Sleep, but their work with Om and the reductionist manner in which they continue to explore the power of the riff at an almost obsessive level of detail is producing the greatest music of their career, in my opinion. With a thunderous recording by Steve Albini, Pilgrimage opens with the title track, a smoke-filled, subdued raga march into oblivion, tambourine-like percussion rattling over suppressed tribal drumming, the song weaving and winding through it's 10 minute duration, creating a simmering anticipation that finally finds release when "Unitive Knowledge Of The Godhead" follows, flipping the switch on the distortion pedal and releasing the full force 4/4 pummel as Om levels the block with a devastating saurian riff. "Bhima's Theme" may be the heaviest jam from Om so far, a 12 minute sludgefeast of Sleep proportions that changes up the central riff theme that the guys have been chasing throughout the album up until this point. The album closes with a reprise of the title track, returning to the theme of the opening piece with subtle changes to the riff, demanding that Pilgrimage be set to repeat on your stereo and allowed to play over and over again, the songs, the riffs, the chanting all repeating themselves forever.
Track Samples:
Sample : Pilgrimage
Sample : Bhima's Theme



PAINKILLER   The Prophecy   CD   (Tzadik)    16.98



   The first new Painkiller disc in years, The Prophecy is another live album in the mold of the band's other post-Y2K output, capturing a destructo set from the legendary outfit that delivers more of their signature fusion of expansive improvisational dub, extreme jazz annihilation, and hyperspeed hardcore. Combining recordings from a number of live performances in Europe between 2004 and 2005, this three-song album bookends the massive hour-plus title track with a pair of short blastcore songs, some of the hardest stuff to come from the band in years. These performances saw the core duo of Downtown NYC legends saxophonist John Zorn and bassist Bill Laswell joined by none other than legendary drummer Yoshida Tatsuya of Japanese prog outfits Ruins and Koenjihyakkei, and together they whip up some ferocious freeform thrash as they head in and out of that sprawling main track, an epic of skronk-laced improv and impossibly deep dubbed-out heaviness.
    Those bookending tracks "Prelude" and "Postlude" are as ferocious as anything off of Painkiller's classic Guts Of A Virgin, frantic blasts of free-jazz sax blurt and blastbeat drumming, mutated bass guitar bubbling around the band's brutal skree-attack, each of these brief eruptions of freeform grind-jazz clocking in at under three minutes. The first one flies by in a flash, a blazing blast of heavily flanged bass riffs that Laswell contorts into weird atonal blurts, Yoshida's supersonic drumming from Yoshida racing beneath Zorn's screeching acid-attack sax, while the closing track is all over the place, like that newer Sax Ruins stuff injected with a big dose of drugged-out dub.
    It's the sprawling second track that is the album's centerpiece, "The Prophecy" sprawling out for well over an hour, starting off dark and spacious, the bass guitar smeared with flange effects, burbling low lines spinning off in a daze into the night sky while Zorn builds from soft, evocative melodies into his trademark screaming sax blasts, deep wah-drenched bass tones shifting spasmodically over the acrobatic percussive figures. Early on, the band demonstrates little restraint, taking off into the stratosphere almost from the start, but the group continually allow spaces to open up throughout the set, allowing each musician ample opportunity to veer off into a scorching solo. There are some exquisitely deep dub passages that suddenly spread open, then mutate into off-kilter grooves splattered with endless volleys of sax screech, and moments where the band lurches into a bizarre kind of blast-funk, grindcore-style blastbeats hammering away at supersonic speeds beneath that fluid, wah-warped bass guitar. The trio slip into sprawling drone-outs dappled in metallic thrum and feedback, bursts of speed that are sudden and shocking, passages where everything drops out save for clusters of atonal jazziness, even slipping into an almost Sabbathian stretch of zonked-out jazz-sludge later on where it sounds like Laswell is channeling the main riff from "Iron Man". I don't usually flip out over Zorn's live albums, but this is pretty goddamn killer, my favorite of the post-Mick Harris Painkiller releases.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Prophecy
Sample : Prelude



PENTADRVG / YUDLUGAR   Post Mortem   7" VINYL   (Omega Warfare)    9.99



   We've picked up all three of the initial releases from UK breakcore label Omega Warfare; much like fellow Brits Legs Akimbo, the Omega Warfare aesthetic is entrenched in the most violent and extreme fringes of breakcore / speedcore, and their offerings from the likes of Company Fuck, Yudlugar, are Dj Skull Vomit all deliver insane levels of electronic chaos. If there's a dancefloor clamoring for this stuff, it's probably somewhere within the seventh circle of Hell.
    My favorite 7" on Legs Akimbo was the split that featured Ukrainian black metallers Moloch paired up with UK speedcore artist Yudlugar, who brought a violent, black metal influenced aggression to his hyperspeed noise; this newer EP is only the second release I've heard so far from Yudlugar, but this is quickly turning into my favorite speedcore outfit, drawing from the icy evil atmospheres of classic black metal to unleash a frostbitten brand of skull-crushing gabber-style chaos, layered with malevolent electronic ambience and vicious noise and even the occasional necro guitar riff. On this 7", Yudlugar collaborates with the Russian ambient noise artist Pentadrvg, who brings her signature strain of howling, nightmarish ambience and shrieking ritualistic noise to the pounding chaotic kick drums and splattery blasts that boil over both sides of this EP; the second track is more abstract, slipping from the relentless pummel of those jackhammer kick drums into a thumping, delirious miasma of muffled rhythms and looping synth blasts, the sound taking on an almost ecstatic, tribal feel, even as layer after layer of additional noise and droning distortion are piled on, the track eventually building into an almost militant-sounding rhythmic assault. By the end, that rapid-fire industrialized blast begins to resemble the sound of heavy artillery beneath waves of eerie choral drone and dark orchestral drift, fusing that fractured speedcore with traces of Cold Meat-esque death industrial-style ambience, the violent pounding rhythms creating a jarring aural effect beneath the swirling black drift.
   Limited to two hundred fifty copies.


PERSONAL BEST   Issue 4   MAGAZINE (OVERSIZE)   (Personal Best)    26.00



   Yeah, yeah, I know - that cover price has gone through the fucking roof with this issue, for what reason I'm not sure. Recent hikes in international postage costs, maybe? Well, if you can swing it, this is still one of the best magazines coming out of Europe right now covering the experimental music underground, each issue chock-full of a variety of art and artists that frequently cross over into the more daemonic realm that we're lurking in. For issue four, editor Lasse Marhaug (Jazkammer) packs this thick perfect-bound volume with intimate one-on-one conversations with the likes of Australian experimental musician Marco Fusinato, Norwegian artist Kai Mikalsen (Origami Arktika), Ray Ahn of The Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly, Keith Fullerton Whitman of Mimaroglu Music, avant-cellist Okkyung Lee, and avant rock polymath Jim O'Rourke. The highlights of the issue for me, though, were the interviews with Kimihide Kusafuka of legendary Japanese junk-noise outfit K2, and the one with Kjetil Nernes from the awesome Norwegian noise rock outfit Arabrot, where he delves into his infatuation with surrealism and how he moved into an abandoned chapel in the middle of the woods. Neat stuff. The magazine is rounded out with lots of great artwork and photography, a consistently great layout, the whole thing looks fantastic, and feels like what The Wire might be like if it had a more of a punk rock attitude. As always, recommended.


PLANNING FOR BURIAL   Desideratum   CD   (The Flenser)    13.98



    Available on both CD (in a tip-on mini-LP style jacket with printed inner sleeve) and LP.
    Though San Francisco area label The Flenser first made their bones on the experimental, boundary-shifting black metal of bands like Palace Of Worms, Bosse-De-Nage and Panopticon, the label's most recent output has headed into less charted regions, releasing music from bands way out on the edge of contempo post-punk and industrial music. And yet these more recent offerings still retain a grim, desolate tone that'll no doubt resonate with a lot of fans of the more adventurous fringes of black metal, making the likes of Planning For Burial much more interesting to me than much of the other neo-goth/post-punk outfits that have sprung up lately. The second full-length from New Jersey resident Thom Wasluck and his one-man band Planning For Burial immediately impressed me with its unique mixture of doom-laden heaviness, noise-damaged gothiness, and cold industrial pummel, a sound that almost feels like it could have been released on Justin Broadrick's old HeadDirt label, but at the same time is soaked in so much muted heartache that it sounds totally now.
    As the opener "Where You Rest Your Head At Night" begins it's steady, mournful churn, the sound that pours out is akin to some of the more burly, distortion-laden shoegazer bands of old, whiffs of stuff like Isn't Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver emanating off of this blown-out heaviness, even the more recent noise-blasted distorto-bliss of Geisha seems like a possible analogue. Wasluck's vocals are buried way down in the mix, a pensive, sorta gothy croon obscured by his immense layers of crushing distorted guitar, while delicate piano, warm etheric synths and woodwind-like sounds all swarm together into these glimmering dream-pop melodies, forming dense clouds of stirring, super infectious gloomgaze crush. The melody on that first song circles endlessly, caught in a blissed-out, blazing distorted loop, mesmeric and melancholy, and each of the other songs shares a similar minimalist structure, the songs typically carved out of a single massive hook that they slowly bury beneath waves of corrosive distortion and layered electronics. The whole of Desideratum is this bleary, synth-drenched majesty, the title track later slipping into a shorter stretch of hazy slow-motion beauty, other songs moving back into even heavier dirge-like territory, huge riffs grinding over sparse, slow drumming, again reminding me big-time of those classic heavy guitar bands transformed into something far more doom-laden, more wasted, more ruined. The closing track "Golden" makes up half of the album, starting off with slow languid strummed chords shimmering with reverb, a sun baked sorrowful slowcore drift slowly unfolding across the the first half, but then gradually builds into another monumental wall of dreamy heaviness, vast and windswept and mournful. Another amazing new discovery via The Flenser, whose track record over the past year has been absolutely stunning. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Golden
Sample : Desideratum
Sample : 29 August 2012



PLANNING FOR BURIAL   Desideratum   LP   (The Flenser)    19.99



    Available on both CD (in a tip-on mini-LP style jacket with printed inner sleeve) and LP.
    Though San Francisco area label The Flenser first made their bones on the experimental, boundary-shifting black metal of bands like Palace Of Worms, Bosse-De-Nage and Panopticon, the label's most recent output has headed into less charted regions, releasing music from bands way out on the edge of contempo post-punk and industrial music. And yet these more recent offerings still retain a grim, desolate tone that'll no doubt resonate with a lot of fans of the more adventurous fringes of black metal, making the likes of Planning For Burial much more interesting to me than much of the other neo-goth/post-punk outfits that have sprung up lately. The second full-length from New Jersey resident Thom Wasluck and his one-man band Planning For Burial immediately impressed me with its unique mixture of doom-laden heaviness, noise-damaged gothiness, and cold industrial pummel, a sound that almost feels like it could have been released on Justin Broadrick's old HeadDirt label, but at the same time is soaked in so much muted heartache that it sounds totally now.
    As the opener "Where You Rest Your Head At Night" begins it's steady, mournful churn, the sound that pours out is akin to some of the more burly, distortion-laden shoegazer bands of old, whiffs of stuff like Isn't Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver emanating off of this blown-out heaviness, even the more recent noise-blasted distorto-bliss of Geisha seems like a possible analogue. Wasluck's vocals are buried way down in the mix, a pensive, sorta gothy croon obscured by his immense layers of crushing distorted guitar, while delicate piano, warm etheric synths and woodwind-like sounds all swarm together into these glimmering dream-pop melodies, forming dense clouds of stirring, super infectious gloomgaze crush. The melody on that first song circles endlessly, caught in a blissed-out, blazing distorted loop, mesmeric and melancholy, and each of the other songs shares a similar minimalist structure, the songs typically carved out of a single massive hook that they slowly bury beneath waves of corrosive distortion and layered electronics. The whole of Desideratum is this bleary, synth-drenched majesty, the title track later slipping into a shorter stretch of hazy slow-motion beauty, other songs moving back into even heavier dirge-like territory, huge riffs grinding over sparse, slow drumming, again reminding me big-time of those classic heavy guitar bands transformed into something far more doom-laden, more wasted, more ruined. The closing track "Golden" makes up half of the album, starting off with slow languid strummed chords shimmering with reverb, a sun baked sorrowful slowcore drift slowly unfolding across the the first half, but then gradually builds into another monumental wall of dreamy heaviness, vast and windswept and mournful. Another amazing new discovery via The Flenser, whose track record over the past year has been absolutely stunning. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Golden
Sample : Desideratum
Sample : 29 August 2012



PORTAL   Swarth   CD   (Profound Lore)    14.98

Swarth IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

    2009's Swarth was the third album from mysterious Australian weirdos Portal, the Brisbane-based band that by then had already inflamed the underground death metal throngs with their insane combination of convoluted, ultra-heavy deathwarp drenched in distortion and dissonance, and their whole bizarre image that included band members concealing themselves behind black hoods at all times, and a "frontman" called The Curator who teetered over the heads of his bandmates with a cuckoo clock where his head should be, or adorned with a pitch-black pope hat, or an insanely oversized crumpled witch's hat. Their ramshackle look alone was something out of a drug-induced fever dream, and only added to the surreal vibe that emanated from Portal's nearly incomprehensible interdimensional death metal.
    And when the band belched Swarth into the world, it saw them delivering a new gold standard for murky, tentacled death metal. From the garbled opening stains of the title track that quickly transforms into fractured blasting chaos, the album sucks their frenzied battery of backwards-moving blastbeats, ghastly wind-tunnel vocals and coarse, insanely discordant guitar noise into a wormhole of utterly alien death metal, revealing an even noisier edge than what we heard on their previous album. As before, the insectoid riffing takes the sort of atonal, bone-scraping No Wavey sound that Gorguts pioneered on Obscura and twists it into something even more slurred and nightmarish, blasts of guttural mosquitoswarm riffing and peals of piercing atonal chords slipping in and out of phase, skittering multi-limbed riffs becoming hopelessly tangled in their own flailing complexity, the soured, slippery slime of the guitars occasionally coalescing into a blast of blackened riffing on tracks like "Larvae" that feels like it causes a gravitational shift with its sudden cohesion. The sludgy, bone-rattling bass guitar detonates into arrhythmic blasts over the drummer's misshapen blastbeats and off-kilter, confusional anti-rhythms, while swells of metallic rumble and drone seethe below the instruments, monstrous reverberations seeping up out of the depths of Portal's mix. The eight songs that make up Swarth are terrifying blasts of gibbering inchoate horror that further entrench Portal's position as one of the most sickening and most abstract death metal mutations in existence. Can't recommend this enough to fans of extreme, avant-garde death. Features album artwork from Industrie Chimčre Noire.
Track Samples:
Sample : Writhen
Sample : Swarth
Sample : Illoomorpheme



PORTAL   Swarth   CASSETTE   (Parasitic)    6.99



   Now available as a limited edition pro-manufactured cassette from Parasitic, oddly enough the only version of the album that is currently in print.
    2009's Swarth was the third album from mysterious Australian weirdos Portal, the Brisbane-based band that by then had already inflamed the underground death metal throngs with their insane combination of convoluted, ultra-heavy deathwarp drenched in distortion and dissonance, and their whole bizarre image that included band members concealing themselves behind black hoods at all times, and a "frontman" called The Curator who teetered over the heads of his bandmates with a cuckoo clock where his head should be, or adorned with a pitch-black pope hat, or an insanely oversized crumpled witch's hat. Their ramshackle look alone was something out of a drug-induced fever dream, and only added to the surreal vibe that emanated from Portal's nearly incomprehensible interdimensional death metal.
    And when the band belched Swarth into the world, it saw them delivering a new gold standard for murky, tentacled death metal. From the garbled opening stains of the title track that quickly transforms into fractured blasting chaos, the album sucks their frenzied battery of backwards-moving blastbeats, ghastly wind-tunnel vocals and coarse, insanely discordant guitar noise into a wormhole of utterly alien death metal, revealing an even noisier edge than what we heard on their previous album. As before, the insectoid riffing takes the sort of atonal, bone-scraping No Wavey sound that Gorguts pioneered on Obscura and twists it into something even more slurred and nightmarish, blasts of guttural mosquitoswarm riffing and peals of piercing atonal chords slipping in and out of phase, skittering multi-limbed riffs becoming hopelessly tangled in their own flailing complexity, the soured, slippery slime of the guitars occasionally coalescing into a blast of blackened riffing on tracks like "Larvae" that feels like it causes a gravitational shift with its sudden cohesion. The sludgy, bone-rattling bass guitar detonates into arrhythmic blasts over the drummer's misshapen blastbeats and off-kilter, confusional anti-rhythms, while swells of metallic rumble and drone seethe below the instruments, monstrous reverberations seeping up out of the depths of Portal's mix. The eight songs that make up Swarth are terrifying blasts of gibbering inchoate horror that further entrench Portal's position as one of the most sickening and most abstract death metal mutations in existence. Can't recommend this enough to fans of extreme, avant-garde death. Features a revised layout for the cassette edition that includes new artwork from Industrie Chimčre Noire.
Track Samples:
Sample : Writhen
Sample : Swarth
Sample : Illoomorpheme



PORTAL   Vexovoid   CASSETTE   (Parasitic)    6.99



Now available on limited edition audio cassette with different artwork than the previous cd and vinyl versions, limited to three hundred copies.
Vexovoid is the fourth album from Australian mutants Portal, a band that has continued to confound listeners with an idiosyncratic and otherworldly take on death metal that reached a new level of suffocating, eldritch weirdness on their albums Swarth and Outre. As with those albums, Vexovoid features slippery, malformed death metal, discordant blackened chaos and visions of alien horrors, but there is a clarity to Portal's sound on this album that is markedly different from previous outings.
The pounding percussive violence that opens Vexovoid is surprisingly straightforward, at least by Portal standards; the sludgy droning riffage and spastic, thunderous drumming that powers "Kilter"'s chaotic swarm is more defined and chunky than the sort of ultra-murky formless deathblast that their other albums are known for; at the same time, the discordant, reptilian horror you'd expect is fully formed here, alive in the slithering droning riffs and bizarre angular arrangement of the song, still sounding like an otherworldly, alien take on Incantation's early, sludgy death metal. And in its final minutes, this song lurches into a blasting minor key majesty that definitely feels like something new gouting from Portal's black maw.
On "The Black Wards", Portal continues to reveal this more coherent side to their music, the drumming taking on an almost industrial feel at certain points, the rapid chain-gun blastbeats rattling off mechanically below the slippery, surging riffs, and the Curator's bizarre inter-dimensional incantations are easier to pick out among the scattershot riffs, lines like "...cognizant eschewal / plight of Gammon Psyche / the lightness Shrewd / Zugzwang Gordian blighting / Dissorderlies Strewn..." reading like excerpts from a Kenji Siratori novel. The rest of the album is still plenty psychotic, still like some bizarre interpretation of Gorguts and Disembowelment beamed back from some malevolent insect-controlled dimension, the songs swarming with crushing discordant guitars, ghastly gasping vocals and mutant anti-grooves, twisted counter-intuitive time signatures and sudden, wildly jarring shifts in tempo, and awesome breakdowns where the chaotic blasting suddenly downshifts into a soundtrack-worthy section of apocalyptic might; for instance, the end of "Plasm", where riffs turn into foghorn blasts and Portal's churning maelstrom begins to freeze into a backwards-moving wash of withered death-drone, and the strange depth-charge doom of closer "Oblotten".
It feels like Portal's most complex work so far, the swirling, vomitous riffs and dissonant leads interlocking with greater definition than before, revealing a monstrous complexity at work within the band's pounding, atonal, droning death metal chaos. One of my fave death metal albums of '13 so far. Its one of the band's coolest looking albums too, with artwork from both Rev. Kriss Hades and Industrie Chimere Noire gracing the sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Awryeon
Sample : Kilter
Sample : Oblotten
Sample : Plasm



PROSATANOS / SMOKE   In Hate And Blasphemy   CD   (Total Death)    12.98



   After discovering their murky improvised black metal on the handful of tapes they put out on UK label Legion Blotan, I've been infatuated with the primitive weirdness of Dutch duo Smoke, who unfortunately split up in 2013. That hasn't dissuaded me from trying to track down all of their releases though, which led me to this somewhat hard-to-find split with German black metallers Prosatanos that came out in 2011.
    Prosatanos whip a ferocious blast of superfast black metal on their half of the album, shifting between ultra-violent blasting tempos and eerie ice-encrusted tremolo riffs to wicked punk-tinged thrash, the singer howling and snarling through a thick cloud of dank dungeon reverb, those vocals super harsh and echoing, the whole sound rooted in a classic old school black attack, but flecked with some odd melodic riffing that unfolds unexpectedly over the relentless blastbeats and the occasional churning Frostian dirge, like on the crazed yet mesmeric "Illusion", where almost Middle Eastern-like scales emerge over the hysterical echo-laden Teutonic thrash...
    But the Smoke side of the split is an entirely different beast. These five tracks see the duo once again careening through a chaotic storm of low-fi black metal primitivism, droning hypnotic riffs crafted on the fly, the drummer lurching and blasting haphazardly beneath the coruscating clouds of shrill tremolo buzz, the spiteful sneering vocals drifting through the blackness and shape shifting into weird keening moans. It's all improvised, but this isn't the freeform dungeon vomit of Abruptum, but more like the punked-out black filth of bands like Sump, simplistic eerie riffs droning incessantly, a feeling of barely controlled chaos pushing the music towards (but never quite into) total collapse, the sound achieving a distinct but utterly twisted form. There's some really haunting moments that take shape within Smoke's deformed improvisations, washes of noise-drenched melancholy guitar swarming deep in the mix, smears of ghostly ambience that emerge over the din, a droning hypnotic quality clinging tho these tracks much like their similarly discordant and delirious cassette releases. Man, do I love this stuff - at times, it almost starts to resemble some kind of seriously fucked-up noise rock, and anyone into the similarly weird feel of those Emanation releases we recently picked up should especially check this band out.
Track Samples:
Sample : SMOKE - Spinning In Infinity
Sample : SMOKE - Het Sermoon
Sample : PROSATANOS - Time Of Armageddon
Sample : PROSATANOS - Land Of My Vision (Where The Churches Burning)



PYRAMIDO / UNION OF SLEEP   Cleansed / Crawl   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



    Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
      Number five in the series sees Sweden's Pyramido teaming up with the doom-laden hardcore of Germany's Union Of Sleep. Pyramido is one band that you should be checking out if you're obsessed with agonizingly slow, doom-laden riffcrush, as every one of their albums to date have showcased a potent combo of dark melody, raw punk aggression, and a knack for seriously titanic riffage. Their brand of tortured sludgy metal is pretty killer, with a big hardcore punk influence lurking beneath all of the slow-mo heaviness, and their "Cleansed" delivers more of those crushing lead-plated riffs and quicksand tempos. Great stuff.
      Union Of Sleep were another new one for me; their "Crawl" is hardly that, a ferocious rampaging beast of a song, a blast of vicious crusty hardcore with a monstrous death metal streak running through it that rampages through the song. Fans of the later Entombed material will recognize a similar propensity for ultra-heavy, driving death-influenced riffs and some brutally rocking propulsion behind their initial locomotive crush, but the second half seem them suddenly shifting gears into a punishing stretch of Sabbathian dirge. Anyone who's been particularly obsessed with the recent Southern Lord output will no doubt love this stuff.


RADIOACTIVE VOMIT / COLUMN OF HEAVEN   Streams Of Disease / Aubade (Feast Of Tentacles Version)   7" VINYL   (Feast Of Tentacles)    6.99



   Here's another blast of experimental, hateful blastcore from Column Of Heaven, here teaming up with their comrades in Radioactive Vomit. The fact that these guys were given the stamp of approval by Column Of Heaven was enough to have me buzzin' to hear this newer Canadian war-metal outfit, and the three songs that make up their side of this split 7" certainly don't let me down. Combining the chaotic blackened death metal pioneered by Conqueror and Blasphemy and adding their own crusty, doom-laden touch, Radioactive Vomit offer a much more reckless and rabid version of that oft-copied sound. Songs like "Shit Dredge" crawl with seething sonic horror, a deformed doom blast that sounds all the heavier coming after the primal thrashing violence of "The Streams Of Disease", all massive vomit-stained bulldozing heaviness and bestial screaming, the guitarist splattering the rest of the band with his psychotic Hanneman-esque solos. Not much of the D-beat influence that appeared on their demo, but there's still plenty of that frenzied, discordant quality that makes 'em one of the better newer bands in this vein.
   Column Of Heaven's side reinforces their status as one of the most lethal bands on the planet right now. Since forming from the ashes of The Endless Blockade, these guys have continued to blast beyond the parameters of power-violence, further exploring the DNA-altering capabilities of the most extreme elements of noise, deathgrind and industrial while retaining a very specific sound across all of their releases. Their half of this 7" has more of that death metal influenced brutality, but the songs "Aubade I: Sun Defeated" and "Aubade II: The Trident Of Light And Decay" also blend together toxic black static, bone-crushing hardcore punk, Artaud quotes and surrealistic lyrical imagery, ghostly operatic samples and murky industrial textures into their vicious grinding heaviness. At it's core though, this is hyperfast hardcore that rips your face right off of your skull, dosed with the occasional skull-crushing breakdown or blast of electronic noise before the scolding of crows drifts in over the spectral dronescape that closes the record.
Track Samples:
Sample : RADIOACTIVE VOMIT - The Streams Of Disease
Sample : RADIOACTIVE VOMIT - Entrenched
Sample : COLUMN OF HEAVEN - Aubade I: Sun Defeated
Sample : COLUMN OF HEAVEN - Aubade II: The Trident Of Light And Decay



RADIOACTIVE VOMIT / COLUMN OF HEAVEN   Streams Of Disease / Aubade (Analog Worship Version)   7" VINYL   (Analog Worship)    6.99



   Here's another blast of experimental, hateful blastcore from Column Of Heaven, here teaming up with their comrades in Radioactive Vomit. The fact that these guys were given the stamp of approval by Column Of Heaven was enough to have me buzzin' to hear this newer Canadian war-metal outfit, and the three songs that make up their side of this split 7" certainly don't let me down. Combining the chaotic blackened death metal pioneered by Conqueror and Blasphemy and adding their own crusty, doom-laden touch, Radioactive Vomit offer a much more reckless and rabid version of that oft-copied sound. Songs like "Shit Dredge" crawl with seething sonic horror, a deformed doom blast that sounds all the heavier coming after the primal thrashing violence of "The Streams Of Disease", all massive vomit-stained bulldozing heaviness and bestial screaming, the guitarist splattering the rest of the band with his psychotic Hanneman-esque solos. Not much of the D-beat influence that appeared on their demo, but there's still plenty of that frenzied, discordant quality that makes 'em one of the better newer bands in this vein.
   Column Of Heaven's side reinforces their status as one of the most lethal bands on the planet right now. Since forming from the ashes of The Endless Blockade, these guys have continued to blast beyond the parameters of power-violence, further exploring the DNA-altering capabilities of the most extreme elements of noise, deathgrind and industrial while retaining a very specific sound across all of their releases. Their half of this 7" has more of that death metal influenced brutality, but the songs "Aubade I: Sun Defeated" and "Aubade II: The Trident Of Light And Decay" also blend together toxic black static, bone-crushing hardcore punk, Artaud quotes and surrealistic lyrical imagery, ghostly operatic samples and murky industrial textures into their vicious grinding heaviness. At it's core though, this is hyperfast hardcore that rips your face right off of your skull, dosed with the occasional skull-crushing breakdown or blast of electronic noise before the scolding of crows drifts in over the spectral dronescape that closes the record.
Track Samples:
Sample : RADIOACTIVE VOMIT - The Streams Of Disease
Sample : RADIOACTIVE VOMIT - Entrenched
Sample : COLUMN OF HEAVEN - Aubade I: Sun Defeated
Sample : COLUMN OF HEAVEN - Aubade II: The Trident Of Light And Decay



RASH   Center Of Gravity   CASSETTE IN WOOD BOX   (Carbon)    7.99



   The second full length tape from Rochester improv-rock heavies Rash, Center Of Gravity offers up two epic-length slabs of doom-laden rumble and haunting, bluesy ambience, "Sharpening Knives" and "Slicing Stars". As with their previous tape, the duo of Patrick Doyle and R. Scott Oliver use a combination of electric and acoustic guitars and upright bass to craft these sprawling, droning vistas of twilit majesty, laying down soft, folky strum against a backdrop of rumbling, distorted amp-drones and swirling dark drift, laced with searing feedback buzz and swells of etheric feedback. The first side is a lot softer and more atmospheric than the other Rash stuff I've been listening to, with flecks of eerie psych guitar and sliding, delay-drenched melody rippling across their fields of amp-drift in a manner reminiscent of Hex-era Earth or the spectral drones of Barn Owl. The whole first half of "Knives" is gorgeously creepy, glimmering notes hovering above a bed of harmonium-like drone, the sound vast and mournful, but then shifts into something much heavier as the crush of metallic guitars sweep in, a slow, doom-laden riff flowing in beneath the amassing drones, everything turning ominous as blasts of excoriating noise and sludgy, half-formed riffs surge through the haze.
    The other side washes almost all of that away in favor of an endless sprawl of kosmische bliss, where those guitars are diffused into bits of spiraling beauty, tumbling melodies gleaming in the darkness, bathed in waves of minimal drone and feedback; it's the prettiest stuff I've heard from Rash, an almost krautrocky piece of music that only much later recedes back into the sort of free-flowing psychedelic sludge-drone that dominates so much of the rest of Rash's dreamy, meditative low-fi rumble.
   Packaged in a hand-assembled wooden box with a download of the album.
Track Samples:
Sample : I
Sample : II
Sample : III



RASH   The Weight Of The World   CASSETTE   (Carbon)    6.00



   My favorite stuff on Carbon has always been their guitar-based noise/psych albums, the sort of heavy, slumberous clank and scree found on discs from bands like Crush The Junta, Burnt Hills, Entente Cordiale and the bizarrely monikered Transcendental Manship Highway. It's been awhile since I've heard anything new along those lines from the label, but the two limited-edition tapes from Rochester, NY duo Rash that came out recently deliver exactly that sort of slow-motion noisy psychedelia, featuring long sprawling improvisational jams where distorted electric guitar churns and rumbles over slow, ponderous drumming, shifting from massive metallic Earthen crush to clouds of shimmering feedback and swirling, oceanic amplifier-drone.
   On the band's debut cassette The Weight Of The World, Rash whips up a dense fog of that formless dark drift, the sound echoing with clanking metallic noise and abrasive percussive sounds that drift ghostlike across the background, and there are moments of deformed propulsion that suddenly appear that seem to push this into a kind of monstrous free-rock; the label cites Michael Morley of The Dead C/Gate as one reference point, and I can definitely hear that in the band's squalls of flesh-rending Hendrixian guitar noise, the warped radio frequencies and endless whirr of effects that flit at the periphery of the band's glacial drone, and the way that their moody dronescapes languidly unfold across the often ten-minute plus tracks. Rash take that sort of rambling, haunting improv in a much heavier direction, though, their gluey, downtuned riffs more informed by the physical weight of modern sludge metal. The song "Nidanam" that appears on the second side of this tape is one of their best, a massive droning sludge-trance that lurches in slow motion fits and starts, while some seriously mangled guitar noise screams and gurgles over top, the track gradually evolving into a kind of narcotized doom, sort of like a darker, more miserable version of Grey Daturas.
    Limited to forty copies, and includes a digital download that has additional material not included on the tape.


REVENGE   Victory.Intolerance.Mastery   LP   (Osmose Productions)    29.99



   The latest in Osmose's vinyl reissue campaign for Canadian blackened death metallers Revenge, this deluxe reissue of the band's savage 2004 masterwork Victory.Intolerance.Mastery features Revenge at their most rabid, with J. Read and company whipping up their post-Conqueror war metal into a fresh new frenzy of extreme noise-damaged violence that often has more in common with the most abrasive fringes of experimental noise than traditional metal. Like the other recent LP editions, this comes in a hefty casewrapped jacket with silver foil stamping and an alternate album design from the CD version, a printed inner sleeve, the record pressed on thick 180 gram vinyl.
   Here's my old write-up from when the CD first came out: An ultra-chaotic, blown-out black metal noise assault from Canada's Revenge, which came out back in 2004 but just now getting added to our shelves. Revenge was the duo of James Read (ex-Conqueror, Axis Of Advance, Arkhon Infaustus) and Pete Helmkamp (of Angelcorpse, Order From Chaos, and bizarro voidworld industrialists Terror Organ), who are depicted in the disc's stark, black and white 10-panel booklet outfitted in full camo, bullet belts, and knives in hand. Victory Intolerance Mastery was the last release from the band, and it's on a whole 'nother level of seriously evil, distorted, raw, blownout grinding blackness, a horrific 8-song vision of total Armageddon, riding on blastwaves of murky, black riffage caked in overdriven distortion and noise, rumbling formless low-end, Read's insane octopoidal blastbeat drumming that goes all over the fucking place, vomiting shrieks, layers of inhuman FX-splattered growls tripping through dimensions, total chaos. Ultra harsh, bleak, bestial scumblast in the tradition of Beherit and Blasphemy and early grindcore, with awesome, ridiculously chaotic hyper-distorted solos and pick sweeps slicing through a wall of corrosive psychedelic violence. Reminds me of what might happen if Anaal Nathrakh was fused with Fear Of God's 1st EP. Awesome.
Track Samples:
Sample : Destiny Mastery
Sample : Blood Annihilation
Sample : Iron Intolerance



REVENGE   Attack.Blood.Revenge   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    11.99



   New 2014 edition of this collection of early recordings from cult Canadian black chaos metallers Revenge. Often described as "bestial black death", less is spoken of just how out-there Revenge's ultra-violent metal is; continuing on the warped noise-damaged trajectory as Read's previous outfit Conqueror, Revenge took that sound into a more complex and corrosive direction, cranking up the noisiness even more with an ultra-distorted guitar sound that could blow their shit out into Merzbowian levels of hyperblasting ear-hate. The band has a number of blistering albums out on Red Stream that are all the highest echelons of blackgrind barbarism, but Revenge's earliest recordings have long been hard to come by in physical form.
   The earliest material featured on this disc is the band's 2001 EP Attack.Blood.Revenge, a four-song nightmare of crushing dissonant guitar and crazed atonal solos, horrific bestial screams and one of the most rabid-sounding vocal attacks ever, strewn across gut-churning blower-bass and Read's utterly batshit cyclonic drumming, which expands on his monstrous blasts and pummeling tribal beats from Conqueror, whipping up nuclear-fueled deathstorms of crazed off-kilter blastbeats, punishing breakdowns, and bonecrushing mid-paced grindpunk riffs; like Conqueror, Revenge summoned an ultra-violent sound on this EP that was more closely related to the rabid chaos of bands like Nuclear Death and Scum-era Napalm Death than classic black metal, but these songs also seethe with a pitiless contempt for humanity, fueled by a flesh-scorching Social Darwinist philosophy that'll turn a social justice warrior's hair white. Gotta say though, I don't think I've ever heard Revenge swing quite the way they do on the cover of Bathory's "War" that also appears here, probably the closest this band has ever gotten to anything remotely rock n' roll. The two songs from the 2002 Superion.Command.Destroy 7" are even more savage and deformed, ultra-noisy blast attacks that border on toppling into total noisecore, with more of those monstrous pitch-shifted roars and gratuitous use of that abrasive string-scraping pick slide. The noise elements that appeared intermittently on Conqueror's recordings are considerably amped up here, with more bizarre, fleshcrawling vocal processing (what the fuck is going on with those Deadite vocals on "Annihilate or Serve"?) and washes of echo-laden noise that feel like the aural residue from an abattoir. The disc is rounded out by the track from the 2003 split 7" with Arkhon Infaustus, "Deathless Will", and a cover of Von's "Lamb" that originally appeared on the NWN Fest Volume I compilation - essential stuff for fans of Read's chaotic deathnoise.
Track Samples:
Sample : Yabssor Born (Intro)
Sample : Vengeance Absolute
Sample : Blood Division
Sample : Annihilate Or Serve



RITUAAL   self-titled   7" VINYL   (Parasitic)    6.50



   Rituaal is the debut two-song EP that came out last year from the occult-influenced trio of the same name, who bring us a heavily atmospheric and potent mixture of morbid doomdeath and raw black metal. Made up of drummer Jake Rothlisberger (Vesicus, Mourner), guitarist/vocalist Justin Stubbs (AKA Ghoat from Encoffination, Father Befouled, Vomitchapel, Festered and Lilitu), and vocalist/guitarist Mike Meacham (Loss), the band explores a different sort of oppressive, churning heaviness through the songs "Datura At The Astral Sabbat" and "Ordo Walpurga", each one a droning, hypnotic blackened assault, "Datura" shifting between a ritualistic, repetitive black metal sound with monotonous buzzing riffs and almost chant-like vocals, and a slower, more doom-laden approach that has some really striking minor key melodic guitar work; the music is interspersed with understated samples of dialogue, incidental music and fragments of chopped-out soundtracks from old satanic horror films that are stitched into the song's grave atmosphere, adding to the weird murky vibe that permeates Rituaal's sonic death-worship. On the other side, "Walpurga" slips into a ponderous deathcrawl of stench-ridden doom that moves through a gloom of blackened tremolo riffing and cavernous reverb, the vocals trading off between impossibly deep, guttural beast-growls and frantic, high pitched shrieks, the dank and anguished sonic fog growing more melancholy as the song unfolds, layered with mournful funereal guitars that ring out beneath the grueling slow motion dirge.
    Limited to five hundred copies.


ROB   Maniac (2013)   LP   (Death Waltz)    33.00



   Finally snagged this 2014 North American repress of the fantastic score to Franck Khalfoun's 2012 remake of the grindhouse classic Maniac, composed and performed by Robin Coudert from French synthpop stars Phoenix. I finally got around to seeing this film late last year, and not without a bit of trepidation; William Lustig's 1980 original is a masterwork of sleaze, sacrosanct, a degenerate vision of human evil that never lost it's ability to hit me at a visceral level every time I revisited it. And yet I ended up being pleasantly surprised to find the remake was actually pretty great, and supremely sick in a way you don't often see in modern horror films. A remaining that transformed the original story into something new, casting Elijah Wood in the lead role as Frank Zito, the deranged owner of a mannequin shop who descends into an abyss of mutilation and murder, all creatively filmed from a first person perspective that gave the film an air of verisimilitude. But Just as important to the films effectiveness as the sickening murder sequences and Wood's glassy stare was the pulsating synthesizer score from Rob, one of the coolest synthwave soundtracks for a modern horror movie I've heard.
    Naturally, Rob's score has shades of John Carpenter classic minimalist synth-scores, but you can also hear the influence of Giorgio Moroder's throbbing film score for 1982's Cat People, as well as hints of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream, those various forms of vintage 80's era synthesizer music fused together, sprawling across slow hypnotic rhythms and muted motorik pulses, eerie electronic melodies and smatterings of mournful piano entwined together. Tracks like "Headache" evoke a more sinister Kavinsky, that sort of old-school synthwave fused to an almost unshakeable sense of dread and misery; these dark synthesizer pieces are more than a nostalgic accoutrement for this contemporary restaging of the gore-drenched scum-epic, and are as intrinsic to the film's strange, terminally unsettling atmosphere as Wood's chillingly blank portrayal of Frank. Growling black drones and eerie mewling melodies and pulsating drum machine beats all propel the murderous tension of tracks like "Haunted", and stretches of stripped-down minimal throb and undulating waves of grim electronics combine with mournful strings and languid bass elsewhere on the album, followed by swirling arrangements for choral voices and elliptical keyboards somewhat reminiscent of Phillip Glass, and closing with the haunting synthpop of "Juno" from British alt pop songstress Chloe Alper, that infectious synthpop song that played out over the film's closing credits.
    Maniac is beautifully packaged in typical Death Waltz fashion, housed in an unsettling casewrapped gatefold that features a slightly blurred close-up of one of Frank's fetishized mannequins on the cover, accompanied by a 12" by 12" lithograph art print of the cover art and liner notes from Coudert, pressed on clear heavyweight vinyl.


ROBINSON, HARRY   Twins Of Evil   LP   (Death Waltz)    22.00



   Finally got around to grabbing some copies of this lesser-known score that Death Waltz reissued last year. It's notable for being the acclaimed UK horror soundtrack reissue label's first collaboration with the venerable British production company Hammer Films, who defined British horror cinema in the 1960s; rather than tackle one of the studio's more well-known films, however, the Waltz dusted off the score to the early 70's erotic vampire movie Twins Of Evil, directed by John Hough. By the time that Hammer produced Twins in 1971, the studio's output was offering more graphic, lurid thrills, and Hough took the opportunity to spice his tale of teenage twin sisters swept up in a saga of witch-hunting Puritans (led by their domineering uncle), black magic, vampirism and desire from beyond the grave with ample doses of lesbian sexuality and explicit violence that were a marked shift in direction for the studio.
    For Twins, Hough enlisted composer Harry Robinson, who had already scored another Hammer release with 1971's Countess Dracula, and what he produced is one of the most unusual scores in the Hammer filmography. Taking the film's striking scenes of the puritanical witch-hunting Brotherhood thundering across the Austrian countryside as inspiration, Robinson incorporated the influence of Italian Westerns and the film scores of Ennio Morricone into his themes, blending an evocative spaghetti-western feel with the score's dark, gothic elements. Dark brass and woodwinds are used to evoke a heavy portentous atmosphere, while the lyrical string arrangements emerge through the shadows with moments of delicate beauty. High, keening strings, flute and ghostly vibraphones add to the dreamlike feel of some of these tracks, while the more action-based pieces use ominous brass and pounding tympani, combining almost militaristic rhythms and swarming violins in a manner reminiscent of James Horner. Lush strings swell into terrifying dissonance, horns surge into blaring bloodcurdling squalls, and skin-crawling dread accompanies the slashing violins on "The Mirror Reveals Frieda". A real overlooked gem, and Robinson brings a grandiose feel to this score that at times rivals the dramatic bombast of composers like Leonard Rosenman, Jerry Goldsmith and the aforementioned Horner, which was rather unusual for films of this kind from that period. Having never heard the score outside of the film before, I was pretty impressed with this one.
    Solid packaging and presentation from the Waltz as always, Twins Of Evil comes on limited-edition red vinyl, housed in a strikingly designed spot-varnish jacket and includes liner notes from Hammer historian Marcus Hearn and cover artist Eelus, a cool 12" by 12" lithograph print of the cover art, and a 24" by 24" poster.


RUDIMENTARY PENI   Death Church   CD   (Outer Himalayan)    13.98



   This classic slab of macabre Lovecraftian avant-punk is at last given an official release through Outer Himalayan's Rudimentary Peni reissue campaign, remastered from the original tapes and presented in gatefold CD packaging and a big poster sleeve for the LP version, which replicates the original 1983 design (while adding a digital download and heavier 180 gram vinyl).Like the other recent Peni reissues, this is essential for anyone into dark, macabre punk, early death-rock, and occult-obsessed hardcore.
   It would be very hard to overstate just how influential these albums have been on an entire class of bands that followed in their wake, and you can now hear echoes of Rudimentary Peni's spiky, angular punk and Lovecraftian madness lingering on albums from all kinds of hardcore punk, avant-rock and even black metal bands. They have always been grouped in with the early 80's anarcho-punk scene that flourished in Britain, but aside from their early connections with the band Crass (having released their 1982 Farce 7" on Crass Records), Rudimentary Peni had very little in common both musically and thematically with most of the other punk bands that they were associated with. Their music was so much darker and more enigmatic than almost anything else happening in British punk at the time, with much of the unique sound and vibe coming from front-man Nick Blinko, a visionary lyricist and artist who has struggled with mental illness and long periods of hospitalization throughout the bands entire career, and who brought his increasingly deranged visions of disturbing deformed characters, rampant paranoia, and withered horrors to the bands music, drawing influence from the works of H.P Lovecraft and the occult. For fans of dark, outré punk rock, the Rudimentary Peni records are absolutely essential; all three of the band's albums are crucial slabs of twisted, menacing rock, and even their EPs are minor masterpieces of macabre weirdness. They've never put out a bad record, and I actually think that their more recent stuff, while heavier and different from their classic early records, is just as amazing as their earliest, most legendary recordings. So far, we've gotten reissues of both Peni's second and third albums, Cacophony and Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric and both are absolute classic albums of malevolent weirdo punk, each one given a gorgeous reissue treatment that includes newly designed gatefold CDs and deluxe LPs that include complete lyrics and lots of Blinko's amazing obsessive pen-and-ink artwork.
   Like I've mentioned at length in my write-ups of the Outer Himalayan reissues of Archaic, Cacophony and Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric, Rudimentary Peni are one of my all time favorite bands from the 80's British punk underground, a band that was often associated with the UK anarcho-punk scene but who was in fact off on some weird, Lovecraftian death-rock trip that was totally unlike anything else going on at the time. The band's debut album Death Church was wholly unique when it came out in '83, from frontman Nick Blinko's nightmarish, obsessively detailed black and white album art to the bizarre song writing and morbid atmosphere that hangs over the bands music. The macabre pogo power of the opening song introduces Death Church's relentless buzzsaw punk assault, leading the charge for these twenty-one tracks of ripping rocking mid-tempo angular deathpunk, the songs comprised of simple four-chord riffs twisted into sinister angular hooks, the bass guitar bouncing like Peter Hook on cheap crank, Blinko's howling vocals the closest he ever came to a traditional hardcore-style delivery. The whole album has its gnarled and blackened roots digging deep into the rotting carcass of early 80s hardcore, but this ended up sounding unlike anything else in punk at the time thanks to Blinko's demented lyrical visions and bizarre artwork and the band's ferocious, pounding hypnotic buzzbomb punk. On some of these songs, the band even reveals a weird sort of proto-black metal sound on tracks like "Poppycock", with its furious tremolo picking and speedy assault; for fans of the current wave of blackened punk outfits like Malveillance, Bone Awl and the like, there are moments on Death Church that could possibly provide an epiphany. That signature strain of Peni weirdness abounds, of course, with some of their punk-shanty stuff showing up on other tracks like "Vampire State Building" and the sepulchral shimmy of "Flesh Crucifix", all infested with bizarre squealing cries and the dank stink of the tomb. Can't recommend this album enough.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dutchmen
Sample : Pig In A Blanket
Sample : The Cloud Song
Sample : Rotten To The Core



RUDIMENTARY PENI   Death Church   LP   (Outer Himalayan)    29.98



   This classic slab of macabre Lovecraftian avant-punk is at last given an official release through Outer Himalayan's Rudimentary Peni reissue campaign, remastered from the original tapes and presented in gatefold CD packaging and a big poster sleeve for the LP version, which replicates the original 1983 design (while adding a digital download and heavier 180 gram vinyl).Like the other recent Peni reissues, this is essential for anyone into dark, macabre punk, early death-rock, and occult-obsessed hardcore.
   It would be very hard to overstate just how influential these albums have been on an entire class of bands that followed in their wake, and you can now hear echoes of Rudimentary Peni's spiky, angular punk and Lovecraftian madness lingering on albums from all kinds of hardcore punk, avant-rock and even black metal bands. They have always been grouped in with the early 80's anarcho-punk scene that flourished in Britain, but aside from their early connections with the band Crass (having released their 1982 Farce 7" on Crass Records), Rudimentary Peni had very little in common both musically and thematically with most of the other punk bands that they were associated with. Their music was so much darker and more enigmatic than almost anything else happening in British punk at the time, with much of the unique sound and vibe coming from front-man Nick Blinko, a visionary lyricist and artist who has struggled with mental illness and long periods of hospitalization throughout the bands entire career, and who brought his increasingly deranged visions of disturbing deformed characters, rampant paranoia, and withered horrors to the bands music, drawing influence from the works of H.P Lovecraft and the occult. For fans of dark, outré punk rock, the Rudimentary Peni records are absolutely essential; all three of the band's albums are crucial slabs of twisted, menacing rock, and even their EPs are minor masterpieces of macabre weirdness. They've never put out a bad record, and I actually think that their more recent stuff, while heavier and different from their classic early records, is just as amazing as their earliest, most legendary recordings. So far, we've gotten reissues of both Peni's second and third albums, Cacophony and Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric and both are absolute classic albums of malevolent weirdo punk, each one given a gorgeous reissue treatment that includes newly designed gatefold CDs and deluxe LPs that include complete lyrics and lots of Blinko's amazing obsessive pen-and-ink artwork.
   Like I've mentioned at length in my write-ups of the Outer Himalayan reissues of Archaic, Cacophony and Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric, Rudimentary Peni are one of my all time favorite bands from the 80's British punk underground, a band that was often associated with the UK anarcho-punk scene but who was in fact off on some weird, Lovecraftian death-rock trip that was totally unlike anything else going on at the time. The band's debut album Death Church was wholly unique when it came out in '83, from frontman Nick Blinko's nightmarish, obsessively detailed black and white album art to the bizarre song writing and morbid atmosphere that hangs over the bands music. The macabre pogo power of the opening song introduces Death Church's relentless buzzsaw punk assault, leading the charge for these twenty-one tracks of ripping rocking mid-tempo angular deathpunk, the songs comprised of simple four-chord riffs twisted into sinister angular hooks, the bass guitar bouncing like Peter Hook on cheap crank, Blinko's howling vocals the closest he ever came to a traditional hardcore-style delivery. The whole album has its gnarled and blackened roots digging deep into the rotting carcass of early 80s hardcore, but this ended up sounding unlike anything else in punk at the time thanks to Blinko's demented lyrical visions and bizarre artwork and the band's ferocious, pounding hypnotic buzzbomb punk. On some of these songs, the band even reveals a weird sort of proto-black metal sound on tracks like "Poppycock", with its furious tremolo picking and speedy assault; for fans of the current wave of blackened punk outfits like Malveillance, Bone Awl and the like, there are moments on Death Church that could possibly provide an epiphany. That signature strain of Peni weirdness abounds, of course, with some of their punk-shanty stuff showing up on other tracks like "Vampire State Building" and the sepulchral shimmy of "Flesh Crucifix", all infested with bizarre squealing cries and the dank stink of the tomb. Can't recommend this album enough.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dutchmen
Sample : Pig In A Blanket
Sample : The Cloud Song
Sample : Rotten To The Core



RUINE   Winter 2014 Demo   7" VINYL   (Forcefield)    5.00



   Never cared much for hotshit DC-area blasters Magrudergrind, but this new band that some of those guys have put together with members of Brooklyn black metallers Mutilation Rites is pretty damn impressive. On their demo (here reissued on limited edition vinyl), these guys slow things waaaaay down and go for an ultra-heavy, ultra-ugly sludge assault that's one of the nastiest sounding debuts I've heard lately. Two tracks of titanic hate-sludge roll off of this 7" like a bulldozer, crushing downtuned Frostian heaviness amped up to the nth degree, the singer puking his goddamn guts out as he reports back from the front lines of a crumbling civilization, a howling litany of social collapse drawn in scrawls of systematic soulcrush and industrialized suffering. And it's just ridiculously heavy, with a kind of concrete-encrusted guitar sound that powers the slow-motion avalanche of low-end skullcrush; it's peppered with moments of almost hopeful melodic beauty that emerge towards the end of the a-side song "Decades Of Sorrow", though, skillfully shifting out of that abject hateful heaviness into something that actually becomes achingly pretty in its final moments; Thou fans would definitely dig what's going on here.
   The second song "Regression" is more of that grueling, Grief-stricken slow-motion sludge, those vocals turning frantic and inhuman, the spiteful lyrics becoming totally incomprehensible through the evil ripped-throat shrieks and bestial gargling; on both of these songs, the recording sounds absolutely massive, and their dual-guitar attack contributes even more energy to that sonic undertow, again shifting the song from that hideous hulking horror into something more melodic in the second half. I gotta say, I'm really looking forward to hearing an entire album of this stuff; anyone obsessed with the likes of Warhorse, Thou, Buried At Sea and Grief should certainly check this band out.
Track Samples:
Sample : Decades of Sorrow
Sample : Regression



S.H.I.T.   Collective Unconciousness   7" VINYL   (Iron Lung Records)    6.99

Collective Unconciousness IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER











SACHIKO + FUKUOKA RINJI   Void   CDR   (Musik Atlach)    11.98



   Void documents an incredible live set from the duo of guitarist/violinist Rinji Fukuoka (a member of psych rock heavies Majutsu Ni Niwa and Overhang Party) and former Overhang Party / Kousokuya member (and Musik Atlach owner) Sachiko, which went down at the Tokyo venue Koenji ShowBoat back in 2011. Consisting of a single half-hour track, Void is some primo nocturnal psychedelia, the performance slowly growing from out of a haze of distant murky vocalizations and echoing guitar overlaid with sheets of electrical hum, everything wrapped in a moldering shroud of reverb and delay.
    Sachiko's seraphic voice is at the center of this spectral soundscape, stretched and smeared and sent looping and tumbling through the eerie twilight gloom that the duo summons up within the bowels of the club. Fukuoka eventually joins in as well, his deep, chanting moan drifting ghostlike over the looping, orchestral-sounding drift and suspended electronic drones, joined by washes of phantom radio static and endless prayer-bowl whirr. After awhile, this zoned-out performance eventually descends into even darker depths, as waves of smoldering bass, searing oscillator sweeps, malformed melodies and muted guitar clang all begin to enter the incandescent dronescape, which in its final moments shifts into a much more twisted and sinister ambience, scalded with bursts of abrasive noise and burnt-out electronics. A spellbinding piece of otherworldly psych-drone dragged out of the underworld, tinged with a lovely peripheral quality, the sound washed out and blooming with ethereal, half-formed melodies and Sachiko's spellbinding witch-shrieks, yet unfolding with the restrained feel of a funerary prayer, stretching out across the disc as a kind of eternal ghost-music that blends kosmische creepiness with an atmopshere of ancient dread that could easily serve as an aural backdrop to a scene from Hearn's Kwaidan. Fantastic. Produced as a professionally manufactured CDR, the disc comes housed in a simple foldover sleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Void
Sample : Void
Sample : Void



SETE STAR SEPT / NUT SCREAMER   split   7" VINYL   (At War With False Noise)    8.98



   Japan's Sete Star Sept are well on their way to building an Agathoclean body of work, with a new record or tape or CD collection seemingly popping up every other month. Not that I mind - the duo are still one of the best noisegrind bands around, and I've been getting a kick out of each new slab of crazed freeform blast that they've been bestowing on us. Some of my favorite releases from the band are their splits with lesser known old-school noisecore outfits, like the splits with Final Exit, New York Against The Belzebu, Noise and Deche-Charge that have recently surfaced. The most surprising, though, is this split 7" with OG noisecore mutant Nut Screamer, with what has got to be their first new appearance in nearly twenty years.
    Featuring one of their more experimental offerings, Sete Star Sept are in full-on noisecore mode for their side, lurching violently through five tracks of low-fi freeform blast made up of whirlwind improvised drumming, monstrously harsh screaming, and rumbling low-end bass guitar. Like their other stuff in this vein, it's a mangy mixture of Hanatarash/Gerogerigegege style blastnoise fuckery and drooling grindcore, but they get a little more experimental here, venturing into the bizarre, percussive caveman jam "Yesyesyesyesyes No" that momentarily sounds like something off of Cromagnon's Orgasm, while songs like "Wonderful Time" and "Heaven Of TV" disappear into a yowling void of ear-bleeding grindnoise chaos, and the slobbering grind-punk weirdness of "I Love Supermarket" is evocative of Sockeye doing a Napalm Death cover.
    A staple of early 90s noisecore compilation tapes, Ohio-based freakazoid Steveggs (of Pile Of Eggs "fame") and his thoroughly obnoxious and fantastic noisecore project Nut Screamer often combined ridiculous spoken word recordings and random weirdness with ultra low-fi grind/noise freakouts, a steaming mess of outsider blast that I couldn't get enough of back when I used to chase down every shoddily-assembled tape comp I could find. On his side, Nut Screamer offers up two tracks, the absurd "The Iron Dragon" that features two and a half minutes of obnoxious ranting and screaming that was apparently recorded on a roller coaster at the Cedar Point amusement part in Sandusky, Ohio, followed by the psychedelic cybergrind delirium of "The Goddamn Moon ", an exhilarating drug-fueled mess of random drum machine programming, echo-laden howls, and rumbling distorted frequencies.
    Limited to three hundred copies.


SEX PRISONER   State Property   7" VINYL   (Bad Teeth)    6.98



   You've a gazillion bands trying to match the pure barbarism of the original powerviolence scene, with only a handful actually able to channel that level of hatred and aggression while also moving the style forward. Arizona's Sex Prisoner have quickly become one of the best, dropping monstrous, almost death metal-style chunks of heaviosity into their ferocious, Infest-style blastcore on their second EP State Property that's some of the heaviest shit I've heard out of this scene. It's ugly, negative stuff, the heaviness cranked all the way into the red, the gruff anti-social bellow of singer Kevin Kennedy keeping things nice and mean from start to finish. I always dig the bands that incorporate an element of noise or industrial music into this sort of barbaric hardcore, and Sex Prisoner do so as well, their blasts of bass-heavy bludgeon bookended by bleak, over-modulated drones and mechanical rumblings, adding brief moments of ultra-bleak, almost Bianchi-like industrial ambience at the beginning and end of almost every song on here. And man, the riffs on this record are CRUSHING, with some near Frostian levels of deathchug alternating with the band's blasting powerviolence, their ninety second long eruptions of sonic violence and churning blower-bass stomping all over like the heaviest, most thuggish stains of New York Hardcore; there's something harsh and unhinged and more abrasive than usual about these guys that make 'em one of the few modern purveyors of powerviolence that actually sound genuinely threatening to me, some weirdly perfect fusion of No Comment/Infest influenced blast violence and the bone-crushing metallic breakdowns of bands like Merauder or Darkside NYC. Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Grabbed From The Dark
Sample : State Property
Sample : Judgment II



SHALLOW SANCTION   self-titled   12"   (Hospital Productions)    19.99



   Not at all what you might expect from Dom Fernow's Hospital Productions, especially if you're only familiar with the label's power electronics and noise-techno output; sure, the label has brought us some killer raw, outré black metal from the likes of Ash Pool, Blackdeath, Akitsa and Diapsiquir, but classical post-punk ain't something Hospital's known for. The bleak vibe coursing through Shallow Sanction's self-titled debut 12" certainly shares the same dark, nihilistic aura as a lot of the stuff on the label, though, and kicks out some fantastic raw post-punk from the young London-based band.
   Housed in an almost all-black jacket save for the scraps of torn paper on the front and back that have scribbled excerpts from Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea, this EP hammers out six songs of stripped-down, nihilistic death-punk, a powerful dose of macabre old-school gloom. Musically, these guys have the sparse and eerie feel of early 80's punk, their wiry guitars and pounding mid-tempo drumming suggestive of classic bands like Rudimentary Peni, UK Decay and Ausgang, maybe even a faint phantasmal trace of Theatre-era Christian Death in there somewhere, but the singer delivers his vocals in a gruff, snotty bark that's met with a furious energy more akin to early hardcore. Fans of that early UK dark punk sound will surely dig this though, sitting as it does at the crossroads of pissed-off anarchopunk and the disaffected misery of early deathrock. Songs like "Exordium/Stench", "Ouroboros" and "Revulsion" all crawl with gloomy skeletal guitar and shimmery dissonant melodies that creep across pounding tribal rhythms and driving tempos, the songs slipping into passages of churning doom-laden misery and withered dirges awash in ghostly reverb, bits of reserved, echo-drenched murk flitting between the tracks, the record finally drifting out into a wretched haze of crackling, sputtering electronic noise at the very end that serves as a final lingering echo of despair. Hands down one of the best death-punk throwbacks I've heard, can't wait to hear more from 'em. Limited to three hundred copies.


SHINING   III - Angst - Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie   LP   (Peaceville)    24.99



   Peaceville's been digging into their back catalog and coming up with some cool vinyl reissues lately, including this new 2014 edition of Shining's third album III: Angst - Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie. Originally released by Avantgarde back in 2002, this Swedish downer-metal classic is essential listening for fans of the most miserable depths of black metal; the early Shining albums are still some of the best "depressive" black metal records ever, and this saw their self-mutilating frontman Kvarforth and his influential suicide-obsessed outfit delivering six powerful death anthems that combined mostly mid-tempo blackened metal with a progressive attitude and well-timed segueways into eerie gothic post-punk and straight up rock. These guys weren't posing with their whole self-destructive image, either; Niklas Kvarforth made a career out of being a grade-A creepozoid with a history of extensive self-mutilation (both on and off stage) and acts of violence, and the ghoulish photos inside the sleeve for Angst portray what might be one of the unhealthiest looking bands in black metal.
    Shining's Angst is one of their best and certainly one of my favorites, six songs of driving, desolate black metal that move from slow, doom-laden passages of miserable minor-key dirge to bursts of furious blastbeat-driven aggression. Songs like opener " Mörda Dig Själv" swarm with requiem-like bass guitar melodies and droning wasp-wing guitars, the mournful music often suddenly dropping into a vicious mid-tempo groove riding on pummeling waves of double bass drumming. I don't usually pay a whole lot of attention to the bass guitar in black metal bands, but Phil A. Cirone's playing on Angst is notably expressive, his grim melodic lines sometimes suffused with an almost jazzlike sensitivity. Angst also marked Mayhem drummer Hellhammer's first appearance with the band, and his nuanced, complex drumming likewise really stands out, bringing a deep percussive texture to these self-destruction anthems that you usually don't find in this sort of stuff. These guys are pretty goddamn heavy though, the songs loaded with crushing Frostian chug and bleak, pummeling blackened power, and they can also swing a lot harder than your usual blackened mopefest, as album closer "Fields Of Faceless" shifts into some massive hard rock riffage. The album is traced with some cool, creepy atmospheric touches, like the vibraphone-like melody that suddenly pops up in the middle of "Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie" and the weepy, gothic guitar part that takes over the gorgeously miserable final moments, while amplified acoustic guitar is used to funereal effect on "Submit To Self-destruction" before giving way to soaring blues-tinged hard rock solos. There's also the instrumental interlude "Till Minne Av Daghen" that combines macabre harpsichord playing, the sounds of a distant thunderstorm, and washes of gossamer, Badalamenti-esque guitar vibrato.
    Musically accomplished and perversely inventive, this album is further proof that Shining's miserablist suicide metal is some of the best, right up there alongside their pals in Bethlehem, with whom they share a similar penchant for blending together elements of black metal, doom, and post-punk. Comes on 180 gram black vinyl.


SHINING   In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster / Grindstone   2 x CD   (Rune Grammofon)    22.99



   Not to be confused with suicide-consumed Swedish black metallers Shining, this Shining is the Norwegian "blackjazz" outfit who put out a couple of albums on avant label Rune Grammofon before moving on to more metallic pastures with Prosthetic Records and touring with the likes of Enslaved. The two albums that Shining released earlier on Rune Grammofon marked the band's shift from their earlier free-jazz influenced works into a much more aggressive, metal-tinged sound, drawing heavily from extreme metal and the ornate prog rock of King Crimson while keeping the saxophone of multi-instrumentalist and frontman (and former member of the renowned ensemble Jaga Jazzist) Jřrgen Munkeby front and center. Both In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster and Grindstone were reissued a while back on vinyl, but now we finally have them available again as a double CD set.
    2005's In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster features ten songs of metallic-tinged prog-jazz heaviness that moves from creepy clacking percussive soundscapes into MONSTROUS progged out power, almost like a proggier, more whacked-out Yakuza or a more jazz-obsessed Tool at times, but more experimental and creepy, the songs shifting from that angular crush into passages of gorgeous otherworldly atmosphere and soundtracky ambience. I'm also reminded of the great Univers Zero at times, but then songs like "Redrum" will turn into this weird mix of Carl Stalling-esque cartoon jazz and jagged noise rock crunch, or they'll drift into the stunning moody jazz of "Romani", or another one of their boisterous bouts of sinister mathy prog. Weird electronic effects and abrasive noise are coiled around the band's complex workouts, bursts of abstract electronic glitchery and off-kilter industrialized drum machines pounding beneath that horror-soundtrack ambience amid bizarre scat-style vocals, all chopped up and re-arranged into mind-bending progmetal symphonies cobbled from Morricone scores and atmospheric 70's era horror soundtracks, and dark veins of magisterial prog rock. Anyone into stuff like Fantomas, Zu, and Combat Astronomy should be checking this album out.
    The second disc features Shining's 2007 follow-up Grindstone, and it's even more aggressive, chock full of those burly math-metal freak outs and whiplash inducing complexity, wild time signature changes and frenetic flute runs, discordant, almost Voivodian guitar chords and thunderous drumming, the first few songs tearing out of the gate at near thrash metal-style tempos, dropping into spacey stretches of fusiony electric piano and cosmic synth, and swells of awesome orchestral soundtrack music that evokes the dark dissonances of György Ligeti, sudden assaults of crushing over-modulated metallic riffage and octopoidal drumming, building into powerful tracks like "Stalemate Longan Runner" that ascend into dark prog, or the operatic majesty of "Psalm" that weaves haunting female vocals with weighty metallic riffage and sweeping ominous orchestral drama, or the weirdly titled "-... .- -.-. ...." that unleashes ferocious swarming black metal riffs across a field of delirious nocturnal jazz.
    Comes in slipcase packaging.
Track Samples:
Sample : Winterreise
Sample : Fight Dusk with Dawn
Sample : Perdurabo
Sample : Goretex Weather Report
Sample : 31=300=20 (It Is by Will Alone I Set My Mind in Motion)



SIEGE   Lost Session '91   7" VINYL   (Patac Records)    6.00



   Been waiting for an official release of this stuff for eons. I've heard about the existence of this recording for years but had never actually heard it, an unreleased studio session from Boston proto-grindcore pioneers Siege, recorded in 1991 after briefly reforming with none other than Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt on vocals. To the best of my knowledge, this demo is the only recording the band produced after their seminal early 80s EP Drop Dead and their tracks for the seminal 1985 Pusmort compilation Cleanse The Bacteria, and it certainly has a different sound than their earlier material, though still plenty vicious.
    Thought to be lost for years, these recordings were unearthed on a dingy old cassette tape a while back, and have been remastered for this limited-edition 7"; the session still sounds raw and rudely blown-out, but it's hardly an impediment to my enjoyment of this stuff. This version of Siege sounds a lot less frenzied than they did on their classic debut, with more of a traditional thrash metal feel: "Death & Taxes" rips it up in that classic late 80s crossover thrash vein, all scorching metal solos and blistering punked-out thrash riffing, sounding like it could have been right at home on an old Earache Records compilation; "Disregard" is a little more in the vein of that classic breakneck Siege stuff, a crushing whiplash attack of bestial hardcore that suddenly veers into a massive mid-tempo mosh part; "New World Order" (which was later resurrected by post-Siege sludge-rock outfit Nightstick in different form) is the biggest surprise on here, a slow crushing chugfest that almost sounds like Celtic Frost, but possessed by Putnam's vicious hysterical screaming, easily the heaviest goddamn thing on this demo; and it's capped off by the short, chaotic blast violence of "Cameras". Fans hoping to hear more of the maniacal, experimental blastcore that marked Drop Dead might bee disappointed, but this lost recording shreds regardless, a fascinating artifact from the Boston area extreme music scene. Limited to one thousand copies.


SIMM   Visitor   CD   (Ohm Resistance)    13.98



   From the monstrous, red-meat album art that looks like it would have been right at home on the cover to one of the books in the Dell/Abyss line, to the quote from Crowley's The Book Of The Law that graces the back of the album, it's obvious that we're in darker than usual territory in the Ohm Resistance realm. Cold, dissonant, dystopian, SIMM's Visitor came out towards the end of 2013, an album that almost ended up totally going beneath my radar, serving up some of the darkest, dankest industrial dubcrush since the last Scorn EP. Visitor marks the end of a nearly twenty year silence from Italian artist Eraldo Bernocchi (a founding member of the cult 80's occult industrial band Sigillum S) and his originally short-lived project, who released only one other album prior to this, 1996's Welcome on the now defunct Possible label run by Mick Harris of Scorn / Napalm Death / Lull infamy.
    During that sixteen year slumber Bernocchi busied himself with numerous projects, including the crushing jazz-core outfit Black Engine, and the heavy metallic-tinged prog outfits Obake and Metallic Taste Of Blood. With Visitor, Bernocchi finally returns to the deep subterranean ambience and pitch-black trip-hop of his debut, these nine tracks calling back to that same downtempo, dread-filled sound, slow moving breakbeats that skulk and skitter through a shadowy soundworld filled with eerie, murky piano melodies, dirty droning bass lines, and strange ghostly sounds that flit and chitter at the edge of your perception. Utterly menacing stuff, like hearing some impossibly cold Scorn-scored horror film soundtrack, the vibe unremittingly sinister, the vocals that drift in distorted and demonic, malevolent mumblings lurking in the background. There are parts of Visitor that almost seem to transform into a Bohren-esque jazziness, such as on "The Wind Is Blowing", the snap of the snares echoing and rippling into the black haze, jazzy instrumentation muted and diffused over swells of distorted, doom-laden drone. By the album's end, Bernocchi is closing this out with something akin to Massive Attack providing the soundtrack to a descent into Hell, like the darkest trip-hop emanating from deep in the depths of some ancient, long-forgotten subterranean tunnel system, the undulating bass-heavy grooves swathed in shadow and grime, the beats breaking away into fields of cinematic, pitch-black ambience that echo off of catacomb walls.
    This album is fucking intoxicating, a mesmeric wash of sepulchral death-dub that I haven't been able to stop playing since it came in. Easily my favorite release from Ohm Resistance since Scorn's Refuse; Start Fires. Nightmarish downtempo music, at times comparable to the darkest moments found on Ulver's Lyckantropen Themes. Comes in a gatefold jacket.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sky Eater
Sample : Herezie
Sample : Crematorium



SISSY SPACEK   Window Hammer   7" VINYL + DVDR   (Chondritic Sound)    9.99



   Another brief, brain-splattering blast of experimental noisecore from Sissy Spacek. Featuring the lineup of former Bastard Noise member John Wiese on bass, drummer Charlie Mumma (Knelt Rote, L'Acephale, Sleetmute Nightmute) and vocalist Corydon Ronnau, Window Hammer marks another variation on Sissy Spacek's ever-mutating (but always abrasive) agenda. The a-side is made up of ultra-spastic noisegrind chopped up into seven tracks, most of 'em averaging around twenty some odd seconds in length, Rommau spewing his vocals in an inchoate mix of frenzied screaming and bestial roars, Mumma blasting away at supersonic tempos, his drum kit locked into a vicious machinegun ratatat. The bass riffs that Wiese slings around rippers like "Void Zone" and "Crime Strobe" vacillate between old-school Scum style grindcore riffs and jagged no wave abrasion, the band slipping into churning freeform noise and collapsing grind chaos, while Joe Preston of Thrones / Melvins fame belts out some additional roars off in the background on a couple tracks. It's one of the few Sissy Spacek recordings where they actually get close to playing a kind iof structured, grindcore style assault, but there's still plenty of their raucous noisy chaos erupting across this 7". On the other hand, the b-side "Seven Dwarfs" is more like their previous cut-up / harsh noise / noisecore material, a three and a half minute hellblast of screeching feedback, malfunctioning electronics, cyclonic blastbeats, and garbled screaming all chopped up and pureed into a PCP-drenched kill-frenzy.
    This 7" also comes with a DVDR, and it's pretty fucking killer. It features roughly twenty minutes of live footage of the band, ranging from basement assaults captured on a static camera, to an artfully edited short film that features their live set playing over a collage of footage from various shows, these scenes then intercut with additional footage of the band jamming with improv legends Smegma, along with various scattered abstract images. It's actually less of a concert document than it is an experimental short film, but it's still really interesting for fans of the band.


SKORNEG   Foehn   CD   (Malignant)    10.98



   A superior album of terrifying black soundscapes, Foehn is the first release from the duo of Frédéric Arbour (the man behind esteemed dark ambient label Cyclic Law and a member of the ritual ambient group Havan alongside Harlow from Funerary Call) and Montreal drone artist Christian Corvellec (AKA Skinwell). Inspired by the desolation and harshness of arctic environments, Skorneg's debut ventures into some supremely bleak and nightmarish territory. The opening title track kicks this off with a swirling black fog of murky orchestral rumblings and distant howling, everything immersed in a thick haze of reverb and delay, with blasts of rhythmic metallic sound echoing in the depths. It's a pitch-black dronescape, those distant howling voices shifting into fearsome choral sounds that have been stretched and muffled into vast smears of seraphic horror. The slow, spaced-pout blasts of metallic percussive noise bring an additional weightiness to Skorneg's abyssal symphony, as this gradually evolves from those spacious eruptions of reverberant clank into a steady, almost militaristic throb that slowly comes into focus behind the opaque blackness. Fragments of eerie melody flit in and out of view, creepy half-formed figures that float languidly through the vast cavernous expanse of Skorneg's lightless depths. With this opening track alone, the duo delivers some of the most unsettling black ambience in recent memory.
    The other three tracks on Foehn delve into similarly blighted soundscapes, revealing strange mechanical rhythms and clockwork pulsations amid squeals of backwards guitar-like sound and slowly undulating waves of black symphonic drone, slipping into some surprisingly propulsive passages of industrialized sound at times. Gusts of ghastly swarming noise spreads out beneath buzzing high-voltage drones and deep, fluttering bass frequencies, and on the closing track "Sherpas", the duo drift out into a softly smoldering expanse of ritualistic whispers and rhythmic crackle, the dimly luminescent glow of the clustered synth-drones and stretched-out choral drift swirling in slow looping movements around strange clanking noises, almost like some murky, Philip Jeck-ian turntablist exercise beamed back from the shores of the river Styx. In fact, I picked up on a little of that Jeck-like vibe all throughout Foehn, and anyone who dug his darker works like An Ark for the Listener should definitely check out Skorneg's ominous subterranean loops and stygian drift. Of course, anyone into the jet-black ambient recordings of Yen Pox and early 90's Lustmord, or the more abstract fringes of horror-movie soundtrack orchestrations will want to hear this exquisitely-composed obsidian epic, as well. Comes in a four-panel digipack, limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Skroneg
Sample : Sherpas
Sample : Foehn



SON OF MAN   Burn The Witch   7" VINYL   (King Of The Monsters)    5.00



   This new 7" of feral, blackened hardcore from SoCal demons Son of Man blew my socks off. The band appears to have been kicking around for awhile and has a previous 7" under their belt, but this is the first time I've heard 'em, even though their brand of ugly, black metal-influenced hardcore is something I never get enough of. Along with the noted influence of Nordic black metal, Son Of Man's vicious blackened violence most strongly shares the spiteful, eschatological worldview as "Holy Terror" outfits like Gehenna, Ringworm and Integrity, fusing brutal thrash metal to filthy, blackened violence, wailing blues-damaged solos slung over the sudden descents into dissonant, bonecrushing doom-drenched dirge, an air of impending chaos hanging over the whole recording. Catchy stuff, though, too, from the rampaging end time horror and Frostian crush of "Child Of The Morning Star" to the maniacal thrash metal of "“Chiroptophobia” that swarms with eerie black metal-esque arpeggios and bursts of savage blastbeat chaos, later slipping into monstrous doom and the weary nihilism and dark melodic guitar work of "“Last Cries of the Dead”, closing with the violent blackened hardcore of "Burn The Witch" that strongly recalls early Ringworm, a frenzy of swarming black metal guitars and pounding hardcore tempos, grimly anthemic and apocalyptic. Addicts to the Holy Terror / Dark Empire / A389 sound will dig these guys. Limited to one hundred ninety seven copies, pressed on red vinyl.


STARGAZER   A Great Work Of Ages / A Work Of Great Ages   2 x LP   (Parasitic)    27.00



  Finally have this 2012 vinyl edition of Stargazer's A Great Work Of Ages, A Work Of Great Ages in stock, double LP on 180 gram vinyl, in gatefold packaging with a poster, limited to five hundred copies...
  Not having heard this Australian band's previous album The Scream that Tore Across the Sky (their debut from 2005), I wasn't sure what to expect from this. I knew that the members of Stargazer were also involved in Portal, that bizarre trans-dimensional death metal outfit that I've been a big fan of for years, and they also had ties to a couple of other well-known Aussie metal bands like Cauldron Black Ram, Misery's Omen and Mournful Congregation, and that the band has been kicking around since the early 90's but has only started to release actual full lengths in the past five years. With names like 'The Serpent Inquisitor', 'Selenium', and 'The Great Righteous Destroyer', I might have expected some sort of fucked-up black metal from these guys. But while there is some black metal going on within Stargazer's dense, convoluted sound, this is something way more freakish happening on A Great Work Of Ages that really took me by surprise; this is frantic, occult-obsessed avant-garde death metal that more than anything takes me back to the classic prog-death from the early 90's that I love so much, bands like Cynic circa Focus, Atheist, Spheres-era Pestilence, and especially the later Sadus stuff. Complex, constantly shifting blackened death metal that jumps all over the place as they move through these eight tracks, the sound of Stargazer an utterly unpredictable one as the musicians leap through these bizarre arrangements and stylistic spasms, and yet somehow make all of this sound seamless (if a bit psychotic), shifting from vicious blackened thrash that reeks of classic European crush into whacked angular deaththrash, morphing between Morbid Angel-esque virtuosity over into dolorous slower prog metal and racing back into these jaw-dropping jazz sections that rival anything that the guys in Atheist ever shredded out.
   And as complex and progressive as this gets, the songs are actually pretty infectious, with loads of amazing melodies and massive riffs. The bass playing in particular stands out; this album features some of the wildest jazz-influenced bass guitar I've heard on a death metal album in ages, with lots of fluid high-end bass lines and intricate soloing that occasionally reminds me of Jaco Pastorius, and gives Stargazer a very offbeat fusionoid feel. This is never more apparent than on the song "Pypes of Psychosomatis", which has the band drift off into some deep, psychedelic jazz-fusion ambience. Vocal-wise, it's pretty nuts-the singer has this fucked-up gasping screech that is often heavily processed and layered, and gets pretty trippy, but a lot of this actually borders on being instrumental...there are long stretched of A Great Work Of Ages where the vocals disappear completely and we're just surrounded by the stunning complex death metal, spaced-out jazziness and savage mutant thrash veering wildly through intense prog-like structures. This is one of my favorite new death metal albums for this year, and I'll be hunting down their older stuff as soon as possible; it's recommended to anyone into highly skilled progressive death/thrash, especially if you're into Atheist, and later era Sadus.
Track Samples:
Sample : Pypes of Psychosomatis
Sample : Red Antlered Radiant
Sample : Refractive Convex Continuum



STATION DYSTHYMIA   Overhead, Without Any Fuss, The Stars Were Going Out   CD   (Solitude Productions)    11.99



   Station Dysthymia's Overhead, Without Any Fuss, The Stars Were Going Out quietly came out a year ago through Russian doom metal label Solitude, and was mostly overlooked by a metal scene already drowning in an ocean of new releases. Fans of adventurous underground metal have been missing out, though, as this album is pretty amazing; introducing an imaginative take on experimental deathdoom steeped in apocalyptic themes and influenced by some of the more chilling late 20th century science fiction (the title of the album is itself a direct quote from Arthur C. Clarke's classic short story "The Nine Billion Names of God"), Overhead was part of a small batch of fantastic albums released by Solitude in 2013 that ranks as some of the best stuff the label has ever put out.
    At first, this Russian band seems to be trafficking in the sort of gloomy funereal doom metal that Solitude has made its name on over the past decade. But once you begin to venture into the massive half-hour long epic "A Concrete Wall" that opens the album, the music slowly starts to reveal interesting new layers to the sprawling mass of crushing, downtuned deathdoom. That glacial heaviness is smeared in eerie liturgical chants and insanely guttural howls, and has stretches of morose quietude that bloom with a mixture of gorgeous, twilight-hued slow-core guitar chords and soaring, spacey leads. This first song alone is a terrific slab of spacey slow-motion metal that reaches an almost Floydian level of grandeur, but from there it slips into discordant, otherworldly heaviness that almost feels like a more psychedelic, twisted, trippy take on Disembowelment's glacial ultra-crush, while other passages fracture into feedback-drenched instrumental dronescapes littered with atonal guitar melodies that circle through the darkness, spinning out into whooshing cloudforms of jangling guitar and Hawkwindian effects. In contrast with the more majestic elements, the vocals are sickening, a mix of barely comprehensible death-growl drenched in delay, and monstrous howls rippling out across the vastness of the music. There's also some ugly, discordant riffing that echoes some of the later Gorguts stuff, dissonant drones weaving around sickly melodies over the slow-motion lurch, as the sound erupts into a cacophony of hellish screams and wailing like a scene out of a Bosch painting come to life.
    The remaining three songs are also pretty epic, each one delving into further depths of crushing dissonant doom and eerie atonal slowcore, the air heavy with palpable dread, further shadowed by the appearance of majestic church organs and more of those sweeping kosmische electronics. Station Dysthymia's sound is inarguably rooted in the most abject depths of doom metal, drawing from the iconic sounds of the aforementioned Disembowelment as well as the funereal crawl of Thergothon and Skepticism. But the band infuses that sound with their own distinct mixture of spacey textures and atonal deathcrush, shot through with a few brief moments of wrecked beauty, like the final wash of instrumental doom-laden grandeur that resembles latter-day Isis gone funeral doom, or the achingly gorgeous hook that emerges towards the end of "Starlit: A Rude Awakening" before the creeping cosmic sludge suddenly slips gears into a propulsive motorik groove. It's one of the more original doom albums I've been listening to, and is highly recommended for anyone into the more extreme end of the spectrum looking for something a little more offbeat.
Track Samples:
Sample : Starlit: We Rest At Last
Sample : Starlit: A Rude Awakening
Sample : A Concrete Wall



SUMA / ULTRAPHALLUS   Geisteskrank / Young Bones   7" VINYL   (Hell Comes Home)    6.99



   Beginning in 2012, Irish label Hell Comes Home began to unleash a subscription club series of 7"s that featured pairings of some of the best bands in the noise-rock/sludge/doom underground (and beyond); featuring the likes of Thou, Fistula, Burning Love, Dead Elephants, and Coffinworm, this series delivered all-new material from the artists involved, each 7" featuring one song from each band along with a digital download code for the music. In addition, each 7" is presented in a cream-colored jacket with striking original artwork from Polish designer Kuba Sokólski, who illustrated each of these singles with a different mutant insect-like monstrosity, rendered in the sort of detail that you would expect from an entomological text. The look and feel of these records got my collector's vein pulsating in a big way, and we've managed to snag a selection of these 7"s for the C-Blast shop; numbers are limited, of course, and several of the entries in the Hell Comes Home series are already out of print...
   Number two in the series, the Suma / Ultraphallus pairs up abrasive Swedish sludge metal with bludgeoning Belgian noise rock. Suma's "Geisteskrank" is a monolithic slab of droning, churning heaviness, a mixture of Amphetamine Reptile-esque noise rock and monstrous sludge metal that becomes an apocalyptic roar, like a more atmospheric version of High On Fire maybe, the uniquely tremulous vocals rising above the thunderous crush of Suma's molten metal, layered guitars blending dark twilit melody and rumbling droning powerchords into a fearsome noisy dirge that stretches out across the whole side, spiked with flourishes of hypnotic noise. Impressive stuff. The other side has "Young Bones" from Ultraphallus, who lock into one of their trademark skull-scraping anthems, a menacing droning riff forming around a catchy vocal hook and infectious backbeat as the song suddenly lurches into a staggered off-kilter mid-tempo groove, discordance and hauntingly melodic guitar textures coming together with washes of electronic drift, handclaps and furiously strummed acoustic guitar for a weirdly hypnotic noise-rock trance.


SUNN O)))   00 Void   CD   (Southern Lord)    12.98



Finally have the single-disc version of the Sunn 00 Void reissue back in stock...
For years its only been available as an extremely expensive Japanese import, but Southern Lord finally reissued Sunn O)))'s 2000 album 00 Void this year, complete with the new artwork from Stephen Kasner that accompanied the Daymare version.
00 Void was the second release from Sunn O))) following their extremely limited Grimmrobe Demos disc that Hydra Head issued the year before, but for most people (myself included), this was where we were first introduced to Sunn O)))'s massive glacial hypno-riffage and black hole ambience. Much has been made of Sunn O)))'s obvious debt to the "power drone" pioneered on Earth's legendary Earth 2 album, and these vast rumbling sludgescapes and circular trance-riffs are do owe a lot to Earth's ambient drone metal, but the guys in Sunn O))) (which includes, for those who have been living under a rock for the past decade, key members Stephen O'Malley of Burning Witch/Thorr's Hammer/Khanate and Greg Anderson of Engine Kind/Thorr's Hammer/Goatsnake) had by this point already begun to carve out their own language of slow-motion heaviness, introducing new levels of tectonic weight and density to their drone-metal experiments and playing with the use of electronics, processed vocals, stringed instruments and musique concrete concepts. The four tracks on 00 Void are simply constructed, but incredibly heavy, a high point in the realm of orchestral metallic drone that's still one of my favorite albums of it's kind.
The murky opening riff at the very beginning of "Richard" still flattens my skull to this day. With help from Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Asva), the band uncoils a monstrous bass-riff in glacial slow motion, the gluey low-end chug of the guitars rumbling like a semi-frozen wave of molasses over a near constant buzzing drone that is threaded through the whole track. The riff undergoes a couple of subtle mutations, and the backing sounds of whirring metallic hum and ominous swarming feedback shifts and warps ever so slightly over the fifteen minutes as they pile on processed violins and other sounds, but the sheer leaden heaviness remains a constant throughout. The second track "NN O)))" feels more propulsive, the pace more bulldozing as the crushing doom-riff plows through vast cosmic nebulae and abyssal ether formed from distant war-horns, wordless chant and almost Hawkwindian synth transmissions, but it's still agonizingly slow, the slo-mo doomchug drifting like some saurian behemoth through the void. "Rabbits' Revenge" is a re-working of the song "Hung Bunny" off of the Melvins album Lysol, deconstructed here by Sunn O))) into a sprawling disembodied dirge, only vaguely recognizable from the source material, and the final track "Ra At Dusk (Invokation 274 SPDR)" is a monstrous space-doom ritual cloaked in howling demonic noise, time-stretched horns blasting through the blackness, black-hole heaviness chugging aimlessly though space above waves of rumbling amplifier hum...
After this, Sunn O))) would delve into much more experimental territory and often moving pretty far from the pure glacial crush of this album, but this disc will always own a particular spot in my collection as an essential piece of ambient sludge.
Track Samples:
Sample : Ra At Dusk
Sample : Rabbit's Revenge
Sample : Richard



SUNN O))) & ULVER   Terrestrials (GOLD VINYL)   LP   (Southern Lord)    16.98



  Recorded over the course of a four year period, Terrestrials is the long-awaited new collaboration between experimental drone/doom duo Sunn and the acclaimed dark Norwegian prog band Ulver, and it's a true collaboration that sees the two bands dissolving together into an entirely new sound that doesn't really sound quite like anything either band has brought us before. The session sprung up from their shared appreciation of modern classical music and the 70s-era cosmic jazz found on albums like Alice Coltrane's World Galaxy and Pharaoh Saunders's Karma, and infused those influences into these three long epics of gorgeous nocturnal ambience. Both Sunn's more metallic tendencies and the bombast of the newer Ulver material are greatly subdued, but there's still a lingering darkness that drifts through the slow, celestial currents, making this one of the more mesmeric releases from either artist in quite some time.
   When the album starts off, the sound is not to far off from the dark chamber atmosphere of Ulver's latest album Messe I.X-VI.X, though Sunn's presence is easily detected in the pulses of deep bass tones that reverberate through the space, the surges of distorted metallic drone that rise and fall throughout the record, and in the undercurrents of apocalyptic dread that surface at key moments. Opening with the dark shimmering beauty of "Let There Be Light", the ensemble slowly drifts out into a nebula of stretched kosmische drones, trumpets slowly unfurling into ghostly minimal melodies, a somber, cinematic jazziness curling over smears of backwards sound and swells of sinister low-end rumble. Clusters of dissonant strings swarm beneath the gleam of piano notes that delicately ascend from the song's surface, alighting on solar winds. It stretches out like some solemn hymn, not erupting out of that solemnity until almost the very end when the rumble of percussion suddenly swells up and the music blooms into a crescendo of sinister majesty, the improvised drumming rolling beneath an epic melodic figure, deep distorted metallic heaviness seeping up alongside deep rumbling bass, that Sunn-style dronecrush smoldering beneath this elegiac weight.
   The following piece "Western Horn", on the other hand, is burnished in an apocalyptic glow, descending into darker and more ominous regions as eerie processed choral sounds and fluttering electronic noise sweeps in over more of those haunting trumpets. Some electric piano sounds emerge early on, joined by considered use of resonant distorted bass tones, a sinister minor key progression snaking through those sustained wailing voices and washes of textured sound. Over the course of the nearly ten minute long piece, the atmosphere continues to darken, the feeling of foreboding expanding even as that Rhodes piano-like sound brings a lovely, spectral quality to the music, those gleaming notes pulsing over the creepy steam-whistle drones, sheets of sustained dissonance, and whirring organ tones.
   Mournful violins and ringing, reverb-drenched guitar are woven together on the stirring closer "Eternal Return", which spreads across the final third of the album in a dark stain of Morricone-style western twang. A doleful guitar melody creeps through the background, a fractured, meandering accompaniment to that somber jazziness and those folky strings. A folk-flecked funereal darkjazz, gorgeous and bewitching as Rygg's hushed baritone croon drifts in, a near-whisper cloaked in shadow, with feedback unfurling and speakers humming, eerie organ melodies slipping through the blackness, like some Eastern European funeral folk smeared in jazzy ambience.
   Available on both CD and re-pressed on limited-edition gold vinyl, featuring fantastic minimal album art from Sunn's Stephen O'Malley.
Track Samples:
Sample : Western Horn
Sample : Let There Be Light
Sample : Eternal Return



SUTEKH HEXEN   Monument Of Decay   CD   (Small Doses)    9.98



   Released simultaneously on limited edition vinyl (via Black Horizons) and as an even more limited double-cassette set (from Swedish label Beläten), and now on CD in a four-panel digisleeve, Monument Of Decay is the newest EP from San Francisco black noise/drone metallers Sutekh Hexen, offering up four new tracks of their increasingly abstract and atmospheric necro-drift. Each of these four tracks runs around five minutes in length, but despite the brevity of this EP, it's some of the best stuff that I've heard from the band since their album on Magic Bullet.
    The first track "Lastness" reveals a ghastly kosmische soundscape of ghoulish whispers, distant eerie synthesizer music, and fluttering low-end distortion that forms into one of the most evocative and unsettling Sutekh Hexen pieces I've heard from these guys so far. It's like hearing strains of some murky ancient prog album drifting over a desolate blackened waste, the dark keys adrift far off in the distance, continually obscured by the appearance of creaking metallic noises, mysterious chanting voices, and surges of immense bass-drone that seep up out of the depths. That deathly solemn atmosphere is totally shredded by the ultra-noisy black metal violence of "...Of Emanation", where the band erupts into a chaotic din of thudding blastbeats and tortured, abject howling, the guitars diffused into a haze of white noise static, the blackened hiss fading in and out as the track becomes more abstracted, the instruments disappearing in and out of passages of minimal monstrous ambience and clanking industrial drift, coalescing at last into a slavering, hungry chaos churning in the blackness.
    The second tape (or side, depending on which format we're talking about) opens with the crackling, fragmenting electronic decay of the Sanskrit-titled third track, a haunting fusion of buried choral synths and heavily obscured darkwave melody drowning in an ocean of Merzbowian static and glitch that continues to intensify in noisiness. And it closes with the monstrous ultra-crush of the fourth track, a mega-distorted riff rumbling in the depths like the blast of a depth charge that has been looped into a grinding rhythmic throb as dramatic, ominous synthesizer figures begin to pour in. This is one of the finest pieces of blackened sound I've heard from these guys, an industrial-tinged heaviness that sort of resembles something from the Human Quena Orchestra being used as background music to a Black Mass, chant-like voices hovering deep in the shadows, droning orchestral synth-strings drawn taught around the increasingly malevolent vocals, a demonic hiss that builds into a deafening blast of pitch-black hate.
   In addition to the original EP tracks, this new CD version of Monument also includes a fifth bonus track titled "Shadows II", presumably a follow-up to the track "Shadows" that appeared on their 2011 7" on Holy Terror. This thirty five minute track is almost like an album of it's own, opening with a wash of corrosive static that quickly dissipates into pools of limpid amplifier drone and chiming minor key guitars, softly whirring feedback and amp noise spreading out beneath the almost Godspeed-esque guitars like a dark stain, the sound slowly building in intensity as it becomes swept up in squalls of churning, ominous noise and vicious Merzbowian static, the riff slowly shifting into something heavier and darker. The gorgeous, apocalyptic power of the music enshrouded in these waves of brutal noise and distortion makes this one of Sutekh Hexen's most impressive recordings, the sound evolving into elegiac forms as those deep chantlike voices sweep across the sonic wastes, disappearing into silence, then reappearing as gusts of acrid black distortion burning off into the distance, leaving behind faint wisps of backwards melody, gleaming electronic buzz and washes of warm organ-like drone that unfold beneath the rush of arctic winds.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dhumavati's Hunger
Sample : ...Of Emanation
Sample : Shadows II



SUTEKH HEXEN   Monument Of Decay   LP   (Black Horizons)    16.98



Released simultaneously on limited edition vinyl (via Black Horizons) and as an even more limited double-cassette set (from Swedish label Beläten), Monument Of Decay is the newest EP from San Francisco black noise/drone metallers Sutekh Hexen, offering up four new tracks of their increasingly abstract and atmospheric necro-drift. Each of these four tracks runs around five minutes in length, but despite the brevity of this EP, it's some of the best stuff that I've heard from the band since their album on Magic Bullet.
The first track "Lastness" reveals a ghastly kosmische soundscape of ghoulish whispers, distant eerie synthesizer music, and fluttering low-end distortion that forms into one of the most evocative and unsettling Sutekh Hexen pieces I've heard from these guys so far. It's like hearing strains of some murky ancient prog album drifting over a desolate blackened waste, the dark keys adrift far off in the distance, continually obscured by the appearance of creaking metallic noises, mysterious chanting voices, and surges of immense bass-drone that seep up out of the depths. That deathly solemn atmosphere is totally shredded by the ultra-noisy black metal violence of "...Of Emanation", where the band erupts into a chaotic din of thudding blastbeats and tortured, abject howling, the guitars diffused into a haze of white noise static, the blackened hiss fading in and out as the track becomes more abstracted, the instruments disappearing in and out of passages of minimal monstrous ambience and clanking industrial drift, coalescing at last into a slavering, hungry chaos churning in the blackness.
The second tape (or side, depending on which format we're talking about) opens with the crackling, fragmenting electronic decay of the Sanskrit-titled third track, a haunting fusion of buried choral synths and heavily obscured darkwave melody drowning in an ocean of Merzbowian static and glitch that continues to intensify in noisiness. And it closes with the monstrous ultra-crush of the fourth track, a mega-distorted riff rumbling in the depths like the blast of a depth charge that has been looped into a grinding rhythmic throb as dramatic, ominous synthesizer figures begin to pour in. This is one of the finest pieces of blackened sound I've heard from these guys, an industrial-tinged heaviness that sort of resembles something from the Human Quena Orchestra being used as background music to a Black Mass, chant-like voices hovering deep in the shadows, droning orchestral synth-strings drawn taught around the increasingly malevolent vocals, a demonic hiss that builds into a deafening blast of pitch-black hate.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dhumavati's Hunger
Sample : ...Of Emanation



TARE   Ritual Degradation   CASSETTE + 3" CDR   (Eternal Death)    6.98



   Another one of Eternal Death's cool cassette/3" CDR combos packaged in a plastic clamshell case, Ritual Degradation is the debut offering from new San Francisco duo Tare, who features one of the former members of Boston black thrashers Nachzehrer. These guys belt out six tracks of punishing, blasphemous punked-out black metal violence via a stripped-down lineup of guitar and drums a la Bone Awl. The sound that whips across this tape is more indebted to a classic Finnish black metal sound though, and the band freely cites the likes of Vordr, Sargeist and Horna as key influences on their sound. Can't argue with that - you can particularly make out traces of Heralding the Breath of Pestilence-era Sargeist in here, but there's plenty of primal, hardcore-style three-chord aggression and stripped down blown-out ugliness that gives Tare a distinct American vibe as well, and the primitive noisiness of Ildjarn would probably be another accurate comparison. The saturated, ultra-distorted guitar tone rumbles and sputters over the album like a malfunctioning chainsaw, spitting out a torrent of garbled in-the-red riffing and evil discordant chord progressions over the mostly mid-paced thrash. It's got some sinister atmosphere swirling around the barbaric blast, too, many of the riffs are moody and menacing, the sound getting so blown and distorted at times that the guitar erupts into a squall of almost total noise, a storm of clanging blasting violence that really hits it's rabid peak on the hypnotic assault of "Subjugataion.Alienation." Another standout on the tape is the plodding necrotic punk of "Ripped To Shit", which is the closest the band get to puking up a full-on hardcore assault, and it's followed by a gloomy instrumental dirge called "The End Is An Idea" that ends the album with a total downer. Killer ripping atavistic filth, limited to one hundred fifty copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : The End Is An Idea
Sample : No Real Reason
Sample : Innate Blasphemy



TERRA SANCTA   Exile   CD   (Malignant)    9.99



   After six years since the release of their acclaimed Disintegration album, Australia's master of dark ambient have returned with this stunning new collection of post-nuclear New Age driftscapes and vast solar-blasted ambience. Since the turn of the century, Terra Sancta's Greg Good has been crafting some of the most immersive dark ambient music around, drawing heavily from classic Teutonic space music forms (with definite influences from early Tangerine Dream and Brüder des Schattens – Söhne des Lichts-era Popol Vuh emerging throughout his sprawling compositions), but ultimately creating something much more vast and desolate and terrible, majestic driftscapes formed from billowing clouds of grainy sound, grim orchestral synth-strings sweeping across wind-blasted wastelands, solar winds ripping across ruined cities, the deep woodwind-like thrum of his drones stretched and diffused into titanic rumblings and tectonic groans. It's some of the most evocative and fearsome dark ambience I've been following.
    As with his previous albums, Exile evokes an endless desolation, sun-blasted deserts and vast tundras, the warm red glow of an irradiated sky hanging over a dead black earth, the atmosphere at once filled with dread and moments of striking beauty. And on the track "Celestial Extinction", we get one of Terra Sancta's most terrifying works, a collaboration with fellow Malignancy Rasalhague that descends into vast Lustmordian blackness and bottomless wells of orchestral doom, the nearly eight minute track filled with subterranean murmurings that echo thunderously throughout the depths, the sound grim and cinematic, a powerful abyssal ambience streaked with sinister horn-like textures, cello-like drones that are seemingly suspended into infinity, growling apocalyptic tones draped over endless waves of threatening minor-key drift. At those moments and those that follow across the latter half of Exile, Terra Sancta can be just as malevolent as anything from Yen Pox or Lustmord, uncovering monstrous subterranean symphonics, washes of fearsome choral power and vast rhythmic industrial churn that all becomes blurred into an ocean of stygian black drift, but Good imbues his bleak textured ambience with a weight unique to this project, and which makes parts of this album seems as sonically heavy as any doom-drone outfit. Highly recommended.
    Comes in a six-panel digipack with striking artwork designed by Kerry Braud of Rasalhague and Maculatum.
Track Samples:
Sample : Empire of Ashes
Sample : Descent II
Sample : Celestial Extinction



TERROR   Issue Two   MAGAZINE   (Terror)    10.00



    Just got the second issue of the semi-annual English-language Lithuanian magazine Terror back in stock, one of the finer European magazines covering the realm of power electronics, industrial music and experimental noise. Featuring a vaguely unsettling cover from artist Egle Shaltmira, this professionally printed magazine packs another forty-four black and white pages with writing that examines the more extreme edges of the industrial underground, with lengthy interviews with Martin Bladh of IRM, Canadian HNW advocate Jake Vita, long running NYC power electronics outfit Slogun, Finnish industrialist Sick Seed, anarchic outfit Barrikad, Steve Cammack of the UK-based experimental project Dieter Muh, the folks behind Polish label Impulsy Stetoskopu, and a long, in-depth Q&A with Mikko Aspa of Grunt / Freak Animal / Clandestine Blaze infamy that covers his various ongoing concerns and thoughts on the state of underground noise and art, and which for me was worth picking the magazine up for alone. While it's obvious that English is the publisher's second language, all of these articles are still highly readable, with the piece with Aspa being especially engaging. The rest of the issue is rounded out by the extensive review section; no cast-off one-paragraph scribblings here, these reviews dig deep into the albums being tackled in a manner similar to Special Interests. A solidly produced underground publication.


TREHA SEKTORI   Sorieh   LP   (Cyclic Law)    34.98



   Now in stock on vinyl via Cyclic Law, in a limited edition of two hundred fifty copies, with a download code and 11" by 17" poster.
   The debut full length from the mysterious French black industrial/ambient group Treha Sektori, who have previously appeared on the Angst Essai III compilation alongside Ulver and Tribe of Circle. If you're looking for a perfect album to seed your nightmares at the threshold of sleep, Sorieh would be it. The band creates an intensely bleak yet phantasmagoric atmosphere across these eight tracks, blending ritualistic dark ambience and deep metallic Lustmord-style drift, vast cavernous drones, heavy percussion, and some seriously creepy processed vocals and manipulated voice recordings. Some of these tracks are almost totally ambient, with heavy sheets of processed metallic drone and vast, cold Lustmord/Yen Pox style emptiness, while others incorporate simple, eerie guitar melody and rumbling, billowing gusts of massive subterranean drone and industrial clang. Those percussive elements are pretty prominent, with lots of heavy kettledrum pummel and martial snares pounding within the gloom; the track "Presceth Keonah" in particular features some hypnotic tribal drumming at the center of an ominous swirling cloud of distant woodwinds, deep-earth thrum, and horrific screams echoing off in the far distance...
    More than anything, it's the use of vocals on Sorieh that makes this album stand out from most of the dark ambient stuff that I get in at C-Blast. You usually don't see vocals featured to this degree on dark ambient albums as you do here, but the bizarre incantations, operatic wailing and anguished screams that inhabit Sorieh's nightmarish underworld are a major part of Treha Sektori's sound. Ululating female wails are stretched into infinite drones, and whispered male voices utter strange invocations that are then chopped up and re-arranged into strange alien code. In fact, most of the vocals that you hear have been electronically processed and edited, adding a strange futuristic vibe to the sinister black drift and industrial pummel, as if you're capturing the transmissions of arcane Satanic rituals that are broadcast on a scrambled internet feed. Kind of falls in somewhere between the grim ritual ambience of the Aural Hypnox label and artists like Halo Manash, Aeoga and Arktau Eos, and the much creepier sounds of French black ambient (Aymrev Erkroz Prevre, Dapnom, Melek-Tha, Silcharde, Stigma Diabolicum) but with those weird, electronically-warped vocals that make this a unique entry in the field of claustrophobic dark ambience.
Track Samples:
Sample : Entori Kethesnah
Sample : Tentureh



TREPANERINGSRITUALEN   Perfection & Permanence   CD   (Cold Spring)    14.98



   Over the past few years, Swedish noise artist Thomas Ekelund has been amassing a sizeable discography of cassette releases under his Trepaneringsritualen project, exploring a mélange of morbid imagery, occult subjects, apocalyptic atmosphere and magic ritual through his blasts of pounding, often crushing death industrial murk tinged with the cold fury and visual aesthetics of Scandinavian black metal. It's only recently that his music has been issued in larger editions that we can actually get our hands on, though, and his latest disc Perfection & Permanence is probably his most high profile release so far, coming out on the esteemed UK industrial label Cold Spring.
    That classic Cold Meat death industrial sound is just the starting point for Trepaneringsritualen's explorations into death-worship, expanding consciousness and occult symbolism. Ekelund's sound trawls much blacker waters, combining hypnotic mechanical throb with a scathing, black metal-esque vocal assault, rumbling ritualistic drones wrapping around the rusted-hulk machinery, black pulsations of distorted synthesizer emanating from deep in the mix. It's genuinely heavy, the sound huge and rhythmic, an evil machine-dirge belching black throbbing malice, evil processed vocals locked into prayer like recitation, blasphemies welded to bitter electronics and garbled dronescapes. Huge thumping rhythms sudden emerging on tracks like "Alone/A/Cross/Abyss" that are, god help us, almost danceable, a muffled tribal pounding that loops infinitely beneath those demonic vocals, while other tracks slip into smoldering fields of electronic filth and powerline hum inhabited by ghastly whispers and clanging metal echoing in the distance, like some industrial dub track stretched and slowed to a nightmarish dirge, creeping across a plane of diseased electronic drift.
    And then there's "The Seventh Man", which suddenly shifts into an even heavier grinding death-groove, howling vocals locking into an infectious chantlike cadence, blasts of low-end heaviness reverberating over a steady, monstrous percussive pulse, the whole thing sounding like some classic industrial metal band like Godflesh or Pitch Shifter turning black and rotten, muffled under a mountain of putrid low-fi ambience. And yet that stuff is also amazingly catchy, the clostest I've ehard this sort of death industrial get to sounding downright anthemic; both "Konung Krönt I Blod" and "He Who Is My Mirror" are in a similar vein, pounding oil drum percussion and booming tribal rhythms erupting into an almost Test Dept.-like fervor, howling vocals belting out the instantly catchy chorus and making you wish that the album had included lyrics. Distorted synths spit out a menacing riff that almost sounds black metal-esque, and from there the album drifts into emptiness, floating out across a lightless void, a yawning abyss that resounds with the rumble of distant thunder, aswirl in plumes of sonic ectoplasma.
    No wonder fans of malevolent industrial music have been flipping out over Trepaneringsritualen's malignant murk; this stuff is right up there with Mz.412 in my opinion, employing black metal aesthetics to a similar extent, but with those moments of surprising catchiness lodged within the grinding ritualistic deathscapes - easily one of the best bands in the death/black industrial realm right now. Comes in a six-panel matte finish digipak.
Track Samples:
Sample : Venerated & Despised
Sample : ˙ţKonung Krönt I Blod
Sample : Alone/A/Cross/Abyss



TUURD   Not So Heavy / Pollock Dracula   7" VINYL   (Carbon)    9.98



   A recently issued, super-limited EP of utterly wrecked instrumental sludge rock from this putrid-sounding Rochester NY duo. Tuurd's latest delivers more of the brain-damaged hypno-sludge that this drum-and-bass team had previously battered us with via their debut album I Wish My Wife Was This Dirty, featuring two tracks of dark, brain-flattening heaviness that starts off with the downtuned slugfuck of "Not So Heavy" slowly rumbling forth across the a-side, a massive bass riff spun into a catchy, almost wistful melody, unfurling into a sludgy speaker-rattling dirge that winds inexorably around the drummer's tar-covered pummel. The song slips into darker, even heavier riffage as it plays out, that pounding percussive slo-mo thud backing the increasingly heavy sludge rock, the sound sorta comparable to early Floor or the Melvins at their most brain-damaged, but way more muffled and gluey and messed-up, the riff fracturing into angular, jagged forms as it slithers into a kind of mutant sludgepop oblivion.
    The second side is more menacing, "Pollock Dracula" sputtering into existence as another weirdly angular bass riff that seizes up repeatedly over random percussive clatter, a deformed, off-kilter groove opening up beneath that rumbling filthy bass, building on that Melvins-gone-mathrock vibe while meandering even further into bouts of heavily drugged, stop-start weirdness and blasts of chaotic, almost improvisational clanking heaviness. Lovely!
    Comes on colored vinyl in a hand-numbered edition of one hundred copies, housed in an Arigato-style foldover sleeve with two silk-screened art prints from Mike Turzanski, and a digital download code.


U-731   By All Means   CD   (Black Plagve)    10.98



    Recently issued on Malignant's black noise / death industrial sub-label Black Plagve, U-731's By All Means is the debut album from this new project from Gordon Lazarus, the guy behind cult death industrial band Defiler. A series of genocide fears set to a backdrop of supremely hateful death industrial horror, the first three tracks feature Lazarus teaming up with John Stillings of Steel Hook Prostheses / Metaconqueror, weaving massive black webs of oceanic distortion and monstrous, distorted vocals, swells of crushing distorted synthesizer sweeping in like some synthetic doom riff, the sound evolving into an ever more ominous and morbid soundworld of demonic industrial creep and seething charred ambience. As the album unfolds, mechanical rhythms appear in the distance, approaching with an agonizing slowness, massive clanking reverberations echoing in the darkness, morbid screams seething through a haze of squealing over-modulated distortion and overdriven amplifier scum.
   This stuff is creepy as hell, tracks like "Forced Neurotic Displacement" and "Asphyxiant Collapse" resembling the blackened death industrial heaviness of Stillings's own band, but slower and murkier and more suffocating, billowing black fogbanks of toxic electronics and immense slow-motion pulses sending tectonic tracers across the corpse-strewn deathzone, while lethargic voices and vicious demonic screams drift through an endless stream of misanthropic horrors and paranoia and abject negativity. Some of the other tracks shift into more ambient territory, like the paranoid black drift of "Aktion-Freedom. Re-Aktion-Resistance", but the latter half of the album completely boils over into a pair of tracks that feature Andrew Grant from The Vomit Arsonist / Bereft, suggestions of malevolent government conspiracies looming beneath the surface of the metallic morbid drones and subterranean rumblings of "F.E.M.A. Care" before it suddenly erupts into a kind of crushing, titanic synth-dirge, followed by the nightmarish warfare visions of the title track. And on closer "Suo Gan / Last Rights", Lazarus contrasts the angelic sounds of a children's choir with the sounds of artillery combat to striking and chilling effect. Infested with moments of crushing heaviness, this is another quality slab of grim, nihilistic industrial violence from the Black Plagve imprint that I can't recommend highly enough. Comes in digipack packaging designed by Mories (of Gnaw Their Tongues / Aderlating / Cloak Of Altering), limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Suo Gan/Last Rights
Sample : Forced Neurotic Displacement
Sample : F.E.M.A. Care



ULVER   Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler   CD   (Head Not Found)    17.98



   With its haunting impressionistic cover art from Aghast's Tanya Stene, Ulver's 1994 debut Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler radiates with a cold, autumnal atmosphere before it even begins to play, but once it does, you're met with one of the finest albums of the original Norwegian black metal scene. Bergtatt has been elusive on these shores, being reissued every few years by the Norwegian label Head Not Found but remaining somewhat tough to track down on CD and vinyl over here. Finally managed to get this influential album in stock here at C-Blast though, and listening to it again emphasizes how forward-thinking and unique Ulver were, even at the very beginning of their career.
    This and 1997's Nattens Madrigal would be the band's only full-on forays into black metal before shifting into the more experimental, progressive sounds they would begin to explore in earnest in the latter half of the 1990s, and Bergtatt was the only Ulver album to fully combine the band's blazing early black metal with the eerie folk music that would appear at length on their follow-up. While their early black metal material is often noted for being rather raw and abrasive even by early 90's production standards, this music is still remarkably beautiful, inspired by ancient Scandinavian folktales and baroque poetry and steeped in a heavy nostalgic atmosphere; the plaintive singing and layered vocal harmonies that emerge over the folk-flecked metallic crunch and churning double bass of opener "I Troldskog Faren Vild " kicks this off with one of the prettiest pieces of second wave black metal I've ever heard, and displays a brilliantly adept hand at crafting truly haunting melodies, with a dreamy, wistful sound filled with yearning and mystery that in many ways foreshadowed the likes of Alcest and Agalloch. Where Darkthrone and Mayhem were furiously spiteful and aggressive in their attitude and delivery, Ulver's debut was much more emotionally complex, though certainly not without it's moments of absolutely blazing blackened power, like the blasting black metal fury that sweeps across "Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need" and "Graablick Blev Hun Vaer". Songs will suddenly break from the hypnotic, repetitive black metal riffing and blasting drums into long stretches of evocative ambience where reverberant classical piano runs materialize over the sound of footsteps moving through a snow-packed forest, and on "Een Stemme Locker", the album drifts into a gorgeous piece of almost funerary folk. As the album further unfolds, though, the band employs passages of ghostly acoustic folk laced with maudlin flutes, and hints of the proggier direction that Ulver would go in later in their career appear in the complex arrangements, the obtuse and unpredictable twists and turns that their songs could go through, and the often ornate musicianship displayed by all of the members of the band, which was both proficient and remarkably ambitious considering the age of these guys when this was recorded. Can't recommend this one enough - Bergtatt is a masterpiece of Norwegian black metal, and one of the few truly essential albums from this era.
Track Samples:
Sample : Chapter 5: Bergtatt: into the Field Chambers
Sample : Chapter 3: Graablick Watches Her Closely
Sample : Chapter 1: Lost in the Forest of the Gnomes



UMBERTO   Temple Room   LP   (Not Not Fun)    16.98



   This one is already out of print and we only nabbed a couple copies, so I'll try not to rave about this super-limited 12" from spook-synth revivalist Umberto for too long. Temple Room is one of the most recent releases from the increasingly popular Umberto, probably the only contemporary artist right now successfully driving a black spike through the intersection of John Carpenter's malevolent minimalism and the baroque, rotted aura of Fabio Frizzi. Out of all of the contemporary electronic artists currently revisiting the golden era of horror soundtracks and vintage synthesizer music, Umberto is one of my favorites, with a unique style that effortlessly synthesizes a number of influences; not just the aforementioned murky graveyard prog of Fabio Frizzi and pulsating minimalism of John Carpenter, but also the grandiose synthesizer arrangements of Claudio Simonetti and the malignant mesmerism of European disco, weaving these influences together into something that still sounds remarkably fresh, at least to my ears. While we're waiting on the follow-up to last year's excellent Confrontation, Umberto has slipped us this EP featuring two versions of the track "Temple Room" off the 2010 album Prophecy Of The Black Widow.
   The extended version of "Temple Room" that spreads across the a-side is a fourteen minute exploration into deep, dark Carpenterian synth-dread laced with gothic majesty. Eerie pipe organs drone beneath the vintage electronic melody and pulsating synths, ominous arpeggios looping over the shimmering black waves of chordal drift, slowly building in tension before the drums kick in and the whole thing suddenly erupts into an infectious evil disco groove, thumping midnight body music, a slick death-disco trance that stretches its hypnotic bass line across nearly the entire side - it's one of the most insidious dancefloor ready pieces of synthcreep I've heard from Umberto, catchy and creepy and utterly contagious.
    The b-side remix is a high-energy pounding Euro-disco delirium, washes of spacey synth and glimmering celestial electronic sweeping over the faster backbeat, distinct enough from the original to sound almost like an entirely different track, though there are some key elements from the original theme you can still make out beyond the swirl of astral drift and the more aggressive tempo, later slipping into an endless dark groove. Fucking fantastic, essential for anyone into the current synthwave fascination and retro-splatter synth scores coming from the likes of Robin Coudert, Zombi, Gatekeeper, Antoni Maiovvi, etc.


UNSEEN NOISE DEATH /BASTARD NOISE / BIZARRE UPROAR   Sources Of Power From Another World   LP   (DP)    16.98



   Another rare Bastard Noise-related release that recently resurfaced through one of our suppliers, this hard-to-find 1994 LP came out on the long-defunct DP label run by BN's Eric Wood, and comes in a letter pressed sleeve made of some kind of metallic silver stock, each one machine numbered on the back. The three-way split features Bastard Noise teaming up with the obscure noisecore/harsh noise project Unseen Noise Death (a project from one of the guys behind the cult Finnish noisecore band Arse) and infamous Finnish power electronics sleazebeast Bizarre Uproar, and it's one hell of an abrasive listening experience.
    First up is Unseen Noise Death, whose five tracks are an unintelligible mess of frenzied guitar noise and garbled vocals, often sounding like some extreme overdriven noisecore assault with the sound so blown out and murky that you can't even tell if there's any sort of drumming anywhere in there; other tracks are shrill harsh noise experiments, bursts of corrosive static and jumbled sonic detritus that seem to take some influence from the likes of Incapacitants and MSBR, and monstrous noisescapes filled with primitive electro-shock rhythms and brutal low-end judder, scraping metal and rumbling low-end squelch, the side slowly inching it's way to UND's final assault of all-out junkyard warfare. This conglomeration of styles also brings to mind some of the harsher Gerogerigegege material, which I'm betting was another heavy influence on this project. In any case, it's a step away from full-on trepanation.
    Recording here with the full Man Is The Bastard lineup, Bastard Noise unleash six tracks of their psychedelic power electronics and mangled locust-noise, swarms of abrasive static drone and malignant feedback, oscillator pedals going bugfuck over vast mechanical rumblings that stretch wide beneath each track, long stretches of alien ambience and grating sheet-metal chaos unfolding beneath the ghastly guttural moan of Eric Wood's almost death metal-like vocals, putrescent beast-gasps reciting surreal extinction visions for the human race, all of this seething, smoldering electronic horror infused with the group's brutally misanthropic worldview.
   And the Lp is capped off with a single track from Finnish power electronics provocateur Bizarre Uproar, whose "Tidal Wave Audio Disintegration Of Sound" explodes across the end of the album in a chaotic blur of chopped-up junk-noise and droning feedback, these ultra-abrasive elements delivered in controlled bursts , a kind of haphazard collage style that makes this the most mind-bending material on the record, fast-paced cut-up noise abuse through which one can hear the sound of a drum kit presumably played at top speed, but deconstructed and reformed into a sputtering blastscape of hiss and thud.


VANHELGD   Relics Of Sulphur Salvation   CD   (20 Buck Spin)    13.98



   Available on Digipack CD and limited edition vinyl.
   Vanhelgd's 2011 album Church of Death is another older NWN title that I somehow managed to totally miss when it first came out, but their latest (and third) full length, here issued by the folks over at 20 Buck Spin, immediately got me hooked on their intensely atmospheric form of classic Swedish death metal. You won't find anything avant-garde on Relics Of Sulphur Salvation, no experimentation with the classic death metal sound, but what these guys do they do exceedingly well, crafting concisely written odes to anti-Abrahamic blasphemy and the ephemeral nature of flesh and the self, leaning more towards philosophical musings on death and oblivion than an all out bloodsoaked assault.
    Featuring members of Swedish sludge metallers Ocean Chief, black metal outfit Niden Div. 187, and the short-lived Ceremonial Execution, Vanhelgd stands out amongst a host of bands trying to evoke the feel of classic Swedish death thanks to the high quality of their songwriting; it's strong stuff, filled with catchy, crushing riffage and lots of dynamic shifts in tempo and aggression, with an emphasis on supremely eerie guitar leads and complex melodies that gives every one of these tracks a grimly majestic atmosphere permeated with rot and the pungent scent of sulphur. The eight blasts of diabolical death-worship are encased in a mixture of blackened dissonant tremolo riffs and massive droning guitars, pounding tribal drumming and ritualistic chanting, the foul shrieking vocals of frontman Mattias Frisk (whose delivery bears an uncanny resemblance to Asphyx's Martin van Drunen), and bits of minimal ambient texture that further flesh out the album's dank, oppressive mood, like the morbid piano melody that emerges on the song "Sirens Of Lampedusa". There's also a smattering of punk-fueled D-beat deathcrush via the rampaging closer "Cure Us From Life" that finishes this album off in an almost anthemic blast of stench-ridden power, and some of the slower passages of monstrous, doom-laden heaviness that arise earlier in the album have a bleak, chasmal sound not unlike some of the early Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride material (like on the absolutely punishing title track). One of the best old-school death metal albums to loom out of the depths of the European underground so far this year; even though this isn't as offbeat as recent offerings from Swede-death outfits like Morbus Chron and Tribulation that usually dominate my stereo, this is right up there with 'em in quality.
Track Samples:
Sample : Relics Of Sulphur Salvation
Sample : Ett Liv I Traldom
Sample : Dodens Maskatna Anlete



VANHELGD   Relics Of Sulphur Salvation   LP   (20 Buck Spin)    19.98



   Available on Digipack CD and limited edition vinyl.
   Vanhelgd's 2011 album Church of Death is another older NWN title that I somehow managed to totally miss when it first came out, but their latest (and third) full length, here issued by the folks over at 20 Buck Spin, immediately got me hooked on their intensely atmospheric form of classic Swedish death metal. You won't find anything avant-garde on Relics Of Sulphur Salvation, no experimentation with the classic death metal sound, but what these guys do they do exceedingly well, crafting concisely written odes to anti-Abrahamic blasphemy and the ephemeral nature of flesh and the self, leaning more towards philosophical musings on death and oblivion than an all out bloodsoaked assault.
    Featuring members of Swedish sludge metallers Ocean Chief, black metal outfit Niden Div. 187, and the short-lived Ceremonial Execution, Vanhelgd stands out amongst a host of bands trying to evoke the feel of classic Swedish death thanks to the high quality of their songwriting; it's strong stuff, filled with catchy, crushing riffage and lots of dynamic shifts in tempo and aggression, with an emphasis on supremely eerie guitar leads and complex melodies that gives every one of these tracks a grimly majestic atmosphere permeated with rot and the pungent scent of sulphur. The eight blasts of diabolical death-worship are encased in a mixture of blackened dissonant tremolo riffs and massive droning guitars, pounding tribal drumming and ritualistic chanting, the foul shrieking vocals of frontman Mattias Frisk (whose delivery bears an uncanny resemblance to Asphyx's Martin van Drunen), and bits of minimal ambient texture that further flesh out the album's dank, oppressive mood, like the morbid piano melody that emerges on the song "Sirens Of Lampedusa". There's also a smattering of punk-fueled D-beat deathcrush via the rampaging closer "Cure Us From Life" that finishes this album off in an almost anthemic blast of stench-ridden power, and some of the slower passages of monstrous, doom-laden heaviness that arise earlier in the album have a bleak, chasmal sound not unlike some of the early Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride material (like on the absolutely punishing title track). One of the best old-school death metal albums to loom out of the depths of the European underground so far this year; even though this isn't as offbeat as recent offerings from Swede-death outfits like Morbus Chron and Tribulation that usually dominate my stereo, this is right up there with 'em in quality.
Track Samples:
Sample : Relics Of Sulphur Salvation
Sample : Ett Liv I Traldom
Sample : Dodens Maskatna Anlete



VARIOUS ARTISTS   Reproach   7" VINYL   (Ugly Pop)    15.00



   Recently came across a long-lost stash of the long out-of-print Reproach 7" that came out on Canadian label Ugly Pop back in 1998. Subtitled Eight Modern Hardcore Bands Cover Negative Approach, this compilation featured some of the hardest hitters in the extreme hardcore underground covering their favorite songs from the infamous, influential Detroit hardcore band. I loved this 7" when it came out, and it's been pulled out of my collection many times over the years. The lineup on Reproach is pretty wild, and has some of the best bands from this era of thrash / powerviolence / fastcore: you've got Dropdead doing a blasting, totally rabid rendition of "Whatever I Do", followed by Man Is The Bastard's monstrous, yet fairly straight-forward take on "Dead Stop"; Spazz rip through a blistering powerviolent cover of "Lost Cause" that suddenly transforms into surf rock for a moment, and obscure Toronto hardcore act Kops For Christ blaze through their version of my favorite Negative Approach song "Why Be Something That You're Not"; UK thrash thugs Voorhees careen through a raucous medley of "I'll Survive" and "Tied Down", while Union Of Uranus transform "Pressure" into their signature style of chaotic crusty hardcore. Chokehold slow "Nothing" down into a pummeling chugfest, and Aussie hatemongers Rupture turn NA's eponymous anthem into their own Siege-influenced style of maniacal blastcore. It's quite the tribute, and includes liner notes from the guys behind the label that describe the history behind this record; originally intended to be an LP-length compilation, Reproach was to have also featured the likes of Infest, Monster X, No Comment, Sheer Terror and others, but much of the material originally submitted for the project disappeared (or, more accurately, were absconded with by another involved party in an unfortunate turn of events). Now that's a record I wish I could have heard.
    These copies of Reproach are unplayed, but due to their age, they all have some slight ring wear on the back cover, so keep that in mind if you're particular about the condition.


VILLAINS   Never Abandon The Slut Train   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    10.98



  Finally available on CD...
   And here we have the newest album from Villains, that despicable coven of debauched pussyhounds based outta Brooklyn and made up of members Nightstriker, Witchwhipper, Teeth and Desecrator (the latter also known as Pasquale Reca, noted illustrator and former member of Cattlepress, Iabhorher, The Dying Light, Hemlock and Ceremonium). And once again, this murderous scumthrash crew continues to fucking kill with their mutant blackened speed visions; Never Abandon The Slut Train is the band's fourth album, filled with filth and frenzied, lusty street metal. It features another eight songs of the band's sleazy mash-up of primitive Venom / Hellhammer-esque blackened thrash and a wonky hardcore punk vibe, the fractured riffs, often off-kilter arrangements and knotty solos sometimes giving the guitarwork a distinct Greg Ginn feel (just check out the track to see what I'm talking about), the whole racket delivered with a level of snarling feral aggression that belies the complexity of their music. Man, I adored their last one, Road To Ruin, and this pretty much picks right up from there, evoking visions of an utterly wretched and debauched urban hellscape filled with vile sexual perversions, drug-fueled lunacy and acts of extreme violence that are all cast in the urine-yellow glow of filthy halogen lamps and the dim midnight radiance of dirty neon.
  When Slut Train kicks off, it's with the thunderous Motorhead-esque charge of "Night Knife", all rampaging speed and rumbling violence, before moving further into their awesomely filthy and demented blackened thrash filled with massive Frostian riffage and the band's contorted and quirky song arrangements that have a faint stink of depraved prog. Songs like "Hunt And Punish", "Westervelt Witch", "Hallway Disease" and "Lunatic Drinks" are delivered in demoniac three minute blasts of sleazy blackened punk-metal, Desecrator's insane vocals shifting psychotically from raspy reptilian growling to awesome nut-clenching falsetto shrieks that sound like Tom Araya getting some electro-shock treatment, to migraine inducing echo-laden vocal attacks that'll suddenly swing this shit out into some serious weirdness. The whole album races along like some crazed angular black thrash freight-train, infected with that wonky atonal riffing style and those wild wiry riffs, weird effects and damaged discordance streaking through the Villains's vicious songcraft; there are even some unexpected reverb-drenched post-punk leads that suddenly pop up on the likes of "Drinking Double Acting Single", and the very last song "Hallway Disease" almost sounds like some bizarre cross between Venom and obscure Arizona goth punks Mighty Sphincter, of all things. Utterly ripping, these guys have once again delivered a deliriously demented album of mutant thrash that fans of stuff like the newer Darkthrone albums, Midnight, and Abigail who are craving something a little more warped will surely want to get their hands on.
   This first edition comes on black vinyl in a limited run of two hundred fifty copies, and each comes with a woven patch and a reflective black and silver sticker.
Track Samples:
Sample : Westervelt Witch
Sample : Night Knife
Sample : Lunatic Drinks



WALK THROUGH FIRE   Hope Is Misery   CD   (Aesthetic Death)    11.98



   The second album from this Swedish quartet delivers more of the agonizing slow-mo punishment we got from their 2011 debut Furthest From Heaven, continuing to mine some of the bleakest and most depressing depths of doom metal. Featuring former members of the cult sludge band Abandon, this outfit essentially took the abject doom-laden crush of Abandon and infused it with passages of icy slow-core, slowing their already tar-encrusted sound down to a primordial rumble on Hope Is Misery. Shifting between long instrumental dirges where the rhythm section slogs through a torturous fog of feedback and low-end drone, these songs will often drift into a moody, Codeine-like minimalism that produces several moments of stark beauty that sharply contrast with the devastating sludge that roll across the album like clouds of suffocating black ash.
   Floor-shaking bass chords rumble across the band's field of vision, the monotonous strum of dissonant guitar chords crashing through the psychic wreckage that is laid bare across these eight songs. Singer Ufuk Demir's rabid snarl skulks behind the almost Gorgutsian discordance that emerges on the title track, his vicious, nihilistic ravings growing more bestial as the song slowly winds down into stretches of that desolate, wintry dirge, as clanging White Birch-like guitar chords wash over the glacial creep of the drummer. At other points on Hope, the band's sound can seem to shift into a kind of monstrous, blackened noise rock ("Harden In Despair") or transform into an epic solemn piano piece that's almost modern classical in feel, sparse suspended notes and chords that are arranged into a constellation outlined in dejected misery ("Laid In Earth"). Nearly half of the tracks are instrumental, shorter interludes that unfold into long slow crawls through an atmosphere of total blight, driven mainly by the almost somnambulant creep of the rhythm section, the guitar stripped down to minimal chords suspended in the colorless gloom, with the song "Next To Nothing" being played on just an acoustic guitar, a slowly drifting funerary folk dirge that leads into the grueling, twenty-one minute funeral march "Another Dream Turned Nightmare". By the time you get to that song, it's hard not to be struck by the sheer tidal pull of Walk Through Fire's sound; even listening to this through my PC setup is rattling the walls of the C-Blast office.
    Adorned in the haunting paintings of Turkish artist Cihat Aral, Misery often has more in common with the austere dissonance of bands like Ehnahre and Overmars, and there's a malevolent, blackened vibe that courses through this album, the weight of hopelessness seeping from each note gradually adding to the gravitational pull of their sorrow.
Track Samples:
Sample : Harden In Despair
Sample : Next To Nothing
Sample : Laid In Earth



WHEN   Black White & Grey   CD   (ReR Megacorp)    12.98



   A classic album of macabre, early 90's Norwegian avant-prog that has finally become available again here in the US. It's a classic early album from cult Norwegian avant-garde outfit When, the brainchild of terminal weirdo Lars Pedersen. Originally released back in 1990, When's Black, Whute & Grey came out on Rer Megacorp, the label run by Chris Cutler of Henry Cow / Art Bears; while the weird sounds featured on Pedersen's sonic nightmare were right at home alongside the sort of Rock In Opposition strangeness that Cutler championed through his label, this is probably the creepiest sounding album to ever appear on ReR. It's an often terrifying slab of macabre experimental music that features material that would have a profound influence on the burgeoning Norwegian black metal scene; a portion of When's "Death In The Blue Lake" would later be used as the introduction to Satyricon's 1994 album Dark Medieval Times, and Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver was such a fan of Pedersen's music that he eventually signed When to his own Jester Records imprint later in the decade.
    As soon as the thunderous, nightmarish bombast of opener "Grey (Part 1)" swells up out of the depths, it's easy to see why When's music resonated with those black metal kids. That first track is terrifying stuff, an abstract soundscape that rushes from sinister orchestral blast into mysterious field recordings and swirls of minimal metallic thrum, slipping into discordantly evil chamber strings and stretches of nothing but deep panicked breathing, bursts of tribal dance and shots of gunfire, swells of deep growling horror-synth ambience that leads into ambient sounds of a Norwegian city street, discordant blasts of brass marching bands, and sudden surges into a kind of malevolent synth-heavy prog rock, all woven into a delirious, stream-of-consciousness approach that blew me away the first time I heard this album. Pedersen masterfully crafts a disturbing atmosphere out of all of these elements, turning it into the stuff of bad dreams, a kind of imaginary soundtrack to some never-filmed nihilistic crime drama.
    But then you come to "Heart Of Rage", and the album takes another sharp turn, this time into a kind of moody, surrealistic prog that's an epiphany for anyone into Ulver. The first half of this song sounds remarkably like the newer Ulver material - keep in mind that this was released at least two years before Ulver's Vargnatt demo even appeared- and it's easy to see why Rygg has been a longtime supporter of this band's music. The dark dreamlike prog rock streaked with swells of grim frostbitten ambience and eerie haunting chamber strings is an obvious influence on the sound that Ulver would pursue later in their career, and album features many such amazing, hallucinatory songs, from the liturgical majesty of "From White To White" and the wild techno-gypsy stomp of "Fellini's Hat", to the bizarre, creepy robotic prog of "Grey (Part II)" that eventually transforms into something that resembles some bizarre fusion of Goblin's hallucinatory prog rock and fractured 80's electro.
    The last song on this CD version of Black is the twenty one minute "Death In The Blue Lake", which originally comprised the entire a-side of When's previous 1988 LP of the same name. This is the song that Satyricon would later reference, an epic, hallucinatory piece of music that moves dreamlike between terrifying orchestral arrangements and ominous, slightly cracked folk-like melodies that draw from Wagner's Tristan And Isolde, bizarre bad-dream ambience and icy synthesizer textures, deep stentorian brass and blasts of symphonic power that resemble some murderous version of a Danny Elfman score, the whole thing playing out like some surreal horror movie soundtrack before suddenly slipping into passages of shrill no-wave skronk or sinister clockwork rhythms.
    This new reissue of Black doesn't add anything new to the album, keeping that creepy cover still taken from J. Searle Dawley's 1910 version of Frankenstein and a sixteen page booklet loaded with strange collage art and lyrics, but it's essential for anyone interested in the dark, morbid underbelly of the Norwegian avant-rock underground.
Track Samples:
Sample : Heart of Rage
Sample : Grey, Pt. 1
Sample : From White to White
Sample : Death in the Blue Lake



WHITE SUNS   Totem   CD   (The Flenser)    10.98



   Back in stock on both LP and digipack CD, the ectoplasmic third album from Brooklyn's White Suns, following in the wake of previous releases on Load Records and ugEXPLODE. The problem with most modern stuff that calls itself "noise rock"? You're left wondering where all the fuckin' noise went. That's not the case with White Suns, though. Right from the start of their blistering third album Totem that recently emerged on up-n'-coming weirdo-heavy imprint Flenser, this trio whips up an excoriating storm of malfunctioning guitar vomit, pounding drumming that frequently slips into severe nervous spasms, and weirdly wailing vocals that seem to be continually drifting off and away from the rest of the band. "Deconstructionalist" would be one way to describe White Suns's approach, but there's something a lot more primal behind these nine songs - there's a lot of that Aufgehoben-style fracturing of rock form, the music quickly degenerating into a chaos of malfunctioning speaker buzz and cable splutter. But there's also a distinct post-punk vibe that pulsates way, way down in the depths of Totem's sound, from the rampaging pigfuck and thorny guitars and haunting howls of opener "Priest In The Laboratory", to the grueling discordant no-wave sludge of "Cathexis" and the ferocious locomotive hardcore of "Clairvoyant" that expands into a swarming mass of entropic noise and feedback, while other tracks like "Fossil Record" unfold into vast juddering noisescapes of over-modulated guitar rumble and extreme loop-pedal abuse that writhe around sparse metallic percussion and creepy, buzzing drones. The latter portion of the album finds itself slipping into passages of clattery menacing free-form buzz and scrape that starts to resemble some of the more boisterous aspects of European improv, with an AMM-on-roids feel creeping into the likes of "Line Of Smoke". Yeah, this is definitely NOISY, the sort of brutal earscrape that fans of stuff like Air Conditioning, Rusted Shut and Wolf Eyes are after.
Track Samples:
Sample : Priesti In the Laboratory
Sample : Disjecta Membra
Sample : Carrion



WHITE SUNS   Totem   LP   (The Flenser)    19.99



   Back in stock on both LP and digipack CD, the ectoplasmic third album from Brooklyn's White Suns, following in the wake of previous releases on Load Records and ugEXPLODE. The problem with most modern stuff that calls itself "noise rock"? You're left wondering where all the fuckin' noise went. That's not the case with White Suns, though. Right from the start of their blistering third album Totem that recently emerged on up-n'-coming weirdo-heavy imprint Flenser, this trio whips up an excoriating storm of malfunctioning guitar vomit, pounding drumming that frequently slips into severe nervous spasms, and weirdly wailing vocals that seem to be continually drifting off and away from the rest of the band. "Deconstructionalist" would be one way to describe White Suns's approach, but there's something a lot more primal behind these nine songs - there's a lot of that Aufgehoben-style fracturing of rock form, the music quickly degenerating into a chaos of malfunctioning speaker buzz and cable splutter. But there's also a distinct post-punk vibe that pulsates way, way down in the depths of Totem's sound, from the rampaging pigfuck and thorny guitars and haunting howls of opener "Priest In The Laboratory", to the grueling discordant no-wave sludge of "Cathexis" and the ferocious locomotive hardcore of "Clairvoyant" that expands into a swarming mass of entropic noise and feedback, while other tracks like "Fossil Record" unfold into vast juddering noisescapes of over-modulated guitar rumble and extreme loop-pedal abuse that writhe around sparse metallic percussion and creepy, buzzing drones. The latter portion of the album finds itself slipping into passages of clattery menacing free-form buzz and scrape that starts to resemble some of the more boisterous aspects of European improv, with an AMM-on-roids feel creeping into the likes of "Line Of Smoke". Yeah, this is definitely NOISY, the sort of brutal earscrape that fans of stuff like Air Conditioning, Rusted Shut and Wolf Eyes are after.
Track Samples:
Sample : Priesti In the Laboratory
Sample : Disjecta Membra
Sample : Carrion



WHITEHORSE   Live Ritual July 25th 2011   CD   (Small Doses)    9.50



Back in stock. Stateside audiences have been getting a facefull of Whitehorse's noise-infested mega-doom lately, with their appearance at Maryland Deathfest and a subsequent tour of the US, and word of their lethal live shows has been spreading amongst fans of the most extreme forms of slow-motion metal. Released a while back on Small Doses, this live album from the Australian outfit features a full set from the band, largely comprised of material from the band's planet-smashing Progression album, and for those of us who weren't fortunate enough to be able to catch the band on these shores, Live Ritual makes for a mighty fine substitute.
The disc features the Australian quintet performing at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne, Australia in the summer of 2011, a punishing half-hour long performance where one can almost see the walls of the venue shuddering and groaning beneath the gravitational weight of Whitehorse's monstrous doom metal. Plowing through a set list that consists of the songs "Control, Annihilate", "Dark Age", "Remains Unknown", "Fierce Reprisal" and "Progression", the band lumbers with the predatory swagger of some primordial beast, the high-quality recording job nicely capturing the molten heft of their detuned riffage and the swarming, pestilent quality of the electronic noise that the band gradually unleashes across the sprawling death-dirges. Taking the sort of abject horror and experimentation with flesh-raking electronics that Khanate perfected, and combining that approach with the sheer leviathan crush of doomdeath, this band has perfected a kind of monolithic bulldozer groove that's more than apparent here. That concrete mixer noise that emerges on the likes of "Dark Age" almost threatens to totally swamp the rest of the band, huge gusts of grinding low-end distortion, sweeping Hawkwindian effects and bone-scraping feedback manipulated into ferocious forms, but one of Whitehorse's most lethal moves is how they bulldoze their way through such sonic storms, coming out on the other side with a dynamic crush of force that feels as if some kind of large earth-moving machinery is slowly rolling over you. This is definitely one of the more intense live albums I've picked up recently, the recording quality is crushing, every bass drum strike racks your skull with it's brutal concussion. Comes in a four panel digisleeve.
Track Samples:
Sample : Remains Unknown
Sample : Progression
Sample : Control, Annihilate



WIJLEN WIJ   Coronachs Of The Ω   CD   (Solitude Productions)    11.99



   This quirky Belgian outfit returns with their second album of understated prog-doom, almost seven years after the release of their self-titled debut. And it's trippier than ever, blending an obvious love of 70's-era prog rock with the band's heart-stopping glacial pace and crushing, warped funeral doom riffs. It's an approach that found them in the same orbit as Pantheist, and the two bands have actually shared members at certain points in time, but Wijlen Wij were always the weirder of the two, with a feeling of rawness and wrongness to their sound that made their stuff a lot more distinctive and unique sounding compared to most other funeral doom bands traveling in the long shadow of Skepticism and Thergothon.
    On Coronachs, the band's off-kilterness seems to have even amplified a bit. Some of the guitar parts have a sourness, a wonkiness in the form of the occasional wrong note, that gives parts of Coronachs a kind of broken, ramshackle charm, but those riffs are also crawling, crushing blasts of downtuned heaviness, sickeningly slow-moving melodic riffs that slowly tumble through the darkness, tethered to those ponderous funeral-march drums. The singer's withered vocals are pretty creepy as well, impossibly deep gusts of ghastly wind that billow beneath the glacial crush of the band. And then just as the glacial heaviness of a song like opener "Boreas" has plowed over us, the band will suddenly shift out of the doom and into an odd, dramatic kind of prog rock, almost flamenco-like acoustic guitars and jazzy drumming appearing for a moment, then swallowed back up by that cracked, Hammond-glazed doom-laden massiveness. There's a lot of that stuff here, bits of sonic weirdness scattered among the grinding doom, with some almost pop-infectious hooks rising up out of that bloozy funereal muck, emotional guitar solos all bent and bleary, weirdly reminiscent of J. Mascis from Dinosaur Jr at a couple of points, those weirdly wistful leads winding around the slow, sludgy heaviness.
    The rest of Coronachs moves into heavier bouts of grinding doomdeath and churning blackened riffing, plenty of drawn-out graveyard crawl, the riffs sometimes becoming a monstrous death-march flecked with odd bits of folky melody. It all beats you down into a mournful mass wracked with regret and loss, but that utter dourness that hangs over the album is limned with a faint glow of hope in the way that those guitars will slowly, almost unnoticeably evolve into something just a little bit brighter. Later, there's some textured layering of random distant voices that prefaces the death-march dirge of "Laying Waste To The City Of Jerusalem", which plods along hypnotically over a wash of brittle, Burzumic keyboards; weird little quirks like breakbeat-like drumming, the tolling of carillon bells, sweeping kosmische drones and oddly phrased riffs continue to pop up with regularity. "A Solemn Ode To Ruin" features some massively distorted jangle that for a moment sounds more like something out of late 80's indie guitar rock, then later gets swept up in my favorite moment on the album, where the band suddenly hurtles into a monotonous black metal style blast, as what sounds like a jazz-band horn section plays a killer melody over those crushing, doom-laden guitars, building that up into a bizarrely "Freebird"-like moment. It all makes for a very cool, very heavy dose of idiosyncratic funeral doom.
Track Samples:
Sample : Laying Waste to the City of Jerusalem
Sample : From the Periphery
Sample : A Solemn Ode to Ruin...



WILT   She Walks The Night   7" VINYL + CASSETTE   (Husk Records)    11.98



Just got this killer 7"/cassette set from black industrialist Wilt back in stock, and now at a lower price than before.
The newest release from Josh Lay's Husk Records is the label's first vinyl release, a 7" EP of skin-crawling necro-industrial from Wilt, who many of you might also know as the other band from the guys behind the industrial noise-doom band Hedorah. Wilt's brand of fiendish black drone-noise is always amazing, and this EP delivers three tracks of minimal black drift and much heavier abstract crush that fans will definitely love. The a-side features the title track, an aural night-terror of crushing black synthesizer drone, recordings of howling wolves, oscillating buzz saw sine waves fluctuating in slow motion, a blighted death ambience that is slowly joined by more layers of soft subterranean drift and minimal whir until a deeply detuned piano appears playing this low-register minor-key melody, a simple descending four note dirge that repeats over and over, spreading out across the increasingly ominous black ambience that becomes populated with tolling bells, howling arctic winds and distant demonic keening. The flipside has two tracks: the grim two-chord synth drone of "Cold Grave" becomes lost in a blizzard of black arctic wind, like a classic Norwegian black metal intro stretched out into a full song, the synth becoming seriously blown out, peaking into a distorted roar as the sound of blasting wind gets caught in a locked groove; and then "Haunting The Chapel" oozes in, a crushing blackdoom dirge with putrid low-end bass, hellish screams of the damned being flayed alive, a grinding murky black industrial dirge that sounds sort of like the black abstract sludge-noise of Sewer Goddess, but this is way more "necro", utterly pitch black and evil sounding, keening horns muffled in the distance, smears of eerie melody obscured by the dense industrial rumble and howling subterranean winds and viscous low end noise.
This version of She Stalks The Night that we have in stock also includes a limited edition cassette that has an additional four Wilt tracks. The tape includes the minimal dungeon ambience, droning black synth, clanking metal, monstrous exhalations and necro-industrial drift of "Invocation Of The Bride", "She Lives" with it's minor key piano, bass throb, and menacing factory noise, "SVF"'s horrific industrial wasteland of looped feedback yowl, distorted pipe organ, blackened hissing and whispers and looped voices, sounding like a horror movie score blasted through blown speakers, and on the second side, the sidelong "She Walks The Night (Reprise)", a minimalist return to the 7" a-side, a barely-there isolationist expanse of black ether, strafed by strange percussive noises, ripples of treated piano, tolling bells, and the flutter of black wings against the night sky...
Comes in a black and white sleeve with creepy high-contrast imagery; the 7"/cassette edition is limited to 100 copies.


WOLD   Postsocial   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98



   The long awaited follow-up to 2011's Freermasonry, Postsocial is the sixth album from these exemplars of the black noise aesthetic, the duo of Obey and Fortress Crookedjaw who had previously hailed from the prairielands of Saskatchewan, now relocated to Providence, Rhode Island. Musically, Postsocial finds the band sounding as abrasive and chaotic as ever, with some of the most overtly "black metal" sounding material I've heard from them in years. Sort of. The first song "Throwing Star", at least, sputters out of the band's yawning black maw in a spew of mangled blackened punk, clanging out-of-tune powerchords hammered over a thick fog of overmodulated gunk and sticky static, almost like an Ildjarn jam gone totally to rot. "Inner Space Infirmary", on the other hand, offers that sort of hazy, almost droneological black blur that's marked their past few records, an inchoate smear of sound, blurred blackened riffs and howling noise fusing with Crookedjaw's distressed, murderous rasp, all washing together into a massive murky low-fi din, strange malformed melodies materializing over the endless clanking chaos, the sound slowly drifting out into a weirdly beautifully noisescape as choppy enginelike flutters fly through the blackness. It's impossible to discern individual instruments within this blizzard of black static, or really any sort of form at all, the sound is so murky and muddled that everything blurs together into a bleary murkiness, like hearing some epic black metal outfit performing through a mile of concrete. Other tracks erupt into spluttering power electronics assaults laced with droning black metal riffs, all juddering low-end and squealing deathray feedback throbbing beneath those furious frostkissed tremolo riffs, while wild guitar solos are unleashed in jets of frenzied shredding as the duo examine the symbolism of the pentagram. What makes Postsocial so potent is how, once immersed in the band's low-fi chaos, each song reveals some massive riff or spooky, melodious hook at the corroded heart of each track, some epic melody churning, repeating endlessly, evaporating into the ritualistic clanking and minimal atonal melodies of the sprawling "Spiral Star Inversion", or the hypnotic static of "Sapphire Sect Of Tubal Cain" suffused in Hecker-esque melodic drift. Psychedelic in the same way that the most deranged strains of noisecore are psychedelic. Presented in a gorgeous eight-panel digipak.
Track Samples:
Sample : Throwing Star
Sample : Sapphire Sect of Tubal Cain
Sample : Five Points



WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM   Celestite   CD   (Artemisia)    14.99



   Available on limited edition vinyl with download code (housed in a heavyweight casewrapped gatefold jacket), limited edition cassette, and digipack CD, all now apparently sold out at the source...
    Not so much a follow-up to their previous 2011 album Celestial Lineage as it is a companion piece, the latest full-length from Olympia, Washington progressive black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room dispenses with black metal completely for an almost purely electronic sound, one which draws heavily from the realm of classic kosmische music. The likes of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream have influenced back metal going at least all the way back to Mayhem's Deathcrush, no big deal, but the Wolves adopt the synthesizer almost exclusively for the five instrumental tracks that make up Celestite, with some additional instrumentation including electric guitar, French horn, trombone, flute, even the distant echoing thud of war-drums further fleshing out their nebulous electronic synthscapes.
    And it's stunning stuff, plumes of melodious star-fog slowly drifting across vast space, ominous melodies unfolding languidly in the blackness. Indeed, from the beginning of opener "Turning Ever Towards The Sun", the feel is more akin to classic Carpenter than Tangerine Dream, a tension running through the swells of soft synth and minimal pulse that leads this into darker directions. Once the French horn kicks in though, this gets seriously epic, the added instruments expanding the sound into something almost orchestral. If anyone should be listening to this, it should be fans of 80's era synth soundtracks, as there are moments of dark, wondrous beauty on here that feel as if they would have been right at home next to the likes of Vangelis. But there's also a monstrously heavy undercurrent that churns beneath tracks like "Initiation At Neudeg Alm" and "Celestite Mirror", slow swirling clouds of crushing detuned guitar rumble, surges of Sunn-esque dronemetal that suddenly rush to the surface, rumbling distorted black riffs laboriously uncoiling beneath the waves of incandescent synth and droning brass. But when the last song "Sleeping Golden Storm" sweeps in across the final ten minutes of the album, the album is transformed into a pulsating electronic ambience that's pure Teutonic throb, a cinematic piece pf pulsating celestial majesty that's pretty stunning. Definitely one of the best albums of pure kosmische music to come from a black metaller's hands since Fenriz's Neptune Towers.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sleeping Golden Storm
Sample : Initiation at Neudeg Alm
Sample : Celestite Mirror



WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM   Celestite   2 x LP   (Artemisia)    24.98



   Available on limited edition vinyl with download code (housed in a heavyweight casewrapped gatefold jacket), limited edition cassette, and digipack CD, all now apparently sold out at the source...
    Not so much a follow-up to their previous 2011 album Celestial Lineage as it is a companion piece, the latest full-length from Olympia, Washington progressive black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room dispenses with black metal completely for an almost purely electronic sound, one which draws heavily from the realm of classic kosmische music. The likes of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream have influenced back metal going at least all the way back to Mayhem's Deathcrush, no big deal, but the Wolves adopt the synthesizer almost exclusively for the five instrumental tracks that make up Celestite, with some additional instrumentation including electric guitar, French horn, trombone, flute, even the distant echoing thud of war-drums further fleshing out their nebulous electronic synthscapes.
    And it's stunning stuff, plumes of melodious star-fog slowly drifting across vast space, ominous melodies unfolding languidly in the blackness. Indeed, from the beginning of opener "Turning Ever Towards The Sun", the feel is more akin to classic Carpenter than Tangerine Dream, a tension running through the swells of soft synth and minimal pulse that leads this into darker directions. Once the French horn kicks in though, this gets seriously epic, the added instruments expanding the sound into something almost orchestral. If anyone should be listening to this, it should be fans of 80's era synth soundtracks, as there are moments of dark, wondrous beauty on here that feel as if they would have been right at home next to the likes of Vangelis. But there's also a monstrously heavy undercurrent that churns beneath tracks like "Initiation At Neudeg Alm" and "Celestite Mirror", slow swirling clouds of crushing detuned guitar rumble, surges of Sunn-esque dronemetal that suddenly rush to the surface, rumbling distorted black riffs laboriously uncoiling beneath the waves of incandescent synth and droning brass. But when the last song "Sleeping Golden Storm" sweeps in across the final ten minutes of the album, the album is transformed into a pulsating electronic ambience that's pure Teutonic throb, a cinematic piece pf pulsating celestial majesty that's pretty stunning. Definitely one of the best albums of pure kosmische music to come from a black metaller's hands since Fenriz's Neptune Towers.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sleeping Golden Storm
Sample : Initiation at Neudeg Alm
Sample : Celestite Mirror



WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM   Celestite   CASSETTE   (Artemisia)    10.99



   Available on limited edition vinyl with download code (housed in a heavyweight casewrapped gatefold jacket), limited edition cassette, and digipack CD, all now apparently sold out at the source...
    Not so much a follow-up to their previous 2011 album Celestial Lineage as it is a companion piece, the latest full-length from Olympia, Washington progressive black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room dispenses with black metal completely for an almost purely electronic sound, one which draws heavily from the realm of classic kosmische music. The likes of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream have influenced back metal going at least all the way back to Mayhem's Deathcrush, no big deal, but the Wolves adopt the synthesizer almost exclusively for the five instrumental tracks that make up Celestite, with some additional instrumentation including electric guitar, French horn, trombone, flute, even the distant echoing thud of war-drums further fleshing out their nebulous electronic synthscapes.
    And it's stunning stuff, plumes of melodious star-fog slowly drifting across vast space, ominous melodies unfolding languidly in the blackness. Indeed, from the beginning of opener "Turning Ever Towards The Sun", the feel is more akin to classic Carpenter than Tangerine Dream, a tension running through the swells of soft synth and minimal pulse that leads this into darker directions. Once the French horn kicks in though, this gets seriously epic, the added instruments expanding the sound into something almost orchestral. If anyone should be listening to this, it should be fans of 80's era synth soundtracks, as there are moments of dark, wondrous beauty on here that feel as if they would have been right at home next to the likes of Vangelis. But there's also a monstrously heavy undercurrent that churns beneath tracks like "Initiation At Neudeg Alm" and "Celestite Mirror", slow swirling clouds of crushing detuned guitar rumble, surges of Sunn-esque dronemetal that suddenly rush to the surface, rumbling distorted black riffs laboriously uncoiling beneath the waves of incandescent synth and droning brass. But when the last song "Sleeping Golden Storm" sweeps in across the final ten minutes of the album, the album is transformed into a pulsating electronic ambience that's pure Teutonic throb, a cinematic piece pf pulsating celestial majesty that's pretty stunning. Definitely one of the best albums of pure kosmische music to come from a black metaller's hands since Fenriz's Neptune Towers.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sleeping Golden Storm
Sample : Initiation at Neudeg Alm
Sample : Celestite Mirror



WOUNDED KINGS, THE   Consolamentum   CD   (Candlelight)    12.98



   We're pretty far past the notion of a female-fronted doom metal band being novel anymore, we've heard plenty of bands employ this particular dynamic by now, some with more success than others. British doom metallers The Wounded Kings are one of the standouts, features the husky, sinister croon of Sharie Neyland, and her powerful voice fits right in alongside the band's mammoth riffage. On the band's fourth album Consolamentum, they deliver familiar stuff musically, syrupy, fuzz-encrusted riffs hewn from slabs of Sabbathian sludge and songs that move from slow to slower, the sort of drugged-out, dragged-down elephantine doom metal that fans of Electric Wizard can't get enough of, the most unabashed kind of Iommi-worship tinged with some of the lush dreariness of classic early 90s British doomdeath. Though the band got together relatively recently (they first emerged with their debut album Embrace Of The Narrow House in 2008), members of the band have a long history in that UK doom scene; founding member Steve Mills drummed for doomdeath outfit Lord of Putrefaction alongside a pre-Electric Wizard Jus Oborn in the late 80s, so they've definitely had their fingers in the development of this ultra-heavy British doom sound. The combination of the band's forlorn, almost gothic-tinged vibe (dig those droning organs draped over tracks like opener "Gnosis") and Neyland's strong vocals help to elevate this above a lot of similar sounding Sabbathesque doom; her sinister, quavering howl is a commanding presence, at times reminiscent of Grace Slick as she delivers these visions of smoke-wreathed occult horror. Along with those organs, they incorporate other keyboard textures and droning elements into the mix, sheets of murky choral drone, richly layered Hammond keyboards, and swells of low-fi synthesizer that sound like they could've been lifted from a soundtrack to a mid-80's Lamberto Bava flick, which nicely append the Kings's grimy, otherworldly atmosphere. They really hit their stride with the epic title track halfway through, where their ominous doom starts to take on a more distinctive funereal feel, and elsewhere the band dips into short proggy instrumentals ("Space Conqueror") that blend shimmering acoustic guitars with tribal rhythms, or descends into a swirling, crushing blast of solemn psychedelic majesty with the epic song "The Silence" that appears at the end of the album. One of the year's most crushing albums of occult-tinged doom metal, highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Lost Bride
Sample : Gnosis
Sample : Consolamentum



WOUNDED KINGS, THE   Consolamentum   LP   (Candlelight)    32.00



   We're pretty far past the notion of a female-fronted doom metal band being novel anymore, we've heard plenty of bands employ this particular dynamic by now, some with more success than others. British doom metallers The Wounded Kings are one of the standouts, features the husky, sinister croon of Sharie Neyland, and her powerful voice fits right in alongside the band's mammoth riffage. On the band's fourth album Consolamentum, they deliver familiar stuff musically, syrupy, fuzz-encrusted riffs hewn from slabs of Sabbathian sludge and songs that move from slow to slower, the sort of drugged-out, dragged-down elephantine doom metal that fans of Electric Wizard can't get enough of, the most unabashed kind of Iommi-worship tinged with some of the lush dreariness of classic early 90s British doomdeath. Though the band got together relatively recently (they first emerged with their debut album Embrace Of The Narrow House in 2008), members of the band have a long history in that UK doom scene; founding member Steve Mills drummed for doomdeath outfit Lord of Putrefaction alongside a pre-Electric Wizard Jus Oborn in the late 80s, so they've definitely had their fingers in the development of this ultra-heavy British doom sound. The combination of the band's forlorn, almost gothic-tinged vibe (dig those droning organs draped over tracks like opener "Gnosis") and Neyland's strong vocals help to elevate this above a lot of similar sounding Sabbathesque doom; her sinister, quavering howl is a commanding presence, at times reminiscent of Grace Slick as she delivers these visions of smoke-wreathed occult horror. Along with those organs, they incorporate other keyboard textures and droning elements into the mix, sheets of murky choral drone, richly layered Hammond keyboards, and swells of low-fi synthesizer that sound like they could've been lifted from a soundtrack to a mid-80's Lamberto Bava flick, which nicely append the Kings's grimy, otherworldly atmosphere. They really hit their stride with the epic title track halfway through, where their ominous doom starts to take on a more distinctive funereal feel, and elsewhere the band dips into short proggy instrumentals ("Space Conqueror") that blend shimmering acoustic guitars with tribal rhythms, or descends into a swirling, crushing blast of solemn psychedelic majesty with the epic song "The Silence" that appears at the end of the album. One of the year's most crushing albums of occult-tinged doom metal, highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Lost Bride
Sample : Gnosis
Sample : Consolamentum



WRECK & REFERENCE   Want   CD   (The Flenser)    10.98



   The latest album of blackened electronic frenzy from this Southern California duo, who utilize an unusual lineup of drums, vocals, electronics and samples to craft their uniquely crushing and soul-draining fusion of black metal, doom, goth and industrial music. Want opens with the weirdly groovy breakbeat-driven dread of "Corpse Museum", the band doling out a chaotic blend of skittering rhythms, abrasive electronic noise, pounding off-time drumming and shambolic blastbeats beneath the singer's heavily echo-laden howl, the sound resembling some malevolent, electronically-deformed strain of noise rock. But what follows is something more melancholic and doom-laden, the slow creeping sorrow of "Apollo Beneath The Whip" unfolding over the gradually ascending synth lines and grimly gorgeous melody that begins to overtake the song, that followed by the even more skeletal electronic plod of "Stranger, Fill This Hole In Me", it's dimly lit minor key creep stretching out over a super-minimal percussive pulse, the crooning somnambulant vocals reduced to a hushed croon, the sound shifting from that sparse electronic gothic creepiness into the more intense distortion-laden chorus overlaid with distant choral drift and washes of pitch-black ambience.
   The rest of the album delivers more of this mutant, electronics-infested gloomy noise rock, each song laced with bursts of black metal influenced violence, a backdrop to the band's poetic ruminations on desire and the flesh, the off-kilter rhythms skittering and lurching beneath the fields of mesmeric electronic whirr and crackling noise and glimmering drone that slowly spreads stainlike across the duo's stumbling desperate post-punk dirges. There are moments on Want that almost seem to be informed by more experimental strains of hip-hop, as well, like the lurching flow that develops over the brief track "A Glass Cage For An Animal", and swells of vast dread cinematic/symphonic ambience emerge deeper into the album, orchestral strings slowly rising from the depths and transforming into a kind of gritty black psychedelia. The band lumbers through further hypnotic dirges woven from repetitive synth figures and those pounding drums, and slipping into grim elliptical noise-rock grooves surrounded by fracturing electronics; on one of the album's most moving songs, "Convalescence", Wreck & Reference draw from the sort of bleak, world-weary beauty that Swans were known for, while injecting raw screeching horror beneath the dark electronic sheen, those harshly fearsome vocals filled with an abject desperation that seems to be drawn from the sort of nihilistic emotional breakdown you'd expect to hear from a depressive black metal outfit. Intense.
Track Samples:
Sample : Stranger, Fill This Hole In Me
Sample : Flies
Sample : Corpse Museum



WRECK & REFERENCE   Want   LP   (The Flenser)    19.99



   The latest album of blackened electronic frenzy from this Southern California duo, who utilize an unusual lineup of drums, vocals, electronics and samples to craft their uniquely crushing and soul-draining fusion of black metal, doom, goth and industrial music. Want opens with the weirdly groovy breakbeat-driven dread of "Corpse Museum", the band doling out a chaotic blend of skittering rhythms, abrasive electronic noise, pounding off-time drumming and shambolic blastbeats beneath the singer's heavily echo-laden howl, the sound resembling some malevolent, electronically-deformed strain of noise rock. But what follows is something more melancholic and doom-laden, the slow creeping sorrow of "Apollo Beneath The Whip" unfolding over the gradually ascending synth lines and grimly gorgeous melody that begins to overtake the song, that followed by the even more skeletal electronic plod of "Stranger, Fill This Hole In Me", it's dimly lit minor key creep stretching out over a super-minimal percussive pulse, the crooning somnambulant vocals reduced to a hushed croon, the sound shifting from that sparse electronic gothic creepiness into the more intense distortion-laden chorus overlaid with distant choral drift and washes of pitch-black ambience.
   The rest of the album delivers more of this mutant, electronics-infested gloomy noise rock, each song laced with bursts of black metal influenced violence, a backdrop to the band's poetic ruminations on desire and the flesh, the off-kilter rhythms skittering and lurching beneath the fields of mesmeric electronic whirr and crackling noise and glimmering drone that slowly spreads stainlike across the duo's stumbling desperate post-punk dirges. There are moments on Want that almost seem to be informed by more experimental strains of hip-hop, as well, like the lurching flow that develops over the brief track "A Glass Cage For An Animal", and swells of vast dread cinematic/symphonic ambience emerge deeper into the album, orchestral strings slowly rising from the depths and transforming into a kind of gritty black psychedelia. The band lumbers through further hypnotic dirges woven from repetitive synth figures and those pounding drums, and slipping into grim elliptical noise-rock grooves surrounded by fracturing electronics; on one of the album's most moving songs, "Convalescence", Wreck & Reference draw from the sort of bleak, world-weary beauty that Swans were known for, while injecting raw screeching horror beneath the dark electronic sheen, those harshly fearsome vocals filled with an abject desperation that seems to be drawn from the sort of nihilistic emotional breakdown you'd expect to hear from a depressive black metal outfit. Intense.
Track Samples:
Sample : Stranger, Fill This Hole In Me
Sample : Flies
Sample : Corpse Museum



WRETCHED WORST   Funeral Burning   7" VINYL   (Husk Records)    6.50



This 7" EP from Kentucky filth-mongers Wretched Worse (who include members of Hair Police amongst their ranks) came out a while back, but it's only recently that I've really become infatuated/infected by this infernal necrotic noise rock outfit's brand of slimy, fucked-up racket. And man, Funeral Burning is some of the heaviest shit that's been laying on my turntable lately, a gargling, blood-splattered spew of sodden sludge rock abuse, all blown-out bone-rattling bass and mangled noise-guitar wreckage slung violently over the caveman pounding of the drummer. That opening song "Defecated Slaves" alone stomped my cranium in, and the other two songs "Funeral Burning" and "Eaten Ogress" are just as vicious, like some brain-damaged blackened version of Unsane souped up on amphetamines, with slavering death metal-style roars trailing off behind the band's shambling, bottom-heavy sludge assault, everything heaving forward into a monstrous, hideous, massive freeform lurch. The more, er, structured moments on this record kinda resemble some weird industrialized mutation of early Floor, that basement-scraping sludge fused to a mass of gasping, cadaverous shambling horror. But the vocals are beyond disgusting, a bellowing, puking ultra-distorted Satanic nightmare splattered like so much offal over the band's lumbering, droning, discordant low-fi heaviness, matched by the nauseating feedback drones that the band creates from contact mics to create the layers of rumbling, abrasive amplified noise that seethe beneath all of this mess. I'd say that these guys somehow manage to rival Venowl in the blackened scum-stakes; if you've got the same unhealthy disposition towards the messed-up, drug-damaged sludge of bands like Burnt Skull, Venowl, Rusted Shut, etc., as I do, you'll love this horror show.


YAUTJA   Songs Of Descent   CD   (Forcefield)    7.98



   Available on gatefold CD and limited edition LP.
    The debut album from Nashville sludge-grind crushers Yautja, who share members with progressive black metallers Alraune (also featured on this week's new arrivals list) and hardcore outfit Coliseum, Songs Of Descent is one ugly, pummeling motherfucker of an album. Kicking this off with the violent tribal pummel of "Path Of Descent", these guys lay down a mean-spirited assault of lurching, complex noise rock spiked with blasts of dirt-encrusted grindcore and angular metallic thrash that turns into something pretty lethal in their blood-stained mitts. All across this album, the band's violent math-sludge meets rabid grind-laced hardcore, whipping up a crushing, abrasive sound that sometimes reminds me of some monstrously overdriven version of Unsane, the bass blown out into a filthy bone-rattling rumble, the churning riffs ugly and threatening. The drummer delivers a cracked out performance as well, spinning out churning tom rolls and angular rhythms before hurtling their passages of chaotic thrash, or erupting into that vicious blastbeat-riddled grind that feels as if it's about to fall apart at any moment before suddenly slipping back into another one of their punishing angular grooves. Songs wind themselves into chaotic meltdowns, or massive grinding chuggery, the slower moments dropping into monstrous doom-laden heaviness like the blast-riddled ultracrush of "Of Descent" that ends up turning into a weirdly Gorgutsian dissonance, or the crackling, corroded noise that slowly infests the end of "A Cleansing Fire". Yauja's churning slow-motion dirges sometimes emanate an apocalyptic glow that in the hands of a lesser band would degenerate into something you could call "post-metal", but here they imbue their more atmospheric dirges with a rabid blackness even as they pull back into textural expanses of eerie droning feedback and ambient guitar noise. And man, does that singer sound pissed. Despite drawing from so many different influences, Yautja's evil, discordant heaviness is skillfully wrought, and the band really knows how to whomp you over the head whenever they abruptly move from vicious thrashing assaults into bonegrinding sludge. Check this one out if you're into the similarly crazed assaults of ugly discordant hardcore crush found with bands like Anodyne, Today Is The Day, Kiss It Goodbye, Engineer, and Nails.
Track Samples:
Sample : YAUTJA-Songs Of Descent
Sample : YAUTJA-Songs Of Descent
Sample : YAUTJA-Songs Of Descent



YAUTJA   Songs Of Descent   LP   (Forcefield)    12.98



   Available on gatefold CD and limited edition LP.
    The debut album from Nashville sludge-grind crushers Yautja, who share members with progressive black metallers Alraune (also featured on this week's new arrivals list) and hardcore outfit Coliseum, Songs Of Descent is one ugly, pummeling motherfucker of an album. Kicking this off with the violent tribal pummel of "Path Of Descent", these guys lay down a mean-spirited assault of lurching, complex noise rock spiked with blasts of dirt-encrusted grindcore and angular metallic thrash that turns into something pretty lethal in their blood-stained mitts. All across this album, the band's violent math-sludge meets rabid grind-laced hardcore, whipping up a crushing, abrasive sound that sometimes reminds me of some monstrously overdriven version of Unsane, the bass blown out into a filthy bone-rattling rumble, the churning riffs ugly and threatening. The drummer delivers a cracked out performance as well, spinning out churning tom rolls and angular rhythms before hurtling their passages of chaotic thrash, or erupting into that vicious blastbeat-riddled grind that feels as if it's about to fall apart at any moment before suddenly slipping back into another one of their punishing angular grooves. Songs wind themselves into chaotic meltdowns, or massive grinding chuggery, the slower moments dropping into monstrous doom-laden heaviness like the blast-riddled ultracrush of "Of Descent" that ends up turning into a weirdly Gorgutsian dissonance, or the crackling, corroded noise that slowly infests the end of "A Cleansing Fire". Yauja's churning slow-motion dirges sometimes emanate an apocalyptic glow that in the hands of a lesser band would degenerate into something you could call "post-metal", but here they imbue their more atmospheric dirges with a rabid blackness even as they pull back into textural expanses of eerie droning feedback and ambient guitar noise. And man, does that singer sound pissed. Despite drawing from so many different influences, Yautja's evil, discordant heaviness is skillfully wrought, and the band really knows how to whomp you over the head whenever they abruptly move from vicious thrashing assaults into bonegrinding sludge. Check this one out if you're into the similarly crazed assaults of ugly discordant hardcore crush found with bands like Anodyne, Today Is The Day, Kiss It Goodbye, Engineer, and Nails.
Track Samples:
Sample : YAUTJA-Songs Of Descent
Sample : YAUTJA-Songs Of Descent
Sample : YAUTJA-Songs Of Descent



YOB   The Great Cessation   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    22.00



  Back in print on 180 gram black vinyl from Southern Lord, packaged in a deluxe heavyweight case-wrapped gatefold jacket with a combination of spot varnish and foil stamp printing. This vinyl version of Yob's Cessation also includes two additional bonus tracks not included on the original CD version, "Blessed By Nothing" and "Pain Like Sugar". Here's my old review of the original Profound Lore release:
  Three years after they announced their dissolution, Yob have returned and brought with them their darkest, most malevolent sounding album yet. I'm guessing that this darker tone is the result of all of the bullshit that this Oregon trio has had to contend with, from the breakup of the original Yob lineup in 2006 that seemed to come from out of nowhere, to the tribulations that bandleader Mike Scheidt went through with his new band Middian which led to a trademark dispute over the band name after their debut album came out and ultimately being dropped from their label, Metal Blade. After all of this turmoil, Scheidt somehow found the will to resurrect Yob and reconnected with his old drummer Travis Foster and new bassist Aaron Reiseberg, who replaces former Yob bassist Isamu Sato; now signed to avant-metal powerhouse Profound Lore, Yob recorded The Great Cessation, a monstrous black-hole of cosmic heaviosity that both continues to push past the edges of doom metal into forward-thinking new territory, and finds a furious anger seething beneath the swirling obsidian mass of Yob's new music.
   And so this picks up where 2005's The Unreal Never Lived left off, five songs that fill up an hour, with the title track sprawling out for twenty unholy minutes. The massive, evil Sabbathian riffage has taken on a darker, more sinister stain, the vibe more negatory with ominous sounding song titles like "Burning The Altar" and "Silence Of Heaven", and the psychedelic leads and cosmic FX of the other Yob albums now feel like threatening black clouds building over the epic riffage. There's some of that Isis-esque atmospheric weight here too that appeared on the earlier albums, but it's down-tuned to all new lows, and infused with weird slow-motion thrash riffs, swells of black melodic grandeur, massive chunks of crushing boogie, thunderous tribal drumming, towering drones, passages of atonal post-rock guitar, dreamy acoustic sections. There's mechanical, Godflesh-like rhythmic crush and guitar dissonance running through "Breathing From The Shallows", dark Middle Eastern-tinged guitar leads in "Burning The Altar", and "“Silence Of Heaven” " delves into a vast expanse of churning abstract droneological sound that borders on Sunn O))) territory. Sanford Parker (Minsk), who also produced the album, even contributes synths on the title track. And that voice of Scheidt's has never sounded more fearsome, his bizarre trademark Geddy Lee/witch vocals made even more creepy through electronic processing and alternated with unbelievably deep death metal growls. So fucking great...this might end up being the finest doom metal album of 2009. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Breathing From The Shallows
Sample : The Great Cessation
Sample : Silence Of Heaven



YVONXHE   De Praestigiis Daemonum   CD   (Zero Dimensional)    11.98



   Man, do I love Japanese black metal. There's something about the combination of Japanese horror traditions, super-infectious songwriting and the way that most Japanese bands kind of jumble the sound of traditional black metal in translation that makes so much of that stuff totally irresistible to me. I've been a huge fan of bands like Sigh, Abigail, Barbatos and Sabbat, but it wasn't until I started checking out Zero Dimensional Records that I uncovered a less well known corner of the Japanese underground, in which I've discovered some fantastic obscure outfits that run the gamut from crushing Abruptumesque chaos to furious droning black metal and more fucked-up mutations of intense, low-fi hatred. One of the catchiest of all of the Zero-D bands I've been listening to a lot lately is the Tokyo outfit Yvonxhe (or Psyonxie, depending on who you're talking to), a newer band that plays a frantic version of second wave black metal heavily influenced by the likes of Darkthrone, but who also lashes their aggressive blackened blasts to soaring, borderline poppy hooks and ferocious punk riffs. The end result is some of the catchiest feral black metal I've heard from Japan, transmuting that classical necro sound into something distinctly Japanese and extremely listenable. The band has so far released one album and two EPs, almost all of which I've been able to pick up for the shop, and each one is a brief but blazing assault of the band's punky, anthemic blackness, illustrated with gruesome ukiyo-e illustrations of bizarre ancient demons and ghastly spirits from Japanese folklore.
    2012's De Praestigiis Daemonum is Yvonxhe's first album, a thirteen song, twenty three minute blast of furiously thrashy black metal that wears its stated Darkthrone and Dodheimsgard influences on its sleeve. When the disc starts off though, that first song is all swirling guitar fog, billowing out across the instrumental opener "Cold Mortuary" like some wonderfully murky early 90s shoegaze, blown out distortion and maudlin melodies swiring around a strikingly gorgeous hook. What a way to kick this off. 'Cuz from there, Daemonum transforms into a total rampage, the following songs all tearing across the album in compressed two minute bursts of blackened savagery, the songs erupting into blurs of furious D-beat drumming and cold, reverb-drenched tremolo riffs, the rudimentary riffs racing beneath soaring melodic leads that shoot skyward over the band's feral black blast, with odd titles like "Witchbroomed Vas", "Dream Of Embryo", "Decomposed Necromancer (Excruciated)", Diezine's shrieks seemingly emanating from deep inside some unlit cave. Killer stuff from one of my favorite newer Japanese black metal outfits.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sacred, Noble, Extoled... Witch Hunt
Sample : Lamentations
Sample : Dream Of Embryo
Sample : Cold Mortury



YVONXHE   Multicolored Libricide   CD   (Zero Dimensional)    9.98



   Man, do I love Japanese black metal. There's something about the combination of Japanese horror traditions, super-infectious songwriting and the way that most Japanese bands kind of jumble the sound of traditional black metal in translation that makes so much of that stuff totally irresistible to me. I've been a huge fan of bands like Sigh, Abigail, Barbatos and Sabbat, but it wasn't until I started checking out Zero Dimensional Records that I uncovered a less well known corner of the Japanese underground, in which I've discovered some fantastic obscure outfits that run the gamut from crushing Abruptumesque chaos to furious droning black metal and more fucked-up mutations of intense, low-fi hatred. One of the catchiest of all of the Zero-D bands I've been listening to a lot lately is the Tokyo outfit Yvonxhe (or Psyonxie, depending on who you're talking to), a newer band that plays a frantic version of second wave black metal heavily influenced by the likes of Darkthrone, but who also lashes their aggressive blackened blasts to soaring, borderline poppy hooks and ferocious punk riffs. The end result is some of the catchiest feral black metal I've heard from Japan, transmuting that classical necro sound into something distinctly Japanese and extremely listenable. The band has so far released one album and two EPs, almost all of which I've been able to pick up for the shop, and each one is a brief but blazing assault of the band's punky, anthemic blackness, illustrated with gruesome ukiyo-e illustrations of bizarre ancient demons and ghastly spirits from Japanese folklore.
    Argh! Only seven minutes long, this latest EP from Japanese black metal maniacs Yvonxhe still fuckin' rips, each of these five songs clocking in at a mere ninety seconds while packing in a ton of wonky blackened thrash riffs, soaring eerie guitar leads, bursts of savage blackened grind, and some furiously rocking metal. The stuff on Libricide is just as catchy as the soaring necro-crust anthems on their previous album, but with some of the craziest distorted vocals this side of Abigail. Killer stuff from one of my favorite newer Japanese black metal outfits.
Track Samples:
Sample : Necrotomy
Sample : Multicolored Libricide
Sample : Late Radiation Injury



ZATH   Black Goat Razor / Pain Reaper   7" VINYL   (God?)    6.50



   With a lineup made up of members of Chicago space rock heavies Cave, experimental noise punks Coughs, and occult industrialists Oakeater, you'd probably expect something a little more left-field, but Zath actually serve up a pretty solid no-frills assault of straightforward thrash metal on this 7" EP that keeps their collective prog influences buried beneath the non-stop assault of tightly wound, skull-cracking riffage.
    Released on the new Drag City sub-label GOD? run by garage rock hotshot Ty Segall, Zath's latest follows up that ripping Shit Pig / Unborn Oppressor EP from a while back, returning with a more powerful recording, the sound thicker and heavier and more aggressive. A-side "Black Goat Razor" tears through a meaty chunk of 80's era style thrash metal, head bowed towards the direction of Kreator and Sodom, that classic staccato Teutonic thrash metal sound wielded with skill, the vocals a hoarse blackthrash shriek. That song is a goddamn ripper, pure heavy-as-hell thrash metal with some mildly technical riffwork and gobs of power. The other side features "Pain Reaper", another furious thrasher formed from chunky palm-muted riffage and galloping warhorse tempos; that song starts off as a blast of violent speedcrush, but then halfway through they slip into one of their churning metallic grooves that seems to be their calling card, a brief but pummeling rhythmic workout hinting at some supercharged steel-plated take on a metallic motorik kill-pulse. Shredding stuff, comes in killer sleeve art from Samuel Nigrosh.


ZU   Goodnight, Civilization   12"   (Trost)    15.99



    Finally getting some brand new Zu material, as the last record of theirs I picked up was the 2011 Axion 7" on the now defunct Public Guilt label, so there's definitely been a need for some new stuff from these guys. This latest offering from the famed Italian jazzcore outfit is on the short side, being just a one-sided 12" (the b-side etched with some sort of abstract art that looks like a circuit board schematic) that only has three new tracks clocking in at just a little over ten minutes. But it also features the first recorded appearance of Zu's new drummer Gabe Serbian, who you might know from any one of the noisy punk bands the guys has played in over the past decade and a half like The Locust, Retox, Holy Molar, even doing time in an early lineup of vegetarian death metallers Cattle Decapitation. As if that's not enough to get Zu-addicts itching to hear this, the EP also features a ridiculously brief but still pretty goddamn awesome guest appearance from Napalm Death frontman Barney Greenway. Holy shit.
   But first, the title track: it might be the heaviest thing I've ever heard from Zu, a crushing onslaught of downtuned skull-rattling bass riffage and churning metallic drumming, the saxophones bleating their sinister lines over the rumbling bulldozing heaviness, sliding into a punishing slow motion dirge and then into a weird, sorta mathy chug with spacey electronics winking in and out overhead, a punishing blast of math metal crush and moody out-jazz blowing that eventually fades off into the sounds of what could be a Nepalese funeral prayer and the sound of distant tolling church bells. Pretty amazing. The other two tracks are much shorter and more frantically paced, "Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars" delivering one of Zu's signature blasts of angular, metallic skronk, jagged downtuned riffs and spastic, powerful drumming forming the massive metallic undertow for Mai's violent fire breathing sax blurts before it drifts into an eerie expanse of minimal dark ambience threaded with deep, low-end drones undulating in the blackness; and then there's that minute-long cover of The Residents song "Easter Woman" that closes the record, transformed into something not all that unlike one of the more industrial-tinged tracks off the recent Napalm Death albums, though that could of course be purely attributed to the presence of Greenway's brutal bark, buried beneath a blast of dark melodic sax blurt. A real primo blastfest.
Track Samples:
Sample : ˙ţGoodnight, Civilization
Sample : ˙ţSilent Weapons for Quiet Wars
Sample : ˙ţEaster Woman (The Residents)