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CRUCIAL BLAST WEBSTORE: NEW ARRIVALS FOR TUESDAY MARCH 15TH 2016

    Welcome!

    We're slowly crawling forward after that long lag from the past few months here at C-Blast, but things are starting to come together for what looks to be quite the busy year over here. And we're back this week with the latest huge batch of new titles, represses and restocks in our store, gathered from across the spectrum of extreme adventurous music, literature, cinema and art, with lots of amazing and bizarre stuff for you guys to sink you're teeth into. We hope you'll dig in and check all of this great stuff out. And fingers crossed, this should be the beginning of more frequent updates from us over here, so keep an eye out for another missive heading your way from Crucial Blast later in the month.

    The spotlight this week is on the brand new album from Ivar Bjųrnson & Einar Selvik's Skuggsjį, A Piece For Mind & Mirror, the long-awaited studio album featuring the music that these Enslaved and Wardruna members composed for a festival several years ago, a celebration of Norwegian history and culture set to a majestic mixture of ancient Scandinavian folk music and modern avant-metal that unfolds like a rock opera. Originally something you'd only be able to witness live, this fantastic project has finally made its music available as a full album, which just came out via Season Of Mist. In my review of the album that you will find below, I loosely compared Skuggsjį's sprawling, sonorous saga to a viking version of Neurosis, and while I'm still hearing that in parts of Mirror each time I listen to it again, it's actually much more unique than that comparison suggests. Captivating stuff.

    You'll also find the three most recent releases that came out on Crucial Blast imprint featured here - check 'em out if you haven't already done so. Naturally, I'm ecstatic about all of that stuff that we recently put out. Ramleh's first new "rock" album in nearly twenty years, Circular Time is a sprawling, brain-scorching double album of heavy-duty, heavily distorted psych/noise rock from this famed UK outfit. The latest Cloak Of Altering album Manifestation finds the crazed electro-black metal horrorshow exploring even more schizoid depths of fractured digital madness, soaring symphonic black metal majesty, and brutal blasts of quasi-breakcore chaos; it's yet another terrifying work from this side project/alter ego of famed Dutch outfit Gnaw Their Tongues. And our CD reissue of Dimesland's Psychogenic Atrophy showcases one of the best avant-metal releases that came out in the past year, an absolutely stunning full-length of outre thrash metal and dizzying musical complexity from this San Francisco outfit (which happens to include members of the The Residents' touring band and proggy Oakland heavies Wild Hunt). Atrophy intially came out as a digital-only release, but we loved this album so much that we were compelled to give it a proper physical release. It's managed to fly under most everybody's radar, but take it from us, this album is ferocious, and amazing, one of my favorite things that we've put out on Crucial Blast.

    Some of the other new, recently released and newly added titles that are featured on this list include:

     ... loads of skull-shredding noise punk from bands like Aborticidio, Allergy, No Power, Disclose,
     ... everything from the terrific dark-dub/post-industrial/dark ambient outfit Akatombo, which Scorn fans will love
     ...an essential new LP reissue of the studio recordings of legendary Texan weirdo sludgepunk band Stick Men With Ray Guns, titled Grave City
     ...the new CD reissue of Reencarnacion's 888 Metal / Acompańame A La Tumba, brain-scrambling black thrash primitivism from the 80s with flashes of bizarre, almost RIO-esque progginess
     ...the latest album from Italian prog-death masters Sadist, Hyaena, a ferocious jazz-tinged concept album involving Hyena cults in Africa!
     ...the new vinyl edition of Suicide Euphoria, the awesome bestial deathnoise assault from Philly death metallers Pissgrave
     ...a bunch of sinister-sounding, heavy releases from oddball Midwestern prog rockers Infero
     ...the hard-to-find CDR Herald Of Confusion from folky avant-garde French black metal outfit Sadastor, extremely limited!
     ...a new Macedonian import of early Grief titles on CD and LP, featuring the first throes of these masters of misanthropic, nihilistic sludge metal
     ...a massive double LP boxset featuring the reissue of Giles Corey's self-titled debut, spritualist goth-folk and noisy post-punk that comes with a thick perfect bound book of fiction
     ...another great early death rock reissue from Sacred Bones, Part 1's Funeral Parade, a killer early 80s blast of anarcho gloom in the vein of Rudimentary Peni
     ...lots of killer Amphetamine Reptile reissues from Cows, Halo Of Flies and more, and the new release of the terrific Am Rep documentray The Color Of Noise
     ...the latest from blistering, noisy French Canadian raw black metal outfit Akitsa, Grand Tyrans, in stock on all formats
     ...a brand-new vinyl reissue of the classic rasta-thrash album Rock For Light from legendary Bad Brains
     ...the twisted, nerve-wracked blackened noise rock/art metal of Genevieve's Escapism
     ...the new CD reissue of the Carmilla / Marcilla EP from British horror doom masters Moss
     ...a bunch of releases, some out of print, from cult Japanese harsh noise artist K2
     ...the experimental wall-of-sound of Hanormale's ?????, a blackened orchestral chaos metal that's one of the most unusual and challenging albums on this week's list
     ...Amber Asylum's gorgeous new album of doom-laden chamber music and gloomy cello-heavy ambience, Sin Eater
     ...multiple vinyl editions from the punishing US black metal outfit The Howling Wind
     ...a bunch of 7" EPs from my new favorite crust/punk outfit Thisclose, who sound amazingly like the classic brutal hardcore of Discharge fronted by King Diamond (!!!)
     ...No Negative's acid-gobbling psych-punk meltdown The Good Never Comes that sounds like some weird fusion of Brainbombs and Hawkwind
     ...the putrid death industrial of Nekrofellatio's ?Pesadilla En Una Noche Sin Estrellas, recommended listening for fans of Atrax Morgue and Mauthausen Orchestra
     ...a HUGE stack of older, long out of print vinyl releases from Bastard Noise that we recently stumbled across
     ...a vinyl reissue of the self-titled debut from Harry Pussy, a classic slab of atonal noise rock destruction
     ...lots of new and reissued stuff from extremist noisecore outfit Sissy Spacek
     ...a bunch of reissues from iconic metallic hardcore outfit Integrity, including the band's utterly vicious Humanity Is The Devil
     ...new vinyl and CD releases from ferocious blackened hardcore/thrash maniacs Gehenna
     ...the crushing evil synthwave mastery of Gost's Behemoth, essential driving music for a jet-black DeLorean
     ...a killer double album of pitch-black ambient death-jazz from Dead Neanderthals
     ...the new vinyl reissue of Aquilus's amazing Griseus, a stunning combination of cinematic symphonic music and epic black metal
     ...the recent CD reissue of cult early 90s album Hope Finally Died from prog-tinged doom metallers Decomposed
     ...the latest album Axis from Spanish avant-jazz-doom-metal duo Orthodox
     ...the supremely sinister blackened prog metal of Black Crucifixion's ?Coronation Of King Darkness, finally reissued on CD
     ...multiple variants of the new vinyl reissue of Blasphemy's insanely violent war/noise black metal classic Fallen Angel Of Doom
     ...the wonderfully warped basement occult metal of Necromantic Worship's Spirit Of The Entrance Unto Death tape
     ...a new CD reissue of Tearing Up Your Plans from fearsome NY power electronics fiend Slogun
     ...awesome new vinyl reissues of cult horror soundtracks for Cannibal Apocalypse, The Fog, Absurd, Tourist Trap, Phantasm, The Beyond and lots more
     ...restocks of the complete early Burzum discography, constituting some of the best black metal ever
     ...a heap of new Christian Death reissues on vinyl, some of the best death rock to ever come out of the 1980s
     ...a stack of new 7"s from hillbilly noisecore outfit Erectile Dysfunction


And as always, there's a lot more stuff to check out, 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. And as always, thanks for continuing to support Crucial Blast!

- Adam / Crucial Blast

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



SKUGGSJĮ   A Piece for Mind & Mirror (DELUXE COLLECTORS EDITION)   CD   (Season Of Mist)    15.98



      The limited-edition collector's version of A Piece for Mind & Mirror, presented in an embossed digipak and featuring two exclusive bonus tracks, "Skaldens Song Til Tore Hund" and "Quantum Pasts (Rop Fra Rųynda - Bardspec Ed)", both of which are just as immense as anything on the album proper; once these are sold out, we'll have the standard ten-track digipak CD in stock. Multiple vinyl editions are also in stock.
      Ingrained with Norwegian folklore and poetic traditions, Skuggsjį first appeared at the Eidsivablot Festival several years ago, a live performance spearheaded by Enslaved's Ivar Bjųrnson and Wardruna's Einar Selvik that was commissioned by the festival in commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian Constitution. Originally set to be a one-off event, the performance consisted of a series of musical pieces that chronicle the history of Norway from the early pre-Christian era through to the modern age; an ambitious project, for sure, which utilized a mixture of traditional Scandinavian instrumentation (taglharpa, kraviklyre, goat horns, birch trumpet, bone flutes, fiddles) and folk music forms along with surges of sweeping metallic power and modern electronics. Up until recently, the only way that you would have been able to experience this music was to be one of the lucky few able to capture Skuggsjį either at that original Eidsivablot appearance, or the subsequent performance at the Roadburn Festival. But now this epic, operatic saga has been recorded in its entirety, presented as a new studio album from the group, with additional musical contributions from Grutle Kjellson and Cato Bekkevold (Enslaved), Lindy Fay Hella (Wardruna) and folk musician Olav Luksengård Mjelva.
      A Piece for Mind & Mirror is a breathtaking tapestry of sounds ancient and contemporary, connected by various threads of traditional Nordic music; early Norse folk traditions are woven into the modern sound of Norwegian metal, the result sounding remarkably unique. As the album opens, the sound of distant tribal drums reverberate beneath dark minor key guitars and ancient bone-flutes, male and female voices reciting verses in Norse tongue that evoke primal, mythic imagery. Far-off drones circle around haunting horns as the sound steadily grows darker and more ominous, eventually building towards the nearly eleven minute eruption of blackened folk- flecked frostblast "Makta Og Vanęra (I All Tid)". The heavier moments like these are unsurprisingly reminiscent of Enslaved's proggy Viking metal, delivering a similar blend of furious double bass, mournful tremolo riffs and a mixture of hellish shrieks and imperious baritone vocals. And echoes of Wardruna's rustic folk appear throughout Mirror as well, especially in those passages driven by choral singing and those thunderous war-drums.
      But this isn't merely a hybrid of the two groups. There is an intense emotional power to songs like "Tore Hund" and "Kvervandi" that's unique to this project, sprawling out into vast, portentous dirges that border on the Neurotic. The instrumental "Skuggeslåtten" starts off with gnarled, medieval-sounding fiddles meeting a fuzz-drenched prog rock riff, later morphing into a mixture of staccato metal chug and regal trumpets, and eventually an onslaught of furious black metal-style blastbeats racing beneath sheets of folk-flecked orchestral drift. Elsewhere, the album slips into hypnotic war-rituals, serpentine guitars intertwining around dark violins, stark vocal harmonies rising with the beating of crow's wings, those narcotized tribal drums beating an incessant tattoo, or open up into fields of dark, sonorous progginess, or fall into sinuous, slithering grooves that transform into a dark technoid throb, streaked with glimmering cosmic electronics.
      In many ways, Skuggsjį is what I've always wished I would hear whenever I'd see something described as "folk metal". The traditional instruments are integrated seamlessly into these arrangements, even the heavier moments, in a manner that is much more organic than many bands that attempt this sort of synthesis. The label cites everything from the ethno-gothic darkness of Dead Can Dance to the shadowy gospel of Woven hand and (naturally) Wardruna's Nordic folk music as reference points in their description for this music; that sort of gives you an idea of what Skuggsjį are doing, but this is also much heavier than one might expect; indeed, much of A Piece for Mind & Mirror resembles some towering Viking version of Neurosis, stark and fearsome and brooding, shot through with surges of blasting metallic fury and sprawls of primal, blackened psychedelia. An absolutely riveting experience.
Track Samples:
Sample : Rop fra roynda - maelt fra minne
Sample : Makta og vanera, for all tid
Sample : Bon om ending, bon om byrjing


NEW ADDITIONS



ABJECTION RITUAL   Futility Rites   CD   (Malignant)    10.98














ABOMINATOR   Barbarian War Worship   2 x LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    28.98














ABORTICIDIO   self-titled   7" VINYL   (General Speech)    8.98



     Sucks that we couldn't get any of the copies of this 7" that had the original artwork; the original sleeve sported some seriously vile, naive art that looked like something scraped out of the inside of Mike Diana's skull. Oh well. I can live with this slightly revised version, as it's still one of the nastiest sounding new noise-punk records I've stumbled across lately. Aborticidio are a Mexico City-based duo whose ultra-blown-out punk is so chaotic and noise-damaged that his seriously starts to verge on turning into total noisecore. Most stuff in this vein tends to stick pretty close to that now oft-copied Confuse sound, but these guys are fucked-up on a different level, barreling through five songs of fast-paced hardcore punk that is almost completely buried beneath screeching high-end gain and ear-shredding guitar noise, their brutal Dis-riffs submerged into the rampaging assault, the croaked shouts of the singer and the furious bass riffs the few aspects of musicality that emerge from this outrageous mess of treble-cranked filth. But then they close with the song "Let's Dance To The Noise Punk!", and this suddenly rips into an awesome pogo attack, a super catchy streetpunk anthem, albeit one still buried beneath outrageous amounts of low-fi hiss and murk and muck. Pretty demented stuff, especially when paired with their oddball art, which even in this "cleaned up" version features childlike drawings of drunken punks, mutilated torsos, and demonic molestation scrawled across the sleeve and booklet. Another one for any of you who dig the sonic aesthetics of power electronics applied to violent, fucked-up old-school punk. Limited to two hundred fifty copies.


AEVANGELIST   Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss   CD   (20 Buck Spin)    13.99














AEVANGELIST   Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss   LP   (20 Buck Spin)    21.00














AEVANGELIST   Writhes In The Murk   CD   (Hells Headbangers)    11.98














AKERCOCKE   The Goat Of Mendes   CD   (Peaceville)    14.98














AKERCOCKE   The Goat Of Mendes   2 x LP   (Peaceville)    37.99














ALUK TODOLO   Occult Rock   2 x CD   (Ajna Offensive)    15.98














ALUK TODOLO   Occult Rock   2 x LP   (Ajna Offensive)    22.00














AQUILUS   Griseus   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    26.98












Track Samples:
Sample : Night Bell
Sample : Latent Thistle
Sample : Nihil



ARCTURUS   La Masquerade Infernale   2 x LP   (Back On Black)    32.00



      Finally got this double vinyl reissue of Arcturus's 1997 album in stock on vinyl, released as a hefty gatefold package by UK reissue label Back On Black. Still as weird as it was when we first picked it up, here's our old review of this Nordic avant-metal mindfuck from when we originally got the CD reissue version in stock:
      1997's La Masquerade Infernale is still one of the greatest codices of avant-garde, genre-blurring black metal that emerged from the wide ranging experimentation that swept through Norwegian black metal in the late '90's. It's still certainly thought of as Arcturus' masterwork by pretty much everybody in the metal community. Featuring Garm from Ulver and Hellhammer from Mayhem, Arcturus took a huge step away from the slow melodic doominess of Arcturus' Aspera Hiems Symfonia, and from the opening seconds of "Master Of Disguise", immediately plunges you into a nocturnal, dreamlike carnival atmosphere filled with crazy prog-rock synthesizer runs and dense electronic samples that are unified with Arcturus' melodic, somewhat baroque-sounding black metal. The grotesque dream-visions of the album artwork and the surreal Faustian lyrics reveal eerie Satanic visions colored by theatre, literature and French poetry, and the music is like black metal's answer to both Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, containing Kurt Weill-esque cabaret music, symphonic strings, pop melodies, industrial clang, drum n' bass/jungle beats, trip hop, and mind-tripping flights into the deep cosmic ether, the arrangements constantly shifting in and out of these stylistic boundaries without warning. The raw screams that normally characterized black metal are replaced with dramatic, semi-operatic vocals, gruff low crooning that reminds me of Mike Patton, and the bizarre high-pitched singing of guest singer Simen Hestnęs, who would later replace Garm as the band's frontman.
      Yep, this still sounds every bit as strange and alien as it did when it came out over 10 years ago. This is the re-mastered re-issued version of La Masquerade Infernale on Candlelight, and does not include the hidden trip-hop track that appeared on the original Misanthropy Records release.


ARCTURUS   Aspera Hiems Symfonia / Constellation / My Angel   2 x LP   (Back On Black)    32.00



      Along with the Back On Black reissue of Arcturus's late 90's avant metal masterwork La Masquerade Infernale, we also finally picked up the latest repress of the double LP reissue of the band's early collection Aspera Hiems Symfonia / Constellation / My Angel, which had been previously reissued on Candlelight as an expanded double CD set. This vinyl edition features all of the same material as that CD version, and houses the records in a hefty gatefold jacket, with the records coming on colored vinyl. Here's our original review from back in 2002 when we first got that CD reissue in:
      Here we get a beefed-up re-issue of the early Arcturus recordings delivered as a double-disc set, Aspera Hiems Symfonia / Constellation / My Angel is exactly that, a collection of the band's first full length album Aspera Hiems Symfonia from 1995, the Constellation CD promo from 1994, and the My Angel 7" from 1991. This two-disc remastered reissue documents Arcturus before they truly entered the realm of electronica-flavored, Faith No More-inspired post-black metal, but even with these early releases you can hear a band breaking through the walls of traditional black metal forms. Featuring Garm from Ulver and Hellhammer from Mayhem, Arcturus' early releases were blazing, epic Norwegian black metal bolstered by tons of majestic synthesizers, ripping double bass drumming, and a combo of alternating blackened shrieks and awesome soaring vocals that sound a lot like Depeche Mode. When their not racing through wintry wastes on fierce BM thrash, Arcturus break down into spacey orchestral waltzes and melodic breaks that border on full-on "pop" at times. Catchy as hell, but also quite vicious in spots, these recordings begin to reveal that heavy, theatrical prog-rock vibe that hints at where the band would go with their late 90's work. The Aspera hiems Symfonia disc includes two previously unreleased tracks that were recorded during the same recording session.


ARTIFICIAL BRAIN   Labyrinth Constellation (RED VINYL)   LP   (Profound Lore)    23.99



      One of our favorite death metal albums from 2014, Artificial Brain's monstrous sci-fi progdeath nightmare is now available on colored vinyl from Profound Lore with 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-aughts.
      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



ASTRO   Synthetic Spectra   CASSETTE   (Blossoming Noise)    7.98














ATHEIST   Elements   CD + DVD   (Season Of Mist)    14.99



      Finally back in print on CD, Atheist's mind-melting third album Elements is reissued as a deluxe CD and DVD set via Season Of Mist; the CD version features the album and a live radio broadcast from 1992, while the DVD is loaded with a wealth of rare live footage, including live sets in Holland, Montreal, and Chicago captured between 1992 and 1993, and capped off with an interview with the band from January 1992. It's by far the most exhaustive CD release this album has received to date, killer stuff.
      Out of all of the death metal bands that were flirting with prog and avant-garde tendencies in the early 90's (a crowd that included the likes of Pestilence, Cynic, Death and Nocturnus), Atheist was the one that seemed to venture the furthest into full-blown jazz territory, releasing a trio of albums that would continue to mutate more and more into a strange sort of experimental fusion-death that liberally applied elements of tripped-out psychedelia, sweat-soaked samba (!) and similar Latin influences into their complex, crushing metal. Atheist's three albums (1989's Piece of Time, 1991's Unquestionable Presence and 1993's mind-bending Elements) went on to become landmarks in the field of progressive death metal; though the band reunited in recent years and produced the solid comeback album Jupiter for Season Of Mist, it's those earlier albums that I always go back to, as these guys sounded so unique, so outré, their music has aged remarkably well in the decades since their release. Founded by guitarist Kelly Shaefer (who also handled the vocals in Atheist, with a ferocious yowl that was totally unlike the guttural growling most other bands were doing back then) and his crew of pot-smoking visionaries in the early 80's as a standard issue thrash metal band, by the end of the decade they had evolved into one of the most unique metal bands to ever come out of the Sunshine State, morphing into something much more complex and left-field than almost anyone else in the Floridian death metal scene, combining dizzying baroque arrangements and highly complex time signatures with vicious, discordant riffs and heavy doses of fusiony jazz, Latin music and prog influences. Unsurprisingly, these albums went over the heads of most metalheads when they originally came out, the complexity and insane tonal shifts throwing most 'bangers for a loop. They never received the sort of widespread acclaim that many of their peers enjoyed throughout the 90's, and Atheist ended up breaking up not long after the release of their third album Elements.
      On album number three, listeners followed Atheist all the way down their weird rabbit-hole of surreal songwriting and jazz/samba influenced prog meshed with crushing staccato death metal heaviness. Despite the fact that Elements was in essence a rush-job that the band belted out quickly to finish off their contract, the album was an intense, accomplished work that featured some of Atheist's most imaginative songwriting ever. Most of the songs are titled after various elemental forces, continuing in the band's strange New Age-style themes of spirituality, and their Byzantine songwriting was further fleshed out with polyrhythmic drumming, complex time signatures and unpredictable shifts in style and tone that often completely abandoned the death metal form. Cynic bassist Tony Choy returned as well, contributing his virtuosic deep-pocket playing that the band wisely put way up front in the mix. Choy's playing is a big part of what makes this album sound so unique, his grooves more informed by jazz, funk and Latin influences than the plodding chug of classical heavy metal. The song "Mineral" breaks into one of the sickest and most unusual death metal breakdowns I have ever heard, while elsewhere the band blends soaring guitar solos, fusiony shredding and haunting e-bow textures into gorgeous abstract guitar instrumentals like "Fractal Point" and "See You Again". And all throughout Elements, the band swerves from that wicked metallic heaviness into frenetic samba session or searing Latin jazz style guitar solos, with some full-on samba appearing on the piano-laced interlude "Samba Briza". I know that this stuff blew my mind the first time I listened to this album, I can only imagine how other death metal fans might have reacted when they first heard this wild, jazz-infected progdeath back in 1993. Atheist's rhythmic complexity and stylistic indulgences were like no other band; in fact, in the twenty years since Elements first came out, the only band that has even come close to capturing the sort of bizarre, mind-bending jazzmetal virtuosity heard here would be Brooklyn's Candiria. A lot of Atheist fans consider their second album to be their finest, but for me, Elements remains the band's career high point, a masterpiece of memorable, utterly unique, highly adventurous metal. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Fire
Sample : Green
Sample : On They Slay [*][Live]



ATHEIST   Piece Of Time   LP   (Season Of Mist)    21.00














ATHEIST   Unquestionable Presence   CD + DVD   (Season Of Mist)    14.99



      The latest CD reissue of Atheist's prog-death classic Unquestionable Presence is now available from Season of Mist. This double disc set features the album accompanied by a host of extras that includes assroted demo material and instrumental tracks; and it comes with a DVD packed with fascinating material, including the February 1991 set that was the last-ever live performance of the classic original Atheist lineup, footage of Tony Choy's first rehearsal, drum-camera footage of Steve Flynn taken from a live radio performance broadcast from Morrisound in the summer of '91, fan-filmed footage of Tony Choy's first show with Atheist in July 1991, and a 1993 video interview between the band and Götz Kühnemund (Rock Hard Magazine) taken during their European tour with Benediction. There's hours worth of stuff to dig into here...
      Out of all of the death metal bands that were flirting with prog and avant-garde tendencies in the early 90's (a crowd that included the likes of Pestilence, Cynic, Death and Nocturnus), Atheist was the one that seemed to venture the furthest into full-blown jazz territory, releasing a trio of albums that would continue to mutate more and more into a strange sort of experimental fusion-death that liberally applied elements of tripped-out psychedelia, sweat-soaked samba (!) and similar Latin influences into their complex, crushing metal. Atheist's three albums (1989's Piece of Time, 1991's Unquestionable Presence and 1993's mind-bending Elements) went on to become landmarks in the field of progressive death metal; though the band reunited in recent years and produced the solid comeback album Jupiter for Season Of Mist, it's those earlier albums that I always go back to, as these guys sounded so unique, so outré, their music has aged remarkably well in the decades since their release. Founded by guitarist Kelly Shaefer (who also handled the vocals in Atheist, with a ferocious yowl that was totally unlike the guttural growling most other bands were doing back then) and his crew of pot-smoking visionaries in the early 80's as a standard issue thrash metal band, by the end of the decade they had evolved into one of the most unique metal bands to ever come out of the Sunshine State, morphing into something much more complex and left-field than almost anyone else in the Floridian death metal scene, combining dizzying baroque arrangements and highly complex time signatures with vicious, discordant riffs and heavy doses of fusiony jazz, Latin music and prog influences. Unsurprisingly, these albums went over the heads of most metalheads when they originally came out, the complexity and insane tonal shifts throwing most 'bangers for a loop. They never received the sort of widespread acclaim that many of their peers enjoyed throughout the 90's, and Atheist ended up breaking up not long after the release of their third album Elements.
      Recorded in the wake of the tragic highway accident that took the life of founding bassist Roger Patterson while on tour, it's amazing that the band was even able to continue on, let alone release their second album Unquestionable Presence, which is considered by many to be the band's finest hour and one of the all-time classic albums of 90's era prog-death. Atheist were at the absolute top of their game here, though. As work had already been started on the album prior to Patterson's death, the band carried on, drafting Cynic bassist Tony Choy to complete the album, and the result is a whiplash assault of some of the finest avant-garde death metal that you will ever hear. A savage set of unorthodox death metal songs that showcased the band's ever growing musical prowess and songwriting chops, Presence delivered eight songs of complicated, proggy metal that was at the time unmatched in terms of sheer creativity. Opening with the frantic tech-death workout of their classic "Mother Man", the band sets into one of their most lethal grooves, but they follow that with a dizzying array of punishing chromatic riffage, galloping thrash and soaring sinister leads, unexpected slap bass playing that actually fits right in with the band's jazzy sound, the songs shifting through myriad time signature changes, the complicated song structures constantly changing shape, the band moving through brutal death thrash into reckless prog workouts and into strange, atmospheric jazziness. As the album unfolds through songs like "Retribution", "An Incarnation's Dream" and the title track, there's plenty of those killer proggy solos, ambient samples and fusiony breaks strewn throughout, and never once would you mistake this for just another rote death metal record. While the band had yet to immerse themselves in the sort of samba/jazz elements that would appear on their third album, there is still a heavy undercurrent of jazz and fusion technique with the guitar playing, and some of those Latin rhythms do start to peer through on a couple of songs. The whole feel of the album stood out even further with Shaefer's strange wordplay, his wicked sneering scream belting out lyrics that almost read like arcane motivational tracts, and his unique vocal phrasing is just as important to Atheist's singular sound as any of the other elements that the band is known for. A landmark album in the field of technical/progressive death metal. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Brains
Sample : Mother Man
Sample : And the Psychic Saw
Sample : Retribution [*][Demo Version][Instrumental]



ATHEIST   Unquestionable Presence (ORANGE VINYL)   LP   (Season Of Mist)    22.00



      Out of all of the death metal bands that were flirting with prog and avant-garde tendencies in the early 90's (a crowd that included the likes of Pestilence, Cynic, Death and Nocturnus), Atheist was the one that seemed to venture the furthest into full-blown jazz territory, releasing a trio of albums that would continue to mutate more and more into a strange sort of experimental fusion-death that liberally applied elements of tripped-out psychedelia, sweat-soaked samba (!) and similar Latin influences into their complex, crushing metal. Atheist's three albums (1989's Piece of Time, 1991's Unquestionable Presence and 1993's mind-bending Elements) went on to become landmarks in the field of progressive death metal; though the band reunited in recent years and produced the solid comeback album Jupiter for Season Of Mist, it's those earlier albums that I always go back to, as these guys sounded so unique, so outré, their music has aged remarkably well in the decades since their release. Founded by guitarist Kelly Shaefer (who also handled the vocals in Atheist, with a ferocious yowl that was totally unlike the guttural growling most other bands were doing back then) and his crew of pot-smoking visionaries in the early 80's as a standard issue thrash metal band, by the end of the decade they had evolved into one of the most unique metal bands to ever come out of the Sunshine State, morphing into something much more complex and left-field than almost anyone else in the Floridian death metal scene, combining dizzying baroque arrangements and highly complex time signatures with vicious, discordant riffs and heavy doses of fusiony jazz, Latin music and prog influences. Unsurprisingly, these albums went over the heads of most metalheads when they originally came out, the complexity and insane tonal shifts throwing most 'bangers for a loop. They never received the sort of widespread acclaim that many of their peers enjoyed throughout the 90's, and Atheist ended up breaking up not long after the release of their third album Elements. Released on the long-defunct Active Records, all three of the early Atheist LPs were later re-mastered and reissued with bonus materials on CD via Relapse Records in 2005, followed by these new limited-edition vinyl reissues on new label Season Of Mist that pretty much duplicate the original Active releases all the way down to the center labels.
      Recorded in the wake of the tragic highway accident that took the life of founding bassist Roger Patterson while on tour, it's amazing that the band was even able to continue on, let alone release their second album Unquestionable Presence, which is considered by many to be the band's finest hour and one of the all-time classic albums of 90's era prog-death. Atheist were at the absolute top of their game here, though. As work had already been started on the album prior to Patterson's death, the band carried on, drafting Cynic bassist Tony Choy to complete the album, and the result is a whiplash assault of some of the finest avant-garde death metal that you will ever hear. A savage set of unorthodox death metal songs that showcased the band's ever growing musical prowess and songwriting chops, Presence delivered eight songs of complicated, proggy metal that was at the time unmatched in terms of sheer creativity. Opening with the frantic tech-death workout of their classic "Mother Man", the band sets into one of their most lethal grooves, but they follow that with a dizzying array of punishing chromatic riffage, galloping thrash and soaring sinister leads, unexpected slap bass playing that actually fits right in with the band's jazzy sound, the songs shifting through myriad time signature changes, the complicated song structures constantly changing shape, the band moving through brutal death thrash into reckless prog workouts and into strange, atmospheric jazziness. As the album unfolds through songs like "Retribution", "An Incarnation's Dream" and the title track, there's plenty of those killer proggy solos, ambient samples and fusiony breaks strewn throughout, and never once would you mistake this for just another rote death metal record. While the band had yet to immerse themselves in the sort of samba/jazz elements that would appear on their third album, there is still a heavy undercurrent of jazz and fusion technique with the guitar playing, and some of those Latin rhythms do start to peer through on a couple of songs. The whole feel of the album stood out even further with Shaefer's strange wordplay, his wicked sneering scream belting out lyrics that almost read like arcane motivational tracts, and his unique vocal phrasing is just as important to Atheist's singular sound as any of the other elements that the band is known for. A landmark album in the field of technical/progressive death metal. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Brains
Sample : Mother Man
Sample : And the Psychic Saw
Sample : Retribution [*][Demo Version][Instrumental]



BAD BRAINS   Rock For Light   CD   (Caroline)    14.99



      Now in stock on CD.
      An unequivocal classic of pioneering hardcore punk, Bad Brains' 1983 firestorm Rock For Light just got reissued on vinyl, apparently from the same label that originally put it out. The follow-up to the Brains' seminal self-titled ROIR cassette, their second album propelled these iconoclastic punks even further into the stratosphere upon its release, yet another quantum leap from what had initially started out as four black kids from Washington, DC playing jazz fusion. By this point, the Bad Brains were titans in the American underground, blowing minds with their electrifying fusion of superfast hardcore thrash, screaming metal licks, and soulful reggae, permeated with the band's growing immersion into Rastafarianism. That uniqueness caught the attention of none other than Ric Ocasek, gangly mastermind behind 80s New Wave gods The Cars. Sure seemed like an odd pairing when I first picked this album up, but Ocasek kept the band's sound raw and raucous; while Rock features re-recordings of a number of songs that had already appeared on the ROIR tape (starting a long tradition the Bad Brains had throughout the 80s of continually re-recording various songs for new releases), it might be my favorite version of that stuff.
      And in 1983, these guys still sounded completely unique with their ferocious blend of Rastafarian spirituality and dope-fueled positivism, welded to a mix of blitzkrieg hardcore and laid-back reggae jams. You get turbo-charged renditions of stuff like "Big Takeover", "Right Brigade", "Banned In DC" and "Attitude", while new songs like "Joshua's Song", "Destroy Babylon", the uber-catchy title track and the utterly ferocious "Coptic Times" and "At The Movies" are all blasts of triumphant, turbo-charged speed and power, with riffs that begin to hint at the metallic direction the band would head in with subsequent releases. When the Brains unleash the speed, it's about as fast as anything in hardcore at the time, and H.R.'s strangled shriek and velvety croon engage in wild vocal acrobatics through the whole album, delivering one of the most powerful vocal performances ever heard in hardcore punk. But when that ferocity suddenly slams into the mellow, dubbed-out reggae grooves of "I And I Survive" and "The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth", the sudden juxtaposition is gloriously disorienting. An eternal favorite around the C-Blast compound, and a crucial slab of pioneering mutant hardcore.
Track Samples:
Sample : I and I Survive
Sample : Coptic Times
Sample : At the Movies



BEGOTTENED   self-titled   CD   (Nostalgia Blackrain)    15.99



Prepare for a descent into death-dub delirium! Just seeing that this new Japanese band featured the duo of Chew (vocalist for legendary sludge metallers Corrupted) and Kohei Nakagawa (the guy behind the longrunning extreme noise outfit Guilty Connector) was enough to make me want to pick up this self-titled debut, but this ended up being even better than expected. These six songs are formed out of an immensely bleak brand of slow-motion, industrial-tinged heaviness, focused around spare, echoing drums that creep and shuffle through a vast, dark expanse, that almost dubby percussion moving beneath encroaching waves of crushing detuned drone and streaked with bits of trippy electrnic noise. The opener "Brainwashing" alost resembles an especially doom-laden Scorn track, or perhaps something from Necro Deathmort, all slow-mo snare hits and erchoing kick drum, draped in murk and reverb, the sound of a doom metal drummer playing solo in some isolated cave chamber. AS the album moves through each subsequent track, however (the whole album seems to be essentially a single piece of music), the sound grows more frenzied and noisy, those drums becoming lost in gales of shrieking electronics and crushing low-end diostortion, and halfway in all you can make out are the violently crashing cymbals swept up in a hurricane of noise. The second half re-emerges into a much more psychedelic space, though, as swarms of frenzied tape delay effects and garbled glitchy electronics take over, joined by even slower and mor stretched out drumming, shrieking feedback and controlled blasts of distortion, contrasting space and stillness with those bursts of abrasive sound and echoing percusive skitter to lead the rest of the album into a spaced-out, utterly desolate sprawl of ashen doom-dub, desaturated isolationist ambience and ghostly electro-acoustic creepiness, a whirring, clanking, echoing nightmare that at times resembles some doom outfit channeling Lee Perry in the shadows of the world of Eraserhead.


BLACK COBRA   Imperium Simulacra   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98














BLACK COBRA   Imperium Simulacra (SILVER VINYL)   2 x LP   (Season Of Mist)    25.99














BLACK COBRA   Imperium Simulacra   CASSETTE   (Season Of Mist)    9.00














BLOOD INCANTATION   Interdimensional Extinction   CD   (Dark Descent)    8.99














BLOOD INCANTATION   Interdimensional Extinction   LP   (Dark Descent)    14.99

Interdimensional Extinction IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER












BLUES CREATION   Demon & Eleven Children   CD   (Calamares Productions)    15.98














BODY, THE   Christs, Redeemers   CD   (Thrill Jockey)    14.98














BODY, THE   Christs, Redeemers   2 x LP   (Thrill Jockey)    22.00














BODY, THE   Christs, Redeemers   CASSETTE   (At A Loss)    9.98














BODY, THE + FULL OF HELL   One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache   CD   (Neurot)    14.99














BODY, THE + KRIEG   self-titled   CD   (At A Loss)    12.98














BODY, THE + KRIEG   self-titled   LP   (At A Loss)    19.99














BODY, THE + KRIEG   self-titled   CASSETTE   (At A Loss)    9.00














BOTCH   061502   2 x LP   (Hydra Head)    24.99



      Gorgeous new vinyl edition of Botch's last live performance, previously released as part of the band's 061502 DVD and CD set. Re-mastered for vinyl, these two LPs come in printed inner-sleeves, housed inside of a heavyweight case-wrapped gatefold jacket, and issued in a limited edition of two thousand copies. This still stands as one of the most ferocious live performances I've seen documented on video, and that energy bleeds through every second of the recorded audio from this concert. Here's the old review of the live material from the CD release:
      For all of us that couldn't cough up the plane tickets to Seattle, Hydra Head has finally delivered this document of that last show from 2002. A mighty math-metal destruction machine, Botch beamed massively heavy yet super melodic and intricate jams, every one of their songs a devastatingly epic assault of chugging, confounding riffage, weird effects, earth shaking bass, complex angular rhythms n' dizzying time signatures, and monstrous roaring vocals. One of the most important and influential bands of the 90's underground heavy music scene, Botch sent hardcore spiraling off into a whole 'nother direction. This captures their final performance on June 15th, 2002 at the Showbox in Seattle, Washington. The footage is amazing, capturing the incredible energy of the band and an entirely appreciative crowd that flip out throughout the entire length of the show...their explosive, emotional set runs through pretty much all of their crucial stuff: "St. Mathew Returns To The Womb", "C. Thomas Howell As The "Soul Man"", "John Woo", "Japam", "Oma", "Frequency Ass Bandit", "Thank God For The Worker Bees", "Framce", "Third Part In A Tragedy", the cover of "Rock Lobster", "Transitions From Persona To Object", "To Our Friends In The Great White North", "Hutton's Great Heat Engine", and "Man The Ramparts". Obviously, this is something that any Botch fans aren't going to want to miss, but this should also be mandatory viewing for anybody that wants to bear witness to one of the most progressive, influential hardcore bands ever, who pretty much changed the shape of "math-metal" as we know it.


BURZUM   Filosofem   2 x LP   (Back On Black)    32.00



      Just restocked the Back On Black vinyl reissue of Filosofem, originally issued in 2008 on black vinyl with the original album art.
      It goes without saying that the original early 90's Burzum releases remain among the most potent and influential black metal albums ever recorded. While the criminal exploits of sole member Varg Vikernes have always threatened to overshadow the music itself (just read Lords Of Chaos for the whole sordid saga), the impact that these records had on underground metal (and beyond) is still being felt. Ferocious, sometimes experimental, Burzum's early discography includes works that are undeniable masterpieces of black metal profanity steeped in Scandinavian mythology; regardless of how one feels about the notorious character behind this music, several of these albums are required listening for anyone who is truly interested in the sonic black arts. All of these albums were reissued a while back through the Candlelight sub-label Byelobog on CD and on Back On Black on vinyl, retaining their original form with no added bonus tracks or any other extraneous material; we now have all of these in stock, some at lower prices than before, and all are highly recommended to those truly interested in the evolution of Norwegian black metal and the malevolent aesthetics of genuinely sociopathic art.
      Burzum's Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is truly a masterwork of Norwegian black metal, but in my opinion, 1996's Filosofem is the band's finest hour, and possibly the best black metal album ever recorded. Recorded simultaneously with Hvis lyset tar oss, it's obviously a direct continuation of that record's epic-length mesmeric sound, again perfectly blending sprawling, droning mid-tempo black metal and minimal, haunting electronic sounds into a stunning blackened soundscape. But there's something about Filosofem that's imbued with a violent, sweeping majesty that's unique to this album.
      Opener "Dunkelheit" sets the mood with its slow, deliberate pacing and miserablist atmosphere, the churning wall of fuzz emanating from his guitar flecked with a simple four note keyboard figure; it's a great Burzum song, but it's almost like an epic intro for the second song "Jesus' Tod". That song's invocation of windswept ferocity features one of the most infectious and infuriating black metal riffs ever racing over waves of double bass, that riff circling endlessly and furiously, creating an almost ritualisic feel that washes over the listener. It's my favorite Burzum song, his nocturnal magic sharpened and perfected. And it's all constructed out of what is essentially just two riffs.
      Filosofem often reaches such heights. The other songs are swept up in a near constant fuzz-drenched fog, the vocals frenzied and spiteful, the simple but murderously effective riffs fused to emotionally stirring and equally simple leads, the songs blasting meditatively over the relentless pulse of the drums, shifting from that furious swarming blast to a head-nodding midtempo groove. Those drums sometimes disappearing completely (as on "Gebrechlichkeit 1"), leaving just a mournful fuzz-encrusted riff and eerie electronic melody to drift beneath the hellish, anguished shrieks and chthonic rumblings. Synths are more present than ever before, buried deep in the mix, usually a haunting, kosmische drone gleaming beneath the riffs, only occasionally blooming into one of those skeletal, dreamlike melodies.
      The exception is the nearly half hour long "Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat", which sees everything being stripped away in favor of those synthesizers. Much like "Tomhet" off the previous album, this is a immersive driftscape heavily influenced by classic German space music, and indeed it feels much like some old Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze piece, a sinister, simple melody looping over an expanse of moody electronic drift. And rather than return to the furious black roar of the first half of the album, Filosofem's final song offers a second part to ""Gebrechlichkeit", a strange, sometimes abstract soundscape that revives those swarming static-drenched riffs, but not before the track unfolds into a mysterious clanking realm of minimal piano laid over industrialized rumblings and low, resonant drones, slowly swelling into a final, funereal riff that drifts languidly across the final moments of the album. Essential black metal, one of the best albums that ever came out of the Norwegian underground.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dunkelheit
Sample : Jesus Dod



CAPE OF BATS   Violent Occultism   LP   (Unholy Anarchy)    12.98














CAPE OF BATS   Violent Occultism   CASSETTE   (Broken Limbs)    5.00














CATATONIC EXISTENCE   Elect Me God, And I'll Kill You All   CD   (Epic Recordings)    16.98



As big a fan as I am of weird, messed-up industrial metal, I'd never heard of this obscure California outfit until now. Apparently best known for being a side-project from one of the guys in the notorious grindcore outfit Meatshits, Catatonic Existence popped up briefly in the mid 90s, releasing a split CD and a seperate split 7" with the aforementioned 'Shits, and the two song I'll Kill You All! 7" from 1994, before disappearing back into the boiling black sewer from which they emerged. The band was essentially a one-man effort from Guy Mulidor, with some additional contributions from Meatshits founder Robert Deathrage on vocals, sampling and keyboards, but it's quite different from the other stuff that these guys were doing. It's just as nihilistic and misanthropic, sure, but the music is a bizarre sort of primitive, industrialized electro-metal, not quite the Godflesh worhip that you might expect (although they are cwertainly an influence on this stuff). No, this is much weirder and much more fucked-up. Pounding double-bass drum machine rhythms and machinelike programmed pummel drill through songs like "Guy Told Me To" and "The Last Temptation", tinny thrash riffs buried in the mix beneath Mulidor's monstrous guttural gorilla-grunts, while the bass guitar and synths often break into these odd funk parts, even breaking out some actual slap-bass moves in some of the weirder moments. Also, this stuff us fucking loaded with samples, with long film samples from early 90s movies like Judgement Night and Needful Things as well as fragments of news reports and various other movies are strewn throughout the songs, and there are big chunks of this stuff when the metallic elements drop out and it turns into a demented kind of EBM, some fucked-up, meth-addled take on Front 242. It's not for all tastes, I can tell you that. The awkward song structures, the bizarre funk bass, the squelchy Wax Trax synths and weird bossa nova percussion breaks, the overload of samples and the willfully anti-human attitude, all turns this into a kind of outsider mecha-metal that manages to transcend being just another Godflesh clone. It's weirdly infectious, especially if you've got a taste for weirdo electro-sludge like Black Mayonnaise and stuff in that general vein.


CEMETERY   self-titled   LP   (Mass Media)    15.98

self-titled IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Loved this goth-punk outfit's Wind And Shadows, which led me to their previous LP, an eponynmous collection of demo material that came out a couple of years ago. Like a lot of the stuff that has been coming off the killer Mass Media imprint that I've been picking up, this interprets that early 80's death rock sound through a modern lens, weird and dark and brooding but injecting a bit of a peace punk attitude into this stuff as well. Cemetery are one of the more powerful sounding bands that's come out of this scene, a gang of Sisters Of Mercy-worshipping punkers who combine their obsessions with spiked n' studded hardcore, dark new wave music, early Christian Death and 80's goth rock into their own punchy, gloom-drenched sound, laced with more aggression and noisiness than is the norm for this sort of stuff.
Between this and their album, these guys are fast turning into one of my favorite bands doing this sound right now. This self-titled LP combines the tracks from their 2011 demo tape with the bonus track "Sex Foil", that latter track a furious anthem that's one of their best, blending disaffected vocals and a driving, infectious goth rock hook with energetic bass guitar, sheets of eerie chorus-drenched guitar, and a storm of crashing cymbals, sort of like First And Last And Always-era Sisters amped up into an early hardcore style fury. The demo stuff is just as good, the songs all sharing that familiar dark post-punk/goth vibe, and they wear their influences proudly on their sleeves (a few tracks nod vigorouslty in the direction of Only Theatre Of Pain - the singer does one hell of a Rozz Williams impression on songs like "Grave Dance" and "State Ward"). But Cemetery deliver this stuff woth enough youthful anger and frantic energy that they give it their own ragged flavor. They also mix things up with stuff like the thumping drum-machine driven "Voices From The Floorboards" that shifts into a weird electronic direction, resembling some mutant version of classic darkwave draped in lysergic synth, the languid baritone singing melting into a delirious dreamhaze; and closer "Voices In The Walls" wraps it up with a cool instrumental keyboard piece, the gothic organ-like keys glimmering in the darkness above the sound of a raging surf.
Really great stuff that fans of contempo morbid punk revivalists like Anasazi, Lost Tribe, Arctic Flowers, Deathcharge should check out, expecially those into the tougher, harder sounding end of the spectrum.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sex Foil
Sample : Reptile Walk
Sample : Voices From The Floorboards



CHAOS ECHOES   A Voiceless Ritual   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99














CHAOS ECHOES   Duo Experience / Spectral Affinities   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99














CHAOS ECHOES   Parisian Sessions: Rehearsal I   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99














CHTHE'ILIST   Le Dernier Crépuscule   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.98














CHTHE'ILIST   Le Dernier Crépuscule   2 x LP   (Dark Descent)    23.98














COLOSSLOTH   Antipathy In Nature   LP   (Doom-Mantra)    15.98














CONSUMER ELECTRONICS   Dollhouse Songs   LP   (Harbinger Sound)    26.99














CONSUMER ELECTRONICS   Estuary English   2 x LP + CD   (Dirter)    38.00

Estuary English IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER












CONSUMER ELECTRONICS   Repetition Reinforcement   12"   (Diagonal)    19.99














DIÄT   Positive Energy   LP   (Iron Lung Records)    19.99














ELYSIAN FIELDS   Adelain   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    10.98














ELYSIAN FIELDS   Adelain   2 x LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    29.99














ETERNAL ELYSIUM   Within The Triad   CD   (Headspin)    14.99












Track Samples:
Sample : DPS
Sample : Setsuri
Sample : Shadowed Flower



ETERNAL ELYSIUM   Within The Triad   2 x LP   (Headspin)    34.99












Track Samples:
Sample : DPS
Sample : Setsuri
Sample : Shadowed Flower



EYEHATEGOD   In The Name Of Suffering (GOLD VINYL)   LP   (Century Media)    24.98



      The latest vinyl reissue of this classic slab of nihilistic hate-sludge from way down south. Eyehategod's infamous debut In The Name Of Suffering is once again available on wax, this time presented as a single Lp from Century Media that uses the (superior) original sleeve design that was used on the very first vinyl release of the album on French label Intellectual Convulsion. In case you need a refresher, here's our ancient and super-short capsule review of this motherfucker from way back when we first stocked the CD release:
      Just had to get this classic album in stock for anyone who hasn't added this seminal sludgecore blast to their collection yet. The dirge-filled debut from New Orlean's Eyehategod was originally released on the Intellectual Convulsion label from France in 1990, and re-issued on Century Media. Painfully slow, gooey riffs indebted to early Melvins, swinging, bilious groove informed by decades of Southern Rock, screeching crustcore brutality at 10rpm, screaming feedback noise, and stream of consciousness lyrics dredged up from the septic depths of the human spirit at it's most damaged and diseased. Heavy as a collapsing star, totally misanthropic and nihilistic and drug-fueled feedback-drenched tar-pit doom that has never been surpassed. If you're into anything from Bongzilla and Boris to Isis and Kilslug and haven't heard this one yet, you're missing out. Absolutely CRUCIAL for fans of all things slow, dark, and crushingly heavy.
Track Samples:
Sample : Depress
Sample : Hit a Girl
Sample : Hostility Dose



EYEHATEGOD   Take As Needed For Pain (CLEAR VINYL)   LP   (Century Media)    24.99



      Another classic slab of hateful, soul-rotted sludge reissued by Century Media, this new vinyl edition of Eyehategod's vile second album definitely hits the spot.
      EYEHATEGOD. The mere mention sets nerve endings aflame and makes skin crawl with pestilence. The masters from New Orleans that first blended together Black Sabbath's doomed grooves and Southern blues-rock with the violent power of hardcore. Total innovators, the band responsible for all that is sludgy and feedback soaked, blazing the path of the slow, stoned and ugly for bands like Iron Monkey, Weedeater, Cavity, Grief, Corrupted, Fleshpress, Bongzilla, Khanate, you name 'em. Every single one of their albums is essential to disciples of the sludge. And it was about time that Century Media gave their early 90's releases a deluxe re-issue, especially the somewhat hard to find seminal second album Take As Needed For Pain from 1993. Everything that defined In The Name Of Suffering's diseased heaviosity is present here: the corrosive, gooey downtuned riffage, Mike William's indecipherable ranting, the howling feedback that seems to start and close every single song, and the band's overall mood of abject nihilism.
      But Take As Needed For Pain was also the first Eyehategod album to really incorporate the swingin', Sabbathian swamp-blues that the band would make their trademark, delivering an unstoppable series of riffs that are as memorable and catchy as sludgy, drugged-out metal can get, and even occasionally breaking into swinging mid-tempo Southern rock grooves that offset the album's relentless tarpit pounding. And grim looped sound collages are used to bookend several of the tracks, which further add to the filthy, human-hating vibe that permeates the album. A dark, dingy trudge through drug abuse, swamp metal debauchery, and caustic feedback. Absolutely CRUCIAL. If you're a fan of doom metal, sludgecore, and all things slow, sludgy, and HEAVY, this is a must-own. It's pretty much essential to EHG fans that own the original too, as this re-issue includes three tracks from the long out of print Ruptured Heart Theory 7" EP, the track from the out of print split 7" with sludgecrust-queens 13 on Slap-A-Ham Records, and two tracks from another split 7" with 13 that came out on Ax/ction Records, and is presented with revised artwork and brand new liner notes from Eyehategod's vocalist Mike Williams. Again, essential.


FRAMTID   Under The Ashes   LP   (La Vida Es Un Mus)    18.98














FULL OF HELL + MERZBOW   Sister Fawn   LP   (A389 Records)    19.99



      That second disc that appeared with the skull-shredding collaboration between Baltimore grindbeasts Full Of Hell and Japanese noise legend Merzbow has finally made its way to vinyl. That double disc album that originally came out on Profound Lore was one of the fiercest fusions of extreme electronic noise and metallic chaos to come out that year; the Sister Fawn recording that followed the album proper was an interesting shift in sound, transforming the frenzied grindcore into something much more abstract.
      While the Sister Fawn disc was initially presented as something more of a companion piece, it actually holds up wuite nicely as an album all on its own. In fact, I gotta admit I thought this material is even cooler than the first half of their collaboration. Over the course of these five tracks, much of Full Of Hell's screeching grindmetal becomes absorbed into a cacophonous wall of industrial violence, their metallic aggression subsumed into Merzbow's swirling, screeching nebula. The tracks are longer, venturing into pummeling industrial junk-metal rhythms and howling feedback manipulation, blasts of crushing power electronics and more of that abject Swans-esque dirge that appeared on the first half. And squalls of apocalyptic jazz-infected noise erupt across tracks like "Crumbling Ore", delivering an acrid blast of sound that approaches Borbetomagus-like levels of intensity. The grindcore elements are still in here though, particularly on songs like the noise-damaged blast-assault of "Merzdrone" that welds a seemingly endless blastbeat to Merzbow's scorching electronics and shrill skulldrill distortion. The result is ferociously and psychedelic.
      Issued in a one-time pressing of one thousand copies on black vinyl.


GAMMELSAETER, RUNHILD + LASSE MARHAUG   Quantum Entanglement   LP   (Utech)    19.99














GENOCIDE ORGAN   Obituary Of The Americas   CD   (Tesco Organisation)    17.99














GENOCIDE ORGAN   Obituary Of The Americas   LP   (Tesco Organisation)    29.99














GERM   Escape   CD   (Prophecy Productions)    17.98














GERM   Escape   2 x CD DELUXE BOXSET   (Prophecy Productions)    34.98














GERM   Loss   CD   (Prophecy Productions)    15.98














GERM   Wish   CD   (Prophecy Productions)    15.98














GERM   Grief   2 x CD   (Prophecy Productions)    18.98














GERM   Escape   LP   (Prophecy Productions)    27.98














GERYON   The Wound And The Bow   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.99














GERYON   The Wound And The Bow   LP   (Profound Lore)    23.98














GIRE   self-titled   CD   (Blood Music)    14.99














GRIEF   Dismal   CD   (Fuck Yoga)    14.99














GRIEF   Dismal   LP   (Fuck Yoga)    19.99

Dismal IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER












GRIEF   Come To Grief   2 x LP   (Alone -Spain-)    27.98














GRIEF   Come To Grief   CD   (Willowtip)    10.98














HARASSOR   Night On My Side: The Bruno Sessions   LP   (Universal Consciousness)    15.98














HARASSOR   self-titled   LP   (Universal Consciousness)    15.98














HEXX   Morbid Reality   CD   (Dark Symphonies)    11.99














HORNER, JAMES   Humanoids From The Deep   CD   (BSX Records)    14.98



      I doubt that many people were mentioning Humanoids From The Deep in their eulogies for composer James Horner after his tragic plane crash earlier last year. But man, how I love his score to this awesomely tasteless horror film from 1980. This was one of those films whose chunky videocassette box called to me on a deep, genetic level as a child, with its promise of ichthyoid fuckbeasts and maritime horror. And it delivered. It's a simple tale, drawn from fears of ecological destruction that were prevalent throughout the 1970s: a small fishing community is beset by monstrous bipedal fish-men created by industrial pollution, drawn from the water to breed with the hapless female denizens of the town. Produced by Roger Corman's New World Pictures, this low-budget epic is filled to the gills with scenes of death, dismemberment, rape and nudity, and while there's no denying that Humanoids is an unrepentant piece of exploitation sleaze, I also dare you to find any other film which so effectively captures the abject horror of being impregnated by a walking salmon.
      And it featured an early score from up-and-coming composer James Horner, a student of György Ligeti who started out his career working on a number of Corman films. While Horner would later find acclaim for his work with James Cameron and other Hollywood heavy-hitters, his early work on b-moves like Humanoids wore its influences on its sleeve, the work often heavily reminiscent of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann. This one in particular remains one of my favorite Horner scores, though, while lacking much of the bombast his later work would become known for. Tension is established immediately with the haunting main title theme, which features a mournful trumpet trill drifting over a wash of gloomy minor key strings, accompanied by woodwinds and piano. That eerie theme is at the center of the score, while the other tracks range from lighter orchestral arrangements to tense, droning Herrmann-esque strings, with harsh metallic percussion and the occasional use of experimental effects and abrasive atonality adding a chilling quality to much of the score. Moody and suspenseful, Horner keeps things subdued for most of it, with very little hint of the Wagnerian power that would manifest on later work for Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan and Aliens.
      The disc also includes the three-part "Humanoids 1996 Suite" from Christopher Lennertz's score to the 1996 made-for-cable remake, which employs a couple of figures from Horner's original score. Mostly of interest as a comparison piece, Lennertz's material for the most part lacks the haunting, dread-filled atmosphere of the original, and frankly sounds more suited for a television crime drama.
      The last track, though, is a very nice addition to the release: it features nearly ten minutes of previously unreleased material from Horner's score, an "outtake suite" which you would only have been able to hear previously from the isolated score on an old out of print Image laserdisc release, including a different mix of the opening and closing title music.
      As with other BSX releases, this comes with a booklet that includes a lengthy, informative essay from film-score scholar Randall D. Larson (Musique Fantastique, Music from the House of Hammer).


HORRENDOUS   Anareta   LP   (Dark Descent)    16.98



      Now available on vinyl.
      One of the few real heirs to the sort of magisterial and melodic prog-tinged death metal that the mighty Edge Of Sanity brought us in the early 90s, Horrendous are back with their latest album of vertebrae-damaging heaviosity, Anareta, now available on both CD and vinyl. I caught on to these guys with their mucho-hyped and critically acclaimed sophomore album Ecdysis, and enjoyed the hell out of that album's brand of crushing, mid-paced death metal that had just the right balance between old-school ugliness and melodic complexity. With Anareta, these guys have maintained that same level of quality, belting out eight new tracks of highly sophisticated heaviness, each one combining technically impressive riffage, huge soaring hooks, and interesting rhythmic arrangements and occasional odd time signatures that keep it compelling without falling into extraneous wankery.
      In fact, that ability to keep their songwriting lean is one of their greatest strengths. Even when they sprawl out for seven minutes or more, the music on Anareta doesn't feel indulgent in the least. Songs like "Ozymandias" and "Polaris" offer an intricately laid-out assault of blazing thrash and more elegiac, doom-laden moments, but as the song moves through a tapestry of shifting riffs and tempos, there's always a spellbinding lead melody that ties it all together. They've been doing that since their debut, but here that melodic sensibility is even more sharply honed, echoing with the feel of classic Swedish death metal without sounding referential. And their proggier moments are always tempered by the toughness of the riffs; ferociously straight-forward at times, dizzyingly complex at others, these songs teem with vicious grooves and breakneck tempo changes, bursts of almost mathy angularity, smatterings of solemn acoustic guitar, these elements woven thoughtfully through those crushing thrash riffs and punishing mid-tempo hooks. We get more of that textural, fluid bass playing that I really dug on their previous record, as well; it doesn't quite get into full-on fusion mode, but it's close, brining an expressiveness that definitely adds another distinct layer to their music. The singer's horrific strep-throat vocals again offer a stark contrast to Horrendous's bright ascendant melodies, with a sneering, scathing edge that echoes Asphyx's Martin van Drunen and injects the one true element of monstrous ugliness into the music. And there are some almost shockingly beautiful moments on Anareta, like the second half of "Acolytes" that finds the band's thrashing death metal suddenly blossoming into a blast of poignant, almost shoegazey major-key heaviness. It's all immensely catchy, much more so than any other recent death metal alum I can think of, and it's really little wonder that these guys have blown up in the manner that they have. Anareta is yet another excellent album from the band, straddling the line between the monstrous and the wondrous, and a definite high point in the field of contemporary progressive death metal.
Track Samples:
Sample : Stillborn Gods
Sample : Polaris
Sample : Ozymandias



IGNIVOMOUS   Death Transmutation   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    11.98












Track Samples:
Sample : Hedonistic Pain Ritual
Sample : Noneuclidean Maelstrom



IGNIVOMOUS   Death Transmutation   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.98












Track Samples:
Sample : Hedonistic Pain Ritual
Sample : Noneuclidean Maelstrom



IGNIVOMOUS   Path Of Attrition   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.98














IGORRR   Nostril   2 x LP + CD   (Ad Noiseam)    21.00



     A new vinyl edition of this insane 2010 album from former Whourkr member Igorrr (aka Gautier Serre), on colored vinyl and accompanied by a CD copy of the album. Here's the old review for the album from when we first got it in:
     This is the same Igorrr (aka Gautier Serre) who is one half of French breakcore / glitchgrind / death metal electronica weirdoes Whourkr, and he brings some of the same manic anti-structure and spastic unpredictability of his main band to this solo album out now on Ad Noiseam. "Double Monk", the first track on Nostril immediately gives him away as it wraps massive chugging metal riffage around a blitzkrieg assault of chopped up breakcore beats and crushing gabber, but then the European folk accordion kicks in and suddenly you're transported to a very different place. There's plenty of crazed metal and grindcore ingredients that Igorrr tosses into the pot, but these metallic elements are matched with an equal amount of strange chamber music fragments and folk melodies, a recurring sound that shows up all throughout Igorrr's Mr Bungle-style mashup insanity, which he describes as "baroque-core".
     Most of the album concerns itself with abstract electronica and ultra-heavy slice n' dice breakcore spliced with weird arrangements of Eastern European folk melody and instrumentation, but there's a lot of other aural weirdness that materializes here, everything from Tuvan-style throat singing, sitar and rumbling drones to over the top Mike Patton-0esque crooning, time-stretched screams (something else that is carried over from Whourkr), industrial strength vinyl scratching and crushing dubstep style speaker-wrecking bass and violent Slayer-esque speed metal riffing and vicious black metal guitars. Whew!
     Like Igorrr's work in Whourkr, this is a highly bizarre take on extreme hyper speed breakcore, but these songs are a lot more musical than you'd think even as the album careens through a million different musical forms by the minute. The classical sounds (violins, harpsichord) are often joined with operatic female vocals, and when the music isn't blazing through another sudden rhythmic pivot, Nostril actually sounds quite haunting. But of course it's only a matter of seconds before we're hurled down the rabbit-hole again, swept away in another hurricane wind of shredding banjos and bizarre country hoedowns, weird jazz-splattered breakcore with insane chopped up drum n' bass and guttural death metal roars. Igorrr's obviously takes a tongue in cheek approach to this (I mean, c'mon... baroquecore?), and the music gets downright absurd, but he is without doubt a skilled technician, assembling all of this insanity into a complete (albeit totally fucking bizarre) sound work. The closer "Moldy Eye" is one of the standouts, a glitchy, spastic collage of breakbeats, choir voices, bowel-rumbling bass drops, vicious death metal vokills from guest vocalist Mulk, soaring operatic singing, barking dogs, all of it veering wildly into a sputtering grindmetal ending that comes screaming straight out of hell, ending Nostril in a dizzying blast of pandemonium. Crazed, often otherworldly electronica that constantly makes me think that I'm listening to Whourkr remix a Danny Elfman soundtrack. Which of course equals a big recommendation from us...
Track Samples:
Sample : Cruciform Dachshund
Sample : Fryzura Konika
Sample : Moldy Eye
Sample : Tendon



IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT   Abyssal Gods   LP   (Code666)    18.99



     A killer (and highly anticipated) new album from these New York black/death chasm-crawlers that include members of Epistasis, Pyrrhon, Secret Chiefs 3 and John Zorn's Simulacrum trio, following up that recent reissue of early EP material Shrine To The Trident Throne that I raved about a little while back. The fusion of crazed discordant black metal and avant-garde death metal dissonance that these guys flaunted on that collection definitely got my attention, but this stuff might be even crazier, aided by additional guest musicians like Bloody Panda's Yoshiko Ohara. When the album kicks into the spastic black vortex of "From Palaces Of The Hive", the band immediately unleashes their fractured, cracked violence at full force, the splintered, discordant riffs raging over the complex percussive battery, whipping themselves into a fury of atonal blackened chaos that suddenly and joltingly drops into an awesome stretch of mutant jazziness; it's another one of their forays into the sort of modern avant/classical influenced dementia that they delivered on their previous release, but here it sounds even more evil and unholy. That's only amplified once this leads into the title track, a lurching off-kilter math-metal horror awash in fearsome choral voices and layered black drift - the goddamn song is just barely over two minutes, but it's one of the most powerful pieces of music I've heard from this band so far.
     And from there Abyssal Gods continues to writhe and contort, moving from the slippery, serpentine nightmare of "Dead Heaven" that sort of resembles a Gorguts song becoming slowly unspooled, complex blackened blast-violence splintering into weird staccato rhythms and off-kilter stop/start tempos, the riffs shifting and mutating constantly while remaining almost constantly crushing. There's some chilling use of manipulated symphonic music and operatic voices that are warped into plumes of hellish ambient sound, and the vocals have a great, monstrous presence, deep, cavernous roars that seems to billow out of the depths of the earth. This also gets into some pretty serious shred-gasms, with the guitarwork on "Opposing Holiness" getting well into Mick Barr/Colin Marston-like levels of octopoidal fretboard insanity. As unhinged as this music is, the musicianship is top notch, and the band navigates these atmospheric labyrinths deftly. Inhabiting that weird realm between Obscura-era Gorguts and the mathier direction that more recent Deathspell Omega has gone in, Imperial Triumphant balance their sonic assault against the passages of otherworldly orchestral music that are laced throughout the album, ghostly soundscapes collaged from sounds reminiscent of Schoenberg and Penderecki, which ends with an entirely instrumental arrangement for piano and violin, closing the album with an eerie mix of dark jazziness and queasy dissonance. Challenging, often difficult music, but it shimmers with a uniquely nightmarish power; they pretty much sum it up with the title of their song "Black Psychedelia". Fantastically surreal album art, too.
Track Samples:
Sample : Opposing Holiness
Sample : Metropolis
Sample : Abyssal Gods



INTEGRITY   Systems Overload (A2 / Orr+ Mix)   CASSETTE   (Grace Of The Unholy)    9.98



      This new tape, released in a limited run of two hundred twenty copies, features what is purported to be yet another tweak of the mix that surfaced a few years ago for the "A2/Orr Mix" version of Systems Overload. Rawness is still ensured, however. Here's my review of the original vinyl/CD reissue:
      Regular readers of the C-Blast list have no doubt noticed my diehard love of that certain strain of metallic hardcore from the mid-90s known as "Holy Terror"; combining esoteric and occult concepts with a sound that took the most violent aspects of American hardcore punk and the searing Satanic thrash of Slayer and early death metal, the rather vague "Holy Terror" aesthetic originally emanated from the Cleveland band Integrity, who reigned in the early 90s as masters of evil, esoteric metallic hardcore. Signed to Victory Records in 1995, the band would release their second album Systems Overload to worldwide acclaim, the album featuring a ferocious mixture of noisy Japanese hardcore influences, Septic Death worship, sinister post-punk and extreme electronic elements, thrash metal, arcane religious visions, eschatological prophecy, and a serious infatuation with Charles Manson and apocalypse cults. That was one of the few albums that truly defined the feel of that Holy Terror aesthetic, and it crafted a violently raw sound that was totally unlike anything else the label had ever put out. Systems Overload quickly became known almost universally as one of the best metallic hardcore albums of the 1990s, and now, seventeen years later, former guitarist Aaron Melnick and current member Robert Orr teamed up to dust off the original recording for Systems Overload and recreate the band's original vision for the mix for the album. The original Victory version of Systems came out on Organized Crime a while back, but this version presents a new re-mix of the album that more closely captures the sound that they were originally going for, with a much more raw and blown-out production that does sound a lot more savage than the Victory version that we're all familiar with. In fact, hearing this new revision of Systems is revelatory; samples that were previously buried deep in the original album's murky mix now clearly cut through the songs, bringing a newfound unease to certain moments of the album, and bits of electronic noise and ultra-distorted guitar solos that were either buried in the mix or else removed entirely have been restored, and anyone who has listened to this album as many times as I have will definitely notice the difference. This is a much uglier, more crazed sounding beast than ever before.
      Of course, beneath the strange evil vibe that Coursed through Integrity's veins, beneath the blown-out production and noisy edge, we're reminded of just how good this band was at writing memorable heavy songs at this point in their career. Later Integrity albums would veer into artier, more impenetrable songcraft, but in the early 90's, this band wrote some of the catchiest, most powerful metallic hardcore songs of all time, music that has stood the test of time, making these guys one of the very few metallic hardcore bands from this era to sound just as relevant and powerful now, more than twenty years later. The original twelve songs that made up the album were tied together with Aaron Melnick's weird bluesy guitar solos and Dwid's inimitable, gravel-throated howl, the album opening with the massive doom-laden crush and apocalyptic sample-collage of "Incarnate 365", one of the band's most recognizable riffs/intros, filled with squealing divebomb solos and monstrous metallic crush, leading into a new segueway of looping drones that introduces the anthemic thrash of "No One". That's followed by the punishing title track, and the pure metal crush of "Armenian Persecution"s, a perfect fusion of sorrowful doom-laden heaviness and speed-fueled malevolent hardcore, while songs like "Grave Of The Unholy" layer haunting acoustic guitar strings beneath the crunchy riffage. Systems Overload is one blast of memorable, malevolent aggression after another, enhanced by those excavated elements, the fist-pumping mid-tempo power of "Salvations Malevolence" now laced with additional electronic noise, and the final song "Unveiled Tomorrows", which now unfolds into chugging heaviness and sampled processed voices and electronic noise, a layered noisescape layered over crushing metallic dirge.
      Essential dark hardcore, initially released as a suer-limited Record Store Day release, but now available in a slightly larger pressing, put out in advance of the one-night-only reformation of the Systems Overload-era lineup of the band that will be appearing in January 2014 at the annual A389 Recordings anniversary bash in Baltimore. Which you can be sure to see me at. Includes new liner notes from both Melnick and Orr.
Track Samples:
Sample : Unveiled Tomorrows
Sample : Systems Overload
Sample : Jimson Isolation
Sample : Incarnate 364



INTEGRITY   Humanity Is The Devil (Bacteria Sour Tribute Edition)   CD   (Magic Bullet)    13.98



      This is a collector's edition release of the recent Humanity Is The Devil reissue from Magic Bullet, featuring the same remix/remaster as the 2015 reissue, but packaging the disc in a chipboard wraparound Arigato-style case with a bunch of extras. The packaging features the original Pushead artwork printed in black and metallic silver inks over the entire case, and includes lyrics and liner notes, a twelve-panel poster featuring the full-color version of the Pushead cover art, another foldout poster featuring Josh Bayer's insane reinterpretation of the Pushead artwork, a full-color photo insert, and a black and white paper sticker with the Pushead art, a la the stickers that came in the old Pusmort releases. Pretty killer stuff if you're a diehard fan of this classic blast of evil 90's metallic hardcore, issued in a one-time limited edition of five hundred copies...
      Another new entry in the ongoing campaign of older Integrity reissues, this is a newly remixed and re-mastered edition of the band's pulverizing 1996 album Humanity Is The Devil, released in celebration of the album's twentieth anniversary. Out of all of the recent reissues, this was the most exciting, as it might well be Integrity's finest work (and I've been needing a copy myself ever since losing my original CD years ago). And this new version looks great, presenting the disc in gatefod packaging that features a slightly altered layout from the original along with new artwork from Josh Bayer and complete lyrics from Dwid.
      Today, you couldn't make it ten feet at a metalcore show before tripping over some band ripping off Integrity's sound. But back when this compilation originally came out, these Cleveland maniacs didn't sound like anything else going on in the American hardcore/metal underground. From the earliest cassette recordings to the later Victory Records-era stuff, Integrity's were a uniquely demented strain of crossover metal that drew from a disparate range of influences, a blend of thrash metal, the sound and morality of late 80's straightedge hardcore, the unhinged, apocalyptic psychosis of Japanese hardcore legends G.I.S.M., the morbid death-punk of Samhain and Mighty Sphincter, Septic Death's bizarro schlock, and later in their career, industrial and Japanese harsh noise. Under the leadership of frontman Dwid Hellion, the band melted these influences together into a sound that was (and still is) uniquely theirs. And it's impact was widespread; just listen to the stuff on their 1990 Grace Of The Unholy cassette single, and you'll hear the birth of "metalcore". But they also wove other, more esoteric interests into the music and image as well, infatuations with apocalypse cults and Crowleyian occultism, Gnosticism and religious iconography, along with a heavy dose of Answer Me-style misanthropy.
      And as far as I'm concerned, they perfected that sound and style with Humanity Is The Devil. People went nuts over this record back when it originally came out. From the amazing Pushead cover art to the absolute ferociousness of opening track "Vocal Test" and the perfect pacing of the album, this was a watershed moment in Integrity's catalog. It's certainly aged much better than just about anything else that was coming out from the American hardcore/punk underground back then. Featuring just twenty-five minutes of new music, Humanity is a lean, ravenous beast, featuring some of the band's best songwriting of their career. Dwid's lyrics were more arcane than ever, but also more anthemic, combining the Gnostic themes and imagery that Dwid was fascinated with, with an insanely infectious shout-along power as rousing as anything from classic hardcore punk. And the songs just kill. That wordless "Vocal Test", still used as their opening song every time I see them live, is a perfect piece of crossover thrash. "Hollow" has Ringworm frontman Human Furnace contributing his maniacal scream to another masterwork of violent metalpunk. "Abraxas Annihilation" and "Trapped Under Silence" are perfectly orchestrated assaults of meaty, metallic hardcore forged from crushing palm-muted riffage and aggressive tempo changes, draped in fearsome lyrical imagery, while "Jagged Visions of My True Destiny" commands a sing-along pile-up in the wake of its vicious thrash riffs. It's one massive riff/hook/aural beating after another.
      The new mix and mastering certainly enhances the record, bringing out previously unheard nuances in the recording, and it definitely feels like an improvement over the original Victory release. But the final track is the biggest noticeable change: the ambient noise track/inside joke of "Drowning In Envy" (originally attributed to Psywarfare) has essentially been removed, and replaced with a revised version called "Humanity Is The Devil" that features new narration from Dwid over the swirling, oceanic driftscape, spreading out for more than eleven minutes with a desolate, almost Nurse With Wound-esque expanse of low-end rumble and clanking metallic sounds, super abstract and atmospheric, now transformed into something that flows much better with the rest of the album. Essential.
Track Samples:
Sample : Hollow
Sample : Humanity Is The Devil
Sample : Abraxas Annihilation



ISIS   Celestial   CD   (Escape Artist)    9.98



      Although the label closed its doors nearly a decade ago, Philly imprint Escape Artist is still one of our favorites, championing experimental heaviness and metallic noise rock over the course of their run and helping to establish some of the heaviest post-Y2K music via releases from the likes of Isis and KEN Mode. After the label ceased operations, their titles became increasingly difficult to track down; we've recently stumbled across a stash of the label's back catalog, though, including their CD editions of Isis' Mosquito Control EP and their Celestial album, both of which are back in stock for the first time in years. While Celestial had been reissued by Ipecac a few years ago, Mosquito Control has still never been reissued on CD, making that disc particularly sought after by fans and collectors.
      Here's our old review of this sludge-metal masterwork from back when it first came out:
      This repackaged version of Isis' first full length was released relatively recently through Escape Artist in a sleek digipack that pretty much includes all of the artwork from the original jewel case version. Released in 2000, Celestial took Isis' lumbering hypnotic heaviness to a new level, merging thick slabs of rusted, percussive sludge and quasi-mathy guitar breakdowns with a syncopated massiveness that was heavily informed by early Godflesh. The martial stomp and distinctive palm-muted stutter-chug that marked Isis' earlier works is heavier than ever here, Aaron Turner's sandpaper roars tint the music with despair, and huge sheets of feedback rise up out of the band's droning mass. And Celestial is frequently cut with passages of spacey electronics, sun-baked Western guitars, abstract dronescapes, and sparse, tightly-wound slowcore, deconstructing 90's metalcore into a vicious, hypnotically crushing behemoth that has obviously influenced legions of fans in the years since this was released. This was also the first Isis release to introduce the "mother tower" and "SGNL" themes that would span across this and the SGNL>05 disc that served as a companion piece to Celestial, and Aaron Turner's album design incorporates imagery from the French film La Jette.
Track Samples:
Sample : Celestial (The Tower)
Sample : Swarm Reigns (Down)
Sample : Deconstructing Towers



ISIS   Mosquito Control   CD   (Escape Artist)    9.98



      Although the label closed its doors nearly a decade ago, Philly imprint Escape Artist is still one of our favorites, championing experimental heaviness and metallic noise rock over the course of their run and helping to establish some of the heaviest post-Y2K music via releases from the likes of Isis and KEN Mode. After the label ceased operations, their titles became increasingly difficult to track down; we've recently stumbled across a stash of the label's back catalog, though, including their CD editions of Isis' Mosquito Control EP and their Celestial album, both of which are back in stock for the first time in years. While Celestial had been reissued by Ipecac a few years ago, Mosquito Control has still never been reissued on CD, making that disc particularly sought after by fans and collectors.
      Here's our old review of this sludge-metal masterwork from back when it first came out:
      The very first EP from 1998, where seminal hypno-metallers Isis first laid out the blueprint for their pummeling, percussive metalcore, sharpened here into a bludgeoning riff assault that was heavily schooled by Godflesh and the sickest New England deathcore of the late 90's. This is also where the first serious conceptual theme arose, the mosquito/hive and the control towers that would inform Isis' next several releases until Oceanic. This reissue of the half-hour long Mosquito Control exercise boasts some of the bands heaviest shit, four tracks of densely layered slow motion sludge metal accented with spacey electronic effects and a nearly suffocating bleakness. Mega heavy guitar riffing locks into monochromatic loops of downtuned sludge over polyrhythmic tribal drumming, and Isis lead singer and Hydra Head boss Aaron Turner busts out some of the most brutally guttural vocals in the entire Isis catalog (see "Hive Destruction" for the closest that Isis ever came to that sort of death metal influenced metalcore sound). The experience finishes with the droning eleven minute ambient dirge of "Swarm Relocation", which kicks off with some great melodic chugging layered with eerie voice samples, to really haunting effect; later, the track breaks down into an extended space-metal workout grinding through a sea of chirping electronics a la Bastard Noise. A crucial recording from Isis formative years as a primal art-sludge wrecking machine. Nice new package design for this reissue, too.
Track Samples:
Sample : Hive Destruction
Sample : Relocation Swarm



JESUIT   Discography   CD   (Magic Bullet)    11.98












Track Samples:
Sample : Car Crash Lullaby
Sample : Cop Glasses
Sample : Suicide King
Sample : Trigger



JESUIT   Discography   LP + 7"   (Magic Bullet)    18.98












Track Samples:
Sample : Car Crash Lullaby
Sample : Cop Glasses
Sample : Suicide King
Sample : Trigger



KAY LAWRENCE   Carrying Her Thighs, Her Back   CASSETTE   (Phage Tapes)    6.50



Recently discovered this killer Phage Tapes release from 2013 that I totally missed when it came out. I'd never heard of Kay Lawrence, but found out that it's actually a new project from the duo of Sam McKinlay (The Rita) and Cristiano Renzoni (An Innocent Young Throat-Cutter); we reached peak mass with new projects jumping on board the "HNW" bandwagon years ago, but along with Richard Ramirez, Vomir and a very small handful of others, these two guys continue to keep me interested in the potential of "harsh noise wall". Like most of the stuff that McKinlay does, the theme of this project is obsessively centered around a particular fetish or character. In this case the female lead from the classic 1950's horror film The Creature From The Black Lagoon, with black and white artwork depicting the helpless Ms. Lawrence and her amphibian abductor featured on the screenprinted cardboard case that holds this tape. But finding any context in the sounds featured here becomes more challenging. Which is part of the point with McKinlay's work, I suppose.
The overall effect of this material is essentially the same as his work with The Rita, encompassing the listener in a rumbling, oppressive fog of low-end distorted noise that takes on a hypnotic quality, if you are predisposed to find it when listening to this stuff. I am, and I love it, but as with all HNW material, you're either into it or you're not. As "Carrying Her Thighs, Her Back" gurgles and smolders across both sides of this tape, it never deviates from that muffled, dense wall of cracks and pops and low-frequency rumble, mesmerizing in the way that listening to a waterfall is mesmerizing, the sound more of a physical force than anything relateable on a human level. "Militant HNW" as they say, and they're not kidding. It's a direct continuation of The Rita's ultra-minimalist, ultra-nihilistic brand of volcanic noise-trance. Limited to one hundred copies.


KRIEGER, ULRICH   /RAW:ReSpace/   2 x CD   (XI Records)    15.99














KROG, TIM   The Boogey Man   CASSETTE   (One Way Static)    10.98



      Now available on limited edition cassette, limited to three hundred copies.
      From what I can tell, his score to Uli Lommel's cult 1980 possession / ghost flick The Boogey Man was Tim Krog's only foray into the realm of film score work. And to be honest, I'd never paid a whole lot of attention to his music for this film, as I wasn't the biggest fan of Boogey Man back when I first caught the film. At the time, it felt like a cheap derivative of superior American films like Halloween and The Exorcist, which in many ways it was. But when I revisited Lommel's little video nasty more recently, I discovered a much odder and more interesting flick than I had initially judged. The haphazard narrative deals with a pair of adult siblings besieged by a murderous ghost they unwittingly released from a possessed mirror, and the film becomes a series of gory kill sequences that build toward the attempted exorcism of the climax. But on re-watch, I took notice of Lommel's interesting directorial choices. Odd camera angles abound, and the film is often drenched in otherworldly colors. And there is a distinctly surrealist vibe that reaches a fever pitch by the finale. I definitely developed more of an appreciation for The Boogey Man and its quirky pastiche of 70's horror tropes, but what really stuck out was the pulsating electronic score from Tim Krog.
      It's a bit of a hidden gem. Krog's work for Boogey Man was frequently compared to John Carpenter's synthesizer scores, and while the resemblance is undeniable, Krog's work here is a little more unconventional. You get lots of minimal, brooding synth and repetitious arpeggios that echo that sound of Halloween, but there's also a heavy prog feel. Sinister minor key riffs are accented by swirling kosmische electronics and eerie, dissonant synth-strings. Weird experimental noises blend with atonal melodies to unsettling effect. And on "The Boogey Man Strikes", Krog elicits an almost Goblin-esque feel with his layered keys and murky synth chords. Chiming, childlike music-box melodies turn malignant, and pipe organ sounds emerge out of gleaming electronic clusters, billowing out into a funereal fog. Parts of the score are almost bizarrely upbeat at times, at odds with the bloodshed and poltergeist-driven mayhem on screen. But it all serves to create the weird, dreamlike atmosphere that hangs over the film. Gotta admit, this score is pretty addictive. Weirder and more psychedelic than I ever remembered it being. I wanted to go watch the movie again as soon as soon as the record was over.
      One Way Static's posh new reissue comes on colored vinyl in an attractive gatefold package, and includes a bonus "CD record" that features a 1980 radio trailer for the film, as well as a full-color insert with new liner notes from J.A. Kerswell (Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut), Films On Wax editor Charlie Brigden, and director Ulli Lommel; the latter are particularly interesting (albeit brief), as Lommel talks about how William S. Burroughs inadvertently ended up being involved in some of the editing for the film!
Track Samples:
Sample : B5 Fast Tracks
Sample : B1 Childhood
Sample : A6 The Boogeyman Man Version 2



L'ECHELLE DE MOHS / SOLAR SKELETONS   France Ferrugineuse / Lies And Heresy   LP   (Bruits De Fond)    15.98














LANTLŌS   Lantlōs   LP   (Lupus Lounge)    27.98














LARSON, GENEVIEVE RYOKO   Ecstasy   ART BOOK - SLIM   (Black Horizons)    5.98



More graphic and provocative collage art from Black Horizons' "Black Bag" series, this one featuring work from the San Francisco-based artist Genevieve Ryoko Larson, who we had previously encountered in the label's Provocative Rituals II art zine. With this forty-page zine, Larson employs old-school Xerox-damaged collage techniques to combine explicitly sexual imagery, murky textures and seemingly random objects into odd new forms. Like other installments in this series, the artwork is reminiscent of what you would find on classic industrial and noise tape releases a la Masami Akita or COUM Transmission, often including fragments of graphic pornography that are juxtaposed with combinations of floral images, strange subjects pilfered from fashion journals, and abstract patterns. At their best, Larson's collages can be weirdly distressing.


LAST EXIT   Iron Path   LP   (ESP Disk)    25.98



      A new vinyl edition of this killer album from NYC jazz-rock extremists Last Exit.
      A classic blast of heavy-duty punk jazz intensity, 1988's Iron Path was the one and only studio album from the mighty Last Exit, the legendary free jazz outfit who terrorized audiences throughout the late 80's with their ferocious improvised jazz/rock assault that frequently found more favor among adventurous hardcore punk and thrash fans than with the traditional jazz crowd. Playing at pummeling tempos and crushing volume levels, the band featured the lethal combination of guitarist Sonny Sharrock, drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, and bassist Bill Laswell (Painkiller/Praxis), all acclaimed musicians in their own right, but together they created some of the most joyously ferocious music of the decade, and were right up there with Naked City and Painkiller for me in terms of sheer violent energy.
      Iron Path had been out of print for years, but it's just been reissued on the legendary avant music label ESP Disk; it's a must-hear if you're into the more aggressive intermingling of free jazz and rock/punk that was going on during the 80s, though the album features a more restrained, textured performance compared to the all-out blasts of thrashing skronk found on their live albums. Still pretty ferocious though, bursting at the seams with energy and abandon, and kicking things off with the frantic rhythms and shimmering guitar chords of "Prayer", which almost feels like some ebullient 80's era post-hardcore outfit hurtling through swarms of immolating sax. It's one of my favorite Last Exit jams, but from there the album's atmosphere darkens, the band moving without pause through strange abstract soundscapes like the title track, which almost feels like a traditional Japanese classical piece being deconstructed over washes of formless rumble and sinister rattle. Elsewhere, they shift from heavy-duty improv workouts into crescendos of furious chaos, or spread out into eerie, spacious ambience strafed with Brötzmann's tortured blowing and volleys of energetic percussive action from Jackson. When these guys suddenly drop into a killer jazz-rock groove, it can be flattening, and on "Detonator" things get legitimately heavy as the group carves out an almost King Crimson-esque slab of crunchy, ominous prog rock. "Cut and Run" is another heavy one, Jackson delivering pummeling rolls that give the track an almost surfy feel, while searing guitar solos and breathless sax skronk dive-bomb one another endlessly. And some songs dissolve into huge sprawls of shimmering, electrified drone, while Laswell's bass lays down thick layers of wah-mutated squelch, a kind of monstrous funkiness lurching powerfully beneath the sheets of noise. As always, Sharrock's guitar playing is transcendent, as he pulls stunningly beautiful bursts of alien melody and brain-scrambling dissonance from his instrument, flying from bursts of near-hardcore distortion and speed to gales of spiraling guitar shred to lush slide guitar textures like those that coil around the odd sun-baked vibe of closer "Devil's Rain"; it's one of my favorite performances of his.
      Though this album isn't as violent or as abrasive as the likes of Painkiller or early Naked City, Last Exit were nevertheless far tougher and more aggressive than pretty much anything coming out of the avant-jazz underground, and Iron Path is absolutely essential listening for anyone interested in the jazz/thrash scene in NYC during the 1980s.
Track Samples:
Sample : Prayer
Sample : Devil's Rain
Sample : Detonator



M AX NOI MACH   Raw Elements 1999-2009   CD   (Handmade Birds)    12.98














MALIGN   A Sun To Scorch   10" VINYL   (Ajna Offensive)    11.98














MANFREDINI, HARRY   Friday The 13th Part II   LP   (Waxwork)    26.98














MANFREDINI, HARRY   Friday The 13th Part III   2 x LP   (Waxwork)    35.98














MARTIN, CHRISTOPHER REID   Coarse Invocations   ART BOOK - SLIM   (Black Horizons)    5.98



The last of the latest batch of limited-edition art zines from Black Horizons' experimental "Black Bag" series, Christopher Reid Martin's new collection of malignant, databent shadowscapes and digital decompositions Coarse Invocations is a thirty-six page assemblage of this L.A. artist's deformed, hyper-active imagery. Martin's work feels informed by noise and glitch art, each piece feeling like a static shot of degradation in process; like other zines in this series, the artwork is influenced by collage techniques, but Martin's work is much more intricate than the other recent installments. His collages often resemble video stills that are undergoing some extreme, daemonic artifacting, blasts of buggy, terminally corrupted black and white imagery that sometimes seems to be obscuring some unidentifiable (but quite possibly horrific) act. Religious iconography and landscape photography is mutated into unrecognizebale forms. Fields of black ink splinter and fracture into chaotic abstraction. Glitched imagery seems to transform into complex alien musical scores or bizarre circuitry schematics. Pages unfold into something that resembles macro-photography of alien viruses that were vomited out of an ancient, malfunctioning photocopier. My favorite out of that latest batch of "Black Bag" zines.
Track Samples:
Sample : MARTIN, CHRISTOPHER REID-Coarse Invocations



MAUDLIN OF THE WELL   Leaving Your Body Map   2 x LP   (Antithetic Records)    28.98



      Both the second and third albums from defunct Boston band Maudlin Of The Well are finally back in stock on vinyl from Finnish label Blood Music, the last releases from the band before they broke up. After this, founding member Toby Driver launched his current band Kayo Dot, which much like Maudlin merged extreme metal influences with complex, often baroque prog rock. But Maudlin of The Well were a lot less shy about their metal background, incorporating lots of actual death metal heaviness into the intricate art rock that's spread out across these two records. Long out of print, both Bath and Leaving Your Body Map were remastered and reissued for vinyl by Blood Music/Antithetic Records, and we're stoked to finally have these fantastic pieces of avant-metal strangeness back on our shelves again.
     More than ten years since this album came out, Leaving Your Body Map still sounds as strange and otherworldly as it did then. Released alongside the band's legendary Bath album and essentially a companion piece to that record, Body Map easily stood on its own as a weird combination of lush chamber-pop, baroque prog, jazz fusion and crushing death metal, unlike anything anyone else was doing back then save for some of Mike Patton's post-Faith No More projects. The opening song alone is teeming with far-out ideas, melding sun-kissed French horn sections and gorgeous fusiony jazz with weirdly angular Gorguts-esque death metal; the band moves casually between these passages, laying down a dreamlike atmosphere as they drift through the strange arrangements and atmospheric melodies. Their driving, chugging metallic heaviness is layered with Driver's fragile singing and electronic effects, and each song shifts suddenly between bouts of killer progressive thrash metal and gorgeously moody prog rock, detours into monstrous psychedelia laced with awesome stadium-ready metal solos, ghostly chamber-prog sections filled with eerie female vocals, string sections, sleigh bells, synths and field recordings, foreshadowing the strange chamber-prog that Driver would explore later with Kayo Dot. Gorgeous acoustic folk passages are layered with mournful violins, flutes and sweet electronic melodies, but when it gets heavy, the band can really crush; unlike a lot of prog bands that flirt with extreme metal, Maudlin Of The Well really knew how to play death metal, and those terrifying death metal parts sound totally fluid, meshing with the other dreamy pop arrangements and mysterious jazzy ambience. Obviously, one can hear a big Mr. Bungle influence on what Maudlin Of The Well was doing here, but the band also cited the likes of Tiamat's Wildhoney (an album that strangely enough seems to be getting name-dropped a lot lately) and King Crimson (natch) as having an impact on their approach. With the quirky lyrics and storybook-like illustrations of giant squid and impressionistic landscapes, this feels like the more hallucinatory of the two albums.
     In the decade since Bath and Leaving Your Body Map came out, there have been legions of bands who have copied Maudlin Of The Well's ambitious mix of prog rock and extreme metal; just look at half of the stuff that has come out from The End Records over the past ten years. Existing in a strange dreamlike realm between metal, chamber music, avant-rock and prog, this music has few if any peers, with only the likes of Ephel Duath, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Sculptured coming close to the unique sound that Driver and crew produced here.


MAUDLIN OF THE WELL   Bath   2 x LP   (Antithetic Records)    28.98



      Both the second and third albums from defunct Boston band Maudlin Of The Well are finally back in stock on vinyl from Finnish label Blood Music, the last releases from the band before they broke up. After this, founding member Toby Driver launched his current band Kayo Dot, which much like Maudlin merged extreme metal influences with complex, often baroque prog rock. But Maudlin of The Well were a lot less shy about their metal background, incorporating lots of actual death metal heaviness into the intricate art rock that's spread out across these two records. Long out of print, both Bath and Leaving Your Body Map were remastered and reissued for vinyl by Blood Music/Antithetic Records, and we're stoked to finally have these fantastic pieces of avant-metal strangeness back on our shelves again.
      Released at the same time as Leaving Your Body Map, the ten-song Bath is probably the band's best work, and definitely the heavier of the pair, though the band only ventures into the death metal-style heaviness at a couple of points in the album. Marked by the soft, emotional vocals of band-leader Toby Driver, the music that Maudlin Of The Well crafted here is surreal and unpredictable, beginning with the softly drifting guitar notes and somber ambience of "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth", where the band floats out into a dreamlike jazzy ether of French horns, acoustic guitar strum, droning electronics and softly shuffling drums. At times atonal and unsettling, there's a haunting jazziness that's really not all that far removed from what Kayo Dot would be doing later in the decade, but then the music eventually surges into a heavier sound as distorted metal guitars and pounding percussion start to appear. And then "They Aren't All Beautifull" follows with a blast of strange death metal, evil crushing riffage and blasting drums giving way to weird angular breakdowns, this heavier passage sounding really similar to the discordant death metal of Obscura-era Gorguts or even Ehnahre, the spasmodic off-kilter heaviness broken up with short pauses where soft jazzy guitar melodies break through the monstrous crush.
      From there the album continues to unfold in increasingly unpredictable fashion, shifting abruptly from strange jazz-prog workouts into pummeling off-kilter math metal, sometimes merging the seemingly disparate sounds together as crushing Meshuggah-esque riffage is glazed over with majestic female singing, towering church organs and more of those haunting French horns. There's the gorgeous, luxuriant metallic prog-pop of "Heaven And Weak" (one of Maudlin's best songs ever, in my opinion), followed by more of that crushing angular death metal and passages of weird Voivodian thrash, songs where fragile folk strum laced with delicate electronic effects and subtle wah-pedal flourishes take over, lush gothic pipe organ interludes and stretches of subdued improvisation where skeletal guitar figures wisp around subtle percussive work, ghostly female vocals and strange passages of ghastly whispering mixed with the sounds of splashing bathwater. The soulful, ethereal prog/pop of "Girl With A Watering Can" features the album's most stirring performance from singer Maria-Stella Fountoulakis, and another standout track comes in the form of "Birth Pains Of Astral Projection", one of the album's best amalgamations of jazzy prog, melody and crushing death metal.
      In the decade since Bath and Leaving Your Body Map came out, there have been legions of bands who have copied Maudlin Of The Well's ambitious mix of prog rock and extreme metal; just look at half of the stuff that has come out from The End Records over the past ten years. Existing in a strange dreamlike realm between metal, chamber music, avant-rock and prog, this music has few if any peers, with only the likes of Ephel Duath, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Sculptured coming close to the unique sound that Driver and crew produced here.


MEKONG DELTA   self-titled   CD   (Zardoz)    17.98



It's tough not gush over Mekong Delta's eponymous debut album. Released back in 1987, Mekong Delta landed into the middle of an international thrash metal scene that was at the height of it's popularity, and which was already producing a number of forward-thinking acts who were expanding on the musical and compositional possibilities of the form. And Mekong Delta were definitely doing that. This nine-song album kicks off with a blast and barely relents for thr duration, unleashing a rapid-fire Teutonic thrash metal attack that flirts heavily with elements of progressive rock and classical music, without ever abandoning the thrash aspect of their sound. In many ways this stuff was emblematinc of late 80s thrash, with fast, staccato riffing and even faster drumming, the singer's petulant yelp freqnetly shooting into insanely high-octave falsetto shriek. But as soon as "Without Honour" rips across the beginning of this disc, Mekong Delta demonstartes a willingness to fuck with the form. Their riffs are often oddly structured, abrasively angular and spiky, with a heavy dose of disonnance thrown in among their more straightfwarf chug-attack. Likewise, the songs themselves are often awkwardly assembled, lots of stop-start riffs and sudden shifts in tempo and time signature constantly throwing the listener off balance. And even the vocals sound strange, spat out in strange phrasing that sometimes seems at odds with the riffing. It's no atonal, indulgent mess, thugh - these guys could seriously play, and even write some emotive, crushing straightfoerard thrash when the mood struck them, like the crushing "Heroes Grief", and eerily catchy like "Back Home" and "Kill The Enemy". It's all quite reminiscent of fellow prog-thrashers Watchtower.
Track Samples:
Sample : Heroes Grief
Sample : The Hut of Baba Yaga
Sample : Toccata
Sample : Without Honour



MEKONG DELTA   Live At An Exhibition   CD   (Showtime)    16.50














MEKONG DELTA   Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)   CD   (Steamhammer)    19.98














MEKONG DELTA   Kaleidoscope   CD   (Zardoz)    14.98



1992's Kaleidoscope was the second studio album from Mekong Delta to feature vocalist Doug Lee; while Lee's vocals lacked the unhinged feel of previous frontman Wolfgang "Keil" Borgmann, his style was more consistent, delivering their dark visions with a combination of furious barks and nut-clenching falsetto shrieks. The overall sound on this album is slicker and more polished, both production-wise and musically. Although the beginning of the album blows the doors off with the one-two prog-thrash blast of "Sphere Eclipse" and "Innocent?", things slow down a bit from there. Both of those opening songs evoke that uniquely alien, intricately-assembled strangeness that made their earlier albums such classics of weirdo 80's thrash metal, ridiculously complex but thoroughly ripping, with "Sphere" kicking into an extended blast of shred-bliss that gets almost Frippian. But they're followed by a punchy, metallic rendition of Genesis's "Dance On A Volcano", which brings an odd poppy vibe to Kaleidoscope. I do dig that cover though. But it flows seamlessly into an extended prog rock set that never quite reprises that level of snarling energy that started things off. That's not to say that tracks like "Heartbeat" and personal favorite "Shadow Walker" are slogs. There's some terrific stuff all thro8ghout the album, lots of dark progginess underscored by the band's metallic bite, with eerie melodies snaking through Mekong Delta's maze of feinted time-signature changes, discordant chordal crunch and mathy anti-grooves. There is stuff on here that scrambles my head as nicely as anything from Watchtower. And they throw in one of their trademark curveballs, too, with a speed metal cover of Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance", which any fan of classic cartoons will recognize in an instant. Sure, Kaleidoscope isn't on the same level of mind-blowingly berserk as the first few albums, but this is a fine album from the band, and one of the best prog-thrash records from the early 90's. If you're a fan of any of Mekong Delta's stuff (or progressive thrash metal in general), it certainly comes recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Shere Eclipse
Sample : Shadow Walker
Sample : Innocent



MEKONG DELTA   Kaleidoscope (REISSUE)   CD   (Steamhammer)    14.98



1992's Kaleidoscope was the second studio album from Mekong Delta to feature vocalist Doug Lee; while Lee's vocals lacked the unhinged feel of previous frontman Wolfgang "Keil" Borgmann, his style was more consistent, delivering their dark visions with a combination of furious barks and nut-clenching falsetto shrieks. The overall sound on this album is slicker and more polished, both production-wise and musically. Although the beginning of the album blows the doors off with the one-two prog-thrash blast of "Sphere Eclipse" and "Innocent?", things slow down a bit from there. Both of those opening songs evoke that uniquely alien, intricately-assembled strangeness that made their earlier albums such classics of weirdo 80's thrash metal, ridiculously complex but thoroughly ripping, with "Sphere" kicking into an extended blast of shred-bliss that gets almost Frippian. But they're followed by a punchy, metallic rendition of Genesis's "Dance On A Volcano", which brings an odd poppy vibe to Kaleidoscope. I do dig that cover though. But it flows seamlessly into an extended prog rock set that never quite reprises that level of snarling energy that started things off. That's not to say that tracks like "Heartbeat" and personal favorite "Shadow Walker" are slogs. There's some terrific stuff all thro8ghout the album, lots of dark progginess underscored by the band's metallic bite, with eerie melodies snaking through Mekong Delta's maze of feinted time-signature changes, discordant chordal crunch and mathy anti-grooves. There is stuff on here that scrambles my head as nicely as anything from Watchtower. And they throw in one of their trademark curveballs, too, with a speed metal cover of Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance", which any fan of classic cartoons will recognize in an instant. Sure, Kaleidoscope isn't on the same level of mind-blowingly berserk as the first few albums, but this is a fine album from the band, and one of the best prog-thrash records from the early 90's. If you're a fan of any of Mekong Delta's stuff (or progressive thrash metal in general), it certainly comes recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Shere Eclipse
Sample : Shadow Walker
Sample : Innocent



MEKONG DELTA   Pictures At An Exhibition   CD   (Steamhammer)    19.98



Although Mekong Delta had declared their love for Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky from the very beginning of their career (their debut album featured a furious prog-thrash rendition of "The Hut Of Baba Yaga"), their most ambitious project yet in this vein was 1996's Pictures At An Exhibition. A tribute to Mussorgsky's well-known piano suite, the album found the Teutonic thrashers performing the entire peice not once but twice on this record, the first half featuring the instrumental band-only version, the second with classical instrumentation provided via samplers and presumably synths. The suite lends itself well to Mekong Delta's brand of technically adept, frenetic metal. Dark and filled with dramatic flourishes, but also teeming with bursts of melodic whimsy and bursts of biting complexity that sound almost like some roid-raging Carl Stalling piece. The instrumental nature of the album and the intricacies of the suite may be a dterrent for those looking for non-stop sonic aggression, but there is plenty of Mekong Delta's signature shred-blasts and ripping thrash riffage woven around these prog-metal arrangements of Mussorgsky's work, as well as some moments of real quirkiness like "Ballet Of The Unhatched Chicks", and passages of doom-laden power like "Catacombae (Sepulcrum Romanum)". It's still one of the more interesting and offbeat symphonic thrash albums I've heard, the band staying pretty close to the original material and taking few libberties with the arrangements, but simply due to the amplified, distorted instrumentation, the work takes on a strange new power. Especially with the latter half of Exhibition that incoporates the synthetic orchestral sounds, which finds this stuff sounding like some particularly cvreepy chamber-prog at certain moments. an caprtivating chapter in Mekong Delta's history.


MEKONG DELTA   The Music Of Erich Zann   CD   (Steamhammer)    14.98



Faster, tighter, tougher, more intricate - Mekong Delta's sophmore album The Music Of Erich Zann found the band embracing even more of the classical music influences that they began to experiment with on the debut, and also cranking up the prog-factor substantially. While this stuff has influenced countless bands in the decades since, the confusional prog-thrash that Mekong Delta unleashed here sounded absolutely alien when this came out back in 1988. It sure blew my mind. From the album title and cover art to the allusions to the "Great Old Ones" in the lyrics, there's a heavy H.P. Lovecraft influence on the album. Their drummer Keil handled the vocals, and his aggressive, acrobatic screams are capable but fairly standard for 80's era thrash. But the music? These guys could thrash a savagely as any of their peers, but their songs would almost always go flying off the rails; ripping staccato riffage and shredding solos would erupt into weird time signatures and sudden eruptions of synth noise, sometimes making an abrupt turn into tricky prog rock-style complexity, or downshift into dense passages of metallic riffery and rumbling, almost industrial-like slabs of sampled sound and low-end noise. Ghostly synths and equally eerie-sounding backing vocals appear frequently, The album is filled with unique little flourishes and memorable moments: Violin-like melody drifts in over the ominous breakdown in "True Lies", and they use unusual production on "Hatered" to accentuate that song's multiple layers of mind-boggling shredding; "Interludium (Begging For Mercy)" starts with some moody classical guitar, but then kicks into a steroid-infused new version of the weird prog-metal medley of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho and Twilight Zone themes that had previously appeared on the band's Toccata, fleshed out with even more orchestral backing. Their overall songwriting was improved too, the songs showcasing a better balance of catchy, straight-forward thrash and their offbeat, experimental tendencies compared to the debut. Like everything the band duid, though, this is ultimately a grower, it's complexities requiering repeated listening to fully appreciate just how nuts this music is. all played with a virtuosic level of skill from just about everyone in the band. crafting their best work yet that stood amongst the likes of other outre thrashers Coroner, Watchtower, Realm and Voivod.
Track Samples:
Sample : Prophecy
Sample : Confession of Madness
Sample : Age of Agony



MEKONG DELTA   The Principle Of Doubt   CD   (Steamhammer)    14.98



By the time you get to Mekong Delta's third album The Principle Of Dopubt from 1989, the German band's razor-edged brand of avant-garde thrash metal had grown almost absurdly technical. You'll find opinions split on the merits of this album; myself, I think it's some of the band's catchiest material to date, with some monstrous thrash riffs and sightly more accessible hooks appearing amongst the rest of Mekong Delta's complex, mathy riffage and relentless shred-salad. But if you dug the more confusional side of Mekong Delta's sound in the past, this sure delivers on that front as well. Some of these songs get so tangled in their own complexity that it's quite easy to become lost in the labyrinth of oddball angularity and unearthly atmosphere. It's long been on my list of favorite 80's era prog-thrash albums, and there's a lot to groove on here, like the spiky, intrictaely assembled but totally rtipping thrash oif songs like "Once I Believed" and "Shades of Doom (Cyberpunk 2)", and the thoroughly weird orchestral heaviness of "Curse of Reality" that combines the band's winding, chugging riffage with the sounds of synth horns, gongs, and brass, a heavy tribal backbeat leading the song through chambers of mesmeric heaviness, strangely ethereal adrongynous singing, and bursts of dark symphonic bombast, woven together into an odd hypno-metal workout that sort of reminds me of some of the weirder stuff that Celtic Frost was doing around the same time. Then there's another one of their homages to Bernard Herrmann, a note-perfect prog-metal rendition of his classic Twilight Zone that comes combines chilling orchestral sounds with their metallic elements to excellent effect. And "El Colibri" is a short thrash metal re0interpretation of the classical guitar piece from Argentinian composer Julio Sagreras. the vocals are better integrated with the music, the bass parts have a more fluid feel, the album's more jagged, challening structures can sometimes point towards the influence of classic Euro prog rock like Univers Zero and Magma.
Track Samples:
Sample : Twilight Zone ("Lord Foul's Hort", Chapter 8 Taken from "The Chronicle
Sample : Curse of Reality (Chapter 14 Taken from "The Chronicle of Doubt")
Sample : A Question of Trust (Cyberpunk 1)



MEKONG DELTA   Vision Fugitives   CD   (Zardoz)    15.98












Track Samples:
Sample : Preludium (Lord Kevin's Lament/The Chronicle of Doubts: Book 2/Chapter
Sample : Postludium (Lena's Daughter/The Chronicle of Doubts: Book 2/Chapter 21)
Sample : Imagination



MEKONG DELTA   self-titled   LP   (Aaarrg Records)    22.00



Now back in print on vinyl via this new 2016 edition from Aaarrg Records.
It's tough not gush over Mekong Delta's eponymous debut album. Released back in 1987, Mekong Delta landed into the middle of an international thrash metal scene that was at the height of it's popularity, and which was already producing a number of forward-thinking acts who were expanding on the musical and compositional possibilities of the form. And Mekong Delta were definitely doing that. This nine-song album kicks off with a blast and barely relents for thr duration, unleashing a rapid-fire Teutonic thrash metal attack that flirts heavily with elements of progressive rock and classical music, without ever abandoning the thrash aspect of their sound. In many ways this stuff was emblematinc of late 80s thrash, with fast, staccato riffing and even faster drumming, the singer's petulant yelp freqnetly shooting into insanely high-octave falsetto shriek. But as soon as "Without Honour" rips across the beginning of this disc, Mekong Delta demonstartes a willingness to fuck with the form. Their riffs are often oddly structured, abrasively angular and spiky, with a heavy dose of disonnance thrown in among their more straightfwarf chug-attack. Likewise, the songs themselves are often awkwardly assembled, lots of stop-start riffs and sudden shifts in tempo and time signature constantly throwing the listener off balance. And even the vocals sound strange, spat out in strange phrasing that sometimes seems at odds with the riffing. It's no atonal, indulgent mess, thugh - these guys could seriously play, and even write some emotive, crushing straightfoerard thrash when the mood struck them, like the crushing "Heroes Grief", and eerily catchy like "Back Home" and "Kill The Enemy". It's all quite reminiscent of fellow prog-thrashers Watchtower.
Track Samples:
Sample : Heroes Grief
Sample : The Hut of Baba Yaga
Sample : Toccata
Sample : Without Honour



MELT BANANA   Teeny Shiny (BLUE VINYL)   LP   (A-Zap)    17.98



      Back in print on vinyl once again, this time in a new 2016 blue vinyl edition. Here's the old review we did back when this blasting spazz-attack first came out:
      Melt Banana's third album Teeny Shiny delivers another hyperspeed onslaught of sugar-OD spazz thrash with even catchier hooks and LOTS of weird turntablist/drum n bass-isms this time around. Terminally insane, equally confrontational and cute, Melt Banana continued to evolve and streamline their sound with these 11 songs without losing an ounce of their godlike freakiness. The No Wave skronk and mutant noise eruptions of their previous albums are still in force, but have been refined into the closest the band has ever come to writing actual "pop" songs. Of course, Melt Banana's vision of pop is a 1000 mph blast of pop-punk run amok with singer Yako's manic cheergirl yelps and Agata's mind-frying shrapnel guitar playing, which alternately sound like a meth-amped DJ scratching 3 different records, a laser gun going off, and an unstoppable thrashcore riff machine. All that amidst an offensive of air raid sirens and hip-hop beats, explosions and electrocuted video game shrieks, drum'n'bass-influenced noise blasts, digital hardcore and more, a mystical hyperspeed hardcore adrenaline freakout beamed straight into your cortex. An essential album from one of our favorite bands on the planet.


MOSS   Sinister History: Volume One Chapter One   LP   (Fuck Yoga)    18.98



Early filth from this British sludge cult, recorded so raw and noisy that it almost turns into industrial music. Sounds ike the stuff was recorded on a malfunctioning four track, the low-fi productrion giving this material a sickly, clandestine vibe. And early on, these creeps were detonating some of the filthiest, noisiest doom metal around. The ten minute monstrosity "Of Flesh And Blood" that made up their half of the split with Nadja is so blown-out and distorted that it feels as if your speakers are shredding themselves to pieces before your very ears, the whole sound immensely over-modulated and noisy, but also creeping along at a total slugfuck tempo, the shreiking, slit-throat vocals little more than an abject shriek of anguish rising over the slow-motion surges of deformed black filth. Talk about heavy. Thre's hardly any trace of Sabbathian swing in this; instead, it feels more like some drooling bastard abomination produced from the union of Thergothon's glacial doom and the repetitious, soul-crushing abjection of Filth-era Swans, wretched and torturous. Just as noisy are the other two tracks from the split with Torture Wheel, which stretch out for half an hour as an equally blown-out, blackened dirge. The sound is even murkier and more twisted here, with high end feedback and strange noise inecting the ultra murky, ultra slow crawl of "Aldebaran", bizarre gargling vocals and mesmeric squeals rattling over that immense stretched out riff, bathing that track in all sorts of distubing, nauseating noise, growing more chaotic and cracked as it turns into a warped industrial-tinged nightmare; on "Beneathbelow", that crumbling industrial feel, the sputtering electronics and those endless waves of searing feedback become so pervaasive that it can feel as if you're listening to something from Throbbing Gristle ??? being slowly buried alive beneath heaving volumes of Sunn-esque doomdrone... There's no release, no catharsis, just the impossibly slow inexorable dissolution beneath mountains of horrific distorted rumble, reaching for satori through endless slow-motion torture, mind-blotting and primitive. Fans of the band's newer material might be shocked as to how noisy and fucked-up and industrial sounding some of this early stuff actually is. Comes with a printed insert fetauring a 2003 interview from Cross Of The Doomed zine.


MOURNING SIGN   Last Chamber / Alienor   CD   (Dark Symphonies)    11.99



That cover art looks like something I would have picked up from Profane Existence back in the day, some crusty, Amebix-worshipping stenchpunk outfit, but this somewhat obscure outfit offers something else. collects the earliest releases from the Swedish progressive death metal outfit. The band's Last Chamber demo is pure Swede-death, four songs of pummeling downtuned heaviness and frantic chromatic riffing with a raw but sufficient recording that captures the band's youthful aggression and nascent songwriting skills. While songs like "Seems Endless" and "Supressed Past" are clearly carved from the signature Swedish death metal sound, these early songs are put together well, with effective song structures, twinges of infernal dissonance, and a taste for evil minor key leads that reveal a heavy Slayer influence, while the catchy, toughened riffing on "Supressed Past" is unmistakbly informedd by Carcass. I dig the somewhat tinny, Gorilla-amp guitar sound on this demo, and it's bursting with monstrous energy, a solid demo .
By the time Mourning Sign recorded their 1995 EP Alienor, their sound had evolved into something more intricate and atmopsheric. Much like countrymen Edge Of Sanity, these guys incorporated elements of progressive rock and pop into their sound, resulting in darkly soaring blastfests like "Redeem" that alternate between monstrous double-bass fueled grooves and stirring chorus hooks with sung vocals. Despite the presence of these rocking, catchier elements, these four songs are still thoroughly rooted in dark old-school death metal, with their spiritually-inclined lyrics and themes still intact from their demo. Those proggier qualities don't go overboard, always in service to the overall atmopshere of soul-searching intensity; on "Desert Sun ", the band swerves out of a pulverizing slower riff into sweeping, Floydian sound, laced with bursts of jazzy bass guitar runs; "Godsend" features strafing atonal guitarwork amid the song's rumbling heaviosity; furious, discordant chords collide with passages of clean minor key guitar on closer "No Paradise". The more I listen to this EP, the more it reminds me of Edge Of Sanity, but that's not a knock against it - there aren't too many Swedish bands from this era doing "progressive" death metal in that EoS vein that I've heard, and the songs are well-written, very cool stuff.....


MY DYING BRIDE   Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium   12"   (Peaceville)    24.98



The newest entry in Peacevile's ongoing vinyl reissue campaign for the My Dying Bride back catalog, Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium was the band's debut release for the label and a formative slab of early British death-doom. Here reissued on 180 gram vinyl and including the two bonus tracks that were originally only available on the CD edition, Symphonaire was a rather groundbreaking release for its time, combining heavy atmosphere with grueling death metal and incorporating the sound of violin into the mix, an unusual combination back then. Of course, a thousand bands have copied My Dying Bride's mournful death-doom in the decades since this came out, but these early releases from the band still reverberate with a peculiar decadence and emotional energy that was uniquely theirs. The centerpiece of the EP is the nearly twelve-minute title track, sprawling across the length of the A-side. Opening with the mournful wheeze of the violin and a decay-stained harpsichord-like melody, the song erupts into crushing, funereal death metal that commands the bulk of the track, that soaring violin mingling with distant tolling bells as the band shifts in and out of crawling, rotting doom and lurching, angular heaviosity. It's a primo example of how filthy and snarling early MDB could get; the serrated riffs that rip through the middle of the song are ugly, chugging slabs of downtuned barbarity, and a far cry from the creeping, romantic sound of later My Dying Bride. And those other two songs are likewise savage. From the blasting, chaotic carnage of "God Is Alone", strafed by eerie guitar leads and erupting with near grind-like speeds, to the roiling, stop-start crush of "De Sade Soliloquay", these guys exuded morbid horror, tapping into a potent mixture of erotic and violent imagery while bulldozing over you with some sickening riffage. The band would truly begin to develop their uniquely poetic, gothic-tinged sound with thir debut album, but this early Ep offers both a tantalizing taste of the funereal atmopshere that My Dying Bride would explore throughout the 90s, and a face-ripping blast of Brit death metal in its own right. Features some terrific sleeve art from the great Dave McKean.


NAILS   Unsilent Death   12"   (Southern Lord)    17.98

Unsilent Death IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

      The skull-crushing debut from this gang of pigfuck-damaged blastcore thugs has finally gotten a vinyl repress from Southern Lord, on regular (ie., superior) black vinyl. Here's the old review from 2010 when this first came out:
      This Southern California band (featuring members of Terror and Crematorium) has been around for a little while and have a couple of releases under their belt already, but it's through their Southern Lord debut Unsilent Death that we were turned on to their brand of ultra vicious grind/hardcore. Previously self released by the band, Unsilent Death is reissued here and is a must-hear for fans of extreme blastcore violence; the record is only fourteen minutes or so, but the ten tracks that are jammed in here deliver an undiluted nuclear punch, mixing together some wicked crossover/thrash influences (we're definitely hearing echoes of stuff like Crumbsuckers and Cro-Mags in here) and distortion-soaked noise rock ugliness with a savage grindcore-strength delivery that channels the kind of noisy, unbridled ferocity that Earache patented in the late 80's. The guitars and bass are distorted to over the top levels and slather heavy amounts of Am Rep skuzz, messy guitar leads and low-end muscle all over this, but when Nails start to hit the gas, the band rips into blasting torrents of stripped-down grindcore delivered with murderous skull-cleaving aggression. The songs tend to average around ninety seconds apiece save for two longer jams, and Nails effortlessly slip from punishing mid tempo aggression into bone crushing sludginess. This shit is insanely heavy, especially the title track and the chugging pulverizer "Scapegoat".
      Dark, pissed-off grind with a supremely bleak, misanthropic outlook that brandishes a shank in one fist while curling the other into a middle finger; massively recommended for anybody whose an equal fan of both Napalm Death and Unsane. Recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : Depths
Sample : Scum Will Rise
Sample : Unsilent Death



NARCOTIC GREED   Fatal   CD   (Divebomb Records)    17.99



The latest reissued obscurity from cult metal imprint Divebomb, this disc features the debut full-length from Japanese thrash metallers Narcotic Greed originally released back in 1994, now expanded with the band's complete eight-song Crisis Of Ruin demo from 1992. Barely distributed here in the US upon its initial release, Fatal was largely overlooked by what was already by then a diminished thrash metal audience, and I'd never heard it myself until recently. This album is a rager though, a solid slab of furious prog-tinged thrash that holds up well alongside other, similarly offbeat thrash albums from that era, receiving comparisons to Twisted into Form-era Forbidden, while injecting their own unique character... Fatal's eight songs speed along ferociously, injecting twisted, sometimes dissonant chords and odd riffing amid their winding, increasingly confusional arrangements. But it's also quite catchy, with songs like opener "As The World Is Burnt" and delivering ripping, memorable hooks via the breakneck thrash. the vocals freqnrutly go over the top into crazed falsetto wailing; there's not much variety in the vocals, but they mesh well with the band's rampaging sound. Warzy's insane shredding solos erupt at frequent intervals, while washes of shimmering dissonance and unusual chords add an unusual touch to their sound. nimble bass licks add much to the rhythmic complexity, and feature prominently in the mix. Lots of energetic, intricate guitarwork and the highly skilled rhythm section keep this constantly engaging, and their is a quirky quality to their songwriting that offers . Their music doesn't go over the edge into Watchtower-like levels of complexity, but this stuff gets pretty technical; anyone into the sort of vintage prog-thrash that I tend to rave about here at C-Blast (Mekong Delta, Toxik, Deathrow. The 1992 Crisis Of Ruin demo features four tracks that would go on to be re-recorded for the album, along with a number of non-album cuts like the totally berserk shredfest "Partial Existence" and "Greed", which features quick flourishes of classical guitar layered over the song, producing a strange effect. Includes a sixteen-page booklet with a new interview with guitarist Warzy.


NARDI, KENN   Dancing With The Past   2 x CD   (Divebomb Records)    22.98



This massive (twenty-eight song!) album unfolds like a pair of long-lost Anacrusis Lps. Which, from what I can gather, is exactly what this is. Contemporary "progressive" metal more often than not doesn't do much for me, but I was inclined to pick up Kenn Nardi's debut solo album for a number of reasons. I've been growing more and more obsessed with his old band Anacrusis in recent years after revisiting their classic late 80s/early 90s output that combined technical thrash metal, unusual gothic rock elements, and heavy doses of straight-up prog; their stuff has aged nicely, and still sounds little like anyone else. Nardi's silken croon still sounds as unearthly as ever, and his ability to craft memorable and moving vocal melodies alongside the more aggressive and violent elements is one of the many striking qualities of this album. his songweriting is richly textured, and emotionally diverse ; this latest work really goes to show how underappreciated this guy is . Originally released in 2014, Nardi's sprawling double album has been newly reissued via the Divebomb imprint, and it's an engaging piece of dark art-metal that could easily appeal to fans of stuff like Mastodon and Black Crown Initiate, while retaining quite a bit of that Anacrusis vibe. Indeed, I was surprised by how thrashy this album ended up being; songs like "Fragile" and "Lament In Rust " have a familiar feel to Nardi's band, blending intricate riffing and ferocious tempos with his offbeat mixture of gloomy crooning vocals and piercing shriek, unleashing some of his signature freaked-out shredding to boot. The thrash is heavy on songs like those, while other tracks like "Submerged", "Armies Of One", "Made" and the utterly infectious "Creve Coeur" and "Straining The Frayed" all feature huge hooks, earworm riffs and vocal melodies, passages of gorgeous and moody progressive rock perfectly fused to dramatic post-punk and crushing staccato riffage, with some moments that are even a bit Killing Joke-esque. ome of these more subdued parts of the album feature additional instrumentation in the form of orchestral sequencing, huge synths, choral voicings, and smatterings of piano, with traces of jazz, dub, synthpop and psychedelia also seeping into the songwriting, providing an eclectic but consistent experience. Those Anacrusis-style off-kilter time signatres and jaggedly violent grooves appear as well. And good god, is there some killer stuff here. Yeah, Dancing exceeded any expectations I had about the album before going into it, and I'm kicking myself for not having picked it up sooner. Definitely more than a mere curiosity to fans of Nardi's past efforts, this is an album with little if any weak spots, virtually filler-free, the songs tightly-woven - there were only a couple of songs in the whole collection that didn't totally grab me, but everything else merited lots of repeat spins; if you're as big a fan as I of Anacrusis's back catalog, this might just blow your mind as it did mine. For Anacrusis fans, it's a must-hear. Hands down one of the best prog-thrash releases of the past couple of years.


NECROMANCY   Ancient Wrath   CD   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    10.98



The sleeve art is an eye-catching cut-and=paste collage of infernal imagery. The production reeks of the mid 1980s, the reverb-haze and cheap keyboard strings, are very nostalgic. The two-part "Ancient Wrath" takes over the entire a-side with a fifteen minute descent into crude, off-kilter black metal soaked in primitive evil atmopshere. I love the adolescent rawness of the recording. their ambition exceeds their reach but that doesn't detract from the EP's enjoyability, as "Wrath" winds through a dank maze of malevolent blackthrash riffing and aggressive metallic chug, simplistic guitar leads strung over the repetitious, straightforward drumming that brings a hypnotic feel to the song; a handful of melodic phrases appear repeatedly hroughout the tracks, and the second half shifts into a trippier, more hallucinatory sound as the vocals become overwhelmed with echoing effects, joined by more of the synthetic tolling bell sounds that have peppered the entire side , leading it into one last stretch of mesmeric primitive blackthrash hypnosis. In spite of (or perhaps due to) the song's sprawling simplicity, a haunting quality emerges, and the central melody behind the song sticks with me . On the other side, "Forbidden Rites" delivers more of those unmistakebly 80's horror movie keys and bell tones as the band comes in with a martial backbeat and a gloriously brain-damaged lead that gets locked into a Twilight Zone-like figure before the song finally kicks in. A weird, echo-laden blast of proto-black metal that's even sloppier than the previous side. The guitars buzz way back in the mix, sometimes disapprearing completely when the singer's delay-drenched croak echoes over female choral voices and chintzy synths like something out of an old Italian splatter movie; the rest of the song does end up erupting into a faster, more furious thrash attack, but it all ends up sounding quite strange. LOVED this EP. includes inserts with liner notes from resident NWN scribe J. Campbell.


NECROMANCY   Ancient Wrath   12"   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    15.98



The sleeve art is an eye-catching cut-and=paste collage of infernal imagery. The production reeks of the mid 1980s, the reverb-haze and cheap keyboard strings, are very nostalgic. The two-part "Ancient Wrath" takes over the entire a-side with a fifteen minute descent into crude, off-kilter black metal soaked in primitive evil atmopshere. I love the adolescent rawness of the recording. their ambition exceeds their reach but that doesn't detract from the EP's enjoyability, as "Wrath" winds through a dank maze of malevolent blackthrash riffing and aggressive metallic chug, simplistic guitar leads strung over the repetitious, straightforward drumming that brings a hypnotic feel to the song; a handful of melodic phrases appear repeatedly hroughout the tracks, and the second half shifts into a trippier, more hallucinatory sound as the vocals become overwhelmed with echoing effects, joined by more of the synthetic tolling bell sounds that have peppered the entire side , leading it into one last stretch of mesmeric primitive blackthrash hypnosis. In spite of (or perhaps due to) the song's sprawling simplicity, a haunting quality emerges, and the central melody behind the song sticks with me . On the other side, "Forbidden Rites" delivers more of those unmistakebly 80's horror movie keys and bell tones as the band comes in with a martial backbeat and a gloriously brain-damaged lead that gets locked into a Twilight Zone-like figure before the song finally kicks in. A weird, echo-laden blast of proto-black metal that's even sloppier than the previous side. The guitars buzz way back in the mix, sometimes disapprearing completely when the singer's delay-drenched croak echoes over female choral voices and chintzy synths like something out of an old Italian splatter movie; the rest of the song does end up erupting into a faster, more furious thrash attack, but it all ends up sounding quite strange. LOVED this EP. includes inserts with liner notes from resident NWN scribe J. Campbell.


NOS   Not Otherwise Specified   CD   (Economy Records)    9.98



Crushing darkhop/noise-hop that fans of Techno Animal and Scorn will go ballistic over. Creeping structures of slow darkhop; the haunted psychedelic mechanism of crushing beats and noise-drone / urban psych-drift-type textures wedded into one seamless, unforgettable flight. The debut release from this highly regarded Swiss duo tips it's hat to Mick Harris' Scorn and Quoit projects, runs the same streets as Ocosi, Mothboy and Submerged, but cuts through even vaster, more downtempo nether-regions of chewy, soul-kissing grooves. Slower and more melancholy than any of it's contemporaries, NOS rules a certain kingdom in that universe, an empire of darker rivers, less light and active shadows.
Track Samples:
Sample : Errorfree
Sample : Greed
Sample : Subworld



NUCLEAR DEATH   Bride Of Insect + Demos   CD   (Dark Symphonies)    11.99



      Finally, we get some high-quality CD reissues of the early Nuclear Death discography, featuring the same material featured in that massive four-LP boxset that came out a couple of years ago, spread out across two CD releases from the recently revived Dark Symphonies imprint. These discs are a marked improvement over the previous CD reissues that came out in the early 2000s, now pairing up the albums with additional demo material that further fleshes out each pustulent period of Nuclear Death's evolution into the psychedelic vomit gods we know and love. And man, this stuff still sounds as extreme as ever. Coming out of Phoenix, Arizona in the late 80s, Nuclear Death stood out in the burgeoning extreme metal underground with a twenty-something girl named Lori Bravo on vocals and bass who sounded like hell unleashed, her voice swooping from monstrous guttural growls to bizarre wordless vocalizations to killer falsetto screams. Backed by drummer Joel Whitfield and guitarist Phil Hampson, Bravo led the band through an inchoate nightmare of grinding, ultra-noisy death metal that started off as a more thrash-influenced sound, but which had evolved into one of the weirdest death/grind bands of its era by the release of their legendary 1991 album Carrion For Worm.
      I still remember when I first saw the ad for Nuclear Death's Bride Of Insect when it appeared in a 1990 issue of Metal Maniacs, I could barely take my eyes off of the grotesque hand-drawn artwork depicting a clan of irradiated abominations surrounding a withered hag licking the slop off of some mutant infant, a huge skull-faced spider-like monstrosity hovering over them. The band name and that artwork suggested that Bride held sublime sonic horrors, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. The album's twelve songs featured a slightly less chaotic version of Nuclear Death's psychotic bestial death metal, but this stuff was (and is) still plenty bizarre, the songs whipped up in a nail-studded whirlwind of sloppy blastbeats and murky riffs, the songs spinning off in weird off-kilter anti-grooves and angular breakdowns, while Lori's awesome, seething vocals echo through the band's cyclonic violence, with some subversively catchy hooks lodged like stray bits of bone matter in these chunks of blackened grind. Tracks like "Necrobestiality", "Feral Viscera", "The Misshapen Horror" and the title track continue to evoke the band's unique nightmare visions of rotting bodies fused together in dripping carnal combinations, mutant birth-sacs and surreal sexual depravations dredged from the deepest recesses of the human psyche. The combination of ripping thrash riffs, Scum-level chaos, and sludgy discordant death metal is intense to say the least, but compared to the delirious sonic vomit that would follow, this is probably their most straightforward work.
      In addition to the album, this new CD reissue also features the Wake Me When I'm Dead and Welcome To The Minds Of The Morbid demos. 1986's Wake Me When I'm Dead was the band's first recording, and it features five tracks of thrashing cavernous evil that has more of a traditional thrash metal sound than their later stuff, though these tracks still have that signature unhinged quality that infects all of Nuclear Death's material. The same goes for the Welcome To The Minds Of The Morbid demo that followed the next year, which has a number of songs that would be later re-recorded on their debut album; you can really start to hear the band growing more maniacal on this demo, though, as the thrash metal riffs and the drumming are continuously pushed into the extremes, the band striving for ever faster, ever more violent velocity, with songs like "Cremation" and "The Third Antichrist" delivering some amazing blasts of chaotic grind, and some weird touches like the robotic devil-vocals on "A Dark Country".
      An essential collection of some of the most chaotic, brain-scrambling and utterly filthy extreme metal ever unleashed, this also includes the original album layout and artwork, and comes with a twelve-page booklet with lyrics, flyer art, band photos and new liner notes from Michele Toscan from Nuclear Abominations and Lori Bravo, as well as a Japanese-style obi card.


NUCLEAR DEATH   Carrion For Worm   CD   (Dark Symphonies)    11.99



      Finally, we get some high-quality CD reissues of the early Nuclear Death discography, featuring the same material featured in that massive four-LP boxset that came out a couple of years ago, spread out across two CD releases from the recently revived Dark Symphonies imprint. These discs are a marked improvement over the previous CD reissues that came out in the early 2000s, now pairing up the albums with additional demo material that further fleshes out each pustulent period of Nuclear Death's evolution into the psychedelic vomit gods we know and love. And man, this stuff still sounds as extreme as ever. Coming out of Phoenix, Arizona in the late 80s, Nuclear Death stood out in the burgeoning extreme metal underground with a twenty-something girl named Lori Bravo on vocals and bass who sounded like hell unleashed, her voice swooping from monstrous guttural growls to bizarre wordless vocalizations to killer falsetto screams. Backed by drummer Joel Whitfield and guitarist Phil Hampson, Bravo led the band through an inchoate nightmare of grinding, ultra-noisy death metal that started off as a more thrash-influenced sound, but which had evolved into one of the weirdest death/grind bands of its era by the release of their legendary 1991 album Carrion For Worm.
      It was with 1991's Carrion For Worm that Nuclear Death truly transformed into one of the strangest death/grind bands around, taking the murky, blurred chaos of their previous album and adding in an array of bizarre noises, hideous atonal guitar sounds, counter-intuitive rhythms and some of the most insane vocals that Bravo ever produced for this band. The songs careen through weird tempo changes and stomping off-kilter breakdowns, the blasting deathgrind splattered with Hampson's lysergic solos, which are ten times more crazed and discordant here than on the older Nuclear Death records. On some of these tracks, the band hurtles into passages of such cyclonic violence that it turns into a kind of blackened, gore-splattered noisecore, chainsaw guitars rumbling beneath the overdriven blastbeats and waves of rumbling noise, and Bravo uses extreme delay effects on her voice to produce some truly terrifying psychedelic effects on songs like the discordant, Autopsy-esque sludgefeast "Greenflies". There's a scornful review of this record that was posted by someone on the Metal Observer site that complained about what he perceived as Carrion's utter unlistenability, where he describes the sound of this album to being "like if Blasphemy and Beherit would interpret together some Einstürzende Neubauten songs, and while I'd certainly question his taste, he might be on to something there. There's a weird, experimental edge to a lot of these songs that shows up in the form of that blasting formless guitar noise and the heavily processed effects that the band uses on their instruments and vocals, and it's clear that Nuclear Death were trying to create something extreme and otherworldly here. They definitely succeeded, producing one of the era's most bizarre death metal albums.
      In addition to the album, this new CD reissue also features the A Symphony Of Agony and Vultures Feeding demos. The A Symphony Of Agony demo from 1987 is a mix of live and rehearsal tracks, and the sound quality is surprisingly good considering the age and source of these recordings. The live tracks in particular were great to hear, as live recordings from Nuclear Death have always been hard to come by (for me at least). Out of all of these demos, the 1988 tape Vultures Feeding is my favorite; while it has a heavier and clearer recording than the previous demos, the band sounds more unhinged than ever, their chaotic, noisy, sound again bordering on total noisecore, the riffs and drums going in different directions, a spiraling mass of buzzing death metal riffs and caveman blastbeats caught in a vortex.
      An essential collection of some of the most chaotic, brain-scrambling and utterly filthy extreme metal ever unleashed, this also includes the original album layout and artwork, and comes with a twelve-page booklet with lyrics, flyer art, band photos and new liner notes from Lori Bravo, as well as a Japanese-style obi card.


NUCLEAR DEATH   For Our Dead / All Creatures Great and Eaten   CD   (Dark Symphonies)    11.99



      Finally, we get some high-quality CD reissues of the early Nuclear Death discography, featuring the same material featured in that massive four-LP boxset that came out a couple of years ago, spread out across two CD releases from the recently revived Dark Symphonies imprint. These discs are a marked improvement over the previous CD reissues that came out in the early 2000s, now pairing up the albums with additional demo material that further fleshes out each pustulent period of Nuclear Death's evolution into the psychedelic vomit gods we know and love. And man, this stuff still sounds as extreme as ever. Coming out of Phoenix, Arizona in the late 80s, Nuclear Death stood out in the burgeoning extreme metal underground with a twenty-something girl named Lori Bravo on vocals and bass who sounded like hell unleashed, her voice swooping from monstrous guttural growls to bizarre wordless vocalizations to killer falsetto screams. Backed by drummer Joel Whitfield and guitarist Phil Hampson, Bravo led the band through an inchoate nightmare of grinding, ultra-noisy death metal that started off as a more thrash-influenced sound, but which had evolved into one of the weirdest death/grind bands of its era by the release of their legendary 1991 album Carrion For Worm.
This much-needed Nuclear Death reissue campaign continues with Dark Symphonies' new release of For Our Dead / All Creatures Great and Eaten, a collection of early 90's material from the Arizona death-mutant cult. Originally released together as a bare-bones disc by Extremist in 2002, this compilation marks a significant shift in the band's sound, from the grinding chaos of their early work towards a more experimental (but no less extreme) direction. This might be my favorite era of the band; the All Creatures Great And Eaten tape alone stands as one of the weirdest and most insane-sounding death metal releases of the era, a violent mutation of their earlier sound. a foul melange of psycho-sexual dread, extreme body horror, bizarre fairy tale imagery, the lyrics are fantasticlly vile, some of my favorite death metal lyrics ever. 1992's All Creatures Great And Eaten was the band's third album, though it only clocked in at just over twenty minutes. Released on cassette through the band's own Cats Meow imprint, Eaten found the band reduced to just a two piece, with Lori Bravo taking over all guitar duties in addition to vocals and bass. This resulted in a noticeable change in the band's sound, as the grinding death metal riffs mutate into more discordant, abrasive forms, and a sickening dissonance permeates all of the music. Steve Cowan's drumming remains savagely aggressive, but this new material generally sounds even more psychotic than before, Bravo's deformed guitar bringing an almost No Wavey abrasiveness and ugliness to their already quite hideous sound. Songs become writhing masses of downtuned abstract guitar noise and lurching, off-kilter rhythms. Weird spacey electronics and cosmic slime swell up from the depths, leading into eruptions of severely drug-addled improv. Effects pedals are cranked over deformed doom-laden concrete-mixer riffs. And a layer of vile, rumbling noise materializes beneath many of the songs, adding to the harsh, hallucinatory atmopshere. It's one of the most horrific slabs of avant garde deathnoise from the decade, almost sounding like some gruesome Skin Graft outfit at times, but constantly spiralling out into total madness as Bravo's snarling vocals become more and more distressed and demented.
First released on notorious label Wild Rags, For Our Dead features just four songs, terrorizing from start to end; blown out, utterly monstrous death metal whipped up into a near noisecore-like blur of blastbeats, vomitous shreiks and primitive riffage, only occasionally slowing down into a skull-flattening dirge or sprawl of nauseating feedback. Ridiculously noisy at times, there are moments like "The Third Antichrist" that turn into a weird, almost industrial-tinged ultra-heaviness that shifts between psychedelic deathsludge and sheer Merzbowian chaos. Some of these riffs are perversely catchy, though. As with the other recent Nuclear Deat reissue CDs, Eaten is limited to one thousand copies, featuring the original, amazing artwork and new liner notes from Lori Bravo.


O'MALLEY, STEPHEN   Gruidés   LP   (DDS)    25.98



One of O'Malley's most ambitious projects so far, Gruidés "Gruidés" is split across the two sides, While the album's sleeve art suggests something more pastoral, O'Malley's penchant for darker tones and foreboding atmopshere presents itself right from the start. An opening blast of bleating brass and dissonant woodwinds gives way to long stretches of minimal drift on the first side, that dissonance creeping into the quietest moments as instruments are drawn out into long, hovering drones. There's an immediate tension to the performance, accentuated by the occasional scatter of rattling percussion like the sound of bones being scattered across sheets of metal, punctuiared by sparse drum hits and controlled cymbal use. And as those drones continue to float above the increasingly active bursts of formless percussive sound, one is reminded of certain strains of Japanese classical music, a similar austere feel found here. The drums become more forceful, louder, dropping brief but thunderous blasts of rumbling power into the stream of suspended drones. the dissonance gradually resolving into fields of gleaming, sepharic hum, stretching out into the second half, building into undulating waves of orchestral drone that grow stronger and denser, until the percussion suddenly comes together into a slow, lopsided rhythm, a shuffling processional that forms beneath an almost folky minor key chord change, as the final minutes of the piece turn into a solemn, mesmeric dirge, almost funereal as the instruments all rush back in with a blast of wheezing, thunderous sound. Suspenseful, and darkly majestic in it's final moments, Gruidés is an absolutely stunning piece of grim modern orchestral drone music that'll sit nicely next to your Ligeti, Crumb and Penderecki records....


ORTHODOX   Axis (BLACK VINYL)   LP   (Alone -Spain-)    23.99



      Now available on vinyl, in gatefold packaging.
      Some four years since their last album Baal, Spanish heavies Orthodox return at last with another full-length of arty, challenging heaviness that continues to emphasize the group's obsession with both the expressiveness of jazz, and the gut-churning power of low-end frequencies. While these guys have received a bit of critical acclaim, I still feel like they're a perpetually underrated band; a stint on Southern Lord seemed to do little to expose their music to a wider audience here in the US, and while their stuff can definitely get into challenging territory, it's still some of the finest experimental metal coming out of Europe at the moment. Now with Axis, Orthodox are back, stripped down to the duo of Marco Serrato (bass, vocals) and Borja Dķaz (Drums), but even as a two-piece their sound hasn't grown any less dense. And it's still pushing at the boundaries between experimental jazz and doom metal, producing a unique array of sounds with this eight-song disc.
      Winding, angular bass riffs crawl vertically over the drummer's lurching, stop-and-go beat on opener "Suyo Es El Rostro de La Muerte...", starting the album off with distorted rumblings and sinister motives as the sounds of French horn, saxophone and clarinet begin to bleat and drift overhead. That first song feels more aligned with certain strains of French prog rock, with echoes of Univers Zero and Shub Niggurath reverberating through this brief instrumental track. But then when "Crown For A Mole" kicks in, and Serrato's impassioned snarl arrives alongside a monstrously distorted bass guitar and Diaz's tumbling percussive patterns, the mood changes to something more visceral. The album serves up a big dose of that heaviness, but there's more besides: gorgeous instrumental meditations on sun-blasted guitar twang, droning Hammond-like keys and Morricone-esque drama tethered to glacial low-slung riffs and lugubrious tempos ("Medea"), which traces the birth and death of a Sabbathoid riff as it burns down to a molten black core; on "Portum Sirenes", the duo hammer out an elastic, rumbling hypno-metal workout that resembles Om on the edge of a nervous breakdown, only to disappear into the abstract free-improvisation of "Axis/Equinox".
      It's an unpredictable journey, that latter track giving over to moody piano as it becomes one of Axis's most straightforward compositions, while "”Io, Sabacio, Io Io!" sees Orthodox joined by additional musicians for a captivating performance inspired by ancient Islamic African folk music, using just vocals, percussion and double bass. "Canķcula" delivers another bone-rattling jolt of sludgy metallic heaviness that warps into proggy, dexterous forms towards the end, strafed with vicious, shrieking saxophone, and the closer "...Y A Ella Le Serį Revelado" returns to the theme introduced by the opening song, creating an atmosphere pf psychological tension and unease with percussion, clarinet and bass and French horn, slipping from haunting melody to atonal improvisation and evoking some of the creepier film scores I've heard from Morricone. Throughout all of this, Serrano often applies strange effects to his voice, transforming it into a tremulous croon or ghastly howl that ripples like a heat mirage in the red hot glow of the overdriven distorted riffs, adding to the otherworldly effect of their music. Fans of the band's early heaviosity will find plenty of hypnotic, head-nodding riffs strewn thro0uyghout Axis, but this is an album that is ultimately more concerned with texture and tension than it is with the sheer force of down-tuned power chords.
Track Samples:
Sample : ’ž”Io, Sabacio, Io Io!
Sample : Portum Sirenes
Sample : Medea
Sample : ’ž...Y A Ella Le Serį Revelado



PAN.THY.MONIUM   ...Dawn / Dream II (BLACK VINYL)   LP   (The Crypt)    23.99



      Back in print on vinyl from The Crypt, featuring the same material and artwork from the recent CD reissue of these seminal avant-death classics.
      Alongside Abruptum and Ophthalamia, Pan-Thy-Mononium was indisputably one of the weirdest of Sweden's death metal exports in the very early 1990's. The band (led by Swedish death metal legend Dan Swano) played a brutally heavy brand of death metal, but this was like no other death metal anyone had heard before. Deliberately trying to play the weirdest, most doom-laden death metal that the members could come up with, Pan-Thy-Monium blasted into deep space with a wigged-out combination of complicated arrangements and drawn-out songs, pummeling old-school death metal riffs, gaseous guttural vokills, and lots of weird spacey effects, the recurring sound of a ticking clock, horror-movie synthesizers, synthetic flutes and clavichord-like melodies, creepy droning ambience and swells of gorgeous Vangelis bliss, quirky Voivod-esque chords, and plenty of jarring changes that take the band abruptly from blasting death metal into crawling angular doom and then straight into oddball off-time rock parts. "Unpredictable" is one way to describe Pan-Thy-Monium's music, but in spite of it's rampant weirdness, these songs are both crushing and engaging, a weird Beefheart approach to early death metal that's never been rivaled. In addition, the guys in Pan-Thy-Monium created their own language, or something like that, with totally nonsensical song titles and constant references to some sort of deity called "Raagoonshinnaah", and the liner notes that accompany this record reveal that the singer was actually improvising all of that awesome monstrous growling, calling it "Obituary syndrome" since having lyrics wouldn't be "spontaneous" enough for their music. This wasn't your typical death metal band by a long shot.
      Pan-Thy-Monium would eventually release several cult albums on labels like Osmose and Relapse, but their earliest demo releases remained some of the band's most bizarre-sounding and sought-after recordings. The ...Dawn and Dream II demos, recorded and released in 1990 and 1991 respectively, are completely fucking bonkers; this music must have seriously blown the minds of death metallers who ordered these demos from the band. The debut demo ...Dawn never received any sort of official release beyond the original cassette, and while Dreams II was later released on Cd by Avantgarde Music, both recordings have been almost impossible to find in recent years. Enter cult vinyl reissue label The Crypt, who has assembled and released a stunning new Lp collection of both recordings, re-mastered and presented in a newly designed jacket with reversible artwork and a printed insert with demo artwork, fanzine interviews, brief liner notes from Dan Swano and photos, here reissued in a limited edition of one hundred seventy-five copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : II
Sample : Vvoiiccheeces
Sample : Zenotaffph



PAN.THY.MONIUM   ...Dawn / Dream II (AQUA VINYL)   LP   (The Crypt)    23.99



      Back in print on vinyl from The Crypt, featuring the same material and artwork from the recent CD reissue of these seminal avant-death classics.
      Alongside Abruptum and Ophthalamia, Pan-Thy-Mononium was indisputably one of the weirdest of Sweden's death metal exports in the very early 1990's. The band (led by Swedish death metal legend Dan Swano) played a brutally heavy brand of death metal, but this was like no other death metal anyone had heard before. Deliberately trying to play the weirdest, most doom-laden death metal that the members could come up with, Pan-Thy-Monium blasted into deep space with a wigged-out combination of complicated arrangements and drawn-out songs, pummeling old-school death metal riffs, gaseous guttural vokills, and lots of weird spacey effects, the recurring sound of a ticking clock, horror-movie synthesizers, synthetic flutes and clavichord-like melodies, creepy droning ambience and swells of gorgeous Vangelis bliss, quirky Voivod-esque chords, and plenty of jarring changes that take the band abruptly from blasting death metal into crawling angular doom and then straight into oddball off-time rock parts. "Unpredictable" is one way to describe Pan-Thy-Monium's music, but in spite of it's rampant weirdness, these songs are both crushing and engaging, a weird Beefheart approach to early death metal that's never been rivaled. In addition, the guys in Pan-Thy-Monium created their own language, or something like that, with totally nonsensical song titles and constant references to some sort of deity called "Raagoonshinnaah", and the liner notes that accompany this record reveal that the singer was actually improvising all of that awesome monstrous growling, calling it "Obituary syndrome" since having lyrics wouldn't be "spontaneous" enough for their music. This wasn't your typical death metal band by a long shot.
      Pan-Thy-Monium would eventually release several cult albums on labels like Osmose and Relapse, but their earliest demo releases remained some of the band's most bizarre-sounding and sought-after recordings. The ...Dawn and Dream II demos, recorded and released in 1990 and 1991 respectively, are completely fucking bonkers; this music must have seriously blown the minds of death metallers who ordered these demos from the band. The debut demo ...Dawn never received any sort of official release beyond the original cassette, and while Dreams II was later released on Cd by Avantgarde Music, both recordings have been almost impossible to find in recent years. Enter cult vinyl reissue label The Crypt, who has assembled and released a stunning new Lp collection of both recordings, re-mastered and presented in a newly designed jacket with reversible artwork and a printed insert with demo artwork, fanzine interviews, brief liner notes from Dan Swano and photos, here reissued in a limited edition of one hundred seventy-five copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : II
Sample : Vvoiiccheeces
Sample : Zenotaffph



PEREIRA, MANUEL   Tricofilia   ART BOOK - SLIM   (Black Horizons)    5.98



Black Horizons is back with the third installment in their "Black Bag" series of limited edition art-zines; Tricofilia comes from Portugese collage artist Manuel Pereira, who also runs the excellent industrial/noise label Narcolepsia and produces bizarre, often uinsettling video art that has been disseminated online. His collage style is pure old-school assemblage in the vein of COUM Transmission and 80's mail art, and Tricofilia features thirty-six such pieces, reproduced here in black and white. Like many of the art zines that Black Horizons has published as part of this series, this draws heavily from explicit pornographic imagery, slashing images of graphic penetrative acts and clinical sexuality with fragments of consumer technology, drawings of insects, children's dolls, medical imagery, and submissive postures; at their best, Pereira's images have a fractured, nightmarish quality, bodies splitting apart, faces blotted by shadow and mis-aligned, personalities obliterated in a jumble of torn paper.


PIG DNA   Mob Shity   LP   (La Vida Es Un Mus)    21.00



The latest from Pig DNA gets even fouler than that Control You Fucker #3 7" that showed up on our last list, featuring nine new tracks of insanely blown-out, utterly noise-damaged hardcore from the Bay Area outfit. As with the stuff on that EP, Mob Shity clears out your ear canals with a rampaging assault of mega-blown-out thrash that's clearly informed by the extremism of classic Japanese noise-punks like Confuse, but wraps that speaker-damaging punk in an unholy amount of additional noise and distortion that pushes this stuff over the edge into industrial territory, matched by equally violent lyrical imagery .
This stuff is fucking ferocious, with catchy, rabble-rousing hardcore anthems at the heart of most of these tracks, but songs like "Murderred" and "Unfurl The Belt" are so over-modulated that the guitars seemingly melt down into a white-hot blur of acrid buzz, the drummer's furious fast-paced beats muffled benetah layers of noise (but still pummeling throughout the entire recording), the vocals a far-off but thoroughly pissed-off howl that seems to be constantly struggling to surface through the maelstrom of hiss and crackle and buzz. There's an unmistakeble early industrial feel to the band's overall approach to the recording, but it's much more intense than just a superfluous addition of static and amplifier noise; the combintation of that severely blown-out recording, mangled circuitry and the raging hooks that these songs are built upon comes together for something much more brain-scouring than your typical Confuse/Disclose-worship, especially when it all careens into that final blast of looping, lung-scorching industrial rage that closes the album. Man, between that 7" and this 12" EP (which is a real tease at just barely fifteen minutes long, though the brevity is probably crucial to the record's immediacy and intensity - any longer and this would lose it's violent impact), Pig DNA are fast turning into one of my most beloved new hardcore bands. Cones with a Pig DNA sticker, a printed insert, and a label questionaaire.


PRURIENT   And Still Wanting   LP PICTURE DISC   (No Fun Productions)    26.98



Unearthed some more of this older Prurient LP, a picture disc release from 2008 that featured the same material as the CD version that came out on No Fun Productions. Issued in a limited run of five hundred copies, the vinyl is a striking object, with abstract oceanic artwork from Lindsey Watkins on the flipside, and the text, lyrics and liner notes printed onto the black A-side. Burzum-esque melody, crushing harsh noise, and power electronics strategy Opening with a thick, crumbling wall of static-drenched distortion, Fernow creates an almost blackened atmopshere as processed, croaked monotone vocals drift over a synthesizer figure that resembles a tremolo-picked black metal riff circling endlessly over the churning noise, a mournful, mesmeric melody threaded through the entire track. The crackling, rumbling distortion is so dense and suffocating that it rivals anything you'd hear from The Rita or Vomir, and there's a definite "HNW"-style texture to the piece, even as that melody drifts languidly on waves of speaker-shredding static. From there, the album moves into the more restrained power electronics-influence tension of "Subject", where low, droning loops and distorted, murderous vocals are strafed by Fernow's signature high-end feedback abuse, everything converging into a sheet of black, noxious sound. And that black metal-esque melodic aspect reappears on "LUst End", where another morose minor key melody, this one totally Burzumic, soars on updrafts of putrid, over-modulated noise and crushing, tectonic rumble, the vocals growing even more seething and savage; it's one of the best Prurient tracks of the past several years, capturing the feel of early Scandinavian blackness and injecting into a vicious, but well-crafted noise assault. The tracks slip into more desolate stretches of skittering percussive clatter and jet-black deathdrone punctuated by disturbing poetic images, sprawls of isolationist drift, and more blasts of that brutalist distorted noise, usually delivered in controlled bursts that heighten the physical effect upon the listener. That grim, frost-bitten mood is constant throughout the album, suddenly penetrating the screeching, floor-rattling noise like a shaft of grey kosmische light. "Strict Ideas" appears amid all of this violence towards the end, and the way that it moves from a howling mass of bent metal, collapsing structures and low-frequenct aftershocks into a killer sprawl of orchestral drift and solemn vocals that takes over the second half is extremely effective.
Track Samples:
Sample : Incense And Rubber
Sample : Memory Repeating
Sample : Total Terrorism



PYRAMIDS   A Northern Meadow   CASSETTE   (Black Horizons)    8.98



      We now have the limited-edition cassette on Black Horizons available, with hand-assembled packaging involving full-color digital prints on pearl vellum and black linen covers, issued in a run of one hundred copies.
      Has it really been seven years since the last time we heard a full-length from Pyramids? Sure, this ever-morphing ensemble headed by visionary musician R. Loren has continued to put out a steady stream of splits and collaborations with the likes of Nadja, Wraiths, Mamiffer and Horseback in the years since their stunning self-titled debut came out on Hydra Head, but A Northern Meadow is in fact the first stand-alone full length Pyramids release since 2008. And it's amazing. I loved the debut, which blew me away when it came out, a mysterious and multi-faceted blast of soaring melody and alien textures, gorgeously arranged vocal melodies and waves of crushing guitar that fell somewhere in between prog rock, black metal and the heaviest strains of dreampop, but which ultimately sounded totally unique. And their various splits and collabs have been fantastic as well, some of it reaching even higher levels of otherworldly beauty and deeper realms of darkened, crushing heaviness. But on the band's latest, Pyramids delivers what may be their most focused and seamless work, resulting in one of the best dark prog albums that's come out so far this year.
      It's also some of the most gorgeous stuff that Pyramids has done. When that first song kicks in with its mix of keening Thom Yorke-esque crooning, blackened tremolo riffing and tricked-out prog rock arrangements, I'm in heaven. The music is a perfect balance of violent energy and complex beauty, opening with a stunning blast of intricate, almost shoegazey sound that obliterates the boundaries of genre. And as Meadow unfolds, that sound grows more malevolent, finding its way from the complex beauty and power of "In Perfect Stillness, I’ve Only Found Sorrow" to the seething black metal-isms of "The Substance Of Grief Is Not Imaginary", a song that resembles a strangely pretty version of Blut Aus Nord's convoluted, avant-garde black metal. Which makes sense, seeing as how Loren and his band mates are joined by Blut Aus Nord's Vindsval for much of the album. He's part of an impressive guest roster on the album, joined by experimental electronic artist William Fowler Collins and Colin Marston from Gorguts / Behold The Arctopus / Krallice. This formidable crew sculpts the album into a kind of dark, pop-flecked prog rock, and as it continues, that sound is further fleshed out with heavier undercurrents and lush electronic backdrops. The black metal elements recur throughout the songs, but frequently untangle themselves from the contorted riffage and blast beats and soaring vocals to coalesce into the most heart-rending of melodic hooks. It often spills out into sprawls of immersive synthesizer and lush ambient textures, bits of industrial abrasion seeping into the drumming and electronics, the songs woven from complex rhythmic interplay and layered melodies that continue to surprise and stir the soul with each revisit. "My Father, Tall As Goliath" is dark prog-pop sorcery, while "Indigo Birds" disappears into a breathtaking kosmische middle that channels the most epic of 70's space music, before swarming back into more of that labyrinthine riffery. The heavier-than-thou may scoff at the gorgeous singing that sits at the forefront of these songs, but this is still heavy, heavy stuff, much of it amongst the heaviest Pyramids music I've heard so far.
      Stunning stuff. There's a similar enigmatic art-rock vibe as stuff like Time Of Orchids and Kayo Dot, but the metallic elements are much more prominent, specifically the black metal influences that inflame Meadow's more furious moments. If you're a fan of the previous Pyramids output, I can't imagine that you won't flip over this. It's a Pretty confident saying it's the strongest music the band has brought us yet. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : The Earth Melts Into Red Gashes Like the Mouths of Whales
Sample : My Father, Tall As Goliath
Sample : Indigo Birds



RAISON D'ŹTRE   Metamorphyses (Expanded Edition)   2 x CD   (Old Europa Cafe)    17.98



One of the darkest, most isolationist albums in the Raison D'Etre catalog, Metamorphyses (Expanded Edition) is a terrific slab of lightless, cthonic ambience from the longrunning Swedish project. A greatly expanded version of the album that originally came out on Cold Meat back in 2006, this features the complete album accompanied by additional alternative mixes and an entire second disc of bonus material that adds up to nearly two hours of soul-crushing blackness. Mastermind Peter Andersson has made an entire career of crafting some of the most enveloping post-industrial music to come out of the Swedish underground, but Metamorphyses is a particularly chilling exercise in glacial drift and abrasive ambience.
The album proper is a mesmerizing series of "Phases" that moves through realms of deep, low-frequency drones and subterranean rumbling laced with etheric female voices and looping swirls of metallic clank and scrape, into whirling black cloudscapes that shimmer with dimly luminescent forms and distant eruptions of percussive power. Even in it's calmest and most meditative moments, the music here seethes with a sinister energy, and when these vast deep-earth drones and cyclopean movements surge to the surface and swell in power, this stuff can get pretty damn heavy. The overall vibe throughout Metamorphyses rivals the dreadful and oppressive depths of classic early Lustmord, but Andersson's use of layered metallic textures and rhythmic noises is unique to this project, giving tracks like "Phase IV" a monstrous, ritualistic quality. The dense, black fog shifts around the movements of massive earthgrinding machinery and towering constructs, gigantic chains dragged along sea beds, nails scraped against sheets of metal in the black of night, surges of shimmering cymbals become a tumultuous, oceanic churn. For a "dark ambient" album, this can get pretty noisy and chaotic, bit it's never aimless, carefully forged into sweeping, dramatic crescendos of sound and lengthy, tension-riddled sequences that can verge on the cinematic.
The second disc features seventy-four minutes of live material that were recorded between 2006 and 2008 throughout Europe, mostly comprised of performances of tracks from Metamorphyses along with some material from Stains Of The Embodied Sacrifice. Impeccably sequenced, these high-quality live recordings flow together as if from the same concert, veering between haunted lightless driftscapes and harrowing industrial assemblage, making for an excellent immersion in the Raison D'Etre live experience.
Dense, black, apocalyptic. One of my personal favorites from Raison D'Etre, right up there with Requiem For Abandoned Souls when it comes to exquisitely constructed nightside ambience. Comes in digipack packaging.


RAPOON   The Fires Of The Borderlands   2 x CD   (Zoharum)    17.98



Man, I miss Release Entertainment. A sub-imprint from extreme metal label Relapse Records, Release was an outlet for all sorts of strange and experimental music that didn't fit on the Relapse roster, and for awhile there, the label produced some really terrific albums from the realms of death industrial, harsh noise and dark ambient. One of the finest examples of the latter to surface on Release was Rapoon's The Fires Of The Borderlands, a 1998 album that featured some of his most eerie and darkened ambient works. The solo project from Zoviet France founder Robin Story, Rapoon had already been responsible for a heap of mystical, mesmeric drone albums sometimes described as "ehtno-ambient", but with Fires, Story went much darker, delivering one of the few Rapoon albums to wander deep into the caliginous realms inhabited by the likes of Lustmord and Yen Pox. Like most Release titles, Fires had been out of print for years, but it was recent reissued by Polish label Zoharum in a deluxe expanded edition presented in digipak packaging, limited to five hundred copies, with a bonus disc featuring a complete live set recorded in 1996.
Disc one features the remastered version of Fires Of The Borderlands, and it's immense. Eleven tracks of densely layered, exotic ambience that swirl with looping angelic voices and luminous low-end drones, frequently possessed with deep, rhythmic throb that resembles the peripheral rumblings of ancient machinery obscured beneath a thick blanket of nocturnal fog, the mindless churn of infernal engines deep beneath desert sands, evocative of some far-off post-apocalyptic Right from the beginning, "Hollow Flight" dives into an almost kosmische wash of sound, and it's maintained across nearly the entire length of the album, traced with distant ghostly murmurs, metallic rattlings, strange almost liturgical ululuations, and spectral glimmers that are all summoned from Storey's use of loop pedals and It grows progressively darker and more ominous, eventually plunging into the cavernous depths of "Omaneska", as those swirling, sacred drones turn sour, billowing out into smoke-stained clouds of chtonic drift and mesmeric subterranean drone; the tracks that follow offer other variations on that brooding ambient dread, uncovering malevolent machhinelike rumboings beneath stretched-out drones and ghostlike choral drift, even slipping into an escatcy of monstrous percussive rhythms that thunder in the depths like some tribal ritual, echoing with distant horn-like blasts and glottal, distorted roars as if from the mouth of some charred, titanic didgeridoo-like instrument. But when it ends with the beatific, elliptic piano figure of "A Softer Light", Storey casts aside the darkness with a final blast of empyreal beauty that's quite stunning. Sometimes grim, often gorgeous, thgis album remains among my own very favorite Rapoon works. an excellent entry point for dark ambient fans who are new to Storey's work, as well as anyone into the dark post-industrial ritual driftscaps of artists like Tribes Of Neurot and Troum. The second disc with the 1996 live perfromance offers a similarly beautiful wash of sound. Recorded live at the San Francisco radio station KFJC, the set stretches outward for nearly forty minutes as Storey layers looping voices and smears of nocturnal drift with bleary melody and ghostly rhythms knocking around and tumbling through a thick, red haze, later joined by flurries of delirious wooden flute, furious tribal drumming and grinding tectonic rumblings, the sounds shifting and reshaping every few minutes, drifting deeper into the dark dreamlands...


REVENGE   Behold.Total.Rejection (WITH EMBROIDERED PATCH)   CD   (Season Of Mist)    15.99



Also available as a limited-edition deluxe CD in embossed digipack packaging that comes with an embroidered 4" by 4" patch. Also available on black vinyl with printed innersleeve. How in the hell does the most "produced" Revenge album of their career end up sounding even more like noisecore than ever before? Man, if you had any concerns that Revenge were going to in any way soften or temper their sound after signing with Season Of Mist, consider them abated. Behold.Total.Rejection is a rabid motherfucker of an album, upping the inhuman savagery with the addition of some insane-sounding vocalizations while continuing with their patented brand of hyperblasting blackened metal. These ten tracks are still noisy as hell, barbaric blasts of chaotic deathriffs and bizarre atonal shredding spewed violently across J. Read's berserker drumming, which hasn't lost any of its brain-splattering power, strafed with those bone-scraping pick slides; and when these guys drop out of that churning chainsaw chaos on tracks like "Shock Attrition" into one of their crushing (and bizarrely catchy) punk-style mid-tempo riffs or sudden eruptions of sludgy, brutal heaviness, it still feels as if I'm slamming into a brick wall at eighty miles per hour. Musically, it's a direct continuation from previous album Scum.Collapse.Eradication, but the vocals are even more animalistic and feral, the hateful, high-pitched screams now sharing space alongside some of the most bizarre guttural noises I've heard, a disgusting, boar-like grunting that sounds utterly inhuman, especially when it's jammed through weird echoing effects and ripples noxiously over the band's filthy, flesh-chewing hateblast. And man, does it get wild - there's more than a few points where everything becomes tangled up so chaotically and hits blinding speed that it really does sound like an old-school noisegrind outfit splattered with insane atonal solos. Aesthetically, the album likewise continues with the ultra-violent Social Darwinism and militant anti-humanism, Scum-level blackgrind horror with a wild boar reciting key lines from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right Total madness, total chaos, total violence.


REVENGE   Behold.Total.Rejection   LP   (Season Of Mist)    21.00

Behold.Total.Rejection IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Also available as a limited-edition deluxe CD in embossed digipack packaging that comes with an embroidered 4" by 4" patch. Also available on black vinyl with printed innersleeve. How in the hell does the most "produced" Revenge album of their career end up sounding even more like noisecore than ever before? Man, if you had any concerns that Revenge were going to in any way soften or temper their sound after signing with Season Of Mist, consider them abated. Behold.Total.Rejection is a rabid motherfucker of an album, upping the inhuman savagery with the addition of some insane-sounding vocalizations while continuing with their patented brand of hyperblasting blackened metal. These ten tracks are still noisy as hell, barbaric blasts of chaotic deathriffs and bizarre atonal shredding spewed violently across J. Read's berserker drumming, which hasn't lost any of its brain-splattering power, strafed with those bone-scraping pick slides; and when these guys drop out of that churning chainsaw chaos on tracks like "Shock Attrition" into one of their crushing (and bizarrely catchy) punk-style mid-tempo riffs or sudden eruptions of sludgy, brutal heaviness, it still feels as if I'm slamming into a brick wall at eighty miles per hour. Musically, it's a direct continuation from previous album Scum.Collapse.Eradication, but the vocals are even more animalistic and feral, the hateful, high-pitched screams now sharing space alongside some of the most bizarre guttural noises I've heard, a disgusting, boar-like grunting that sounds utterly inhuman, especially when it's jammed through weird echoing effects and ripples noxiously over the band's filthy, flesh-chewing hateblast. And man, does it get wild - there's more than a few points where everything becomes tangled up so chaotically and hits blinding speed that it really does sound like an old-school noisegrind outfit splattered with insane atonal solos. Aesthetically, the album likewise continues with the ultra-violent Social Darwinism and militant anti-humanism, Scum-level blackgrind horror with a wild boar reciting key lines from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right Total madness, total chaos, total violence.


REVENGE   Behold.Total.Rejection (DELUXE VERSION)   LP + EMBROIDERED PATCH   (Season Of Mist)    31.98



We also have extremely limited quantities of the "deluxe" vinyl release of Behold.Total.Rejection, on black vinyl in a gatefold package with spotgloss printing, printer inner sleeve and a huge twenty-four page booklet (not included in the normal LP version), and an embroidered Revenge patch.
How in the hell does the most "produced" Revenge album of their career end up sounding even more like noisecore than ever before? Man, if you had any concerns that Revenge were going to in any way soften or temper their sound after signing with Season Of Mist, consider them abated. Behold.Total.Rejection is a rabid motherfucker of an album, upping the inhuman savagery with the addition of some insane-sounding vocalizations while continuing with their patented brand of hyperblasting blackened metal. These ten tracks are still noisy as hell, barbaric blasts of chaotic deathriffs and bizarre atonal shredding spewed violently across J. Read's berserker drumming, which hasn't lost any of its brain-splattering power, strafed with those bone-scraping pick slides; and when these guys drop out of that churning chainsaw chaos on tracks like "Shock Attrition" into one of their crushing (and bizarrely catchy) punk-style mid-tempo riffs or sudden eruptions of sludgy, brutal heaviness, it still feels as if I'm slamming into a brick wall at eighty miles per hour. Musically, it's a direct continuation from previous album Scum.Collapse.Eradication, but the vocals are even more animalistic and feral, the hateful, high-pitched screams now sharing space alongside some of the most bizarre guttural noises I've heard, a disgusting, boar-like grunting that sounds utterly inhuman, especially when it's jammed through weird echoing effects and ripples noxiously over the band's filthy, flesh-chewing hateblast. And man, does it get wild - there's more than a few points where everything becomes tangled up so chaotically and hits blinding speed that it really does sound like an old-school noisegrind outfit splattered with insane atonal solos. Aesthetically, the album likewise continues with the ultra-violent Social Darwinism and militant anti-humanism, Scum-level blackgrind horror with a wild boar reciting key lines from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right Total madness, total chaos, total violence.


RITUAL CHAMBER   Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)   CD   (Profound Lore)    13.99



swarming flystruck deathsludge. bronchial staccato riffing. almost Gorgutsian-levels of dissonant, whacked out tunings. The follow-up to the excellent The Pits of Tentacled Screams demo from a couple of years ago, Ritual Chamber's debut album features nine new tracks of putrid heaviness from this Bay Area one-man band, sandwiched between some truly nasty sounding ambient soundscapes assembled from scraps of demonic exorcism, gurgling black drift and mysterious voices. The bulk of Obscurations is pure nauseating sludge-encrusted horror, though, another high-caliber entry in the field from Profound Lore that offers a similar level of avant-garde dissonance and labyrinthine structure as other recent offerings from the likes of Chthe'ilist and Pissgrave. That's where any similarities end, hgowever, as Ritual Chamber bulldozes through more brackish, murky depths of doom-laden death metal. And if you dug the doomed tone of that previous demo, you'll be pleased to find more of that stuff appearing here, too. There are more than a few moments on Obscurations that rumble and drone with the weight of classic Disembowelment, ad the way that those crushing, depressive riffs are stretched over frenzied blastbeats and squalls of blackened tremolo riffing creates a disoreinting effect that I don't hear enough of these days. Killer vocals as well, a muffled, ghastly growl that sometimes sounds almost whispered over the chaotic blasting, adding another malefic element to the albuym's evil atmopshere. It's intensely discordant at times, even in its more subdued moments as eerie clean guitar creeps over the buzzsaw roar of detuned riffage. Not without it's moments of warped catrchiness, though. A moody tremolo=picked riff adds drama to the moldering, synth-drenched blackness of "Beings Of Entropy", only to later mutate into something sicker and soured later on; "Toward A Malignant Bliss" unfurls a mournful guitar melody over stretches of funereal gloom. Closer "As Dust And The Animal" strethes out for nearly eleven minutes, oozing from grueling slo-mo heaviosity and weird demonic ambience to swirling guitar shred and hideous atonal melody and even some eerie pipe organ at the very end. A sickly, noxious atmopshere clings to Ritual Chamber's malformed, disease-riddled death metal.


RITUAL CHAMBER   Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)   2 x LP   (Profound Lore)    36.98



swarming flystruck deathsludge. bronchial staccato riffing. almost Gorgutsian-levels of dissonant, whacked out tunings. The follow-up to the excellent The Pits of Tentacled Screams demo from a couple of years ago, Ritual Chamber's debut album features nine new tracks of putrid heaviness from this Bay Area one-man band, sandwiched between some truly nasty sounding ambient soundscapes assembled from scraps of demonic exorcism, gurgling black drift and mysterious voices. The bulk of Obscurations is pure nauseating sludge-encrusted horror, though, another high-caliber entry in the field from Profound Lore that offers a similar level of avant-garde dissonance and labyrinthine structure as other recent offerings from the likes of Chthe'ilist and Pissgrave. That's where any similarities end, hgowever, as Ritual Chamber bulldozes through more brackish, murky depths of doom-laden death metal. And if you dug the doomed tone of that previous demo, you'll be pleased to find more of that stuff appearing here, too. There are more than a few moments on Obscurations that rumble and drone with the weight of classic Disembowelment, ad the way that those crushing, depressive riffs are stretched over frenzied blastbeats and squalls of blackened tremolo riffing creates a disoreinting effect that I don't hear enough of these days. Killer vocals as well, a muffled, ghastly growl that sometimes sounds almost whispered over the chaotic blasting, adding another malefic element to the albuym's evil atmopshere. It's intensely discordant at times, even in its more subdued moments as eerie clean guitar creeps over the buzzsaw roar of detuned riffage. Not without it's moments of warped catrchiness, though. A moody tremolo=picked riff adds drama to the moldering, synth-drenched blackness of "Beings Of Entropy", only to later mutate into something sicker and soured later on; "Toward A Malignant Bliss" unfurls a mournful guitar melody over stretches of funereal gloom. Closer "As Dust And The Animal" strethes out for nearly eleven minutes, oozing from grueling slo-mo heaviosity and weird demonic ambience to swirling guitar shred and hideous atonal melody and even some eerie pipe organ at the very end. A sickly, noxious atmopshere clings to Ritual Chamber's malformed, disease-riddled death metal.


ROTTING CHRIST   Rituals   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



Available on both CD and double LP in gatefold packaging with foil-stamped printing. Sounding as exotic as ever, these legendary Greek black metallers return with their thirteenth album Rituals, a continuation of the gothic-tinged, often experimental sound that has dominated their approach over the past decade. Their sound continues to blend together elements of classic goth rock with epic sym,phonic black/death metal, faint traces of industrialized heaviness, evoking ancient Hellenic warriors and Satanic rites on the shores of the Aegean Sea. It has the same polish of other recent albums, but it's still crushing stuff. From the ritualistic blast of opener "In Nomine Dei Nostri" that blends furious black metal with massive backing gang chants and tribal drumming, to the droning Frostian crush of "Ze Nigmar" . As with previous albums, elements of traditional Greek folk music and instrumentation are woven into the songs; but on Rituals, the band's distinct sound has been stripped down more than ever to a monstrous, percussive assault, those tribal drums and booming, barbaric choruses dominating much of the album, while their signature blackened guitars have been relegated further to the background of the songs; when those riffs and soaring, stirring leads shift into the forefront of Rituals, it produces some of the most striking moments on the album. The deep, imposing baritone vocals alternate with blackened shrieks, with frantic female screams occasionally racing across the churning double-bass driven heaviness of songs like "Elthe Kyrie", the latter dweveloping into a powerhouse of a track with a dark melodic hook that evokes classic 80's gothic rock, while later in the album, mesmeric chantlike singing informed by Indian classical music steers the music into stretches of totally intoxicatuing, hypnotic intensity; guest vocals from Samael's Vorph, Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes, Necromantia/Thou Art Lord's George Zacharopolus and Rudra's Kathir lend their talents to the album. An almost liturgical atmopshere sweeps across the album. The album closes with an interesting cover of "The Four Horsemen", a 1972 song from the Greek progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child, which then featured composer and electronic music pioneer Vangelis as one of its members. They make it their own, transforming the airy psychedelia of the original into a fearsome, brooding dirge. Obviously, anyone expecting another Thy Mighty Contract will find their continued evolution away from their earlier sound dissapointing, but Rotting Christ have always experimented with their sound, often subvertying expectations while maintaining their trademark interests and themes of the occult and mythology. I greatly enjoyed this album. crushing orchestral doom and scorched blackened violence fused to the war-roar of Greek warriors, cinematic horns, and towering, brooding hooks that could have come off a Nephilim album.


ROTTING CHRIST   Rituals (WHITE VINYL)   2 x LP   (Season Of Mist)    25.99



Available on both CD and double LP in gatefold packaging with foil-stamped printing. Sounding as exotic as ever, these legendary Greek black metallers return with their thirteenth album Rituals, a continuation of the gothic-tinged, often experimental sound that has dominated their approach over the past decade. Their sound continues to blend together elements of classic goth rock with epic sym,phonic black/death metal, faint traces of industrialized heaviness, evoking ancient Hellenic warriors and Satanic rites on the shores of the Aegean Sea. It has the same polish of other recent albums, but it's still crushing stuff. From the ritualistic blast of opener "In Nomine Dei Nostri" that blends furious black metal with massive backing gang chants and tribal drumming, to the droning Frostian crush of "Ze Nigmar" . As with previous albums, elements of traditional Greek folk music and instrumentation are woven into the songs; but on Rituals, the band's distinct sound has been stripped down more than ever to a monstrous, percussive assault, those tribal drums and booming, barbaric choruses dominating much of the album, while their signature blackened guitars have been relegated further to the background of the songs; when those riffs and soaring, stirring leads shift into the forefront of Rituals, it produces some of the most striking moments on the album. The deep, imposing baritone vocals alternate with blackened shrieks, with frantic female screams occasionally racing across the churning double-bass driven heaviness of songs like "Elthe Kyrie", the latter dweveloping into a powerhouse of a track with a dark melodic hook that evokes classic 80's gothic rock, while later in the album, mesmeric chantlike singing informed by Indian classical music steers the music into stretches of totally intoxicatuing, hypnotic intensity; guest vocals from Samael's Vorph, Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes, Necromantia/Thou Art Lord's George Zacharopolus and Rudra's Kathir lend their talents to the album. An almost liturgical atmopshere sweeps across the album. The album closes with an interesting cover of "The Four Horsemen", a 1972 song from the Greek progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child, which then featured composer and electronic music pioneer Vangelis as one of its members. They make it their own, transforming the airy psychedelia of the original into a fearsome, brooding dirge. Obviously, anyone expecting another Thy Mighty Contract will find their continued evolution away from their earlier sound dissapointing, but Rotting Christ have always experimented with their sound, often subvertying expectations while maintaining their trademark interests and themes of the occult and mythology. I greatly enjoyed this album. crushing orchestral doom and scorched blackened violence fused to the war-roar of Greek warriors, cinematic horns, and towering, brooding hooks that could have come off a Nephilim album.


ROTTING CHRIST   Rituals   CASSETTE   (Season Of Mist)    9.00



Available on both CD and double LP in gatefold packaging with foil-stamped printing. Sounding as exotic as ever, these legendary Greek black metallers return with their thirteenth album Rituals, a continuation of the gothic-tinged, often experimental sound that has dominated their approach over the past decade. Their sound continues to blend together elements of classic goth rock with epic sym,phonic black/death metal, faint traces of industrialized heaviness, evoking ancient Hellenic warriors and Satanic rites on the shores of the Aegean Sea. It has the same polish of other recent albums, but it's still crushing stuff. From the ritualistic blast of opener "In Nomine Dei Nostri" that blends furious black metal with massive backing gang chants and tribal drumming, to the droning Frostian crush of "Ze Nigmar" . As with previous albums, elements of traditional Greek folk music and instrumentation are woven into the songs; but on Rituals, the band's distinct sound has been stripped down more than ever to a monstrous, percussive assault, those tribal drums and booming, barbaric choruses dominating much of the album, while their signature blackened guitars have been relegated further to the background of the songs; when those riffs and soaring, stirring leads shift into the forefront of Rituals, it produces some of the most striking moments on the album. The deep, imposing baritone vocals alternate with blackened shrieks, with frantic female screams occasionally racing across the churning double-bass driven heaviness of songs like "Elthe Kyrie", the latter dweveloping into a powerhouse of a track with a dark melodic hook that evokes classic 80's gothic rock, while later in the album, mesmeric chantlike singing informed by Indian classical music steers the music into stretches of totally intoxicatuing, hypnotic intensity; guest vocals from Samael's Vorph, Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes, Necromantia/Thou Art Lord's George Zacharopolus and Rudra's Kathir lend their talents to the album. An almost liturgical atmopshere sweeps across the album. The album closes with an interesting cover of "The Four Horsemen", a 1972 song from the Greek progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child, which then featured composer and electronic music pioneer Vangelis as one of its members. They make it their own, transforming the airy psychedelia of the original into a fearsome, brooding dirge. Obviously, anyone expecting another Thy Mighty Contract will find their continued evolution away from their earlier sound dissapointing, but Rotting Christ have always experimented with their sound, often subvertying expectations while maintaining their trademark interests and themes of the occult and mythology. I greatly enjoyed this album. crushing orchestral doom and scorched blackened violence fused to the war-roar of Greek warriors, cinematic horns, and towering, brooding hooks that could have come off a Nephilim album.


SEPTIC FLESH   Esoptron (Έσοπτρον)   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98














SEPTIC FLESH   Esoptron (Έσοπτρον) (BLACK VINYL)   LP   (The Crypt)    23.98














SEPTIC FLESH   Esoptron (Έσοπτρον) (RED VINYL)   LP   (The Crypt)    23.98














SEPTIC FLESH   Mystic Places Of Dawn   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98



      Along with the latest of the Septic Flesh vinyl reissues that we've been picking up from The Crypt, we're also getting some of the more recent CD reissues of the early Septic Flesh catalog in stock for the first time, as well. They've been out for awhile (this particular reissue came out in 2013), but if you're a newcomer to the Septic Flesh catalog, here's a terrific place to start. These early albums are classics of cult Greek avant-garde death metal, and the CD reissue for debut album Mystic Places Of Dawn also features the band's entire Temple Of The Lost Race 12" from 1991, making this an in-depth collection of their early 90's output. My only complaint with Season Of Mist's 2013 reissue is the changed cover art, but the band apparently opted for that with most if not all of their recent CD reissues. Regardless, this has been feeding into the huge Septic Flesh kick I've been on lately, getting more immersed in the dark progressive death metal that these guys have been creating over the past two decades. Here's the original review of the LP from when we first listed that:
      Back in 1994 when Mystic Places Of Dawn first came out, these guys were playing a much rougher, rawer version of the death metal sound that they'd eventually refine into the bombastic blackened orchestrations or pummeling industrialized deathcrush of more recent albums like Communion. Their symphonic aspirations were already present back then, but the band had to utilize some relatively primitive synthesizer sequences that were a ways off from the full-blown orchestra they'd use on later albums. It all still sounds killer here though, as Mystic blends together their mix of crushing doomdeath and darkly majestic metal with lots of spacey vintage-sounding synths and macabre keyboard melodies; there's a primitive charm to this stuff, sometimes sounding like parts of a Richard Band score, while the songs themselves move from atmospheric, sepulchral heaviness and blasting violence to brief dalliances with synth-drenched ambience and the occasional burst of proggy weirdness. This sound would be copied by legions of bands in the wake of Mystic Places, but it still retains its peculiar, eerie power, and was pretty avant-garde for the time when it came out. It had supremely sinister songcraft in songs like "Crescent Moon" and "The Underwater Garden", laced with a uniquely Mediterranean vibe that takes shape in the eerie folky violin melodies, booming tympani and hand-drum rhythms that surface throughout the album, but there's other stuff on here that doesn't sound anything like the Hellenic black/death that these guys came from, like the bizarre, almost drum n' bass like drumming patterns that emerge at the end of "Behind The Iron Mask", or the almost jazzy keyboard sounds that pop up here and there, or the fusion of regal, Mortiis-esque dungeon synth and soundtracky orchestration that makes up the sweeping closer "Mythos (Part I: Elegy, Part Ii: Time Unbounded)".
Track Samples:
Sample : Behind the Iron Mask
Sample : Crescent Moon
Sample : Mystic Places of Dawn
Sample : Mythos - Part I: Elegy - Part II: Time Unbounded



SHADOW PROJECT   self-titled   CD   (Cleopatra)    15.98



Though I've been listening to Christian Death for ages, it wasn't until more recently that I started to dig deeper into the other projects that Christian Death vocalist and visionary Rozz Williams had been involved with throughout the late 80's and 1990s, leading up to his suicide by hanging in 1998. satanic imagery, decadent lit. While this definitely explores a similar mixture of dark psychedelia, glam rock, hardcore punk and experimental music as the later Christian Death albums that he appeared on, Williams also added a slight metallic crunch to Shadow Project's morbid deathpunk, incoporating heavier guitars and crunching riffage into much of this stuff. It's one of his more aggressive albums, songs like "Death Plays His Role" fusing rambunctious hardcore-fueled tempos and angry punk riffage to lurching, angular breaks and bursts of tribal percussion, while stuff like "Lying Deep" and "Epitaph (Time Will)" transform into a strange combination of metal chug and gloomy progressive rock overlaid with haunting guitar leads and clanking, percussive piano like sounds though there are plenty of the moody synthesizer pieces and spoken word recitations, swirling lysergic organs, eerie atonal piano the sometimes labyrinthine nature of the songwriting and the bassist's expressive, complex melodies bring much of that aforementioned proggy feel to parts of the album and it ends with a killer pair-up the malevolent, progressive rock of "Into The Light" gives way to the almost Bowie-esque pop of "Holy Holy", one of the catchiest songs that Williams ever produced a superior record compared to the Christian Death album The Path Of Sorrows that Williams would oput out shortly afther this weird and angry and loaded with some of his punkest stuff since Only Theatre Of Pain but the songwriting is more offbeat and convoluted, making this a fairly challening album at times For more adventurous followers of deathrock and morbid punk, though, this debut is an impressivley powerful experience. The expanded CD release features a host of cool bonuses. Their excellent covers of Alice Cooper's "Dead Babies" and "Killer" are included, originally apeparing on a rare promotional cassette single from 1992, followed by Shadow Project's 1987 demo, which features six earlier songs, including one song that didn't make it onto the debut album, the ferocious, ghoulish punk stomper "When The Heart Breaks". It closes with a brief radio interview with Williams and Eva O. that discusses the origins of the band. Available on CD with additional bonus tracks and an interview with the band, and on limited edition red vinyl.


SHADOW PROJECT   self-titled (RED VINYL)   LP   (Cleopatra)    24.99



Though I've been listening to Christian Death for ages, it wasn't until more recently that I started to dig deeper into the other projects that Christian Death vocalist and visionary Rozz Williams had been involved with throughout the late 80's and 1990s, leading up to his suicide by hanging in 1998. satanic imagery, decadent lit. While this definitely explores a similar mixture of dark psychedelia, glam rock, hardcore punk and experimental music as the later Christian Death albums that he appeared on, Williams also added a slight metallic crunch to Shadow Project's morbid deathpunk, incoporating heavier guitars and crunching riffage into much of this stuff. It's one of his more aggressive albums, songs like "Death Plays His Role" fusing rambunctious hardcore-fueled tempos and angry punk riffage to lurching, angular breaks and bursts of tribal percussion, while stuff like "Lying Deep" and "Epitaph (Time Will)" transform into a strange combination of metal chug and gloomy progressive rock overlaid with haunting guitar leads and clanking, percussive piano like sounds though there are plenty of the moody synthesizer pieces and spoken word recitations, swirling lysergic organs, eerie atonal piano the sometimes labyrinthine nature of the songwriting and the bassist's expressive, complex melodies bring much of that aforementioned proggy feel to parts of the album and it ends with a killer pair-up the malevolent, progressive rock of "Into The Light" gives way to the almost Bowie-esque pop of "Holy Holy", one of the catchiest songs that Williams ever produced a superior record compared to the Christian Death album The Path Of Sorrows that Williams would oput out shortly afther this weird and angry and loaded with some of his punkest stuff since Only Theatre Of Pain but the songwriting is more offbeat and convoluted, making this a fairly challening album at times For more adventurous followers of deathrock and morbid punk, though, this debut is an impressivley powerful experience. The expanded CD release features a host of cool bonuses. Their excellent covers of Alice Cooper's "Dead Babies" and "Killer" are included, originally apeparing on a rare promotional cassette single from 1992, followed by Shadow Project's 1987 demo, which features six earlier songs, including one song that didn't make it onto the debut album, the ferocious, ghoulish punk stomper "When The Heart Breaks". It closes with a brief radio interview with Williams and Eva O. that discusses the origins of the band. Available on CD with additional bonus tracks and an interview with the band, and on limited edition red vinyl.


SHOOTING GUNS   Spectral Laundromat   LP   (Captcha Records)    17.99



      Just picked up this new 2016 vinyl repress of Shooting Guns' second album, repressed on "Toxic Yellow" wax and issued in a black and white sleeve that features different artwork from the original cassette version, and includes a digital download.
      Never heard this Saskatchewan-based psychsludge outfit prior to getting their new tape Spectral Laundromat in from the Dutch Dub crew, but I was sold on 'em as soon as the first thirty seconds of opener "Deepest Purple (For Krang)" started to pour out of the speakers. On this nearly hour-long tape, the five-man ensemble quickly cranks out a big black wave of electronics-drenched instrumental hypno-rock awash in soaring wah-wah jizz and whooshing Hawkwindian synthesizers, the freeform jam barely anchored by the heavy, circular bass guitar that winds serpentlike across the sprawling drugged out crush that these guys dish out. Real nice.
      There's the expected Sabbathian swing going on, the bass riffs sculpted into Geezer-esque grooves even as the drums spin out into a delirious blizzard of improvised rumbling and heavy pummel, but these monstrous stoned trances are actually more aligned with the drugged-out crunch of bands like Circle, Pharaoh Overlord and Loop than your typical stoner-metal slop. Other songs slip into more languid passages of mesmeric slo-mo psychedelia, like the droning low-fi haze of "Heads Blues" and "Trans Nite", but even these spacier, hazed-out passages are pretty heavy, weighed down with those massive bass guitar riffs while the guitars drift out into clusters of spiraling, delay-drenched howl and dark meandering melodies. It wraps up with another mighty slab of Sabbathian crush titled "Flair", a simple, massive riff riding on the drummer's caveman swing, those synths dropping in and out of sight while the two guitarists ascend into a storm of wailing space-blues, solos streaking high over the saurian groove and clouds of feedback. The whole tape has this really rough, live feel, as if you're right there sitting in on the band's jam session, the entire room obscured in a pungent fog of dopesmoke and incense, the amps blown out as waves of distorted rumble and slo-mo blooze riffs shudder through the air. Anyone who dug that Cosmic Dead tape we listed a few months ago will definitely dig this heavy, low-fi psychedelia, as will those with a taste for the likes of Sleep, Om, Mammatus, and Queen Elephantine.
Track Samples:
Sample : Deepest Purple (For Krang)
Sample : Sitting In The Car Thinking
Sample : Flair



SILENCER   Death - Pierce Me   CD   (Lupus Lounge)    17.99



      Finally got this import reissue of Silencer's suicidal opus Death - Pierce Me back in stock, the digipak edition released on Lupus Lounge that includes the band's 1998 demo version of the title track added to the end as a bonus track. To this day, this remains a high-water mark in the field of truly disturbing, self-immolating black metal, a series of deeply tortured death-screams and intensely etched portraits of personal disintegration ripped from the soul of singer Nattramn.
      Written and recorded over the years 1995-2000, Death-Pierce Me is the only album that Silencer recorded, as Nattramn was apparently institutionalized shortly after the release. It's not surprising either, as his vocal performance here consists of some of the most intense, wretched shrieking and high pitched cries, quite unlike anything else we've heard, vocalizing all of the different shades of severe abject misery and loneliness through overwrought screams and miserable choking, grief-stricken weeping and diseased coughing. It's extremely unsettling and deeply emotional to hear, a total psychotic break transmitted to your nervous system, and feels closer in vibe to Alan Dubin's anguished shrieking in Khanate than anything I can think of in the black metal realm. The music perfectly matches Nattramn's tortured vocals, a ripping, buzzing blast of thrashing black metal, with somber and repetitive minor key melodies and layers of obsidian distortion swirling together into an oily pool of deeply personal pain.
      Silencer's thrashing black metal is broken up with chilling passages of melancholy piano fugue, doomy crawls, ambient Casio dirges, and minimalist, droning acoustic guitars that hover in the blackness before being swept up again in the buzzing swarm of power chords and swift funeral riffs. Absolutely horrific, heartbreaking depressive black metal misery. Heavily recommended for explorers of the recesses of the destroyed human psyche, collectors of suicide notes, and devotees of the grim, hope erasing blackened buzz of Xasthur, Nortt, Leviathan, and Bethlehem. The booklet contains nearly indecipherable lyrics and notes, as well as pictures of the band members, including a truly weird and disturbing photo of Nattramn. Recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : SILENCER-Death - Pierce Me
Sample : SILENCER-Death - Pierce Me
Sample : Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels Side Kill
Sample : Taklamakan Side Kill



SLASHER DAVE   Exorcisms   CD   (Bellyache)    12.98














SLASHER DAVE   Exorcisms   LP   (Bellyache)    24.00














SLAYER   Issue X (DELUXE HARDCOVER)   BOOK   (Bazillion Points)    14.98














SLEEP   Dopesmoker (TRANSPARENT GREEN VINYL)   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    30.00



      The latest repress of this stoner metal classic, a new 2016 edition on 180 gram transparent green vinyl.
      The umpteenth release of one of sludge metal's most legendary albums, the 2012 reissue of Sleep's classic Dopesmoker album offers a new re-mastering, new (and improved, in my opinion) artwork from Arik Roper, and a different bonus track from the previous edition released by Tee Pee back in 2003. Most doom fans know that this album itself is an alternate release of the ill-fated Jerusalem that famously was supposed to have been released by the major label London Records back in the 90s, but ended up being shelved for years due to the label's complete loss of interest in the release. It was later resurrected at the end of the decade, and an alternate version titled Dopesmoker emerged at the beginning of the 2000s, which has gone on to become the band's (and fan's ) preferred version of the album. Listening to Dopesmoker again, it's easy to see why this has become such a landmark of slow-motion metal.
      Sprawling out for just over an hour, this titanic tar pit jam winds through a maze of gluey riffs and thunderous hypnotic tempos, shifting from a leaden crawl to quicker (but still pulverizing) grooves every couple of minutes. It's hardly a one-riff slogfest; just take a look at the copy of the band's ridiculous "charts" that's included on the insert - how these guys could manage to keep track of what they were doing and where they were going while smoking as much dope as they did is nothing short of amazing. The trio of Al Cisneros, Chris Hakius and Matt Pike crafted a towering monument to explorational heaviness on this album, pushing past the boundaries of Black Sabbath's dread-filled doom into more ecstatic regions of molten psychedlia and tectonic drone. All through the lumbering lava-like riffing and trance-like repetition of "Dopesmoker", you can hear the seeds of the meditational hypno-rock that Cisneros and Hakius would go on to develop with Om, and the bone-rattling guitar tone, chant-like bellow and molten war-riffage of Matt Pike (later of High On Fire) was fully formed here. The religious references and reverence for the Leaf were another aspect of Sleep's music and presentation that would be later adopted by a million stoner-doom wannabes, but here it feels unique.
      For the CD version, the band also includes a live performance of their "Holy Mountain" from a 1994 San Francisco show, replacing the live track "Sonic Titan" from the Tee Pee release. On the 2xLP version, however, both "Sonic Titan" and "Holy Mountain" are included together on the last side.
      Utterly essential. I can't imagine any serious doom metal/sludge fan not having this in their collection.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dopesmoker
Sample : Sonic Titan



SLEEP   Dopesmoker (Japanese Import)   2 x CD   (Daymare)    22.00



      Here's the limited-edition, "deluxe" Japanese release of Dopesmoker that came out on Daymare a while back. This is pretty much a definitive CD version of the reissue, a double-disc set that features the complete Dopesmoker album on the first disc, and the two live tracks (a live performance of "Holy Mountain" from a 1994 San Francisco show, and the 1992 Gilman Street performance of "Sonic Titan" that had originally appeared on the Tee Pee release) on the second disc. Kinda pricey, but that's typical with Japanese releases. The packaging is quite nice, however, switching to an embossed casewrapped gatefold sleeve with obi strip for this version, so it pretty much duplicates the look and feel of the vinyl edition.
      The umpteenth release of one of sludge metal's most legendary albums, the 2012 reissue of Sleep's classic Dopesmoker album offers a new re-mastering, new (and improved, in my opinion) artwork from Arik Roper, and a different bonus track from the previous edition released by Tee Pee back in 2003. Most doom fans know that this album itself is an alternate release of the ill-fated Jerusalem that famously was supposed to have been released by the major label London Records back in the 90s, but ended up being shelved for years due to the label's complete loss of interest in the release. It was later resurrected at the end of the decade, and an alternate version titled Dopesmoker emerged at the beginning of the 2000s, which has gone on to become the band's (and fan's ) preferred version of the album. Listening to Dopesmoker again, it's easy to see why this has become such a landmark of slow-motion metal.
      Sprawling out for just over an hour, this titanic tar pit jam winds through a maze of gluey riffs and thunderous hypnotic tempos, shifting from a leaden crawl to quicker (but still pulverizing) grooves every couple of minutes. It's hardly a one-riff slogfest; just take a look at the copy of the band's ridiculous "charts" that's included on the insert - how these guys could manage to keep track of what they were doing and where they were going while smoking as much dope as they did is nothing short of amazing. The trio of Al Cisneros, Chris Hakius and Matt Pike crafted a towering monument to explorational heaviness on this album, pushing past the boundaries of Black Sabbath's dread-filled doom into more ecstatic regions of molten psychedlia and tectonic drone. All through the lumbering lava-like riffing and trance-like repetition of "Dopesmoker", you can hear the seeds of the meditational hypno-rock that Cisneros and Hakius would go on to develop with Om, and the bone-rattling guitar tone, chant-like bellow and molten war-riffage of Matt Pike (later of High On Fire) was fully formed here. The religious references and reverence for the Leaf were another aspect of Sleep's music and presentation that would be later adopted by a million stoner-doom wannabes, but here it feels unique.
      Utterly essential. I can't imagine any serious doom metal/sludge fan not having this in their collection.
Track Samples:
Sample : Dopesmoker
Sample : Sonic Titan



STREICHER   Annihilism   CD   (Old Captain)    13.99



      Sort of a misanthropic renaissance man, Ülex Xane is an interesting character. The Australian provocateur has had his mitts in all kinds of projects going back to the mid 1980s, from founding the seminal experimental noise/power electronics labels Extreme and Zero Cabal, to publishing a book of poetry (1984's Vas Deferens), recording brutal noise under a number of different banners, and producing visual art. The one constant through all of his material is a confrontational, violently anti-authoritarian philosophy that renders much of his work decidedly "unsafe". But Xane is probably most notorious for Streicher, his long-running power electronics project. With releases on notable labels like Cold Spring and Freak Animal, Streicher pushed the envelope of good taste right off the table, producing a vicious, terminally un-PC assault of hateful noise and art, so aggressively anti-human that it ends up in the same black zone as maniacs like GG Allin and Antichrist Kramer. In other words, Streicher's output is caustic to the extreme, highly likely to enflame anyone who's remotely a humanist. Approach with caution.
      One of his earlier releases was Annihilism, first released on tape in 1994 and now reissued on disk by Ukrainian label Old Captain. Highly influenced by the stinging electronic extremism of Whitehouse and the Broken Flag camp, Streicher's sound is primitive and offensive, combining crudely powerful electronic noise with appalling visions of murder and degradation. Opening with the spoken word piece "Nihilist Assfucks Manifesto", an Australian woman reads from this insane declaration of cultural and aesthetic negation. And then Xane's tsunami of aural filth is unleashed, starting with a short blast of sputtering, hacking static, then slipping into a longer track ("Rectify Or Cease") of churning oceanic distortion and ultra-murky melodic muck buried way down in the mix. Fearsome shrieks drift in and out alongside bursts of squealing feedback, but it's surprisingly hypnotic, closer to "wall"-style noise aesthetics than the violent no-fi power electronics that dominated some of the other Streicher releases. While that grimy, hiss-soaked sound quality and ultra-misanthropic vibe permeates the album, it also offers up more variety as it goes on. There's some more of that aggro spoken word ranting, sections of sampled orgasmic lust, and murky industrial loops and expanding fields of raging, roiling static noise; fields of grisly distorted synth-throb transform into grinding mechanical drones, other tracks offering blasts of putrid garbled electronics, and stretches of militaristic drumming. Often, this is little more than a sheet of filthy static or a sustained feedback drone with Xane repeating a mantra-like phrase on top of it, but that severely anti-human vibe imbues even these moments with unsettling atmosphere. It's all rather unsophisticated, and really close in spirit to the raw primitive power of early UK power electronics; if you've got a taste for truly extreme, controversial and utterly misanthropic noise, though, Streicher's stuff is definitely out there on the fringe, of most interest to fans of stuff like The Grey Wolves, Bagman, Con-Dom and Grunt.
      Issued in digipak packaging in a limited edition of two hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Rectify Or Cease
Sample : Nothing Has Any Meaning
Sample : Mutilation Victim



SUNN O)))   Domkirke (GREY VINYL)   2 x LP   (Southern Lord)    29.98



      This mammoth double live album from esteemed dronelords Sunn is once again back in print, available on limited edition grey vinyl in a glossy gatefold jacket with printed inner sleeves. Here's our old review of this album from the original 2008 release.
      The traditional rock club has always seemed like an inadequate environment for the monolithic metallic dronerituals of Sunn. Of course I was more than happy to be able to see the group perform live in Baltimore a few years ago at our local underground club The Ottobar, and that show was pretty goddamn impressive, smoke machines, druid robes and all. But even then, in the thunderous whiteout of that set, Sunn's sound and appearance emanated this liturgical vibe that seemed to dwarf the venue. This austere presence that Sunn has cultivated for their live performances is why the band has been performing at just as many non-traditional venues as clubs during their existence, performing at art galleries, theatres and other locales that you would normally wouldn't find a band as ass-crushingly heavy as Sunn is.
      But performing in an ancient Norwegian cathedral...now that's where I'd want to experience Sunn live. Back in 2007, Sunn were invited to perform at the Bergen Domkirke, a church that has stood for nearly a millenium, as part of the Borealis Festival; commissioned to perform new music that would reference the Gregorian hymns of the Middle Ages and the history of the Domkirke cathedral itself, the band performed a massive set divided into four distinct parts and recorded professionally for this vinyl-only document. Pressed onto 180 gram vinyl and presented with a stunning full color gatefold package, this is a seriously massive set of ritualistic avant-heaviness. And Domkirke doesn't really feel like a "live" album, at least not in the normal sense of what a "live" album is. There is some audience applause at the very beginning and the very end of the performance, but the recording is thick and full and rich, with the spacious cathedral and its ancient architecture reacting with the crushing subsonic soundwaves and majestic pipe organ, the cathedral itself as much a part of of the performance as the metallic drones.
      For the Domkirke performance, the Sunn O))) lineup has the core duo of Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson joined by Attila Csihar (Mayhem/Aborym) on vocals, Lasse Marhaug (Jazkammer) contributing live electronics and Steve Moore from Earth sitting in behind the cathedral's behemoth pipe organ, and it's that pipe organ that stands out on this album, it's majestic cathedral drone adding a whole new level of heaviness and power to Sunn's music. The musicians go straight to the pipe organ for the opening track, the monolithic "Why Dost Thou Hide Thyself In Clouds?", where the guitars appear to be totally absent and instead crafts an ascending roar of pipe organ drones and crushing minor key melodies, the ancient warbling tones building in rich layers of sound while Attila incants dramatic chants and moans, sounding like some grim Viking opera, as well as sinking into deep, wordless grunts and throat-singing. Utterly massive, and I could easily listen to an entire album of nothing but this powerful pipe organ/vocal/drone performance. But for the second track, the eighteen-minute "Cannon", the trademark Sunn guitars finally emerge, starting with ringing chords and ultra-distorted rumblings echoing throughout the church, dark and sinister, joined by a single lonesome trombone bleating over the dense, roiling dronecrush, the horn adding a ghostly melody while the pipe organ buzzes deep beneath, fragments of spacey electronic detritus float gently through the heavy buzz, and Attila appears again, shifting from a demonic rasp to deep chanting.
      A hideous growling rumble begins the third piece "Cymatics", like some hellish overmodulated squelch oozing from overloaded amplifiers, and as this piece unfolds, it reveals a more abstract landscape of howling feedback, chattering demon tongues that click and flutter in a greasy miasma of processed guitar drone and locust electronics, the feedback more malevolent sounding this time around, everything loosened and formless and floating heavily in the room, much like the weird free-improv dronemurk of Abruptum and recent Sunn-sideprojects like Pentemple and Burial Chamber Trio, crushing and bleak and as black as day-old blood.
      When the final side kicks in, "Masks The AEtmospheres" actually sounds like Sunn has tuned their guitars even lower, and they close the performance out with what could be the heaviest, most apocalyptic piece of the set, with huge doom-metal riffs grinding in glacial slow motion, totally reminiscent of their OO Void album, massive gravitational riffs floating in an ocean of buzzing feedback that undergoes slight shifts in tone and weight, the mighty pipe organ howling underneath it all, horrifying growl becoming visible through an incredible wall of blackened subsonic murk, building and building into a massive wall of pipe organ and Attila's chanting and crushing distorted riffage that reaches a deafening climactic peak before disintegrating back to just the sound of a single note droning on the organ, accompanied by just a soft shimmer of feedback and Attila's gutteral groan as it fades out to silence.
      An essential Sunn release. And Southern Lord continues to blow me away with their new vinyl releases, and Domkirke is one of their best yet; two thick 180 gram records, black vinyl, are housed in thick full-color inner sleeves that fit into the heavy gatefold jacket. The gatefold itself features original cover artwork from artist Tanta Stene, who has created album art for Darkthrone, Burzum and Satyricon, while the inner sleeves feature vivid photographs of the performance and the interiors of the church. The entire package has a heavy coat of lamination that makes this one of the thickest vinyl packages I own. It's limited to 5,000 copies, and only available on vinyl, with no intentions of ever releasing Domkirke digitally.


TEITANBLOOD   Seven Chalices   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    14.99



2016 repress of this noisy, monstrous death metal album.
It's been unavailable for awhile, but this crushing debut album from Spanish deathnoise barbarians Teitanblood is once again back in print via Ajna Offensive, the original 2009 album that introduced many in the black/death underground to the band's extreme, chaotic foulness. While the members have had involvement in other black/death-related outfits like Proclamation and Bloodoline, Teitanblood was totally unlike anything else, amazing illustrative artwork that teems with nightmarish, sexually-tinged imagery and complex occult symbolism.
Setting the mood with a harrowing sample from Penderecki's Dies Irae (Auschwitz Oratorium), the album erupts into a nightmare of shreiking choral voices and atonal strings that quickly transforms into their brutal blackened death metal; a nightmarish blur of tangled, discordant guitar solos, churning drumming and crushing downtuned riffage, "Whore Mass" introduces the album like a bomb going off. As the band races through the rest of the album, the sound emerges as a strain of ultra-violent heaviness that has its roots in the bestiality of Blasphemy, but this stuff is far more complelling than most goat-headed outfits in that vein, incoporating much more in the way of atmospheric flourishes, ambient texture and even some intriguing experimental touches that make Seven Chalices far more interesting. This stuff is undeniably horrific, a blasting clot of simple but catchy riffage, maniacal vocals that appear in a frenzied layered mess of multiple voices, weird effects pulling them out into even more monstrous and hallucinatory forms, but the songs will also suddenly lurch into a grinding, filthy, doom-laden groove that's infectiously catchy, or lurch wildly into a passage of creepy atonal strings; an untitled track mid-album looms out of that blasting carnage as a surprising piece of dark ambient, monstrous vocals muttering above billowing plumes of shimmering shadows and eerie choral drift, while another wafts like pungent incense as sitar-like drones, ritualistic percussion and deep, Tuvan-esque chanting rise in a dense fog of narcotized sound. Their use of those interstitial black ambient pieces is considered, and adds nicely to the album's atmopshere of evil psychosis.
Beneath the distortion and fucked-up psychotic vocals and layers of noise, this stuff almost resembles hardcore punk, especially on tracks like "Infernal Dance Of The Wicked" and "Seven Chalices Of Vomit And Blood" where the music will downshift into a ferocious stomping mid-tempo punk riff. And on the album's longest song "The Abomination Of Desolation", they veer from their furious fast tempos into a lumbering, doomed heaviosity that becomes gradually buried beneath rumbling black noise, disembodied Catholic hymns and the hypnotic buzzing of flies.
Track Samples:
Sample : Domains of Darkness and Ancient Evil
Sample : Seven Chalices of Vomit and Blood
Sample : Whore Mass



TEITANBLOOD   Woven Black Arteries   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    8.98



Back in stock. Another ravening blast of avant-garde chaos from Spanish duo Teitanblood, the two-song EP Woven Black Arteries was released just prior to their latest album Death, pairing up the nearly sixteen minute track "Purging Tongues" which had previously appeared on a one-sided 12" on Norma Evangelium Diaboli with a new one called "Sanctified Dysecdysis". Both are goddamn devastating, a fusion of inchoate, Nuclear Death-esque deathnoise and subtle modern classic influence.
Over the beginning of the twelve-minute vomitstorm "Sanctified Dysecdysis", the band jars the listener with a sudden blast of reverberant, Penderecki-esque dissonance that introduces us to a subterranean pit of squirming, vermiform activity, then abruptly erupts intoan utterly frenzied assault of chaotic, malformed death metal that sounds more like some Blasphemy-influenced noisecore outfit; it's almost impossible to discern any actual riffs in this swarming, tangled mass, the instruments and horrific, guttural vocals all whipped into a hyperfast, formless blast of sound that becomes thoroughly psychedelic, the drummer shiofting between superfast rumbling blasts and complex rolls, underscored by sickening drones and deeper layers of rumbling feedback that transform the first half of this into something more resembling a black industrial outfit. That is, up until the band suddenly swerves into an crushing death metal riff around halfway through, and it all coalesces into a killer doom-laden groove that'll give you a case of whiplash. The rest of the song shifts between that churning downtuned heaviness lurching out of that squriming chaos, and the total blackened chaosgrind blur, slipping back and forth between filth-encrusted riffage and howling insanity, laced with bizarre drones and bursts of weird rhythmic spasms, distant choral voices and gots of improvised noisiness.
Grim orchestral drone hangs over the echoing rumble of tympani-like percussions at the start of "Purging Tongues", while a voice speaks in Spanish; that menacing air soon births another grueling doom-laden death metal riff, but as that begins to rtake shape, everyything gets swep up into another echoing, layered blast of black filth, multiple voices echoing insanely over the grinding slo-mo riff while drums blast and roll violently in the depths, distorted drones and weird effects all melting together into a suffocating, psychedelic roar of misshapen deathblast. It just grows more chaotic, that gnashing, nightmartish deathnoise becoming even more dense and tangled, the sinister voice from the beginning reappearing intermittently, eventualy turning into a longer spoken-word piece that takes over the finale, raving across fields of bleak, blackened ambience, swells of ominous orchestral sound punctured by distant tolling bells and choral shrieks. Fucking AWESOME.


THISCLOSE   self-titled   10" VINYL   (Antisociety)    16.98



Vinyl reissue of the debut cassette from Thisclose, the Scottish D-beat outfit whose mix of brutal early UK hardcore and shrieking, demented King Diamond-esque falsetto vocals has thoroughly infested my soul over the past year. The band's self-titled debut is rife the exact same sort of rampaging crusty metalpunk as their other 7" material, ripping through nine songs of vicious Discharge-style riffage, amphetamine-fueled thrash and breakneck tempo changes, and those madening high-pitched whining falsetto shrieks from frontman Rodney Shades which are really the only aspect of Thisclose's sound that references the infamous Grave New World album that these guys are constantly compared to. Musically, this is a pitch-perfect appropriation of crushing Dis-punk, and the band nails that riff-style, giving every one of these tunes a brutal hook that makes 'em irresistable to fans of this oft-copied style. But man, those vocals are a make or break proposition for most; I love 'em, the proximity to King Diamnod's madness is just too much to withstand, and when you pair that nutzoid scream with their apocalyptic condemnations of human greed and stupidity, it becomes a lunatic experience that I can't stop listening to. But like I've said concerning the band's other records, it's definitely not for everyone.


THISCLOSE   Chapter III   LP   (SPHC)    11.99














TIAMAT   Wildhoney   LP   (Century Media)    24.00



      Finally back in print on wax, remastered for vinyl - We usually tend to avoid anything that has the "gothic metal" label applied to it, usually being synonymous with godawful crap, but this pioneering album from Sweden's Tiamat is one of the key exceptions. Originally released in 1994, Wildhoney was an astounding progression from this gang of black/death metallers, taking their flirtations with Pink Floyd-esque psychedelia, prog, and occult rock barely hinted at in their previous records into all new realms of dark majesty. Amazing stuff, here's our review of the album from last year's CD reissue:
      By 1994, Tiamat had already released two albums of solid dark death metal that were progressively showing more and more atmospheric aspects to their sound, but when the band dropped their third album Wildhoney, it was unlike anything else the band had released up to that point. Taking cues from Celtic Frost's experimental mindset of Celtic Frost, Tiamat crafted a dramatic, sweeping sound that incorporated washes of Floydian atmospheric rock, orchestral elements such as strings and operatic choirs, and subtle industrial and electronic sounds; on top of that, these guys were apparently listening to a LOT of late 80s Fields Of The Nephilim, as there are echoes of that band's lush, occult-influenced sound all over Wildhoney. Opening with the natural sounds of the title track, Tiamat lays down a pastoral backdrop of birdsong and forest chatter that is soon joined by the chiming notes of a lone electric guitar, then erupts into the mid-paced metallic crush of "Whatever That Hurts", a gorgeously ominous piece of psych-tinged heaviness, Middle Eastern influenced melodies spiraling around swells of electronic drift and spacey effects, putting off a very Fields Of The Nephilim-like vibe that rings even truer when the singer comes in with his deep, gravelly croon that immediately reminds me of Nephilim frontman Carl McCoy.
      But the band's roots in death/doom still permeate the sound, with some huge crushing riffage and Edlund's vocals shifting into a guttural growl all throughout the song, alongside the choral vocals and soaring sun-baked psych guitar. Later songs like "The AR", "Gaia" and "Visionaire" follow in the same metallic goth-tinged vein, huge catchy riffs carved out of crunchy death metal guitars, dramatic backing vocals and ambient drones, and some really effective piano accompaniment; things never get too frilly, and it's all wrapped up in a sumptuous mystical atmosphere. Some other tracks head into more experimental territory, like "25th Floor"'s abstract soundscapes woven from eerie music box melodies and churning factory noise. And the last three songs on the album head into a much less extreme direction, from the surrealistic, gloomy prog-pop of "Do You Dream Of Me?", a surprisingly catchy (if downcast) song that comes as a surprise following the darker heavier sounds; "Planets" is another slower paced gothic number layered with spacey textures, but then it finishes with the eight minute "A Pocket Size Sun", another foray into Floyd-tinged psychedelia and easily the most accessible song on the album. This eclectic mixture of sounds sure made for one of the stranger and more exhilarating extreme metal albums of the early 90s.
Track Samples:
Sample : When You're In
Sample : Whatever That Hurts
Sample : Visionaire
Sample : Gaia [Video Edit]
Sample : Do You Dream of Me?



TRANSGRESSOR   Ether For Scapegoat (BLACK VINYL)   2 x LP   (The Crypt)    26.99



      Now available on vinyl from The Crypt, issued in a limited edition of one hundred seventy-five copies in gatefold packaging, complete with all of the bonus tracks that appeared on the Memento Mori CD reissue as well as new liner notes from the band.
      An obscure slab of surreal early 90's Japanese doomdeath weirdness, reissued. 1992's Ether For Scapegoat was the only album to come from this Tokyo-based outfit, some of whose members would later go on to form the equally punishing Anatomia, another sludgy, Autopsy-influenced deathsludge outfit that I've been a big fan of. Originally released by the long-gone Dutch label Cyber Music and here reissued and re-mastered by the folks over at old-school death metal imprint Memento Mori, Ether For Scapegoat is one of the odder Japanese death metal albums I've come across, crawling through a black muck of that Autopsy-esque heaviness, echoing with putrid, yowling vocals, but the way these guys execute that slow, torturous death metal ends up getting scrambled through their rotted synapses into something choppier and more dissonant.
      The result is an unholy din of delirious, morbid death that opens with a haze of otherworldly orchestral drift and eerie voices before slipping into the dissonant filth of "Whiteness", which sees the band shifting from their lumbering, saturated doom-death into quick blasts of noisy thrash; at the same time, the song is weirdly constructed, with abrupt stops and starts, working on some kind of warped logic. That weird songwriting style gives this a fractured, fucked-up vibe, furthered by the bizarre bass guitar solos that pop up here and there, and the murky synthesizers that swell up out of the deformed lurch, offering washes of tortured choral horror that rise over the insane atonal guitar harmonies, sudden acoustic guitar breaks and their ghastly tremolo riffs. It's one of those killer older death metal albums that has a wrongness about it that can't get enough of. That atonality is all over this album, spiking the more straightforward death metal passages, the weird instrumental breaks and the confusing tangents that Transgressor wander off into. Fans of Incantation and the aforementioned Autopsy looking for something in a similar but stranger vein should certainly give this a listen, but I'd recommend it even more to those into the surrealistic labyrinths of Hallucinations-era Atrocity and Demilich's putrid angularity. Too bad they only did this one album; after this, they would polish off a bit of that dissonant weirdness with Anatomia, though that band certainly has its own moments of brain-warping power. The four bonus tracks included at the end of the disc are taken from an aborted EP and a couple of compilation appearances, and see the band tightening up their sound, though it's still got their trade mark quirks with the abrupt classical guitar breaks, those bizarre bass solos and the general angularity of their songs. Another killer death metal oddity from the Crypt/Memento Mori axis.
Track Samples:
Sample : Whiteness
Sample : Mortal Agony
Sample : Limbless Doom



TRANSGRESSOR   Ether For Scapegoat (ORANGE VINYL)   2 x LP   (The Crypt)    26.99



Now available on vinyl from The Crypt, issued in a limited edition of one hundred seventy-five copies in gatefold packaging, complete with all of the bonus tracks that appeared on the Memento Mori CD reissue as well as new liner notes from the band.
      An obscure slab of surreal early 90's Japanese doomdeath weirdness, reissued. 1992's Ether For Scapegoat was the only album to come from this Tokyo-based outfit, some of whose members would later go on to form the equally punishing Anatomia, another sludgy, Autopsy-influenced deathsludge outfit that I've been a big fan of. Originally released by the long-gone Dutch label Cyber Music and here reissued and re-mastered by the folks over at old-school death metal imprint Memento Mori, Ether For Scapegoat is one of the odder Japanese death metal albums I've come across, crawling through a black muck of that Autopsy-esque heaviness, echoing with putrid, yowling vocals, but the way these guys execute that slow, torturous death metal ends up getting scrambled through their rotted synapses into something choppier and more dissonant.
      The result is an unholy din of delirious, morbid death that opens with a haze of otherworldly orchestral drift and eerie voices before slipping into the dissonant filth of "Whiteness", which sees the band shifting from their lumbering, saturated doom-death into quick blasts of noisy thrash; at the same time, the song is weirdly constructed, with abrupt stops and starts, working on some kind of warped logic. That weird songwriting style gives this a fractured, fucked-up vibe, furthered by the bizarre bass guitar solos that pop up here and there, and the murky synthesizers that swell up out of the deformed lurch, offering washes of tortured choral horror that rise over the insane atonal guitar harmonies, sudden acoustic guitar breaks and their ghastly tremolo riffs. It's one of those killer older death metal albums that has a wrongness about it that can't get enough of. That atonality is all over this album, spiking the more straightforward death metal passages, the weird instrumental breaks and the confusing tangents that Transgressor wander off into. Fans of Incantation and the aforementioned Autopsy looking for something in a similar but stranger vein should certainly give this a listen, but I'd recommend it even more to those into the surrealistic labyrinths of Hallucinations-era Atrocity and Demilich's putrid angularity. Too bad they only did this one album; after this, they would polish off a bit of that dissonant weirdness with Anatomia, though that band certainly has its own moments of brain-warping power. The four bonus tracks included at the end of the disc are taken from an aborted EP and a couple of compilation appearances, and see the band tightening up their sound, though it's still got their trade mark quirks with the abrupt classical guitar breaks, those bizarre bass solos and the general angularity of their songs. Another killer death metal oddity from the Crypt/Memento Mori axis.
Track Samples:
Sample : Whiteness
Sample : Mortal Agony
Sample : Limbless Doom



TROLLER   Graphic   CD   (Crucial Blast)    9.98



After a nearly four year wait, this doom-laden darkwave outfit from Austin, TX has finally returned with the follow-up to their acclaimed eponymous debut. It was there that the band introduced their lush, lugubrious sound combining heavy synths, slow-motion rhythms and haunting vocal melodies, woven into infectious, brooding blasts of darkpop perfection; the songs seemed to emanate from some cavernous subterranean chamber, drenched in reverb and surrounded by shorter pieces of bleak ambience and grinding noise. A sinister, often abrasive edge gleamed from that early material, but it also featured some of the most stunning darkwave anthems we'd heard in ages. And with their first proper full-length album, Troller have expanded on that sound even further, their sensuous, dread-filled pop encrusted with those huge, otherworldly synths and distorted, grinding bass roar, rumbling across crawling drum machines and washes of glacial Carpenterian electronics, gorgeously gloomy synthpop hooks gleaming in the dimly lit corners of Graphic, as Amber Goers' soulful, utterly bewitching vocals once again haunt Troller's tenebrous depths. Songs like "Not Here", "Torch" and "Storm Maker" shimmer with a malevolent majesty, while elsewhere the album slips into nightmarish electronic ambience and stunning expanses of black kosmische bliss. And while the band's noisier tendencies are more subdued this time around, there are still surges of corrosive sound throughout Graphic that materialize in dense feedback and jagged chords that are juxtaposed with the album's more beautiful passages. Combined with their penchant for provocative imagery and apocalyptic undercurrents, this produces something far bleaker and more unsettling than anything else we're hearing in the realm of industrial-damaged darkwave right now.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sundowner
Sample : Storm Maker
Sample : Not Here



TROLLER   Graphic   LP   (Holodeck)    19.98



After a nearly four year wait, this doom-laden darkwave outfit from Austin, TX has finally returned with the follow-up to their acclaimed eponymous debut. It was there that the band introduced their lush, lugubrious sound combining heavy synths, slow-motion rhythms and haunting vocal melodies, woven into infectious, brooding blasts of darkpop perfection; the songs seemed to emanate from some cavernous subterranean chamber, drenched in reverb and surrounded by shorter pieces of bleak ambience and grinding noise. A sinister, often abrasive edge gleamed from that early material, but it also featured some of the most stunning darkwave anthems we'd heard in ages. And with their first proper full-length album, Troller have expanded on that sound even further, their sensuous, dread-filled pop encrusted with those huge, otherworldly synths and distorted, grinding bass roar, rumbling across crawling drum machines and washes of glacial Carpenterian electronics, gorgeously gloomy synthpop hooks gleaming in the dimly lit corners of Graphic, as Amber Goers' soulful, utterly bewitching vocals once again haunt Troller's tenebrous depths. Songs like "Not Here", "Torch" and "Storm Maker" shimmer with a malevolent majesty, while elsewhere the album slips into nightmarish electronic ambience and stunning expanses of black kosmische bliss. And while the band's noisier tendencies are more subdued this time around, there are still surges of corrosive sound throughout Graphic that materialize in dense feedback and jagged chords that are juxtaposed with the album's more beautiful passages. Combined with their penchant for provocative imagery and apocalyptic undercurrents, this produces something far bleaker and more unsettling than anything else we're hearing in the realm of industrial-damaged darkwave right now.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sundowner
Sample : Storm Maker
Sample : Not Here



TROLLER   Graphic   CASSETTE   (Holodeck)    7.99



After a nearly four year wait, this doom-laden darkwave outfit from Austin, TX has finally returned with the follow-up to their acclaimed eponymous debut. It was there that the band introduced their lush, lugubrious sound combining heavy synths, slow-motion rhythms and haunting vocal melodies, woven into infectious, brooding blasts of darkpop perfection; the songs seemed to emanate from some cavernous subterranean chamber, drenched in reverb and surrounded by shorter pieces of bleak ambience and grinding noise. A sinister, often abrasive edge gleamed from that early material, but it also featured some of the most stunning darkwave anthems we'd heard in ages. And with their first proper full-length album, Troller have expanded on that sound even further, their sensuous, dread-filled pop encrusted with those huge, otherworldly synths and distorted, grinding bass roar, rumbling across crawling drum machines and washes of glacial Carpenterian electronics, gorgeously gloomy synthpop hooks gleaming in the dimly lit corners of Graphic, as Amber Goers' soulful, utterly bewitching vocals once again haunt Troller's tenebrous depths. Songs like "Not Here", "Torch" and "Storm Maker" shimmer with a malevolent majesty, while elsewhere the album slips into nightmarish electronic ambience and stunning expanses of black kosmische bliss. And while the band's noisier tendencies are more subdued this time around, there are still surges of corrosive sound throughout Graphic that materialize in dense feedback and jagged chords that are juxtaposed with the album's more beautiful passages. Combined with their penchant for provocative imagery and apocalyptic undercurrents, this produces something far bleaker and more unsettling than anything else we're hearing in the realm of industrial-damaged darkwave right now.
Track Samples:
Sample : Sundowner
Sample : Storm Maker
Sample : Not Here



TYRANNY   Bleak Vistae   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    29.99














TYRANNY   Tides Of Awakening   2 x LP   (Blood Music)    29.99














ULVER   Wars Of The Roses (WHITE VINYL)   LP   (Kscope)    29.99



      Here's a new 2016 repress on 180 gram white vinyl, this time in a standard LP jacket.
      Wars Of The Roses is Ulver's eighth album, originally released back in 2011, an excursion into nocturnal art-rock and gloomy, glitchy electronica with tracks mixed by This Mortal Coil's John Fryer (Depeche Mode, Fields of the Nephilim). The follow-up to their amazing Shadows Of The Sun, this album sees the venerated Norwegian band again embracing a variety of guest players in the creation of this material; Roses features noted British free improvisers Alex Ward on clarinet and Steve Noble on drums, Norwegian free-jazz guitarist Stian Westerhus on bowed electric guitar, and Hexvessel violinist Daniel Quill on a number of tracks. Almost all of the songs on Roses follow the sort of dark, jazz-flecked prog-pop that Ulver had previously explored within the umbral regions of Shadows of the Sun, but the inclusion of those aforementioned guest musicians and an increased presence of soulful reeds, this stands out as possibly Ulver's "jazziest" album.
      The propulsive gothic prog-pop of "February MMX" opens the album, the rhythm section rocking out more than usual as cascades of gorgeous piano and synthesizer wash down across the minimal guitars, forming into a brooding infectious hook with Garm's soaring croon sounding as soulful as ever; in contrast, "Norwegian Gothic" opens up into something much abstract, starting off as one of the band's moodier, slower pieces of proggy chamber pop, but then breaking apart into rolling waves of minimal dark ambience and threads of soft digital distortion that finally give way to the song's strangely jazz-streaked finale. Forming from the sounds of haunting elliptical piano notes, "Providence" is a longer, more expansive song that features the pairing of guest vocalists Attila Csihar (of Aborym, Burial Chamber Trio, Gravetemple, Keep Of Kalessin, Mayhem, Pentemple, Plasma Pool, Tormentor, YcosaHateRon, etc.), and soul singer Siri Stranger (who had previously collaborated with Ulver on their cover of Prince's "Thieves In The Temple" featured on the Shockadelica compilation); autumnal pop emerges out of sorrowful classical strings and distant flutes, and begins to undulate within the cold black glow of Norwegian cities at night, jazzy guitar solos screaming out of the gloom, dissolving the band's sound into more ghostly ambience flecked with distant batrachian utterances and wailing tones. The heavenly "September IV" transforms into one of the album's most rocking moments, slipping from that twilight gloompop into a wickedly groovy prog workout that heads out into some almost Goblinesque territory, organs and spacey synths swirling around the driving, funky rhythm. "England" and "Island" are even more gorgeous, the latter laced with some subtle trip-hop elements, glazed with the honeyed sound of acoustic guitars and lap steel, while the closer "Stone Angels" is unlike anything else on the album, a reading of a piece written by underground poet Keith Waldrop over a backdrop of drifting incandescent synthesizers and gorgeous gleaming organ notes, the piercing agonized shrieks wafting out of the clarinet of guest musician Stephen Thrower (Coil, Cyclobe, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci and Nightmare USA) writhing through the mist like mutant bagpipe melodies, the track slowly unfolding into a stunning sprawl of kosmische ether, free-jazz percussion skittering in the distance around the improvised honking, transforming the album's final moments into some sort of dreamy, orchestral out-jazz ambience.
Track Samples:
Sample : Stone Angels
Sample : Providence
Sample : February MMX
Sample : England



VEKTOR   Outer Isolation   LP   (Century Media)    24.98



      Finally got these new Vektor vinyl represses in stock, new pressings of both Outer Isolation and Black Future issued by Earache/Century Media. Quantities are limited on both of these and it's questionable as to whether we'll be able to get more, so, you know, don't drag your heels for too long. Both of these albums deliver some top-notch sci-fi obsessed tech-thrash, some of the best stuff of its kind lately, and here's the old review from when we originally picked this album up:
      Man, do I love thrash metal. Always have. It's remained one of my favorite styles of music for most of my life, ever since getting turned on to thrash at the tail end of the 80s. But the problem that I have with almost all of the new bands that have emerged over the past decade in what has been called a "thrash resurgence" is that they all seem to be solely emulating the sounds of the "Big Four", in spite of the fact that there was a much more diverse field back in the original thrash era of the late 80s. That's why Arizona's Vektor became my favorite current thrash metal band after hearing their 2009 debut album Black Future, which went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed neo- thrash albums of the past few years. That album introduced a volatile strain of tech-thrash that nodded towards such forward-thinking bands as Watchtower, Coroner, Voivod, and A Vision Of Misery-era Sadus while bending their angular thrash metal into their own image, making them one of the few new thrash metal bands to explore more experimental and cerebral territory.
      And on their follow-up Outer Isolation, the songwriting and musicianship is even more impressive, kicking off with the prog-tinged crush and ripping riffage of opener "Cosmic Vortex" before staggering into the jagged staccato violence of "Echoless Chamber". The scorched, ripped vocals of singer/guitarist David Disanto sound even more gnarled this time too, his blackened, wizened shriek contributing heavily to the unique feel of Vektor's quirky speed-assault. The next six songs likewise race through Vektor's signature blend of nimble speed-shred, hyper-intricate melodies, some amazing DiGiorgio-esque basswork, confusional riff-changes and time signatures, the eerie dissonant chords and robotic vocals on songs like "Fast Paced Society" revealing the heavy influence of Voivod on their music. This is labyrinthine, heady metal that still stands out starkly against the rest of the thrash pack, upper echelon prog-thrash loaded with an otherworldly atmosphere and ample amounts of deep-space weirdness.
Track Samples:
Sample : Cosmic Cortex
Sample : Telestructural Minds
Sample : Fast-Paced Society
Sample : Outer Isolation



VEKTOR   Black Future   2 x LP   (Century Media)    28.00



      Finally got these new Vektor vinyl represses in stock, new pressings of both Outer Isolation and Black Future issued by Earache/Century Media. Quantities are limited on both of these and it's questionable as to whether we'll be able to get more, so, you know, don't drag your heels for too long. Both of these albums deliver some top-notch sci-fi obsessed tech-thrash, some of the best stuff of its kind lately, and here's the old review from when we originally picked this album up:
      I've read a handful of reviews of this album that have come out in the past few months since Black Future came out, several of which accused Vektor of ripping off Voivod's sound wholesale. Dunno what these people are listening to, though, 'cuz Vektor hardly sounds like a Voivod tribute band to my ears. I'm presuming that Vektor's spiky, mechanistic logo (which definitely looks like something that Away would have designed) and the dystopian sci-fi themes in their artwork and lyrics (and songs titles like "Destroying the Cosmos", "Dioxyribonucleic Acid", "Dark Nebula", and "Accelerating Universe) are what's generating all of the comparisons to the Canadian sci-fi thrash metal masters, but musically, the sound of Black Future is straight Teutonic thrash, run through Vektor's progged out astro-physics processors but not lacking one ounce of vicious riffage. Ok, yes, once you get deeper into the album (starting around "Destroying The Cosmos"), the guitarists do begin to bring out some dissonant skronky chords and weirdo riffing that's obviously influenced by the brilliantly wonky style of Voivod guitarist Piggy, but these moments only appear fleetingly as brief blips of technoid weirdness that are quickly enough absorbed back into the blistering high speed thrash assault.
      Vektor's sound is both ripping and progressive, combining a heavy Kreator/Destruction/later-era Sodom influence with spiraling, expansive arrangements that incorporates harsh blackened riffing, galloping thrash metal, dizzying transitions into jazz-fusion inspired sections, wild harmonized shredding, wicked snarling vocals (that resemble those of Germanic thrashers Destruction quite a bit), electronic effects, eerie acoustic guitars, ominous black-hole synthesizer accompaniment, and furious speed picking woven up into songs that sometimes stretch on for more than ten minutes, allowing Vektor to race through a myriad of proggy concepts. The music begins to move into more psychedelic territory at the end of the album with a pair of monstrous jams, each filled with bubbling outer-space synths and soundtracky electronics and intricate thrash arrangements, morphing complex prog-thrash into brooding post-rock codas with haunting flurries of guitar tremolo and acoustic strum, Tangerine Dreams-esque cosmic ambience blooming, then torn apart by bursts of fierce galloping thrash metal. Fucking killer stuff, highly recommended if you're into the tech-thrash of Sadus, Voivod, Mekong Delta, early Atheist, Watchtower and even the metallic prog of newer bands like Behold...The Arctopus.
Track Samples:
Sample : Asteroid
Sample : Dark Nebula
Sample : Hunger For Violence
Sample : Oblivion



WORMED   Krighsu   CD   (Season Of Mist)    12.98














WORMED   Krighsu (BLACK VINYL)   LP   (Season Of Mist)    21.00














WORMED   Krighsu (BLUE VINYL)   LP   (Season Of Mist)    21.00




















  




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