SKULLFLOWER  Vile Veil  LP   (Noiseville)   14.98

This brand new super limited Lp from Skullflower features three new tracks, only available on this vinyl exlcuisve release that was put out by Noiseville to coincide with the band's appearance at the 2009 No Fun Fest in Brooklyn (which I had to regrettably miss out on...). Vile Veil is limited to a mere 300 copies and is already sold out from Noiseville, so once we sell out of the twenty copies that we have in stock, that'll be it.

Ever since Tribulation, Matthew Bower has been slowly growing his new version of Skullflower into an actual band, first adding on Lee Stokoe (Culver) and then bringing in some other players over the past year to help out live and in the studio. At the same time, the Skullflower sound has been getting darker and heavier and bleaker, seemingly informed by Bower's newfound appreciation of black metal which has been seeping into his trademark sound of overdriven massed guitars and psychedelic skree. This latest blast from the master is possibly the result of a larger band, or maybe it's just Bower, I can't tell, as the record doesn't come with any liner notes or information aside from the tracklisting and a weird bit of poetic writing on the back, but fuck, it sounds huge, a brilliant black blast of brainmelting guitar armageddon spread out across three lengthy tracks. The first side has two, starting off with the title track "Vile Veil" where we're razed by a blown out mass of howling blackness, trebly razor-thin riffs and smeared howling vocals stretched over a buried, almost totally indistinct percussive thumping that sounds like it might be a blastbeat buried under miles of murky distortion and feedback. Very black metal sounding, but also very VERY abstract, like some old 10th generation black metal demo buried in sheets of buzzing guitar noise and fx-drenched feedback and psychedelic skree. It's strangely furious sounding at the same time, that distant thumping propelling the music through clouds of icy cathedral ambience and massed blown-out guitar strings, gleaming with obsidian slime and encrusted with blood and filth. Sure doesn't sound like any black metal that I've ever heard, but it's easily the most blackened thing that Bower and company have ever puked up, an amazing and mesmeric dose of grinding orchestral blackpsych that points to an awesome new direction for this venerable outfit.

The second track "Mauvais Ange" pretty much continues right from the previos one, only here the percussive element disappears completely, and we're lost in a hazy, abstract storm of symphonic guitar strings, droning amplifier blurt, and a high end wailing loop begins repeating over and over, a shrieking air raid siren pulsating in the center of the swirling fractured riffs and epic treble-overloaded drones.

On the flipside, the single sidelong track "Vinum Sabbati" finishes this off with an furious crushing wave of harsh, hypnotic guitar skree, screaming high end feedback layered over roaring klaxon-like blasts of orchestral riffage, screeching treble and soaring blackened melodies over the impossibly dense roar of amplifiers driven to the max. It's noisy and chaotic as hell, but also formed into something strangely musical and epic, a massive cloud of corrosive, symphonic blast that sounds to my ears like one of Bower's older tracks under the Total name taking on some buzzing, breathtaking black metal-strength majesty.

Only 300 made, sold out from the label, once these are gone, they're gone! Packaged in a black and white sleeve with artwork by Matt Bower, pressed on black vinyl.