February 27, 2009

The Foreshadowing - Days of Nothing

Band/artist - The Foreshadowing
Genre(s) - Doom metal
Origin - Italy
Album - Days of Nothing
Year of release - 2007

Gothic doom metal. The term may evoke fearful thoughts about more commercial, uptempo songs, female vocalists and dominating symphonic keyboards, but The Foreshadowing prove this doesn't have to be the case. Days of Nothing is dark and heavy, entirely sung in a very fitting clean male voice and the synths are limited to a supporting role. There are many comparisons to draw with My Dying Bride's gothic era outings like The Angel and the Dark River and Like Gods of the Sun, but I'm afraid this Italian apprentice would pulverise their masters - yes, it's really that good. This is genuinely emotive and beautiful, the quality is evenly spread and yet the songs are distinguishable, and the band's attention to detail never slips.
A top-notch production and very tight musicianship lend an extra shine to the melancholic guitar leads and keyboard interplay, and when the music is over you will be tempted to play it again. Too bad this is their only album yet... let's hope they don't keep us waiting for too long.
  1. Cold waste
  2. The wandering
  3. Death is our freedom
  4. Departure
  5. Eschaton
  6. Last minute train
  7. Ladykiller
  8. The fall
  9. Days of nothing
  10. Into the lips of the earth
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Inarborat - Inarborat

Band/artist - Inarborat
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Germany
Album -
Year of release - 2008

în from Funeral Procession, Geïst and Lantlôs - among many other projects - is keeping himself well busy. This is one of his newest collaborations and you could describe it as a mix of influences from the first two bands I mentioned. Elements hauled over from Funeral Procession are the vocals and the drum production, and in the music's most straightforward, furious sections you may just wonder if you aren't accidentally listening to Heavenlie Aeons Grimlie Torne Apart or Millennium of Revenge-Jerusalem in Ashes. However, most of the time Inarborat have their focus shifted away from grim antichristian violence and more to astral and natural themes, both in lyrical and musical terms. In this respect, the added diversity, melodicism and more mature atmosphere remind of Geïst (album here), but benefitting from a more upfront production. So the band succeeds in circumventing the major downsides of either predecessor, and judged by itself, this is another worthy album of powerful, intellectual black metal the way I like it best.
  1. Intro
  2. Aus Staub und Trümmern (From dust and ruins)
  3. Moorlichter (Swamplights)
  4. The brook lies silent
  5. Chöre in der Leere (Choirs in the void)
  6. Schwingenbruch (Wing fracture)
  7. That dwells within (the mountain)
  8. Wisdom sans words
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Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Band/artist - Belle & Sebastian
Genre(s) - Chamber pop
Origin - Glasgow, Scotland
Album - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Year of release - 2003

It's so easy to assume from the name that Belle & Sebastian are a boy-girl duo, and for a while, I fell for the trap. However, they're a full, seven-headed band that plays sophisticated indiepop - explicitly not twee, they don't take kindly to that label - that ranges from understated acoustic songs to more exuberant chamber pop compositions with trumpets, an organ and the like. Dear Catastrophe Waitress is my choice for uploading because there's not a boring track on it. I also think it's more easy-going than some of their other stuff; basically the album oozes positive vibrations in every direction from beginning to end. Through a real talent for songwriting, Stuart Murdoch and his gang manage to do this without making it sound forced or predictable. If you're looking to ease the mind and don't want negative or all too demanding music, this should be the release for you. Stressée, toi? Jamais!
  1. Step into my office, baby
  2. Dear catastrophe waitress
  3. If she wants me
  4. Roy Walker
  5. (I believe in) travellin' light
  6. Asleep on a sunbeam
  7. You don't send me
  8. Wrapped up in books
  9. Lord Anthony
  10. If you find yourself caught in love
  11. I'm a cuckoo
  12. Piazza, New York catcher
  13. Stay loose
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February 26, 2009

Кино - Группа Крови

Band/artist - Кино
Genre(s) - New wave, post-punk
Origin - Russia
Album - Группа Крови
Year of release - 1988

Кино (Kino, "cinema") was a hugely popular Russian band from the waning days of state capitalism. The band was closely watched by the government who didn't like the decadent Western values rock music was supposed to contain, but were too popular to take action against. According to Victor Tsoi, the charismatic band leader, they took their main inspiration from Duran Duran, a band I really can't stand. Even though I like Кино much more, the similarity is clear. Группа Крови, or Gruppa Krovi ("blood type") is the band's most political document, allowed by the reforms of Glasnost and Perestrojka, but in general Tsoi preferred to write about the more personal side of life. I think they should have written more songs like the opening track; Victor's somber voice is most suitable for depressive music. All in all a great rock album in a fascinating language, from a band with a very interesting history.
  1. Gruppa krovi
  2. Zakroi za mnoi dver
  3. Voina
  4. Spokoinaja noch
  5. Mama, mõ vse soshli s uma
  6. Boshetunmai
  7. V nashih glazah
  8. Poprobui spet vmeste so mnoi
  9. Prohozhi
  10. Dalshe dejstvovat budem mõ
  11. Legenda
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February 24, 2009

Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Band/artist - Simon & Garfunkel
Genre(s) - Folk
Origin - United States of America
Album - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
Year of release - 1966

Simon and Garfunkel were a legendary sixties folk duo with a style of their own.
Paul Simon wrote and provided the basic structure of the music with his guitar and vocals, and Art Garfunkel, who has an even better, more soaring voice, harmonised with him. Together they created many songs that are very well-known to this day. PSR&T is the first out of a string of great releases. Despite the title this isn't exactly an album to spice things up with (har, har); even the most uplifting songs like Homeward Bound and The 59th Street Bridge Song are so in a quiet fashion. Some other songs are kind of haunting, like the famous Scarborough Fair and especially the closing track which junxtaposes the Christmas hymn Silent Night with the gruesome reality of your average day on planet Earth. In all cases, the lyrics are pure poetry and the music subtly affects the mindset. Great folk album.
  1. Scarborough fair - canticle
  2. Patterns
  3. Cloudy
  4. Homeward bound
  5. The big bright green pleasure machine
  6. The 59th street bridge song (feeling groovy)
  7. The dangling conversation
  8. Flowers never bend with the rainfall
  9. A simple desultory philippic
  10. For Emily, whenever I may find her
  11. A poem on the underground wall
  12. 7 o'clock news - Silent night
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February 20, 2009

Verdunkeln - Einblick in den Quälenfall

Band/artist - Verdunkeln
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Germany
Album - Einblick in den Quälenfall
Year of release - 2006

Verdunkeln is a duo consisting of Gnarl and Ratatyske, known from the very fast black metal band Graupel. It's clear they intended this project as a way to escape that sound because this is quite different. No longer walling their listeners' ears shut with continuous raging blastbeats and a dense guitar rumble, as Verdunkeln they feature much more open compositions carried by mid-paced to very slow drums, with much use of keyboards, chanting clean vocals and the like. They opted for a very old-school production that is both swampy and cavernous and reminds me of early-to-mid-eighties extreme metal; it's not my favourite thing but it does make them sound darker and more unique. There is a highly ritualistic feel throughout, with a rather singular sense of melodicism that I can't describe. The closest musical parallel would be with the Ruins of Beverast as pollinated by Swans. Pretty neat, right?
  1. In die Irre
  2. Im Zwiespalt
  3. Der Quell
  4. Die Saat der Klinge
  5. Der Herrscher
  6. Auf freiem Felde
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February 18, 2009

Twenty Albums that Shook the World in 2008

Okay, okay. A top 20 of 2008. I find it difficult to compare and rank albums but here's an attempt. Thank the Chief Commie (thought that was me? Ha! He's the real Party animal) for pressuring me into it. Since black metal is the only genre I actively follow in respect to new albums being released, the list will disproportionately lean in that direction, moreso even than the rest of this blog. I have most of these set for posting at a later time so stick around!

As this blog is primarily for spreading music I will add links to any material of the bands included that I have posted earlier, and because you really, really need the Panopticon I've linked to a friend's blog.

20. Nachtmystium - Assassins: black meddle part 1
It's nice, I like it, etc. Earlier EP here

19. Forefather - Steadfast
Their most balanced, organic album to date

Masshysteri - Vår del av stan
Just heard this yesterday. Great Swedish punk, tough but catchy

Lifelover - Konkurs
Fits in well with their other albums, a bit too much so I'd even say

Nightbringer - Death and the black work (here!)
Raw, chaotic, demanding, overwhelming

Ida Maria - Fortress round my heart
Great voice, simple but super-uplifting songs

Voyager - Voyager
Heavy, melancholic death-doom, the post-rock way

De Silence et d'Ombre - Vol. II - Ascension manifesto
Surprising spacey black metal newcomer, could go pretty far indeed

Sabaton - The art of war
My favourite imperialist power metal band did it again. Download their debut

Tiamat - Amanethes
Temple of the crescent moooooooooooon!

Darskspace - Dark space III
...and I'm floating in a most peculiar way...

Smorzando - Smrad
Unexpected little gem of noisy depressive black metal with capital D

The Weepies - Hideaway
Not as good as Happiness (here), but still Weepie-tastic

7. Ska-P - Lagrimas y gozos
They're back! Poppier, sadder, but as good as ever. Live album here

Lantlôs - Lantlôs
Impressive debut of melancholic, postmodernist BM

Panopticon - Panopticon (here!)
Political black metal as there should be more of it

God is an Astronaut - God is an Astronaut
Exemplary post-rock, one of the best in its genre

Doom:vs - Dead words speak
Solo project of Draconian member. Total darkness and despair

2. Woods of Infinity - Hopplös väntan
Hamptjärn (here) is better, but this is the release that got me into them which is to be rewarded

A Forest of Stars - The corpse of rebirth (here)
Yay winner! See the post directly below

February 17, 2009

A Forest of Stars - The Corpse of Rebirth

Band/artist - A Forest of Stars
Genre(s) - Experimental black metal
Origin -
The United Kingdom
Album - The Corpse of Rebirth
Year of release - 2008

The UK isn't exactly famous for its extensive assortment of good black metal bands, but here we have a very strong specimen. An excellent representative for its own region with a distinctly Victorian styling, including a sample of tea being poured and drunk but mostly characterised by its great use of (actual) violins, and quite a register of other means to create something immersive, mind-melting and out of the ordinary. I'd say A Forest of Stars have royally succeeded at this goal, and that at the minor expense of sounding entirely self-indulgent. In fact I think you have to be a little self-indulgent in order to come up with this music, and most black metal of similar complexity. Not only the writing is good, the execution is as well. I love the powerful drums and the rich, full-bodied sound. The guitars seem to be rather subordinated to the total sum of the atmosphere, that is, they could be a bit more riff-orientated and it wouldn't hurt, but this is a pretty unique band... The Corpse of Rebirth is definitely one of my favourite albums to come out last year because of the completely overwhelming ambiance and splendorous, otherworldly beauty. I think I've used up all the suitable adjectives so stop reading and get the album now.
  1. God
  2. Female
  3. Male
  4. Earth and Matter
  5. Microcosm
Load it down (89.72 MB)

February 16, 2009

Blood for Blood - Serenity

Band/artist - Blood for Blood
Genre(s) - Hardcore
Origin - Charlestown/Boston, USA
Album - Serenity
Year of release - 2004

Serenity is quite something, and hard to describe too, for someone who isn't used to this kind of music. I have solid aesthetic reasons to dislike most "-core" music, but with this album, Blood for Blood really made my jaw drop. Yes, it's jagged, curb-stomping violence, full of palm-muted madness and breakdowns. Nothing for me at all. So why do I like this album so much? A lot has to do with Erick Medina's vocals. They are overwhelmingly brutal but there's more to them than just that. It gives the really quite socially engaged (in the more abstract sense) and hopeful lyrics something very imperative. There are also more melodic choruses to alleviate the aggression here and there, and even the roughest passages have some sort of hidden grace to them. Despite the devotional, prayerlike interludes, this is not an actively religious band as far as I know. This incredibly short and volatile album is as much an ode to the squalorous, grey-concrete inner-city jungle as a call for attention to the everyday misery experienced there. "We care!"
  1. A prayer to the night sky
  2. Serenity
  3. Hanging on the corner
  4. Live the lie
  5. A rock 'n' roll song
  6. My Jesus mercy
  7. Runaway
  8. City boy
  9. Serenity (reprise)
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Jefferson Airplane - Bless its Pointed Little Head

Band/artist - Jefferson Airplane
Genre(s) - Psychedelic rock
Origin - San Francisco
Album - Bless its Pointed Little Head
Year of release - 1969

Live material from Jefferson Airplane, this time an official album - I've posted a bootleg (click!) of theirs way back. Set a year later in the band's career, the infamous conflicts and competition between the individual members that would gradually affect their live shows and lead to the band's dissolution is subtly starting to rear its unfortunate head here. Don't worry though, at this point it only makes them play a bit faster and sing a bit louder. So you'll be treated to a couple of sped-up, exquisitely chaotic renditions of songs from their hit album, Surrealistic Pillow. But you're given time to relax, too, with lazier tracks like Fat Angel and Rock Me Baby. A great album to listen to in the grass in early summer, or in the car if you drive one of them stupid things.
  1. Clergy (intro)
  2. Three fifths of a mile in ten seconds
  3. Somebody to love
  4. Fat angel
  5. Rock me baby
  6. The other side of this life
  7. It's no secret
  8. Plastic fantastic lover
  9. Turn out the lights
  10. Bear melt
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February 10, 2009

Woods of Infinity - Hamptjärn

Band/artist - Woods of Infinity
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Umeå, Sweden (I've been there once)
Album - Hamptjärn
Year of release - 2007

Yup. I was again so stupid to overlook a brilliant band, only because of the production. Thank irony for bringing Woods of Infinity to me after all. Of course there's plenty of feeling here, so what if the sound isn't crystal-clear. In fact, the music is deeply wounded at the core, very melancholic indeed, and this translates itself into some very beautiful sections I was not expecting to hear from this band. Then of course there's also the other side to the music; the sadistic, perverse minds of Melkor and Ravenlord. Their lyrics, vocals and some of the twists in the music are what they are so notorious for. Only the darkest depths of the human mind are explored in the lyrics, and brought to our ears in such a bone-chilling manner that it doesn't even make a difference that they're not in English. And as for the twists in the music... I'm not going to spoil the surprises for you. The end result is an album that fascinates as much as it repels, beautiful in its ugliness... an unworked blood diamond.
  1. Elvira
  2. Väsendet
  3. Iafftagen
  4. Likgiltig
  5. Avgrund
  6. Stilla
  7. Första Augusti
  8. Ending existence
  9. World of lost innocense
  10. (Hidden track)
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Hudson Falcons - Desperation and revolution

Band/artist - Hudson Falcons
Genre(s) - Punk 'n' roll
Origin - United States of America (New Jersey)
Album -
Desperation and revolution
Year of release - 2000

Taking an amalgam of rock and punk influences and chewing it up into something hard-hitting they call working class rock 'n' roll, the Hudson Falcons are a crusty bunch from New Jersey with obvious Irish heritage. They're named in commemoration of the Hudson Valley Strikes (or just for living in Hudson) and could sure land a plane on the river if they had a flying picket (yeah, nevermind). On Desperation and Revolution you can expect some politicised, high-octane rock and roll, fuelled by beer, social discontent and the desire for freedom like any good punk album should be. Notable tracks are GLC which is apparently a Menace cover (I just found out today); Free Lori about the political prisoner Lori Berenson, and a reworking of the Irish traditional Come out Ye Black and Tans.
  1. Working class war
  2. LAMF
  3. Worker fate
  4. GLC
  5. Free Lori
  6. Pride
  7. Monahans
  8. Come out ye Black and Tans
  9. Sweatshops
  10. The rat is dead
  11. Jersey City
  12. Altar of the open road
  13. Revolution
  14. Abandoned vets
Load it down (55.82 MB)

February 6, 2009

Draconian - Where Lovers Mourn

Band/artist - Draconian
Genre(s) - Gothic doom metal
Origin - Sweden
Album - Where Lovers Mourn
Year of release - 2003

Draconian have it all. It's classic death-doom with both good grunts and female vocals, some symphonic elements, versatility abound and a hell of a production job. They very much remind me of their fellow countrymen of Saturnus but with a clearer, less distant sound and better vocals. The music remains dark and solemn throughout but there is a lot of diversity and Where Lovers Mourn never gets boring. Just compare the first two songs: The Cry of Silence is a heavy yet remarkably serene doom track for most of its length, easy on the synths and with mostly growls, gracefully striding to an epic conclusion, while Silent Winter is a shorter, faster song with big orchestration and a center role for Lisa Johansson who sings very staccato here, to great effect. Even though it's not even all that depressive, the music's many layers
flow effortlessly and are in beautiful harmony, setting the mood for dark and lonely nights. I think this is one of the most complete, succinct and fulfilling albums in the doom metal genre.
  1. The cry of silence
  2. Silent winter
  3. A slumber did my spirit seal
  4. The solitude
  5. Reversio ad secessum
  6. The amaranth
  7. Akherousia
  8. It grieves my heart
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[repost] This Ascension - Sever and more

Band/artist - This Ascension
Genre(s) - Ethereal, gothic rock
Origin - United States of America
Album - Sever
Year of release - 1999

Sever is the last in a line of four full-length albums issued by This Ascension, and definitely among the most extraordinary and versatile discs in their genre that I have ever heard, mostly due to the prominent use of driving electric guitars. Some of the most guitar-heavy tracks (namely Dorado and Amapola; great tracks the both of them) even sound more like space rock than darkwave or neoclassical. Some of the tracks do stick more to genre conventions, but do so with flair; the best example of this is Mysterium. This dual approach could easily have proved disastrous in making the album sound fragmentized, but Sever retains a decidedly ethereal nature throughout with its mystic atmosphere and Heavenly Voice of singer Dru, keeping the album cohesive and in balance. Also take note of the closing track, a wonderful Christmas carol, the ethereal way.

Note: I am reposting this because I have two older albums lying around fully rar-ed and uploaded for a last.fm friend a few months ago. Thought I might as well post them along. I chose to upload Sever for a reaon, but these are also really decent. See below!
  1. Fuego cayendo
  2. Mysterium
  3. Forever shaken
  4. Serpent's serenade
  5. Dorado
  6. Fatal dawn
  7. Columba aspexit
  8. Interlude
  9. I wish
  10. Amapola
  11. Here alone again
  12. Love lost years
  13. Carol of the bells
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1989 - Tears in Rain

1991 - Light & Shade

February 5, 2009

Solar Fields - Leaving home

Band/artist - Solar Fields
Genre(s) - Psychedelic ambient, chillout
Origin - Sweden
Album - Leaving Home
Year of release - 2005

Another of the staple artists of the oft-mentioned Ultimae-label, just like the earlier-posted Aes Dana (check here). There are some differences, however. The former artist plays a sort of slowed-down, ambientised psytrance, but Solar Fields is a bit more abstract than that. This means it's not as melodic but the effect is no less because of it. Of course it's all about the atmosphere, and here it's as soothing and mystic as it gets. I think the best stuff on here can be found in the three longest tracks, Air Song, Cocoon Moon and Monogram. Also the song Time Slide struck my attention as it has a lot more feeling than I'm used to hear in ambient music. This is
music to dream away to, literally or otherwise, and that's all there's to it. Psychoactive substances not necessary, but certainly recommended.
  1. Home
  2. Time slide
  3. Insum
  4. Star fruit
  5. Magnetosphere (Star fruit pt. 2)
  6. Stereo hypnosis (Magnetosphere pt. 2)
  7. Air song
  8. Cocoon moon (Glastonbury festival 2005 mix)
  9. Monogram
  10. Times are good
  11. Leaving home
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February 3, 2009

The Weepies - Happiness

Band/artist - The Weepies
Genre(s) - Indiepop-ish folk
Origin - they live in Topanga, California. :)
Album - Happiness
Year of release - 2003

The Weepies is Deb Talan and Steve Tannen and I've been obsessed with this duo for a few weeks now. Both were beginning solo-artists - their separate works are also beautiful! [for links see below] - when they found each other based on similar musical interests, and the bond was so strong they even got married! Happiness is their debut, I am only just busy discovering their other stuff. This is the kind of music that many people see as happy and carefree, but can seriously get me down when listened to at the wrong moment. It may just be me, but the mood that this band creates seems very ambiguous to me... there's hope and sweetness, but also a lot of longing and pensiveness. Where the lyrics are positive the melody may be very bittersweet, like on the song Happiness, whereas Jolene
(not a Dolly Parton cover), is sung quite sadly, yet has a really uplifting guitar hook. Of course, that contrast is what exactly what makes The Weepies so addictive. Not everybody's cup of tea, I imagine, but I will relentlessly try to force this down everybody's throats because it's just that good.

EDIT: this release prefers to be downloaded together with Stopped at a Green Light and A Bird Flies Out.
  1. Happiness
  2. All that I want
  3. Vegas, baby
  4. Somebody loved
  5. Jolene
  6. Simple life
  7. Dating a porn star
  8. Keep it there
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February 2, 2009

Blizzards and Rootspirits

Band/artist - Various artists
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Germany, Switzerland, Austria

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I haven't been spending as much time on the internet, which would have been a good thing if I dedicated it to anything useful instead. Right now I don't have a lot of inspiration to write a neat lil' review but an update is more than due. So here are two compilation releases that seem to feature German and Alpine black metal exclusively, with a lot of worthy names among the contributors. Hope you find a couple of new bands to enjoy on these pitch-black, ice-cold samplers.

Album - Schneesturm compilation
Year of release - 200x
  1. Nordlicht - Schwarz chautä Wäg
  2. Brocken Moon - Vollmond
  3. Mondwolf - Unser Sieg
  4. Skuld - Spheredepth
  5. Paysage d'Hiver - Gletschertor
  6. Wolfsthron - [Unbetitelt]
  7. Moonfrost - Dark times to come
  8. Brocken Moon - Klagelied des letzten Wolfes
  9. Todesweihe - Von der Nacht
Load it down (98.12 MB)

Album - Würzelgeister compilation
Year of Release - 2002
  1. Grabnebelfürsten - Grabgewalt
  2. Lunar Aurora - Der leere Thron
  3. Nagelfar - Der Erlösung Totgeburt
  4. Amok Vedar - A.V.E.D.U.
  5. Pest - Triumph des Todes
  6. Nocte Obducta - Ein knöchernes Windspiel
  7. Via Obscure - Vom großen Grunde
  8. Eternal Frost - Söhne des Adlers
  9. Winterdawn - Niemandsland
  10. Paysage d'Hiver - Schnee
  11. Allvater's Zorn - Am Sterbebette
Load it down (93.69 MB)