November 27, 2008

Dernière Volonté - Les Blessures de l'Ombre

Band/artist - Dernière Volonté
Genre(s) - Martial industrial, military pop
Origin - France
Album - Les Blessures de l'Ombre
Year of release - 2003

Les Blessures de l'Ombre is an anomaly in my collection, and a hell of a tough release to review. Applying influences from marching music not to ambient or industrial but to much more melodic pop structures has led DV main man Geoffroy to the creation of what may well be the first ever military pop album. Altogether it's a bit new-waveish in sound, I would guess: heavy on the synths, old-school production, but using darker melodies and backed by the snare drum rolls commonly associated with army parades. Incredibly, the combination works. Dernière Volonté has delivered a ground-breaking album that makes a seemingly awkward, confusing mix of styles a pleasure to listen to. On Le Poison, Les Blessures de l'Ombre and Le Foudre et le Tonnere, the old martial spirit shines through most clearly but the song that got me hooked was the haunting Vienna.
  1. Ouverture (Opening)
  2. Le poison
  3. Vienna
  4. Les orages du crime (The storms of crime)
  5. Les yeux fermés (The closed eyes)
  6. La foudre et le tonnere (The lightning and the thunder)
  7. Un dernier crépiscule (A last twilight)
  8. Vers la lumière (Against the light)
  9. La source
  10. Ton visage de papier (Your paper face)
  11. Les blessures de l'ombre (The wounds of the shadows)
  12. Souvenirs de demain (Souvenirs of tomorrow)
  13. Si... (If...)
  14. Au revoir (Goodbye)
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November 25, 2008

Tiger Trap - Tiger Trap

Band/artist - Tiger Trap
Genre(s) - Twee, indie pop
Origin - United States of America
Album - Tiger Trap
Year of release - 1993

Woohoo, happy twee pop for those who liked The Softies and Go Sailor, of course again featuring Rose Melberg. It's got a bit more of a bite than the aforementioned groups - faster, a bit noisier - but it's got all the exuberance and liveliness. You'll love it. Carefree music for the troubled mind.
Forgive the short review but there really isn't much more to say and also I have a tummy ache. :(

  1. Puzzle pieces
  2. You're sleeping
  3. Eight wheels
  4. Supercrush
  5. Tore a hole
  6. Words and smiles
  7. For sure
  8. You and me
  9. Supreme nothing
  10. Chester
  11. My broken heart
  12. Prettiest boy
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November 23, 2008

Imperium Dekadenz - Dämmerung der Szenarien

Band/artist - Imperium Dekandenz
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Germany
Album - Dämmerung der Szenarien
Year of release - 2007

Dämmerung der Szenarien is the kind of album that this blog was started for. High-quality, inventive German black metal with only a handful of people who've ever heard of them, that's my department alright. In fact I've been looking forward to sharing this since the very beginning. But on to the music. Imperium Dekadenz play a controlled style of black metal notable for its lack of frenzied high-pitched tremolo-picked riffs in the foreground. Repetition and blastbeats are also absent. Guitars are still the primary instruments and the melodies are generally melancholic, not in a self-indulgent manner like a lot of "depressive/suicidal black metal" bands, but the result of cold calculation. I can assure you this album is quite sorrowful - just listen to the last minutes of The Night Whispers to the Wise. What also helps are the acoustic or keyboard-based in-, ou- and in-betweentros, of which Waiting is especially beautiful. If you enjoy the kind of black metal bands I tend to post you can't pass up on this one.
  1. Into breathless sleep
  2. Der dolch im Gewande
  3. Staub und Erinnerungen
  4. Dämmerung der Szenarien
  5. Hordes from the dark star
  6. Nebelbrandung
  7. Harmatia
  8. Reich der fahlen Seelen
  9. The night whispers to the wise
  10. Waiting
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Esoteric - Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum

Band/artist - Esoteric
Genre(s) - Psychedelic funeral doom
Origin - United Kingdom
Album - Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum
Year of release - 2004

In the first seconds it seems like this could become a quite regular doom metal release... darned heavy, with fragile, unsettling melody lines. Then, and this is so slickly done, within the first minute or so the song gets progressively denser in the bass register, the melodies shrink into the background and when the grunts kick in you suddenly find yourself in utter funeral hell. Proves to be a challenge! It is, really. Esoteric play a very manipulative brand of oppressive funeral doom that is difficult to listen to unperturbed. Especially the psychotic double vocals of distorted grunts and screeches will bring a chill to your bones. With Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum, Esoteric are able to transmit their overwhelming darkness into their listeners' brains like I've barely seen before in the world of black and doom metal. May inflict permanent mental damage, but it's worth the experience.
  1. Morphia
  2. The blood of the eyes
  3. Grey day
  4. Arcane dissolution
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November 21, 2008

Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness

Band/artist - Rise Against
Genre(s) - Punk, hardcore
Origin - United States of America
Album - The Sufferer and the Witness
Year of release - 2006

Rise Against are a punk band from Chicago that formed in 1999. As I was looking up this information I read they've just got a new album out but alas, this is not it. Maybe it's bad timing to post The Sufferer and the Witness now, but second newest is still a bit new so yeah. This vegan quartet's style is new-fashioned melodic hardcore with a crisp, refined sound. The songs are volatile but the band sees no reason to go at it at full speed and heaviness all the time and many polished moments give the listener time to breathe. Choruses are fierce and empowering - check out Chamber the Cartridge, Ready to Fall and best of all, Prayer of the Refugee - with a main role for singer Tim McIlrath whose voice especially constitutes half of what makes Rise Against so intriguing.
  1. Chamber the cartridge
  2. Injection
  3. Ready to fall
  4. Bricks
  5. Under the knife
  6. Prayer of the refugee
  7. Drones
  8. The approaching curve
  9. Worth dying for
  10. Behind closed doors
  11. Roadside
  12. The good left undone
  13. Survive
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November 19, 2008

Dar Williams - The Beauty of the Rain

Band/artist - Dar Williams
Genre(s) - Folk, singer-songwriter
Origin - United States of America
Album - The Beauty of the Rain
Year of release - 2003

This lil' album got to me really quickly the last two, three days. I've had it for a long time but it had always escaped my attention, funny how these things happen. Dar Williams is a folk chick and apparently The Beauty of the Rain is her first album to incorporate broader musical ideas than straightforward folk. Now I haven't heard any other material than this yet so we'll just have to take that for granted. What we shouldn't take for granted are her gorgeous songs. Especially the track Your Fire Your Soul has had considerable impact on me; bittersweet as it is I still can't figure out if I find it more depressing or uplifting, but at least it no longer makes me cry. Other songs are less ambiguous: opener Mercy of the Fallen and the title track are distinctly melancholic whereas I Saw a Bird Fly Away makes me quietly happy inside. This is one of those albums that would still be good if it was twice as long.
  1. Mercy of the fallen
  2. Farewell to the old me
  3. I saw a bird fly away
  4. The beauty of the rain
  5. The world's not falling apart
  6. The one who knows
  7. Closer to me
  8. Fishing in the morning
  9. Whispering pines
  10. Your fire your soul
  11. I have lost my dreams
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November 18, 2008

Lunar Aurora - Mond

Band/artist - Lunar Aurora
Genre(s) - Black Metal
Origin - Rosenheim, Bayern, Germany
Album - Mond
Year of release - 2005

Aran, Sindar and Whyrhd must have been pretty pissed off when writing and recording Mond because no other release of theirs is as abrasive as this. Incredibly raw and heavy, stripped to its core and generally thundering along relentlessly, this album could probably break you out of prison if you ever needed it. You may miss some of their characteristic subtle touches, but in true Lunar Aurora-style the music
pulsates like a living, seething mass of malevolent energy, hypnotic as ever before. Mond becomes most spectacular in the finale, with the maniacal track Grimm featuring eerie anti-melodies and riffs that just don't come any more crushing. This is Lunar Aurora at their most destructive, and it's fucking glorious.

If you enjoyed this, check out earlier posts of their stuff here and here.
  1. Groll
  2. Aufgewacht
  3. Rastlos
  4. Schwarze Winde
  5. Heimkehr
  6. Welk
  7. Grimm
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November 15, 2008

Arathorn - Treue & Verrat

Band/artist - Arathorn
Genre(s) - Black/folk metal
Origin - Germany
Album - Treue & Verrat
Year of release - 2008

There are hundreds of bands playing folk metal, decorating (or ruining) their metal with craploads of synths, accordeons, flutes and violins in what they
hope is a somewhat accurate guess at what ancient European tribal folk music must have sounded like. Arathorn takes another approach. An acoustic guitar and main dude Sköll's hell of a clean voice is all that they need, for instance, in the first track. At times flutes and keyboards do make their appearance but most introvertedly. The calmness of the folk parts and that they mostly alternate with the black metal parts instead of also being imposed over them gives Treue & Verrat a refreshing and honest feeling. Some of the black metal parts are more inspired than others, and there are a few cosmetic flaws but on the whole there's much to enjoy and I think you should give this Nibelungenlied-themed album a chance.
  1. Am Tage der letzten Schlacht
  2. Siegfried von Xanthen
  3. Hagens Verrat
  4. Siegfrieds Tod
  5. Ragnarök
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November 13, 2008

Various Artists - Fahrenheit Project part 3

Band/artist - Various
Genre(s) - Psychedelic ambient
Origin - Various
Album - Fahrenheit Project, part 3
Year of release - 2002

The Fahrenheit Project is a series of compilations - seven in total, of which six have been released so far - released by the ambient, dub and psytrance label Ultimae records. A large and recurring role on all of the Fahrenheit comps is reserved for my triarchy of favourite ambient artists: Solar Fields, Aes Dana and Carbon Based Lifeforms, who most usually chip in with a song or two each. With music like this it's hardly possible or rewarding to discuss the tracks separately: it's simply not song-based music, rather it's the totality of the experience that counts. Lay back, smoke 'em if you got 'em and enjoy a sonic dreamworld full of wonder, mysticism and calmly whirling phosphorescent vapours! Oh yes.
  1. Koala & Xentrix - Infinite dream
  2. Aes Dana - Undertow
  3. H.U.V.A. Network - Morning call (ambient version)
  4. Cell - Spiritual move
  5. Solar Fields - Something crystal
  6. Toires - Nabab
  7. Carbon Based Lifeforms - MOS 6581
  8. Mystical Sun - Blue magnetic ocean
  9. Solar Fields - Spiritual ocean
  10. Carbon Based Lifeforms - Metrosat 4
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November 11, 2008

Deströyer 666 - Cold Steel... for an Iron Age

Band/artist - Deströyer 666
Genre(s) - Blackened thrash metal
Origin - Australia
Album - Cold Steel... for an Iron Age
Year of release - 2002

Like the band name and album cover already lead you to assume, Deströyer 666 is a bunch of rather angry guys like you have a lot of them in
Strayliuh. They are probably also better instrumentalists and less primitive songcrafters than you'd think. Cold Steel... is no incoherent mess of rehashed speed metal riffs drowned in static noise and with an insta-kvlt sticker slapped onto it. It's an actually well-produced collection of brilliant riff after brilliant riff, underscored by meticulous drumwork and packed into cohesive, distinctive songs. Even at the music's most frantic the band sounds master of the situation and they play with, perhaps not elegance, but certainly suppleness. I always found this disc to be excellent background music to violent video games (but remember: high school massacres don't solve anything!)
  1. Black city - black fire
  2. Clenched fist
  3. Cold steel...
  4. Sons of perdition
  5. Raped
  6. The calling
  7. Savage pitch
  8. Witchhunter
  9. Shadow
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November 9, 2008

Anathema - Judgement

Band/artist - Anathema
Genre(s) - Atmospheric rock
Origin - United Kingdom
Album - Judgement
Year of release - 1999

Like Katatonia, Anathema used to be important doom band before crossing into unmetal territory and like Katatonia, they now play dark atmospheric rock. However, I think it is safe to say that Anathema is generally more detached and depressive, but their tracks can also seem more uniform than they really are as they're mostly centered around ethereal guitar harmonies that ooze distress and hopelessness. Their best songs are scattered quite evenly among their releases, Judgement was my choice only because on this one I know which ones they are! The title song (always the fucking title song!!) starts out with a decent main melody that steadily gains in intensity, then explodes in some wicked riffing. Anyone, Anywhere is a doomy song feauturing great interplay between guitars and piano, One Last Goodbye has some of the best vocal deliverances on the record and a beautiful solo to boot, and Wings of God is climactic gloom rock at its best. These last six words, methinks, are a great way to sum up the whole record.
  1. Deep
  2. Pitiless
  3. Forgotten hopes
  4. Destiny is dead
  5. Make it right (F.F.S.)
  6. One last goodbye
  7. Parisienne moonlight
  8. Judgement
  9. Don't look too far
  10. Emotional winter
  11. Wings of God
  12. Anyone, anywhere
  13. 2000 and gone
  14. Transacoustic
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November 8, 2008

Sabaton - Primo Victoria

Band/artist - Sabaton
Genre(s) - Power metal
Origin - Sweden
Album - Primo Victoria
Year of release - 2005

I saw these guys live again yesterday, so what better reason to up an album? This is Sabaton's second full-length to be recorded but their first to be released so we can speak of a first victory indeed. Since the beginning, this Swedish crew has dedicated itself to playing straightforward, masculine power metal. They have the beefiest riffs since Night of the Stormrider and singer Joakim's got a powerful, deep voice which I'm sure many will find better than the cliché ballsqueezer vocals. All texts except from their first-recorded, third-released album Metalizer and their demo are about modern warfare, and usually a specific battle. The Allied landing at Normandy (the title track), the six day Israel-Arab war in '67 (
Counterstrike), napalm bombings in Vietnam (Into the Fire) are dealt with in the record's best songs. Sadly they condone Israeli aggression in Counterstrike and current US imperialist behaviour in the Middle East in the second and third tracks. Choruses are nonetheless catchy and easy to sing along, and they've never really made a boring song!
  1. Primo victoria
  2. Reign of terror
  3. Panzer battallion
  4. Wolfpack
  5. Counterstrike
  6. Stalingrad
  7. Into the Fire
  8. Purple Heart
  9. Metal machine
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November 7, 2008

Goya - Smak Słów

Band/artist - Goya
Genre(s) - Chamber pop
Origin - Poland
Album - Smak Słów
Year of release - 2005

Somewhere in history, the Polish have come to be stigmatised as being an unsubtle kind of people, but proponents of this generalisation probably never listened to Goya. Their name, I presume, is based on one of the more interesting painters in history, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, which is what secured my attention on them. The band plays calm, elegant pop revolving mostly around piano/keyboards and Magdalena Wójcik's beautiful vocals, and I find it to be very soothing to my agitated senses! There's a sense of longing in her voice and in some of the better piano melodies, but the album is not really sad, per se. I guess you'll just have to like it, to like it.
  1. Mój
  2. West
  3. East
  4. Smak słów
  5. Trudne pytania
  6. Jak...
  7. Wiem
  8. Było mineło
  9. Spiesz się
  10. Nie potrzeba mi nic
  11. Posłuchaj
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November 5, 2008

Dark Fortress - Stab Wounds

Band/artist - Dark Fortress
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - Germany
Album - Stab Wounds
Year of release - 2004

Once one of my most favourite albums in the genre, I've kinda neglected Stab Wounds and Dark Fortress itself for the last couple of years in favour of a more atmospheric style of black metal. Chronically positioned in between two symphonic albums and two more modern-ish, even slightly progressive releases, Stab Wounds is neither symphonic nor altogether modern. It's simply well-polished, tightly played black metal, generally seething with anger and with with a knack for glorious riffs that rage, rip and tear - see for instance Stab Wounds or definite highlight Rest in Oblivion - while employing darker harmonies in the slower, DSBM-influenced Like A Somnambulist in Daylight's Fire or A Midnight Poem. Still it's remarkably accessible in comparison to what I usually post and while it may never reach quite the intensity of a Lunar Aurora or a Nagelfar (album coming soon), it stands its own as a valuable addition to to any collection.
  1. Iconoclasm omega
  2. Self mutilation
  3. Stab wounds
  4. When 1000 crypts awake
  5. Despise the living
  6. A midnight poem
  7. Rest in oblivion
  8. Vanitas... no horizon
  9. Like a somnambulist in daylight's fire
  10. Sleep
  11. Endtime (Katatonia cover)
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November 4, 2008

John Frusciante - Curtains

Band/artist - John Frusciante
Genre(s) - Singer-songwriter
Origin - United States of America
Album - Curtain
Year of release - 2005

John Frusciante is best known as the previously previous and currently current guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, probably my favourite big, commerical rock band of today. He started releasing solo albums after quitting the Peppers between '92 and '98, and still does. His own work has enormous variety, this particular album is (nearly) entirely acoustic
, others are electric or even electronic. In fact, to RHCP-fans, Curtains will sound sombre and stripped-down, and this fits his voice which has more feeling and a more graceful timbre than that of Anthony Kiedis. The Past Recedes will probably convince you immediately; I don't think I've ever heard anyone extract such beauty from just an acoustic guitar, mouth organ and his own voice before.
  1. The past recedes
  2. Lever pulled
  3. Anne
  4. The real
  5. A name
  6. Control
  7. Your warning
  8. Hope
  9. Ascension
  10. Time tonight
  11. Leap your bar
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November 3, 2008

Ik zette een setje slappe slippers in de kast

Band/artist - Various
Genre(s) - Various
Origin - The Netherlands, Belgium
Album - My compilation for youuuuu!
Year of release - Never, duh

I made a compilation of some of the funniest, prettiest, best and whackiest Dutch songs on my computer - don't have so many, to be honest. The first half of track one is still in English, then it's into the unknown! (well unless you happen to speak the language). Since all tracks are so different I'll describe them individually.

  1. The Amazing Stroopwafels - Oude Maasweg (bit meditative old rock)
  2. Nou En - Gothic meisje (pop/rock song about a girl who only wears black)
  3. THC - Je weet het (raw hiphop from Amsterdam)
  4. Malle Pietje en de Bimbo's - Tienerhoer (100% literally translated Hole-cover)
  5. Bert en Ernie - Zoek de zeep (Ernie from Sesame Street is looking for the soap)
  6. Razorblade - Jeugdcultuur (hard oi! from Brabant)
  7. De Huilende Rappers - Butje (catchy and nonsensical rap from Groningen)
  8. Boudewijn de Groot - Prikkebeen (beautiful psychedelic folk track)
  9. De Hardheid - 't vrouwtje (ska, about a neglected wife's bloody revenge)
  10. Boudewijn de Groot - Welterusten mijnheer de president (Holland's official Vietnam-era protest song)
  11. The Opposites - Sjonnie & Anita (dark hiphop track about the typical "low cultured" Dutch couple)
  12. Drs. P - Dodenrit (all about Russian horsedrawn carriages, wolves and nursery rhymes)
  13. Internationale Nieuwe Scene - Blijf niet gelaten op de wonderen wachten (Flemish revolutionary song from the 70s)
  14. Countess - Heilig vuur (entirely anti-musical early Bathory-like black metal abortion; funny if it weren't so sad)
  15. Fluisterwoud - Hoer van de zeven hemelen (actually quite decent raw BM)
  16. De Internationale (Ontwaakt, verworpenen der aarde...!)
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November 2, 2008

Nightbringer - Death and the Black Work

Band/artist - Nightbringer
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - United States of America
Album - Death and the Black Work
Year of release - 2008

Quite fresh from the presses and not yet featured on any of the blogs I've visited since, I am proud to present the long-awaited (by me, anyway) full-length by Nightbringer. It's not a premiere but it's pretty quick, no? Death and the Black Work is a dark jewel of American black metal.
This debut is all I had hoped for based on their incredible splits with Temple of Not and Serpentinam. It reminds me strongly of SVEST: despite the rawness, the chaotic structures and a focus on blistering speeds, it does not forego ambience and aesthetics in favour of sheer brutality. Overall though, Nightbringer is the more varied band and can hold my attention longer.
Personally I think that if you're thinking of getting this album, you should get it from me, because I'm so much nicer than most other bloggers. Also if you download this from any other blog than mine I'm going to tranquilize you, inject heroin into your eyes, fucking saw off your arms and legs and dump you out of a van somewhere in a medium-sized Cental Asian town you motherfucker. Enjoy!
  1. Caput draconis - black saturn
  2. Womb of Nyx
  3. Feast of the manes
  4. Of silence and exsanguination
  5. The river Lethe
  6. Beneath the sands of Dudael
  7. Candua draconis - azra lumial
  8. The somnambulist
  9. The nascent gates of twilight and dawn
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