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Raven – “Wiped Out” – [Neat Records]

wipedout

Raven was founded in 1974, although the first recordings didn’t come out until the early 80s. Fronted by the charismatic Gallagher brothers (no, not those ones), Raven were simulaneously situated at the crest of the ‘Heavy Metal’ wave and the beginnings of the Speed Metal sound. Like other bands on the U.K.’s Neat Records (e.g. Venom) their sound was a little too rugged to follow Judas Priest and Iron Maiden into the realms of superstardom, but they did garner a rabid underground following, many of whom went on to invent Thrash Metal (in the same spirit of friendly oneupmanship that has driven Metal to its present extremes).

‘Wiped Out’ is the second Raven album, released by Neat in 1982, the same year as Priest’s ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and Maiden’s ‘The Number of the Beast’ as well as Tank’s ‘Filth Hounds of Hades’ and, in the U.S., Manilla Road’s ‘Metal.’ Coming at such a critical time, it’s understandable that Raven didn’t make a bigger splash, but to my punk-ass modern ears they seem essential.

Raven may have been one of the first Heavy Metal bands to understand that male falsetto can be used to tremendously perverse effect, paving the way for twisted screechers like King Diamond and Hirax’s Katon. W. De Pena. Bassists/lead singer John Gallagher delights in driving his bellows up the wall into nails-on-chalkboard muppetry and beyond. Mark Gallagher’s guitar shredding gives some idea of why Raven later chose to deem themselves ‘Athletic Rock.’ A nice mix of the technical and the accessible, jumping between Motorheadish boogie-woogie and elaborate edifices of wank.

Warning: may cause a desire to bleach your hair, wear sleeveless tees, ride motorcycles, pump iron, shag birds, drink beer and rock all night.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Pacific 231 – “1983-86 Compendium” – [Functional Organisation]

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    Shirtless Frenchman Pierre Jolivet first used the name Pacific 231 (after the Arthur Honegger composition, I suppose) in the early 80s. He has since brought forth a huge number of Industrial releases under this name, with his longest period of creative inactivity being something like 1999-2006. Like some of the other early bands to follow Throbbing Gristle and SPK into the abyss (for instance Nocturnal Emissions, Esplendor Geometrico, Controlled Bleeding and The Grey Wolves) Jolivet continued quietly (or loudly) doing his thing in the Industrial underground years after any mainstream interest in the genre had faded. Guerilla warfare.

    48 hours’ worth of archival reel-to-reel material from the 3-year period mentioned above was recently digitized, and from that the 2 best hours were chosen for this 2014 2CD release. Disc 1 is studio and disc 2 is live stuff. Some or all of the material– unclear how much– is previously unreleased.

    Samples, modulated electric guitar, synthesizers, distorted voice, feedback hum, death rhythms. The compositions suggest carefully controlled improvisation. He really puts his cheap drum machine through its paces. These selections are not necessarily all hard on the ear (most are) but all have an underlying menace. Over the span of these sometimes-lengthy tracks Jolivet seems to form an eerie symbiosis with his various looping, squealing, sputtering inputs. There are a few musical moments scattered throughout, and some very abstract (e.g. 2.1), while a lot of it falls between noise and structure. T.s 1.1 + 1.4 excerpt multiple consecutive pieces.

    This is real Industrial: machine music for ritual hypnosis, kamikaze conditioning sessions as fresh-sounding in 2017 as when they were recorded. Breath-taking.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 12, 2017 at 3:07 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Human Bodies / Leather Chalice [coll] – [Prison Tatt Records]

    hblc

    Two Black Metal/Punk hybrids from the Northeastern US. This is a joint release between Prison Tatt and Broken Limbs Recordings.

    I remember when I lived in Boston, Human Bodies were the shit. Whenever I would mention the city’s apparent lack of a metal scene, people would namedrop them. I never saw them live, though. They play a Discharge-infused Raw Black Metal/Punk that would have been a big hit in Oakland five years ago. Still gotta nice cold sound though. Try one of their two seizures with Harassor, Crow or Malveillance. They wear gimp masks on stage and yes they do blast sometimes.

    Leather Chalice is a solo project from New Hampshire, the Granite State. He has apparently gotten caught up in the Northeast’s pernicious ‘White Death’ opioid culture and will die soon. I hope he makes more music first. His side is similar to Human Bodies but with some richer and sicker melodies (and wah-wah!) pointing more in the Black Metal direction. The vocals sound more bedridden and fucked on this side too. Winning. Serve with Coldness, Bone Awl or Aanal Beehemoth.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 5, 2017 at 6:13 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Erinys – “Manhattan / Dwelling” – [Tesco Organisation]

    erinys

    Erinys (read your Aeschylus!) was the Dark Ambient project of an American named Gerald Stevens, who also ran an extensive Industrial music review website in the early 2000s. This is one of his only two releases. It was only issued once, in 1998, in this hand-numbered Tesco edition of 800. This is copy number 153.

    ‘Manhattan/Dwelling’ uses heavily processed field recordings made in 1996 throughout Manhattan (t.s 1-7, 13) and in Long Island at the site of Stevens’ former home (t.s 8-12). The artist’s sure-handed electroacoustic manipulations of these textures produce a varied and endlessly fascinating work, from celestial harmonies to violent jackhammering to sewer atmospherics. It has a haunted, melancholy sound and I get the sense of a juxtaposed nostalgia for the high Imperial days of ‘old’ New York (as the faded Berenice Abbott photographs in the artwork may suggest). Anyone who’s spent time in the Apple will recognize the distinctive frequencies of the subway system (t.s 1, 3, 7). Other sounds present in relatively bare form include restaurant chatter (t.5), ghostly voices (t.8), nature sounds (t.9) and children playing (t.12). The distant strains of Celtic march music on the Stockhausenesque pot o’ gold at the end of this rainbow (t.13) were recorded at the 1996 St. Patrick’s Day parade.

    This CD is excellent. So textural, so emotionally rich, so intelligently executed. Some of it is extremely pretty and some of it very harsh indeed. Goes well with Nurse With Wound, Lustmord, Schloss Tegal, NON, The Haters, Troum or, for that matter, any of the snobs on the ‘OHM+‘ compilation.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Wake, The – “Masked” – [Cleopatra Records]

    youbitch

    This is not the UK Pop band, but the Ohio Goth Rock group formed in 1986! This 1993 CD was their debut album, released on the loved-and-hated Cleopatra Records of Los Angeles. I’m going to level with you: this band is a (pre-’Floodland’) Sisters of Mercy clone. Soundalikes like this are probably the reason that Sister Superior Andrew Eldritch spent so much of his career slagging off Cleopatra and disavowing the Goth appellation.

    Semi-plagiarism apart, there’s some great energy here. And it is Goth ROCK, with barely a Wave in sight despite the angular tunes. The macho, guitar-reliant sound is borne along by really beefy workmanship from the two guitarists and bassist; I think I heard keys on maybe one song. The sultry operatic male vocals are perfectly pretentious, summoning Peter Murphy as well as Uncle Andy. The use of real drums also helps make this a little harder than a lot of its influences. Sometimes it hints at a more listenable version of The Cult. T.4 may be a dig at the suicidal excesses of certain early-90s rock personalities, and I want to believe that T.7 is a love song to Twin Peaks’ Sherilyn Fenn. The last track’s a little weird.

    Histrionic gloom meets solid post-punk songwriting acumen; see also Holy Orange, The March Violets, Fields of the Nephilim…

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 2, 2017 at 6:24 pm
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  • Cartilage – “Dialect of The Dead” – [Self Released]

    dialect

    Debut album from San Francisco’s Gore-Grinding Death Metallers. Their set in KFJC’s pit last month was the strongest of its kind in quite a while, and they are extremely fucking chill people, which prejudices me somewhat in their favour. There are some connections here to other S.F. bands– Viral, Hemotoxin, etc., as well as Transylvanian Tapes (who released the cassette version of this). Rude’s David Rodriguez solos on t.s 6+8.

    Cartilage recorded this at Brainoil’s Earhammer Studios as a three-piece band but they’ve added two members since, enriching an already ripping live sound. Guitarist Teresa Wallace steals the show with her perfectly syncopated splatter grooves and Carcass-esque melodic tweak-outs. It’s rare for a death metal guitarist to communicate such a sense of (violent) glee. Her brother Mark’s hyperactive vocal lines speed-gargle black comedy vignettes inevitably ending in human evisceration (none of the lyrics can be made out, of course). Drummer Adam Houman (also of ION) adds a little bit of prog precision to the chaos. In the tradition of Bay Area groups like Exhumed and Impaled, Cartilage don’t take their subject matter seriously, but they are dead serious about their playing. Swell.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm
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  • Dodsmaskin – “Fullstendig Brent” – [Malignant Records]

    dodsmaskinfullstendigbrent-500x500

    This is the physical debut of the Norwegian duo whose name translates as ‘Death Machine.’ They call their music ‘noise-oriented drone’ and Malignant calls it Scandinavian Death Industrial. Both these descriptions are accurate.

    ‘Fullstendig Brent’ (‘Competely Burnt’) is a concept album about the worst of the Norwegian witch trials. In December of 1617, the men of Vardo, in the far-Northern part of Norway, were deep-sea fishing en masse when a sudden storm appeared, drowning most of them. The blame for this and other local disasters was eventually laid at the feet of local women, who were accused of witchcraft. In 1621, Mari Jorgensdatter confessed that she had flown with a friend to the summit of Lydhorn mountain the previous Winter, where, alongside various neighbours magically disguised as animals, they had drunkenly celebrated Satan’s Christmas Party. She also claimed that many women in the area had been copulating with demons while their husbands were out at sea, and that other witches from the area had caused the storm of ’17.

    Her confession was of course extracted under torture, and it implicated many others. From Vardo, the craze seems to have spread to surrounding parishes, with about 150 executions (Sami men as well as Norwegian women) taking place in Northern Norway by 1663. Many victims were publicly burnt alive. According to Wikipedia, the state shared some of the blame (Denmark-Norway had issued new anti-witchcraft laws in 1620), but much of the blood was on the hands of Lutheran clergy who taught rural Northern Norwegians to fear their folk traditions, alleging that evil blew down into Christian Europe from the North (how Black Metal is that?). Dodsmaskin seem to make no bones about assigning blame on Christianity, their liner notes quoting Martin Luther as having said “Devil’s whores shall burn” in 1537. Luther has many misattributions, and I could not find the source of this one, but there’s little question that the founder of Protestantism did indeed believe in witches and call for their execution.

    Dense synthesis, ranging from ethereal chords to glasses-shattering noise, is tied together with loop-driven rhythms and augmented with programmatic samples (weeping or screaming women, crackling flames etc.) and found sounds. This album is a beautiful, extensively-worked-over piece of sound design, but it’s also a genuinely unsettling simulation of a particular type of madness, despite having no vocals or anything else to give overt context. Somber and wrathful electronics recommended for devotees of Mz.412 (Dodsmaskin have actually collaborated with Nordvargr), Asmorod, Megaptera or T.O.M.B.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 27, 2017 at 2:37 pm
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  • Uthana-Eise – “G.d.g.r” – [Halbwelt Organisation]

    R-708190-1150288910.jpeg

    Halbwelt (‘HalfWorld’) Organisation is a now-shuttered German label with only 8 releases to its name. This was the sixth, from 2005. Testoterone-poisoned harsh Death Industrial from a man who possibly goes by the name ‘Husen.’ He has no identity, no country, no race, and probably no girlfriend, but he wants extreme population reduction and he wants it now. Anyone who’s shopped at the Los Altos Whole Foods can hardly blame him.

    Fascistic drum machines stomp-stomp-stomping along in time with mangled buzzing synths constitute a self-conscious imitation of automated death: slaughterhouses, concentration camps, abortion clinics. Sterile Mengelian vocals delivered through a loudspeaker instruct you to poke and to prod your most uncomfortable impulses with the scalpel. OK, so it’s not the most original pallet ever (Genocide Organ? Brighter Death Now? Thorofon? Folkstorm?) but that’s not to call it totally formulaic. Its crunch-march repetition (perhaps with elements of Powernoise) is great for numbing oneself into a state of disregard for outdated conceits like humanism, conscience and moral relativism. Kill!

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm
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  • Ordeal – “Traumende” – [Eibon Records]

    ordeal

    Project of Gabriele Santamaria of Italian death droners I Burn, with some assistance from the other guy in I Burn.

    Unlike I Burn, Ordeal plays ultra-dark Shoegaze with Industrial and Neoclassical undertones. Shimmering LSD therapy guitars via Lycia, Slowdive or ‘Disintegration’-era Cure, dense keyboards, programmed downtempo beats, meticulously arranged. Spare vocals appear in the form of over-the-top, piercing operatics (female) and meaningful whispers (male). The cryptic lyrics deal in some lushly decadent religious mysticism, where it’s not quite clear what is meant but a clear mood does emerge all the same, a hopelessness redolent of kinky sex and grand cathedrals. The Qliphothic atmosphere of this 1997 release perhaps overlaps with Gabriele’s post-Industrial peers in Ain Soph, Skrol, and Sanctum, to name a few. The name of the album might mean something like ‘Dream’s End’ in German.

    Slightly over half the tracks (1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10+12) are instrumental. Some of the shorter instrumentals are more experimental and could be I Burn outtakes.

    Definitely gloomy, but also beautiful, like a fallen angel. “Visions of Hell, they are hope.”

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 19, 2017 at 11:49 pm
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  • Luciation – “Darkened Apocalyptic Occult Goat Ritual” – [Posh Isolation]

    luciation

    Nothing nice or musical about this. It’s inexplicably on Denmark’s hippest Industrial label (home to Damien Dubrovnik and Puce Mary), but it’s not Industrial.

    Four lugubrious Black Metal Noise stews of sulphur, encrusted feces, Cthulhu jizz and the high-proof juice of wrung-out livers. Guitar feedback, splattery cymbals, distant riffs and choking. They suck, in a good way, a la fellow travelers Sutekh Hexen, Smoke and Enbilulugugal.

    Luciation is an Order of the Nonagram band, which means it features members of Blodfest, Wolfslair, Offerkult, Nastran et al. Anonymous lead guitarist ‘Voktor’ may be a moonlighter from the Noise scene. Who knows?

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Skullflower – “Black Iron That Has Fell From The Stars…, The” – [Nashazphone]

    skullflower

    Cythoth staple Skullflower was founded by England’s Matthew Bower (see also: Total, Voltigeurs, Sunroof, Black Sunroof, Hototogisu) in 1988. Frequent member Samantha Davies (Voltigeurs, Black Sunroof) joins him on this 2017 release. which is dedicated to the Egyptian god Set. It’s probably no coincidence that the label is based out of Egypt. This is something like Skullflower’s 30th album. Its full title is ‘The Black Iron That Has Fell From The Stars, To Dwell Within (Bear It Or Be It).’ Okay.

    Three lengthy pieces of instrumental psych guitar played through so many layers of effects, it becomes scary noise… or at least that’s what it sounds like. The credits list ‘Nilotic Delta Slide,’ ‘Pro-one,’ ‘Devices,’ ‘Fire,’ ‘Violin,’ and ‘Salt’ for the instrumentation.

    The sounds are hazy and baleful, like a half-asleep Typhonic beast. The clash of beauty and ugliness found in Skullflower’s music is practically religious in nature, and despite hades of John Cale in the catgut screech and belly-deep drone, no one does string noise quite like this. It has a wailing, seasick quality that reminds me of public mourning. This LP will not surprise Skullflower’s fans, but it will please them. I hope to hear the sidelong B track at least once per hour on KFJC for the next 8 weeks.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 12, 2017 at 7:39 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Svarrogh – “Yer Su” – [Ahnstern]

    yersu

    Yer Su vain, you probably think this album’s about you.

    Until 2007, Dimo Dimov’s project Svarrogh was a Pagan Black Metal band exhibiting a fierce devotion to the folklore of his native Bulgaria. More recent work, however, has been closer to the Neo-Folk universe, bringing Dimov into Austria’s Ahnstern Records circle (see the ‘Oak Folk’ compilation CD). These days he resides in Germany and plays in Sturmpercht.

    He seems to have a fairly deep understanding of the traditional musical forms present in his country. 2008′s ‘Yer Su’ (the name refers to nature spirits in the beliefs of Tengrism, an ancient Eurasian religion) is not ultra-traditional folk music, although it is clearly informed by that tradition. Vestiges of the old Metal sound appear in the form of heavy electric guitars on most tracks and the occasional growl (t.s 2, 3, 7), but mostly this is heavy, Gothic Folk-Rock with a Slavonic flavor, reveling in dark nature worship and alienating stylistic touches: the deep, deep male croons, the scratchy fiddle and clarinet, the aggressive acoustic guitar strumming, the Industrial beats (t.s 5+12), the field recordings, and a dense, unmastered psychedelic sound. I think there’s tamboura, too. T. 11 is a long instrumental.

    In addition to Bulgarian you will hear Lithuanian, Italian (t.3, from Der Feuerkreiner’s ‘Valentina’), and English (t.7, from Allerseelen’s Marcel P.). The cute young girl on the cover seems to be a good example of the interesting Bulgarian phenotype. This multifarious CD has potential crossover appeal to non-metalheads, etc.

    “A wreath for Veles among the cliffs. Dark, deep water dwells there. Bees humming a secret song. Never withers, never ends.”

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm
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  • Action/Discipline – “Recursive Slash” – [Oxen]

    actiond

    Startling iterations of tormented Industrial-Harsh-Noise demonomantical ecstasy from Ohio, 2017. Stefan Aune and Brad Griggs bring you abstract expressions of the modern world’s violent chaos, which is really the point of L.A.’s Oxen Records, isn’t it?

    On each 10-minute ordeal, The blaring cacophany occasionally resolves itself into brief, satisfying rhythmic passages, perhaps accomplished with a delay or loop pedal. Some thicker electronic tones are occasionally allowed to escape, but the gunky tape noise high end static sound is favoured throughout. Overstimulating and dirty, with a careful method hidden behind its indistinguishable sonic mess. Maybe.

    The Oxen website compares this to Japanese ground floor noiser MSBR. Other influences include broken glass, tsunamis, junkyards and heavy machinery mishaps.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 7, 2017 at 12:48 am
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Endvra – “Watcher, The” – [Old Europa Cafe]

    creepypasta

    Endvra (or Endura) were a Death Ambient duo from northern England active from 2001 to 1993. This 1998 CD was their last album. Its single 50-minute track starts out very quiet but gets very loud at times, presenting an interesting mixing challenge.

    It’ll make ya nervous… Pulsing sub-bass, sewer drippy-drops, lush synthesizer orchestra, and every now and then the Death Train passes us as we wander dank subterranean passages full of strange rituals and malevolent non-human intelligences.

    Very much about subliminal horror, almost like a Robert Aickmann story. The vibe goes with Megaptera, Stratvm Terror (another band with a ‘v’ that is actually a ‘u’) or Asmorod.

    Stephen Pennick now records as Ontario Blue, while Christopher Walton works as TenHornedBeast.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 31, 2017 at 12:05 am
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  • Ride For Revenge – “Thy Horrendous Yearning” – [Hells Headbangers]

    horrendous

    I guess we should be embargoing Hells Headbash for what they did to Peste Noire? After this one.

    RFR’s latest album (2016) is the usual challenge to the Extreme Metal status quo from the Finnish band with one hoof in the grave of Industrial noise (see also: Will over Matter, Womb C, Bizarre Uproar), subverting expectations since 2001.

    Compositionally, if not texturally, this LP is more like Psych than Heavy Metal, idiotically dervishing through the same phrase over and over again, its purposeful repetition set toward a druggy trance state. Imagine Archgoat covering Circle… yeah, it is that Finnish.

    It’s not unusual to hear this group massage Doom, Death and Black Metal influences into something ritualistic and startlingly experimental, but this is far less riff-oriented than many past works, partially akin to the instrumental material on their side of the 2015 split with RxAxPxE, except with lyrics (pretty good ones). Sometimes the experimental atavism accidentally sends it back in time to Hellhammer’s best moments, but it’s definitely on the “cutting edge,” incorporating warped synth, FX abuse and electronically and/or chemically altered vocal stylings. This is pretty much always the RFR pallette but they never seem to apply it twice in the same way.

    A3 and B2 are somewhat more traditional compositions that could almost be outtakes from the killer ‘Ageless Powers Arise’ release we added a few years back. Guitarist J Pervertor (Neutron Hammer), member since 2010, really shines on those ones.

    Take a journey beyond the veil with the masters. “There is no Heaven, just Hell for you and me!!”

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Alberich & Lussuria – “Borgia” – [Hospital Productions]

    alberichlussuria

    Alberich (named for the goblin antagonist of Wagner’s Ring Cycle) is the Power Electronics project of Kris Lapke (see also: Furisubi). Lapke is a frequent collaborator of HospitalProd founder Dominic Fernow, both in Prurient and as drummer in Ash Pool, Fernow’s Black Metal vanity project. Lussuria is the Dark Ambient alter-ego of Jim Mroz, who has also played in a few metal bands. Both artists are from the United States, NYC I think.

    Here they collaborate on six live, improvised Korg synthesizer sessions recorded directly to tape.These sessions were originally only available as a bonus cassette included with a 20XCD(!) Skin Crime compilation last year; I don’t know why. The release is probably named after the Italo-Spanish House of Borgia, major players in European Rennaissance Papal politics accused or suspected in all kinds of heinous crimes.

    The cash cow comes a-callin’ and the tape gets reissued on purple vinyl with a bit of weight to it. I mean, I’d spend my money on this, so I can’t rightly complain. Thankfully, KFJC bought it so I wouldn’t have to.

    What does it sound like? It’s slow-building, ominous, and scary; mostly non-intrusive, but with very little to comfort or soothe. Bubbling waves of digital synthesis; shuddering bass, deep metallic drone, off-key orchestral swells, and wineglass harmonic interplay just on the edge of bearable; muffled rhythmns accumulating many layers of sound. It’s lush even where turning jagged and/or loud. I would call it Death Ambient, if that means anything to you; or you can just imagine the sound of hunter-killer robots swiping searchlights through radioactive smoke to find survivors.

    I have Korgs at home so I recognize the aesthetic, as well as the amount of mixing control that must have been required to spontaneously produce something this smooth. No screaming and shouting but there seem to be ultra-modulated voices buried deep within a few key moments of the mix. The Propergol-ish A3 sets itself apart by managing a kind of torpid Industrial aggression.

    Overall an excellent spook show that will like people who like Stratvm Terror, Endvra, Bastard Noise, or recent KFJC pit-stopper Zaimph.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Nuit Noire – “Inner Light” – [Seed Stock Records]

    innerlight

    Founded in 1997, Nuit Noire is Tenebras, AKA Mallory Julia, who is from Tolouse, France. He comes out of the Black Metal scene, but his band is not so easy to categorize. He has been known to refer to his music as “blasting faerical punk,” and indeed, despite the many Black Metal tropes at work, it’s clearly not church-burning music. It’s a bit too lightweight. Throughout this 2015 LP I was asking myself “Wait, is it Black Metal? Is it Death Rock? Is it Post-Punk? Shoegaze?” What good are these genre names, really? The group’s main themes are fairies, folklore and forests, and the dark/romantic dynamic of the music reflects that. Some screeching and some dramatic wailing. Is it too sensitive to be metal? How seriously are we supposed to take it? Anyway, I think a certain Alcest owes Mr. Tenebras a cut.

    Julia is joined by his brother Andy on drums, who has played with a lot of important French Black Metal projects including Celestia, Peste Noire, Mutiilation and Darvulia. This whole thing was actually recorded back in 2003, and some songs have appeared elsewhere in other versions. According to Tenebras, a disagreement between the siblings delayed the album’s release for twelve years. These cuts are really spectacular, though. So out-of-the-box. A little Joy Division meets Ulver, Immortal, Forgotten Woods, Belketre, Rudimentary Peni, Antischism. The good kind of “Post-Metal” buzz.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Troum – “Acouasme” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

    acouasme

    When Helge Siehl departed Dark Ambient trio Maeror Tri in 1996, effectively breaking up the group, the remaining two members, Martin Glitschel and Stefan Knappe, continued as the dizzyingly prolific Troum (‘Dream’). I don’t know how to effectively distinguish between the oeuvres of the two projects, except to say that the Troum stuff has tended to embrace rhythm more than Maeror’s pure drone sound. Even so, on this 2015 CD, there’s plenty of the gossamer floating, deep prehistoric bass rumbling, and off-kilter meandering chord progression that characterized the older group’s occult sound; the tribal percussion I most associate with Troum only kind of rears its head here, on the epic final track’s Gog-like Doom Metal drum pattern. Otherwise it’s pretty pure Dark Ambient textures, sans beats, with a deceptive lightness.

    At low volume these tracks are relaxing, but turn them up and you may discover layers of cosmic anxiety. I think of life forms in other galaxies, or of Ray Bradbury’s short story ‘The Sound of Thunder.’ The sounds are always in flux, so don’t come here expecting simple drone pieces. From the insert: “Everything recorded & mixed endlessly through the years 2007 – 2015. Used and abused: electric and acoustic guitars, voice, field recordings (Monte Pisano, La Gomera, Hamburg Landungsbrucken), instrumentum primitivum, flute orientale, cymbals, metal objects, tapes.” I would have though there was synthesis going on, too, but I suppose not… From the eldrtich strains of the evocatively titled first track through to the inconclusive hissing finale of the last, this is a pretty outstanding Dark Ambient work, created by German obsessives who helped found the genre and continue to push it forward.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 26, 2017 at 2:11 am
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  • Dissecting Table – “Kaiboudai” – [Crowd Control Activities]

    kaiboudai

    Japanese madman Ichiro Tsuji runs the UPD Organization label. He has also been releasing outsider Industrial music as Dissecting Table since 1986, evoking a motley pallette of Western projects founded before and after (Foetus, Skinny Puppy, Coil, Einsturzende Neubauten, Mz.412, Nocturnal Emissions, Test Dept, Scorn) and the sincere weirdos of Japan’s own experimental scene (Zeni Geva, White Hospital).

    This 1999 3xCD compilation contains more Dissecting Table than you could every possibly want, bringing together 1986′s ‘Ultimate Psychological Description’ 7″ (t.s 1.1+1.2), 1987′s ‘Ultra Point of Intersection Exist’ debut LP (t.s 1.3-1.9) and collection/previously unreleased tracks (discs 2 and 3). Only t.s 1.1+2.1 can already be found in KFJC’s library, on old collection CDs.

    Tsuji’s singular style basically consists of frantic, tribal sequenced beats and instruments, weird Power Electronics textures and developmentally disabled Grindcore grunts. At times it’s like a poorly programmed AI trying to reproduce Death Metal with machines (and a captive howler monkey), but it never quite sounds fully musical.

    Disc 1 is mostly vocals, beats, synth noise and samples. Disc 2 adds sequenced ‘Classical’ instrumentation and music box insanity into the mix for a tortu(r)ous Winchester Mystery House experience, and includes a couple pieces on the more abstract side (t.s 2.2+2.4). Disc 3 is completely different: one ultra-long ‘Test Work’ from 1985, an Aeolian harp of crackling and grinding pedal distortion that barely changes for 48 minutes. The birth of Harsh Noise Wall?

    Solid gold from the always-reliable Crowd Control Activities label. Our copy (#15/500) is autographed.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Desolation Angels – “Valhalla / Boadicea” – [Buried By Time and Dust Records]

    DESOLATION-ANGELS-Valhalla

    Named after a Kerouac novel, London’s Desolation Angels were a lesser band from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They basically sounded like a slightly grittier version of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden (although singer Dave Wall was no Rob Halford and indeed no Paul Di’Anno). Great, thuggish, heavy, cantering, Morris-Minor-alienating anthems on this 2012 reproduction of their debut 45RPM single, originally self-released in 1984. In true NWOBHM nerd style, ‘Valhalla’ is about Valhalla and ‘Boadicea’ is about Boadicea. Cocksure, obnoxious and brilliant cuts from rockers who should’ve been bigger.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 18, 2017 at 10:23 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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