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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
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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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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  • Bethlehem – “Dictius Te Necare” – [Red Stream]

    dictius

    Bethlehem were once one of the most influential German Black Metal groups, although their style incorporated Doom, Death, and Groove into what they called ‘Dark Metal,’ the extreme genre that never was. Their second album, from 1996, is “dedicated to all suicide victims,” and its title is Latin for ‘Thou Shalt Kill Thyself,’ or something like that. The band was formed in response to numerous suicides among its members’ friends, including that of bassist Jurgen Bartsch’s pregnant girlfriend.

    Yes, this was an influence on the development of the Depressive-Suicidal sound but it’s heavy in a way a lot of that music is not. Bone dry guitars cutting perfectly cold and desolate riffs, skeletal drums, ghostly keyboards (sometimes!), deathrock basslines, and the most amazing, batshit-crazy sounding Black Metal screams of all time. Session man Rainer Landferman gasps, shrieks, chokes, sputters, growls and rants through these songs like he’s hearing the music at low volume through one headphone to make room for the voices in his head dictating the words. It’s all in German, but I can make out references to stone chains, blood, death, snakes, darkness and “animalistic blasphemy.” Apparently the lyrics are pretty hard to follow even if you do speak the language. Pass the thorazine.

    T.5 appears on the soundtrack to Harmony Korine’s film ‘Gummo,’ for which the band also contributed one original song.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 12, 2017 at 12:34 am
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  • Blue Sabbath Black Cheer – “Burning Witches” – [MONDO ANTHEM]

    image1 (2)

    A harsh noise 7″ single is a funny thing. Like a good execution each side is over too quickly. Side 1 scrapes in time to demoniac vocalizations and the screams of the burning. Side two explores collisions of HNW and complex analog electronic interplay ending with a translucent machine drone in the pit of your sinking stomach. Both pieces ritualistic and very tasteful, monochromatic without eschewing variation. Seattle’s BSBC have played at KFJC at least once. Whatever it takes to be ‘good’ at apocalyptic Industrial noise racket, they’ve got it. “Stan Reed, William Rage, Crystal Perez: Dense, Harsh Noise Drift; Dual Damaged Guitars; Broken Electronics and Faulty Cables; Roaring Vocals; Piercing Screams; Horror Show.” Mastered by M S Waldron of irr. app. (ext.) and Nurse With Wound.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 10, 2017 at 6:59 pm
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  • Lucisferrato – “Ingermanland” – [Hau Ruck!]

    ingermanland

    The Austrian label Hau Ruck! is the Tesco imprint of Der Blutharsch’s Albin Julius. On this 2002 release, HR! presents ritual-psychotic post-Industrial soundscapes from the solo project of Russian Yuri Sakevic, active since 1996. This CD is actually a retitled reissue of 1999′s ‘Gotterdammerung’ album on Russia’s Black Dead Rabbit Productions. ‘Lucis Ferrato’ means ‘Iron-Clad Light,’ I think.

    Most pieces build layers upon layers of singing/chanting/wailing into swarming Greek Choruses of lamentation. At first I assumed the voices were sampled but I think most of the vocal parts are actually original recordings of Sakevic himself, who seems to be a pretty skilled singer. Sometimes the voices are clearly differentiated, and sometimes they blur together into organic drones. T1 seems to have lyrics, but they are extremely distorted. The pieces also draw on Lustmordian electronics, gongs, bells, chimes and various mystery sounds, often giving the recordings an alchemist’s-chamber atmosphere highly reminiscent of 1980s Ain Soph, the early LPs of Diamanda Galas, and Ligeti’s ‘Requiem.’ Imagine snowfall by the darkened cloisters of an ancient satanic monastery high in the mountains. Near the end of the album the energy level rises with T.6′s Toroidh march and Hitler sample and T7′s concluding outburst. Very bizarre, very unsettling sounds.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm
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  • Die Verbannten Kinder Evas – “Dusk and Void Become Alive” – [Napalm Records]

    verbannten

    Austrian Neoclassical Darkwave shamelessly mining the trickling veins of Dead Can Dance and Arcana. It is beautiful, though.

    ‘Die Verbannten Kinder Evas’ is German for ‘The Banished Children Of Eve.’ The group originally began as a side-project of both members of the Neoclassical Black Metal project Summoning. By 2006, on this most recent album, DBKE was mainly the project of Richard Lederer (AKA Protector), the other Summoning guy having departed. All music was composed by Lederer and performed by him on keyboards.

    DBKE has been fronted by a variety of lady singers, most recently by comely Greek Christina Kroustali (AKA Lady of Carnage), whose fine soprano is either improved or damaged by heavy reverb. Lederer sings the male parts, so to speak. It’s all very archaic, almost religious-sounding chanty stuff. Nearly all of the lyrics are from the repertoire of John Dowland. You might ask yourself why they bothered re-setting the words of one of the Renaissance’s greatest balladeers, but apparently Dowland’s lyrics were not his own in the first place, being often drawn from popular poetry of the Elizabethan era.

    If you enjoy the sophisticated melodic sweep of Summoning but don’t like the metal aspect, this is the release for you.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm
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  • Burzum – “Burzum/Aske” – [Back on Black]

    burzum-aske-lp

    “Isn’t he racist” Yes, and a confessed murderer too (of an arguably better musician), and an arsonist of cultural heritage sites, and the holder of all manner of extremely bizarre views besides. Take an honest look at the stone in your own eye, thou hypocrite, and you may find out you’re not doing so hot yourself. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say all honkies are “racist” nowadays, whether we like it or not: that is at least so far as the, ahem, cultural hegemony is concerned.

    Recorded in 1992 by one man, under a full moon, at the Grieg concert hall’s studio (where Emperor also made albums), and originally released on future victim and Mayhem founder Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions, Burzum’s debut didn’t invent Black Metal but it did pioneer the style most often associated with the genre: call it the ‘dark forest’ sound. Its inhuman vocalizations, sickly, buzzing guitar tone, flurried drumming and mournful atmosphere were very influential on the development of the ‘raw’ and ‘depressive’ scenes: see Forgotten Woods, Ildjarn, Ulver and Mutiilation for more information. Contrary to what you may have read on any number of clickbait websites, there’s little here that could be called political content. The lyrics are adolescent (nineteen-year-old) fantasies of violence and power. There are also settings of an ancient Sumerian invocation (A2) and a spell intended to destroy the world (A3). If you want my opinion (and you do, right?), Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkien (‘Burzum’ is Black Speech for ‘darkness’) are more important thematic influences here than Wiligut. This Back on Black reissue also includes the tracks from 1993′s ‘Aske’ (‘Ashes’) EP on the D side. Technically it’s a reissue of the compiled ‘Burzum’/'Aske’ release on Misanthropy Records from 1995. B1 and C2 are ambient and B3 and D2 are instrumental guitar tracks.

    The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how you or I may feel about Varg Vikernes or Burzum now, because the movement he started that night at Fantoft Stave has achieved its own momentum, and we will win :-)

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 29, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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  • If Opera’s Not Your Thing… [coll] – [Super Art Media]

    unnamed

    2002 Norcal Noise Festival compilation. Noisefest happens in Sacramento and it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Each convocation has attracted as performers both ‘stars’ of the noise scene and people of whom nobody ain’t never done heard. As for the audience, well there’s the other bands of course, and also an assortment of odiferous and shambolic weirdos, some drunk, some ‘high on life…’ Don’t touch ‘em or you might bring home a new friend, if you know what I mean. Recording quality is good and many different forms of experimental music are represented, although most tracks are electronics-based.

    1. “If opera’s not your thing you can head to the Norcal Noisfest in Sacramento this weekend. The festival showcases 32 experimental bands playing non-tradition instruments with unusual technique. Don’t be surprised if power tools, metal tubes and tweaking electronic effects are part of the lineup. If you don’t hear the festival, chances are you won’t be hearing NOISE on any radio station.”
    2. Products of Conception: Deepspace probe convention.
    3. The Abstractions: Abstract jazz.
    4. Chachi Jones & Sawako: Gong Show cut ups.
    5. Xeno Volcano: 3-minute science fiction radioplay without dialogue
    6. +DOG+: Pretty much what you’d expect from the founder of Love Earth Music. FCC.
    7. krysTal marimba lounge: Marimba musicbox sequence and surreal utterance.
    8. C/A/T: Sinister Industrial prowler.
    9. Instagon: Slapstick seizure.
    10. Pop Culture Rape Victim: 9/11 remembered in Power Electronics.
    11. Delayed Sleep: Kraut Psych hospital for Grandpa.
    12. Stimbox: NOW WE’RE FUCKING MOVING!
    13. Saint of Killers: Noise Rock with elements of Exteme Metal, Jazz and Pentecostalism.
    14. Xome: Excellent squall.
    15. Uberkunst: Absolutely retarded. FCC.
    16. Sickness: Sickness rules.

    You might like this even if opera is your thing.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 28, 2017 at 11:50 pm
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  • Necrot – “Labyrinth, The” – [Tankcrimes]

    necrotch

    Necrot! The destiny of this Oakland Death Metal band has been intertwined with KFJC’s ever since Number Six acquired a copy of the first demo back at Deadfest 2012. You can find evidence on Live From The Devil’s Triangle Volume 16 of that same year’s Firebunker live mic session. Just in time for their scheduled second appearance on our airwaves comes this LP, mastered by Dissector of Ghoul, which compiles all three demo tapes released thus far. It’s true that our library has two of the tapes already but look a squirrel.

    For their first two tapes (A1-B1), both released 2012, Necrot was the duo of cadaverous Italian growler/guitarist Luca Indrio (Acephalix, Vastum, Lawless) and San Jose local Chad Gailey (Bruxers, Caffa, Vastum, Rude, Atrament) on the hammers. In 2014 their third release (B2-B4) brought in Sonny Reinhardt (Saviours) to play lead guitar, with Indrio sticking to bass. It’s probably easier to play live with three members.

    In their search for the dankest chainsaw riffs yet unheard, Necrot embrace a stripped-down, sometimes grooving sound, kind of raw in a way that approximates Gothenberg Death Metal superheroes like Dismember and At The Gates, cept in their young daze before they all went to shit. It’s NOT sloppy, but it does have a studied looseness and a haphazard race-for-the-end quality that will appeal to fans of Punk. They might be less excited about dying than some bands. That said, it’s Death Metal through and through, baby. All hail.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 27, 2017 at 11:08 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Death In June – “Peaceful Snow” – [NER]

    p

    This 2010 CD is the most recent proper album from Anti-Free-Speech Action’s favourite gay, vegetarian, British-working-class, pro-Israel neo-Nazi.

    Douglas P. is a legendary figure and voice in the post-punk scene, and as a matter of fact, KFJC co-presented his last show in San Francisco, where a small and rather pathetic congregation of picketers made known their displeasure with the artist’s consistent use of Third Reich imagery, as well, I’d imagine, as his refusal to disavow his own curious brand of New Right/Post-Left (but hardly Hitlerian) politics. His outlook and uniforms are an uncomfortable combo to be sure, but I wonder if that’s the point… Gee whiz…

    Another point: there is and shall be no band in the world like Death in June; furthermore, Death in June has never been a political band per se. The artist’s interrogation of modernity’s numerous betrayals (on the personal and international scale) certainly lends itself to political analysis (e.g. t.1), but ‘Peaceful Snow’ is essentially distilled from the thoughts and feelings of a poetically-inclined gay man facing old age on his horizon and with a lifetime of refusal to compromise at his back. Although there is some bile here, in many ways it is the most tender album he has ever done, summoning the inevitable spectre of his old group, Current 93 (‘Soft Black Stars,’ anyone?) in its sober treatment of lost connections and truths long tried by the passage of time; you could say there’s some Leonard Cohen in there too, actually, whose body of work is an apter point of reference for Di6′s than one might think.

    The songs are all enriched and expanded by Douglas’ newest collaborator, Neofolk neophyte Miro Snejdr (he has a Death in June tattoo), who transcribed them from guitar to intricate and fragile piano passages, somehow evoking both Burt Bacharach and Ozymandias.

    I was a fool not to have checked this out sooner, because it was easily the best Death in June album since ‘Operation Hummingbird.’

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 15, 2017 at 4:08 pm
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  • Dragged Into Sunlight – “Widowmaker” – [Prosthetic Records]

    dis

    Masked and anonymous quintet of serial killer worshipers from the United Kingdom. This is their second full length release, from 2012. It is really one 40-minute song, but the CD version divides it into three tracks. The first part is basically instrumental rock with wandering guitar and funerary violin, like a more evil Godspeed You Black Emperor. Parts two and three are Black/Death/Doom Metal monstrosities of unforgiving heaviness with demonic shrieks and crushing guitar vortices. Shreds of Bolt Thrower, Bethlehem, and Portal surface. All three parts feature samples from interviews with famous psychopaths, sometimes buried in the mix like on that one shitty Pink Floyd album. I think Dragged Into Sunlight are one of the sickest Death Metal bands around today, and they definitely push the genre to its limits here. Very evil, in a timeless way. The “widowmaker” myocardial infarcation is the occlusion of the anterior interventricular branch of the left coronary artery, which causes a massive and lethal heart attack, which means one less carbon footprint and one less boring opinion.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm
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  • Wolfkind, Bain – “You’re Surely Gonna Die” – [Not Just Religious Music]

    bainw

    Dirgey Swamp-Rock (or swampy Dirge-Rock?) from Der Blutharsch’s drinkin’, whorin’, sunglasses-at-night-wearin’ court jester, AKA Novo Homo. The Australia-based Black Irish bastard offers up two slabs of tongue-in-cheek fatalism sounding like The Scientists, Roland S. Howard and The Gun Club boot-partying Roy Orbison at the wrong speed. This is on King Dude’s label but Wolfkind does the Neofolk-Country-Cough-Syrup-Blues thing much better than Dude could ever dream. Threats on side A, come-ons on side B. FCC side A.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 7, 2017 at 8:03 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Haynes, Jim – “Wires Cracked, The” – [Editions Mego]

    haynesj

    Rashad Decker mastered this 2013 release, our local Drone Ranger’s only work on Mego to date. Don’t you dare call it noise, it’s “electroacoustic music”; after all it was created at the Djarassi resident artist’s program. Sweet Jimmy H. collected source sounds between 2007 and 2012 but says the only contexts he can remember are “the desolate howl of a metal screen activated by a desert wind, the hissing air compression from the cooling apparatus for a laser at [SLAC], and the tremolo rhythms from a thin wire” and yep that’s the vibe here, lonely desolate haunted sounds, part organic and part constructed, disconcerting even in lush moments. The two-track A side is more eventful, with dense rushes of startling static and crackling electroshocks speckling grinding gears and passing traffic. The B side is like a wide, windy, abandoned place where squinting reveals shuffling hordes of ghosts. Sometimes curiously sterile and sometime bursting at the seams with emotion, this collection of manipulated sounds is intended to convey “[e]xistential rupturing, the collapse of the self, the aftershocks of dark energy, and a belief in the hope for renewal.” A mesmerizing effort on par with Nurse With Wound (they have collaborated), Lustmord or Crawl Unit.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 7, 2017 at 7:26 pm
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  • Unto Ashes – “Burials Foretold” – [Projekt Records]

    untoashes

    Influential Darkwave from New York City, closely associated with Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Projekt Records. This album is from 2012, recorded in Germany and Texas. Active since 1999, Unto Ashes is the pet primarily of Michael Laird. Delicate Neoclassical and ‘Dark Folk’ arrangements with male and female vocals, more Dead Can Dance than Sol Invictus. Other possible influences in the Gothic vein include Ordo Equitum Solis and Jarboe. Furthermore, a solid streak of Psychedelic Pop runs through this CD, bringing up associations with Syd Barrett and others of his ilk (‘Pilzentanz’ indeed).

    Much of the material comes from other sources, including theology (the 12th Century Apocalypse of Golias), poetry (Ambrose Bierce, Robert Frost, Cicely Mary Barker) and other bands (Apoptygma Berzerk, Van Halen) but the interpretations are quite brilliant and form a cohesive statement here about aging, regret and death. You and everyone you love are on the graveyard train. BTW there is bagpipe on some tracks. Respect the bagpipe.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 1, 2017 at 5:46 pm
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  • Sutcliffe Jugend – “Offal” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

    tmkins

    Sutcliffe Jugend was founded in 1982 when Kevin Tomkins was still a member of Whitehouse. William Bennett may have abandoned noise music for the sequenced Afro-worship of Cut Hands, but this offshoot project is still going strong. When you want to compete with Whitehouse you need to be pretty extreme, and Tomkins certainly always has been. Does he really hate women as much as he claims to, or does his career amount to 30+ years of serial-killer-themed performance art? I dunno.

    Over the years Tomkins (also a painter) and co-conspirator Paul Taylor have gradually let slip the ultra-formalism of Come Organisation synthesizer torment to dabble in various experimental electronic styles, although retaining the core of extreme hatred that keeps emotionally unwell fans returning time and again. This 2016 album is one of four releases from last year, and it is definitely more traditional than the duo’s other recent releases on Cold Spring (e.g. 2012′s extraordinary death ambient opus ‘Blue Rabbit’). Here a robust mixture of digital and analog electronic tweaks (with hinted beats on t.s 3+4) back Tomkins’ profane, confessional prose poetry, delivered with the frothing impotence of a straitjacketed mental patient. Some of the invective may in fact be leveled against the consumer of industrial music, i.e. you. Tomkins is a pretty great improvisational vocal stylist, too. Listen and you’ll see what I mean. FCCs on all tracks of course.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on February 27, 2017 at 7:38 pm
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  • Torturium – “Black Lunatic Chaos” – [Aura Mystique Productions]

    black lun

    Finnish Black Metal from a lone hatemonger going by ‘War Torech,’ the only other official member of Satanic Warmaster, where he used to play guitar. Torturium has not released anything since this 2006 album. These songs employ similarly ceremonial repetition but are generally more anguished and off-kilter than SW’s, and a little more baroque than Finnish BM in general (this 2006 release is on a French label). He’s a good guitarist with the strong fingers of a classical player, and the dramatic flourishes are appreciated. Unobtrusive keys dis-grace some tracks. The voice is a highlight, cracked and disturbing. Despite some moments of ‘Black Metal Deja Vu,’ (Dimhymn?) the riffs are generally fresh and compelling, conveying melancholy and delirium. Synth intro commences track one.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on February 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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