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Bölzer – “Hero” – [Iron Bonehead Productions]

whngr   3/19/2020   12-inch, A Library

Crushing Expressive Two-piece

Impressively full sounding guitar work and a decisive pummeling from these two beasts from Sweden circa 2016. Incredibly heavy riffs with gnarly hooks that will impregnate themselves and swell in your brain like an intracranial hematoma, spewing sonic devastation in to the folded lobes of sentience. To attempt to slide Hero into any single genre minimizes the incredible effort and accomplishment of this album, they draw expansively from several and yet still carve out some territory that is decidedly unique. Rest assured, this is metal but I’ll warrant you haven’t heard anything quite like it. The bass is handled proficiently by Okoi Therry Jones and the upper detuned strings of his ten-string guitar (WTF?) but what ultimately strikes this miserable volunteer dumb are the melodies that are spread liberally between the rhythm. From shimmering chords to single-note picking like a crow stabbing away in a metered pattern at its quarry, to a proliferation of trem-picked savagery. And then there are the drums. A massive barrage awaits. Raining down from the heavens and crashing into his skins like a mighty ocean against its craggy shore. Unfortunately, I simply am not qualified to speak on drum technique or potential influences, but I can speak to Fabian Wyrsch’s ability: this guy fucking batters. There is a deeper resonance though. Something beyond the instrumentation or style. It seems to me that this is a highly personal project, one with an ethos and a trajectory. Complex concepts that are alluded to but not thoroughly revealed. A tenuous step towards arcane knowledge and the spiritual realm and off the well beaten path of the Luciferian, the atheist, or the heretic and forging ground more akin to the Magi or the Shaman. Hero endeavors to partially break away from the sound of their previous recordings, sparingly employing some clean vocals that may make you want to initially pan this release or maybe you’re too cvlt for Bölzer’s first LP which is respectable. I appreciate your narrow mindset, you are thoroughly dedicated to the banner that you have been waving for the last few years or decades but I am a multi-faceted monster. One with a fairly short attention span that craves stimulation (perhaps you know of what I speak), so when a band takes a chance and leaves the confines of their following’s expectations my ears will tend to twist towards the sounds not yet heard. The ones begging to be processed. An often remunerating endeavor. I advise you to do the same. You will be rewarded, if not in this life… then perhaps the next.

Blodulv – “III – Burial” – [Eerie Art Records]

whngr   3/19/2020   A Library, CD

Ugly Swedish Black Metal

Straight-ahead mid to up-tempo misanthropic black metal from Sweden circa 2005 book-ended by two abstractions (Intro: vocal-based aggressive noise, Outro: delay-based artifact loop). Gallops, riffs, trem-picked power chords, lumbering, and methodical. Heavily distorted vocals and primitive bXm guitar… might be some bass and drums in there too but they are so buried and weak in the mix they were appear to have been afterthought. The band which may or may not have included a drum machine designated Dr. M (which was dumped for “failing to obey orders”) was subsequently replaced by Mr. Maachinaa and according to AEIFUR (lyrics) in an interview over a decade passed, 

“We have never rehearsed, and we never will. We only see each other once every two months when we get together to record, but then that cold feeling of luciferian(sic) darkness appears almost immediately”

Taking pride in their low quality and antiquated equipment, which must have contributed to the lame recording/mixing of III-Burial, they also appear to revel in their drunkenness , or perhaps they want their listeners to (falsely) emulate their self-destructive behavior to hasten their demise as is their total commitment to the downfall of humanity. Sadly, the band failed to survive that long as the fraying tethers of society wouldn’t truly begin to snap until March of 2020. I applaud Blodulv’s lack of refinement, it harkens back to simpler, punker, times but… they might have benefited by spending a little more time together in the room before they hit ‘record’, though I guess we shan’t ever know. On the other hand perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today, facing immanent collapse, if it were not for this, the final recording by Blodulv, maybe we’d still marching toward “progress” were it not for their parting shot at a crumbling global civilization.

Diocletian – “Amongst The Flames Of A Bvrning God” – [Profound Lore Records]

whngr   3/18/2020   A Library, CD

Horrifying Kiwi Death Metal

All aboard the good ship Pummel-the-Corpse-in-to-Oblivion! Though on-line sources say that this album marks a step away from Diocletian’s supremacy over the New Zealand metal scene, with the loss of several key members, and a return to their earlier less refined sound Amongst The Flames Of A Burning God is still a powerful missive and a shot across the bow of any metal-clad war-ship upon the seven seas. Diocletian has come under fire by some of their fans and though not quite as epic or as rotund as their previous release (2014’s Gesundrian), this recording is a stripped-down, back-to-basics aural assault, as well as a hefty (if rather short) and terrifying album. A little tech, a little death, a bit of power, a lot of violence, a dollop of doom, and a mighty slathering of war and rage! Fucking christ! These guys are full-on! Blast beating, double-kick thundering, thrashing, pick scraping, solo shredding, guttural bellowing, guttural barking, guttural yelling, a single tasteful pinch-harmonic, and an abundance of not so tasteful (but kinda awesome) trem dives. Which might provide a possible bridge between death metal and power violence or perhaps doom metal and war metal if, like myself, you sometimes like to throw a hybrid into your set for smooth transitions between genres.

Burial Hex – “Hierophant, The” – [Handmade Birds]

whngr   3/14/2020   12-inch, A Library

A pensive and surreal excursion over a sultry dreamscape comprised of rolling fields of long-grass that bend against a gentle wind like the breath of a dying god, knolls of indifference dotted with gilded copses of oak trees, festooned with gossamer webs of regret and doubt. Timid worrying brooks like forgotten tears that course wistfully through archaic ravines like the lines that were once traced over the body of a long-lost lover. Towards sprawling meditative oceans whose nacreous waves crash upon rocky coasts, inimical under the hyalescent sky. Somewhere amidst this oneiric terrain lies an ancient catacomb and within its crumbling walls roams the Minotaur, the last of all living beasts, ageless and eternal.
Though I was only superficially cognizant of Burial Hex, in part due to the sprawling and voluminous magnitude of his releases, it still was apparent that The Hierophant was a departure for Clay Ruby. While continuing to blend electronic and conventional instrumentation, avant-garde and noise elements, haunting plaintive vocals, bells, piano, heavily effected guitar and bass guitar, synthesizer, drums, brass, strings both bowed and plucked; there now appear to be lesser drawn upon and even novel arrows in his quiver. Forlorn howling and shrieking, guttural articulation, off-pitch crooning ,crickets, whispers, and wind. Mixed adeptly by the seemingly ubiquitous James Plotkin, this outing from 2014 avoids comfortable categorization.
These five compositions feel deeply scrutinized with a profound awareness of phrasing, there is no hint of improvisation. Every sound has purpose and the billowing space between these sounds give them life and punctuation reminding one of Whitman, Joyce, or Chaucer. Like the parable of Icarus it draws an arc towards an impossibly lofty target, where even when the mark is missed, a pivotal tale is told for all men that follow. A lesson for humanity so that it might grow and a offer a warding from ill-fated paths charted with hubris and folly. And though I may have thought that this album had at times missed its target, perhaps appearing pretentious or grandiose, I found after several listens I began to soften and then to be captivated. After many more it seemed, the issue was not with The Hierophant but with myself. That in fact, it was a riddle to be solved, and that I was a part of the magnificent solution. 

Malone, Kali – “Sacrificial Code, The” – [Ideal Recordings]

whngr   3/13/2020   12-inch, A Library

Resplendent pulls from Scandinavian pipe organs on these beautifully performed minimalist dirges from American composer Kali Malone. Closely mic-ed to allow the listener to hear the subtle mechanics underneath the enervate drones. Breathtaking and meditative minor-key monophonic and sparse polyphonic notes held for gloriously long durations. Banishing the hollow sentiments of folly and mirth, we are ushered towards introspection, longing, and reverence. Hauntingly seductive, there is little inference to Christian philosophies or doctrine on this understated and elegant double LP other than the track titles which speaks to the dichotomy between Malone’s relationship to the church and to the organs they contain. 

She states, “In my mind, it was still so connected to the traditions of the church, It wasn’t yet sonically liberated from that particular setting and culture for me.” 

These pieces resonate with the essence of my being, the immaculate tone and timbre vibrating for what feels like an eternity. The only allusion to rhythm being the 1:08 minute track on side D, Hagakyrka Bells (D1). The prelude to a live performance with Ellen Arkbro in the Haga parish of Gothenburg in April of 2018.

Vatican Shadow – “Byzantine Private CIA” – [Hospital Productions]

whngr   3/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Warm pulses, decaying throbs, slithering oscillations, languid drone, and ghostly abstractions to lull you into a somnolent repose.
Dark-ambient, light-industrial, with dulcet techno leanings and in curious contrast with the packaging and imagery suggested by the track titles listeners will find themselves swimming in a soothing bath of audial electronics.

This 2019 vinyl re-release of the 2010 cassette by the prolific Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Cold Cave, Tortured Hooker, et al.), architect and founder of Hospital Productions, Byzantine Private CIA is a lush journey through a shadow-world of clandestine energies vying for control of our subconscious minds. Though at times somber and perhaps unsettling for some, it is in its entirety, a lavish slide through the dreams of an undercover operative deep within enemy lines.

Oil Thief – “Colony, The” – [Chondritic Sound]

whngr   2/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Sinister industrial sounds that utilize inexorable rhythms to pummel the listener in to subjugation before repeated dustings by complex layers of often mellifluous noise and abstractions are applied that sooth, divert, and console at which point the bludgeoning continues, beckoning us to the dance floor.

Electronic beats, squeals, formidable thumps, violin, static, synthesizer, drones, footsteps, foghorns, echoes, pulses, modulated voices, choral elements, organ, and a bit of anguished yells just towards the conclusion. Oil Thief is the solo project of Lee Landey, Bass player of the heavy psychedelic project Wand from Los Angeles (Excellent and represented in our Library). And… we’d like to welcome you to the party Doctor Dark-Industrial, may I introduce you to Lady Techno and her bastard son, Light-Noise. They’re going to guide you through a tour of your subconscious, casting a strobe light upon your nightmares and the deep-seeded neuroses of your battered inner-child but along the way you’ll meet a primal God-queen that will bless you with a wreath of profound beauty, pin you with the coveted Medal of Introspective Valour, and kiss your cheek with lips like a blooming rose. Released in 2019 in a gorgeous (double) jacket and limited to 300 copies, The Colony is a tightly woven dichotic tapestry. Statuesque and erudite, a beautifully constructed cloak of contrasting elements that are confrontational and heavy yet lovingly adorned with a sumptuous array of conciliatory sonic ornament by a thoughtful, adroit, and considerate architect.

Shit and Shine – “Doing Drugs, Selling Drugs” – [Riot Season]

whngr   2/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Electronic brain-melting curb-stomp.

Ponderous drums, squealing guitars, thundering bass, decaying riffs, binary disruption, affected vocal gripes, slightly buried guitar noodling, synthesizer, Musique concrète, dirge, aural sculpture. Heavily effected everything. Intensity of hardcore punk, complexity of jazz, both highly percussive and at times arrhythmic, psychedelic, unnerving, base, guttural defiling of nuance yet clever and informed. An excellent album for segueing between noise/industrial and sludge/power-violence. Shit and Shine is the London based project of Craig Clouse. Originally from Texas, which certainly explains some of the shit kicking qualities along with the cover art, t’was formed in 2004 and as of the time of this writing has released 13 full length recordings and several other splits, singles, and comps, has played on Brian Turner’s show on WFMU, has been awarded slot eighty-eight on NME’s The 100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard list, and is fairly heavily represented in our Library, one of them being the aforementioned prize winner, “Jealous of Shit and Shine” (Riot Season Records). Recommended for alienating daytime listeners and making jockeys heart skip beats when it sounds like the cd player siezed for perpetuity before they realize that it is one of only three-hundred LP’s and vinyl don’t skip like that son.

Electronic brain-melting curb-stomp.Heavy drums, squealing guitars, thundering bass, decaying riffs, binary disruption, affected vocal gripes, slightly buried guitar noodling, synthesizer, Musique concrète, dirge, aural sculpture. Heavily effected everything. Intensity of hardcore punk, complexity of jazz, both highly percussive and at times arrhythmic, psychedelic, unnerving, base, guttural defiling of nuance yet clever and informed. An excellent album for segueing between noise/industrial and sludge/power-violence. Shit and Shine is the London based project of Craig Clouse. Originally from Texas, which certainly explains some of the shit kicking qualities along with the cover art, t’was formed in 2004 and as of the time of this writing has released 13 full length recordings and several other splits, singles, and comps, has played on Brian Turner’s show on WFMU, and has been awarded slot eighty-eight on NME’s The 100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard list. Recommended for alienating daytime listeners and making jockeys heart skip beats when it sounds like the cd player siezed for perpetuity before they realize that it is one of only three-hundred LP’s and vinyl don’t skip like that son.

. Recommended for alienating daytime listeners and making jockeys heart skip beats when it sounds like the cd player siezed for perpetuity before they realize that it is one of only three-hundred LP’s and vinyl don’t skip like that son.

Livid – “Life Is Pain Life Is Shit” – [No Time Records]

whngr   2/20/2020   A Library, Cassette

Ghastly detuned bludgeoning.
This menacing two-piece out of Kenosha, Wisconsin draw down on your sense of well being with a furious rage. Dirge, guttural bellows, feedback, blast beats, seedy samples, hair lashing, and neck snapping hXc riffage. Shake, rattle, and roll yourself off the precipice, brush the gravel off yer face, reset your shoulder, spit out a coupla’ teeth, let the blood to stream down your scowling visage, drag yourself up the cliff, and do it all over again on side B. @Bear’s_D.licious_honey, @slam_pit_with_loaded_deer_rifles, @PowerViolence, @TravisBickle, @Spock, @realtree_nail_bat, @malice_aforethought, @bring_a_straight_edge_to_hammered_fight
FCC on “Coward” (A4-B4) “Fuckin’ bitch”

Grim – “Psycho Sun” – [Steinklang Industries]

whngr   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Semi-solo project of Japanese avant-noise artist Kunagawa Jun of White Hospital evokes feelings of touring a sanitorium and visiting with a variety of lunatics exhibiting an array of symptoms, ailments, and behaviors. Indecipherable, unhinged mantras informed by the traditional folk music of Tibet wind through the album, sprinkled with organ and elements of musique concrete. Tribal drums interlaced with arrhythmic scrap yard percussion, haunting terrestrial melodies (A6-Radio Wave Church), electronic abstraction and alien instrumentation at times both beautiful and sad (B2- Glorious Tower), elsewhere primal and frightening (B3-Dharma), the album closes with the title track which borrows (perhaps unintentionally) from Devo’s – Mongoloid, pierces it with buried squeals of feedback as Kunagawa unspools his depiction of a mad monk losing his way upon The Path of the bodhi.
Compelling and challenging, stark and complex. Psycho Sun is raw and extemporaneous while simultaneously appearing carefully cultivated and refined. Both ritualistic and improvised, reverent and profane with an emphasis on contrast very much in line with Kunagawa’s visual aesthetic; there is beauty within the horror and a lucidity beneath the madness.

Armagedda – “Only True Believers” – [Drakkar Productions]

whngr   2/5/2020   A Library, CD

TWR: Straight-ahead Scandinavian metal.

Pvre, hermitic Swedish black metal without frills. Cold, grim, and cvlt, all the elements of trve Nordic metal are present with notable exception being the samples culled from final episode of Twin Peaks (original series) pinned to the opening and closing of this album from 2003 and a few fleeting death and doom metal aspects (tempo changes and solos). A bonus track was tacked to the end of this release of wind howling through the trees with a meandering spooky synth. This was the second full-length release by reclusive two-man black metal outfit Armagedda which was comprised of Andreas Petterson and Stefan Sandström (A. and Graav) who haled from the secluded forests of Lapland, the northernmost county of Norrland, itself the northernmost region of Sweden; cold, desolate, unforgiving, dark for half the year. Salient as these young men were so isolated and resolute in their worship of nature that they would ultimately abandon the project and the world of men… barring the inception of Nordvis Produktion 2005, the label run by Petterson which according to interviews is considered to be more of a commune of like-minded spirits, especially their collective reverence of nature and humanity’s insignificance when compared to her power and immensity. The word that A. employs is, vast which adds a desirable element in my opinion. Although Armagedda’s sound is concertedly informed by the Norwegian forefathers of 2nd wave black metal, Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, et al. there is an element of isolation that pervades their releases. Here Andreas describes a German tour that the band left before its end:
“We were young and lived in a world which consumed us, and the other way around. As the tour progressed, I remember a mounting distance between us and the remaining bands. Another memory forever etched in my head is an evening when we found a secluded forest area where we sat down by ourselves with an old tape-recorder, just enjoying the sound of something other than people speaking German. A great relief at the time, to be sure.” – A. Petterson
With Graav retiring from music and A. distancing himself from the black metal genre this album is widely considered to be the apex of Armagedda’s form and, in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, an excellent example of devastating sonic misanthropy.

Wulkanaz – “Wulkanaz” – [Helter Skelter (Sweden)]

whngr   1/30/2020   A Library, Cassette

A barrage of 14 crushing Scandinavian rock-falls from Wagner Odegard aka Kumulonimbus of Tomhet and 1 dark ambient soundscape.

These short and not so sweet offerings are a concise distillation of black metal with ugly rock hooks. All the fat has been trimmed, excising the often monotonous drone of double kicks and buried, over-driven trem picked guitars in favor of a variety of tempos, melodies, and tonal pallets that coalesce in to a furious volley of catchy cvlt black metal-literate rock. It feels like a gauntlet being hurled down by Odegard, as if to say, I have more scope and breadth than our progenitors, more talent than the commercial black metal behemoths, more vision than the throngs of mimics and emulators, more fury than a Valkyrie during Ragnarök, and potentially much more fuel in the fire. A vehement onslaught of short-form black metal but there is so much more to Wulkanaz; finger picking, strumming, galloping palm-mutes, growling and rending guitars, spoken word, shrieking, slaughter, battering and pummeling. In tight, short succession and very little repetition. Almost as soon as a theme is established it is resolved, leaving us gasping for breath and begging for more. And there is plenty to go ’round as the replay value is concertedly high. Though the compositions and performances stand out on this album the recording and mixing are excellent as well. And the drums… Odegard’ employs the drumming of Daniel Rockmyr to glorious effect, allowing him the space to rule on his throne, unleashing a fusillade of percussive devastation. This album is an axiom of power and, in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, a new apogee in the genre as it continues to fracture, expand, and evolve.

Andersen, Kristian Eidnes / Von Trier, Lars – “Antichrist” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, Soundtrack

Two beautiful (and to my ear, cloying) tracks composed by George Frideric Handel and 6 brooding, malevolent horror-scapes by department head of the sound design department at the National Film School of Denmark in collaboration with film writer/director Lars Von Trier that could be just about anything, heavily modified cello, an empty room, bowed sheet metal, a tea kettle with reverb, singing bowls submerged in tears, human breath through a saxophone sans reed, a blue whale on ergot of rye dreaming of the crypts below Paris.
The dichotomic nature of this album is alarming, especially within the context of the film. The lush aural filigree of Handel juxtaposed with the dark, abstract, and otherworldly landscapes built by K.E.A.and L.V.T. adds to the tension. The profound contrast is as jarring as any of the film’s three major climaxes. A film I enjoyed but was also slightly alarmed by. When it first came out I watched it alone and was perplexed. I needed others to see it as well, though I had a hard time recommending it, which might be easily understood by anyone who has seen the film. Let’s just say that it isn’t entirely clear who the target audience is or the message there in. So that I could perhaps gain some perspective, especially a woman’s perspective I asked the girl that I was flirting with at the time to come over for dinner and a movie (which would turn out to be my first ever Netflix and chill) but with the caveat that this movie might not be the best date movie (much less a first date movie). I was pleased when she suggested we watch it after we finished dinner. I was also pleased, though I fell asleep about half way through my second viewing, that the beautiful and slightly touched object of my desire chose to invite me into her libidinous clutches for a passionate and satisfying tête-à-tête after the credits began to roll. However, I thought this could be a very serious red-flag as well. Happily that turned out not to be the case and even if our courtship was relatively short lasting, I have only fond memories of this quizzically complex and stunning belle, and as of this writing, we remain friends. I’m sorry that it ended but it was painless and simple, very unlike the film, Antichrist.

Black Cilice – “Transfixion of Spirits” – [Iron Bonehead Productions]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Murky depressive black metal. 

One might choose to describe this album as grey metal though that moniker has already been attributed to another. Perhaps trve grey metal is more apt. This is lo-fi one man black metal, simple and barren. Flat, dead. dreary and bleak. But not because of poor recording but of purposely burying everything in the mix. Like the microphone was hung from the mouth of a cave while Black Cilice performed deep within the bowels of this earthen grotte. Heavily distorted, repetitive, and simple trem-picked guitar, blast beats, frozen vapor enveloping a crypt, affected wails, all the elements are in place but they are obfuscated by distance or perhaps the walls of cthonic chambers. Much like the depiction on the cover of Transfixion of Spirits, a diaphanous shroud of fog conceals the scowling spectre whose malevolent intentions can only be speculated. And fittingly, little is known of this esoteric project’s curriculum vitae, though said to be the creation of a single soul from an undisclosed location in Portugal. Beautifully packaged by German label, Iron Bonehead, on grey vinyl. An excellent accompaniment to any afternoon spent alone drawing skulls, or casting spells but especially as the heavens weep ceaseless tears.

Sixx – “Sister Devil” – [Nuclear War Now!]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Stripped down sad boy rock in the vein of Bauhaus, early Christian Death, and Sisters Of Mercy composed and performed by local heavy metallers, Von (Goat, Kill, and Snake) who would, in time, establish themselves as one of the most cvlt black metal projects of their era.
Originally released as a demo in 1991 on 500 cassettes and then pushed into the craggy depths of obscurity, this recording is a slightly low fidelity but reasonably well recorded and rehearsed chorus drenched guitar adulation of the macabre. Some might venture, to a level absurdity. But not I. I adore this kind of thing, and as it came from members of a band that had such power, speed, and vision adds a layer of context. Another level of morbidity. Repetitive, unpolished, atmospheric, brooding… it is an excellent snapshot of a time and a place, that many of us would be unaware was happening in the inky shadows just up the peninsula. I can’t say if I would have totally appreciated Sixx in 1991, but I would have loved Von had I been aware of their existence. Their history is mysterious and contentious among black metal mavens but this recording puts the a final nail in the coffin of any debate as to their talent, range, and foresight. This L.P. is beautifully packaged by Nuclear War Now! which is, in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, a fitting label to introduce this stunning project to 2020.

Dagger Lust – “Siege Bondage Adverse to The Godhead”-[Vrasubatlat]

whngr   1/16/2020   12-inch, A Library

TWR: Horrific aggro-tronic assault. Aggressive power-eletronics with grindcore drumming (sounds like a kit to my ear/not programmed), sludge elements, and power-violence vocals (guttural bellows and shredded screams/yells) out of Portland OR. At times plodding and lumbering, elsewhere blistering and cacophonous but almost always crushingly heavy with only track A4 (Perverse Divine) offering a brief, dark, reverbed out bass interlude between the barrages of doom, hate, and despair. Members of Ash Borer, Torture Rack,  Disgust, Pissblood, et alia, engage in a blinding attack of unhinged rage and semi-consensual tympanic membrane violation. Perfect for alienating listeners, an evening of self-harm, or a soundtrack to shooting the hostages. All cuts track, no discernible F.C.C.’s, no fun, and no remorse.

Soft Issues – “Soft Issues” – [Opal Tapes]

whngr   12/19/2019   12-inch, A Library

Fairly aggressive electronic noise with pissed off vocals and some slightly down tempo near-drone tracks to temper the fury. This debut album comes to us from Leeds, U.K. that is “… influenced primarily by noise artists and hardcore punk as well drawing inspiration from the tedium of office work, social isolation and familial issues.” Abrasive, ugly, and harsh, you may need a few dry tissues after dropping the needle on Soft Issues… not for your tears but to soak up the blood draining from your ears. However, not all tracks are discordant and anxiety inducing. The B-side of this L.P. dips into some shallow pools of almost mellow drones. Though somber and unsettling, they provide a brief respite from the cacophonous onslaught of distorted pulses, whitenoise, and aural fibrillation. Even , at times, employing a pounding rhythm above the squeals of modulated feedback and guttural screams like a corruption of hard techno or industrial while evoking a kind of (anti-)ethos culled from hardcore-punk as stated on their bandcamp page. Not recomended for volunteers suffering from migraines or for family gatherings which is why I wanted to get this into the library before the Holidays. Seasons Grievings my whingelings.

Ebony Pendant – “Sempiternal Passage Through Realms of Suffering and Hatred” -[Forbidden Sonority]

whngr   12/18/2019   A Library, Cassette

Repetitive and slightly basic one man blck mtl from Seattle. Straight ahead, cold, bleak and solitary. No thresholds were broken on this tape, no limits tested, no souls were rend, or minds blown but fairly enjoyable none the less. However, The B-side is not , in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, listenable. Employing the same chords as Aqua’s, “Barbie Girl” I began to wonder if this wasn’t a hoax, or a test, that perhaps S.C. (the sole credit on this album that is dedicated to “no one”) was foisting upon the world, an insidious and bizarre sonic trolling. But I do not now believe this is the case as any black metaller worth his salt would never have listened to much less been aware of Aqua, Barbie, or anything that wasn’t cold, grim, low fidelity, or soaked in the frozen blood of their enemies.

Apprentice Destroyer – “Permanent Climbing Monolith” – [Apprentice Destroyer]

whngr   11/27/2019   12-inch, A Library

Three Word Review: Real neck breaker.

Driving guitar, drums, synthsizer(s), sparse effected and incomprehensible vocals that flirt with absurd repetition. Both primal and futuristic, offering a nod to its forebearers while peering toward future horizons and progressing relentlessly in to the past. It is alien and strange but uses an attractive, familiar, and hypnotizing language to elucidate space, grandeur, and perhaps intellect. Of feeling puerile and insignificant in the shadow of an indifferent juggernaut. Mastermind and composer, San Francisco’s Steve Peacock (Ulthar, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Mastery) has rallied the troops around his solo-project Apprentice Destroyer to lay waste to the poseurs, posturers, and hapless bystanders alike. Adding three other (lead) guitarists including, Shelby Lermo (Vastum, Uthar), Leila Rauf (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune), Nick Stanley, and Bob Renz, synthing from Max Bonick, the drumming of Brandon Thomas (Pale Chalice), might give an allusion to the sounds found on this album while being mastered for vinyl by James Plotkin may provide yet another clue. And though I hear many other projects in this record, Boris, Big Black, Pelican, (none of which are mentioned to by the band, instead referencing Swans, Glenn Branca, Neu and Tangerine Dream on their bandcamp page),  you still might not guess as to its greatest quality. It is unique. A singular entity. One of power and of promise. An epic album with an appropriate title. Permanent Climbing Monolith. 

Nordlicht/Paysage D’Hiver [coll] – [Kunsthall Produktionen]

whngr   11/27/2019   12-inch, A Library

Cold, grim, and crvshing.
Switzerland’s  co-label (Kunsthall Produktionen) owners Wintherr and Nimosh of Paysage D’Hiver and Nordlicht respectively lay down a side-long track each of pvre depressive black metal devastation with a few short dark ambient interludes.Taking inspiration from the winter landscape (Paysage D’Hiver is French for Landscape of Winter) and natural themes (schnee means snow and Nordlicht is Northern lights in German), indeed, the Kusthall website has stated: “All of the band’s releases are connected, in that they tell different pieces of a story describing a realm known as “Paysage d’Hiver”. 

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