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”
Ghastly detuned bludgeoning.
Semi-solo project of Japanese avant-noise artist Kunagawa Jun of White Hospital evokes feelings touring a sanitorium with a variety of lunatics with an array of diagnoses and varying degrees of instability.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
A melange of cinematic horror/suspense from the eighties beautifully repackaged by Waxwork. Classical orchestral compositions replete with scare inducing strings, terrifying timpani, heart pounding pipe organ, phobic oboe, fear inciting flute, and a full retinue of traditional instrumentation to evoke foreboding and fright with just a bit of hair-raising synthesizer, modified human vocalization, a few compulsory wolf howls to book-end the score, and a mini library of synth sounds are applied to the end like a hoary post-script. This edition also includes a mouthful of isolated synth sounds staked to the beginning and end for the werewolf completists/aficionados among us. However, not all the tracks are designed to build tension, B21- a kind of retro-rock jam suggesting thoughtful resolution and B29- a nostalgic theme to a television newscast. This killer soundtrack to the 1981 thriller showcased some cutting-edge practical special effects and was released the same year as the markedly superior, An American Werewolf In London. Sadly it would have been nearly impossible to appreciate the extraordinarily refined film score emanating from the single speaker hung from your steamy window at the drive-in.
Aural pet abuse.
A piercingly shrill keening reminiscent of a high-powered flash charging up before your uncle blinds you in the annual Thanksgiving family photo begins the assault on your furbabies’ sanity but quickly evolves into synthesized balloon squeaks and other abstractions. Echos, white-noise, bleeps, bloops, and crunches. Strobes, peels, shimmering squelches and later unintelligible muffled yells. Shards of sonic glass piercing the Tympanic Membrane, as Spot attacks the speaker and Fluffy claws first the door and then your face in a frenzied search of egress. A superb album for anxiety inducing enthusiasts of unstructured knob twirling and fader fingering by noise artist Sam Clifton. Reminds this miserable volunteer of an advanced AI’s death sonnet or perhaps a Wednesday evening at KFJC.
Not harsh noise but not safe either.
The packaging of this LP is an excellent representation of the sounds hidden under the jacket. Side-A is an exercise in abstract sound collage including a dizzying array of elements. Chirping, industrial machinery, bleeps, bagpipes, whirs, drone,, humms, bubbles, roars and myriad other synthesized weirdness. Mostly unnerving but could be considered meditative to either the enlightened or the mentally ill but does not induce anxiety in this wretched volunteer. The jacket cover that must represent Side B (There is no text printed on the exterior just a double-sided insert) looks like a photograph of a migraine headache and fittingly the track is a sidelong field recording from the Hotel Auburn ca.1999 when this part of South of Market (now “SOMA”) was also called The Black Triangle referring to the area’s most popular (at least at the time) elicit drug at the time, black tar heroin. This is where Panicsville aka. Andy Ortmann was living and apparently it felt natural (he related in an interview) to record the argument between his two sick and/or drug addled and/or inebriated neighbors. Accompanied by his analog synthesizer, this track is slightly more stressful and is forbidden from broadcasts during daylight hours. Some online searches would lead us to speculate on whether this is inspired musique concrete but it sounds to me to be a sonic snapshot of the time and place and a deplorable (if relatable) glorifying of the filth and moral deficiency of our most debilitated rejects of society: the artist and the addict. I would know, I’ve been both. Mildly anxiety inducing but I’m currently well medicated.
F.C.C.’s liberally peppered throughout side-B like the ants on the ceiling of a flop-house including a delightful locked-groove at the end; “You want a stunt mother fucker?”
Includes a cd of the unedited exchange between these two pathetic men at the end of their respective tethers.
I’m not sure why Brainbombs captures my adoration every single fucking time. Just pure, unfettered genius in my opinion. Like they exist just for me. A deranged, sonorous love letter to my shriveled prune-heart. Maybe it’s the cold, flat monotony of the drums or the detached pentatonic fret-tickling of the guitar? Not likely, those are both qualities I rarely tolerate much less bask in. Perhaps it is the incessant bleets of the saxophone squealing away to its own cacophonous free-jazz composition? Or could it be the nearly broken “Euro-English” iterated dispassionately like a poetry recital by an adolescent sociopath, or the sado-sexual lyrics that, it could be argued, glorify the most horrific traumas one might have the misfortune to bear witness (or be subjected) to. Subjects that can, for this miserable volunteer, cut a little to close to the bone. On the surface I would say that none of these sound much like selling points but then there is the repetition. A ceaseless barrage of hypnotically simple garage/art-rock played in series relentlessly. Like a word spoken until its meaning is lost while rocking back and forth in your cell, a screwdriver repeatedly perforating a lung, or a hammer striking the back of a skull. Repetition. Like the collapsing will of the hostage whose will be crushed by their captors interminable and nefarious indoctrination, their ego folding in upon itself endlessly until only an echo of the self remains. It repeats ad naseum. Like a deranged sonic Stockholm-syndrome.
If you’ll be my S.L.A., I’ll gladly be your Patty Hearst.
A brooding murderer’s long-form psychedelic foray into spooky spirituality on this, his less than poignant and most recent contribution to society. Sultry dated white-man blues/riff-rock in the key of Dad with the kind instrumentation you’d expect from someone who has spent the bulk of his life trying to conjure mentally the Santana concerts he would never be able to witness in person with a heavy emphasis on guitars, bass, synthesizer, simulated (counterfeit) traditional Indian music, and his own smokey convict voice. This double l.p. is dressed to kill in a fancy jacket to commemorate the end of any kind of shame or remorse one might hope to find from a former drug fueled sex-cult member serving a life sentence within the Californian and Oregon prison systems. Former Manson “family” member Bobby BeauSoleil was given the death sentence for stabbing his friend and fellow “family” associate Greg Hinman to death at which time, according to Manson, had initiated “Helter Skelter,” his borrowed title for his prophecy of an apocalyptic race-war in which his followers would survive (and ultimately reign over humanity) by finding a hidden golden city buried in the desert of Death Valley. However, that didn’t happen and the lot of them were collected, incarcerated, and after the media circus left town mostly ignored. What did happen was his sentence was commuted to life in prison and after getting stabbed a bit he would eventually sever ties with the “family.” Then, with the help of a small splattering of celebrity and a collaboration with outsider film-maker Kenneth Anger, he would be able to continue recording his own trippy brand of Jim Morrison inspired (though considerably less talented [at least towards the beginning of Morrison’s career] and inebriated. Say what you will about Morrison, J.M. had massive gobs of whatever B.BS. dreams of having]) brand of introspective grooves utilizing musicians hand-selected from a cadre of his fellow inmates with impunity and often the support of prison officials. But Bobby won’t ever give up on the dream maaan! Nothing was going to stop BeauSoleil from his destiny of attempting to slay some sweet riffs on his guitar and pontificating rather tastelessly on his pseudo-spiritual journey. While wanky, trite, self-absorbed, and certainly morally questionable, Voodoo Shivaya still has a few descent hooks, and some “killer”(coughs in hand) jams. It is also a kind of time-capsule, like if a spooky hippy-biker with nothing but time (and blood) on his hands recorded himself in the late seventies with modern mics, computers, and instrument modelling(?) but without originality, virtuosity, or much if any tact.
Horrifying wails buried in industrial dissonance. Solo project of one Murice “Morie” De Jong, maniacally prolific (Mystagogue, Black Mouth Of Spite, The Sombre, Golden Ashes, Obscuring Veil, Cloak of Altering, De Magia Veterum, Caput Mortem, et al, ad nauseum) Dutch musician and demagogue of disorder and decay, whose singular aspiration seems to be illustrating sonically the scope and breadth of human suffering. Drone, synthesizer, spite, choral guttural chanting, cudgels embedded in palates, shimmers, wrath, obscenely tight “tom” strikes, misery, white noise, horror, deranged booms, and anguish. A recoiling from all things benevolent and yet there is also a kind of grandeur present as well. Like a priest who was well trained in the language and practice of venerating God, who knew the price he payed when he chose to bathe in goats blood and spew heretical vitriolic blasphemy towards the kingdom of heaven and his holy Father. Rejecting the promise of eternal rewards in the afterlife to bask in the raging trash fire that is humanity. Noise elements abound and while at times quite harsh can offer an interesting and sometimes slightly soothing texture over one of the most notable aspects of this album; its “percussion”. Devastating blast beats, crushing snare drops (flams from heaven), plodding and lurching drum terror that reminds this wretched volunteer of the project The Body which is further reinforced by the guest vocals by one Chip King on track B1 “The Doctrine Of Paranoid Seraphims”. A terrible feeling of personal reckoning is represented on this delightful L.P. wrapped in a fittingly colourless and appealing(appalling) jacket.
whngr 9/5/2019 A Library
Cold and bleak black metal from Mora, Sweden. A Chinese (Beijing) release of demos from 2005 and 2009 with a potentially deliberate ham-fisted production (left a cough in, etc.), simple/crude structure and technique that can sound derivative of the music scene that was exploding around them but with a smattering of notable departures. It might sound like I am slagging it but this is in fact how I like my BXM. I like it raw, I like it grim, and I like it Nordic. In 2019 we are awash with bands similar to Tomhet but that is because the formula is good or at least it is one that speaks to the (aging) youth. Miserable, misunderstood, and fundamentally aware of their (our) inevitable demise but this project came to being in 1999 in an idyllic mountain resort about equidistant between Stockholm and Oslo so its got some provenance and if the art wasn’t so fucking crude I would probably champion them more steadfastly. Bonus points for wind sounds, general weirdness especially in the vocs, and for being a Swedish band released by a Chinese label with ties to Australia (wtf 2019).
whngr 9/5/2019 A Library
A glorious ambient/industrial sidelong single with shimmering drones, whirs, thumps, pulses, and dreamy abstractions culled from tapes sourced from six (6) noisicians in real time by Michael Anderson (aka. Mkl Anderson, Mkl Drekka). Primarily sedate layers of narcolepsy inducing sounds that could be a Vicodin holiday or a fever dream depending on the listeners perspective going in to this drier-lint lined cocoon of an album. A limited colaborative release (300 copies) from Anderson’s own Bluesanct label and Red Frost Industries. B side is side A in reverse and vice versa.Aserv eciv dna eserver ni A edis si edis B.
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File