Metal

Sad Legend – The Revenge of Soul – South Korea

248819Sad Legend’s final album The Revenge of Soul from 2009 is quite a triumph. It features ridiculously atmospheric sections and vocals to die for! Naamah who composed all the tracks has a skill to slow down and bring cinematic pinnacles in sections where you would not expect them.

It is indeed a Sad Legend that the main man Naamah seems to have broken up the band and has not released anything since The Revenge of Soul (according to Discogs and Metal-archives).

The best part of the album is the thick atmosphere and the vocals. And oh the vocals! The variety of vocal styles is spectacular. Great clean vocals, regular, orchestral and also high-pitched falsetto. The black metallish rasp is something I really enjoy. At best it is also tastefully doubled. I loved the sound of Korean on their EP Searching For The Hope In Utter Darkness (2002, review upcoming!) but in in The Revenge Of Soul the articulation is even better.

But there’s more! The verse vocals on Executioner sound to be recorded with a crappy mic, the singing style is very raspy, a bit hardcore punkish really. On first listen the scratching of the mic got on my nerves. However the raspy sound soon transformed into really enjoyable and for an noisehead the scratches actually add to the elements. Below the raspy there’s also some angelic clean vocal doubling.

It’s unbelievable how Naamah, better known as a drummer is actually the sole recipient of all this! And every damn instrument as well! Seriously, who is this guy! I noted there’s some female vocals that are unmarked in discogs, so perhaps it is not the only unmarked thing? Who knows.

If Sad Legend were melodic black metal at one point The Revenge of Soul is gothic metal and power metal and also quite symphonic. Black metal is only present in the raspy growled vocal style.115942_artist

Axe, and Executioner are especially solid compositions. The variety between heavy, angelic, fast and punky parts of Executioner is surprising. Sad Legend has a lot of power metal trails and Maruta is mostly from those roots. It’s middle part is one of the key moments of the album with extremely graceful chanting.

Elegy of Slaughter Echoing In The East is at par with Maruta but lacks the big pinnacle. At least it combines four more frigging vocal styles (spoken word, grudge movie like, dramatic symphonic chanting, falsetto)!

The ending trinity is unfortunately not as strong as the first four. Imjin War (power ballad with some female vocals) and The Reaper’s Song (another different clean vocal sound) feature some catchy repeating vocal-phrases which aren’t my thing really. But it’s pretty entertaining to catch oneself trying to sing-along to Korean. The last track Night of the Hunt has the strongest, a bit folkish, cinematic sense to it. A nearly galloping rhythm is followed by a long acoustic interlude, some progressive section switching until the beginning rhythmics kick in again.

I can imagine the album separates people, some people are bound like the more catchy song-writing of the end-album, but I prefer the grandiose beginning.

The masterful vocal performances and thick atmosphere turn the album to an extremely positive release. There’s a sense of uniqueness in it that will make it a regular visitor on my playlists.

Searching For The Hope In Utter Darkness is musically probably a better release, but The Revenge of Soul is at par to it because of its more consistent dynamics, atmosphere that stays intact and better vocals.

8+/10

Also check my review of their great 2002 EP: https://likemusictoyourears.com/2017/05/01/sad-legend-searching-for-the-hope-in-utter-darkness/

Sad Legend does not seem to have any real presence in the internet, hence I cannot link their site!

For further reading, a rather good in-depth article about the 2nd track, Maruta: http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/107097/20140904/sad-legend-maruta.htm

Depression Overload – metal playlist

Funeral doom and depressive black metal is the bread and butter of this album (a playlist really, but I consider my playlists albums). It visits only a few other despairing terrains. This is no melancholy walk in the park as my previous playlists (Monumental funeral doom melancholy and Post-rock melancholia) but pure despair and depression. The darkness on the album is not sourced from incoherent extreme sewer sounds but tightly sounding bands that combine a great melodic sense with a feeling of hopelessness and misery.

1. It would not make sense to reveal all the cards in the beginning, so the beginning of the album is a light descent with some melodic funeral doom.

Shape of Despair is a band many of the melancholic melodic funeral doom bands model after. Their second album Angels of Distress (2001) is the biggest landmark yet strangely I seem to have picked tracks from their two newer ones in my playlists. Entwined in Misery is the best piece of their 2004 album Illusion’s play. It features hauntingly beautiful background keys that have lasted the touch of time extremely well. Pasi Koskinen’s growling kept getting deeper as Shape of Despair progressed in their career, peaking here. The new vocalist Henri Koivula (Throes of Dawn) does a tremendous job on their newest release, Monotony Fields (2015) as well.
All these years in absence
…forgiveness does not reveal itself…

…and emptiness falls before me…
And silences this life,


2. One of the best releases of 2015 Leviathan’s Scar Sighted is based on black metal but at it’s darkest it is pure nihilistic funeral doom. The title track is especially gloomy. The tortured screams and bright piano create a real contrast of depression and light.
Nil light reigns
Only tattered accusations
Paling to the comparison
Now utterly drained
And all wonder is banished
Life after life
Absorbing
Nothing


3. Evoken – Mournful Refusal. Evoken could be called a successor of nihilistic old school funeral bands like Esoteric, also having more in common with Thergothon and Skepticism than Shape of Despair. 2005 release Antithesis of Light (what a title!) benefits of its modern and crushingly heavy production. Hear also the dynamics, how beautifully Evoken has crafted a chorus with clean guitar and lovely bursty double bass drumming.
Waiting only prolongs the wanting
Living only prolongs the arriving
Death knows no regret of a mournful refusal

In sporadic tone, the composition of beauty
Turned grim and cold…


4. Lifelover (what a band name!), a lot of people loathe them and for a reason. Their sounds take some time to get used to, drum machine and quite amateuristic guitar sounds. Upon listening their masterpiece, Konkurs for the first time I thought: “Is this the masterpiece? Really?” But it’s a stunning grower with a soul that is very hard to find on any other release. The pitch-black humour in the depressive lyrics is the icing on the cake.

Stängt p.g.a Semester (closed because of semester) is an interlude unlike anything else on this album. A beautifully haunting acoustic track with despairing lyrics. One of the only instances were being forced to study ~8 years of Swedish in school has paid off.

På Svenska
Vem behöver glädjas åt sig själv
När vi kan skratta åt andra?
Vem behöver ha ett syfte
När det är urvattnat och saknar mening?
Vem behöver säga att “Jag mår bra”
När ändå ytan är det viktiga?
Innan jag åkte, lämnade jag bomber,
Där ni känner er som mest trygga
Jag kommer inte tillbaka
English translation
Who needs to be happy about their selves
When we can laugh at others?
Who needs a purpose
When it’s all dried up and lacks meaning?
Who needs to say “I feel good”
When the surface is what counts?

Before I left, I planted bombs
Where you feel most secure
I won’t return

5. A lot of people thought it a dick move when a couple years ago Ghost Bath swindled in being a Chinese band, but turned out to be American. They said that was because they wanted to keep actual identities/location anonymous and for affection of Chinese culture.

Prejudice labelled aside Moonlover is a fine release but Happyhouse is the lethal injection Ghost Bath is at it’s best in prescribing. Happyhouse brings in mind the “Mental Central Dialog” themes of Lifelover. It’s bright melodies and incoherently painful screaming vocals clash together to create a feeling of an mental asylum. The melodies are a bit predictable but twisted a little obscure, perhaps wee bit out of tune and so fucking good, all this predictability is a strength. A downright shuddering tune.


6. Drudkh – Solitude. Yes it’s a great track and yes it’s pretty long with a lot of repetition, in the right mode Solitude becomes a very meditative track. Solitude is one of the only instances of more melancholic terrain than the rest of the tracks, it’s true potential lies in its slow and somber orchestral main melody.

Solitude’s lyrics are from a poem of an Ukrainian artist Taras Shevchenko (Thoughts of mine, О thoughts of mine, 1839). The familiar slavic dramatic melancholy is easy to discover.

Ukrainian
Журбою
Не накличу собі долі,
Коли так не маю.
Нехай злидні живуть три дні –
Я їх заховаю,
Заховаю змію люту
Коло свого серця,
Щоб вороги не бачили,
Як лихо сміється…
Нехай думка, як той ворон,
Літає та кряче,
А серденько соловейком
Щебече та плаче
Нишком – люди не побачать,
То й не засміються…
Не втирайте ж мої сльози,
Нехай собі ллються,
Чуже поле поливають
Щодня і щоночі,
Поки попи не засиплють
Чужим піском очі…
English translation
Never knew I joy, nor will it
Come to me if I
Grieve ’thout end…. Let grief be short-lived,
Let it snake-like lie
Coiled within my breast and hidden
From the evil sight
Of my foes…. And may its laughter
Reach them not…. By night
And by day my thoughts are ravens;
Let them croak while my
Heart, a songbird, trills and warbles,
While it softly sighs,
Sighs and moans with none to hear it
Or to taunt it … Pray,
Let me weep, and do not try to
Wipe my tears away.
Let them flow and flood the alien
Field till that a priest
Comes and covers me with alien
Earth…. Ah, me! No peace
Grief will bring me….

English translation by Irina Zheleznova taken from http://taras-shevchenko.infolike.net/t-shevchenko-tr-by-irina-zheleznova-poem-thoughts-of-mine-o-thoughts-of-mine.html) I cannot speak Ukrainian so the English and Ukrainian parts may not match exactly.


7. Moonsorrow – Kuolleiden Maa. Listen, Moonsorrow is not most known for their depressive black metal vibes. But on Kuolleiden Maa they are nothing else.

Finnish
Olen siellä mistä kaikki alkaa uudelleen
Missä valo ei värejä näytä
Kaikkialle levittäytyy tasainen niitty
Vain taivas ylläni vaalenee
Käy rauhaisena vierelläni tuuli
Itse silmäni suljen ja itken
Tänne jään, kaipuuta vailla
Rikotun henkeni veden virtaan annan
English translation
I am there where everything
starts and
Where the light shows no colours
An even meadow stretching everywhere
Only the sky above me growing lighter
A calm breeze is blowing beside me | I close my
eyes and weep | Here I
shall remain, without yearning | My broken spirit I shall give to the streaming
waters
depression overload_edit

Illustration from British Library free to use Flickr

Mozambique metal – Sarcotrofia and Darkest Place – Metals Around the World

In this special I am going to review every metal release ever to come out of Mozambique. In total *drum roll* two releases from two bands according to The Metal Archives! Both bands SarcotrofiA and Darkest Place are from the capital, Maputo. However, there is (or was) probably a lot more activity, as the trailer for a documentary “Terra Pesada” below shows there has definitely been some gigging in the past. Judging by their website www.terrapesada.com, the documentary is not out yet.


SarcotrofiA

540735The band does excel in describing themselves in their Soundcloud:
A SOUTHERN AFRICAN VERSATILE TOP LISTED BAND IN THE METAL SCENERY, FROM MAPUTO/MOZAMBIQUE, WITH SUPER JOINT INFLUENCIES OF MOZAMBICAN TRADITIONAL RHYTHMS WITH METAL, TURNING IT INTO GUTTURAL GENRE.

FOUNDED BY GORO FAST (drummer) IN 2006 FROM THE ASHES OF ANOTHER PAST BAND CALLED Sarcomaticaposa, THEN AFTER SEVERALS LINE UP CHANGES, BECAME SarcotrofiA. WE NOW SCREAM OUT OUR SOUND IN GUTTURAL ROTTEN PORNOVAGINOTOPSY WAY; FROM THERE UNTIL NOW HAS BEEN WORKING HARD, TRYING TO BRING THE BEST UNEXPLORED SIDE OF MUSIC TO THE LISTENERS AND LOVERS OF THIS MUSICAL GENRE. THE BAND HAS BEEN WORKING HARD ENOUGH IN ATTEMPT TO CREATE AN IDENTITY AS SarcotrofiA.

ACTIVE MEMBERS:
Namesis Daude: Guttural Throat
Euclides Anatolly: Rotten Riffs
Jubless Jubileu: Grinder pussies
Goro Fast – Drums

PAST MEMBER
Lolah Orlanda: Porno Vaginotopsy


I find it particularly funny that the other basic metal band roles are easy to find out from descriptions, but their bassist, whose role seems to be “Grinder pussies”. And how about that ex-member from the time they only did hardcore porn!

SarcotrofiA is nothing new in the game of humouristically heavy brutal death / grindcore. They released the 2nd ever Mozambique metal release, a 5 track EP Left to Rot (Hypocrisy’s Penetralia, anyone?) in 2013. They fall in the sweet sector of bands who are not full humour goregrind like for example Gutalax, but definitely have some tongue in cheek there.

The instruments separate quite well being still chaotic. The guitars lack sense of power though and drums have too much of that. Sounds are really similar to what a small European band might conceive as their first demo. You can hear that these guys can play their instruments surprisingly well and are no strangers to sudden tempo switches. Especially the drummer Goro Fast does an impressive job, fast tempos and all kinds of fills while keeping in tempo.

mz-lgflagMozambique has one of the most distinctive country flags. I mean how metal is it to have an actual AK-47 in the flag of your country. And how could you not use that in your grindcore, i mean guttural rotten pornovaginotopsy bands album cover. It’s meant to be really.

I am rarely a fan of goregrind and unfortunately for me there’s not that much interesting stuff going on in Left to Rot but individual riffs like the intro of Brutal Slab and Panic At a Morgue. Both tracks identically turn to chaotic blasting after solid hard-hitting intros, Brutal Slab has some more memorable riffing. The whole Panic At a Morgue track could be deemed almost progressive as it has about 20 sections just placed after each other. Even though the riffs are not technical by any means. It is a prime example that there definitely is a lot of stuff happening, riffs varying all the sudden and behind it very deep guttural growling.

The advertised Mozambiquan traditional rhythms are too hard to find, the band could really be from Europe. This kind of stuff has its fans too though. Central Europe has a lot of semi-humouristic brutal death metal / grindcore gigs, SarcotrofiA could well be a regular in those places, given different circumstances.

Listen Left To Rot from their Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sarcotrofia/ghost-monk?in=sarcotrofia/sets/left-to-rot-ep-2014

P.S. Without me noticing, in the summer of 2016 SarcotrofiA did play a live gig in Czech Republic and in November 2016 the band announced in their Facebook that Goro Fast is currently the only member and he is moving the band to Europe. It may be that SarcotrofiA is closer than I imagined in being a regular at grindcore gigs around the old continent of metal. They also stated that an album is in plans. If SarcotrofiA manages to incorporate some of Mozambique background to their music, they could breeze some fresh air to goregrind.


Darkest Place EP

297518First lets make it clear. When you find an independently released “E.P” that’s the first metal recording in the history of Mozambique (2006) it is very hard to believe it to sound something else than a demo. And it doesn’t. Darkest Place unfortunately split up before they could make another release as their newest demo compositions from 2010 started to show a lot of promise, but this EP is wobbly.

Darkest Place is labeled as “Extreme Gothic Metal” in metal-archives. They do have growling vocals but it can be argued that the 3rd track Frightening Nights is the only extreme metal track. It is actually the 1st track in Metal-archives but my version labels it third. Metal-archives also lists a track called “Lost in the dark” as third, that I do not have nor does Darkest Place youtube site.

First two tracks Hour of Death and Wrong Creations are more easily labelled as one of the hundreds of gothic rock/metal clones that came after the success of Within Temptation, Evanescence and Nightwish. Especially Hour of Death is incredibly tame, almost a pop track really. Sure, Wrong Creations has some balls and distortion guitars. It’s overpeaked with amateuristic growling vocals and a 30 second + 5 second blastbeat sections. With a whopping 9 minute length it’s also an overly stretched composition.

Wrong Creations does some trails of doom oldies like Paradise Lost. At best their sound has some of the melancholy grandeur of Lilitu.

Musicianship is very wobbly. Especially some of the clean parts without distortion show that the guitarist’s timing and note lengths are too often off. It is not hard to guess that the recording is a work by a very young band early in their learning curve of instruments. I don’t think the studio technicians in Mozambique would have any idea how to record metal either. If it has been even recorded in a studio. The casio keyboard sound on top gives it unwelcome cheeriness.

Surprisingly the heaviest song Frightening Nights has a lot better demo sound. It has some black metallish darkness and is probably the best piece of the record. From 1 to 3 minutes the band luckily does not have cheery sounding keyboards in there and the dark riffing is very welcome. It’s funny to hear a gothic metal band that actually shows some promise in the blacker fields.

After 5 minutes Frightening Nights goes all cut and paste, a section after each other. Especially the last half a minute after some quite mindless fast guitar soloing is completely puzzling: guitar, drums, casio keyboards -> cuts out and turns to just acoustic guitar (with quiet drums) -> suddenly it turns to keyboards with different sound that fail to play the melody right + the sound of a lightning :D. It really reminds of Damien Storm’s grandiose puzzlingness.

darkest-place-ashesThe band has split up but their Youtube also lists a 2010 release Ashes of the Earth that shows a great deal more maturity in compositions. It would have been interesting had they managed to record these tracks with more experience.

This youtube clip must be completely computer made but the sounds aren’t half bad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8qlTg5yBiA
A live clip of their newer track, “was filmed by a show called Rockzone, T.v Station Tim”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rVDAjgjKzM
Wrong Creations from their first EP:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPMGByFaGbY
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Darkest-Place-111254205443/


Bonus material

Update 28.06.17

One of the makers of Terra Pesada Documentary (www.terrapesada.com) kindly linked another Mosambique metal band that is even gigging at the moment, Norbormide NMD (www.facebook.com/norbormidenmd). Self described: “NMD blends various Heavy/Death Metalcore and fusion elements creating a unique sound that will surely broaden your Musical Horizons!)”. These guys seem to know what they are doing, the sounds have a lot of punch too: https://soundcloud.com/user-291612655/vozes

SarcotrofiA

I love the few rare descriptions that you can find from Sarcotrofia in the internet. In total equals the amount of Mozambique metal releases, 2. The next one is funny and puzzling at the same time. I mean, this time the bass player gets titled in but drummer is stated as “horrible”. It’s actually meant to be a positive thing I think, haha! I mean just read this jewel: “If you hate brutal metal make sure you listen to this EP so that you hate it more. If you love this EP make sure that you call the doctor, you sick freak.” 😕 😕 😕

Sarcotrofia
It is the time for these zombies from Mozambique to prove that metal music will not be stopped, no matter what the circumstances may be. In 2006 the drumming maniac named Goro Fast decided to bring together a group of metalheads that could take metal from the mind to the gutter. I should warn you: if you are a politically correct individual and you get easily offended by disgusting imaginations, you better stop reading right now because things are about to get fugly. Sick and disgusting death metal is the only game in town here. I don’t have much information to tell you, except that this band is not for those with a weak stomach. The band is:

Namesis Daude: grunt screams chaos
Euclides Anatolly: guitar butcher chaos
Jubless Jubileu: bass abuser chaos
Goro Fast: horrible drumming chaos

The band writes guttural brutality with songs like the EP “Left to Rot”:
1.Ghost Monk 03:10
2.Brutal Stab 04:53
3.RATM 04:53
4.Benighted 04:29
5.Panic At Morgue 05:52
total time 23:17

If you hate brutal metal make sure you listen to this EP so that you hate it more. If you love this EP make sure that you call the doctor, you sick freak. http://www.soundcloud.com/sarcotrofia
http://metalbulletin.blogspot.com/2015/10/sarcotrofia.html

Monumental metal 4 – Epixperimental playlist

Bring out the weird again, epic experimental tracks! This playlist features bands from experimental terrain that have a solid basis on metal.

1. Rudra‘s Illusory Enlightment is “Vedic” metal from Singapore. Vedic comes from their incorporation of Sanskrit Vedic literature, philosophy and ancient mantras (shlokas) to blackened death metal basis. They also encompass traditional Carnatic music to their compositions. Illusory Enlightment’s top moment is the compelling chanting chorus. See also the review of their album Brahmavidya: Immortal I here.

2. Jumalhämärä is one of the many bands in Finnish experimental black metal terrain that has gotten more attention in the past 10 years. Along with bands like Oranssi Pazuzu, Abyssion, Mörkö, Jumalhämärä is probably the weirdest of the bunch. The title track of their most accessible album Resignaatio is a rare catchy, almost punky, track and in their catalogue that makes it an abnormality. Its deep bass rumbling intro turns into naturally flowing structure, captivating Finnish lyrics with supremely hooking riffing and stylish use of upstrokes. You know what they released after Resignaatio? A drone pipe organ album. Really.

3. December Wolves is one of the many bands I found from Earache presents: Metal – A headbanger’s companion (2007). It is from the CD 2 – Grindcore, but especially CD 6 – Leftfield is a great listen (Cult of Luna, Callisto, Scorn, Godflesh, Akercocke, Crotchduster etc.). Desperately Seeking Satan could be called leftfield, though its roots are firmly in black metal. The heavy use of voice clips, nihilistic lyrics and programmed drums combining industrial with violent black metal guitars make their 2002 release Blasterpiece Theatre have a sound appearance unlike any other.

4. The Meads of Asphodel – Children of the Sunwheel Banner (part 2). You could say that Metatron, the vocalist of Meads of Asphodel takes making lyrics a bit seriously. Their webpage has about 100 pages of text per album about the lyrical themes. So you can imagine it surges pretty deep. It seems the web page is unfortunately down at the moment though.

Sunwheel banner obviously references to nazis. I am not even going into the stuff of them being “nazis” because they are a metal band that has an interest of the atrocities of the past + uses the word “jew”. Oh and one of the 10 labels that has released their music has apparently released an NSBM release, jeez.

Like in one of my previous playlists Monumental metal oddities, I placed “cousin” bands The Meads of Asphodel and Sigh after each other. They have enough eccentric material to use for a few playlists. Also, the keyboard solo in Children of the Sunwheel Banner is played by none else than the main man behind Sigh, Mirai Kawashima.

5. Sigh – A Messenger From Tomorrow (I. The Message – II. Foreboding – III. Doomsday). The most epic track in Sigh’s catalogue. Surprisingly also one of the lightest ones, based on strong orchestral melodies. The lesser amount of heavy distortion guitars does not mean the composition wouldn’t be huge though. A Messenger From Tomorrow only further proves the multifacetedness of Sigh as a monstrously diverse band.

6. Negură Bunget – Cunoașterea tăcută. Negura Bunget’s 2006 release Om is one of the highlights of 2000s black metal in both song-writing and originality. The introduction of Romanian traditional instruments, epic soundscapes, shamanistic repetitive passages, raw production and very oldschool black metal elements blew many a mind. Cunoașterea tăcută includes one of those clean melodies (at 3.00) that makes you wonder on what plane of being it was conceived. Oldschool black metal riffing accompanied with traditional instruments and high-flying folk singing with the catchiness of bubonic plague.

7. Ufomammut – Daemons. What a Monster riff to close up their 2015 release, Ecate. That is all that needs to be said really.

Monumental Funeral Doom Melancholy playlist

This compilation is based on the best bits of melancholic funeral doom bands with some more funeral bits of melodic death doom and traditional doomster(s) in the midst. The playlist continues in the vein of a previous Post-rock Melancholia playlist.

The concept of funeral doom has at least two different schools. The “original” sound with bands like Thergothon and Esoteric is very nihilistic and evil mass of sound. Skepticism has something in common with those bands but the themes often revolve around nature. The other newer school fronted by Shape of Despair is not at all about evil but of a weeping melancholy. Both schools are obviously shared by the supremely slow tempos.

This compilation has a lot of content from the melancholic funeral school which I am personally more fond of. Skepticism and Thergothon have never appealed to me even though I enjoy some bits by Evoken, who are a direct successor of the old school funeral.

1. Half Light by one man Swedish outfit Doom:VS is quite a hard-hitter but with a superbly memorable chorus and lyrics that are almost as melancholic melodic funeral doom as possible.

2. Frailty is from the doom legend Paradise Lost‘s more recent albums, Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us. A really memorable entirety. The track is perhaps a bit curious for a funeral doom collection but the weeping guitar lines in the end half are strongly reminiscent of many a track here.
I only realized the track’s true potential as I keep getting reminded of it in my work, the material I handle frequently has definitions of The Frailty Syndrome (Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome that embodies an elevated risk of catastrophic declines in health and function among older adults. Frailty is a condition associated with ageing, and it has been recognized for centuries.).

From the third track Lost & Catatonic the compilation slips into even deeper waters. It meanders effortlessly between very heavy, symphonic almost black metal bits and an extremely catchy and soft chorus. Lost & Catatonic was originally one of the tracks that triggered the biggest emotional response from Swallow The Sun‘s newest album Songs of the North 1. Later it was reported that in live setting a session guitarist would sometimes play the track instead of Juha Raivio. Understandable obviously given by the recent death of his spouse, the magnificently voiced vocalist Aleah Stanbridge.

4. Fragments by French band Remembrance is from their album Silencing the Moments (2008). Really some cliche melancholic funeral doom. It has all the basic elements from deep male growling to sparse hits, catatonic drummer, at times heavy at times extremely gentle guitars, background keyboards and angelic female vocals yet at their best they are tweaked so well it functions perfectly. Fragments is the song that has stayed with me most. I can’t think of any faults in it, its atmosphere is a real appealing slumbering mass. The hard & sparse hitting lamenting section at 5 minute mark is one of my favourites in any modern funeral doom band’s catalogue.

5. Shape of Despair is a band many of the more modern melancholic melodic funeral doom bands model after. Their second album Angels of Distress (2001) is the biggest landmark yet strangely I seem to have picked tracks from their two newer ones in my playlists. The Distant Dream of Life from Monotony Fields (2015) is nearly an absurdly short track for a funeral doom piece, clocking only 5.53 but its all tightly packed emotion. In the newest album Shape of Despair changed vocalist, and while I absolutely love Pasi Koskinen’s deep growling, the new vocalist Henri Koivula (Throes of Dawn) does a tremendous job as well.

6. Weighed Down With Sorrow by Insomnium is the best track they’ve ever made full stop. Never before or after have they gone this deep in doomish melancholy, the memorably sullen lyrics could be straight from the Finnish national epic Kalevala.

7. Her Withering Petals by The Fall of Every Season is 15 minutes long which may be a bit too much but its atmosphere stays intact and boy when the end comes, is it emotional or what. Machinae Supremacy sings about video game and action movie cliches in Player One “and in the end i’ll get the girl”. Translated into funeral doom, the same cliche is straight from the handbook of The Fall of Every Season:
This imagined warm touch was his relief.
Kneeling at her feet, ready for his sleep.
Had no longer wish to arise.
Put her arm around him, no more cries.
Slept there until the fierce cold awoke
to erase all tracks of life.

Music quickies – Vektor, Current 93, Katatonia, Devin Townsend Project, Behemoth

vektor-terminal_redux Vektor – Terminal Redux (2016)
Vektor’s hyped 2016 release is astronomically progressive metal. Vektor was the best modern thrash metal band for years, it is about time for them to get recognition. For an album that sates me midway, it is astoningly good but it would be more enjoyable shorter. It’s really not a better album than their previous efforts but still ridiculously good and full of everything tasty.
9/10
Listen: Mountains Above The Sun + Ultimate Artificer

0Current 93 Calling For Vanished Faces Calling for Vanished Faces (I: Funeral Music for
Us All) and (II: Love, Sleep And Dreams) (1999)

David Tibet’s overtheateritical aesthetics drove this Sol Invictus fanboy mad for half a decade. “Maybe, I might finally appreciate something of theirs?” I thought. I: Funeral Music for Us All starts as an oddities collection I cannot recommend less but picks up on Coal Black Smith, staggers to its most annoying pieces and picks up decently at Hourglass (For Diana) soon to turn into 1 hour 30 minutes of pure neofolk bliss. Probably my favourite release on which I completely skip 1/3 of it.
I 7/10
II 10-/10
Listen: The whole second side, except the 4 ending tracks, is blissful.

570160Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts (2016)
Some outerworldly charm with heartbreaking atmosphere. Drags time to time yet still wrenches heartstrings every minute. Passer‘s descending scale should be obnoxious yet it is genuinely alluring. How on earth did they make it work.
Listen: Decima & Residual for angsting in a dark room, Passer for prog.
Grade upcoming

 

devintownsendprojecttranscendencecdDevin Townsend Project – Transcendence (2016)
Middle aged Devin is zen and re uses his components but those lures still amount some catch. Not bad, but I may have heard too much “c-grade progressive metal” (quoting their own making of documentary) to fully appreciate this kind of polished sound anymore. Danger lurks somewhere else. Here’s hoping the next album goes permanently Higher.

The second album is simply too much as can be noticed from the lack of recognition it has gotten. The (demo) titles are a very Devin Townsendish joke, the stuff is nearly as polised as the first. Love the commercial suicide though, it could have well been released it as a lone piece.
Listen: Higher
7ish/10

395440Behemoth – The Satanist (2014)
If you can think of a more epic way to start a track than in the title track of The Satanist please let me know. The track does not carry the weight of its beginning but the album does. The wall-of-sound production, mildly reminiscent of Emperor, gives it weight unlike many releases.

Incorporating a massive and satisfying finale that only runs through the last minute of Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel requires so much finesse. O Father O Satan O Sun! towers above the rest of the release with another finale, this time based on a monster riff and oration like an esoteric sermon. Here’s hoping The Satanist won’t be the last of Behemoth like Nergal hinted in the past.
Listen: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel & O Father O Satan O Sun!
Grade upcoming