Sigh

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.

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MonuMENTAL Metal oddities

MonuMENTAL Metal oddities collection is wrapped around bizarre bands BUT NOT humour music. Odd turns, eccentric elements, milestones of human vocal capacity and also some instrumental extremities. This collection ought to surprise and bewilder the listener, however its middle point is still great compositions.

1. The starting track, Dysrhythmia‘s probably most rhythmic and meaningful song, Room of Vertigo starts with a lot of groove. Dysrhythmia excels in making seemingly random mess that starts to make sense on further listens. Room of Vertigo is one of the easiest tracks to grasp as it has immediately catchy dreamlike melodies and a steady beat.

2., 3., 4. Next to follow are tracks from Pryapisme’s Futurologie epic, which is one track divided to 11 different movements. At best Pryapisme is masterful in combining everything possible in their soup and yeah, they are French. Obviously the last track of Futurolgie release is a 23 minute orchestrative version of the release. Figures.

5. Havoc Unit started as Festerday in the beginning of 90s, quite a regular grindcore/death metal hybrid. They switched their name to Cardinal in 92, to Peacefrog in 93, to Raw Energy in 93 and 95 they finally slid off to oddland by becoming …And Oceans, symphonic black metal electro hybrid.

Their second album The Symmetry of I / the Circle of O was a double release with a symphonic black metal album + a electronic/ambient/noise album. Which is really quite boring to be honest. Later on they incorporated more electronic and industrial elements and kept having extremely weird track titles in various languages. How about Äcid Sex and Marble Teeth (You-phoria), I Wish I Was Pregnant, Mikrobotik Fields / Uråldrig saga och sång or Angelina: Chthonian Earth: Her Face Forms Worms. The list goes on.

In 2005 …And Oceans became Havoc Unit and released a brilliant brutal death / industrial / experimental album h.IV+ (Hoarse Industrial Viremia) 2008, along with a few splits. Klan Korps [Volkssturm & Erregung] (feat. Strom EC.) is a piece from this album. The circle (of O) closed in 2013 when Havoc Unit became… you guessed it, Festerday!

6. After Havoc Unit there are a few milestones. First Demilich’s When the Sun Drank the Weight of Water. A finnish progressive death metal band which is musically magnificent and also has a distinctive feature. Their singer Antti Boman (un?)officially has the deepest growl in human history. His growl goes so deep that in the 90s when they were active Terrorizer hired an expert to state that the growl cannot have been made without pitch shifting. But apparently it is! Demilich is also known for weird track titles. Some of my favourites are. The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed) and Inherited Bowel Levitation – Reduced Without Any Effort.

7. Fleurety is exactly the opposite extremity in pitch. Their singer Alexander Nordgaren ruined his vocal chords by shrieking like a fucking eagle. It sounds really painful and it is incredible singing like that is even possible. Profanations Beneath the Bleeding Stars is also a surprisingly solid track, however their next release Min tid skal komme is the real jewel of their discography. One of many “lost” metal releases that many consider a classic but most people have never heard about.

8. Amesoeurs can be thought to belong to what some people not all unscornfully regard as hipster metal. Their only full length from 2009 is in my opinion not too great but it appealed to a lot of people. Sure enough it has some brilliant bits. La Reine Trayeuse sums it up well by starting as a weak pop track. In the middle of its length things turn so bewildering I’m not sure any other except French people could pull this off so magnificently. First the pop base turns to fast paced black metal then the female vocalist puts on quite a lot more a torturous shriek you’d ever expect this band to be capable of. And I mean its not just 3 seconds, it lasts about half a minute. The end of the track is also damn excellent.

9. Meads of Asphodel and 10. Sigh are rare breed who both formed to monsters of mixing different genres to their mostly metal basis on their own. Just listen how My Psychotic Sand Deity switches between hard hitting metal and dreamy interludes turning into angelic female singing to hard rock soloing to black metal. Or how Amnesia Blues’s away with growling vocals and the smoothest piano jazz solo in metal history.

11. More monumental vocal and instrumental extremities with You Suffer by Napalm Death. The shortest track ever recorded and also one of the fastest lyrical outputs ever. “You suffer, but why?”. All this in exactly 1.316 seconds.

12. Behold… The Arctopus annoys me quite a bit when listened in large quantities but they work well served in careful small doses. Like the short bursting Putrefucktion. They are one of the most extreme bands in terms of the amount of different sections every track contains. Putrefucktion is more just a mindfuck, a very entertaining and peculiar mindfuck.

13., 14., 15. Meshuggah the old odd groovemonster that somehow influenced one generation of teens to create an own popular genre, Djent. The album Catch-33 is clearly my favourite bit of Meshuggah discography with its lovely rhythmic background. It is nearly a one track album as it flows from one track to another so smoothly. Just when you think you get the rhythm, it changes to something else! The last four tracks are all diamond, but in this collection I left out the last one, ending it with Shed, Persona Non Gratae and Dehumanization.

I am getting an unsubstantial amount of satisfaction about the unpredictability of these tracks, especially the end of Dehumanization. I tried to further help the listening mood by placing the tracks in rather eccentric order. The plan was to fuck with ones brain, but also to deliver logical transformations too. This was probably the funniest compilation to do and I think it transfers well to listening experience.

Favourite albums and tracks of 2015

Top 5 (alphabetical order)

A Forest of Stars – Beware the Sword You Cannot See
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Leviathan – Scar Sighted
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Mgła – Exercises in futility
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Paperi T – Malarian Pelko
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Tähtiportti – Tähtiportti
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Top 6-7

Abyssion – Luonnon Harmonia ja Vihreä Liekki

Swallow The Sun – Songs From The North I

Top 8-15 (random order)

Sigh – Graveward (possible grower)

Venetian Snares – Thank You For Your Consideration

Enshine – Singularity (possible grower)

Shape of Despair – Monotony Fields – I really wanted this to be awesome but its just good, allthough the first ~4 minutes of The Blank Journey are among my favourite metal moments this year.

Tribulation – The Children Of The Night

Pryapisme – Futurologie

Misþyrming – Söngvar elds og óreiðu (possible grower)

Ghost Bath – Moonlover

Possible growers that I haven’t listened enough

Swallow The Sun – Songs From The North II & III

Venetian Snares – Your Face

Arcturus – Arcturian

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within – I actually got a semi-kick out of it but then started listening to Tragic Idol and so far I haven’t seen any reason why to go back as Tragic Idol is so much better.

Carpenter Brut – Trilogy – Recently used it as background music for

Binding of Isaac Afterbirth and it worked really well in it, but haven’t tested longevity yet.

The Morningside – Letters from the Empty Towns

Opeth – Pale Communion

Mogwai – Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.

Disappointments

Melechesh – Enki – Almost the whole album makes me want to fall asleep. I would use it as sleeping music if I wasn’t so annoyed that it is so fucking boring.

Last Step – Lost Sleep – Sideproject of Venetian Snares, I suppose Acid (genre) is not my thing.

Messer Chups – The Incredible Crocotiger – What happened to Messer Chups, they used to be so fun, merging b-movie clips and incredibly imaginative melodies with surf. Now they are just plain surf without any other flavours.
Lasten hautausmaa – Lasten hautausmaa – overhyped, yeah they aren’t bad but no they aren’t the new Mana Mana or even close.

Grave Pleasures – Dreamcrash – What a suitable name, after the surprise debut, still with the name Beastmilk, this album is so shy. All the great melodies and freshness are gone. Beastmilk was dangling on the edge of hipsterness and ridiculousness but miraculously avoiding it and being stunning. Grave Pleasures crashes headfirst, being both annoying and pretty good in every track. There may be a jewel there but I haven’t got to powerlistening this mess yet.
Trepaneringsritualen – Perfection & Permanence – Such a ridiculously bad album it created a time paradox and appeared in this list even though it’s been released in 2014.

Favourite tracks (random order)

Top 11

Venetian Snares – Ötvenöt 3

Tribulation – Melancholia

A Forest of Stars – Drawing Down The Rain

Mgła – Exercises in Futility IV

Ghost Bath – Happyhouse

Swallow The Sun – Lost & Catatonic

Leviathan – Scar Sighted

Mgła – Exercises in Futility VI

Tähtiportti – Viimeinen Tähtiportti

A Forest of Stars – Lowly Worm

Paperi T – Mainstream Solo

Next 6

Pryapisme – Futurologie 3–5

Opeth – Eternal Rains Will Come

Tähtiportti – Tähtiportti IV: Luciferin Pylväs

Tähtiportti – Tähtiportti I

Ufomammut – Daemons

Misþyrming – Söngur heiftar

Favourite cover art

Ufomammut – Ecate

BONUS – Top 2 2015 games to play while listening music

Rocket League (anything with a bit of a pace)

Binding Of Isaac Afterbirth (anything grim and gloomy)