NINE SONGS I LIKED THIS WEEK IN LIST FORM FEB 14 – FEB 20 – PLAGUE EDITION #47
Hi! Great, now that we're done with that you should more than check out (what does that even mean) the single from new black metal project Isgherurd Morth we debuted this week along with a spiffy little interview. Raging atmospheric black metal, if that makes sense. Other than that it's business as usual meaning a bunch of cool shit below, including a longer-than-usual "review" since I apparently couldn't help myself. Other than that here's some music and while you're at it check out our multiple interview projects and other cool shit. And if you'd like to keep abreast of the latest, most pressing developments follow us wherever we may roam (Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter), to listen to our shitty podcast (YouTube, Spotify, Apple), and to check out our amazing compilation albums, and give me your damn money (please!) on Patreon. Much love to all Patreon people, you rule my underworld. Bye.
1. Suffering Hour – "The Abrasive Black Dust Part II," from The Cyclic Reckoning (Black Metal – Profound Lore Records). Well, here's a review the band is going to hate, but whatever. They're not going to hate it because I hate the new record, far from it – it's a likely candidate for my AOTY or at the very least for being very high on that list, regardless of what else comes out, and it's by one of my favorite bands of the last few years. They'll hate it because aside from the fact that this album has definite or at least recognizable ancestors – Ved Buens Ende, Dødheimsgard, and Emptiness, for instance – and despite the fact that all of those predecessors are bona-fide avant-garde-metal gods this is an album about the dissolution, the melting, if you will, of metal as a genre. Its relationship to metal is not unlike the relationship of other "melty" developments in other fields – Slavadore Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" comes to mind," and maybe, to an extend, Freudian psychoanalysis, which I think it's safe say very influential on Dali's work as well.
There's a relationship, for instance, between Dali's melting clock and a "regular painting" of a clock or even a "regular clock," but they don't really fulfill the same function, do they? One is a machine, meant to take time, that looks a certain way, and the other, while a variant of that machine, doesn't work that way at all. More than an actual instrument of taking time the melting clock is then a symbol for something else, for the, say, paradoxical nature of time vis-a-vis the machine's attempt to capture it, or ours. Metal is that clock, or watch, or whatever. It's there to capture something, perhaps to produce something (fear? hatred? confusion?), and that's fine. Sometimes you need a watch (or clock, or riff), that's OK, and sometimes you want to paint a clock as a way of saying "time" or "mortality." But sometimes, like the fucking week or few I've been having as of late, you can't use it anymore, it seems out of place, out of time, and, frankly, useless. I've been listening to Ligeti all day, if that makes that situation clearer. But the new Suffering Hour album is a melting clock, a surrealist, dream-like blast from a future-past that disrupts my ability to take or tell time, that transports me – like Dali, like Ved Buens Ende – to another time and in itself is a comment on time. Not just saying "time" or just signaling "mortality" but bending both. Maybe this was the value, for instance, of the wonderfully odd Written in Waters cover art, that it feels old, much older than it is, and yet from the future (read my interview with Vicotnik about that album and that album art here).
Cyclic Reckoning is that, that cover art, in music. That melting clock, in music, resisting the machine, using it while breaking it down, whether through the odd, other-worldly vibe and riffing, the varied vocal style, or the pitch-perfect choice of production. This is NOT a well-produced metal album in modern metal-production terms, but it isn't lo-fi either – its production, like its music and atmosphere, is of another time – a melting clock. Interestingly, and in a very different way, it makes me think of another melting metal band – Morbus Chron/Sweven, my 2020 AOTY (interview here) and, much like Suffering Hour, one of my absolutely favorite artists today. But while Sweven takes its melting into the classical, almost choral, Suffering Hour are in metal while messing it all up. Sorry for the verbiage, if you don't feel like reading: It's killer, dude. FFO: Ved Buens Ende, Emptiness, Fleurety.
2. Knoll – "Scattered Prism," from Interstice (Grindcore/Death – Sludgelord Records). Intense performances, unrelenting, suffocating atmosphere, some of the tightest performances you could ask or pray for, and a just an incredible debut album from these Memphis fellas. Plus, there's an inordinate amount of "u" sounds in the band members' last names. They should look into that. Anyhow, screeching, hellish wonderment. Good. FFO: Full of Hell, Fed Ash, All Pigs Must Die.
3. Spectral Wound – "Frigid and Spellbound, from A Diabolic Thirst (Black Metal – Profound Lore). Other than the obvious respectful not to fell Canadian Drake on the album cover (big up!) this is a song that really kind of exemplifies my rant about Suffering Hour only from the opposite angle. In other words, this is not the clock melting just a very, very well-constructed clock. That might come off as a slight, which would be ridiculous, this is a perfect song from a band that has already shown its ability in crafting perfect albums, but it is, really, metal as all fucking fuck. If you're looking for that, if you feel a little less Freudian today and somewhat more Jungian, this is definitely for you. This post has really gone to shit, hasn't it? FFO: Sargeist, Fen, Tsjuder.
4. Hush – "The Night You Left Me At My Darkest Point," from The Night You Left Me At My Darkest Point (Death Metal – Torment Art). One must try to refrain from national stereotypes and pre-conceived notions, but Odin-damn was I not ready mentally to couple the words "Iceland" with whatever the fuck it is that this album is. A one-woman project, described as brutal death metal but I would probably align more with grid-death, that simply rips, rips, and then rips, and never slips, only rips. I want to become one with these riffs. Also, if I may make a small remark to the person who left Hush at her darkest point: Oh boy, you're toast. FFO: Pig Destroyer, Wormrot, Fuck the Facts.
5. Feed Them Death – "Displeasure in Pleasure," from Negative (Grindcore/Black Metal – Brucia Records). I guess this is turning into something of a grind-themed post but that only makes sense since, as I stated in the Suffering Hour rant, I'm not too high on metal these days and grindcore is much closer, as far as I'm concerned, to classical music than to actual metal, if that makes sense. Of course it doesn't, but the new single from Feed Them Death actually comes quite handy in that regard since it provides both the unrelenting attack on one's mind that is really the sign of any great music as well as weird propensity to introduce strange melodic lines that do – if you squint – work quite well as motifs in that classical way. Again, don't read me for content, I have no idea what I'm saying, but it's a very heady, very smart way of being absolutely brutal. I hope this is the quote they choose for their promo stuff, quite fond of that one. FFO: People shooting semi automatic machine guns at a orchestra rehearsal.
6. Odradek Room- "Breaching the Soil," from Painted Mind (Post Metal/Sludge – BadMoonMan Music). Such a weird thing this one, it's supposed to, I think, fit quite nicely into the sludgy/post-metal vibe, and I guess it is just that, but then it has these weird glitches which, for the life of me, I can't decide whether they're intentional or not, usually with timing and sudden shifts in vibe, that make this track seem almost – ah – proggy? Weird. Never thought slow, one-chord-per-10-minutes sludge can feel off-kilter or proggy, but this is kind of it. Weird, and very beautiful. FFO: Intronaut, ISIS, Indian.
7. Regional Justice Center – "Inhuman Joy," from Crime and Punishment (Hardcore – Closed Casket Activities). Seattle hardcore newcomers RJC (oh whom I have written sometime in the past, I believe) are back with a full length seemingly brimming with violent intent. This track's a little more on the "waiting for the chainsaw to come in, soaking in a tub of repressed violence" side but I'm pretty sure the next one is a pure ripper. Anyhow, very worth your time to get acquainted with these (literal) punks, solid stuff. FFO: Portrayal of Guilt, Incendiary, Gulch.
8. Mortiferoth – "Subterranean," from Fatal Spiritual Failures (Death Metal – Hail Shitar). If humans dropped their tools, their grand schemes, and their interpersonal relationships, just left everything, every sign of civilization by the wayside, and just made old school death metal that sounded and felt like this I would be a very hungry, very impoverished and very happy man. Punky, driving, pissed, roughly produced, packed with energy and life and just perfect nastiness. FFO: Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Vader.
9. Jurassic Witch – "Stegasorceress," from Black Masses and Ashes (Stoner Doom – Independent). There's no reason for me to love this as much as I do, none. I hate stoner metal, I hate it when bands put "witch" in their name, and the art is kind of silly. But I can't stop listening to it. So, there. FFO: Stuff about hell and weed.
FIVE MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONE: Bile Noire, the great Spanish black metal label, will be releasing a tape version of the debut Illusion Ritual EP soon. If you're fans of feral black/death then I suggest you keep tabs. Here's the album, and here's where to follow to get updates on the tape.
TWO: Listen to the new Gravesend album if you're interested in destroying something.
THREE: I'm been trying to express my feelings about this for a while, but it never seems to coagulate to something firm. So, since I can't seem to find the words, let me just say: fuck metal and social media. It's 99 percent useless sarcasm and shitposting, being condescending dicks, and then making a very false effort to make it appear as if it it's really about the music. It isn't about the music, it's about self-aggrandizing assholes who seek affirmation in the most violent, passive aggressive, and annoying way. I'm not saying I'm some kind of social media genius, I obviously understand zero in promoting this blog and I clearly have no idea what kind of shit to write to get those sweet, sweet likes. But I love what I do, that's what I got. That's my currency. So I guess I'n not the most worldly in the ways of the internet zeitgeist but I'm beginning to seriously suspect anyone who seems like he is.
FOUR: There's a very interesting link between how much my kids need me or show affection to how afraid they feel. And so while I love it when they need me I think the goal is to make them more secure. I might get less "I love yous" but that might be the most important "I love you" of all – living.
FIVE: If you're in the business of killer (yes, killer) metallic hardcore type screams with a pinch of melody and that 90s alt-metal feel then Quebecois band Scare has that good shit for ya. New EP out now.
ONE LAST THING PROMISE: Listen to the new Suffering Hour.