NINE SONGS I LIKED THIS WEEK IN LIST FORM MAY 22 – MAY 28 – PLAGUE EDITION #107 – WWIII EDITION #14
Heyo, hi. A lot of shit going on, but I suppose that's the case with any living being inhabiting the cosmos, or something. It gets heavy, but we plow along, hoping for the best. Hope your guys' plowing is going pleasantly enough. Just as a reminder, I published a new AOTD interview this week with the great Serpent Column. Check it out, it's nice. I think.
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1. Scarcity – "II," from Aveilut (Avant-Garde Black Metal – The Flenser). An unfair, simple, easily corrupted mind would call this "microtonal Godflesh black metal." This despite the fact that I'm really not sure if it's any of those things. I don't know what microtonal is, but this feels like that, with the same ambiguousness could be applied to both "black metal" and "Godflesh" categories. What it does share with those flimsy titles, however, is the exact essence of unease and discomfort that each one of them represents, in differing ways. The harsh otherness of black metal, the "why am I so dizzy?" of microtonal metal, and Godfelsh's almost insufferable, borderline inhuman, alienation. And what does a distillation of these different types of unease create? Well, it creates a sensation similar to listening to Krallice while drunk. Not high, drunk, and the feeling that you're running up against something very old and very new. A very, very special album. Watch out. FFO: Krallice, Victory Over the Sun, Jute Gyte.
2. Trophy Hunt – "Katabasis," from The Branches on Either Side (Screamo/Grdincore – Independent). Not that I think of these songs in sequential terms, but this is basically the perfect track to complement Scarcity. Where Scarcity sucked the oxygen out of your alien head, Trophy Hunt's warm tones and red passion are like a huge syringe of life-affirming, soul-crushing feeling. I'm just in love with this album, with this track, with this band right now. Bathing in the sun of riffs and emotion. FFO: Portrayal of Guilt, atameo, Frail Hands.
3. Rigorous Institution – ״Earthrise," from Cainsmarsh (Punk – Black Water). What a ridiculous album. On the one hand it sounds so, so punk, and on the other so primevally punk that it actually sounds like late 80s black metal. Whatever it is, it's a completely unique thing. I have never heard of these nice people, which is entirely my own fault. I shall proceed to self-flagellate ad nauseam. But now that I have heard of them and the music, oh boy. One of the most special, eerie and disturbing releases I've heard this year and beyond. Just pure, unadulterated awesome. FFO: Reveal, Bathory, Daggers.
4. 侍 – "一," from 侍 (Black Metal – Independent). You know that black metal that sounds incredible because it also sounds terrible? That might (or might not) have been recorded in someone's bedroom using a Nokia cellphone, circa 2005? Well, it's a rare thing, because most of the time things that sound terrible just sound terrible, and it ain't easy making terrible into something that transcends and becomes beautiful. This is the case with this stunning track taken from the beautiful debut EP from 侍. It's harsh, it's melodramatic and it is just profoundly beautiful. Great shit. FFO: Lamp of Murmuur, Revenant Marquis, Ebony Pendant.
5. UNRU – "Der Hauch der Freiheit," from Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten (Atmospheric Black Metal / Post Black Metal – Babylon Doom Cult Records). A nightmare blizzard made of nails and harsh feeling. "Big" is probably the first word that comes to mind. Mainly because there are a lot of big things here: a big, super-clean production; big artistic ambitions; and a big scope, that includes anything from etherial clean singing and all the way to the sounds the devil must make when he's coughing. But, and this is important, never to the point of losing humanity, of feeling over-wrought, and always in the service of the song. Big. And beautiful. FFO: Wiegedood, Ultha, Turia
6. Chat Pile – "Slaughterhouse," from God's Country (Noise Rock/Metal – The Flenser). Yes, yes, we all know about how fucking awesome Chat Pile are and what an incredible breath of noisy air they are. But you heard it here first y'all! OK. Now that my pride issues are out of the way, the terrifying/lovely gang of Oklahoman menace-stirrers are finally back. About two years after The Flenser announced they signed the band the promised debut is finally here, no doubt delayed by –enter recent human catastrophe here–. But no matter, because the important thing is that God's Country is almost here. And judging from the first and opening track it's going to eat all of the tender parts of our soul (what the great David Jones called "the secret parts of us" – now that I'm comparing Chat Pile's music to the agony of being eaten by a rat in WWI, but I'm also not not doing that). Get ready. FFO: Being eaten by rats.
7. Predatory Light – "Death and the Twilight Hours," from Death and the Twilight Hours (Heavy Metal/Black Metal – 20 Buck Spin). I mean, I might as well just say it: I think I like this better than the new Negative Plane. Different bands, naturally, different aspirations (whatever that means), and comparisons are dumb. But that was literally the first thought that crossed my mind when I first listened to the new Predatory Light album. That it's going for a very similar sound/aesthetic – heavy metal black metal? – and achieving it with a greater level of economy. Which doesn't mean I won't be listening to that Negative Plane until the day I die, I will. And it doesn't mean that this market isn't already cornered by Chilean bands, it is. But just that I will probably reach for this one first. Beautifully made, eerily written, and magnificently appreciated. FFO: Negative Plane, Funereal Presence, Departure Chandelier.
8. Theurgia – "Levitacion (Residuos Oniricos en R.E.M)," from Virtue (Dissonant Black/Death – Independent). What can I say, all that DsO/Ulcerate worship is like candy in my ear. Granted, the kind of candy that gets lodged in there and creates a dangerous infection, but candy nonetheless. So, count me in, is what I'm saying. And while the worship with some bands/projects can get tedious and uninspiring there's something nice about this album. Well written, well performed, and just a whole lotta candy. FFO: Candy.
9. Hundred Year Old Man – "I Caught a Glimpse of Myself on Fire," from Sleep In Light (Post-Metal/Doom – Consouling Sounds). As with almost every other week, there was just too much music to choose from. The best of what I didn't have room for will be sent out to all my lovely Patreon people. But I couldn't really resist this wondrous slab of ponderous melancholy melodrama, now could I? Hailing from the, somehow Machine Music Favorite Town of Leeds (all hail the great Sunwølf, whom I interviewed back in 2014), the beast of feeling and riffs that is Hundred Year Old Man (HYOM) is back with a new full-length album and a whole lot of, well, feelings and riffs. If you're into that golden-age post-metal shit, then you might as well pack up your Rosetta t-shirts and move into this album. FFO: Cult of Luna, Rosetta, Mouth of the Architect.
FIVE MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
THREE – The dissonant force of nature known as Light Dweller is releasing a new album that has: a) an Adam Burke cover and b) all the riffs.
FOUR – I like my kids. I hope they like me too. But do you know who else is family? Eeli Helin (Fawn Limbs, Mireplaner, Fargue, Lung Knots) who just released a cold-ass noise/ambient project by the name of Vorare. Check it out.
FIVE – Рожь, the one-man project who dropped one perfect-ass atmospheric black metal album last year, released what looks to be a standalone, somewhat post-metal/doom single. Interestingly, the Bandcamp includes a link to this piece by ambient/drone project Reflection Nebula, of which he (Valdimir Frith) was part. I wonder if there's some inspiration/cross-fertilization there, or just a picking up of older ideas. Stunning, regardless.
ONE LAST THING, PROMISE: Couldn't close this baby (?) out without mentioning the newest outburst of musical brilliance from the mind of Garry Brents (Cara Neir, Gonemage etc) in the form of a new Homeskin EP that is just brilliant, brilliant black metal. Don't miss out.