NINE SONGS I LIKED THIS WEEK IN LIST FORM APR 9 – APR 15
Hey to all. Hope you're doing well. Also: listen to the new Witte Wieven and, naturally, the new Dødheimsgard. Keep safe.
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1. Thantifaxath – "Solar Witch," from Hive Mind Narcosis (Avant-Garde Black Metal – Dark Descent Records). Very few albums hold a more mysterious and inspiring place in a weird-black-metal-lover's heart that 2014's Sacred White Noise. Upon its release into the universe it immediately captivated minds and obliterated souls. And in many ways Sacred White Noise erupted into hitherto uncharted territories of almost modern-classical black metal, a fact that only further cemented it as a true metal classic and one of the most unique metal albums of the millenium. Hive Mind Narcosis, on the other hand, the band's long-awaited followup, is allowed to bask in the fields of weird-ass black metal that, to an extent, Sacred White Noise helped nurture and cultivate. So, there's this danger of a band taking its sweet-ass time, coming back to a room filled with like-minded acts, and, thus, failing to bring about the same level of excitement. Judging from this first single, that is definitely not the case. Thantifaxath are back, and their creative, seemingly boundless take on what metal is and can be has grown even further. This is one of those cases in which the choice of a blurb-fest for a weekly post seems to fail. I just want to write more and more. But I won't. Just listen, and buy all kinds of shit. And listen again. FFO: Scarcity, SkyThala, Krallice. Bonus fun fact: I wrote about Sacred White Noise upon its release in a post that, I now see, is filled with bands and albums that I still love and which I have since interviewed. Which is cool, I think.
2. The Infinity Ring – "Gift Of Life from Nemesis & Nativity (Neo-Folk/Death Rock – Profound Lore Records). I wasn't aware of this Boston-area project, despite releasing a split a couple of years back. I am, however, very happy to become aware of them now. A style of music often attempted but not so often successfully explored, and I am just loving this entire album. Gothic magic, mysterious melancholy, fantastic songs and wonderful textures and just basically one of the best albums I have heard all year, regardless of genre. Beautiful. FFO: Rope Sect, Grave Pleasures, Maggot Heart.
3. The Turin Horse – ״Sixty Millions Blues," from Unsavory Impurities (Mathcore/Noise Rock – Reptilian Records / Invisible Order Records). I belatedly came upon this incredible band when I stumbled into a reissue of their excellent 2018 EP a few years back, and so was very excited to learn of a new full-length (full-length debut? Perhaps?). Unhinged, wild, and utterly beautiful mathy noise rock that makes one feel as if one was destined to write long, run-on sentences in which one refers to one as "one." Awesome shit. FFO: Intercourse, The Jesus Lizard, Unsane.
4. None – "Rest," from Inevitable (Atmospheric Black Metal – Hypnotic Dirge Records). I didn't really get whatever hype there was about this project, and specifically about their most recent album. I mean. I got it, I just didn't get it get it. Nonetheless I girded my loins and plunged into this new single off of their upcoming album, because I'm a motherlovin' professional (ha). And what I was greeted with was an absolutely gorgeous, mournful, melodic, and just overall beautiful track. The kind of black metal that makes you feel like you should be longingly staring outside at the shifting, winter landscape from the backseat window of your parents car. With earphones, and a sad look. Absolutely wonderful. FFO: Ethereal Shroud, Woods of Desolation, Xasthur.
5. Divide and Dissolve – "Blood Quantum," from Systemic (Experimental Drone Metal – Invada Records). Divide and Dissolve's 2021 LP Gas Lit was a standout records, challenging and beautiful. This first track from an upcoming new album is very welcomed, then, but not only that – it's fucking amazing. The eerie, dense mood, the seemingly random yet somehow rigidly repetitive instrumentation, they create an atmosphere both expansive and intimate, creative and unified. I need a whole album of this in my life, and June 30th cannot come fast enough. FFO: Battle Trance, Swans,
6. Spy – "Big Man," from Satisfaction (Hardcore – Triple B Records). If you are a frequent reader of this worthless space then: a) you best check yourself and b) are already aware of my appreciation of the California hardcore magnificence that is Spy, of which I have written extensively in the past (namely here, and here. I guess that counts as "extensively"). It's rough, it's raw, it sounds like it was recorded in Satan's basement (though in the case of this, their full-length debut, somewhat less so), and it will kick you and then pick you back up. FFO: Gulch, Test, Scalp.
7. Sól án varma – "Afbrigði II," from Sól án varma (Black Metal – Ván Records). I love Icelandic black metal. In fact, a case could be made that the tiny-yet-impactful-and-also-very-weird Icelandic scene was one of the main reasons I got back into black metal. And, so this new album, made up of a veritable "who's who" of Icelandic evil doers is basically a godsend. It's a vast album, vast in sound and in scope, and in many ways could be said to cover the wide gamut of that special scene – from the atmospheric and emotive to the bonkers crazy. It's wonderful. I think my only gripe with it is just how varied it is, to the point of feeling less like an album and more like a compilation, if that makes sense. But it's stunning nonetheless, especially when it touches on that Wormlust/Skaphe brand of crazy I love so. FFO: Naðra, Wormlust, Zrine.
8. Healthyliving – "Back To Back," from Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief (Post Rock / Doom – Independent). What an absolutely beautiful record. I kept seeing that name, "Healthyliving," in emails and maybe also on other people's feeds and it just passed me by, like a missed opportunity on the highway of life. But, given time to ponder the personage involved, and the sheer amount of talent (members of Maud the Moth, Ashenspire, and Falloch) I just had to check it out. And how glad I am that I did. Moving, slow-burning, emotionally captivating songs that caress your heart and split your chest. So pretty. FFO: Explosions in the Sky, True Widow, Brutus).
9. Radon – "Ashes," from Demo (Doom/Black Metal – Kashev Tapes / Hexerei Records). A little palette cleanser for, well, life in the form of a brilliant grouping of songs that straddle the line between doom/sludge and unrelenting black metal, all very minimalistically delivered via the modest-yet powerful vehicle of the rock trio. Almost all of these tracks start off doomy and get black metally later on, but it's always fantastic. Need this on tape. FFO: Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean, Thou, Hellish Form.
FIVE MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONE: If you have yet to have enough of this post's post-hardcore leanings, then Israeli project Itako released a wonderful new track.
TWO: In the ongoing series of shows I wish I could be at: The Callous Daoboys.
THREE: In the ongoing series of shows I wish I had been at: Hum.
FOUR: Life is as stressful as it always is, and, as always, trying to get shit done regardless. Suffice to say that next week is going to be a very cool week in the annals of Machine Music.
FIVE: Ggu:LL took the drums off of a (brilliant) Terzij de Horde track and turned them into (another) brilliant track. What a fantastic idea, and what an amazing execution of a fantastic idea. Cheers to Echoes and Dust for the premiere.
ONE LAST THING, PROMISE: I somehow forgot to mention the fact that the new Abyssal track rips the universe to shreds. Will write more next week.