Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Has it been that long? Apparently it has.

It has been well over a year since I have last posted here and I am sure most of the links from this blog are now inactive.

I want to breathe a bit of life back into this blog. I have had so little time, but no matter what I am doing I am always listening to music. I have much that I want to share and I am going to pace myself so that you are getting content on a consistent basis rather then extreme bouts of inactivity.

Keeping motivated is what I need now, a kick in the shins or punch in the arm every once in awhile should help.

As the original blog was dedicated to music that I enjoy, it will stay as such.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Skinny Puppy - Too Dark Park

Alright, it has been awhile, I know. I just have, and am glad to say, been busy lately. With that being said I have a treat for everyone. We are going to be venturing into some really awesome industrial today by a band famous for bringing industrial into more of a mainstream light. In any case it does not stop them from sounding apocalyptic and this album certainly is not easy listening. I am sure some of you are familiar with Skinny Puppy, but most people I find have not really given their work a true listen, let alone their oldest stuff that was much more related to the industrial scene.

So I have for you my personal favourite album by Skinny Puppy, Too Dark Park. I would definitely place this near the top of my list as some of my favourite industrial. Too Dark Park is certainly more catchy then say their much more destructive counterparts Nurse With Wound or Current 93 (their release Dogs Blood Rising) but it retains a very noisy disruptive atmosphere. Think Nine Inch Nails if Trent Reznor had made The Downward Spiral much more experimental and then times that by ten.

As it stands this album really is not easy to describe, it crosses the boundaries of pure industrial with the sense of almost dance-able undertones. Think Closer by Nine Inch Nails or KMFDM's oldest works, but much, much more abrasive and darker lyrics. I know neither of the bands I just mentioned are actual industrial, but for those of you have not ventured into industrial it gives you a sense of the music here.

All I can really say is give it a listen, it was my gateway album into the rest of the world of industrial and their are certainly some amazing acts out there and some strange, strange music as well.

Skinny Puppy - Too Dark Park

Band/Artist: Skinny Puppy
Album: Too Dark Park
Genre: Industrial
Country of Origin: Canada
Year: 1990

Track Listing
  1. Convulsion
  2. Tormentor
  3. Spasmolytic
  4. Rash Reflection
  5. Nature's Revenge
  6. Shore Lined Poison
  7. Grave Wisdom
  8. T.F.W.O.
  9. Morpheus Laughing
  10. Reclamation
Grab it Here

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light

I have got a thing for depressing music. Sure I love listening to stoner doom because of the awesome jams and death and thrash metal because of the ferocity of it but what I really am enamoured by is that suicidally depressing sound that takes you on a journey into yourself. This is the sound that can be found in much of doom and black metal. As I was saying earlier, in the Worship post, it is very cathartic and I really relish the feeling that funeral doom and death doom evoke in me.

And with that, that brings me to my next update, My Dying Bride. Now before you roll your eyes let me just say that first impressions can ruin everything if you have listened to their work at random or have only heard about them from others in a negative light. True there is a lot of mediocre to average albums in their discography but there are some amazing gems as well. This particular album being one, or in this case, one of the best death doom metal albums I have had the pleasure of listening to.

Maybe it is partial nostalgia speaking here but this album is the reason I fell in love with doom metal in the first place, it was my first true exposure to the world of death doom let alone doom metal in general. Honestly, the friend that introduced me to this album and this band I am in great debt to. What a gateway album to the world of doom. After six years of listening to this it sounds like a brand new experience every time I play it.

This album exposes a different side of depression for me, different then the monolithic and crushing music I generally listen to. Songs of Darkness, Words of Light paints a picture of melancholy in a way that many bands have tried to master but come off as to cheesy to do so. My Dying Bride is even guilty of this all to often.

Imagine a graveyard, it is nearly dawn, in the middle of a torrential downpour and light fails to penetrate the endless gloom. There you stand and you are mourning for something, a dead lover perhaps? Imagine a great Gothic cathedral in the final minutes of twilight and you are on your knees questioning why someone would take from you the most important thing in your life. You scream at the un-answering heavens wanting to know why you have to rot away alone. These are the types of images this album provokes (it sounds cheesy right? Well hopefully you'll see different when you listen.) Couple that with the lyrical content and you have something that will destroy you even on a good day.

When listening to this album I would like to state right now that the lyrical content is actually something to be absorbed here. Do not just throw this on as background music it requires your full attention. This one of those releases where the lyrics truly matter and not just because it is written so well, and the fact that there are songs with actual stories, but because of the vocal delivery by Aaron Stainthorpe. He may not play an instrument in the band but this mans voice is an instrument in and of itself, the growls are perfection and his clean vocals are just as haunting. One of my favourite examples of his clean vocals is from "Catherine Blake," near the ending, "a chorus of agony from heaven and rain poured in a colossus of angels tears."

Musically speaking you can compare this album to the likes of Mourning Beloveth's work, Shape of Depair's album Shades Of... (which is more funeral doom but none the less) and hints of Type O Negative for the very keyboarded Gothic influence this album tends to hold. The best I can describe this album as is beautifully and hauntingly depressing. So maybe you will hate this album or maybe you will see why I hold it on such a high pedestal. Either way give it a try because it does not disappoint.

My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light

Band/Artist: My Dying Bride
Album: Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
Genre: Doom/Death/Gothic Metal
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 2004

Track Listing
  1. The Wreckage of My Flesh
  2. The Scarlet Garden
  3. Catherine Blake
  4. My Wine in Silence
  5. The Prize of Beauty
  6. The Blue Lotus
  7. And My Fury Stands Ready
  8. A Doomed Lover
Grab it Here

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reverend Kriss Hades - The Wind of Orion

Now here is an interesting release out of Australia that I like to pull out of nowhere when I am having a fight about who has bigger black metal cred. I get the same strange look when I mention Havohej as well which just means I have more. Just kidding, but I have been advocating fans of black metal listen to this release for as long as I have been into black metal myself and a lot of people still have not heard of the Reverend's work. I love it personally, one of my favourite releases of this past decade.

Well for one the Reverend is no unknown man despite his own music being so. In fact if you know anything about the Australian metal scene then I am absolutely sure you have heard of Sadistik Exekution. While there are varying opinions on that band the point is Reverend Kriss Hades was a member when they released their infamous album "We Are Death... Fukk You!"back in 94'. Another important Australian black metal band he has taken part in as well is Nazxul. Saying that he has been around for quite some time, in fact as early as 91'. He just apparently likes to do live shows more then albums.

Now being in a band like Sadistik Exekution has obviously rubbed off on him because his style of black metal is noisy as all fuck but with a much more coherent purpose (another reason why I mentioned Havohej is because both seem to enjoy dabbling in noise.) The Reverend has also taken a lot of samples and used them to great effect for a very particular atmosphere, in this case a very psychedelic chaotic atmosphere but also very ritualistic ambient, think Beherit. Take note especially with songs like The Final Execution (Ouija Mix).

Now then, imagine all of this with insanely fast guitar riffing and strange vocals and you have got a small taste of what is going on. Yeah this music is, for lack of a better word, "trippy" as all hell. I can honestly say that this release ventures into many styles of black metal and is highly experimental. Yet I still cannot fathom to this day why this album has not been more influential because it is everything black metal strives to be, downright fucking evil.

So if you like this music and want more, and I know I have wanted more for years, you are out of luck, there isn't anymore beyond one live album. I wish he would get to releasing a new album already or is he going to pull a Havohej and not release a new one for almost 16 years? I sure the hell hope not.

Reverend Kriss Hades - The Wind of Orion

Band/Artist: Reverend Kriss Hades
Album: The Wind of Orion
Genre: Black Metal
Country of Origin: Australia
Year: 2002

Track Listing
  1. Winds Over Orion/Pyramids of War and the Destruction of Enemies
  2. Black Mass Murder (Satanic Version)
  3. The Final Execution (Ouija Version)
  4. Luciferion
  5. Meditation of the Midnight Candle Practice
  6. The Burial
Grab it Here

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Burzum - Belus

Alright, so you may be asking yourself, "why is he uploading an album I heard practically three months ago?" Good question! Honestly, it is because I want to have my say, or rather say my peace on this album since it is relatively important to the Norwegian black metal scene and black metal artists alike. That and it is an album created by one of my favourite artists.

Let's get straight down to business, (we all know Varg's history so making this post unnecessarily longer by mentioning it would be pointless) this is my description of Belus in one sentence, HOLY CRAP, OVERRATED MUCH? I know, I know that is not much of description so let me be more serious. It is just that the people that are claiming this is the pinnacle of Varg's work are ridiculous and need to stop. I know this all subjective and opinion based but this album, better then Hvis Lyset Tar Oss? Come on now. When did you start listening to black metal or Burzum for that matter?

Yes, this album is good though. It is exactly what I expected from him black metal wise after 15 years of imprisonment. It has almost no progression musically in form or style from his older works beyond production and why should it? Who was expecting Varg to reinvent black metal with this release? Apparently a lot of people because the other half of the reviewers were severely disappointed with Belus, to the point that it is just stupid.

Belus feels like it was recycled from leftovers of Filosofem and Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, which would be a bad thing if not for the fact that these two albums are amazing. The songs feel almost as distant and cold as they did on the previous albums even though the production value has gone up. The riffs, while something I have heard before, are still genuinely interesting and of Varg's style of black metal. I am saddened by the complete departure of his old vocal style though but it is not totally unexpected and his current vocals get the job done.

In the end it all adds up to a heavily atmospheric black metal release, yet there is something missing. It does not feel anywhere as near as grim and evil as previous efforts and you can feel he wants to take his black metal in a different direction. I just hope he doesn't try to rehash Filosofem over and over.

Another thing to note once again, because I need to drill this into some peoples brains, is that Varg hasn't made black metal in over a decade so being able to release Belus so soon after being released from jail and make it sound better then all the stupid clones trying to imitate him is no easy task. The man still knows how to create black metal, this album proves it. While not a return to full form it is a better comeback then I was personally expecting and I was dreading another black metal release from Varg after such a long period of time.

It is a really strong effort but certainly took time to grow on me. I am not sure where Varg is going with his music right now but I can only hope that when he does venture into new territory with it that he does not screw it up. Belus is a great release but certainly not Hvis Lyset Tar Oss or Filosofem.

Anyways I needed to get that off my chest. I'll have another update later on this week though so keep an eye out for that.

Burzum - Belus

Band/Artist: Burzum
Album: Belus
Genre: Black Metal
Country of Origin: Norway
Year: 2010

Track Listing
  1. Leukes Renkespill (Introduksjon)
  2. Belus' Død
  3. Glemselens Elv
  4. Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning
  5. Sverddans
  6. Keliohesten
  7. Morgenrøde
  8. Belus' Tilbakekomst (Konklusjon)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hammers of Misfortune - The August Engine

So I came across this album not that long ago but it was a pleasant surprise I can tell you that. I was just browsing some information on The Lord Weird Slough Feg, a heavy metal band in vain of NWOBHM if you do not know of them, and saw that John Scalzi (a Slough Feg band member) happened to be part of Hammers of Misfortune at one point in time. This piqued my interest pretty quickly. Now I had heard this bands name thrown around a few years back actually but I never gave it any serious thought so skipped them all together, I was not into the particular genres this band encompassed back then. Well skip ahead about 3 or 4 years and here we are.

Hammers of Misfortune have taken and amalgamated like 4 separate genres into one entity. It is an amazing blend of heavy, power, progressive and folk metal all in one. How they pulled it off is beyond me but they did one hell of a job on The August Engine. Hell even the female vocals fit in amazingly well and are not those generic soaring operatic vocals you hear all the time in cheesy symphonic crap. These guys had a vision when they set off to make this record and the achieved exactly what they set out to do.

Not only that there is power behind the instruments in this release, you can really tell the that the achievement in this album is the excellent musicianship and composition. There is not a moment where you find yourself yawning here waiting for the track to end this has kept my full attention every time I have spun it.

Now if you want a comparison of artists I am going to ahead and compare this work to some of the genius that is Devin Townsend especially Terria and Ocean Machine in some places. Not many bands or artists can take so many ideas and throw them into one pot and have the end result be so delicious. Not many artists can compare to Devin Townsend either in my own opinion.

So if you are looking for something different to check out and have not heard Hammers of Misfortune yet then I highly suggest it.

Hammers of Misfortune - The August Engine

Band/Artist: Hammers of Misfortune
Album: The August Engine
Genre: Heavy/Power/Progressive/Folk Metal
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Year: 2003

Track Listing
  1. The August Engine, Part 1
  2. All I Ever Knew Lie Dead
  3. A Room and a Riddle
  4. The August Engine, Part 2
  5. Insect
  6. Doomed Parade
  7. The Trial and the Grave
Grab it Here

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Worship - Dooom

So I have been going through rough times for about three quarters of a year now and really only got back into music about two months ago like I said in another music blog prior to creating this one. Well I haven't exactly recovered, but this is not live journal, the point being is I have been listening to a lot of funeral doom lately for a catharsis and Worship's release Dooom has been keeping me a lot of company.

This album, and a few others, are basically what I would like to call the epitome of funeral doom metal, slow, crushing, depressing, and heavy as hell. It resonates with a melancholy that most funeral doom metal bands could only dream of imitating. These guys really know how to keep your attention as well. There is no time in this album where one would lose interest. There is just so much going on in such a slow claustrophobic space. What did you expect from the band who released the Last Tape Before Doomsday though?

Well most people did not expect much of anything when Fucked-up Mad Max died. The band was disbanded right after it happened since Daniel Pharos was the only one left. The Last Tape Before Doomsday became a cult classic in short time after that and only a few years later the band was reformed by Daniel. People were excited I am sure, but I did not know of them then, though I did find out about them prior to their releasing of Dooom. With that being said the album is not only on par with the Last Tape Before Doomsday I find it to be quite frequently better. They did have some help from Mad Max with this release. A lot of this was recorded in 2000, it was only later that they added to it when the band reformed with a whole new lineup. It is everything funeral doom metal should be. Wait, did I already say that? Well I mean it.

I would like to also point out that my favourite songs on this album are Zorn a Rust Red Scythe, Graveyard Horizon and Endzeit Elegy. The other songs are just as good but damn if these ones are not depressing beyond belief. I love it. This bands music is why I fell in love with doom metal as whole in the first place and I am truly glad Dooom did not disappoint.

So in recap, an important member died and they still proceeded to release another masterpiece because of him even after his death. With that being said I am really excited to see what the future holds for these guys because so far they have released nothing but awesome material (they just wont have any help from Mad Max on their next release so it is all left up to the Doommonger (Daniel Pharos) to continue to churn out epic music without him).

Both this album and The Last Tape Before Doomsday are essential funeral doom metal listening and if you have not heard either you need to get them as soon as possible.

Worship - Dooom

Album: Dooom
Genre: Funeral Doom Metal
Country of Origin: Germany
Year: 2007

Track Listing
  1. Endzeit Elegy
  2. All I Ever Knew Lie Dead
  3. The Altar and the Choir of the Moonkult
  4. Graveyard Horizon
  5. Zorn a Rust-Red Scythe
  6. Devived
  7. Mirror of Sorrow
  8. I Am the End - Crucifixion Part II
Grab it Here