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The Sin And Doom Vol. II
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Now Impending Doom arise once again from where they began, their own alpha and omega as a band, crafting the sixth album as punishing, focused, bottom-heavy, and musically blood-soaked as the earliest efforts that first won them notice before any notions of commerce beckoned them toward the more commonplace career path of the metal music industry. They've worked with top-tier genre producers in the past, including Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Hatebreed, Queensrÿche) and Will Putney (Every Time I Die, The Amity Affliction, Thy Art Is Murder), but for album number six, they've returned to the grassroots and hands-on way they engineered and produced their earliest recordings, cloaking it in grimy sonic mysteries anew. Christopher Eck, who produced their first album, oversaw the proceedings once again. This is musical blunt force trauma, from a personal place of desperate salvation and resolve. No competition, no compromise, no careerism. Impending Doom are renewed, purer than ever, united in their collective vision to create the heaviest metal missives imaginable.1. The Wretched And Godless
3. War Music
5. Paved With Bodies
6. The Serpents Tongue
8. Devil's Den
9. Everything's Fake
10. Run For Your Life (She Calls)$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ManegarmrMankind, proving its own self-destructive nature, was since the beginning of time obsessed to picture the way in which this world would end. From myths and legends to scientific theories, we have always been trying to predict our own horrifying end, but it looks like one of the most vividly menacing concepts has come from a band from Belgium called HESSIAN. Featuring members of great acts such as AMENRA and THE BLACK HEART REBELLION the four prophets of our impending demise bring a devastating debut album entitled: "Manegarmr".
So HESSIAN is incorporating metallic influences to their Punk / Crust sound, making their sound much darker than your average crust band, tracks like the opening song "Ascension" and the chaotic "Plague Monger" will try to take your head off with their explosive energy, relentless drumming, old school Punk vibe and Hardcore aggression. What is more intriguing here is that in order for the band to achieve that dark hardcore sound they have included a healthy bit of Black Metal riffology to their song structures, although I could not say that there is a straightforward Black Metal track, the eerie sound of the 90s is present on the guitar leads in songs like "Serpent's Whisper" and the monumental "Swallowing Nails".
Obviously that would not be enough. When your concept is the end of the world you got to have some heavy and destructive sludge riffs, and this is another part where HESSIAN leaves you with a smile in your face. The great groove of tracks like "Mourn The World of Man", can only be outshined by the pure filth of riffs found in "Father of Greed". Obviously "Manegarmr" has its more peaceful moments, for instance the ending of "Father of Greed" which ties in perfectly with the album's interlude "Vamacara", although if you think for a second that the atmosphere in that instance will be less sickening then you are gravelly mistaken, instead of finding a moment of serenity you will feel nauseated by the heavy ambiance of impending doom that these tracks manage to maintain, no worries though soon enough "Swallowing Nails" followed by the equally devastating "Hollow Eyes" will make you realize there is no hope here.
The album closes perfectly with the more interesting track: "Mother Of Light" a terrifying piece in which Sludge influences meet the Black Metal atmosphere with a hardcore attitude, it is the final push to make you comprehend the complete ruin that this album has brought. "Manegarmr" is a true gem of extreme music.1.Ascension
3.Mourn The World Of Man
5.Father Of Greed
10.Mother Of Light$12.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Afraid Of HeightsStraight from the dungeons of L.A., Wavves deliver Afraid Of Heights, their fourth album. Now a duo consisting of guitarist Nathan Williams and bassist Stephen Pope, they sound bigger, brasher, and shockingly more professional than ever on Afraid Of Heights which positions the band to take their rightful place amongst the pop-punk gods. You know the story by now. Bored dude in his parents' tool shed-turned-room with no insulation and a record stuck to a hole in the wall to keep the mice out turns on a four-track recorder, fucks around and ends up with two of the oddest, noisiest, and downright catchiest albums in recent memory.
The product of more than a year of writing and recording, Afraid Of Heights expands the Wavves sound while remaining true to the band's original vision - it was created with absolutely no label involvement, a specter that nearly derailed King Of The Beach. Working with producer John Hill (known for his work with M.I.A. and Santigold, as well as with hip-hop acts such as Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan), the band found a willing party in creating what they felt was the truest expression of what they wanted. As for the Afraid Of Heights sessions themselves, Williams paid for them out-of-pocket, explaining his reasoning with, In doing so, I had no one to answer to. We recorded the songs how and when we wanted without anybody interfering, and that's how it's supposed to be.
Lyrically, Williams took the focus less off of his own melancholy and out into the world, with songs that dealt with crooked preachers (Sail To The Sun), relationships (Dog) and killing cops (Cop). Even when he reaches outside his own damaged psyche, Williams is still making Wavves songs, saying, The general theme of the record is depression and anxiety, being death-obsessed and paranoid of impending doom. I feel like the narration is almost schizophrenic if you listen front to back; every word is important, even the constant contradictions and lack of self-worth. That's all a part of this record-questioning everything not because I'm curious, but because I'm paranoid. That paranoia manifests itself on many of the album's best tracks, such as the spacey drones and bummazoid vibes of the Weezer-referencing, getting-drunk-because-you-can't-bring-yourself-to-care-vibey Afraid Of Heights, or the string-aided I Can't Dream, which rounds the record out with the optimistic, I can finally sleep, before subverting itself with, But I can't dream. With their biggest and boldest-sounding record yet, Wavves might have finally come into their own, a fully-realized punk rock force in both sound and vision.1. Sail to the Sun
2. Demon to Lean On
4. Lunge Forward
6. Afraid of Heights
9. Beat Me Up
10. Everyhting Is My Fault
11. That's On Me
12. Gimme a Knife
13. I Can't Dream$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
OfferingsIf a Fellini film, a Bosch painting, and a Rorschach drawing had a collective sound, it would be Typhoon's new release. The 14-track record Offeringsis a musical and lyrical excursion into surreal imagery, eerie soundscapes, and an emotionally jarring narrative.
The 70-minute album for Roll Call Records, which is the Portland, Oregon indie rock band's fourth studio album, centers on a fictional man who is losing his memory, and in turn, his sense of self. "I've always been preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory. I wanted to explore the questions: What does a person become if they don't know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?" explains singer/songwriter Kyle Morton.
Motivated in part by his own preoccupation with "losing it," Morton also found a treasure trove of inspiration through various books, art, and film he was immersed in during the writing of this record. "I was watching a lot of David Lynch, and thought a lot about the Christopher Nolan movie, Memento, and Fellini's 8 ½.And there were a lot of books on my nightstand that played into this. It made it's a much darker album for sure," he says.
Offerings is divided into four movements (Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning, and Afterparty) to represent the mental phases the main character goes through where he first realizes that something is wrong, then struggles through the chaos of his situation, and finally moves into acceptance before succumbing to his dreadful fate.
"I wanted this record to be a journey, like Dante's Inferno. It kicks off with 'Wake,' where the character wakes up and he's shitting the bedand doesn't know what's going on. I was going for a specific feel that Samuel Beckett does so well," says Morton, who was reading Beckett's Three Novels, specifically Malloy, while writing the song's lyrics. "Beckett would call it a literature of impoverishment where he'd strip away as much as he could so he could get a feeling of essence and scarcity; that's what I tried to do musically and lyrically here."
Mission accomplished. Morton also masterfully makes a parallel with the character's journey to the state of the world today starting with the second track, "Rorschach," which looks at the age of information and collapse of meaning.
"But, by the third song, 'Empiricist,' there's a regression to the womb where the character is back in his bed at home,talking about his range of motion shrinking. This first movement ends with 'Algernon' [taken from one of Morton's favorite short stories, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes], where he's constantly awakening and in an interrogation with a woman-who the listener should know is his wife, but he doesn't."
Musically, there is a sense of impending doom and chaos throughout the record that mirrors the character's fear and anxiety. "The claustrophobic feeling of only having the present moment and this sense of repetition is musically mirrored with this looping that runs though the record with a through line of choral parts that give it a darker, creepier feel," says Morton.
To set the right tone for the story, Morton went for a less horns, more guitar approach. "We have a little bit of trumpet on this record and a lot of string arrangements. But we really strayed away from the horn arrangements. I wanted it to be a darker, more intense rock record, so it's very guitar-based. It's going back to my rock roots before Typhoon," says Morton.
The concept of what the main character in the album is going through is also meant as a way of explaining cultural memory loss. "I was also reading historian Timothy Snyder and was inspired by his take on how America is at risk of losing their sense of history. If we haven't learned the lessons of our past, historically, we can't recognize when elements come back to haunt us, which is what's happening right now," he adds.
One choral part ("Down in the floodplains waiting on a cure/ Blessed be the water/ May the water make us pure") was especially inspired by current politics. "I had Steve Bannon in mind quite a bit when I was writing these choral parts because I'm taking on this world view that I don't agree with, which is that the world needs a bloody struggle to reset -bring on the demolishing of order," he says.
The character's downward spiral continues through the album's second movement, Flood, while in the third, Reckoning, comes the absolute-zero moment where the character is ready and willing to let go of life. Reckoning kicks off with "Coverings," which is the first song Morton ever co-wrote with a band member -Shannon Steele, who also sings on it. (Steele lends her vocals to the end of "Bergeron," as well.)
"'Coverings' takes the story into the devil's mansion where all the rooms are the same representing this repeated infinite present with no reference. For me, this is Hell. And, at this point, our character has lost his marbles," he explains.
"At the same time, on the worldly scale," continues Morton, "this is the point where we don't have any public trust and there's no cultural memory, there's just chaos. People are becoming identical in this collapse of meaning and you have no reference. If there is any point to this record it's that -Without reference, you have an interesting concept of infinity, which can be really bad."
As the album comes to a close with the acoustic "Sleep," the character decides that instead of taking part of the chaos, he'd rather sacrifice himself. But there is light at the end of this dark, emotional journey. "The secret track, 'Afterparty,' is where he finds peace and freedom. It's his homecoming. He's on the other side of it now and has found his version of Heaven," says Morton.
It's this level of intricacy in Typhoon's storytelling and musicianship that has helped Typhoon become one of indie rock's most revered bands. Their previous album, White Lighter, hit No. 2 on Billboard's Heatseekers Album Chart and got Best of The Year nods from NPR and Paste.Typhoon has brought their, at times, 11-piece live show on the road alongside indie rock peers The Decemberists, Portugal the Man and Grouplove, and sold out major clubs and venues across America.
Adds Morton of Offerings, "I kind of wanted to make a dystopian record. If it's nothing else, it's that. If I could write my own one-line review, I'd think I'd want people to say, 'It's disturbing and unfortunately correct."1. Wake
14. Sleep$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Terrestrials (Awaiting Repress)
Thick Stock Cardboard Stoughton Style Tip On Jacket
180 Gram Vinyl
Limited To 3,000
Four figures stand atop a summit, staring east out over a vast, frostbitten wasteland, the black sun dwindling in the west, casting their shadows across the plain. They await another clan, legendary for their slow approach. Eyes on the horizon, searching, patiently, for some signal of the arrival, some plume of smoke that would announce that the time had come. At last, at the edge of the plane, they note a black banner, and soon two hooded figures appear in the dusk. A horn sounds, and drumbeats echo through the valley.
It's only the threshold of the distant horizon that limits the scope of Terrestrials, but like much of Earth, its landscape is arid, only disclosing its secrets upon active contemplation of its component dust. From the opening strains, hidden at the foot of a vertiginous crescendo from zero decibels, the album recalls a technique of Andrei Tarkovsky's, later developed in the films of BÉla Tarr. The eight-and-a-half-minute opening shot in Tarr's epic Sátántangó laterally tracks cattle carefully plodding through a dilapidated commune in search of food from muddy pasture. As the audience investigates the frame for clues to Tarr's purpose, he slowly reveals to them a symbolic vision of the film as a whole, inviting contemplation of the rich surfaces of the decayed buildings and the labyrinthine entrapment of the commune's inhabitant kine, some playing at leadership and some dragging their feet, cow and human alike awaiting deliverance by a dark messiah. Terrestrials proceeds in a remarkably similar fashion. As each track unfurls, its glacial pace arrests the listener's search for novelty, forcing attention to the profundities of the mix and the texture that the interlaced sounds create; and yet it also deepens the desire for what each step forward promises, the crisis that the procession patiently unveils.
Terrestrials features more complex instrumentation than most of the works of either party. Sunn O)))'s deep bass and endlessly sustained guitar feature heavily on each track of Terrestrials, but so do Ulver's electronics and a myriad of additions, including trumpets, didgeridoo, and strings. Although the tracks apparently began as a set of improvisations recorded at Ulver's Oslo studio, the vast scope of the release clearly evolved out of the various mixing and arrangement sessions helmed by Ulver's Kristoffer Rygg and Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley between 2008 and 2012. Here they achieved a synthesis that stylistically transcends the mere combination of the two groups and their traditional pathways, with Ulver sealing up the cracks of Sunn O)))'s immense backdrop and heightening the atmosphere with tense strings, sculpted textures, and insistent rhythm. It's this attention to the subtleties that renders Terrestrials monolithic; they ensure that each tick of the clock yields an array of sonic qualities, each progressing slowly in themselves but together moving the whole mass of sound forth at a constant click.
From the trumpets on "Let There Be Light" to the drum-like pound of the bass and didgeridoo in "Western Horn," Terrestrials relentlessly heralds its own arrival, an endless parade slouching towards Bethlehem. By the time Rygg's vocals enter at the middle of "Eternal Return," the crawling pace of the album has ensured their sublimity. Taken on its own, this short section would scarcely justify a song unto itself; it emerges out of the sudden but carefully orchestrated resolution of the murky depths of the track's recesses, manifesting as a piercing clarity and a distillation of the album's theme of annunciation. Its lyrics, rich in spite of their brevity, conceal a messianic yearning in the fallow desert, a hope for deliverance from the stasis of the Egyptian yoke and the confusion of exile, and a dark prophecy of a "liminal animal" with "golden nature" of the sinful calf. Rygg urges us to "listen silent."
Gongs or guitars ring out. This final stage of Terrestrials heralds a return of an immense mystery. What approaches, its lumbering gait constantly pressing onward, can't divulge its nature until it finally arrives. The quintessential figure of doom is an immense behemoth, a force of nature whose sublime shadow conceals it from view even as its thundering steps reveal its impending advent. But here we lie in wait. Terrestrials delivers on its persistent promise by offering another transcendental promise of a future culmination. But the restraint they exert in their advance to the beautiful oasis at the center of "Eternal Return" suggests that, here, Sunn O))) and Ulver are more interested in the process as it happens through time, tracking the march of the sun across the heavens, marking each moment as it slips back into eternity.
- Matthew Philips (Tiny Mix Tapes)1. Let There Be Light
2. Western Horn
3. Eternal Return$16.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
SalomeMarriages is a new band comprised of Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals, guitar), Greg Burns (bass, synthesizer) and David Clifford (drums). Their sound is a singularly sensual kind of heavy, dramatic rock, but perhaps the most stark contrast to their other band, Marriages employs vocals in their songs. Their music is also considerably darker and more experimental, drawn from a wide range of styles and ideas. Emma's breathy, understated delivery provides a focal point, the eye of the proverbial storm. A haunting presence, as elusive as it is alluring, her voice is a shore upon which waves of overdriven bass, thunderous drums, and cosmic guitars and synths swell and crash.
Kitsune is their 6-song debut release, a short introduction of an album whose undeniably epic proportions suggest massive things to come. Recorded with the formidable Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Red Sparowes, Tool) at the controls, Kitsune presents a collection of poignant, emotionally-charged tracks that wriggle free of easy classification. The comparisons are diverse; Cocteau Twins and Zola Jesus would appear to be as influential as Boris and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The songs came together quickly as the band wrote and played their first shows in November of 2011 and wrapped recording in January of 2012.
Album opener Ride in My Place sets the tone, immediately revealing the undulating, reverb-cloaked darkness at the band's core. Sounding not unlike PJ Harvey fronting an overdriven rendition of Pink Floyd's Echoes, the fittingly-titled song arrives as a fully-formed companion piece for expansive landscapes, perhaps traversing the vastness of the American west. Hardly overstaying its welcome, the track soon gives way to Body of Shade, whose cryptic lyrics suggests a sort of transcendence echoed in the music itself while Clifford's steady backbeat, the tense rhythm and the swirling interplay of synth and cascading guitars recall the finer moments of The Verve's early recordings.
Opening with a celestial keyboard loop and quickly gaining weight, third track Ten Tiny Fingers builds upon a heavy dirge-like rhythm punctuated by Rundle's vocals, which by now clearly occupy a place among esteemed peers such as Chelsea Wolfe and label mate Lisa Papineau. The song's cryptic, claustrophobic lyrics, contrasted with a loose (but by no means less thunderous) atmosphere and sense of impending collapse bring to mind The Cure, circa Pornography. The next track, Pelt, is born from the decaying remnants of Ten Tiny Fingers. A menacingly hypnotic three-minute meditation on minimalist doom, it serves as the perfect introduction to the distorted, bass-driven hard rock and wailing psychedelia of instrumental track White Shape.
Seven-minute closer Part the Dark Again is a song whose cinematic scope recalls precisely the kind of grandiosity the Red Sparowes are synonymous with, taken to its logical extreme. The impassioned, struggling-against-the-odds sentiment of the vocals takes things over the top emotionally, culminating in a soaring, melancholic riff that grinds to a halt far earlier than you'd expect. Throughout, Rundle unassumingly steps to the forefront, showcasing her unique talents as a guitarist often overlooked within the Red Sparowes' three guitar onslaught.
Kitsune is an exciting debut release from a band well aware of their potential, harnessing the skills to fulfill it. Marriages are an expansive, visionary development, a unique combination of elements, a sound signposting the path ahead. Kitsune will be released courtesy of Sargent House.1. The Liar
3. Santa Sangre
4. Southern Eye
7. Less Than
8. Love, Texas
9. Contender$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now