As one of the weirdest but also very interesting releases we have received in 2012, today we have Closed Room and their promotional EP titled “White Bed Sheet”. This Belarus band features three very different and equally intoxicating tracks that range between Trip-Hop to Post Black Metal. With similarities to bands like Ulver and Amesoeurs, this is indeed one very difficult band to categorize.
Opening with the atmospheric and very trippy “White Bed Sheet”, the band delivers a very Ulver-like song that has a very powerful atmosphere and excellent vocals. The jazzy female vocals nicely hypnotize the listener while the atmospheric beats work their magic in creating a very dense mood. We are not huge fans of Trip-Hop, but this song is brilliant.
With a very interesting thematically concept revolving around setting the Egyptian book of the dead through some very disturbing music, the one man project The Horn delivers “Volume Ten”. Claiming to play “Pure Ancient Occult Egyptian Space Metal”, this musician delivers 14 tracks of brutal and weird music that are not for everybody, but some might enjoy due to its combination of Black Metal with Noise and Ambient/Drone elements.
When it comes to originality we must say that we haven’t quite heard anything as disruptive as The Horn in this “Volume Ten” release. Unleashing a wall of sound in the intro “The Portal Opens”, the truly decadent reality of The Horn’s musical destruction is first felt on “Spell 165”. With a raw-as-fuck approach to Metal, this track is a beast when it comes to raw brutality and devastation. Some industrial elements are made present in the hypnotic “Spell 124”, making this band quite unpredictable at first glance.
Umbah is one of those bands that sounds like a bunch of meth heads playing around with instruments and samples, but funny enough some of ‘their’ stuff is actually enjoyable. “Enter the Dagobah Core” marks the band’s 13th release and it surely is a very weird and chaotic one. We can’t really say it’s bad because it actually has plenty of sections that are quite entertaining and interesting to listen to, but we can’t really say is also something that mainstream music listeners will enjoy.
“Whispers of a Dying Sun part I” delivers a pretty clear statement of what is to come: either open your mind of fuck off. This song is quite convoluted and crazy, but underneath the madness there is some weird sense of melody that intrigued us (enough to keep listening). “Bolderok Naron” and “Tample Bar” have a hint of Marilyn Manson meets Merzbow meets video game music, quite disturbing but equally intoxicating.
With a very interesting and bombastic sound, today we have Sweden’s own AtomA and their debut full-length “Skylight” out on Napalm Records. In this release we have a trio of musicians crafting a unique musical experience that has way too much stuff going on at certain times. While the band’s sound is lush and powerful, it also feels a bit misguided and confusing, making this release a interesting experience but ultimately not cohesive enough to be fully praised (at least by us).
Opening with the ritualistic “AtomA”, this track has a very ‘tribal’ feeling to it with a mixture of futuristic soundtrack elements and some electronic stuff thrown into the mix. As an opener it helps set the listener’s mindset to something completely different, but it also feels a bit convoluted. “Skylight” capitalizes on the initial build up with some more extreme atmospheric elements and powerful guitars. The drumming is very well crafted, but sounds a bit drowned in the mix. The clean vocal sections are pretty solid and provide a nice ethereal feeling to the band’s brand of music.
After excellent debut release “Des deux l'une est l'autre” the expectations for Hypno5e were high, but with “Acid Mist Tomorrow” they set a completely different standard. The band’s brand of experimental Metal has reached new heights with the 9 tracks presented in this very engaging release. Mixing elements from Post-Rock, Ambient, Avant-garde Metal, Instrumental Rock, and traditional Metal, Hypno5e’s sound is very complex yet engaging for even the average listener.
Wasting no time and opening with the highly atmospheric “Acid Mist Tomorrow”, we immediately felt in a movie sound track. The carefully crafted percussions and the ethereal clean guitars make for a great listen, particularly when offset by the excellent distorted guitars. The ethereal atmosphere continues with “Six Fingers in One Hand She Holds the Dawn” parts 1 and 2, with a very chilling vibe and excellent clean vocals. The crazy vocal samples in the back near the fifth minute of the track are pretty cool and give a subtle feeling of insanity.
It was just a few months ago that we reviewed the excellent “Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion”, and now we have Shroud of Despondency back with another epic release titled “Pine”. Covering 11 tracks and over 58 minutes of music, we are amazed by how fast this band can crank out self-released albums that are actually pretty good and worth to listen to.
With a very experimental edge to their sound, Shroud of Despondency mixes Black Metal with progressive and acoustic elements and creates a very aggressive sound that has excellent melodic and atmospheric passages. The first sample of these atmospheric elements is immediately found in the opener “Wander Lust (Winged Seed in the Breeze)”. Things get a bit more hectic and crazy with the deranged vocals of “Overshadow”, something we quite haven’t heard before.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have the experimental one-man music making machine John 3:16. Fusing ambient sounds with some electronic/drone sections and a dosage of Post-Rock, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is one of those EP’s that will captivate you from start to finish with its hypnotic sound and perfectly crafted songs.
The intro track “Earthly Father” wills enshroud you with mystery due to the drone elements an hints of ethereal atmospheric influences, but this track does not really give away anything that is to come. In “In the Name of the Lord”, the music continues to be dark with its droning elements and it suddenly moves into the Post-Rock area with some excellent guitar work. The drums get a bit annoying in the background, but I guess they are used to contrast for the first 2 minutes of so. Then this piece turns completely ethereal with some nice atmospheric elements and very dreamy guitars. This song reminded us a bit to God Is An Astronaut and similar bands due to the dark atmosphere around it.
As a perfect continuation/extension of their acclaimed (and excellent) “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I”, Earth is releasing the second part of this masterpiece in 2012. The new album titled “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II”, keeps the very hypnotic sound of the first one and extends it for over 45 minutes more.
With a very whimsical approach to music, Earth continues to break the molds and produces five tracks of brilliant atmospheric quality that almost nobody else can pull off. The minimalist nature of the band’s compositions will have you at the edge of your seat waiting for what is next and you will react to it. Moving away from the Drone/Doom Metal the band used to execute, this record feels like a right of passage into a more mature and different age for Earth.
Making its way from the USA, today we have one album that has been generating a lot of fuzz and even my non-Metal hipster friends (I apologize for them) have been talking about the last few months, Botanist’s double debut release: I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead. In this ‘release’ we have a dude tired of playing traditional music going full-retard and delivering something very unique and disturbing: Black Metal with a hammered dulcimer and an extreme plant-loving concept.
While we can’t deny The Botanist’s originality to some extent, we can also notice that the music is complete shit. Random attacks of aggression feature through the 17 + 23 = 40 total ‘tracks’ presented in this release. All songs are highly incoherent and are written around the crap hammered dulcimer elements with some random drums thrown in and so-so vocals. We love experimental stuff, but when these experimental sections sound like a retarded kid whacking at an instrument, we lose all respect for the album.
As the second stop in their chilling and somewhat perplexing 777 trilogy, today we have Blut Aus Nord and “The Desanctification”. In this release, the band continues their journey with “Epitomes VII to XII”, featuring very interesting compositions that take their unique and very imaginative sound to new heights. If you are expecting a crushing Black Metal release, we strongly advice you skip this one (and the previous one), but if you have an open mind and you are ready to be transported, you should keep reading.
The band has always been pushing the boundaries of Black Metal, and Metal itself, but with this 777 trilogy we find them even further down the spiral into an abyss of solid music but with sometimes doubtful directions. The riffing and the overall songwriting are very typical of the band, but some of the industrial/electronic elements felt a bit weird on the first few times we played this album. However, as with any Blut Aus Nord release, there is always something lurking in the songs that will surprise the listener and keep it engaged.