Robin Staps and company return with another impressive and monumental 53-minute concept album that is intended to be played as one whole piece. In “Pelagial”, the bands ambitions are high than ever with an album that nicely builds up in momentum, just as the layers of the ocean are entered in a voyage to the sea floor. The Ocean are famous for their highly complex and multi-layered releases and this one is not an exception, keeping things very intricate and beautifully arranged for all fans to be blown away since the opening song.
“Pelagial” was also originally intended to be mainly an instrumental release, and it is provided as both in the regular version of the album, so we will go back and forth in how the tracks feel different and transmit different feelings both with lyrics and without them. Opening with the very relaxed and dreamy “Epipelagic”, one even feels a certain sense of relief with this lush and simple track. Things start getting a bit more ‘heavier’ as the voyage continues going deeper and with “Mesopelagic – The Uncanny” we get the first taste of heavy guitars and the combination of clean and harsh vocals. We do think this track works a lot better on the instrumental version since it sounds cleaner and sets the mood a bit better.
Always having surprises for us, Svart Records presents the very unique and highly experimental release “Kometenbahn”, by Finish outfit E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr. Mixing all kinds of genres but mainly: Electronic, Ambient, Krautrock and Progressive elements from the 70’s, this is one very weird and totally different release to what we are used to… and we kind of dig it.
Opening with an electronic intro “Prolog im Himmel”, the band slowly builds up with the futuristic and hypnotic “Nachtgeist”, a song that we picture to be playing in all the elevators of Sci-Fi movies like “Minority Report” and such. “Durch Den Komischen Dunst” is an 11 minute epic that is very rich in diverse elements and it is greatly put together to craft a very ethereal experience. We have to say that this is one of our favorite tracks of this release thanks to its very soothing and engaging pace.
In the same vein of truly unique and completely bizarre bands like Diablo Swing Orchestra and the Leningrad Cowboys, today we have Austria’s Russkaja and their latest release “Energia!”. Featuring 12 tracks of ‘Russian Turbo Polka’ music as the band describes it, any fan of truly experimental and very unique music will be creaming their pants with this bizarre musical output. Combining Polka, Metal, Ska, Rock, Jazz, and Funk, this release is anything but standard and predictable.
Open the release wide open we have the catchy “Energia!” a track so engaging that we are sure some people will immediately start dancing. The band’s sound resembles some of the Ska we have listened to in the past, but with a higher intensity and heavier guitars. “Barada” sounds like old Russian Rock songs that we had the misfortune of listening to on the net, but the band adds the wind instruments to keep it interesting and very catchy.
Delivering the first real stinker of the year, today we have Spektr and their latest release “Cypher”. In this nine track waste of time, the band attempts to be very experimental and avant-garde with some shitty Black Metal lined up with Drone and Industrial elements and a production that will make you want to pierce your ear drums, making effectively the most extreme POS we have heard in quite a while.
The album opens with a boring Drone-like piece titled “Hermetism”, then they deliver the first ‘BM’ dose of the night with the totally horrible sounding “Teratology”. In this track and the next (“The Singularity”), we get to ‘enjoy’ craptastic BM riffing with even more horrible drumming all distorted by some weird studio magic effects that make it sound more kvlt and evil according to the band. While some people might enjoy getting their ears raped by some horrible sounds, we are not too keen to make our pets convulse by listening to this.
Delivering a punishing aural assault of 35 minutes, today we have Dacast and their sophomore release “Dédale”. This French experimental band combines almost everything you can imagine in a ‘heavy as fuck’ package that is truly genius and totally deranged at the same time. With parts of Deathcore to brilliant Math Metal and Progressive sections, this monolithic release has something for everybody.
With a very bizarre retro cover that pretty much describes how the music sounds, this release is totally unique and quite disturbing. The band’s in your face style is quite brutal, but what makes us even more uneasy is how amazing the band is a going from a proggy section to a balls-to-the-wall Deathcore passage and back into some Jazzy stuff. This release is split into two sides, each one as crazy and chaotic as the other, but with an underlying technical brilliance that is unrivaled.
With a very aggressive dosage of Instrumental Metal, today we have France’s Abysee and their debut full-length “EN(D)GRAVE”. Claiming to avoid the ‘romantic interludes’, this band does a fine job in crafting engaging instrumental music with very aggressive riffing and a high-level of intensity. The band can easily be compared with compatriots Aluk Todolo, but with their own signature style of crafting epic songs.
Opening with “Eagle Haast”, the band immediately comes out punching with their intricate powerful riffs and heavy sense for melody. This is one of those songs that you keep waiting for the singer to come out and ruin it, but it is awesome that the band decided to just go instrumental with such an elaborate song (and release). “Ten Thousand Changes” and “Mastodon” keep the momentum going with more powerful guitars and very well-crafted drumming. “Mastodon” has a nice Southern Rock/Sludgy vibe to it that fans of these genres will surely appreciate.
Delivering one of those releases that makes you wonder why did you actually wasted time listening to it, today we have Opium Warlords and unbelievably their second release “We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky”. In this total shit-factory, we have Sami Albert Hynninen of Reverend Bizzare fame, taking a totally dump on music and concocting one of the worst releases ever since Botanist’s “I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead”.
After the super dull ‘minimalist’ intro “Sxi-Meru” we have the totally aimless “Slippy”. We know this ‘style’ of music is supposed to be this way, but it is just a random collection of thoughts and a few very nasty riffs put together. Sounding like a low quality rehearsal of something having a seizure while holding a pick to a guitar, “Lament For The Builders Of Khara Khoto” keeps the nonsense going.
After their impressive EP “White Bed Sheet”, we were thrilled to know that Closed Room signed with Sun & Moon Records to release their self-titled debut album. As many of the band’s in this label, Closed Room is a very unique ensemble that mixes Trip-Hop with Post-Metal and some Shoegaze elements brilliantly and in their previous work has delivered very interesting and engaging tracks drawing comparisons to Amesoeurs and such bands.
Setting the mood with the Post-Metal influenced “Behind the Locked Door”, the band nicely established very high expectations for a very unique sounding release. This track reminds us a bit of the experimental side of bands like Sigh and Ephel Duath. Things turn dark with the Blackgaze riffing of “Tempted to Illuminated”, then the ethereal vocals of Morena kick in and the whole atmosphere suddenly feels a bit different. This track is very well crafted and the contrast between the music and the vocals is just outstanding and works very well.
After Germ’s impressive debut “Wish”, released earlier in March 2012 by Eisenwald as well, we are totally blown away at how much a band’s sound can mature and such a short time and with “Loss”, this one-man project delivers 36-minutes of lush and deranged Black Metal with countless influences and a huge atmospheric component. Lead by the Aussie Tim Yatras, better known for his work in Austere, Grey Waters and Woods of Desolation, this new project brings forth an amazing musical proposal that countless bands have danced around, but never quite got it this perfect.
Moving a bit away from the psycho-sexual electronics of “Wish”, “Loss” takes things to a whole new dimension and produces some of the best atmospheric passages we have ever heard, with some brilliantly introduced electronic splashes. Opening with the heartfelt “My Only Hope”, we get very solemn vocals and excellent mixture of piano with atmospheric elements that nicely culminates very dramatically, lush, and brutal.
Falling into the dreaded ‘what the fuck is this’ category, today we have Poland’s Echoes of Yul and their sophomore release “Cold Ground”. In this release we have a duo creating ‘very disturbing’ and dissonant music, but not in the right direction since this release point-blank: SUCKS. While there are tons of people wishing to get distribution of their music, it baffles us when bands like this one have a reputable label such as Avantgarde Music.
Starting with the dull atmospheric “Octagon”, this release has pretty much nothing really happening until you hit “Libra”, the ninth track out of thirteen. The band delivers short ramblings of incoherent sounds and some very sparse riffs with OK drumming (considering …. well, any other band). Making noise and stringing a few riffs together and having a creepy atmosphere does not really constitute making music in our book, but seems like this band has managed to make this even more annoying, kind of like having a monkey punching your balls every 10 seconds.