Avant-Garde

  • Russkaja – Energia! (2013)

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    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.

  • Stagnant Waters – Stagnant Waters (2012)

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    With another thought provoking and totally weird release, Norway’s Advesum label brings us Stagnant Water’s self-titled debut release. In this album we have a total eight deranged musical Avant-Garde compositions that mix Industrial, Black Metal, Electronic, and Jazz elements in a very unsettling, but yet intoxicating way unlike anything you have heard before. The only band that can somewhat compared to Stagnant Waters might be the excellent Shining from Norway and their furious “Blackjazz” release.

    Opening with the Punk-ish Black Metal “Algae”, one might be steered towards thinking this release will be more like this… but one cannot be more wrong by thinking this way. There are a few furious Industrial and electronic elements in this track that immediately shift the focus of the song to a deeper (and weirder) direction. The band pretty much starts going ape-shit after the first 2 minutes with intricate expressions of weirdness and extreme brutality. “ССАЕР ЦНАПЯЛ ПНОИ ТАТ” brings some Diabolos Rising/Mysticum antics into the mix, but they are immediately outperformed by some weird/creepy clarinet and piano sections.

  • Yurei – Night Vision (2012)

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    In a similar vein to Ved Buens Ende, DHG, etc., but on crack and with a knack for jazz, today we have Yurei’s latest release “Night Vision”. This band is another musical outlet for the enigmatic Bjeima (Virus), and as you can expect is very strange and unusual. If you like traditional things, you should probably stop reading since this release is far from ordinary and standard.

    Opening with very random and at times absurd tracks like “Insomniac Bug Hunt”, “Reborn in Reveries”, and “3.00 a.m. Revolt”, it is not until “The Cognitive Crack” that we start getting some structure and something actually enjoyable. With very trippy proggy/jazzy sections stitched together, Yurei fails to convey a message, and while this might be the point it is just frustrating to follow random ramblings over the course of the songs with no aim.

  • Closed Room – Closed Room (2012)

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    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.

  • Melencolia Estatica – Hel (2012)

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    Making their entrance to the totally weird and completely random category today we have Melencolia Estatica and ‘their’ latest release “Hel”. This one-woman band from Italy has a very unique sound that while at times is extremely chaotic and totally random sounding; it is actually quite intoxicating and interesting to listen to.

    Often feeling like a nightmare, “Hel” provides a unique ride through waves of brutal Black Metal, crushing growls, and crazy orchestrations that flow very chaotically, but in a way they are quite enthralling. Opening with the deranged “Hel I”, this release quickly unleashes a wave of brutal sections complemented with very melodic and enigmatic passages full of layers of vocals. We have to say that the band’s sound is very unique, and after you get over the initial shock of how much is being thrown at you, Melencolia Estatica will quickly grow on you.

  • A Forest of Stars – A Shadowplay for Yesterdays (2012)

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    The always riveting A Forest of Stars returns with yet another brilliant album that defies the limits of conventional music and mixes a very diverse spectrum of sounds and genres. In “A Shadowplay for Yesterdays”, the band features ten excellent tracks that will surely expand your horizons with a truly rich musical experience unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

    Described as a concept album, this new release features the typical mixture of genres by the band, but it also sounds very cohesive and dark. The atmospheric elements are one of the biggest staples of the band and they delivers excellent sections that set the mood just right, like on the opener “Directionless Resurrectionist”. The spoken passages give that deranged vibe that we love about the band’s music. Not breaking character, the tempo of “Prey Tell of the Church Fate” is quite slow and nicely builds up to the faster Black Metal-ish sections. The drums are very good, but the atmospheric elements are the ones that shine the most.

  • So Much for Nothing – Livsgnist (2012)

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    As an early candidate of Black Metal release of the year, today we have So Much for Nothing’s debut full-length “Livsgnist”. This two-man outfit does an excellent job in taking Suicidal Black Metal into a whole new level, and will surely take years for any band to rival with Erik Unsgaard and Uruz have achieved with this album. Featuring seven tracks and around 50 minutes of gut-wrenching depressive music, this is the kind of release that will leave a deep impact on your psyche and will not easily be forgotten.

    Having people like Niklas Kvarforth and Peter Huss of Shining, Julianne Kostøl of Pantheon I, Trondr Nefas of Urgehal, and Seidemann of 1349, among many others as guest musicians, So Much for Nothing is the equivalent of Ayreon and Avantasia in the realm of Black Metal. With a excellent foundation provided by Unsgaard and Uruz, this release takes things to a completely different plane of existence and almost achieves musical perfection.

  • Sigh – In Somniphobia (2012)

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    As one of the most cracked-out albums of 2012, today we have Sigh’s Black/Avant-garde masterpiece “In Somniphonia”. Hailing from Japan, Sigh never ceases to amaze people with their extreme combination of Black Metal with almost everything else under the sun. The band’s sound is as complex as it is entertaining, mixing it up with all kinds of samples and a saxophone.

    Packing 11 tracks for around 64 minutes of pure madness, “In Somniphonia” is one of those albums that you will either love it and embrace it, or hate it and discard it immediately. Since the opening track “Purgatorium”, the band delivers very rich drums paired with melodic guitars and all kinds of ‘strange’ sounds surrounding Mirai Kawashima’s harsh vocals. The classical elements in this track make it very contrasting and interesting to hear.

  • Aenaon – Cendres et Sang (2011)

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    After delivering two impressive EP’s: Phenomenon and A Parallel Zoetrope, Aenaon finally signed with Code666 to release their debut full-length “Cendres et Sang”. In this very impressive freshman release, the band makes use of their superior ability in crafting interesting and unique sounding Black Metal songs and deliver 10 tracks of majestic music that many veteran bands wish they would have in them.

    Since the Jazzy opener “Kafkaesque”, you know you are in for a treat and a very unique album. This intro nicely blends with the second track “Suncord” and when the riffing starts we are immediately reminded of bands like Farsot and similar creative-Black Metal acts. The melodic aspect of the band’s sound is what makes them so special, particularly in the intricate passages crafted in the middle of this track that feature a hefty Jazz influence.

  • Abbey ov Thelema – A Fragment ov the Great Work (2011)

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    Making its way from Slovakia, today we have a very interesting release in the realm of Avant-garde/experimental Black Metal. “A Fragment ov the Great Work” marks the debut of Abbey ov Thelema a two person project that leaves no stone unturned and delivers a very promising album. Taking from the greats Arcturus and Blut as Nord, the band pummels through eight tracks of pure madness and aural aggression.

    Opening with organs on the intro “Left Hand Path”, the band quickly escalates things on “The One Who Walks the Left-Hand Path”. Mixing perfectly balanced atmospheric passages with aggressive Black Metal shrieks and commanding riffs, Abbey ov Thelema makes a strong impression immediately. The psychedelic synths are pretty deranged but great sounding and make the band’s songs be very appealing. There are plenty of melodic passages and crazy atmospheric interludes, like on “Unearthly Theophagia ov a Nonexistent Deity”, “Black Absinth Drunk While Analyzing the Writings ov Nietzsche” and “The Hidden Wisdom & Clandestine Legacy ov the Black Arts”, enough to satisfy the most demanding listeners.

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