Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fresh flesh from Bandcamp - Part 2

Woods Of Desolation: As The Stars (Northern Silence Productions)

Those familiar with Woods Of Desolation before might have connected the dots that I love this band. Hell, I even named my blog after their previous masterpiece, Torn Beyond Reason. The wait for the new release has been really agonizing for me and finally the day arrived when my limited edition package dropped in the mail as I refused to listen to it before that. The sole member of the band, D., has written the material for this album and with this release he has joined forces with Vlad (Drudkh) on drums, Luke Mills (Drowning The Light, Nazxul and Pestilential Shadows to name a few) on bass and Old (Drohtnung) on vocals.

First thing you notice is the shogazey and highpitched tone of the guitar making the album lighter and airier than the previous effort. I recall reading an article that D. has been listening to a lot of shoegaze lately and you can definitely hear that progression in the sound. The overall production is true to its roots as it is neither too polished nor overproduced. With Tim Yatras concentrating now on Germ and Autumn's Dawn the vocal duties in this album fall for Old. I am not familiar with his previous work, but to me his contribution on this album is decent to say the least. The tone of this voice suits the music, but on emotional level it doesn't connect so powerfully as on the previous album. Maybe that is a result of my current state of mind, I don't know. However, I am liking the album more and more with each listen, but still I am missing Tim's desperate shrieks and heartbreaking howls from time to time.

All in all the album is pretty consistent from start to finish featuring seven songs and clocking 35 minutes. As times goes by I am pretty sure I am going to form a deeper understanding and opinion about it, but for now I am rating it very good but not a masterpiece. My love for this band doesn't wither nonetheless and friends of atmospheric black metal can jump on this beauty without hesitation.

Thou: Heathen (Gilead Media)

I came across with Thou about a couple of years ago, when my urge for sludge and doom metal was infinite. They have been around for about ten years now and have released three full lengths and numerous EPs and splits since making them really productive. Heathen is their fourth major release and saw daylight about a month ago. While I was reading the reviews and the feedback from the fans and webzines, I noticed that Heathen was valued very dearly and has been even nominated album of the year countless times.

Thou's sound is heavy, ugly and distorted. Bryan Funck's absolutely snotty and tormented trademark vocals could be the factor making you love or hate this band. It may take some time to get used to it, but if you familiar with likes of Indian or Lord Mantis, you will have no problems accepting it. Musically the songs are long, heavy and mid-tempo focusing on building that massive, tortured and repressive atmosphere. There are parts where acoustic guitars are introduced and short interludes between the colossal songs giving the listener some time to breathe before the onslaught continues. The total playtime is 75 minutes, so it is more than a handful. It takes time to be fully swallowed by Heathen, but I am totally getting the praise and the prestige these guys enjoy. Recommended for sludge and doom fans and for those who want to test their boundaries.

The Great Old Ones: Tekeli-Li (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions)

If you have read my blog before, you may recall me ranting about their cover of Björk's Bachelorette a year
back. Now the French black metallers The Great Old Ones are back with their sophomore album, Tekeli-Li, which is due for release on 16 April. The preorders are now up on their Bandcamp page for mere 5 euros and I jumped on this offer immediately as you get the two tracks upon purchase to keep you pumped and content waiting for the full release.

Both tracks Antarctica and The Elder Things are solid in my books and offer a fresh intake on ambient black metal with versatile songwriting offering blast beasts, wailing guitars, progressive elements and somber atmosphere. There is not much I can complain and I am pretty certain these guys will get more acknowledgement and fans with this release.

Svartidauði : The Synthesis Of Whore And Beast

Svartidauði is Icelandic for "Black Death", this is not an overstatement but also valid for their music. Svartidauði was formed already back in 2002, but their debut album Flesh Cathedral didn't see daylight until in 2012 and it pretty much floored me upon release. Now the black death spreads again from the fjords with the release of their ominous EP The Synthesis Of Whore and Beast.

Venus Illegitima is the other half of the two-track EP and can be purchased from the above link. This track embodies all the great elements this band has to offer: pulsating and catchy riffing, malicious vocals, furious drumming hanging in poisonous and gnarly atmosphere. Fans of atmospheric black metal can jump on this without hesitation and it is highly recommended for any fan of darker metal.

These Are They: 1871 (Self-released)

These Are They is death metal from Chicago featuring members of Novembers Doom, ex-Laceration and ex-Hurtlocker among others. The band has been formed in 2008 and their discography features two full lengths and one EP prior to this release. Since I am a huge fan of Novembers Doom, I jumped on this band immediately when I heard Mr. Kuhr is delivering the misery behind the mic .

1871 is a three-track EP after four years' silence and can be purchased digitally only on their Bandcamp page. Despite their pretty awkward sounding name, These Are They deliver straightforward, honest and quality death metal where Paul shines with his strong and imperative vocals, it seems like the recent tremendous make-over in his life has only done him good. There are no weak points in the musicianship either, each band member contribute their part flawlessly leaving me hungry for the new release. Recommended for fans of Novembers Doom, but also others into traditional death metal.

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