Review: Aborym – Psychogrotesque (2010)

 Genre: industrial black metal, avant-garde black metal, electronic
 Label: Seasons of Mist Records
 Country: Italy
 Listen: MySpace

The new Aborym! Have given it a few spins now and it is awesome. Aborym does what Abigor should have done on their newest (that was a dissappointment for me); make an unholy fusion of black metal, industrial and even more straight-up electronic music (dark ambient). Not as chaotic as Abigor, Aborym still retains a sense of control and tigthness in the sheer madness and tension their music evokes.

As compared to their previous outings, the non-black metal elemens have become more prominent/important; samples, keys, even a lone saxofone (well, twice or so) and a dance beat. The band’s mastermind now does the vocals himself, and he sounds fucking evil and/or demented; as do the instruments, actually. The title of this record, and the cover, are very appropiate to say the least. Enjoy!

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Review: Dimensional Psychosis – Architecture of Realities (2009)

 Genre: industrial black metal
 Label: Daemon Worship
 Country: the Netherlands
 Listen: MySpace

Dimensional Psychosis hails from varying parts of the Netherlands and make high quality industrial black metal. They unfortunately split up before this album was even released, which is a big shame because that hampered the recognition this record so clearly deserves. For instance, they only managed to find a distribution label after a long time and because of their demise it isn’t a big one (though it is trustworthy, ordered the record there myself).

Their music is somewhat reminiscent of Abigor’s Fractal Possession, though less polished. In general expect swirling black metal with a large dose of industrial soundscapes and effects as well as use of more conventional synthesizer sounds. The music does clearly have a certain groove from time to time, which a lot of similar acts sorely lack. In that way it references the work of the great Emperor (vocals are also slightly Ihsahn-ish). Though chaos seems to prevail, it is well thought out and there are enough points of reference to cling to when listening. All in all the music is quite good (so it’s too bad their future was cut short), and with song titles like Astral Abortion you just can’t go wrong! Ah, also note the unnamed 8th track, 90′s gabber industrial breakcore black metal which works better than you might expect.

Band members were/are also active in bands like Sauron, Galgeras, Fluisterwoud, Caedere and Botulistum. Spectre, of Control Human Delete fame, made the cover and album art work in general.

This review was previously released elsewhere.


Review: Terzij de Horde – A Rage of Rapture Against the Dying of the Light (2010)

 Genre: black metal, post-black metal, post-hardcore, doom
 Label: Self-released
 Country: the Netherlands
 Listen: MySpace

Already got this EP (28 minutes) before the gig of september 2010, but after they completely blew me away (literally, at one point) I had to write this review. It really was very impressive, just the right stage presence for music like this.

A discomforting fusion of (post-)black metal, post-rock, doom and (post)-hardcore is what these men from the Netherlands bring. Quite original and above all just very good, this will become a great name in tha sc3ne. Furious blasting, drones, dissonance and sometimes an almost hopeful reprieve which is shattered completely seconds later, all wrapped in a well thought out production (not too clean, not too raw).

The band draws heavily on the works of various poets, philosophers and other writers for its lyrics and concepts. Their band’s name is derived from a poem of Hendrik Marsman:

Terzij de horde

nooit gleed een bloemsignaal
tegen de steilte van mijn schemernacht,
waar ik, gewelfd over den rand der ruimte,
den geur der eeuwen puur uit de bokaal der lucht

en zelfde drijf, een late, smalle bloem,
op den verloomden maatslag van den tijd.
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Review: Anaal Nathrakh – Eschaton (2006)

 Genre: black metal, grindcore, industrial
 Label: Seasons of Mist
 Country: United Kingdom
 Listen: MySpace

For me the highlight of Anaal Nathrakh’s career; 2006′s most blistering release Eschaton. While still drenched in a relentlessly chaotic sound and furious vocals, Anaal Nathrakh’s music has never sounded so focused and well thought-out as on Eschaton. I in part ‘blame’ the work on bass (on some tracks) done by Shane Embury of Napalm Death fame; his distinctive sound and style give a solid anchor for the ensuing massacre. And on songs like “Between Shit And Piss We Are Born” you can hear how brilliant their music is set up; the subtle shift to the first clean vocals with the very cool melodic leads in the background is pure unadultered genius!

So, for anyone interested in the sheer fury and evil of black metal fused with the chaos and fuck-all attitude of grindcore and even some industrial overtones, this is your thing.

This review was previously released elsewhere.


Review: Kylesa – Spiral Shadow (2010)

 Genre: sludge metal, psychedelic
 Label: Prosthetic Records
 Country: United States
 Listen: MySpace

Kylesa’s newest! Whereas Static Tensions was meant to destroy everything that crossed it’s path, this release is much more subtle in its darkness and well, tension. I would even say that this record is predominantly psychedelic, the sludge part has much less emphasis than their previous works. More clean vocals, more drawn out melodic pieces, more strangely hypnotizing riffs and drum work and less in-your-face agression.

For me it was quite hard to get used to, because I absolutely adore Static Tensions, but this seems to work as well. For people who didn't appreciate their earlier work this may mean that they may appreciate this record!

This review was previously released elsewhere.


Review: Groove Armada - Black Light (2010)

 Genre: electronic
 Label: Cooking Vinyl
 Country: United Kingdom
 Listen: MySpace

This album is unbelievably cool! Hard-hitting electronic/big-beat, with a large dose of 80's mixed in (in the form of synthpop-like sounds and Davie Bowie-worship amongst other things). All in all a very hypnotizing record, with smooth synth sounds floating on pounding bass lines and drums.

Below you can see a video clip for one of the songs. This is one of the songs with a male (guest) singer on main vocals, and one of the female singers on backing. Vocal duties are split between about 5 different singers on the various songs, and they are all very good. Check it!

This review was previously released elsewhere.


Review: Gojira – Terra Icognita (2001)

 Genre: death metal, progressive death metal, technical death metal
 Label: Gabriel Editions
 Country: France
 Listen: MySpace

The damn French manage to bring forth some of the greatest bands ever, and among them I count the mighty Gojira. Terra Incognita is their first album and probably their rawest; I will post other albums in the future – to show the amazing progress this band makes. This record features brutal death metal riffing, atmospheric meandering, strange structures and rhythm all perfectly carried out by very competent musicians. This is, at least for me, the future of death metal and maybe metal as a whole. It does not encompass real harsh extremity bands like Ulcerate have, but they do manage to bring forth some sort of overpoweringly perfect entity. It’s like being torn to pieces by a terrible unyielding Pallas Athena.

While I have categorized this as technical death metal, it is not technical in the bliblibli-sense but more like Meshuggah is technical; technical prowess, (sometimes) complex rhythms but never forgetting to write bloody good songs. Oh, and they are very much god-damn-hippies!

Live they truly are a powerhouse, massively tight and so intense! Observe! (This song is actually from the album after Terra Incognita, The Link.)

This review was previously released elsewhere.


Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis (2010)

 Genre: mathcore, experimental, avant-garde metal
 Label: Party Smasher Inc.
 Country: United States
 Listen: MySpace

The Dillinger Escape Plan, (one of) the first mathcore band(s), returns to the front with their fourth and most refined record to date. The chaos and violence of their deeplying hardcore roots is as always nicely coupled with technical complexity, but for this record, more than ever, the sound is very coherent and the Mike Patton / Nine Inch Nails influences are fully integrated. So, while in actuality tDEP doesn’t really do anything they haven’t done before, the way they do it and how it sounds is unique. This record doesn’t scare you away with its complexity, but draws you in with seemingly easy music which slowly shows how deep and complex (and from time to time extremely raw and aggressive) it actually is. For the other records this was more or less the reverse process. But of course, this is still tDEP, so radio-friendliness is limited. The genre descriptor ‘mathcore’ is getting way too limited for this band. Maybe we should start calling them post-mathcore or something *cough* *cough* Anyway, this is a really great album, it headed the list of my top albums of 2010 and with VERY good reason.

Ah, for the record*, former David Bowie piano player (one record, Alladin Sane) and Nine Inch Nails accomplice (the Fragile) Mike Garson lent his avant garde piano playing and writing skills to tDEP for two of the songs. One of these songs, Widower, can be heard below coupled with an amazing fan-made video. Beautiful video accompanying a -very- beautiful song. Video was made by a fan, endorsed by the band's singer Greg Puciato on Twitter: 'Not an official DEP video, but I'm backin' it. This is fucking better than anything we could do anyway, really cool.'.

This is where chaos, technicality, emotion and songwriting come together to form the perfect record. This is… Option Paralysis!**

*this record, even
**did you guys see how cheesy that set-up was? Isn’t it great?!?

This review was previously released elsewhere.


Review: Crime in Stereo – I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone (2010)

 Genre: hardcore, indie, punk
 Label: Bridge Nine Records
 Country: United States
 Listen: MySpace

These dudes make an fresh and interesting mix of indie rock / hardcore (punk) / post something. It has the loose atmosphere and the kathartic effect of punk, (sometimes) the aggression of hardcore, the tranquillity and melody of indie and the eclectic and drawn out nature of post whatever. Grosso modo the balance tips towards indie and post but other albums should lean more towards punk/hardcore.

Last.fm says it’s similar to Polar Bear Club, Title Fight, Shook Ones and Agent. I know none of them! I do hear Nirvana and Nada Surf sometimes, the former due to the kathartic vocals and the latter due to their style of indie on their later records (though CiS all in all isn’t similar to either). Crime in Stereo has broken up in the year of the release of this great album and celebrated that with a cool video; well, why not? Not one of their best songs off of that album, but still displays their interesting mix of punk/post-hardcore/indie/pop/whatever.

A really solid and well worked out record, impressive stuff, so check it!

This review was previously released elsewhere.