Sunday, September 1, 2019

Neuroheart - "No More Time" [2019]

Artist: Neuroheart
Title: No More Time
Genre: Symphonic/Modern Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. The Digital Age
  2. No More Time
  3. Reveal Your Demons
  4. Hold My Hand
  5. Phantom Dream
  6. I Know Who You Are
  7. This Weird Universe
  8. Utopia
  9. Eternal Rain
At first it was hard for me to believe it's an album by the same band that was known as Arcane Symphony until recently, even though I already knew from their vocalist Anna Volodina that she was listening a lot to bands like Amaranthe recently, and the new sound of her band (which is now looking for new bassist and drummer btw) would certainly be much more electronic than their debut "A New Day Begins", which was fairly conventional symphonic metal.

Their sound has definitely changed along with the name, yet their symphonic metal roots are still present, especially on the second half of the album. Overall, "No More Time" has some pretty catchy tunes, and generally haven't disappointed me as I was afraid. Yes, it sounds a bit on the pop side of things at times, yet it's still more metal than Amaranthe or Dope Stars Inc.:

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Romokon - "Dripnön" [2019]

Artist: Romokon
Title: Dripnön
Genre: Ritual Ambient
Country: Hungary
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Nüpa
  2. Dorje
  3. Döchak
  4. Kyewa
It's not often when my readers suggest me anything interesting, but here's one: a Hungarian ritual ambient project with a Tibetan theme (out of all the stuff posted on here before, it can be compared to Raksha Mancham), that was primarily active during 2006-2009 but released the debut EP entitled "Dripnön" only in May 2019. All the tracks are minimalistic and instrumental (with the exception of "Оṃ Vajrapāṇi Hūṃ" mantra used in the second track):


Friday, August 30, 2019

Pierre Noir - "Licantropia is the relationship of the barbarized mankind" [2019]

Artist: Pierre Noir
Title: Licantropia is the relationship of the barbarized mankind
Genre: Industrial/Techno, Black Metal
Country: Spain
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Licantropia is the relationship
  2. Barbarization of mankind
Pierre Noir is an anonymous project from Spain (apparently somehow connected to Yunclas), that's producing a rather strange kind of industrial techno with black metal overtones. Surely it's not for everyone's taste, but it's original. At least I can't name any acts that sound similar to Pierre Noir, although "Esplendor Geométrico meets black metal" would be a fairly accurate description. The comparison with EG is quite obvious since they're the only classic industrial act in Spain that has influenced a lot of industrial/rhythmic noise artists, spanish and non-Spanish alike.

The name of the project may sound like a parody of Peste Noire, but it's actually a reference to the black stones (like the well-known one in Mecca) that were worshipped in many pagan cultures (that's also probably what the Candlemass song "Black Stone Wielder" was inspired by). The apparent parallel in northwestern Russia is the worship of "blue stones" which is probably of Meryan origin ultimately.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

V/A - "Lavana III" [2019]

Title: Heliophagia 06
Genre: Dark Ambient, Post-Rock, Post-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Futiliteit - August
  2. Res Magnifica - Orange Sky Aglow
  3. Непрерывные Города & Всполохи Ржавчины - Серповница
  4. Accasari (ex-System Morgue) - Devoratio
  5. Refraction Reel Lily - MoRr-Oko-Lahr
  6. Circle Of Unexisted - Bloodhail (Have a Nice Life cover) (feat. Anguish)
Good to see that Heliophagia are back again to work after a long hiatus. According to their description, "The Lavana III compilation is dedicated to the Summer Harvest 2019, as well as to our noonday demons". The first two compilations in these series, Lavana I and Lavana II: Hardest Harvest, also were dedicated to the traditional day of summer harvest, as well as to the death of everything old and the beginning of everything new. Overall, these ones aren't as good as Lavana III, but at least the Casa Ukrania track on Lavana I is one of their best. As for this complilation, it's certainly recommended for all fans of hypnotic and slightly noisy post-rock sound. Not sure if the band Futiliteit on there is the same as Futiliteit Orchestra on the earlier compilations by Heliophagia, but they surely sound very different.


Monday, July 22, 2019

System Morgue - "Inkeri" [2011]

Artist: System Morgue
Title: Inkeri
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Country: Russia
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Stonewind, Leadwater
  2. Inkeri
A dozen of years have passed since the release of the debut album by System Morgue, "Necrostud". This one-man project by Peter L. is still going on, although changed name to "Accasari" an year ago. "Inkeri" is an EP dedicated to St. Petersburg, released in 2011 on Peter's private label Yuggoth Heavy Industries. The title is a Finnish name for the historical region encompassing modern St. Petersburg (now it's used mostly by some fringe political movements with more than questionable ideologies, but let's not go deep into this...)


Like other System Morgue album, "Inkeri" consists of monotonous guitar drone ambient textures. Would make a good soundtrack to my upcoming trip to Northern Europe (I'll come to SPb on Thursday this week, then to Finland and Sweden, which I wanted to visit for a long time).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Oyme - "Vaya" [2017 single]

First off: I'm finished with posting everything I planned, so I can lay this blog to rest until the end of this summer. If there will be any new posts in the next couple of months, there will be very few. I have a lot of travel plans for this summer, and I don't want to turn this place into a travel blog (I already use my Instagram account for it). The first destination on my list is Mordovia, to where I hopefully will go tomorrow. This time I plan on visiting some rural areas where the Erzyan culture (to which my ancestors almost certainly have belonged) is still alive and well, and right now there will be a few words about a band who did a great work to preserve that culture.

The regular readers of my blog might be already familiar with Oyme (which means"Soul" in Erzya), a Moscow-based all-female group with Mordovian roots who performs mostly authentic folk songs in Mordvinic and other Finno-Ugric languages. This song, however, while being based on a traditional Erzyan wedding song, has a modern electronic sound arrangement, and it's described by the band as "industrial folk", which I find to be very accurate. It's also their first song to get a proper music video, which touches on the subjects such as ecology and the fate of the minority ethnic cultures in the era of globalization. It was shot on a very cold day near Moscow and took a lot of effort from the band, but the result was worth it.

Oyme's frontwoman Ezhevika is a very interesting person who as a professional ethnomusicologist has done a lot to collect the obscure folk music of various (mostly Finno-Ugric and Nakh-Dagestani) minorities in Russia, which otherwise might vanish into oblivion in the near future. While I don't agree with some of her depictions of the traditional Finno-Ugric cultures (which more resemble the idealized view of "Old Europe" by Marija Gimbutas), her dedication to her work is remarkable. I was very happy to see Oyme live last summer, and I still maintain contact with Ezhevika via social media.

By the way, Ezhevika is also an amateur model, and her main point of pride is her long legs. Interestingly, the beauty of female legs is a major theme in Erzyan folklore, which was already noticed in the XIX century by ethnographers such as Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky (and I also find it far more attractive than the current mainstream beauty standards promoted by the likes of Kim Kardashian). So I think Ezhevika has every right to say that her Erzyan legs are a part of Erzyan culture too :) The musical instrument in first two photos is called "gaitjamo", in case if anyone's wondering:

 
 

The last photo was made in my city BTW, and now it's time for me to pay a visit to Mordovia too. Wish me luck in my travels!

Perihelion - "Hold" [2016]

Artist: Perihelion
Title: Hold
Genre: Post-Rock, Post-Black Metal
Country: Hungary
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Feneketlen
  2. Szárnyakon
  3. Hold
  4. Sycamore Trees (Twin Peaks cover)
For some reason, EPs by Perihelion are more insteresting than their full-length albums. I already have posted one of their EPs on here a few years ago, and now it's time for their arguably best release up to date, which is firmly in my top of the best albums of the last 2-3 years, and which I was listening to on a repeat for a quite long time. Very catchy and exceptionally beautiful music, especially the cover of "Sycamore Trees" which is better than the original.

In terms of sound, it'd be best described as post-black metal with clean vocals, although it has very little to do with black metal in its pure form. The most similar sounding release that comes to mind is "Rengeteg" by their compatriots Thy Catafalque, as well as some later tracks by TG like "Mezolit" (which features Gyula Vasvári of Perihelion as a guest vocalist), but "Hold" can be recommended to the fans of projects like Deafknife, Violet Cold or Lonely Star as well. Regardless of what you might think, the title is in Hungarian and means "Moon" (by the way, another reason why I love Hungarian bands is the extensive use of astromonical themes which is so common in their music). Highly recommended!


Monday, June 10, 2019

CD-R - "Hide and Seek" [2005]

Artist: CD-R
Title: Hide & Seek
Genre: Ambient, Noise, Musique Concrete
Country: Russia
Year: 2005

Track List:
  1. Dusty Field
  2. Winter
  3. Still Remains
  4. Remote Control
  5. Demolished Surface
  6. Connector
  7. Punkt
  8. Metro
  9. Plateaux
  10. Untitled
Have you heard about that band called CD-R whose album "700Mb" became a best seller of all times? Jokes aside, CD-R is a Moscow-based experimental music project started by Nikita Golyshev in 2003:
"Use of old soviet synth sand effects combined with modern techniques and laptop makes an interesting combination of different styles of noise music - "fusion noise." Noisey, fractured soundscapes transform into broken rythms and melodys..."
While I certainly wouldn't call "Hide & Seek" harsh noise (it's more on the ambient / field recordings side of things), it's an awesome release that's quite original and not boring at all (unlike many many other noise albums), and the vintage-style cover art is interesting as well. The atmosphere on "Hide & Seek" has been descibed as "futuristic emptiness with human face", which in my opinion is quite accurate.
"CD-R are Nikita Golyshev and Stas Bobkin from Moscow, and their music is much more noise related, but they never go for the full blast of things. They built the tracks with care, but end up in quite forceful sound patterns, where high pitched sounds and feedback work alike. It is worked out quite nicely." - Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly

Gultskra Artikler - "Industria" [2015]

Artist: Gultskra Artikler
Title: Industria
Genre: Ambient, IDM, Percussion Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2015

Track List:
  1. Distortion
  2. Melted Percussions
  3. Thunderfall
  4. Phone Hum
  5. Short Circuit
  6. o---o------o--------o
  7. Exercise With Metal
  8. Rust and Drop
  9. Savage Mechanism
  10. Beams of Light Through the Cloud of Dust
  11. Shipping Details to Track 1
  12. ------o-------o---o-o
Gultskra Artikler is an experimental electronic music project started by Alexey Devyanin in 2003 in Novosibirsk (later relocated to Moscow). It was highly praised by many revievers, yet I haven't listened to any GA albums until recently. "Industria" has an insteresting concept, and after reading the release notes I expected it to be similar to early 80s' percussion industrial mixed with IDM in the vein of Rad Machine:
"Neo-folk cyber-psychedelia. Gultskra's music is always the unique mixture of brutal and honest vibes of mysterious Siberian soul and hi-tech technologies, some unpredictable electro-acoustical and avant-garde instrumental movements and precision electronical manipulations, strange field recordings..."

"For this album, before making it, I spent few times in some empty factory not far from Moscow. just to get the feel of the machines left alone in darkness. i had a friend who worked there, allowed me to stay for a while after a work day is finished and everybody's went home. I recorded some of the factory sounds, empty echoes, but mainly I just got the right atmosphere and mood to make these tracks later at home.

On few tracks I used contact microphones recording water drops interacting with metal in different ways, processing the signal of drops through effects i got some crazy results! the way real life (as water) interacts with metal, mechanic structure made by people, makes great contrast between so different substances, i try to reflect that in my music. contrast is one of the main themes. that's why I had to use some melodies, ambiences, Soviet synths.

I found some new techniques of sound processing to represent the rhythmic structures as some primal music beats, played by machines. as if machines were exploring percussions played by primitive humans and trying to imitate it. imagine a ritual in a factory where machines dance in a circle playing simple but meditative beat structures. this is so unreal" - Alexey Devyanin
While I coudn't hear any neofolk on "Industria" (maybe the earlier albums had more of it), it turned out to be a definitely interesting (albeit a bit short:) sound collage:

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Author & Punisher - "Beastland" [2018]

Artist: Author & Punisher
Title: Beastland
Genre: Industrial Doom Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2018

Track List:
  1. Pharmacide
  2. Nihil Strength
  3. Ode to Bedlam
  4. The Speaker is Systematically Blown
  5. Nazarene
  6. Apparition
  7. Night Terror
  8. Beastland
Author & Punisher is an one-man industrial doom metal band from San Diego, that has been creating music since early 2004 but came to my attention only not long ago. The description of this album surely sounded quite interesting:
"Author & Punisher is an industrial doom and drone metal, one man band utilizing primarily custom fabricated machines/controllers and speakers called Drone/Dub Machines. The devices draw heavily on aspects of industrial automation, robotics and mechanical tools and devices, focusing on the eroticism of the interaction with machine...
Drawing inspiration from his career as a mechanical engineer, Tristan Shone (the creator and sole artist behind AUTHOR & PUNISHER) forged a relationship with design, sound, and fabrication that ultimately yielded his hand-built “Drone Machines” which mapped the journey away from traditional instrumentation towards custom made "precision machinery." A robotic experimentation in industrial metal, noise, doom and drone, AUTHOR & PUNISHER recalls Nine Inch Nails channeling Godflesh, traversing through dark, uncompromising, and often disturbing soundscapes with occasional detours into rich melodies and splinters of light. Armed with newly built “Drone Machines” and a new label, Beastland is AUTHOR & PUNISHER’s career-defining statement and a powerful listening experience that further blurs the line between man and machine"
Well, good industrial doom metal is definitely a rare beast, and Author & Punisher manages to do it good. While it doesn't sound quite like anything else, A&P reminds me of Zaraza (another obscure industrial doom act that deserves more attention) and La Torture des Ténèbres (not doom metal, but no less "inhuman" music). Like in case with "Memoirs of a Machine Girl" by LTDT, I'm not sure if I'm going to listen to "Beastland" once again any time soon, yet this album is surely worth checking out.