Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hateful Abandon - "Liars/Bastards" [2014]

Artist: Hateful Abandon
Title: Liars/Bastards
Genre: Post-Punk, Coldwave
Country: UK
Release date: 2014

Track List: 
  1. Maze of Bastards
  2. Culprit
  3. High Rise
  4. The Test
  5. The Walker
  6. There Will Never Be Peace
  7. December
"Hateful Abandon is a band playing a unique blend of music ranging from Post-Punk, the Industrial pioneers, Black Metal & Anarcho Punk with a wide variety of other influences. The band was formed in Bristol, UK in 2004" (last.fm)

While their previous album "Move" (2011) featured a quite impressive mix of black metal and post-punk, they got rid of almost all their metal influences on this one (although it didn't make their music any less dark and scary). My personal favourite of theirs is still "Move", but all their works are great, including this one, and anyone who's seeking for a more modern interpretation of the classic 80s' British post-punk and the late 80s-early 90s' darkwave should definitely check it out.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Khonsu - "The Xun Protectorate" [2016]

Artist: Khonsu
Title: The Xun Protectorate
Genre: Industrial Black Metal
Country: Norway
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Desolation City (prologue)
  2. A Jhator Ascension
  3. The Observatory
  4. Liberator
  5. Death of the Timekeeper
  6. The Tragedy of the Awakened One
  7. Visions of Nehaya
  8. A Dream of Earth
  9. Toward the Devouring Light
  10. The Unremembered (epilogue) 
The "unorthodox" black metal scene of Norway seems to be alive and well nowadays, and that's definitely great. Just a couple of days ago I've posted a new full-length album of Black Hole Generator, and here's another Bergen-based band which has released a new album this November. While I wasn't as impressed by this one as by BHG's "A Requiem For Terra", it's definitely very good (what else to expect from a band that has been compared to Thy Catafalque and Progenie Terrestre Pura) and apparently tells a sci-fi story of some sort in its lyrics. Recommended to everyone who loves electronic, sci-fi themed black metal (which is, admittedly, a not so common thing) as much as I do.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I Left The Planet - s/t [2011]

Artist: I Left The Planet
Title: I Left The Planet
Genre: Avant-Garde Black Metal, Jazz-Rock
Country: Norway
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Diamond. Hazard
  2. Dark. Blue
  3. Soft. Mad
"One from the vaults, this unique piece of avant-garde metal history, never before leaked or released, features some of the authorities of the genre including members from Fleurety and Ved Buens Ende. Recorded on analogue 16-track tape in March 1996, I Left the Planet is a one-off project featuring members from Fleurety, Ved Buens Ende and Virus; all bands hailed as originators of the style that has lately come to be known as avant-garde metal. Lyrics and voice are courtesy of acclaimed Norwegian author and novelist Bjørn Esben Almaas, overlaying three separate pieces of music written by Alexander Nordgaren, also handling guitars on the recording. Combined with Ayna Beate Johansen's distinctive voice, Czral's legendary drums and percussion style, Per Amund Solberg's contrapuntal bass melodies and Mari Solberg's jazzy saxophones the result is different from any other band of the era; Dark Poetry. Dark Metal. Dark Jazz. The recording plays across and between Adversum's label profile key words; disharmony, imagination, individualism, courage, entertainment and darkness, and is its first release on vinyl"

As you might know, I love this avant-garde side of the Norwegian black metal scene, so a side project of Fleurety & Ved Buens Ende just couldn't fail to catch my attention. It's indeed very experimental, closer to jazz-rock than to any kind of metal. The project name itself is quite fitting, as they apparently wanted to create something "out of this planet". Apart from the unusual mix of jazz and black metal (something akin to "A Conflict Scenario" by Virulence, although they were mixing jazz with death/grind), this EP has some "industrial" feel to it, due to the extensive use of samples (I even heard a short Russian-language sound clip close to the end of the last track). If you want to download it, go to dark-world.ru, but I think it'd be easier to check out all these tracks on Youtube:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Black Hole Generator - "A Requiem For Terra" [2016]

Artist: Black Hole Generator
Title: A Requiem For Terra
Genre: Black Metal (with Doom & Industrial overtones)
Country: Norway
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. A Requiem for Terra
  2. Titan
  3. Moloch
  4. Beneath a Chemical Sky
  5. Emerging Pantheon
  6. Earth Eater
  7. Spiritual Blight
Until recently, this Bergen-based duo was known only for their 2006 EP "Black Karma", which was a quite enjoyable piece of "slightly industrial black metal" (as one of the reviewers on metal-archives.com has put it), comparable to the best releases of Aborym and Anaal Nathrakh. This full-length album, released after 10 years of waiting, is still black metal (with some industrial overtones) in its core, but has noticeable doom/stoner elements which their debut EP didn't have. A really powerful work:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Second To Sun - "Blackbound" [2016]

Artist: Second To Sun
Title: Blackbound
Genre: Instrumental Black/Groove Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Vasilisa
  2. Chokk Kapper
  3. Region 13
  4. The Yoke
  5. Ladoga Master
  6. The Fool
  7. Mrakobesie
  8. Idemevs (Bonus Track)
  9. Spirituality (Bonus Track)
"Blackbound" is a long-awaited new full-length release from Second To Sun. Over the year that has passed since the release of their previous album ("The First Chapter"), the band has relocated to St.Petersburg and gained the status of one of the best-known instrumental metal projects from Russia (along with Senmuth - but not all albums in his vast discography are purely instrumental, and not all of them are metal). The S2S members themselves explain the motto "Fuck Your Vocals" by their desire to make their music sounding like a horror movie soundtrack, with the detailed backstories for each track being available in the release notes. If I understand them correctly, they think the presence of vocals would ruin the atmosphere of their music, and wouldn't help with conveying the story behind the music (since the vocals in extreme music are mostly unintelligible anyway). Okay, instrumental metal remains a very interesting and quite unexplored field up to this day, so let's see what S2S have to offer on this album.

"Blackbound", as its name suggests, is much darker and black metal-oriented than their previous releases. The album may seem to be too monotonous and too overloaded with tremolos and blast beats at times, yet the atmosphere and melodies make it an interesting listen. Not to mention it's quite well produced (the band's leader owns his professional recording studio by now). Just like in case with their previous album, most (but not all) tracks on "Blackbound" take inspiration from the folklore and history of the minor Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North (a subject that's quite interesting for me personally as well, and that's the primary reason why S2S got my attention), which sets Second To Sun apart from numerous metal bands inspired by the Slavic and Scandinavian mythologies. A more detailed info on each track can be found on the album's Bandcamp page under the "lyrics" link.

It's tempting to tag "Blackbound" as a progressive metal album, but Vladimir Klimov-Lehtinen (the band's leader) fiercely rejects any attempts to label his music as anything else but "(post-)black metal" or "groove metal. I can see where he's coming from - because, as of now, "progressive metal" is mostly used to describe trendy djent/math metal bands like Periphery or Animals As Leaders, which S2S don't want to associate themselves with. S2S also don't play live shows, don't dress and look like stereotypical metalheads, and don't take too many photos of themselves because of the same desire to dissociate themselves with the current trendy metal scene (successfully or not).

For the most part, their reputation of a "djent" or "progressive deathcore" band comes from their album "Based On A True Story", which they now consider their biggest mistake. They also don't want to be associated with the folk or pagan metal scenes, since they draw their inspiration from living (if moribund), not dead traditions (read more in this interview). This is also understandable, because the majority of modern self-proclaimed neo-pagans indeed are complete clowns, especially the Slavic ones. However, Vladimir's constant rants about the people who tag his albums "prog-metal" or "djent" still sound too ridiculously over the top to me, even if he's just joking. As he himself puts it: "I'm trying to be as much of an arrogant dick as possible to get you guys all worked up for a nice little flame war in the comments". Well, I guess he'd fit right in the so-called "elite black metal" scene with such an attitude, but I don't think it's something to be proud of. As a conclusion: the music, whatever you label it, is interesting and controversial, but I'd appreciate it more if its author would be a little less full of himself.

Thy Catafalque - "Meta" [2016]

Artist: Thy Catafalque
Title: Meta
Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal, Post-Metal
Country: Hungary/UK
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Uránia
  2. Sirály
  3. 10^(-20) Ångström
  4. Ixión Düün
  5. Ősszel otthon
  6. Malmok járnak
  7. Vonatút az éjszakában
  8. Mezolit
  9. Fehérvasárnap
Tamás Kátai is back with a new album, which is considerably heavier and darker than his previous work "Sgùrr". Just like the majority of his works, "Meta" is quite an avant-garde release which resists any attempts to fit it into a single genre, but would be safe to say it's rooted in (post-)black metal more than in anything else. Surely, it's hard to make an opinion on such a complex and unorthodox music piece after a single listening, but I already can point out the best track on "Meta", which is "Mezolit". It's easily one of the best things to come from Thy Catafalque in the late few years, and it strongly reminds me of "Dreaming Neon Black" by Nevermore (one of my all-time progressive metal favourites), especially when it comes to the vocal work and the overall atmosphere. If I'm not mistaken, it features Gyula Vasvári of Perihelion on vocals, which is awesome too (I really liked his clean vocals on "Nap Fele Néz").


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Кобь - "Давьныѣ Покровы Рипѣискыихъ Дрѣвочащь" [2006]

Artist: Кобь
Title: Давьныѣ Покровы Рипѣискыихъ Дрѣвочащь
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2006

Track List:
  1. Дрѣвочащь покровъ / Shroud Of Woods / Покрывало лесов
  2. Мордогляди езеръ / Mirrorlakes / Озёрозеркалие
  3. На вѣтра крылахъ / On The Wind's Wings / На крыльях ветра
  4. Мьгланыи одръ / The Hazy Cradle / Туманная колыбель
  5. Въноутре камениевъ / Within The Heart Of Rocks / Во чреве скал
  6. Давьныи Рипѣи / The Eldest Ural / Старший Урал
This band was formed in 1999 in Ekaterinburg by two musicians who never disclosed their identities but apparently weren't newcomers to the metal scene. On their only full-length album released ten years ago on Serpent's Lair Productions, three more musicians were involved, including Satt aka 121 (Velehentor, Valhalla, Nuclear Winter, Closing the Eternity) on khomus, tamborine and keyboards (except for the tracks #1 and #5). Later on, he considered this album to be the paragon of the Urals black metal.

While it's a very quality work beyond any doubt, I was slightly disappointed by it being pretty straightforward black metal with less "exotic" elements than I initially expected (same as with Melechesh or Vör). The khomus parts can be heard clearly, but the other "unorthodox" instruments - not so much. The use of programmed drums may also be off-putting for some listeners (not for me, though). Other than that, it's a very solid atmospheric black metal release heavily inspired by the nature and mysticism of the Ural Mountains (the band members seem to identify it with the legendary Riphean Mountains of Greco-Roman mythology, although that's quite questionable). The track names and at least some of the lyrics are in a language ostensibly similar to the Old Slavonic language, although I doubt its authenticity. Either way, the album name translates to "The Ancient Shroud of Primeval Ural Woods".


Thursday, October 27, 2016

H-Ural - "Дорога шамана" [2013]

Artist: H-Ural
Title: Дорога шамана
Genre: Industrial Rock, Folk-Rock
Country: Russia
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Миш ар
  2. Салы урнэ ойка эрыг
  3. Осхул арые
  4. Ханшан лук эвие
  5. Ай куль
  6. Дорога шамана
  7. Акем ар
  8. Шануш пох
H-Ural, formed in early 2007 in Ekaterinburg, are probably the only band to play a fusion of industrial rock and the traditional music of the eastern Ugric peoples (Khanty & Mansi). The band members also do a lot of ethnographic work, and have participated in many Uralic/Finno-Ugric culture festivals.

Their early recordings have interesting musical ideas but, unfortunately, a quite "cheap" sound (reminds me of early Nord'N'Commander, but with an "Uralic" touch). This is their second album, released in late 2013 (or, according to other sources, in early 2014), which is significantly more mature. The lyrics are mostly in Khanty, with a couple of songs in Russian. Interestingly enough, the language doesn't sound much alike its western Finnic relatives, or the Hungarian language; reminds me rather of the Tungusic languages. The music ranges from industrial/electro-rock to more traditional folk-rock inspired by the shamanic practices and ritual music of the Yugra people, with a prominent use of instruments like khomus (also known as the mouth harp). It's also influenced by the Amerindian (Sioux & Iroquois) shamanic musical traditions, which were extensively studied by one of the H-Ural's founding members, Sergey Yalunin.

Overall, the album makes for a nice listen, even if the vocal work seem to be weak at times. I'm currently listening to it while reading the works of Vladimir Napolskikh, the most competent Uralic ethnohistorian I know so far. If you liked this album and are interested in their earlier releases, all of them are freely available on the band's official site. Here's a couple of their early tracks, recorded around 2010:



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vocal group "July" (Komi Republic)

To continue with the Komi theme, here's a folk/pop vocal group from Ust-Kulom (Kulomdin) - a small town in remote southeast Komi Republic, which is one of the few places where the original Komi-Zyrian culture is still more or less alive and well. As far as I can understand, they mostly sing about their homeland and its beauty. The female vocals are predominant, yet they two male backing vocalists as well. If you liked the Komi folk I've posted here before (Lydia Loginova, Victoria Pystina), you probably would enjoy this band too.

Don't know if they have released any proper albums (I think they do have a CD, but couldn't find any detailed info about it), so I just have compiled all their songs I could find (which wasn't easy, as their name "Июль" / "July" surely isn't search-friendly). Enjoy:




Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vazhes - "Deep Komis" [2010]

Artist: Vazhes
Title: Deep Komis
Genre: Ambient, Dub, Ethno-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2010

Track List:
  1. Pu Baraban
  2. Chudskoy Otir
  3. Chereshlan
  4. Deep Komis
  5. Pasture Dub
  6. Oshkar (ft. Rapoon)
  7. Vazh Otir (ft. Fanum)
  8. A Dream Within A Dream (ft. Northaunt)
Vazhes is one of the monikers used by Sergey Gabbasov, an ethnologist from Moscow who also makes music. This album is dedicated to the Komi-Permyak people living near the northwestern slope of the Urals. "Vazhes" itself is a traditional Komi name for the "old people" of unknown origins who lived in these places before Komis came there, and the name of the album is apparently a homage to Deep Forest. The other albums released by Vazhes (at least the ones I've listened to) are mostly dedicated to the various Central Asian cultures, and appear to be more influenced by Muslimgauze (with some rhythmic noise elements).