Friday, January 31, 2014

Chaos As Shelter - "Dead Air Broadcasts" [2003]

Artist: Chaos As Shelter
Title: Dead Air Broadcasts
Genre: Ambient/Noise, Field Recordings
Country: Israel
Year: 2003

Track List:
  1. Broadcast 1
  2. Broadcast 2
  3. Broadcast 3
  4. Broadcast 4
  5. Broadcast 5
  6. Broadcast 6
  7. Broadcast 7
  8. Broadcast 8
  9. Broadcast 9
  10. Broadcast 10
Chaos As Shelter already was presented on my blog some time ago, but this particular album deserves a special mention, because all its source sounds were recorded using Siemens "Turnier RK 16 Electronic" shortwave radio receiver. I think "radionoise" is an interesting subgenre (not to mention I was very interested in ham radio - and radiocommunications in general - before I got my first Internet connection), but there aren't many artists who share this interest. Surely, I know about The Conet Project, but, to my shame, I'm not familiar with almost all the project listed here... (perhaps I should start from Kryptogen Rundfunk, who's frequently cited as the best Russian radionoise artist)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Playing Dead Man / Individual Distortion / Perusak / Anus Apatis - "Grind Kemana-Mana" [2011]

Artist: Playing Dead Man / Individual Distortion / Perusak / Anus Apatis
Title: Grind Kemana-mana
Genre: Grindcore, Digital Hardcore/Breakcore
Country: Indonesia
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Playing Dead Man - Global Suffering
  2. Playing Dead Man - Cannibal Creation
  3. Playing Dead Man - ExistenShit
  4. Individual Distortion - Giving Dropkicks To Fixedgear Riders On Sunday
  5. Individual Distortion - Anjing Lu Ngentot
  6. Individual Distortion - Ojo Ngono
  7. Perusak - Sepele Tapi Krusial
  8. Perusak - Big Bang and Boom
  9. Perusak - Make Moral Judgement
  10. Anus Apatis - K.R.S.G.T.H.
  11. Anus Apatis - Senimu Tak Semurni Bensinku
  12. Anus Apatis - Nothing Happen with Your Pusssy
Official release notes from Stone Age Records:

"Its a 4 way split made up by Individual Distortion, Anus Apatis, Perusak, and Playing Dead Man. And such an honour thing to know that the split's cover is done by one of the most famous dangdut star nowadays, Ayu Ting Ting! :p Ok. Each band in this split playing different styles of grind music. First we got Individual Distortion which is very very very pro in wrecking up your stereo with the super annoying noisecore tunes, Playing Dead Man playing grind with the powerviolence taste inside, and then we got Perusak bringing you the heavy new school grind stuff, if you're fit with Missery Index well you'll be into it, then the last one we got Anus Apatis from Jogja blowing you the insane cybergrind tunes. We'd like to say sorry if you feel that the split is way too short but it's the way that grind should be. Once again, if you think that grind is not a humorous music well you're wrong :p Cheers!"

For the most part, grindcore indeed is a humorous genre (see my previous entry); however, Playing Dead Man doesn't look like a typical "funny grindcore" band - it's rather more serious, political hardcore/mincecore. On the other hand, there's still a lot of humorous industrial grind/noise/breakcore on this split. Generally reminds me of a duo called Super Postman, whom I was acquainted with several years ago, when I studied in the uni. They were originally from Kirovo-Chepetsk, a relatively small industrial town ~570 km north from here, but came here to study. Their music (if it deserves to be called so)  was made purely for fun, since they had neither the equipment to do anything serious, nor the sufficient audience for such kind of music in their hometown. Judging from how quickly the Indonesian death/grind scene grows - I guess the situation in there is better...

The Great Redneck Hope - "'Splosion!!" [2003]

Artist: The Great Redneck Hope
Title: 'Splosion!!
Genre: Grindcore, Chaotic Hardcore
Country: USA
Year: 2003

Track List:
  1. Hey Goth Girl, Isn't It A Little Hot To Be Wearing Pants?
  2. A Rhetorical Question: What Do Christian Kids Talk About? (ex: 'God Is Awesome' 'Totally!')
  3. I Don't Lift Weights To Impress The Bitches, I Lift Weights To Knock A Sucka's Teeth Out
  4. Three Easy Steps To Digging Up And Reanimating Your Ass, Only To Rock It Into The Ground Again
  5. You're Fired, You're Fired, You're Fired. Godamnit I'm Spike Lee
  6. Girl, Are You Down With Bacteria, And If So, Would You Like To See Inside Our Van
  7. Oh My God. Omigod. Oohh My God. I Thought Nailguns Had A Safety
  8. I'm Pretty Sure I Got My Cat Pregnant
  9. They Say The People Elect The Government They Deserve, But I Dont Remember Knife-Raping Any Retarded Nuns
From a random blog:

"The Great Redneck Hope hail from Colorado and play a punishing mixture of grindcore and screamo.  Brutally executed breakdowns, spazzy, all-over-the-place riffage and bloodcurdling shrieks make these dudes stand out like a nun at an Anal Cunt show. Their song titles are fucking ridiculous too! Enjoy!"

This pretty much sums up my own thoughts on this album. I'm certainly not a fan of chaotic hardcore/screamo, but these guys are good. Their song titles are indeed very funny, just as expected from a not-so-serious grindcore band (by the way, most of the grindcore you can find here in the ex-USSR is "funny grindcore" as well; it often seems like these bands are formed not for playing music, but for inventing as many hilarious song titles as possible). As for the download link, you can find one in the blog that I've linked to above.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gverr - "Failed Philosophy" [2010]

Artist: Gverr
Title: Failed Philosophy
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: Albania
Year: 2010

Track List:
  1. Sprained Insticts
  2. Frozen
  3. Around Your Neck
  4. Victim of Your Mind
  5. Euphoria
  6. Pain They Feel, Turns into Your Curse
  7. Failed Philosophy
  8. When You Could Be...
I've got almost no info on this band, except that they were initially formed under the name "Trout" in 2007, and their vocalist also plays drums in a raw black metal band called Nihil. However, "Failed Philosophy" is a good release that deserves more publicity. It isn't a masterpiece, but still a very decent work for a band from a country with very few active metal bands, and it shows a potential for Gverr to become a band of the same level as some of the best Western European techno-death metal acts.

Guilthee - "Eklektika" [2013]

Artist: Guilthee
Title: Eklektika
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Country: Hungary
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Hologram a Mars-1-ről
  2. Jóslat
  3. Már-már
  4. Mistreat
  5. The Wannabe Stoic
  6. Halott város
  7. Technofóbia
  8. Búsuló
  9. Heráklész megmenti Prométheuszt a sastól
  10. A csend ellenében
  11. Tanulj belőlem!
  12. Gyöngyház
The 4th release from Guilthee, a Hungarian band which already appeared on my blog for a couple of times, is even more avant-garde than their previous work, "Szemantikai háromszögek", and significantly better produced. It's indeed very eclectic, ranging stylistically from death metal to industrial/noise and many other genres. The female voice is present on this album as well, although it isn't predominant. Like all the other releases by Guilthee, "Eklektika" is available as a free download off the band's official site.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Infinite Tales - "Generation Of The Last" [2014]

Artist: Infinite Tales
Title: Generation Of The Last
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Country: Ukraine
Year: 2014

Track List:
  1. Generation Of The Last
  2. 667
  3. Pandemic Of Anger
  4. The First Rainy Day Of Your Last Summer
  5. Infection
  6. Breaking The System
  7. Dethmarch
  8. Revolution
  9. The Final Act Of Freedom
  10. Before Our Last Stand
  11. Killing The Kindness In Ourselves
  12. Funeral Theme
Again, thanks to the guy behind Cracked Core for pointing me to one another excellent band. Right before I started listening to "Generation Of The Last", I was highly skeptical about the possibility of finding a interesting, non-cliché MDM band in the post-Soviet space. However, after the listening I was pleasantly surprised how good it turned out to be. The quality of recording is very good, as well as the song composition and musicianship. The vocals are dual - male and female (but mostly female).

After telling some of my Kiev-based friends about Infinite Tales, I found out that at least two of them know the band members in person. The world is small, indeed :) Like many Ukrainian bands, Infinite Tales have complained about the lack of support from the fans, but I think posting this album for free download would be OK - because the band themselves are giving their whole discography out for free here.

And regarding the recent events in Kiev - seems like the lyrics for one of their early songs ("No War For This Century") are starting to be prophetic:

"The flame is on the town,
The fire wall burns the streets..."


I've spent the whole last night watching a live video stream from the streets of Kiev, and it was looking completely surreal. Huge walls of fire from burning tires in the night, large crowds of angry people (some of them armed with swords, bows and shields, and if this declaration reflects their views - they honestly think of themselves as some kind of modern day crusaders) - it all looks more like a scene from a noir sci-fi movie than something from the real life. And the sound of chaotic drumming strongly reminded me of early industrial like Test Dept, further adding to the "otherworldly" atmosphere. Moreover, one of my friends from Kiev who stayed at home during the protests, also had hard time believing that it all happens not only on the same planet, but in the very same city she lives in. Indeed, the reality can be scarier than any fiction...

As for me - half of my relatives live in Ukraine (far from Kiev, though), so you can guess what I'm feeling about the perspective for Ukraine to turn into second Syria. By the way, Zoltán Farkas (the vocalist of Infinite Tales) has probably the most sane opinion about these events, but who's going to listen to him?.. We can only hope that the lyrics of "No War For This Century" (quite naive in its anti-war message, but nevertheless very actual) won't turn out in reality.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sad Alice Said - "Clock Of Eternity" [2011]

Artist: Sad Alice Said
Title: Clock Of Eternity
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal
Country: Ukraine
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Clock Of Eternity
  2. Tomb-Like Silence
  3. The Son Of Nightmare And Pain
  4. Door In Autumn
  5. Open Your Eyes
A female-fronted gothic rock/metal band with better quality of production than Cold Sight, but less heavy. Sad Alice Said is a project of Alisa Shakor from Zhytomir, Ukraine. Initially it was thought to be an all-female band, but now their lineup is 50/50 male/female. Alisa's voice is very nice, but their music is hardly metal for the most part. They also made a quite beautiful video for the song "Open Your Eyes":

I've read their interview where they were asked to describe the metal scene of Ukraine:

"- One word: bad.
- Really?
- No, there are talented young bands, but we don't have sufficient infrastructure, and enough support from the fans. Everybody downloads music and nobody buys CDs, nobody goes to concerts.
- Well, we understand, here in Russia it's very hard to get promotion too. And how easy is it for an young band from Ukraine?
- Again, just one word: hard."

However, I'll post here their first EP in hope to help giving them more publicity. I understand they aren't from a rich country and any financial support is important for them, so visit their Amazon and iTunes pages if you want to support them.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Zergeyth - "Pajot Kezäs Kodoilas" [2013]

Artist: Zergeyth
Title: Pajot Kezäs Kodoilas
Genre: Folk/Black Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Kevät Tulou, Levos Tippuu
  2. Karjalažen Piäsköi
  3. Kezä Kodirandažeu
  4. Jälles Ajandu
  5. Vihmua Kaččojen
  6. Vuottovuara
  7. Kodi Kuččuu Karjalah
  8. Kurren Kižad
  9. Tomhet (Burzum cover)
Zergeyth is a guitarist of a St.Petersburg-based aggro-industrial band Repos Tuto Matos, who worked on his solo album for several years, and finally released it a few weeks ago. It's currently being promoted as an unique release - blackened folk metal with lyrics in Karelian language. This description made me interested, and I decided to check out both project.

The 2012 album of Repos Tuto Matos reminded me of later KMFDM albums (not their best ones, I'd say). The cover art is awful, but the music in general isn't that bad (at least by local standards). As for Zergeyth, I personally liked his album, but it's hardly black metal - more like "blackened sympho-power/folk metal" or something like that. The opinions of other people who have listened to it differ too: some liked it, some considered it pretentious bullshit. I personally liked track #7, which kinda stands out of the whole album, and reminds me of Kárpátia's later stuff:


Too bad I don't understand the lyrics at all (maybe if I tried to learn Finnish language instead of Hungarian, I'd be able to understand at least something... but alas). They probably contain a lot of typical black/pagan metal stupidity, however. Anyway, if you like Kárpátia, Loits, and Finnish/Hungarian folk metal scene, check this album out. Can't say I was interested in it because of my vague Finno-Ugric heritage - rather just because I wanted to hear something new and different. "Pajot Kezäs Kodoilas" partly met my expectations - it's good, but could be better.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In The Woods... - "Omnio" [1997]

Artist: In The Woods...
Title: Omnio
Genre: Progressive Metal, Death/Doom Metal
Country: Norway
Year: 1997

Track List:
  1. 299 796 km/s
  2. I Am Your Flesh
  3. Kairos!
  4. Weeping Willow
  5. Omnio -Pre
  6. Omnio -Bardo
  7. Omnio -Post
One more Norwegian band that were one of the first (along with Fleurety and Ved Buens Ende) to break the boundaries of "true" black metal. Their first album, "HEart of the Ages", was already very unusual for the black metal scene of that time, being one of the pioneering releases of atmospheric black metal. In The Woods were also one of the first to use the term "pagan metal" - even though they, unlike modern pagan metal bands, didn't use any folk instruments, and the word "pagan" referred only to the lyrical content of ""HEart of the Ages" (as opposed to the "satanic" lyrics of TNBM bands).

On their second album, "Omnio" they went farther away from black metal, and created a true masterpiece. For me it's one of the best atmospheric metal albums of the 90's, along with "Wildhoney" by Tiamat. The music on "Omnio" is quite complex and not very catchy after the first listening, but you'll realize how great it is after listening to it several times more. (By the way, there's another progressive metal masterpiece - "Dreaming Neon Black" by Nevermore, which had a very similar effect on me). The vocals are predominately male, reminding me of My Dying Bride, although there's some female vocals as well (the shortest track on the album, "Kairos", features only female vocals).

"Omnio" is an excellent album in terms of both musicianship and the atmosphere it creates (which very well fits my mood most of the time). Unfortunately it didn't get as much publicity as it deserves, but its ideas were later continued by bands like Agalloch and contributed a lot to the development of post-black metal.

Mortiis - "The Smell Of Rain" [2001]

Artist: Mortiis
Title: The Smell Of Rain
Genre: Darkwave, Industrial Rock
Country: Norway
Year: 2001

Track List:
  1. Scar Trek / Parasite God
  2. Flux / Mental Maelstrom
  3. Spirit in a Vacuum
  4. Monolith
  5. You Put a Hex on Me
  6. Everyone Leaves
  7. Marshland
  8. Antimental
  9. Smell the Witch
This is a rather well-known album, yet I think my blog would be incomplete without a review of it (won't post a download link, though; you'll easily find it elsewhere if you want). Håvard Ellefsen a/k/a Mortiis is mostly known for playing bass in Emperor, and for his dark ambient works from the 90's (including released under other monikers, such as Vond, Cintecele Diavolui, and Fata Morgana). Personally I find his ambient stuff to be rather average, except maybe for "The Stargate" (not saying it's bad, but there's a lot of better dark ambient around).

"The Smell Of Rain", on the other hand, is nothing short of a masterpiece. Surely it's much more accessible to an average listener than any other stuff from Mortiis (its sound even borders on synthpop at times)... but who cares? After listening a lot of "gothic" music of all kinds, I can name only very few releases with such esoteric/"otherworldy" feel to it, and "The Smell Of Rain" is certainly one of them. Too bad there isn't a lot of music that sounds like this exact album. Mortiis has released two more albums since then, but that period (early 2000's) was very bad for his personal life, which had strong negative impact on his music. Well, "The Grudge" isn't as awful as you might think after reading some reviews - but it's nothing comparable to "The Smell Of Rain", just average industrial rock. As for the music from other bands that came close to this kind of sound, I can think only of some tracks by The Electric Hellfire Club.

The 2nd half of this album is definitely better than the 1st one (even though "Scar Trek / Parasite God" and "You Put A Hex On Me" are very good tracks too). I love how it progresses from depressive synthpop of "Everyone Leaves" (an ideal funeral hymn, if you ask me, even though it sounds noths like actual funeral hymns) to the danceable gothic electro of "Smell The Witch". The lyrics are a bit abstract at times, but always very touching:

"I'm stuck and cold.
I'm stuck and cold in marshland.
I'm stuck and cold where life is
Plentiful but nothing lives...

Nothing that I say or do, 

Matters to the big machine
Nothing that I think or feel
Matters to the big machine
If I am dead when tomorrow's gone,
The big machine will just move on..."
("Marshland")

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Denébola - "Crawing" [2011]

Artist: Denébola
Title: Crawing
Genre: Darkwave
Country: Chile
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Ángel sin Cielo
  2. Profana mi Pecho
  3. Deserta
  4. At Sea
This Chilean band is probably the best in the whole "Darkwave from the South: Music From The Other America" compilation series, and I was happy to find out that they give out all their music for free @ Jamendo. While "Ángel sin Cielo" is definitely their best track, the other 3 songs on their only EP are quite nice too. Their lead vocalist has a very beautiful voice, as well as the male vocalist on "At Sea". And needless to say, this EP is another proof that Spanish language can sound very good in darkwave/gothic rock.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ostura - "Ashes of the Reborn" [2012]

Artist: Ostura
Title: Ashes of the Reborn
Genre: Power Metal
Country: Lebanon
Year: 2012

Track List:
  1. A Warrior's Tale
  2. Sword of Erus
  3. King's Crowning
  4. Hills of Glory
  5. Tears of Paradise
  6. The Gathering
  7. Infernal Hymn
  8. Ashes of the Reborn
Another rare discovery - a 7-piece (!) symphonic power metal from Lebanon. They're not even from Beirut, but from Jounieh, a majority Christian city 15km north of Beirut. Their music is typical fantasy power metal with the quality of production almost on the level of their Western inspirers (Nightwish, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, Avantasia, Kamelot, Symphony X). While I'm not very interested in this kind of music in general, it's a remarkable album for a band from a non-metal country. The 1st half of "Ashes of the Reborn" features only male vocals, while the 2nd half is more diverse, with more female vocals and balled-type songs.

I've downloaded this album from metal-tracker.com, but I have no idea if the band themselves are OK with their music being available for free on the net, or not. Anyway, if you're interested, there's a free preview of this album on Google Play, and several songs on the band's official youtube channel. For example:

Or this song, which is a non-metal ballad, but nevertheless one of the best songs on the whole album:

As you can see, they doesn't look like stereotypical metalheads (except maybe for the last photo):


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Relicts - "12 on the Richter Scale" [2008]

Artist: Relicts
Title: 12 on the Richter Scale
Genre: Death/Black Metal
Country: Turkmenistan
Year: 2008

Track List:
  1. Vendidad
  2. Anthill
  3. Desert
  4. Haoma
  5. Sacred Fire
  6. Underside of Truth
  7. Stratosphere
  8. Asphyxy
  9. End of Times
  10. 12 on the Richter Scale
One more rarity from the former USSR. Relicts were formed in 1998 in Ashgabat and released one full-length album & a couple of demos so far. Judging from the names, all the musicians of Relicts are Russian, except for the guitarist Serdar Salihov. According to him, the music of Relicts should be labelled as  "Avestian death metal", because some of their songs (Vendidad, for example) are based on Zoroastrian texts (a/k/a Avesta). Personally I don't have much interest in Zoroastrianism, but "12 on the Richter Scale" is an interesting album, despite its reasonably low quality of production. It's old school black/death metal, but it doesn't sound as monotonous as many other early death metal bands.

To my knowledge, there are no metal bands in Turkmenistan except for Relicts and their side project KIM. There was a thrash metal band called Paramedics in the late 90's - early 2000's, but not much is known about them except they've split up after releasing only two demos.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ulytau - "Jumyr Kylysh" [2006]

Artist: Ұлытау
Title: Жұмыр қылыш
Genre: Folk-Rock/Metal
Country: Kazakhstan
Year: 2006

Track List:
  1. Адай
  2. Зима (Времена года)
  3. Күрішшілер биі
  4. Жұмыр-Қылыш
  5. Токката и фуга
  6. Ата Толғауы
  7. Түрік маршы
  8. Терісқақпай
  9. Көкіл
One more Asian band which plays instrumental cover versions of folk songs as well as European classical compositions. While it has some metal riffs, in general it's hardly metal. Overall it's a pretty interesting work, even if it has some pop and electronic elements which doesn't really suit this kind of music.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Offertorium - "Ohne Dich" [2005]

Artist: Offertorium
Title: Ohne Dich
Genre: Symphonic/Progressive Metal
Country: Moldova
Year: 2005

Track List:
  1. Ohne Dich
  2. Die Dornerkron
  3. Der Sturm
  4. Die Sterne
  5. O Komme Tod
Like most fans of darkwave, industrial metal and NDH, I have a lot of love for German language in music (hence my nickname, which is also in German), but it seems to be not properly reflected in my blog yet. Here's a band from Moldova (!), whose members apparently were very much into German poetry and classical (romantic & baroque) music. They were formed in 1998 in Chisinau as a collective of mostly female musicians, many of whom had classical musical education. Judging from the names, they're mostly Russian/ Ukrainian:
  • Anastasia - Bass
  • Serghei Petrenco - Drums
  • Anna - Flute
  • Nikolai - Guitars (lead)
  • Tatiana - Keyboards
  • Alexandr - Keyboards, Vocals
  • Anastasia - Violin
  • Nadejda - Vocals
Unfortunately, they've split up in 2007 after releasing only one demo. The quality of recording on "Ohne Dich" unfortunately sucks, which is completely understandable, but still very unfortunate, because it doesn't do justice for such complex and well-played music. The vocals are mostly operatic (female and, at times, male), which often annoys me in bands like Nightwish, but definitely not on this demo. As a whole, it's a very interesting release from a country that's not known for having a prolific rock/metal scene, even despite the poor production. It's a pity that they never recorded a proper album...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Red Planet - "Homeworld" [2013]

Artist: Red Planet
Title: Homeworld
Genre: Melodic Metal (very loose description, I know)
Country: Tajikistan
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Anima
  2. Doomsday
  3. Homeworld
  4. Rift in the Lute
Progressive metal from Dushanbe? Now I can say I've heard everything... well, of course I'm joking, but it's not like there's a lot of Tajik metal around. So far I've heard only of Jinn (couldn't find their songs anywhere, but they look like an average Iron Maiden clone) and Spawn of the Matriarch (but they aren't really in Tajikistan).

This 4-song demo is actually quite interesting, all thing considered. The best track on it is certainly the title one - a catchy tune with proggy melodies and nice female vocals. "Doomsday" sounds similar, but not quite as good or catchy. "Anima" is kind of an instrumental intro, and "Rift in the Lute" is more heavier than the rest of the demo, sounding more like MDM/metalcore with male growls. As a whole, "Homeworld" doesn't sound like a consistent release, rather an attempt of musicians to showcase their skills. Well, it's understandable that they're only an young band from a poor country with a non-existent metal scene, so this debut is good enough to show their potential.

Band members:
  • Olim Karimov - Guitars (2010-present)
  • Umeda Fasilova - Guitars (lead) (2010-2011), Vocals (2011-present)
  • Khursheda Fasilova - Drums (2011-present)
  • Rustam Mirzoakhmedov - Guitars (2011-present)
  • Yuri Stolov - Bass (2012-present)
Looks like their lineup consists of two Tajik girls (probably sisters), 1 Russian (bassist) and 2 members of uncertain ethnicity (may be Uzbek, Tajik or Tatar):

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Besthial - s/t EP [2011]

Artist: Besthial
Title: EP 2011
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Country: Croatia
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Silent Proclamation
  2. Until I Bleed
  3. Ashes
Bestial started as a power metal band in 2006, but after 5 years of playing together their music has become more MDM-oriented. If this EP is a self-released demo (and I guess it is), then it's quite good. If I'm not mistaken, both growls and clean vocals on this EP were performed by the same girl, who has a pretty distinctive way of singing.

According to the band's interview, the metal scene in Croatia is very good (the average quality of sonwriting and musicianship is high), but when it comes to the professional opportunities to get ahead (concert opportunities, etc.) - it's total shit. I can only hope that posting their demo here will be helpful for them at least a little bit.


Scanner - "Hypertrace" [1988]

Artist: Scanner
Title: Hypertrace
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Germany
Year: 1988

Track List:
  1. Warp 7
  2. Terrion
  3. Locked Out
  4. Across the Universe
  5. R.M.U. (Reticular Modular Unit)
  6. Grapes of Fear
  7. Retaliation Positive
  8. Killing Fields
  9. Wizard Force
Since I've started to post classic metal albums once again, why not to post this gem as well? As I've already said, it's very hard to find some good speed/power metal with science fiction-themed lyrics. This release is a prime example of what I'm looking for, along with "Skeptics Apocalypse" by Agent Steel and some other albums that I've posted here before under the "heavy metal" and "power metal" tags.

Musically, "Hypertrace" is very good 80's heavy/power metal, but what makes this album so special is its conceptual sci-fi storyline, with a very apparent anti-war message. The original pressing of "Hypertrace" consisted of 8 tracks ("Wizard Force" is a CD bonus, and there was also a bonus track named "Galactos" on the Japanese CD edition). However, the track sequence doesn't actually follow the story. The correct track order should be as follows:
  1. Grapes of Fear
  2. Locked Out
  3. Across the Universe
  4. Wizard Force
  5. Retaliation Positive
  6. Galactos
  7. Warp 7
  8. Killing Fields
  9. R.M.U.
  10. Terrion

Demilich - "Nespithe" [1993]

Artist: Demilich
Title: Nespithe
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: Finland
Year: 1993

Track List:
  1. When the Sun Drank the Weight of Water
  2. The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)
  3. Inherited Bowel Levitation (Reduced Without Any Effort)
  4. The Echo (Replacement)
  5. The Putrefying Road in the Nineteenth Extremity (...Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness...)
  6. (Within) the Chamber of Whispering Eyes
  7. And You'll Remain... (in Pieces in Nothingness)
  8. Erecshyrinol
  9. The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...)
  10. The Cry
  11. Raped Embalmed Beauty Sleep
And one more album from the 1st hald of 90's that didn't get much publicity in the time of its release, but became highly valued today. Demilich were one of the few early death metal bands that managed to play really outstanding music without being super technical. Surely, there are loads of much more technical and atonal DM bands all around the world, and the use of extremely guttural vocals isn't something unique either, but nothing can be compared with the completely otherworldly and bizarre atmosphere offered by "Nespithe". Just look at the song titles - like in case with Abu Lahab's "As Chastened Angels...", they're as weird as the music itself. And what's the best about all the releases from Demilich - they're all freely available off their official page in a variety of formats (mp3, ogg, flac):

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Winter Majesty - "Unholy Glory of Ancient Rossa" [1994]

Artist: Winter Majesty
Title: Unholy Glory of Ancient Rossa
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 1994

Track List:
  1. Song of the Winds (Intro) 
  2. Cold Winds of the North 
  3. Storm - Child of Madness Winds 
  4. The Cabalistic Sign 
  5. In Evil We Are Human 
  6. Unholy Glory of Ancient Rossa (Horses) 
  7. Gods of Fire 
  8. Freezing Moon (Mayhem cover)
  9. Eternal Sadness 
  10. Rising to the Satan (Outro)
One more rare release from the same time and pretty much the same region as Beerdigungs Lauten's "Slay the Close of Yours". Winter Majesty were one of the first (if not the very first) Russian black metal bands, formed in 1994 and disbanded in 1997 after releasing only one demo. It turned out to be quite good, given its place and time of release - surely not perfect, but much better than I expected. The demo is more than half an hour long, consisting of 7 original tracks (+ intro & outro), and a cover of Mayhem's "Freezing Moon" (how original!). It's interesting to note that Winter Majesty weren't from Moscow and St.Petersburg (as one might expect from the pioneers of Russian black metal), but from Stavropol, which is quite distant from the main hotbed of black metal (northern Europe).

Beerdigungs Lauten - "Slay The Close Of Yours" [1994]

Artist: Beerdigungs Lauten
Title: Slay The Close Of Yours
Genre: Death Metal, Grindcore
Country: Armenia
Year: 1994

Track List:
  1. Slay The Close Of Yours
  2. Psychosis
  3. With God's Help
  4. Unchallenged Hate (Napalm Death)
  5. Sabre Dance (Aram Khachaturian)
To my knowledge, Beerdigungs Lauten were the very first extreme metal band in Armenia. The band was formed in 1993 by two former members of Demon Spirit (Armenian clone of Slayer, with no known releases), after they started listening to such bands as Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Pungent Stench, Disharmonic Orchestra, Atrocity, Righteous Pigs, etc. and decided to play more brutal music. During the autumn of 1993 they held their first rehearsals at Armgiprodor (a scientific faculty outside of Yerevan).

The winter of 1993-1994 was very hard for them, as well for the citizens of Armenia as a whole: constant electricity outages, war in Nagorny Karabakh, economic blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan, etc. However, in spring of 1994 they got lucky: an Yerevan-based band called Dumbarton Oaks offered them a rehearsal base. They got all the needed equipment shortly thereafter, and recorded their first and only demo at Ardzagank studio after two months of rehearsal. After that, they were invited to the "Barev" TV show, which was their first appearance on TV. After 1995 the band was pretty inactive, but they finally split up only in 2004 after playing a final concert in Yerevan.

Unsurprisingly, "Slay The Close Of Yours" sounds quite raw. Back then there were only two recording studios in Yerevan - Ardzagank and Asparez - and BL had chosen the former (because they had some friends there), even though Asparez had better equipment. Anyway, the very fact of existence of brutal death metal in Armenia 20 years ago is quite interesting. To put it in short: if you liked Abscess' demo, you might like "Slay The Close Of Yours" as well. I also think BL were the only band in the world to make a death metal version of "Sabre Dance" :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Peace Is There - "Depth" [2013]

Artist: The Peace Is There
Title: Depth
Genre: Post-Rock, Post-Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Creature
  2. Depth
Post-metal/hardcore from my city. Nothing really outstanding, but not bad at all and certainly worth listening (although I think calling this "black metal", like they do on their bandcamp page, would be a way too big stretch).

"Полигон // Testing Ground" [1977]

About half an year after posting "The Fortress" here, I remembered about one more anti-war animation that deserves credit. Strangely, I've never seen it on TV, even though it was aired very often during the 80's and 90's. Leaving apart its plot, it's notable for it's "pseudo-3D" style of animation, which was quite unusual for its time of creation, and makes the film loook somewhat modern even by today's standards:


Wikipedia:

"The plot is based on an anti-war military science fiction story by Sever Gansovsky.

In the not-too-distant future a scientist from a military great power wants revenge for his son (who was a soldier KIA during war) and thus invents a weapon capable of ending the conflict - an automated mind-reading tank that detects and reacts to human feelings of hostility and fear. After his revenge successfully takes place (as the tank destroys a number of generals responsible for the loss of his son) he himself falls victim to his own creation.

The film has an open ending.

Polygon was directed by Anatoly Petrov (born 1937) and it was based on a screenplay by Sever Gansovsky (edited by Arcady Snessarev). The short film was produced by Lubov' Butyrina and released by Soyuzmultfilm studio. It featured the artwork of artists Elena Karavaeva, Olga Bogolubova, I. Kulakova, Elena Bogolubova and N. Ivancheva. The art director was Galina Barinova.

The animator was Vladimir Zarubin under the supervision of Anatoly Petrov. It was filmed by cameraman Michael Druyan and the sound effects and music were created by Vladimir Kutuzov.

The film was drawn in an unusual animation technique called photographica that consists of two celluloid layers for each character with special color schemes and with one of the layers out of focus to imitate the three-dimensional space rendering. The animation then actively moves the virtual camera to change perspective dynamically for each scene and give a sense of realism, without the use of any CGI methods (which weren't available at the time)"