Monday, March 25, 2019

V/A - "Xypnima II" [2011]

Artist: (various)
Title: Xypnima II
Genre: Dark Ambient, Post-Industrial, Trip-Hop
Country: Russia
Release date: 2011

Track List:
  1. The Most eeElusive Orchestra - Kookla
  2. Dome Reflector - Dextera Domini
  3. MRKB - Edentification
  4. Āv Ux - Īŋŋjoadtmušš
  5. Радиосознания - Красные Тракты Весны (Vernal Red Traces)
One of the compilations by Heliophagia net label dedicated to the day of spring equinox, released in March 2011 (8 years already have passed since then... oh shi--). Like the other early compilations by Heliophagia, it mostly features bedroom dark ambient/drone project, although the last track stands out not only this compilation, but anything released on Heliolatria in general. It's performed by a self-described "badtrip-hop" duo led by Najnas, and this compilation deserves to be posted on here for this track alone. If you like an atmospheric mix of hip-hop and industrial/dark ambient in the vein of Dälek, this one is highly recommended for you. Sadly, just like the other projects of Najnas, they had a lot of potential but never released a proper album...

Heli Keinonen ‎- "Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset" [1966]

Artist: Heli Keinonen
Title: Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset 7''
Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Country: Finland
Release date: 1966

Track List:
  1. Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset
  2. Ruskie Neitšyt, Valgie Neitšyt
I found out about Heli Keinonen because of Kriminaaliset Metsänhaltijat,who sampled one of her songs on their album "Valkoinen Terrori". There's next to no information about her in English, but I managed to find some info in Finnish and Russian - not much anyway, but enough to conclude that she was and still is an outstanding and controversial person.

So, Heli Keinonen was born April 5th, 1943 in Joensuu, Finland, and became famous in mid-1960s as a singer of traditional Karelian songs. In particular, the second song off this 7'' vinyl became a big hit that's still performed by many folk singers in Finland. She released a few more 7'' singles during the second half of 1960s, but they weren't as successful as this one. Later in 1970s, she became involved in radical politics (if I understood the Finnish sources correctly, it happened after she married some well-known undergrond writer and activist) and started to sing political songs, the best known of which is "Kuolemaantuomitun Hyvästijättö" - the one that was used by KM on "Valkoinen Terrori". During the 1980s, she worked in Sudan where she eventually decided to convert to Islam, although sources say that she never followed the Islamic dress code and generally didn't take it too seriously. As of late 2009, she was teaching Arabic language in Finland, although she's most likely retired by now.

Regardless of some questionable life choices, this 7'' shows that she certainly was a good singer. Here's one more Karelian folk song (according to the description, it's about a girl and a boy meeting at well) performed by Heli live on YLE TV in 1967. The melody reminds me of some Russian and ukrainian folk songs, and the language sounds like Finnish with slightly different phonetics and some random Russian words thrown in:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Marja Üldine - "Own My Fears" [2019]

Artist: Marja Üldine
Title: Own My Fears
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal, Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. My own fears
  2. Dontcryever
  3. Live under the bridge
  4. Waking up
  5. Remember this day
  6. Knock-knock
  7. Sirens
  8. Cosmic weed (bonus track)
Marja Üldine is a Vepsian folk singer, but if you expect her debut album "Own My Fears" to be a typical Finno-Ugric folk album, you're in for a big surprise (if not disappointment). All the lyrics on "Own My Fears" are in English, and the music has little to do with traditional folk or even folk metal. The singer herself described it as "hard rock", but it isn't telling much (because, at least here, "hard rock" is pretty much an old-fashioned term for anything heavier than The Beatles).

As for me, "Own My Fears" sounds more like mid-90s The Gathering and other gothic/doom metal bands of the same era, rather than anything else. The whole album leaves an impression as it was recorded some time during early-mid 2000s, with the appropriate cover artwork (a very stereotypical one for an early 2000s gothic metal album) and quality of production. It certainly evokes a lot of nostalgia for these times, so I wasn't disappointed by this album, but as for future releases from Marja Üldine -I'd like to hear more Vepsian folk (a much rarer thing than gothic/doom metal, that's for sure) with lyrics in her native language.

Friday, March 8, 2019

La Torture des Ténèbres - "IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl" [2017]

Artist: La Torture des Ténèbres
Title: IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal, Noise
Country: Canada
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Staring at the Stars to the Sound of Trucks Revving in the Distance
  2. Enigma of the Intergalactic Canyon
  3. Somewhere in Brockville, in a Restroom Stall
  4. Love Pumps Through My Veins as Quickly as You Kiss Me Goodbye
  5. Thank You for Holding My Hand Through Every Haunted House
  6. Lysol, Scrub Away Your Sanity
I discovered this one-woman project from Ottawa in a blog that specializes in martial industrial, which surprised me because the style was claimed as 'black metal". This album indeed turned out to be based in atmospheric black metal, but heavily mixed with dark ambient, noise, and martial industrial elements, creating a very oppressive post-apocalyptic horror atmosphere. Compared to other one-female black metal projects I've posted on here before, like Sylvaine or Lonely Star, this one is definitely much harder to get into. "IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl" is easily one of the most "inhuman" releases I've listened to in the last couple of years (and I listen to a lot of black metal and noise). You may love or hate this album at the first listen, but it's unlikely to leave you indifferent. And, of course, it has a great retrofuturistic cover art (which is a painting by Hugh Ferriss, if I'm not mistaken), one look at which would be enough to understand what to expect from this album: the music from a dystopian world of gigantic structures and mechanisms.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Tidfall - "Nucleus" [2003]

Artist: Tidfall
Title: Nucleus
Genre: Industrial Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Future Doom
  2. Nucleus
  3. Neo-Torment
  4. Mercury Mesh
  5. Soil of Tomorrow
  6. Psychotronica
  7. Zounds
  8. Exo-Skeleton
  9. Tech
On the two albums following Tidfall's debut "Circular Supremacy", Tidfall took a more industrial metal direction. In fact, they were one of the first (if not the very first) industrial black metal bands I've discovered during the times when I was just starting to get into metal. Surely, they aren't as well-known as their compatriots Thorns or Mysticum, and this album doesn't contain any particularly big hits, yet I think this album is highly overlooked. It's industrial black metal the way I expect it to be, and the appropriate lyrical themes along with the "mechanical"/futuristic atmosphere are in place: