Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Korova - "A Kiss in the Charnel Fields" [1994]

Artist: Korova
Title: A Kiss in the Charnel Fields
Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal
Country: Austria
Year: 1994

Track List:

  1. Intro: Der Weltenbrand / Das Kreuz und der Metzenapfel
  2. After the Fruits of Ephemeral Pulchritude
  3. Lachrydeus Mittelgard (Slâhan fôntagr inn awêþi)
  4. Entlebt in tristem Morgenblut
  5. Intro: Im Teich erlischt ein Bächlein
  6. Awakening from Perpetual Contemplation (Yellow Mahogany Tomb I)
  7. Latin Dreams in Turpentine
  8. Nordsciltim - In the Filth Where All Cull Perambulates Pain
  9. Sálømeh, des Teufels Braut
  10. A Kiss in the Charnel Fields

My first thought as a Russian speaker about this band was: "Wait, what sort of a name for a black metal band is Korova?" Then I realized that the name was taken from "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess, but a name that literally means "cow" is still ridiculous for a black metal band (even if it's a very avant-garde one). Later they changed their name to Korovakill (which is even more ridiculous), and then to Chryst (after the band's founder Christof Niederwieser, which was the only remaining original member at that point).

Just as expected from the unusual band name and the fact that all three members of Korova were also involved in Angizia, the music on this album is quite complex and avant-garde, especially by the measures of early 90s black metal scene. Some people compare it to their Norwegian contemporaries Arcturus and Covenant, some - to the later Scandinavian avant-garde metal acts such as Theory in Practice and Ram-Zet, but the easiest description of this album would be just "the black metal version of Angizia". Anyway, the metal scene in Austria wasn't ready for this kind of stuff at the time, and Korova's subsequent album "Echowelt" was rejected by all labels and never released.

L'Âme Immortelle ‎- "Gezeiten" [2004]

Artist: L'Âme Immortelle
Title: Gezeiten
Genre: Darkwave, Neue Deutsche Härte
Country: Austria
Year: 2004

Track List:

  1. Es Zieht Dich Davon
  2. 5 Jahre
  3. Fear
  4. Stumme Schreie
  5. Fallen Angel
  6. Gezeiten
  7. Rain
  8. Masquerade
  9. Kingdom
  10. Calling
  11. Ohne Dich
  12. Believe In Me
  13. Without You

While Lacrimosa was the most influental gothic band during the 90s and the 1st half of 2000s at least, I started listening to this kind of music a bit later (in the late 2000s), and it were L'Âme Immortelle who have introduced me to that scene. Actually, we had a lot of very pleasant people in the LAI fan community back then (something that can't be said about the fans of many other metal and gothic rock bands, unfortunately) - but I've lost contact with almost all of them by now ;_;

"Gezeiten" is LAI's first album released on a relatively major label (Supersonic/BMG Germany), and its sound is much heavier compared to their early darkwave releases, being strongly influenced by NDH/industrial metal. Arguably it's their best release along with their first two darkwave/electro-industrial full-lengths.On the other hand, I found their later albums quite boring (same for the solo projects of both Thomas Rainer and Sonja Kraushofer).

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Rage of Light - "Imploder" [2019]

Artist: Rage of Light
Title: Imploder
Genre: Electronic/Melodic Death Metal
Country: Switzerland
Year: 2019

Track List:

  1. Light
  2. Enraged
  3. Fallen
  4. I Can, I Will
  5. Away With You
  6. In The Shadow
  7. Battlefront
  8. Imploder
  9. Mechanicals
  10. Nothingness
  11. Twilight of the Thunder God (Amon Amarth cover)

"Modern metal" is, frankly speaking, quite meaningless term that's mostly applied to bands like Amaranthe nowadays. Rage of Light also fall in the same category but, unlike Amaranthe, their music is unquestionably metal and can be described as a mix of MDM and trance with dual male/female vocals (mostly female). Their vocalist Melissa Bonny (ex-Evenmore) is quite charismatic, and her acting in music videos definitely should be seen. She's also in a symphonic metal band called Ad Infinitum, and the Bandcamp preview of their debut album sounds very good as well. As for "Imploder" by Rage of Light, it's exactly for you if you want futuristic metal that sounds melodic and catchy but not as "poppy" is Xe-None or the aforementioned Amaranthe.

Lacrimosa - "I Lost My Star" [2009]

Artist: Lacrimosa
Title: I Lost My Star
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal
Country: Switzerland
Year: 2009

Track List:

  1. I Lost My Star In Krasnodar (Russian Version)
  2. I Lost My Star In Krasnodar (Album Version)
  3. The Last Millenium
  4. Siehst Du Mich Im Licht (Live)

Without a doubt, Lacrimosa is the best known gothic act of the 90s which played a major part in shaping the goth scene as we know it nowadays. That said, I have mixed feelings about them. They do have some great tracks (including the best known one, "Alleine zu zweit"), but a lot of mediocre material as well (in particular, "Copycat" is also considered to be one of their best tracks, and one of the heaviest as well, but I never could get into it). In general, their discography is quite diverse, including darkwave, gothic rock/metal, and even alternative rock albums, but out of all their releases, I'll post a single that's rather unknown outside Russia.

"I Lost My Star" was written by Tilo Wolff under the impression of visiting Krasnodar, where Lacrimosa have played for the first time in June 2008. Two years later, it was performed on stage in Krasnodar with the local folk/classical music collective Krinitsa (whose members initially were reluctant to work with such "heavy" band, but later realized that Lacrimosa's music is more influenced by classical composers than they initially thought). It was released in 2009 as an exclusive Russian single by Irond Records, featuring two versions of the title song (actually, the "Russian" version differs from the album version only with the refrain sung in Russian close to the end of the song) plus two bonus tracks and one short multimedia track, and the artwork by Alla Bobyleva made in standard Lacrimosa style. I have some hopes of visiting Krasnodar in the end of this month, so now is a good time to post this single on here:


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Fields of the Nephilim - "Mourning Sun" [2005]

Artist: Fields of the Nephilim
Title: Mourning Sun
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal
Country: UK
Year: 2005

Track List:

  1. Shroud (Exordium)
  2. Straight To The Light
  3. New Gold Dawn
  4. Requiem (Le Veilleur Silencieux)
  5. Xiberia (Seasons In The Ice Cage)
  6. She
  7. Mourning Sun
  8. In The Year 2525 (cover)

 FotN always were my most favourite band out of all classic British goth rock acts. Known for their love for cowboy-like stage outfits, FotN have recorded many great songs like "Laura", "Moonchild", "Slow Kill", "Reanimator" etc during the late 80s and early 90s. "Mourning Sun" (nice wordplay, btw) is their last full-length album, released in 2005 when Carl McCoy was the only original member left in the band. Compared to their early albums, it's definitely much more heavy sounding (bordering on gothic metal, but still not enough to consider it unambigiously metal), but most critics consider it a direct continuation of their traditional style. The best track on "Mourning Sun" in my opinion is "Xiberia" with its electronic sound, fairly qualifying as industrial metal:

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Meshuggah - "None" [1994]

Artist: Meshuggah
Title: None
Genre: Progressive Metal, Technical Thrash Metal
Country: Sweden
Year: 1994

Track List:

  1. Humiliative
  2. Sickening
  3. Ritual
  4. Gods of Rapture
  5. Aztec Two-Step (bonus)

We all know Meshuggah. They now have the dubious honor of being the seminal band for the whole djent (or "math metal") genre, but before they've gone full 000, they recorded one more or less conventional thrash metal albums and a couple of very avant-garde albums that were described as "industrial/groove thrash fusion-influenced metal" or something like that. In particular, "Chaosphere" is frequently cited as one of the heaviest albums ever recorded (which is arguable) with some of the most "mechanical" riffs ever played (which is definitely accurate).

Are they a technical band? Yes, undoubtedly. Do they play good music? Various people have different opinions, and Meshuggah's stuff (especially their late 90's recordings) definitely isn't for everyone. I personally don't listen to them too often but can acknowledge their talent (same with Voivod and some other "technical" metal bands). Actually, my best friend during my university years was a huge fan of Meshuggah, but he generally liked everything that's "technical" and "avant-garde", be it metal or prog-rock/zeuhl.

Now let's get to the point. My favourite Meshuggah release is this often overlooked 1994 EP, which is generally considered "transitional" between their early thrash style and their "true" dissonant and polymetric math metal style. Compared to the subsequent full-length "Destroy Erase Improve", it's more accessible to the average listener, and contains a very atypical song for Meshuggah: "Ritual". Honestly it's their favourite song of mine, exactly because it's quite different from the rest: it has a trippy/psychedelic feel to it, it's melodic and has some acousic parts, and Jens Kidman is actually singing instead of his usual shouting:

Monday, September 7, 2020

Zhraja - "Forgotten Songs of Dead Nation" [2002]

Artist: Zhraja
Title: Forgotten Songs of Dead Nation
Genre: Experimental Industrial/Folk Metal
Country: Belarus
Year: 2002

Track List:

  1. Vain
  2. Oriental Setting
  3. Over Him
  4. Dissappointed
  5. Misjudge
  6. Years of Soft Living
  7. Discretion
  8. State - Hysterics
  9. Now Good-Bye
  10. Never Know Mix
  11. Bloodstain

A very obscure and strange release that defies a simple genre classification and can be best described as electronic metal with black metal-style vocals and folk elements. There's not much information about the band, except it's a duo from Minsk led by a member of a late 90s black metal band called Bachus. I found out about Zhraja many years ago when I was only starting getting into underground metal (interestingly, the site where I've found some of their tracks back then is still alive and well).