Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018!

As you know, I don't do compilations like "Best of 2017" etc. which other blogs seem to be so fond of, but I always wish my readers the best in the coming year. 2017 wasn't an easy year for me, but at least now I have a feeling that my life is finally going in the right direction, and that's what is truly important. Hopefully you feel the same about your life too. Special thanks for the "HELLYEAH!" bar for being the only true rock bar in my city! I go to bars on very rare occasions, but the New Year eve is certainly a good one :)

And now, it's time for Yulia Crow to greet you! While her music is going in the mainstream alternative rock direction as of late (or maybe towards something like "dubstep-metal" in the vein of Rave The Reqviem), I still love her early works, and of course she looks more awesome than ever:

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Majdanek Waltz / Denis Tretyakov / The Noktulians - "Pentagram" [2017]

Artist: Majdanek Waltz / Denis Tretyakov / The Noktulians
Title: Pentagram
Genre: Neofolk, Sludge, Noise Rock, Dark Jazz
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List: 

Side A: Majdanek Waltz & The Noktulians
  1. Pentagram
  2. Sombre Splendour
  3. Under the Waning Moon
  4. The Palace of the World
  5. Corona Astralis
  6. Ut
Side B: Denis Tretyakov & The Noktulians
  1. Hell Hath No Queen
  2. To Suffer So, and So Rejoice
  3. Augur XI
  4. Initiation IX
  5. Black Mass
  6. Initiation X 
This rather lengthy release (over 70 minutes long) with a wonderfully minimalistic cover art was produced by the veterans of the Russian (post-)industrial, neofolk and post-punk scene: Majdanek Waltz, Denis Tretyakov, Myrrman of Reutoff and Otzepentevshiye, and some others, including Raymond Krumgold, whose cultural and political activites had a lot of influence on me about a decade ago. He also wrote a very detailed review of this album and its concept here (unfortunately, no English version is available so far).

In short: "Pentagram" was released 70 years after the death of Aleister Crowley, and is primarily based on his literary works. For the most part, it's an instrumental album, with some spoken word declamation of Crowley's poetry (by the way, another band who used Crowley's verses as lyrics was Romowe Rikoito). While Majdanek Waltz are known mostly as a neofolk band, this release is rather far from neofolk, being quite heavy, noisy, and "sludge-y" at times (much like "Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain" by Current 93). Overall, the result is quite impressive. As R. Krumgold correctly pointed out, such and idea could easily result in a failure, but fortunately it didn't.


Pavel Blyumkin, Denis Tretyakov, Dasha Popova, Larisa Arkhipetskaya, Oleg Karavaychuk, Vasiliy & Alexandra – voices
Ilya Matzevich – guitars
Pyotr Starov – bass guitar, synthesizer
Mariam Khatlamadzhiyan – viola
Igor Kuzmenko – cello
Sergey Vostrov – flute, clarinet, saxophone
Ivan Tsiporkov – flute, saxophone
Roman Kazakov – trumpet

The Noktulians are:
Fr I Am – guitar
Fr Dis – guitar
Fr Pest – bass
Fr Hans – drums
Fr Ephes – programming
Fr IV – saxophone
Fr A.T. – saxophone 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Virus (CAN) - "Bio-Level 4" [1996]

Artist: Virus
Title: Bio-Level 4
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1996

Track List:
  1. Borderline
  2. Syndrome
  3. At War
  4. Bio-Level 4
  5. Tainted
  6. The Mutant Factor
  7. Second Skin
  8. New Breed Machine
  9. Necrotech
  10. Bleeding
  11. Unit
  12. Anti-Matter 
  13. Syndrome (Remix) + hidden track
Here's a very obscure industrial metal album made in Canada, released about the same time as "Phobos" by Voivod and "Demanufacture" by Fear Factory, to which it's often compared. It does sound very similar to "Demanufacture", althought Virus aren't as heavy as Fear Factory, so I can understand why people in Youtube comments compare them to Pitchshifter instead.

The songs on their one and only album, "Bio Level 4", while being somewhat monotonous and unmemorable, shouldn't disappoint anyone who's searching for something what sounds alike mid-90s Fear Factory, with the same "technological"/dystopian aesthetics. The riffs on "Bio Level 4" are as "mechanical" as they could be (although no one can beat Meshuggah on that). Along with Flash Terrorist, Virus were one of that mid-90s Fear Factory followers who released only one album and then disappeared - which is a pity because their material, while being not perfect, was clearly showing a lot of potential.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Voivod - "Phobos" [1997]

Artist: Voivod
Title: War and Pain
Genre: Progressive Thrash Metal, Industrial Metal
Country: Canada (Quebec)
Release date: 1997

Track List:
  1. Catalepsy I
  2. Rise
  3. Mercury
  4. Phobos
  5. Bacteria
  6. Temps Mort
  7. The Tower
  8. Quantum
  9. Neutrino
  10. Forlorn
  11. Catalepsy II
  12. M-Body
  13. 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson cover)
Here's another Voivod album I'd like to mention here. I've never seen it mentioned as "Voivod's best" (unlike any of their late 80s' albums), but it's certainly one of their most experimental ones, and arguably the only one that can be called "industrial metal" without a stretch. Surely, it isn't much different from most other Voivod albums in the terms of lyrics and aesthmetics (as they always were fascinated with sci-fi themes, technology, and social issues), but it's noticeably different from the aforementioned "best" albums in terms of sound. "Phobos" isn't the kind of album I'd listen to every day (in fact, all Voivod albums aren't), but it definitely worth checking out for both prog metal and industrial metal fans. Of course it isn't hard to find on the net (i.e. on

Voivod - "War & Pain" [1984]

Artist: Voivod
Title: War and Pain
Genre: Thrash Metal
Country: Canada (Quebec)
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Voivod
  2. Warriors of Ice
  3. Suck Your Bone
  4. Iron Gang
  5. War and Pain
  6. Blower
  7. Live for Violence
  8. Black City
  9. Nuclear War
Since Voivod were mentioned in my previous entry, I decided to post their debut full-length release from the era when their sound wasn't too "progressive" yet. This album is raw thrash metal with a healthy dose of punk, apparently inspired by bands like Venom and Warfare. I'm pretty sure it already was reviewed numerous times, so I have to say only one thing: while I normally don't listen to this kind of music too much, the aesthetics on this album are 10 out of 10. If you're looking for a thrash metal album with post-apocalyptic/post-nuclear theme, this one would be exactly what you're looking for (along with "Pray For War" by Virus).

What else is interesting about this album? The lyrics. They look like being written by someone who had even worse proficiency in English than me, which resulted in quite a few truly brilliant lines like "Go shit! I'm not a fish we're gonna burn your home". At times, it feels like they just wanted to write down all the scary words they know, but the result turned out to be surprisingly impressive:

"Riding, crashing, charging run to the wrong side
In the night bastard, savage, prowler
Whip the engine for more power fast winds, highway, hell song
Feel the fog in the black storm
Darkness, black walls, shadows can't see the light on the road
Alone in a haunted concrete foundation
Abandoned and possessed in a ghostly mansion
Desert, ghost town, bare lands dark street create a fear
Closed lamps, curfews dead leaves
The black cat awaits the witch
Don't stay in black city your soul will catch the spell"

Or this one, which probably was supposed to be sci-fi themed (like many other Voivod songs written later):

"Learning the rules of the games with atrocity
Living in a prehistoric weather with intensity
Armed cold weapons in hand charged mangled corpse on the land
The bestial contortions on the prey makes me lust to kill 'em all everyday
Curdled by frost too young to rust fight be wild
Warriors of ice the hell fighters
Warriors of ice"

That's what is remarkable about this album - back them, Voivod were absolute beginners when it comes to writing both music and lyrics, but the end result turned out to be surprisingly better than could be expected. On their later releases, they continued to break the rules of songwriting (this time intentionally), thus becoming one of most unorthodox metal bands of their time.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Spectral Incursion - s/t [1989]

Artist: Spectral Incursion
Title: Spectral Incursion
Genre: Progressive Heavy/Thrash Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Rails
  2. The Other Side
  3. Beneath Your Lives
  4. Last Of The Torment
This EP is certainly one of the strangest releases I've discovered via Vibrations of Doom about a decade ago. Something that can be loosely described as a mix of Rush and Black Sabbath at one hand, and early Voivod and Watchtower at another, with a rather rough quality of production (but what else to expect from an obscure 80's metal release with such a cover artwork?..) I managed to find a more or less detailed review of it here, and a short biography of the band here, but not much beyond that. Anyway, if you liked this release and want more from the same people, check out "Into the Unknown" by Doctor Smith - a "sci-fi space opera" made in early 2010s by former Spectral Incursion members.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Koenjihyakkei - "Hundred Sights of Koenji" [1994]

Artist: Koenjihyakkei
Title: Hundred Sights of Koenji
Genre: Avant-Prog, Zeuhl
Country: Japan
Release date: 1994

Track List:
  1. Ioss
  2. Doi Doi
  3. Molavena
  4. Gepec
  5. Yagonahh
  6. Ozone Fall
  7. Zhess
  8. Zoltan
  9. Avedumma
  10. Sunna Zarioki
高円寺百景 aka Koenji Hyakkei were one of the few bands that can be safely called the worthy successors of Magma. The Zeuhl subgenre of avant-prog, started by Magma, gained any significant following only in France and Japan, most importantly such bands as Ruins and this band (which was started as a side project of a member of Ruins).

This album has everything we love this genre for, including (but not limited to): throbbing bass, complex rhythm patterns, and the lyrics sung in a made-up language. This album is their debut one, and it isn't as avant-garde as the subsequent ones, such as "Angherr Shisspa". Still I wonder how many people have bought it solely because of it's cover, expecting it to be some nice and easy-to-listen Asian music :)