Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!

Happy new 2019 year to all my readers! I didn't listen to that much music in 2018 and haven't wrote that many reviews because I had a lot of other stuff going on in my life, but I hope you still enjoy reading my blog. 2018 was a relatively good year for me compared to the previous few years, and hopefully 2019 would be even better.

I have several insteresting projects to work on in the coming year, some of which probably would be announced here shortly. Wish me luck! And now, have a Christmas/New Year photo of the beautiful and talented Justine Daaé, the vocalist of Elyose:

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Elyose - "Ipso Facto" [2015]

Artist: Elyose
Title: Ipso Facto
Genre: Gothic Metal, Electro Metal
Country: France
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Fragrances
  2. Femme De Verre
  3. De Guerre Lasse
  4. L'Animal-aimé
  5. Plus qu'Humain (feat. Florent Jannier)
  6. Chronocide
  7. Mon Charme
  8. Rédemption
  9. Pour Un Écu
  10. Droit Dans Les Yeux
  11. Contretemps
As you know, I usually don't listen to Francophone music that much (with some notable exceptions like Amesoeurs or Paris Violence), but Elyose managed to pleasantly surprise me, even if I can't call this album a masterpiece. I think this review describes it quite well:
"When it comes to classifications as "modern electro metal" or "electro gothic metal" and similar descriptions, I'm always a bit suspicious, and that's the thing with this French outfit named Elyose. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with this name before the release of this album, even though they were formed in 2009 and since then released one EP and one album. Ipso Facto is their sophomore full-lenght and if we believe to their words, it's heavier and more focused on energy than were their previous releases. It's interesting to see that the main member and composer here is their attractive vocalist Justine Daaé, and not only that she's good looking, the girl is also trained classical vocalist and she proves that on every single track up here. Well, like in many cases before, even though the quality of music on Ipso Facto is above average, it somehow doesn't have enough of that little something to reach a bit higher and most of the time it just sounds too mellow. Let me explain... >>>"
Musically, it falls in the broad category of "female-fronted metal" with a lot of electronics, but I wouldn't call it "industrial metal" as some reviewers did. However, some of their tracks are fairly close to it, such as "Plus Qu'Human", which is undoubtedly the best piece off this album:

It features dual male/female vocals of the "beauty vs. the beast" style (featuring Florent Jannier of Arkan), which the reviewer above didn't like, but for me it sounds pretty good. The rest of "Ipso Facto" isn't as memorable, yet it shows a lot of professionalism and devoution, and represents Elyose as one of the most interesting lesser-known female fronted metal bands to appear in the last decade. Yeah, there were quite a lot of them, but Elyose really stand out from the rest, not in the least due to the interesting keyboard work which no doubt would appeal to the fans of industrial/"futuristic" kind of metal. Singing in French adds their music a lot of charm too, and hopefully it wouldn't prevent them for being better known outside their hone country.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Audiostench - "War of the Stars" [1991]

Artist: Audiostench
Title: War of the Stars
Genre: Noise
Country: Netherlands
Release date: 1991

Track List:
  1. Final Future (intro)
  2. Phase 1: Megabyte Mayhem
  3. Phase 2: On The Planet Of Radiation
  4. Phase 3: Darth Vader
  5. Phase 4: The Future Of The 20's
I've accidentally downloaded this really obscure release a long time ago from DC++, but lost it along with all the content of one of my hard drives 4 years ago and forgot about it until stumbling upon it on Youtube (again by accident). While I couldn't find much info about this project (beside it being a short-lived one created in June 1990 by some Star Wars nerd Winston Kamstra from Hoorn, Netherlands), something about Audiostench's one and only release is quite special and makes it stand out of the sea of obscure bedroom noise releases.

The whole release is under 5 minutes long, and consists of a short ambient intro and a longer noise track broken up into 4 "phases". It'd best described as a chaotic mix of samples (siren sounds etc.) with a background of harsh noise going through the whole track. Objectively there's not much to listen to, but, interestingly, it does manage to convey the futuristic/dystopian atmosphere that's implied by the track names.

Bottom note: it was physically released as a side A of a split w/ with another Dutch blackened noisecore project called Satanic Death. All their releases are available off Bandcamp, but I think their name is enough to figure out that you probably won't lose much by not listening to their stuff :) Still better than the best known Dutch noise project from that era, though (yes, I'm talking about the infamous Apator).

    Friday, December 7, 2018

    Baron Ungern - "Grandkhaan" [1999]

    Artist: Барон Унгерн
    Title: Grandkhaan
    Genre: Black Metal
    Country: Mongolia
    Release date: 1999

    Track List:
    1. Under the Flame of Victory
    2. Conqueror of Worlds
    Shaitan Akbar, a small label specialized in obscure black metal (in particular, I found out about Kurgan thanks to them), has unearthed an EP that's claimed to be the very first black metal release from Mongolia:

    "3-men horde Baron Ungern from Kharkhorin recorded this ravishing piece of grim war metal back in the dark ages of 1999. Sound quality of their EP is actually just shit, but considering the fact that is was recorded in the desolate steppe wastelands of Mongolia with poor equipment it is a highly respectable release nevertheless.
    Baron Roman fon Ungern-Šternberg was a german warlord who ruled over Mongolia in 1920-1921 as cruel tyrant"

    While the whole story may look like hoax (I remember a very funny blog from mid-2000s that was styled as a diary of a member of fictional Mongolian black metal band - use Google Translate if you're interested), and the story of Ungern-Sternberg has fascinated many people outside Mongolia (even Paris Violence have recorded a song about him!), the possibility of a black metal band existing in a small Mongolian town in 1999 isn't completely unbelievable, considering that Baigaliin Haranhui were formed the same year. The quality of recording on "Grandkhaan" is reasonably low, but I definitely have heard much worse.

    Saturday, December 1, 2018

    Second to Sun - "The Walk" [2018]

    Artist: Second To Sun
    Title: The Walk
    Genre: Post-Black Metal, Groove Metal
    Country: Russia
    Release date: 2018

    Track List:
    1. We Are Not Alone
    2. Black Lines
    3. Home
    4. From Outer Space
    5. The Train 1702
    6. The Owls
    7. New World Order
    8. To Live
    9. We Are Alone
    The next album from Second To Sun, the band that most of my readers are already well familiar with, has a rather boring name, but fortunately, the concept behind the music isn't boring at all. Just like their previous albums, "The Walk" is inspried by various urban legends and pagan mythology (mostly Finno-Ugric paganism). Interestingly, in "Black Lines" they even reference the Finno-Ugric (and Tungusic) roots of V. Kandinsky, the pioneer of abstract art. When it comes to music, it's less based in black metal than two preceding releases, being described as a mix of Pantera, Lustre and Mudvayne (pretty strange combination, I agree). Just like their previous release ("The Black"), this album is available in both instrumental and vocal editions. I decided to post the instrumental one here, because S2S initially were supposed to be a purely instrumental band playing music which could fit as a soundtrack to a horror movie (this album, in particular, was described as "cinematic metal" on their Bandcamp).