Saturday, December 7, 2019

Heruka - "བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)" [2019]

Artist: Heruka
Title: བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)
Genre: Death/Doom Metal, Ritual Ambient
Country: Nepal
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. དུས་གསུམ་སངས་ (Düsum Sangye)
  2. བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)
One more discovery that sounds quite unusual but would be interesting for those searching for a mix of death/doom metal with all sorts of traditional music: an one-man project from Kathmandu, Nepal, playing raw old school death/doom metal mixed with ritual Tibetan chants. Strictly speaking, the only metal track on this demo is the second one; the opening one is a ritual ambient intro in the vein of Romokon or Raksha Mancham. As it often case with metal releases from countries like Nepal (even if "Tulzhug Chöpa" was recorded with the help of Canadian musicians, as far as I know), the "metal" part of this demo sounds like it was recorded during the early 90s, but it's definitely not a bad thing. Overall, this is pretty good for a demo, and certainly sounds very original. For those interested in the concept behind the music, here are the release notes from Bandcamp:
Taking inspiration from the ancient Indo-Tibetan Vajrayāna tradition, Heruka's demo entitled, བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa), is an ode to the realised tāntrik sages of this sacred landscape whose wisdom minds dwell in the indivisibility of bliss and emptiness.

First initiated over two years ago, the project's research work involved an in-depth study of the existing Vajrayāna tradition in the Tibetan lineages that currently thrive in India and Nepal along with a sincere inquiry in its Indic roots. The research work behind the lyrics and ideological concept behind Heruka included a thorough study of different complex aspects of the tradition's philosophy and soteriology, which was further strengthened after receiving transmissions and teachings from various contemporary Vajrayāna masters hailing from India, Tibet and Bhutan who have meticulously preserved and mastered several outer, inner and secret aspects of the tāntrik path.

The demo consists of two tracks, དུས་གསུམ་སངས་ (Dusum Sangye), a ritual ambient hymn sung in Tibetan language, which pays homage to Guru Padmasambhava, an 8th century Indian Mahāsiddha (Great Adept), who is credited with establishing Vajrayāna in Tibet. The second and self-titled track, བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa), is a death/doom and ritual ambient track, which pays homage to the inner and secret aspects of the philosophy, path, unconventional behaviour and appearance of a realised tāntrik yogin. The track is sung in a mix of Sanskrit, English and Tibetan languages, and it utilises actual tāntrik ritual implements such as a damaru (hand-held drum), drilbu (ritual bell) and pre-recorded samples of rolmo ('fierce' cymbal) and (dung chen) trumpet, which are generally used by practitioners during tāntrik ceremonies in Vajrayāna monasteries or at hermitages.

May those who chance upon these sacred, wrathful chants realise the ultimate, essential nature of everything — sunyata!

Padma Vajra - Lyrics, vocals and ritual implements
R.S. - Guitars, bass, recording and mixing
A.S. - Drums

Logo and Art: Visionis Phosphorescent
Vocals and ambient tracks/recording by SISTER

Friday, November 22, 2019

Shexna - s/t [2013]

Artist: Shexna
Title: Shexna
Genre: Folk/Doom Metal (with Industrial Metal overtones)
Country: Russia
Release date: 2013

Track List:
  1. Плач (intro)
  2. Братья
  3. Дождь
  4. Горе
  5. Снегопад (instrumental)
  6. Кумушки
  7. Печаль
  8. Мертвец Говорит
  9. Расставание
Shexna, named after one of the most important rivers of the Russian North (and one of the most beautiful ones, so any band with such a name would catch my attention), is a side project of Ilya Morok (Bog~Morok) which is a continuation of his earlier band Во Скорбях that played a very unorthodox mix of funeral doom metal and folk metal. While the style of Shexna can be described as folk/doom metal as well, it has a very distinct math/industrial metal riffing, and noticeably better production. The vocal style is unusual and not for everyone's liking; quite a few people have even compared it to Egor Letov's vocal style (especially on the second track and the more punk-ish parts of the 8th track).

All the songs on this album, except for the third one, are metal interpretations of the traditional folk songs that deal with the topics of death, afterlife and relationship between the living and the dead (worth nothing that the band had put a lot of work in collecting such songs). However, it's not a pagan metal album (even if it looks like so at a first glance), and there's nothing specifically "pagan" in the lyrics. Despite Morok's love for electronic elements in his music, none of the folk instruments on this album are synthesized (although they sometimes sound this way, especially on the third track). Overall, it's definitely an unique work that stands out among more "standard" /cliched folk metal albums, for better or for worse. Unfortunately, compared to the only album by Во Скорбях, it went largely unnoticed, especially outside Russia. Don't think I can name any other band that sounds like that (the closest would be Risha or Second to Sun, but neither are based in doom metal).

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bog-Morok - "Azoic" [2003]

Artist: Bog[~]Morok
Title: Azoic
Genre: Death/Doom Metal (with Industrial Metal overtones)
Country: Russia
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Penitento
  2. Ignis Fatuus
  3. Flagrant
  4. Azoic
  5. Verve
  6. Athwart
  7. Exegesis
  8. Alas
  9. Defragmentized
Getting back on the track of posting good but overlooked metal albums from Eastern Europe, here's the debut full-length album by Bog Morok. Its style is fairly representative of the kind of doom/death metal which was popular at the time it was released, although you can already hear some industrial influences there (listen to the whole album, and you'll see how it's become more and more electronic towards to the end). If I find some free time in the next couple of weeks, I'll also review some other projects of Ilya Morok, so stay tuned.

Everyday is Halloween

Even if Halloween is not widely celebrated here in Eastern Europe (and the more conservative part of society generally views its celebration as a sign of cultural colonization), it seems to be a kind of a professional holiday for all the metal musicians on my social media feeds. Unfortunately I was too busy with other stuff to post anything on this blog during the last few weeks, yet don't think I'm late with posting this - since, as it was put by Ministry, the Halloween is everyday for us:

"Well i live with snakes and lizards
and other things that go bump in the night
cos to me everyday is halloween
i have given up hiding and started to fight
i have started to fight

Well any time, any place, anywhere that i go
all the people seem to stop and stare
they say 'why are you dressed like it's halloween?
you look so absurd, you look so obscene'"

If Wikipedia is to be believed, the music writer Dave Thompson described "(Everyday Is) Halloween" as having been "adopted as the anthem of America's disenfranchised Gothic community". It's definitely one of the best songs from the early Ministry's synthpop period, although my personal top favourite is "We Believe":

For me it's firmly on par with the best of their later industrial rock/metal stuff (although it honestly would be better if Al Jourgensen had finally put the band to rest in 2008). And now ir's time to post some Halloween photos from my Instagram feed. Let's start with Justine Daae of Elyose...

...continue with Natalia Zolotova of Cold Sight (yes, I like girls wearing hats, and seems like many of my favourite female vocalists love to wear them too)...

... and finish with this awesome black'n'white photo of Daria Zaritskaya:

It's not exactly a Halloween photo (although it was posted on Halloween), but I just love to see long-legged Daria wearing those boots (especially with the 12cm high heels), and judging from her replies on Instagram, she loves this style even more than I do. Quite similar to the style of Elena (ex-Xalynar), who also got both musical talent and beautiful legs, and loved to wear short dresses with knee-high boots on stage :3

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Bog-Morok - "Industrialypse" [2014]

Artist: Bog[~]Morok
Title: Industrialypse
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2014

Track List:
  1. Industrialypse
  2. Gliese 581d
  3. Не вижу зла (Stadiae III)
  4. Neizbezhnost'
  5. Hellstarter
  6. Shapeshifter
  7. Bloodsucker
  8. Свет в конце тоннеля
  9. Звездопад
  10. IDDQD
  11. Undream
Now here's a band from a town with I did manage to visit this year - Rybinsk. Bog Morok (also stylized as Bog[~]Morok) are one of the few long-running Russian metal bands that started in the second half of the 90s from death/doom metal which was quite popular at the time. Since mid-2000s, they switched their style for industrial metal heavily influenced by Fear Factory (and probably the industrial landscapes at the outskirts of their hometown). While some of their earlier works contain too much alternative/nu-metal influences for my taste, "Industrialypse" is one of their best releases and can be recommended to anyone looking for something resembling the best works by Fear Factory:

Friday, October 11, 2019

Xalynar - "Inner Circle" [2012]

Artist: Xalynar
Title: Inner Circle
Genre: Industrial Death Metal, Modern Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2012

Track List:
  1. We Will Run
  2. Follow Me
  3. Time To Cry
  4. Obsession
  5. Fuck Out
  6. Vanity
During my travels this summer I had plans of visiting Rostov-on-Don which didn't come true, but at least I have discovered a release by an interesting obscure band from that city. Xalynar was formed in 2010 from the ashes of a earlier band called Selena, by the guitarist Kirill Shmailo and his sister Elena on vocals. The band existed until December 2012 and has released an EP called "Vanity" in 2011, followed by a full-length (if 25 minutes counts for "full-length") album the next year.

Their music was usually described as "modern metal" or "cyber metal", which are both quite vague terms I prefer to avoid, yet in case of Xalynar they should give you a good idea of what you're going to hear. With all honesty, "Inner Circle" is far from being a masterpiece, but at least one song on there ("Follow Me") is really great, and as a whole, I liked it better than what the better known "modern metal" bands like Illidiance or Digimortal were playing at that time. In short, if you like melodic death metal/metalcore with a lot of electronics and female growls mixed with clean vocals, "Inner Circle" might be your cup of tea.

As of now, most former members of Xalynar seem to be more into bodybuilding rather than music, although Kirill has a rather popular YouTube channel for guitarists called HardSound. No idea what Elena is doing now, but I know she regretted going into music. That's very unfortunate because she was a talented vocalist, but completely understandable because singing in Xalynar required too much effort with too little recognition. There aren't many surviving recordings of their live shows, but this one is pretty good:

And one more, but with a rather poor quality of sound... Well, at least Elena looks great in a short black dress with knee-high boots:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Neuroheart - "No More Time" [2019]

Artist: Neuroheart
Title: No More Time
Genre: Symphonic/Modern Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. The Digital Age
  2. No More Time
  3. Reveal Your Demons
  4. Hold My Hand
  5. Phantom Dream
  6. I Know Who You Are
  7. This Weird Universe
  8. Utopia
  9. Eternal Rain
At first it was hard for me to believe it's an album by the same band that was known as Arcane Symphony until recently, even though I already knew from their vocalist Anna Volodina that she was listening a lot to bands like Amaranthe recently, and the new sound of her band (which is now looking for new bassist and drummer btw) would certainly be much more electronic than their debut "A New Day Begins", which was fairly conventional symphonic metal.

Their sound has definitely changed along with the name, yet their symphonic metal roots are still present, especially on the second half of the album. Overall, "No More Time" has some pretty catchy tunes, and generally haven't disappointed me as I was afraid. Yes, it sounds a bit on the pop side of things at times, yet it's still more metal than Amaranthe or Dope Stars Inc.:

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Romokon - "Dripnön" [2019]

Artist: Romokon
Title: Dripnön
Genre: Ritual Ambient
Country: Hungary
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Nüpa
  2. Dorje
  3. Döchak
  4. Kyewa
It's not often when my readers suggest me anything interesting, but here's one: a Hungarian ritual ambient project with a Tibetan theme (out of all the stuff posted on here before, it can be compared to Raksha Mancham), that was primarily active during 2006-2009 but released the debut EP entitled "Dripnön" only in May 2019. All the tracks are minimalistic and instrumental (with the exception of "Оṃ Vajrapāṇi Hūṃ" mantra used in the second track):

Friday, August 30, 2019

Pierre Noir - "Licantropia is the relationship of the barbarized mankind" [2019]

Artist: Pierre Noir
Title: Licantropia is the relationship of the barbarized mankind
Genre: Industrial/Techno, Black Metal
Country: Spain
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Licantropia is the relationship
  2. Barbarization of mankind
Pierre Noir is an anonymous project from Spain (apparently somehow connected to Yunclas), that's producing a rather strange kind of industrial techno with black metal overtones. Surely it's not for everyone's taste, but it's original. At least I can't name any acts that sound similar to Pierre Noir, although "Esplendor Geométrico meets black metal" would be a fairly accurate description. The comparison with EG is quite obvious since they're the only classic industrial act in Spain that has influenced a lot of industrial/rhythmic noise artists, spanish and non-Spanish alike.

The name of the project may sound like a parody of Peste Noire, but it's actually a reference to the black stones (like the well-known one in Mecca) that were worshipped in many pagan cultures (that's also probably what the Candlemass song "Black Stone Wielder" was inspired by). The apparent parallel in northwestern Russia is the worship of "blue stones" which is probably of Meryan origin ultimately.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

V/A - "Lavana III" [2019]

Title: Heliophagia 06
Genre: Dark Ambient, Post-Rock, Post-Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Futiliteit - August
  2. Res Magnifica - Orange Sky Aglow
  3. Непрерывные Города & Всполохи Ржавчины - Серповница
  4. Accasari (ex-System Morgue) - Devoratio
  5. Refraction Reel Lily - MoRr-Oko-Lahr
  6. Circle Of Unexisted - Bloodhail (Have a Nice Life cover) (feat. Anguish)
Good to see that Heliophagia are back again to work after a long hiatus. According to their description, "The Lavana III compilation is dedicated to the Summer Harvest 2019, as well as to our noonday demons". The first two compilations in these series, Lavana I and Lavana II: Hardest Harvest, also were dedicated to the traditional day of summer harvest, as well as to the death of everything old and the beginning of everything new. Overall, these ones aren't as good as Lavana III, but at least the Casa Ukrania track on Lavana I is one of their best. As for this complilation, it's certainly recommended for all fans of hypnotic and slightly noisy post-rock sound. Not sure if the band Futiliteit on there is the same as Futiliteit Orchestra on the earlier compilations by Heliophagia, but they surely sound very different.

Monday, July 22, 2019

System Morgue - "Inkeri" [2011]

Artist: System Morgue
Title: Inkeri
Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Country: Russia
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Stonewind, Leadwater
  2. Inkeri
A dozen of years have passed since the release of the debut album by System Morgue, "Necrostud". This one-man project by Peter L. is still going on, although changed name to "Accasari" an year ago. "Inkeri" is an EP dedicated to St. Petersburg, released in 2011 on Peter's private label Yuggoth Heavy Industries. The title is a Finnish name for the historical region encompassing modern St. Petersburg (now it's used mostly by some fringe political movements with more than questionable ideologies, but let's not go deep into this...)

Like other System Morgue album, "Inkeri" consists of monotonous guitar drone ambient textures. Would make a good soundtrack to my upcoming trip to Northern Europe (I'll come to SPb on Thursday this week, then to Finland and Sweden, which I wanted to visit for a long time).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Oyme - "Vaya" [2017 single]

First off: I'm finished with posting everything I planned, so I can lay this blog to rest until the end of this summer. If there will be any new posts in the next couple of months, there will be very few. I have a lot of travel plans for this summer, and I don't want to turn this place into a travel blog (I already use my Instagram account for it). The first destination on my list is Mordovia, to where I hopefully will go tomorrow. This time I plan on visiting some rural areas where the Erzyan culture (to which my ancestors almost certainly have belonged) is still alive and well, and right now there will be a few words about a band who did a great work to preserve that culture.

The regular readers of my blog might be already familiar with Oyme (which means"Soul" in Erzya), a Moscow-based all-female group with Mordovian roots who performs mostly authentic folk songs in Mordvinic and other Finno-Ugric languages. This song, however, while being based on a traditional Erzyan wedding song, has a modern electronic sound arrangement, and it's described by the band as "industrial folk", which I find to be very accurate. It's also their first song to get a proper music video, which touches on the subjects such as ecology and the fate of the minority ethnic cultures in the era of globalization. It was shot on a very cold day near Moscow and took a lot of effort from the band, but the result was worth it.

Oyme's frontwoman Ezhevika is a very interesting person who as a professional ethnomusicologist has done a lot to collect the obscure folk music of various (mostly Finno-Ugric and Nakh-Dagestani) minorities in Russia, which otherwise might vanish into oblivion in the near future. While I don't agree with some of her depictions of the traditional Finno-Ugric cultures (which more resemble the idealized view of "Old Europe" by Marija Gimbutas), her dedication to her work is remarkable. I was very happy to see Oyme live last summer, and I still maintain contact with Ezhevika via social media.

By the way, Ezhevika is also an amateur model, and her main point of pride is her long legs. Interestingly, the beauty of female legs is a major theme in Erzyan folklore, which was already noticed in the XIX century by ethnographers such as Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky (and I also find it far more attractive than the current mainstream beauty standards promoted by the likes of Kim Kardashian). So I think Ezhevika has every right to say that her Erzyan legs are a part of Erzyan culture too :) The musical instrument in first two photos is called "gaitjamo", in case if anyone's wondering:


The last photo was made in my city BTW, and now it's time for me to pay a visit to Mordovia too. Wish me luck in my travels!

Perihelion - "Hold" [2016]

Artist: Perihelion
Title: Hold
Genre: Post-Rock, Post-Black Metal
Country: Hungary
Year: 2016

Track List:
  1. Feneketlen
  2. Szárnyakon
  3. Hold
  4. Sycamore Trees (Twin Peaks cover)
For some reason, EPs by Perihelion are more insteresting than their full-length albums. I already have posted one of their EPs on here a few years ago, and now it's time for their arguably best release up to date, which is firmly in my top of the best albums of the last 2-3 years, and which I was listening to on a repeat for a quite long time. Very catchy and exceptionally beautiful music, especially the cover of "Sycamore Trees" which is better than the original.

In terms of sound, it'd be best described as post-black metal with clean vocals, although it has very little to do with black metal in its pure form. The most similar sounding release that comes to mind is "Rengeteg" by their compatriots Thy Catafalque, as well as some later tracks by TG like "Mezolit" (which features Gyula Vasvári of Perihelion as a guest vocalist), but "Hold" can be recommended to the fans of projects like Deafknife, Violet Cold or Lonely Star as well. Regardless of what you might think, the title is in Hungarian and means "Moon" (by the way, another reason why I love Hungarian bands is the extensive use of astromonical themes which is so common in their music). Highly recommended!

Monday, June 10, 2019

CD-R - "Hide and Seek" [2005]

Artist: CD-R
Title: Hide & Seek
Genre: Ambient, Noise, Musique Concrete
Country: Russia
Year: 2005

Track List:
  1. Dusty Field
  2. Winter
  3. Still Remains
  4. Remote Control
  5. Demolished Surface
  6. Connector
  7. Punkt
  8. Metro
  9. Plateaux
  10. Untitled
Have you heard about that band called CD-R whose album "700Mb" became a best seller of all times? Jokes aside, CD-R is a Moscow-based experimental music project started by Nikita Golyshev in 2003:
"Use of old soviet synth sand effects combined with modern techniques and laptop makes an interesting combination of different styles of noise music - "fusion noise." Noisey, fractured soundscapes transform into broken rythms and melodys..."
While I certainly wouldn't call "Hide & Seek" harsh noise (it's more on the ambient / field recordings side of things), it's an awesome release that's quite original and not boring at all (unlike many many other noise albums), and the vintage-style cover art is interesting as well. The atmosphere on "Hide & Seek" has been descibed as "futuristic emptiness with human face", which in my opinion is quite accurate.
"CD-R are Nikita Golyshev and Stas Bobkin from Moscow, and their music is much more noise related, but they never go for the full blast of things. They built the tracks with care, but end up in quite forceful sound patterns, where high pitched sounds and feedback work alike. It is worked out quite nicely." - Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly

Gultskra Artikler - "Industria" [2015]

Artist: Gultskra Artikler
Title: Industria
Genre: Ambient, IDM, Percussion Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2015

Track List:
  1. Distortion
  2. Melted Percussions
  3. Thunderfall
  4. Phone Hum
  5. Short Circuit
  6. o---o------o--------o
  7. Exercise With Metal
  8. Rust and Drop
  9. Savage Mechanism
  10. Beams of Light Through the Cloud of Dust
  11. Shipping Details to Track 1
  12. ------o-------o---o-o
Gultskra Artikler is an experimental electronic music project started by Alexey Devyanin in 2003 in Novosibirsk (later relocated to Moscow). It was highly praised by many revievers, yet I haven't listened to any GA albums until recently. "Industria" has an insteresting concept, and after reading the release notes I expected it to be similar to early 80s' percussion industrial mixed with IDM in the vein of Rad Machine:
"Neo-folk cyber-psychedelia. Gultskra's music is always the unique mixture of brutal and honest vibes of mysterious Siberian soul and hi-tech technologies, some unpredictable electro-acoustical and avant-garde instrumental movements and precision electronical manipulations, strange field recordings..."

"For this album, before making it, I spent few times in some empty factory not far from Moscow. just to get the feel of the machines left alone in darkness. i had a friend who worked there, allowed me to stay for a while after a work day is finished and everybody's went home. I recorded some of the factory sounds, empty echoes, but mainly I just got the right atmosphere and mood to make these tracks later at home.

On few tracks I used contact microphones recording water drops interacting with metal in different ways, processing the signal of drops through effects i got some crazy results! the way real life (as water) interacts with metal, mechanic structure made by people, makes great contrast between so different substances, i try to reflect that in my music. contrast is one of the main themes. that's why I had to use some melodies, ambiences, Soviet synths.

I found some new techniques of sound processing to represent the rhythmic structures as some primal music beats, played by machines. as if machines were exploring percussions played by primitive humans and trying to imitate it. imagine a ritual in a factory where machines dance in a circle playing simple but meditative beat structures. this is so unreal" - Alexey Devyanin
While I coudn't hear any neofolk on "Industria" (maybe the earlier albums had more of it), it turned out to be a definitely interesting (albeit a bit short:) sound collage:

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Author & Punisher - "Beastland" [2018]

Artist: Author & Punisher
Title: Beastland
Genre: Industrial Doom Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2018

Track List:
  1. Pharmacide
  2. Nihil Strength
  3. Ode to Bedlam
  4. The Speaker is Systematically Blown
  5. Nazarene
  6. Apparition
  7. Night Terror
  8. Beastland
Author & Punisher is an one-man industrial doom metal band from San Diego, that has been creating music since early 2004 but came to my attention only not long ago. The description of this album surely sounded quite interesting:
"Author & Punisher is an industrial doom and drone metal, one man band utilizing primarily custom fabricated machines/controllers and speakers called Drone/Dub Machines. The devices draw heavily on aspects of industrial automation, robotics and mechanical tools and devices, focusing on the eroticism of the interaction with machine...
Drawing inspiration from his career as a mechanical engineer, Tristan Shone (the creator and sole artist behind AUTHOR & PUNISHER) forged a relationship with design, sound, and fabrication that ultimately yielded his hand-built “Drone Machines” which mapped the journey away from traditional instrumentation towards custom made "precision machinery." A robotic experimentation in industrial metal, noise, doom and drone, AUTHOR & PUNISHER recalls Nine Inch Nails channeling Godflesh, traversing through dark, uncompromising, and often disturbing soundscapes with occasional detours into rich melodies and splinters of light. Armed with newly built “Drone Machines” and a new label, Beastland is AUTHOR & PUNISHER’s career-defining statement and a powerful listening experience that further blurs the line between man and machine"
Well, good industrial doom metal is definitely a rare beast, and Author & Punisher manages to do it good. While it doesn't sound quite like anything else, A&P reminds me of Zaraza (another obscure industrial doom act that deserves more attention) and La Torture des Ténèbres (not doom metal, but no less "inhuman" music). Like in case with "Memoirs of a Machine Girl" by LTDT, I'm not sure if I'm going to listen to "Beastland" once again any time soon, yet this album is surely worth checking out.

Cop Shoot Cop - "Ask Questions Later" [1993]

Artist: Cop Shoot Cop
Title: Ask Questions Later
Genre: Post-Punk / Noise Rock / Industrial Rock
Country: USA
Year: 1993

Track List:
  1. Surprise, Surprise
  2. Room 429
  3. Nowhere
  4. Migration
  5. Cut to the Chase
  6. $10 Bill
  7. Seattle
  8. Furnace
  9. Israeli Dig
  10. Cause and Effect
  11. Got No Soul
  12. Everybody Loves You
  13. All the Clocks Are Broken
  14. Untitled
  1. Nowhere
  2. Days Will Pass
  3. We Shall Be Changed
  4. Suck City
  5. Fragment
  6. Shine On Elizabeth
"When living is for learning, and dying is forgetting..."

 Cop Shoot Cop were a relatively well known band from New York that existed from 1987 to 1996. Their song "Room 429" was covered by Devin Townsend on the album "City" by Strapping Young Lad, and that's how most younger fans of experimental music (me including) found out about CSC:

In fact, it's my favourite track by SYL. The original song is far less heavy, but the atmosphere is still there:

And a spot-on comment from YouTube:

Moreover, it's a love song, and while my usual attitude towards love songs can be best described by the very first line in "I Hate Love Songs" by GWAR, this one is quite original and touching when it comes to lyrics:
"They were frequently classified as industrial rock, but were often quite different from many bands so dubbed. Tod A.'s lyrics were clever, snide and evocative (Art Black and David Sprague suggest that "Black humor beats black metal any day") and their "weirdly catchy" music which drew "on hot jazz and swing as much as clanging rock, emphasizing the group's stand-apart attitude."" (
While the early, noise rock-ish albums by Cop Shoot Cop are not too easy to get into, this one (being the first album by CSC released on a big label) is probably the best in their discography along with "Release" (1994), and I certainly would recommend it anyone who's into Swans-influenced bands. You can get "Ask Questions Later", along with bonus tracks from "Suck City" and "Room 429" EPs here (by the way, that post is from 2007, yet the download links are still working).

Friday, June 7, 2019

Barracuda - "Glyba" [2004]

Artist: Barracuda
Title: Glyba
Genre: Industrial Death Metal
Country: Belarus
Year: 2004

Track List:
  1. Glyba
  2. BT-34
  3. The Spider
  4. Techno Kill
  5. CFC3
  6. Dark Cult
  7. DC40
  8. Eat Dust, Swallow Dirt!
  9. Death Dance
  10. F-25
  11. Zabiw!
  12. The Mirror of My Soul
Like in case with many other metal bands from early 2000s Belarus, I found out about Barracuda long time ago thanks to the "M" magazine, but until recently I didn't known they have released one more album besides their debut "In Carna" (2003). This album turned out much more interesting and industrial-oriented than their first one. While "In Carna" was more standard death metal (or death'n'roll, acoording to the band's mastermind Bes Trefoil), "Glyba" is rich in electronic sound which was quite innovative for the ex-USSR metal scene 15 years ago. The lyrics are a bit ridiculous at times, but otherwise it's a quite decent release for its place and time. Took me a while to find it, so it's quite rare as well.

V/A - "Terror - An Industrial Metal Compilation" [1993]

Title: Terror - An Industrial Metal Compilation
Genre: Industrial Metal/Rock
Year: 1993

Track List:
  1. Die Krupps - Dawning Of Doom
  2. Godflesh - Mothra
  3. Ministry - Stigmata (Live)
  4. Treponem Pal - Radioactivity
  5. Einstürzende Neubauten - Feurio
  6. Swamp Terrorists - Braintrash
  7. Consolidated - White American Male
  8. Killing Joke - Age Of Greed
  9. Scorn - Scorpionic
  10. Excessive Force - Worship Me
  11. Chrome - 3rd From The Sun
  12. Prong - The Coliseum
  13. Skrew - Gemini
  14. KMFDM - Money
  15. Wiseblood - Motorslug
A good early industrial rock & metal compilation released in 1993 by a German label Mental Decay Records. Most of the bands featured on there are already well familiar to me, yet I did make some interesting discoveries - like Wiseblood, an obscure band which mixed industrial rock with swing and blues rock. I found out about this compilation thanks to Archive Industrial Rock & Metal, an awesome page dedicated to obscure industrial rock/metal from 80s and 90s (lots of very rare and undeservedly forgotten stuff on there!).

The Electric Hellfire Club - "Electronomicon" [2002]

Artist: The Electric Hellfire Club
Title: Electronomicon
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2002

Track List:
  1. Into Thee Abyss
  2. Wired in Blood
  3. Sons of the Serpent
  4. Hypochristian
  5. Stockholm Syndrome
  6. Whores of Babylon
  7. Broken Goetia
  8. I Dream of Demons
  9. Nordland
  10. Tannhäuser Gate
  11. This is the Zodiac…
  12. Hymn to the Fallen
  13. Keys to the Kingdom
I found out about EHC long time ago after reading the infamous "Lords of Chaos" book, and they quickly became one of my all-time favourites on the industrial rock scene. While their early albums (including their best one "Calling Dr. Luv") aren't metal, this album definitely is, and it's much better than the previous one ("Witness the Millenium"). Just like all EHC albums, it's full of cultural references (Blade Runner, the Zodiac Killer etc.) and occult imagery that's too over the top to be taken seriously. According to the release notes, it was recorded at the Abyss Studios in Sweden (the first American band ever to do so) with producer/engineer Tommy Tägtgren and guest appearances by the members of well-known Scandinavian metal bands such as Hypocrisy, Dark Funeral and In Aeternum. Too bad it was the last album they've recorded, although the band still seems to be active.

There's a very good review of "Electronomicon" on which deserves to be quoted extensively on here:
"Industrial metal is essentially divided into two categories: stupid bands that inadequately use samples for the sake of doing so, and intelligent groups that know what they’re doing with programming systems. The number of acts that mindlessly poop out electronic noises is measureless in number, yet only a few factions could be considered good at what they do...

...I’m actually a fan of The Electric Hellfire Club’s bizarre discography, and it’s quite interesting to experience the identity transformation they underwent during their decade of activity. The Electric Hellfire Club started out as an industrial gig during the early 1990’s before acquiring a metallic edge with the critically-acclaimed “Witness The Millennium” in 2000. The group’s anomalous theorem of industrial-laced heavy metal was certainly an absorbing metamorphosis, but The Electric Hellfire Club had no sign of stopping their special blend of electronic heaviness. In 2002, the futuristic faction had opened the metal aqueducts, and the unearthly liquid once again flowed into industrial streams on their final record entitled “Electronomicon.” Now this album might seem like an ordinary pseudo-Ministry plunder at first gaze, but it’s actually one of the best industrial metal albums ever made on several levels. It has everything that makes industrial metal fantastic: heavy riffs, crushing drums, strange vocals, amazing samples, trippy keyboards, and a unique atmosphere that only computerized effects could make.
Anyone looking for insight about “Electronomicon” can obtain a decent understanding of its ingredients by viewing the image on the record’s cover. The art is simply a demon with a normal half and a robotic half, but each hemisphere gives key indications about this CD’s sound. On the right side, we have the beast’s normal skin that clearly represents the metallic nature of The Electric Hellfire Club. Fantastic riffs and solos that are intact with traditional heavy metal are commonly used with a clear emphasis on crushing guitar distortion while great double bass hits and steady snare beats echo underneath the guitars...
...This disc isn’t just The Electric Hellfire Club’s finest hour, but a landmark release in industrial metal and how such diverse ideas can turn heavy music into something universally exclusive. A must have for fans of Ministry, Godflesh, or other industrial metal acts"

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

L'Acéphale - "Malefeasance" [2009]

Artist: L'Acéphale
Title: Malefeasance
Genre: Noise/Black Metal, Dark Ambient, Neofolk
Country: USA
Year: 2009

Track List:
  1. Väinämöinen Nacht
  2. Hitori Bon Odori
  3. A Burned Village
  4. From A Miserable Abode
  5. Sleep Has His House
After a decade of waiting, the new full-length album by L'Acephale is finally out, and it's quite good (just as expected). Today, however, I'll post a much earlier release, recorded during 2001-2007 when L'Acephale was an one-man project of Set Sothis Nox La. While L'Acephale is primarily known as a black metal band (albeit a very unorthodox one), "Malefeasance" has little to do with black metal in terms of sound.

The only song that can be called black metal (with a healthy dose of noise, not unlike the tracks on "Mord & Totschlag" which was the debut demo by L'Acephale) is "A Burned Village" which is a cover of an obscure French band A.A.A./Sadastor. All the other tracks on "Malefeasance" are covers/remakes as well, and they delve much further into the industrial/noise territory. "Väinämöinen Nacht" is a dark ambient/drone piece based on Finnic folk chants by Veljo Tormis, and "Hitori Bon Odori" is a rather repetitive (yet not boring) instrumental acoustic track based on a song by a famous Japanese "acid folk" singer-songwriter Kazuki Tomokawa. (I've listened to Tomokawa's full discography, and while it's quite interesting and unusual stuff, it certainly requires a good knowledge of Japanese language and cultural context, not unlike the songs by Soviet/Russian singers-songwriters).

The second half of the album is significantly more noisy, with "From A Miserable Abode" (which is very loosely based on the song ‘Mi Peublo’ by Japanese doom metal band Corrupted) being a lengthy power electronics piece with black metal style shrieking vocals. You probably already have guessed that "Sleep Has His House" is based on an eponymous song by Current 93 which is performed in the same style as the previous track. Overall, "Malefeasance" is a highly experimental concept work which would rather appeal to industrial fans, but open-minded fans of black metal are going to find it interesting too. If you want to learn more about the concept behind this album and other works by L'Acephale, here's a lengthy interview with Set Sothis Nox La where he discusses his influences (from early 80's metal and punk to industrial and classical music) and his fascination with Georges Bataille's writing (where the name "Acephale" came from) in detail.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Schiz - "Voj Pyr" [2016]

Artist: Schiz
Title: Voj Pyr
Genre: Death Metal
Country: Russia (Komi)
Year: 2010

Track List:
  1. Pemdöm
  2. Kor loktöny najö
  3. Antus
  4. Us'ködchöm
  5. Kulöm gizhöd
  6. S'öd pytshkös
  7. Jöktöm bipur doryn
  8. Sin'töm yaj
  9. Yuköm
  10. Kyk dzhyn
  11. Enlön chuzhöm
  12. Yugdöm
  13. Me tehnö lyja (bonus)
Schiz are a death metal trio formed in 2012 in a small village in the far north of Komi Republic, near Izhma (one of the few places where the Komi language is still spoken daily). Other than being probably the only metal band with lyrics in Komi (Vör's lyrics are in Russian), they're not partucularly original when it comes to music, but good to know that people from such a remote area are trying. "Voj Pyr" (which means "Through the forest" if I'm not mistaken) is their 5th album, so they're quite productive as well.