Friday, July 31, 2020

V/A - "Vulgar Display of Purring Presents: New York" [2018]

Title: Vulgar Display of Purring Presents: New York
Genre: Metal, Hardcore/Grindcore
Country: USA
Year: 2018

Track List:
  1. Imperial Triumphant - Breath of Innocence
  2. Pyrolatrous - Obeisance and Unrequited Adulation
  3. Artificial Brain - Spacid (Demo)
  4. Tombs - Mother of Mercy (Samhain Cover)
  5. Car Bomb - Bra_C_Ket
  6. Unearthly Trance - Lion Strength
  7. Woe - Drown Us With Greatness
  8. Anicon - Tarnish On The Emblems Of Ardor
  9. Mutilation Rites - Pierced Larynx
  10. Belus - Avarice
  11. Containor - Asshole 2
  12. Godmaker - Over (Portishead Cover)
  13. Dead Empires - Ergot
  14. Wreath of Tongues - Reprobate
  15. Moon Tooth - Belt Squeezer
  16. Blackout - Crusher Malone
  17. Meek Is Murder - A Prison, A Life Raft
  18. Husbandry - Hierba Mala Nunca Muere
  19. Beast Modulus - Everything's Shocking
  20. Skullshitter - Struggle To Die
  21. Syndromes - ...And Structures Crumble
  22. Bangladeafy - Termites

"Heavy Metal & Cats: The only two things that really matter in this cold, bleak world. We offer compilations of the heaviest, cat-loving bands in every State to benefit a local animal organization in each region. 100% of proceeds go to charity"
Well, I love cats too, so it's a great idea for a compilation. Too bad the project didn't go beyond this one NY compilation so far, but maybe in the future we'll see more. The majority of bands of this compilation are unknown to me, except for Unearthly Trance (very powerful sludge/doom metal), Artificial Brain, Woe and Imperial Triumphant.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

V/A - "Iron Sun of Russia" [2017]

Title: Iron Sun of Russia
Genre: Noise, Percussion Industrial
Country: Russia
Year: 2017

Track List:
  1. Grёzoblazhenstvie - Над пропастью в вечность
  2. Homo Sum, Humani Nihil A Me Alienum Puto - Ностальгия
  3. Weltschmerz - Солнце
  4. Maha Pralaya - Эхо тени глубин
  5. Grёzoblazhenstvie & Le Firmament Noir - Миллионы адских роз 
Another interesting discovery from my city - a classic industrial/noise compilation by several obscure projects apparently influenced by Russian Futurism of the early XX century. Of course it's harsh stuff not for everyone's ears, and unfortunately there's next to no info about the participants, but good to see the industrial scene still existing in my area.

Zagovor - "Farewell the Sun" [2020]

Artist: Zagovor
Title: Farewell the Sun
Genre: Blackened Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2020

Track List:
  1. Vetluga River
  2. Burlak
  3. First Night Of Winter
  4. Farewell The Sun
Zagovor are a new pagan black/doom metal band from my city with an EP that's apparently inspired by the history and culture of the foresty region between Vetluga and middle Volga. Almost nothing is known about the band; their name literally means "conspiracy" but the more archaic meaning is "magic spell" (and I guess that's what they meant). The EP is very short and entirely instrumental, therefore not sounding as a finished work, but it shows a lot of future potential. There aren't many metal bands inspired by the culture and history of my home region, after all...

Qafas - "Kafkaesque Retribution" [2011]

Artist: Qafas [قفص]
Title: Kafkaesque Retribution
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Bahrain
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Intro
  2. Kafkaesque Retribution
Qafas is a one-man project of Learza, a black metal musician from Bahrain that was active in many oriental metal projects (Dhul-Qarnayn, Kusoof, etc.) during late 2000s and early 2010s. Understandably, not much is known about Learza (there even were completely unsubstantiated rumors that he has hanged for blasphemy), and there was no new matrial from him in the last few years, yet he remains one of the few prolific metal musicians in the Arab world.

This short demo demonstrates the style of Learza's black metal recordings quite well. It's quite solid drum-machined black metal with industrial overtones, using a lot of spoken word samples in Arabic. The title track was also included in the 2013 compilation "Mesonoxian Conspiracies" along with the material released on the LP "Larghetto Laments" (mostly rather unremarkable funeral doom metal).

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Zommm - "Reality Is An Illusion" [2018]

Artist: Zommm
Title: Reality Is An Illusion
Genre: Post-Black Metal
Country: Azerbaijan
Year: 2018

Track List:
  1. Lights
  2. The Shining Of The Solar Moon
  3. Losing Myself In A Green Desert
  4. Reality Is An Illusion
  5. Dust
Azerbaijan definitely isn't a "metal" country by any means, yet there is a relatively significant and tightly knit experimental black metal/shoegaze scene, consisting of such projects as Violet Cold (probably the only Azeri metal project that's well known worldwide), Sumgzeit, Sukkkgall, Brokenchelust, and now Zommm, who are an experimental black metal/post-rock duo from Baku, started in 2017.

If you love "cosmic" post-black metal in the vein of Violet Cold, their debut EP (as well as the subsequently released acoustic single "Starfall In Her Eyes") is definitely for you. Moreover, it also features some folk instruments like tar that gives some "oriental" feel to the music. There's not much info about the band in English (I managed to find only one interview with them in Russian), but they surely have the potential to become the second Violet Cold, Let's wait for their upcoming full length album "Fundamental Of The Universe".

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Melechesh - "As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar" [1996]

Artist: Melechesh
Title: As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Israel
Year: 1996

Track List:
  1. Intro
  2. Sultan of Mischief
  3. Assyrian Spirit
  4. Planetary Rites
  5. Hymn to Gibil
  6. The Sorcerers of Melechesh
  7. Dance of the Black Genii
  8. Baphomet's Lust
  9. Devil Night
  10. As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar
Along with Orphaned Land, Melechesh are the founders of the "oriental metal" subgenre, although their debut album (and the only one that they've recorded in Israel) doesn't feature much "oriental" influences. In fact, it mostly sounds quite similar to the Norwegian black metal of the same time, apart from some tracks like the instrumental "Dance of the Black Genii". Nevertheless, the fact that there's black metal in Jerusalem of all places was quite astonishing to me when I was a teenager.

Despite originally coming from Israel, Melechesh are mostly inspired by the Mesopotamian mythology, and their founding member Ashmedi is of mixed Assyrian/Armenian descent (his mother comes from Syria and the father - from Turkey). During the mid-90s, Jerusalem wasn't a particularly more friendly place for metal than, say, Teheran, so the band has relocated to Netherlands shortly after recording this album (which was timely, because all hell broke loose in Jerusalem after the start of Intifada Al-Aqsa just a few years later). Honestly there are more interesting oriental metal bands than Melechesh when it comes to music, yet let's not forget they were one of the first in the genre, and their lyrics always were quite interesting, especially if you love the history and mythology of ancient Mesopotamia.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Orphaned Land - "All Is One" [2013]

Artist: Orphaned Land
Title: All Is One
Genre: Folk/Progressive Metal
Country: Israel
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. All Is One
  2. The Simple Man
  3. Brother
  4. Let The Truce Be Known
  5. Through Fire And Water
  6. Fail
  7. Freedom
  8. Shama’im
  9. Ya Benaye
  10. Our Own Messiah
  11. Children
Orphaned Land are arguably the best known metal band from Israel, the seminal band for the whole "oriental metal" subgenre, and also the band that introduced metal to the Arab world. Like most other people, I started listening to them from "MaboolThe Story of the Three Sons of Seven" (2004), but for those who are new to the band, I'd recommend to start from this album, as it's the most accessible out of all their discography.

Initially, in mid-90s, their music was rooted in death/doom metal, a genre which was popular at the time, but like many other such bands, they moved towards much "lighter" sound over the years. The lyrical themes have changed as well, from Middle Eastern mythology to pacifism (well, no arguing that the Middle East definitely needs some peace, especially these days). "All Is One" is ostensibly simplistic and less "progressive" than their other works (and that's why many diehard Orphaned Land fans disliked it), yet on a closer look, it's far from simplistic, and features a lot of oriental folk instruments that normally aren't found in metal. Some songs like "Shama’im" sound like radio-friendly rock rather than metal, but there's nothing to complain since this song is great (just like most songs composed by Yehuda Poliker). However, there also are heavier but no less catchy songs like "Fail" (maybe the best track on the whole album), and songs strongly influenced by Arabic folk music ("Ya Benaye"). Overall, all the songs are great, except maybe for the opening and the closing track being slightly weaker than the rest. It already was extensively reviewed all over the internet, so do I need to say more? Let's quote some reviews from
"Basically, what I feel like happened here is that Orphaned Land started taking their role as Jew-Arab peace envoys more seriously than their role as a metal band. Instead of abstract mythological lyrics, you get stuff like "It doesn't matter if you're Muslim or a Jew!" I'm glad a bunch of atheists can get religious idiots to quit killing each other and listen to the same band, and I wish them the best of luck with that"
"If you pay a little more attention, you will notice a myriad of instruments that you'll hardly ever find in metal: Oud, saz, chumbush, bouzouki, and even xylophone. These instruments play haunting, captivating melodies in what I would usually refer to as the "snake-charmer" style, an intense mixture of harmonic minor and Phrygian dominant scales which creates some of the most awe-inspiring tunes ever written. The music has a strong progressive influence; the title track itself is in 7/8 time signature, and many other such changes are displayed throughout the album (most notably in the instrumental "Freedom")... Some of the best melodies in all of metal are found on All Is One, especially in "The Simple Man," "Brother," "Let the Truce Be Known" and "שמיים (Shama'im)." Orphaned Land's All Is One is certainly not a conventional metal album, and I don't expect most people to regard it as highly as I do. Personally, I find that the melodies amount to perfection when combined with such unique lyrics. This may not be the sound that Orphaned Land is most respected for, but it sure is amazing anyway"