FRESH MEAT...erm, SATURDAY: April 17th, 2021, Feat. Bushido Code and Mother Anxiety / S H R I E K I N G
Every Friday (erm...or Saturday, folks), a wagon arrives at the Sleeping Village’s rusted palisade, stuffed to the brim with musical sustenance. Today is the day we must offload this week's new and noteworthy music, and so, in the process, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our choice picks from this veritable mass of fresh meat. This is what we’ll be listening to today at the Village HQ. We hope you join us in doing so!
This week marked the release of a whole lot o' stellar music, but we opted to focus on two albums rather than our typical four. As such, please accept these delayed-albeit-longer-than-usual reviews. - Ed.
On the docket for today, April 17th, 2021:
Bushido Code and Mother Anxiety / S H R I E K I N G
Bushido Code - The Ronin
Before we get too far into it: how 'bout that opening riff? Muscular, pugilistic, and delightfully earmwormy. Needless to say, The Ronin's title track is exactly what ye might expect from a band that bills itself as a hearty metal/thrash/hardcore crossover conglomerate. The tracks that hit do so with a notable gusto, and the energy contained within the first half of the album is quite infectious, coated with an unexpectedly fun and groovy patina. As such, Bushido Code operate best when they embrace the intrinsic physicality of their work.
While one might expect a typical bruiser-ish crossover lyrical route, "The Ronin" opts for character-driven storytelling over tough guy posturing, which is always a bonus in this line of work. Critically, the album does lose a little steam and sheer headbanging energy in the back half after interlude "Prelude to Battle," and makes me wonder if it would have landed even harder as an EP with all the fluff neatly trimmed away. But let's be real: for a 29 minute album, I ain't complaining all that much. Listening to this thing inevitably results in a whole lotta sweat and a very sore neck. It serves as prime "get pumped" music, and, as such, has found itself employed in mighty fine service down at the ol' home gym. If yer on the hunt for the juiciest cuts, give "Ronin," "Aftermath," and "Relic of War" a listen, and throw 'em on your workout playlist for good measure.
Find it on bandcamp here!
Mother Anxiety & S H R I E K I N G - Isolation Diary
Confession time: I went into this release with a certain trepidation, despite a favorable familiarity with both artists featured. The trepidation came from the subject matter itself, and the prospect of immersing myself fully. In a not-yet-post-COVID-world, the impact of isolation is a sore subject, and living through the eyes of not one but two distinct projects was intimidating. After many, many listens, it still is. I think that's a good thing.
Like unto the best of experimental music, this stellar split between solo acts Mother Anxiety and S H R I E K I N G is not immediately digestible. Given the complex arrangement of ambient, drone, post metal-- punctuated by the occasional blackened outburst or assorted spoken word samples--each of the nine tracks herein takes significant time to explore. As someone who thrives on releases that merit multiple listens in a variety of environments, I feel fully consumed by this split in a way that is equally satisfying and confusing.
The first half, home to Mother Anxiety, presents a largely half-conscious atmosphere and ambiance, featuring a quiet cacophony of hushed voices and assorted electronic noises. Listening to these four tracks feels intrusive in a wholly unique fashion: this is like listening to the inside of my own skull, witnessing undeveloped thoughts tumble and collapse. "Entry 4" is the culmination, and it illustrates the yoke of anxiety with frightening accuracy. These entries are not meditative; Mother Anxiety's half feels like a reflection of a consciousness under constant duress. In contrast, S H R I E K I N G's contribution feels more outward--its (frankly indescribable) confluence of genre allows for more sonic range. That said, it still feels intensely individual, which, given the overarching theme of loneliness, indicates a Job Well Done. While the first half feels inwardly panicked, S H R I E K I N G somehow uses chaos to impart a deep sense of heart wrenching sadness. This is genuinely tear-inducing stuff, and I don't have the words to articulate why. That's uncomfortable, but it is also a demonstration that this split has succeeded enormously at what it set out to do. Bravo.
Find Mother Anxiety here and S H R I E K I N G here
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
I've always loved the concept of a split album. The idea of two or more artists coming together to unite under one release is fantastic. Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine, however, is much more. Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum join forces again to create a conceptual split release centering around the planets of the solar system and ancient mythology. This may sound like an overbloated idea, but it works out so well. This split release right here is something that will be looked up to in 5-10 years based off of the conceptual angle but also musically.
We begin the album with Spectral Lore's "Mercury (The Virtuous)." An effects-laden intro slowly builds into a mid-paced black metal stomper with loads of classy riffs and well executed double-bass and blast beats. After that, we are greeted with Mare Cognitum's "Mars (The Warrior)." This is a far cry from the serenity of the first track; this is a jagged, aggressive, and dissonant tune. There is no letting up, as a swarm of blast-beats and fast double bass keep you on your toes the whole time. I'd also say that this is a far more "progressive" song, as there are many changes in time signatures throughout the 9 minutes.
Written by: Vattghern
I tend to lie to myself, pretending my procrastination isn’t as bad as it is. The moment when the truth hits me like a bus is usually when work has piled up to a giant tower of Jenga blocks, about to collapse in seconds. So, as the weeks of collapsing Jenga towers have passed and my studies have come to a temporary halt, I can shift my focus to procrastinating again. And a fruitful product of said procrastination is this heavily delayed review of Raphael Weinroth-Browne's debut Worlds Within.
Despite my love for the distorted and noisy sounds of metal in hectic and stressful times, music like Worlds Within is balm for my soul. It is the type of music that is rather easy on the ears, yet has an endless depth to it. But before we get into the meat and potatoes of the Canadian cellist’s solo debut, one thing should be noted: While this is Weinroth-Browne's first big venture as a solo artist, he’s far from an unknown face in the metal and rock scene. Either because of his insanely talented cello covers of modern prog classics (“Bleed” by Meshuggah or “Harvest” by Opeth, to name a few,) or through his influential work with bands like the neo-folk project Musk Ox and Norwegian prog masters Leprous, which included Weinroth-Browne as an integral part of their live and studio performances.
The more eagle-eyed amongst ye lurkers may recall that, earlier this year, this particular Villager took a bit of a break from the more hefty, crushing, and otherwise violent end of the musical spectrum. During this time of relative quietude, one of my close companions was The Dwarf Star Sessions, a solo instrumental avant-garde cosmic exploration. Which should, in retrospect, tell you all you need to know.
One Dr. Greenthumb excels at creating languid improvisational spaces--the kind of musical environ that invites you to nod your head and rest your eyes in a half-aware stupor. This is, in other words, the perfect soundtrack to your half-conscious daydreams. While The Dwarf Star Sessions impressed with it’s uncanny ability to draw me back into the fold of undulating psychedelia, the followup--Celestial Sounds From the Cosmic Ocean--feels like a gradual climb into the astral womb. And this, in the best possible sense.
Written by: Reese
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably a big fan of atmospheric black metal, but not so much a fan of the recent blackened synth craze that’s been sweeping the underground. You’ve probably also got a recurring itch on your back that’s frustratingly just out of reach. Maybe that one is just me though. But I digress, it’s not hard for me to get swept up in a good atmospheric black metal album, but I’m much pickier with my ambient music. That’s why I’m such a big fan of Moulderyawn; this one-man black metal band truly brings together the best of both worlds in a way that’s both interesting and engaging.
A Dreamworld’s Oeuvre is Moulderyawn’s second full-length album. I became aware of this band after discovering their 2016 debut album, From Whence the Woods, on Bandcamp, and while I was a fan of that album, A Dreamworld’s Oeuvre is on an entirely different level. On past releases, the ratio of ambient to metal has been roughly 40:60, but on ADO it’s much closer to a 50:50 balance. Normally that would be a huge red light for someone like me who isn’t much of an ambient listener, but Moulderyawn's way of approaching songwriting allows the ambient soundscapes to be worked into the album in a manner that feels dynamic and robust. The fluid transitions from black metal to ambient make the album feel like one multi-textured movement rather than several black metal songs broken up by unrelated ambient interlude tracks, like many albums of this nature do.
But of course it’s the black metal that has me coming back. A Dreamworld’s Oeuvre is paradoxically a pretty album and an abrasively raw album. Part of ADO’s charm is the album’s ability to create something beautiful from such “crude” building blocks. A gorgeous chord scale is still a gorgeous scale even when it’s played with several layers of distortion, and Moulderyawn realize this. They took that ball and ran with it as far as they could. The whole album feels like you’re in a lucid dream that you can’t wake up from; on one hand it’s very surreal and pretty, but on the other hand something feels “wrong” and there’s a pervasive malevolence that gives ADO a real set of teeth, as any good black metal album should have.
In the vocal department we’ve got all the usual shrieks, yelps and howls you’d expect from this style of depressive black metal, and mercifully absent is the clean singing that stains so many albums of this variety. Moulderyawn keep things grim and nasty, and when they want to give listeners a moment of calm to catch their breath, they let the music speak for itself. In keeping with the surreal, dreamlike theme of the album, the vocals are drenched in feedback and static; they sound like they’re being performed in a long hallway and being listened to through an old radio.
If this album is any indication, this is going to be a very good year for black metal. Had A Dreamworld’s Oeuvre been released last year it would have easily been among the year’s best. Sadly, ADO is set to be Moulderyawn’s final album, at least for the foreseeable future. But it’s a good note to bow out on, and a good record to be remembered for.
Moulderyawn - A Dreamworld’s Oeuvre was released Jan. 2019
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!