Written by: Izzy
As a genre like metal ages, it is natural that there will be waves of innovation and experimentation. However, after decades, you sometimes may worry that we’re running out of ideas and closer to the end than the beginning. Like, at some point it feels like so much ground has been covered that anything new would come in the form of a ridiculous gimmick idea you’d think of while stoned, like jazz fusion nu metal or death metal played by a classical chamber ensemble (both of which already exist). It’s an exercise in both patience and persistence to continue the search for something that truly sounds like the next step.
But of course, it always comes. If you don’t let yourself get stuck in the mindset that music stopped being good at one point or another, you will always find new artists doing new things and creating new sounds, and listening to the new Victory Over the Sun album reminded me exactly why it’s worth waiting and searching for those visionaries that challenge our common conceptions and assumptions about music as an art form.
Written by: Lunar Fanatic
Dissonant black death metal is nothing new, in fact the subgenre feels a bit trite by this point. That being said Labored Breath’s debut album, Dyspnea, is a fresh, bludgeoning entry into what I’d consider one of metal’s darkest styles. This album from the one-man project from Oakland, CA wastes no time in setting the album’s tone.
Cavernous (and that description is truly earned here), bleeding dissonant notes erupt into pure auditory violence on opening track "Hypothesia." The drumming is explosive, and the guitar work swirls around it, made even more prominent by the excellent use of panning. Both ears are under constant yet varied assault throughout the album, and the beautifully raw production obscures enough detail from the surface to make diving deeper into the ocean of the winding song structures featured throughout Dyspnea.
Today's review is brought to us by Erin Palmer, who you may know as the sole member of both raw black metal outfit Dread Maw and black metal/black n' roll entity Rage of Devils. This is Erin's second guest post here at the Village--a fact for which we are eternally grateful. Enjoy! - Ed.
Guest post written by: Erin Palmer
As I've mentioned before, my favorite bands are the ones that make music where I can't quite conceive of actual people creating it. The best metal, to me, is inhuman, music that seems like a force of nature rather than something played with instruments. Enter Febris Manea.
Febris Manea are a raw black metal band from the United States, originally based in California but now residing in Salt Lake City. The artist, known only as D.O., stated in an interview that the project was created to express feelings he couldn't otherwise “without serious social or legal repercussions,” and...yeah, that checks out.
This is not black metal for the uninitiated. This is the pure, uncut form of the genre. Their most recent release, Through Pale Opulence Thy Reign is Doomed, begins with an ominous, horror movie-style intro, and then immediately strikes the listener in the face with a howling, swirling wall of guitars and unhinged screams. Throughout the album, the soundscape D.O. creates with his music is so rough and nasty as to almost verge on harsh noise at points. Everything blends together in a riptide of deranged sound that constantly washes over you, threatening to pull you under.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
This goes without saying, but I'd imagine that you, the reader, love extreme music. But extremity is a subjective topic, it could be born of a vocal style, a style of instrumentation--perhaps lyrics as well. But there are many other ways to explore and express extremity. That leads us to the review in hand.
Feed Them Death is an extreme metal project blurring the lines of audial savagery: grindcore, death metal, black metal, doom, noise, and ambient. This project has been releasing a substantial amount of material in such a short amount of time with there being only a one year gap in between the debut album and previous album Panopticism: Belong/Be Lost. In 2021 the musician known as Void returns with his latest album Negative.
Special thanks to Carcassbomb (of ye olde Noob Heavy and Black Lodge PR) for the words! If you're looking for top-notch music writing, I highly recommend adding Noob Heavy to your blog rotation. You should also check out Black Lodge PR if you need, well, PR (the sheer quality of which I'll happily vouch for!) - Ed.
Guest post written by: Carcassbomb
Australia has been coming in strong lately with bands under the genre tag “dark metal,” which is well suited here with a sound that is difficult to nail down, it takes a bit of everything with the emphasis on darkness. Be that a brooding kind of darkness or menacing darkness depends on the album, but with Spire there’s a perfect balance of both. This is my introduction to the band and it left quite the impression!
A pleasurable barrage of doomy genre-hopping can be found on Temple of Khronos. They have a powerful way of building up to really epic moments that come with a lot of added flourish. There’s a great black metal influence with shrieking that reminds me of Silencer as well as growls on the doom end of the death spectrum--both of which blend in well with the clean variations of singing and BIG HUMMMMS. There’s a lot of thickness to the overall production, utilizing vocal modulation and repetition to great effect. The density could be compared to fellow Australian’s Portal or more recent, The Amenta, and the BIG HUMMMMS might sound freshly familiar to those who dug into that Sutrah EP last year.
Written by: Izzy
Cut from the same cloth as many similar Obscura-worshipping avant-garde technical death metal outfits, Ad Nauseam got a fair bit of attention for their debut release, Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est, an album I personally enjoyed. It was filled with complex, angular and abrasive melodies mixed with a subtle sense for melody, but I felt it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been and was more indicative of where the band could go. Its not a new or original idea to make dissonant skronky tech metal inspired by classical compositions, and I felt Nihil Quam was held back by falling into many of the microgenres cliches, thereby not doing enough to really make themselves stand out amongst the crowd.
Written by: The Administrator
In lieu of the typical rambling introduction, I'll spare you all and jump straight to my conclusions regarding Nostophobia, the debut full length from Portland's Sea Sleeper. In sum, then: this is a wonderfully chaotic album filled to the brim with the kind of untethered energy that practically demands listener engagement. However, it is also a confusingly chaotic album that would benefit significantly from some spit and polish.
Sea Sleeper bill themselves as a bit of a genre-jumping anomaly, frequently folding in elements of post-metal, deathcore, sludge, avant-garde, metallic hardcore, and even a lil' angsty grunge into their bubbling cauldron o' progressive death. Needless to say, this is a complex conglomerate of sights 'n' sounds, and makes for an experience that is borderline confounding across the breadth. As a fan of boundary-pushing and rule-breaking in music as a general rule, that quality is a clarion call of sorts--provided the intrinsic weirdness sticks the landing.
Written by: Izzy
2019, I can pretty confidently say, was “the year of black metal” for me. Not only was the quantity of good black metal extremely high, but the quality of the best releases was unheard of. Normally every year I find maybe 3-5 albums in most of my favourite genres that I love and hold onto, but 2019 gave me TWELVE (12) black metal albums I’ve revisited since the year's end, some of them half a dozen times by now. Amongst those phenomenal albums was Serpent Column’s Mirror In Darkness, my first brush with the band, which certainly set my expectations high and they were quickly fulfilled by their EP/mini album Endless Detainment from earlier this year. I was blown away and already left extremely impressed, but clearly even that wasn’t enough for Serpent Column as shortly after it was followed up by their latest opus, and topic of today’s discussion, Kathodos.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is one Erin Palmer, sole member of raw black metal outfit Dread Maw, as well as raw black metal/black n' roll entity Rage of Devils. Once yer done reading this retrospective, check out both projects!
Written by: Erin Palmer
I went through several years where, for multiple reasons, I wasn't enjoying metal.
One of the hallmarks of OCD is intrusive thoughts. Irrational thoughts that come into your head out of nowhere, but feel so gut-wrenchingly real that you can't help but give them credence. Mine started in 2011, and they told me that I wasn't “allowed” to like metal.
Simply saying that doesn't convey the fear that came with those thoughts. It was a sick feeling in my stomach that I was doing something wrong by listening to metal. It wasn't based in anything real; no religious background was responsible, for example. My head just told me that I wasn't allowed to listen to my favorite music, and my insides turned to water.
Written by: Loveloth
Gather 'round, everyone. Let me tell you a short story. Abdul Alhazred, like any foolish mortal, thought he could evade the cosmos' grasp. Many years ago, around 700 A.D., Abdul spent a decade studying ruins of ancient cities before disappearing into the desert. After his return, he spent his final days in Damascus, and it was there that he unveiled the cursed book--The Necronomicon. There laid information which should've remained hidden.
In 738, his punishment finally came; The Mad Arab disappeared without a trace and many wondered what was the reason behind, for they knew he dabbled with black magick and worshipped otherworldly beings. No one knows what exactly happened to him, but the book prevailed and got translated into Greek, Latin, German and eventually English. The whereabouts of the book and its copies are unknown and trust me, it's for the better. Whoever read its pages faced madness, death, or worse. That book is pure evil and I would advise you, dear reader, to not chase that knowledge so many before you have. But what do I know for I am just a mere mortal, just like you. Or am I?
Whatever the case, it seems the spirit of The Mad Arab lives on, and in this particular case, lives through Esoctrilihum.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!