Guest Post by: Ria Wigley
1. Old Nick
If there’s one thing that defines the microgenre of Vampyric Black Metal other than lyrics and imagery about vampires, it is flamboyant, dare I say CAMP riffs, a big focus on atmospheric synths, and absurd song titles. No band exemplifies this better than Old Nick. In fact, the 16-bit inspired keyboard sounds were almost too silly for me to really enjoy this band upon first listen, but after giving it more time I quickly grew to love it. There is an inherent silliness to the obsessive adherence to a particular aesthetic that most vampire media portray, even when it still manages to be coldly sinister and atmospheric at the same time, and Old Nick is the perfect musical representation of that. If you were hoping for second wave worship with some more gothic elements...well this isn’t that, it’s much better. Plus, who doesn’t love song titles like "Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood, Blood" or "Spooky Wicker Basket 1994 (Yes, a witch!)"
Recommended album: A New Generation of Vampiric Conspiracies
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Welcome back, my friends! I had stated in my previous post that I would do a review of this album, so here we are. For those who haven't yet read my interview with Mark Tierney, I'll keep this short and simple. This album is twenty eight years in the making. Enchantment were an unfortunately little known name in the early '90s British metal scene, but with the passing of time, things change. My first introduction to this band was about 6 years ago when I bought an original pressing of their debut album Dance the Marble Naked on CD. I was in love with their melodic yet crushing display of death and doom metal, so this is a really special album for me. So as you can see, I was very excited to see that they unexpectedly reformed to work on this album in question. The results are what we will now be hearing with Cold Soul Embrace.
The first taste we received of the album was last year's "As Greed as the Eye Beholds," which in turn is the opening track of the album. Almost immediately, you know you are in good hands. Everything about this song is dripping with atmosphere and melancholy: the opening morose melody, the crawling drums, and the gut-wrenching vocals. "A Swanlike Duet" starts out with some beautiful clean guitars before launching into some surprisingly rockin' riffs, but even with that in mind it is still a rather heavy affair. It's catchy and all, but never loses any bite.
The Sleeping Village has been around for a few years now, and during that time, a lot of reviews have unceremoniously disappeared into the dark confines of our archives, destined to never see the light of the front page again. Music appreciation, however, is a timeless affair, and in that spirit, here is a review retrieved from the depths.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
34 years?! It's crazy to say that Paradise Lost have been a band for 34 years. The masters of doom and melancholy have been going steady ever since their inception with no break-ups or hiatuses in between. After a brief wait, Paradise Lost return with their 16th opus Obsidian, the follow-up to the masterful Medusa. Said album was a slight return to their original death/doom roots, albeit with a modern context...but enough about the past.
Obsidian is split into three different and distinct styles. You have the more death/doom-leaning tracks, the more gothic rock/metal-based tracks, and a subtler bridging between the two styles. It feels like a natural progression from the last album, with many of the trademarks we all love and adore about Paradise Lost, but with many twists and turns along the way. Welcome to the world of Obsidian.
Written by: The Administrator
This particular scribe tends to wallow in the oppressive confines of tar-thick riffage, but the occasional jaunt through more spacious environs certainly has its perks. Enter The Holy Water EP, the swiftly forthcoming release (June 15th) from the ever-talented genre-spanning Witnesses. At times an expression of sparse ambiance, at others a more traditional doom project, Greg Schwan and friends consistently deliver music with an expansive scope and a cinematic flair. While the deliberate separation remains, this latest three-track manages to combine multiple aspects of the bifurcated Witnesses formula into a single entity. This is doom at its most open, its most atmospheric, and arguably its most emotive.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
The infamous band that manages to pull a slew of opinions every three or so years has come back to continue their evolution. Every Ghost record seems to follow a bit of a theme, or at least weave itself together with a vibe that separates itself from the prior, but stays consistent standing alone. Ahead of releasing Impera, we were given several tracks that sound pretty different, which was an accurate depiction of what was to come. While the mixing of ballads and heavy hitters always went together smoothly, that somewhat changes here.
Despite no signs of ditching the catchy or upbeat chorus’s and memorable radio tunage, Ghost took their biggest step towards more progressive writing. That’s not to say you should expect a Dream Theater record, but there are extra theatrics, extra shifts in tonal delivery, and all sorts of fun instrumentation that gives some serious Styx vibes gone dark. Unfortunately, this causes an awkward flow, and a little bit of placement that feels off at times. For the most part, I can overlook that, save for a few moments of going too long, or the unnecessary use of several “interludes.”
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.