In the primordial days of this here Sleeping Village, we reviewed a track from Perversión, the third EP from Chile's own Corspehammer. At heart, Corpsehammer plays fairly basic (if notably speedy) brand of black/death/thrash, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that this EP squirms its way into rotation at an alarming rate of frequency. They also have a debut full length out, which I shall be enjoying in short order. But: first things first.
“Reino – Sangre del Diablo” is a ominous and crashing affair, while follow-ups “Rito & Magia” and standout track "Sexo y Muerto" shift and grind their way into higher gear. I enjoy a deliberate build from standard fare into the wild and unhinged, and here, Corpsehammer deliver handily. The outro, like so many, feels largely unnecessary, but so it goes.
Whilst reading through the back catalogue of albums I have vocally enjoyed, one may notice a variety of little quirks and foibles. These include, but are certainly not limited to: A. an issue with albums that run unnecessarily long, and B. a general disinterest in color-by-number black metal. Regarding the first point, let it be known that today’s album in question suffereth not. Regarding the second, while the legends and the classics will always garner respect and the occasional spin from this particular Villager, I seldom find myself seeking out black metal artists of the new era. As such, when I say that Vrednesdal's (stellar, as it turns out) Fealty of Diabolism was one of my most anticipated albums of the year, it’s my hope that my words will carry a modestly significant weight.
Written by: Ancient Hand
Mesarthim recently surprise-dropped a new album, and I finally had the time to sit down and listen to the follow-up to my 4th favorite album of 2018. With 2 tracks that each clock in at 20 minutes exactly, Mesarthim already show their intent with this album: trying new things. Ghost Condensate is one whole made up of two halves, both of which show the band incorporating new elements into their already established style of intense avant-garde metal.
Despite featuring the band’s trademark sound, risks are taken on this album. On the first track, there are hip-hop trap influences around the 8-9-minute mark, which give way to dense and spacey atmosphere with orchestral synth breaking through after a few moments of staring into deep-space blackness. Then, guitars begin to build before being undercut by drums, and the sound falls back into an infectious rhythm made of guitar, synth, drums, and howls from unimaginable realms of black space horrors. A classic heavy-metal guitar solo shreds in at the speed of light around the 11-minute mark and crescendos into black metal fury.
This is just a 3-minute example of Mesarthim’s attempts to craft an interesting and original album, which they always seem to be doing. Most often is the band’s sound and style chalked up to “spacey atmospheric black metal,” but on this release, they prove that their influences cover a wide breadth of genres and musical styles. The project’s previous release showcased EDM elements, but Mesarthim builds on those sounds with more mainstream elements mixed with chilling black metal. This blend of styles leads to an album that sounds just as otherworldly as its cover appears to be.
On the second half of this release, Mesarthim play more to their tried and true strengths. Blistering black metal pummels you as dazzling synths add a wall of impenetrable noise before the release calms down and fades away in glistening electronics, willing you to start all over again. The blending of familiar sounds in unfamiliar places (trap elements on a black metal album) make for a very engaging and interesting listen.
Mesarthim have, to state it simply, done it again. Pushing the boundary enough to keep long-time listeners on their toes but not alienate fans of black metal, the band has crafted a 40:00 adventure through the cosmos. If anything, this release feels more akin to Mesarthim’s older releases than their previous album. The electronics feel more supportive of the black metal rather than center stage— aside from the trap-inspired section on Part 1. It is difficult to definitively state what the intent of this album is and whether or not it achieves its goal(s); however, it is easy to state that it is an album worth the concise runtime. Do yourself a favor and take a journey into the unknown with this new release.
Mesarthim can be found:
In the ‘verse of metal bloggers, there are many small establishments doing cool stuff, and despite the grizzled, ink-splattered, and decidedly misanthropic appearance of our scribes, we here at the Sleeping Village are, on occasion, cordial folks. As the inhabitants of our extensive grave pit will tell you, it’s an undeniably violent world out there. When the marauders return once more to our homely township, we certainly appreciate our allies mettle (and, well, metal. In a manner of speaking). It’s good to have friends.
This is all to say that Alternative Control, out of the wildlands of Connecticut, is one such blog doing cool stuff. As you may recall, we ran a review a while back for their Volume Doom compilation, which featured some truly excellent tracks of the low ‘n’ slow variety. This spring, Alt Ctrl is back with a seasonal sampler--a collection of songs from bands who have appeared on the blog, in some fashion, over the past few months. While the genre cohesion is nonexistent in this case, the general trend is not. To quote site proprietor extraordinaire Jessie May, this sampler contains "no garbage tracks," plain and simple. Sign me up.
There are eight great songs on this compilation, ranging from hardcore, to depressive black metal, to stoner. Each is highly enjoyable in it’s own right. Things kick off with a killer track from German dark metal progenitors Bethlehem--"Niemals mehr Ieben," which features Yvonne "Onielar Wilczynska on haunting vocals, comes from their forthcoming May release. I know the alphabetical nature of the tracklisting makes this a happy coincidence, but if we're going the thematic route, Bethlehem form an excellent bridge from winter's depressive side to a lighter--err, springier--soundscape. From there, Blind Scryer's doomy treatise and Dread These Day's hardcore approach should, on paper, clash, but both are such solid singles that any lost continuity is a complete non-issue. The same can be said for the remaining 5 tracks herein. London's groovy-yet-rockin' Gramma Vedetta, the avant-garde and deliciously bass-heavy Laster, and the ever-provocative Necrosexual all deliver in spades. Owl Maker contributes the penultimate track, the experimental Lizzy-esque "Owl City" from their recent 2-track EP, much beloved by our humble Village. The standout track, however, is the closer--Scabby Ghouls deliver an upbeat and punky Misfits-esque romp. "Knife Fight" is a whimsically horror-themed ditty, and the delightfully bombastic chorus has been stuck in my head for the better part of a month.
All told, this Spring Sampler is a first-rate collection of equally first-rate tunes. Alternative Control is hitting it out of the park with these compilations, and we're very excited to see where this trend takes them. Summer awaits!
1. Bethlehem - "Niemals mehr leben"
2. Blind Scryer - "Delta V"
3. Dread These Days - "Eldfell"
4. Gramma Vedetta - "Address Unknown"
5. Laster - "Haat & bonhomie"
6. Necrosexual - "Trust No One"
7. Owl Maker - "Owl City"
8. The Scabby Ghouls - "Knife Fight"
Written by: Loveloth
Iceland – the land of ice and fire. It's every geologist's dream land, due to it being packed with countless natural peculiarities. But this is far from the only thing that piques my interest when it comes to this fascinating country. Iceland is rough, very rough in fact, so people adapted via usage of geothermal and hydroelectric energy, fishing, or aluminium smelting--but everything changed in 2007 when the Great Recession struck. People were desperate. Some fled to Norway in hope of finding a better life, but those who stayed endured. Now, you may be saying to yourself: "Oh mighty Loveloth, what does this have to do with anything?" but fear not, this unnecessarily long intro is getting to the point, so hear me out. Because Iceland is so isolated, there is a sense of community, so people partake in sports, media, or create music insert the sound of a point being gotten. And Iceland always had a superb music scene, but something sinister evolved during the pinnacle of said recession--black metal. All these things I mentioned fuel this scene with volcanic might. Bands like Svartidauði, Misþyrming, Sinmara, and Wormlust are just some of the brilliant bands you can come across but this year, we got another. Kaleikr.
Formed from the ashes of Draugsól, Kaleikr burst from the icy depths with Heart Of Lead, a debut I've been excited for since I heard "The Descent" last year. Rooted in dissonance and good ole' atmosphere, the duo grabs and drags you through Heart Of Lead's many murky corridors, and I, for one, greatly enjoyed this violent and claustrophobic voyage.
This vague, semi-descriptive sentence is nothing new in the world of wordsmithery so let me elaborate. Kaleikr play a blend of progressive black, progressive death, and a dash of post-metal for good measure, and it becomes apparent pretty quickly with the slow, unraveling arrival of "Beheld At Sunrise." The violas and piano are a nice touch but it takes a bit too much to get going but as soon as you hear Maximilian Klimko's earthy growls and Kjartan Harðarson's blastbeats, the true journey starts. The duo possesses immense synergy, synergy most bands strive for and most songs here prove this. Angular, melodic, ethereal or start/stop, Klimko's riffs and general guitar work is impressive. However, even more impressive is the fact he takes care of vocals, bass, and the arrangements. This may seem like he is the star of this record but Harðarson's clever, rich and overall superb drumming demonstrates that both of them are absolutely crucial. Each of the songs presented are vast, dynamic and engaging and the record's unusually clean production tries emphasizing this. Tries because the record tends to sound flat when things really start going haywire. Those moments of pure insanity are always welcomed but I love when Kaleikr throw surprises at you like that Enslaved-like guitar section in "Of Unbearable Longing" or the nasty opening riff and viola-infused ending section in "Internal Contradiction." That ending section in particular is hauntingly beautiful and transitions perfectly in "Neurodelirium" which is one of my favourite tracks from Heart Of Lead.
With all these positives I listed, it seems Heart Of Lead is really good. It is, but there are flaws. Apart from the production, some tracks simply overstay their welcome, the title track and intro of "Beheld At Sunrise" being the biggest culprits, but there is a few more instances of meandering.
However, the good greatly overpowers the bad and what we're left is a very good debut from a band that is poised for success. I would greatly appreciate if Kaleikr doesn't share the same fate as Draugsól because the potential for a monumental record is here and ready to be expanded upon. The individual performances, lyrics, songwriting (aside the aforementioned), it all comes together and we ended up with one of the best debuts of 2019. I am sure this won't change when we reach the year-end mayhem so definitely give this record a listen, preferably more than one because there are many details you'll miss on the first listen.
There is just one thing I want to say: "Thank you, Iceland."
Kaleikr's Heart of Lead was released Feb. 2019 from Debemur Morti Productions