Written by: Lord Hsrah
You ever seen Spike or Tom from Tom and Jerry? Seen how they react when their ever-so-cunning and sharp eyes spot a thick chunk of steak, and how their tongues just hang out as their mouth waters at the thought of devouring it? Yeah, that's always me when someone mentions atmospheric black metal! I'm a big fan of the emotions this particular sub-genre invokes, the scenes it creates in my head, the visions it shows me thereafter, and just the overall things I feel when listening to an ABM album - it's one of my favorite things, especially in the rainy season, which is right now where I live. If you ask me, The Lightbringers' From The Void To Existence was a good one to spend some time with as I watched the waters trickle down the window panes of my room. Let's discuss.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Being born into a bible bashing religious cult/family is a traumatizing experience for a curious child. Something I've only started to fully grasp after countless hours and thousands of dollars in therapy. So when I saw the press release for a Bible Basher record featuring Tich of Temple of Coke, Joe E. Allen of Kurokuma and the doom doc featuring the UK underground, plus members of Archelon and Spaztik Munke, I knew I had to have it. I purchased a cassette copy instantly, I don't even own a tape player but I guess I'm on the lookout for one now.
Scathing, sacrilegious, supergroup sludge from Sheffield, UK, is exactly what the doctor ordered for this 2020 hellscape. “Words from the bible, riffs from hell.”
Written by: Blackie Skulless
If the cover art of this death metal split doesn’t pique your interest in the tiniest bit, then are you really a fan of the genre? Death Fire Darkness is a three-song split effort between Sweden’s Inisans, and Sepulchral Frost. The former has been together for a little while now, dropping their debut in 2018, while the latter is a more recent group hailing from the turn of the decade. Together they offer up about fifteen minutes worth of new chops, while each side takes an aesthetic of its own.
The A-side holds two of the three tracks, both by Inisans, as their music in general is a bit more straightforward death metal cut from quicker-processed material. Not a second of “Holocaust Winds” is anything short of compelling, dropping rhythms that capture horrid energy. Gradients of noisy leads blend with the pummeling wall of drums in intricate patterns, retaining an identity of its own. The second track, “Circle Of The Serpent,” follows it up from the same bottom idea, but focuses more on intense speed, delivering the classic Morbid Angel-like artillery.
Time, dear readers, to revisit an old review! This one was published back in the primordial days of the Sleeping Village--before, in fact, there was even a website to speak of. Enjoy! - Ed.
Upon releasing 2017’s brilliant The Dusk In Us, Massachusetts hardcore stalwarts Converge unabashedly stated that the album was composed of some of their weaker material. In the words of guitarist and producer extraordinaire Kurt Ballou, "We all disagreed about what the strongest songs were...it was a compromise. Some of the songs on that album are actually some of the weakest ones that we recorded, and some of the ones that aren't on the album are the strongest. We're just not exactly sure how we're going to release them yet.”
The result of this uncertainty is Beautiful Ruin. Representing these mystery tracks recorded during The Dusk In Us sessions, this four track EP is startlingly brief, but certainly worthwhile.
This review (in its unadulterated form) was originally published in December of 2018 but, as this Friday sees the re-release of an expanded version under Bonita Steel Records and Diabolic Might Records, we thought it would be appropriate to break out this ol' writeup. The following is an edited and updated version. - Ed.
Well, this is refreshing. Typically, when promo proclaims that a band represents a "bold new take" on a traditional, well-trod style, you can expect the same: yet another forgettable "revitalization" of a sound and aesthetic that has been done to death, reanimated, and then slaughtered by copycats once more. In the case of Tzimani, the status quo is effectively put in its place. Despite sparking synapses associated with a variety of high-octane hard rock and metal birthed in the days of yore, this self titled debut EP genuinely feels fresh-faced. Pull on your leather, put the pedal to the metal, and smell the gasoline: Tzimani begins with menacing distortion, a rumbling engine of Mad Max-ian proportion. This EP, previously reviewed by yours truly here, had been bolstered for a vinyl release by a new track, a couple o' covers, and some demos.
While the ol' scriptorium here at the Sleeping Village has been scantly populated this week, fear not. This particular reeve* has spent the past few days embroiled in pre-review fury--i.e., I’ve been listening to a whole lot of good music, so get ready for some appropriately complementary reviews. In the meantime, however, we’d like to direct your attention to a three-track EP that always finds a way to reinsert itself in the rotation. For demo peddlers, Merlock display resolve and remarkable staying power.
Merlock EP is a fun lil’ demo without pretension or sophistication, the kind of music that results when a band throws down and simply plays a blend of genres that pleases them. In the case of Merlock, that formula is equally influenced by the spaced-out aura of psychedelia, and the hard-rockin’ momentum of trad metal. Merlock is subtly off-kilter in the best of ways, an odd amalgamation of The Jesus Lizard’s intrinsic weirdness, and the astral wanderings of Merlin--albeit abbreviated, and sans brass. The result is a kind of caustic, trippy, and rough-around-the-edges stoner doom, and it lights a little fire in my heavy (metal) heart.
While I wholeheartedly recommend you spend the time and give the three tracks herein their due, a personal favorite from this project is opener “Spiral Nemesis.” Constructed around a bouncy and certifiably hooky central riff, this track is particularly effective at presenting a balance between a rock-solid template and a psychedelic edge. While “Spiral Nemesis” is fairly straightforward--despite a slower psych-oriented passage midway through--it never loses its structural integrity. All told, a very enjoyable track, and suitably representative of a sound I’m hoping Merlock will continue to produce. Listen to it here:
*Effectively a village administrator, a position held by a man of otherwise low stature, responsible for overseeing the manorial motley crew. Sleeping Village Reviews: expanding your medieval-specific vocabulary since 2018.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!