петък, 9 октомври 2015 г.

Shrine - Goat Skin Rite EP (2012)

Nobody likes to read a review the size of a PhD thesis when it comes to reviewing black thrash and I'm not going to be exceptionally funny so I'd keep it short and to the point.

Shrine are a fairly new band (e. metallum says they exist since 2011) and hail from Germany. Unlike the more famous rock'n'roll/hardrock bunch from California (The Shrine), just 'Shrine' have the status of a nobody knows us but we don't care kind of band, which I couldn't even find on the social media; so great, you have the obscurity status - what about the music?

I've heard several hundred new bands, trying to sound evil or exceptionally NWBHM-Enforcer kind of style but a huge part of those fall into the trap of being funny, fake, or just trying too hard. Here you don't have that. The production of the album is on the level of Euronymous's garage recordings and the abysmal stench is as strong as if you sit in a cemetery and have a cold beer with a fresh corpse.

Personally I really dig the tiny 'intros' of the songs, they sorta set the horror mood in. Carnivore's (ex-Cruel Force) vocals sound like your usual black thrash vocals but perhaps leaning more towards the black side rather than thrash. The riffs run super fast like you'd expect in mid Darkthrone era and pace mid-tempo from time to time. The drums are usually more or less buried under the guitar, which pulls off quite an old school effect.

I'd recommend this as it is fucking archaic and smells like miasmal graves. No panzers, no divisions, no people.

сряда, 5 август 2015 г.

Samsara Blues Experiment - Waiting for the Flood (2013)

Samsara Blues Experiment, the ultimately fitting, possibly the most suitable name anyone could come up with for such a brain-melting belter of a union of a few humans, who may indeed be human but their music is totally out of this space.  Wanna see Buddha dancing to blues rock jams? Tie your belt. The third full length album of the band presents you their most psychedelic mediative form of rock'n'roll to date in their catalogue. Samsara, the cycles of rebirth in Hinduism and the never-ending blues jams have fused here to give birth to a stellar guitar-solos ridden record that I've happened to play so many times this week, it's unhealthy.

A few things make this band and in our case, record, very special for me, different from most bands mixing blues and stoner rock. To start with, the vocals are unique, and when I use this adjective I really mean it, you can't hear another dude to sound even remotely similar to Christian Peters. He has this empowering intensity in his voice that can throw you five miles away when he uses his voice to recite something loud like in Shringara, track one. Okay, maybe he's not reciting it in the most literal sense of the verb, but he sounds so powerful like the preaching of some high Hindu god. The guy makes the words sound like they come from the centre of the universe and they have the power to hit you hard even if you're not five miles high, resonating to the Earth and back to the black hole Scorpio where they come from. Peters's voice on "Waiting for the flood" is ranging from this slow-paced intense reciting to mellower and even slower to fit the guitar tone in the best way possible. At moments when he asks what if doom is here to stay, you really sit on your darn ass and think about it.

Another big highlight is the use of sitar and harp. Fuck knows sitar's use in stoner rock is the best instrument to make the gap between the listener and nirvana smaller. Samsara are one of the few bands that, being by the use of such instruments or whatnot, manage to invoke mountainous landscapes and the never-melting snow of Himalaya in your head, even if you just sit on your bed and stare at the ceiling. The quiet continuos presence of the sitar drone, layered with Behren's bass vibe and Eiselt's warm guitar sound create a wave that you can sleep on, waiting to be carried and awoken on some Eastern shore. Blues harmonics, double chorus, this album doesn't come short of fantastic at any point, both sides having it's more hard hitting and mellower points alike.

Just when I listened to this album ten times or more, I happened to notice that actually there is no song shorter than ten minutes. Take that, four tracks, overall length is around 45 minutes and you never notice because it all flows perfectly. But words are only harm and I can do this much to describe, check out "Waiting for the flood" for more accurate information.

събота, 6 юни 2015 г.

Obsidian Sea - Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions (2015)

As you probably have noticed, or perhaps you don’t really care, until very recently there weren’t too many acts in the Bulgarian underground scene that revolved around doom metal. However, in the last few years there’s been a glimpse of light in the cave and a few bands have awoken the field to some extent. And as you can imagine, sometimes the best music comes from the places where you expected to find it the least.

Obsidian Sea released their first demo in 2010 and I remember someone telling me about a tape by a doom metal band from Sofia, Bulgaria that I was “going to enjoy”, because it was very oldschool or something like that. I remember this sparkled my interest a lot, as I thought no more than two people liked doom in Bulgaria and I was one of them. I was surprised a lot because the tape consisted of some really purist traditional doom metal. It was good, it was rough and of course there was a lot to be desired, but I want to highlight what impressed me the most - that was the presence of a good taste in music. Once you have the right approach, I believe you can achieve a lot. Of course, what is right and wrong approach could be debated forever, but let’s face it - if you like Edguy and try to create traditional doom, you might as well fall in your own trap like a ballerina with a broken toe.

The debut album that followed two years later was good, I remember particularly liking some of the ending solos. What was in the tape was in the album – roughness of sound, traditional doom, harsh atmosphere, but there was something lacking for it to appeal to people largely, I guess. I remember the songwriting in two songs was really neat, it did hold a promise for something better, but it was somewhat stale in some other tracks, which kinda prevents the album from flowing. Now, at least for me, ‘Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions’ has what the previous album lacked in many aspects.

To start with, it does sound more mature – like a fucking fruit you finally waited to become ripe. The sun, the wind and the rain finally settled in to give it a taste. The sound is thicker, richer; probably one idea less rough (everyone is sorry that this is not Burzum) but still could mislead you that it was recorded in the 80s. I believe the bass section is a very prominent ingredient that was previously missing. It's not greasy and too audible like you'd expect in some typical sludge and stoner albums, but it does add for the overall depth of sound. The atmosphere is more haunting, more prominent; the album feels like it has a spirit of its own, it is searching, looking to reach for somewhere. It does remind me in some ways of the better Italian doom bands. The music itself sounds like it is the ghost of someone mentally tortured that has returned to haunt where it belonged first. I am not really sure what the lyrics are about, but if most songs had one main character, it would be that of someone confused and continuously crashing in his own consciousness. The opener track is more upbeat, angry, with a riff that promises to burn what it catches on the way and then slows down to tell its story. What stands out in the very beginning is that a lot of the songs could be cut to fit in an Italian olschool horror film in the suspense moments.  I can see a blooded pale hand holding a knife above Edwige Fenech’s throat to the sounds of ‘The Fatalist’. The guitar tone is really thick and warm and the mixing is quite good, but what makes this album greater than its predecessor is the songwriting, with some songs like “Child in the tower” being particularly catchy and memorable. I would put down as my own favourites – ‘The Trial of Herostratus’, ‘Mulkurul’ and ‘The Fatalist”. Check out those delicious riffs:


неделя, 5 април 2015 г.

Inner Altar - Vol I (2015)

Oh well, well. I've not published anything on here for ages. Partly because I've lived in a laboratory, partly because I wasn't very inspired. The smoke and shades of the grey buildings I've been surrounded by in the recent months have killed the poet.

But here I am again, listening to this stunner of a traditional doom metal album/EP by a band who just released it and is freshly brewed in Kansas City. So I thought this is a good day (night!) to praise some boys who know their trade. The hour of the witch just stroke and I have the perfect soundtrack for it.

Inter Altar sound a bit like all (almost all) bands you can find among my reviews and better than some of them. They have this pinch of southern breeze that can take you anywhere, any of the summer islands and it can change to a hard wind and take you to any ruined fortress of the North. Fantasy doom, anyone? It is proper old school traditional doom with dreamy vocals, the kind of vocals you would expect your olde favourite vocalist to do but instead he is taking his kids to kindergarden and posting on facebook. The vocalist of Inner Alter brings something old to the table, but with new blood.

This Vol. I is absolutely flawless - it is a mixture of nice, slow, medieval court yard songs and it is the sound of crashing blades at the same time. The riffs are strong, catchy and rich. Most songs sound a lot like Reverend Bizarre, althought, considerably lighter and shorter. I like my doom to sound like I own a castle and live in a forest. So here you go.

Vol.I would be released officially on tape by Ritual Knife Records. You can check this beauty and lend a hand to these folks by purchasing the music for a reasonable price from the band's bandcamp page.