Winglord – The Chosen One

I am calling this new genre post-black-metal. It is the spirit and mood of black metal, the rhythms of 1980s EBM and industrial, the samples and collage technique of martial industrial, the atmosphere of neofolk, the sweeping epic point of view of soundtracks, and that sense of world music evoking the spirit of ancient tribalist folk songs from Europe that Dead Can Dance had going. Mix all this together, and you get a new genre which has a few members such as Kreuzweg Ost, later Burzum, Arcana, Lord Wind and even the Beherit ambient albums.

This is a natural progression for black metal. It admitted its 1970s synthpop and ambient cosmic music influences. Even more, it was influenced by Danzig’s Black Aria and other soundtracks like those from Vangelis and Basil Poledouris. Metal itself was influenced by the soundtracks to 1960s Italian horror cinema. Beherit put out two ambient albums, Burzum two, and Darkthrone released its Tangerine Dream tribute band Neptune Towers. Even Emperor released that keyboard version of “Inno a Satana,” and Ildjarn put out three ambient landscape music albums. It’s in black metal’s blood, and with the end of the innovation of the style itself in the mid-1990s, the bands turned to the next step. More instruments, longer songs, more modes, more complexity.

Rolling on the success of bands such as Blood Axis and Lord Wind, the newest entry into this field is Winglord, a Scandinavian produce that hopes to rebirth the ancient spirit of Europe through synth-piano music. As mentioned above, it’s poppy like old Ministry or VNV Nation, but it has more musicality going on, like a Dead Can Dance track. It’s easy to listen to and yet melancholy, yet brings forth a message of not “small hopes” in the way modern music is “uplifting” but does nothing about the larger crisis of living in an insane and dying society, but instead shows us a way we can conquer the disease of this time. First in our hearts, then in our minds, then with our hands. It’s inspiration not through external forces, but through a sense of power, which is where it is most like black metal.

These tracks are built on a foundation of martial industrial and industrial dance (EBM). Verse-chorus loops are broken by interludes; layers extend melodies with different conclusions and beginnings. Melodies themselves, in a manner much like the way Summoning expands its riffs into soundtrack-style phrases, unfurl from lush keyboard layers into linear variation which then outlines the themes of each songs. It’s highly organized however which makes the entire listening experience a controlled, evocative process.

The Chosen One is a huge improvement over earlier Winglord, and shows us one future for this genre. It doesn’t aspire at all to the trends and individualistic ego-drama of the modern time. Instead, it creates for us a vista of a land outside of time, in which eternal values obliterate all of our temporal concerns, and lets us get lost and swept up in this majestic wave of power. For those who like good music, and want to see some new motion in the underground, this is a vital and impressive undertaking to be enjoyed.


Winglord
The Chosen One
Arktos, 2012, 43 minutes, $17.

No Comments

Winglord – soundtrack neofolk ambient synthpop

I don’t even know what to categorize this music as, but it’s equal parts soundtrack (Basil Poledouris, Vangelis, Ennio Morricone), neofolk (Hekate, Arcana), ambient (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream) and synthpop (VNV Nation). The result is epic keyboard music that fills the soul with a sense of ancient glory. The best known example is Lord Wind, but others have touched on this idea in the past and slowly a movement is building around it.

The latest attempt, sound like like VNV Nation crossed with Vangelis, is Winglord:

Check them out at the official Winglord site.

No Comments

Imprecation – Jehovah Denied released

New IMPRECATION “JEHOVAH DENIED” now available through the band. 4 rites of pure blackened DEATH metal, strictly limited to 100 copies. This demo was recorded to mark the 20th year of the “Ceremony of the Nine Angles” demo release. The shirts are $15 plus postage. $9 USD (domestic) or $12 (international) gets the CD. This price includes the postage. Paypal at: slimelord666 -at- hotmail.com

Imprecation

No Comments

Eric Hoffman to sodomize Glen Benton and Steve Asheim

The Deicide decomposition continues:

Let be known I am going to fix Steve Ashamed’s nose like he always wanted, fuck boy. As far as Glen Benton you wannabe tommy lee, that looks like he swallowed the Hoffmans, have not paid us in 7 years. You must not have rememberd what happend to you when you stole my money last time. I have more towels to soak up your fucking head, you piece of shit. So shoot me and ask questions later, like you said. You got hierd in DEICIDE from me, and steal my shit scumbag. I cant wait to see you 2 again. – StalkFace

Whatever happens, everybody on earth wins if you guys start making more material like the first three Deicide albums. That’s a goal worth overcoming a lot for. It’s also your chance at a type of immortality most people can only dream of.

No Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Beherit – Celebrate the Dead

Legendary cerebral primitive black metal cabal Beherit are on the move again. The new release, Celebrate the Dead, involves one song from the epic 2009 release Engram, and one song assembled from material prepared for that album. While information on it is scarce, rumor has it we see Beherit continuing the direction toward an ambient/metal fusion.

1. Demon Advance (13:13)
2. Celebrate The Dead (16:18)

According to Holocausto, who was harassed by DLA operatives earlier this week, this KVLT release is an exact copy of a demo he recorded himself in July 2008 in Helsinki and Bangkok. This demo was sent to Spinefarm records, who then agreed to release what became Engram. KVLT wanted to release the demo, and since Holocausto felt the demo versions were better than the final studio production, even though the drums on the demo were sampled, he agreed to this vinyl-only release.

1 Comment

Help finish Birth A.D.’s debut album!

Birth A.D. is in the final stages of producing their debut full-length, “I Blame You”, and they need your help! A good independent production isn’t cheap, so anything you contribute to assist in the mixing and mastering process of this soon-to-be classic of crossover thrash is appreciated.

Your donation will be commemorated with the inclusion of your name on the album’s thanks list, and you will be counted as part of the new Birth A.D. fan club, the Seven Billion Graves Brigade.

The Misfits had the Fiend Club, Voivod has the Iron Gang, and this is your chance to get your name immortalized as a collaborator and conspirator! Years from now when the band is huge, overrated, and not half as cool as when they started off, you can break out the album everyone really liked and say, “There’s my name!”

Pledge now, and CAUSE PROBLEMS!

No Comments

Burzum – Umskiptar

The good news is that it’s more clearly Vikernes writing this record. His previous voice, like his previous actions, seemed to get swallowed up by the notions of his “advisors.” As a result, previous albums did not sound at all like something he touched at all with his personality. This album re-engages his soul a bit more but remains a deliberate use of his talent to produce something cut to form, and the form is what is dictated by the audience. The result is to repeat the error of modern society over again: the people are led by economics or politics, instead of the other way around. While song structures vary somewhat, Umskiptar is designed around the verse-chorus model with melodic choruses and rhythmic, upbeat verses. Like many pasted-together projects, these are united with chromatic fills or conventional devices borrowed out of classic metal. While this album is not as cynically manipulative as the new Napalm Death, for example, it falls short of what made Burzum great, which was an innovative thinker opening up his mind and creativity to the audience. Like his mentor Tolkien, he took people on an adventure with what was and might be again. With Umpskiptar, the listener feels as if he is in one of those Disney-ride type “folk metal” bands that is mostly rock music with folk touches. Bands have been doing this since the 1970s… it has never succeeded, because people regress to the mean and in this case, it’s the archetype of rock and not folk. Vikernes’ early influences come out here, with muffled-chord riffs that sound straight off the first Destruction LP and what sounds like Iron Maiden influences. Musically, it’s adept enough that no part is offensive, and his use of three-part riff clusters as in traditional music is much appreciated, but it doesn’t add up. The whole is not greater than the parts and no atmosphere is created, thus the whole time we are aware that we are modern consumers listening to a modern musical product. Further, the riffs, tempi, themes and transitions are very similar, which in the absence of prior atmosphere does not cause a deepening but a sensation of floating on the surface. Many of the vocal tracks are entirely chanted in the death metal voice, which creates a ludicrous sensation of being yelled at by a drunk guy on the subway. By the time we get to “Valgaldr,” which sounds like an outtake from a bad stoner doom metal album, the lack of energy going into this album is evident. It’s ridiculous to expect an older musician to recapture his younger days. However, it’s equally ridiculous to sabotage a good musical brand by turning it from something rare and brilliant into something pedestrian with interesting “touches” and “accents.” That cuts to the real problem with this album and all post-jail Burzum: they’re boring. Not unmusical, but sparse in density with songs obviously patched-together “to be a song” and not to have any voice of its own. The new crop of teenagers he wants to sell albums to may enjoy this but it’s not distinctly better than its competition enough that it will endure as anything other than an SKU#.

2 Comments

Tags: , ,

Napalm Death “Utilitarian” & Terrorizer “Hordes of Zombies”

Napalm Death – Utilitarian

In rock ‘n’ roll, it’s better to die young. Even that is a cliche, but so is rock itself. Formed when corporate investors found a way to combine blues, country, folk and pop into a single product, rock has no real soul and so it pretends. The result is a parade of cliches and you hope that if you change the order enough, you become the next Jim Morrison or Morrisey. The sad truth is that rock bands come in two types: the ones who have three albums worth of good ideas and then burn out, and the ones who make the same song over and over again when they run out of energy. If a teenage version of yourself ever walked into a record store and spotted the guy with thinning hair, faded tattoos, and a bunch of stories and even more excuses but no accomplishments, you know what the new Napalm Death is. This is the sound of exhaustion pretending it has vitality for long enough to sell the slop to the kids and move on. The songs are built around the same tired chord progressions, which are barely even progressions in any sense except chromatic patterns at convenient places on the fretboard. The rhythms and riff ideas come from past Napalm Death albums, with a few influences borrowed from older death metal scattered throughout. On top of this, the aged suit-wearing corporate rock Napalm Death throws a single “outside” nuance per song. One tries to imitate the noise/avant-jazz of the early 1990s. Another is halfway to being a Rite of Spring tune. Still another apes the blur-core aesthetic of the new style of grindcore. Others try to return to the bouncy glory days of Fear, Emptiness, Despair or Utopia Banished. Underneath the skin however there is a total lack of ideas or even the guts to just go ahead with something that feels right. This is a cynical, manipulative album hiding a plastic soul which just wants your cash. In aging into oblivion instead of dying young as rock heroes, Napalm Death have made a mockery of everything they stood for. By wrapping this in a trendy surface and trying to pull the works of classic death metal over them like a camouflage mantle, Napalm Death have created a gateway into this genre from the soulless and burnt-out. You have made us all hipsters. Avoid this horrible album.

Terrorizer – Hordes of Zombies

Melba toast has a crunchy exterior, yet turns soft in your mouth. Lightly toasted, it is sweet upon contact with saliva, and will never upset your digestion. In fact, it is like baby food, except that it is crunchy. The new Terrorizer is baby food, true, but it’s awesome baby food. The band have focused not on innovation, not on a nifty surface, and definitely not on topic, since they’re beating the dead couch of the zombie album. What they did do was make something that’s easy to digest but unlike almost all metal released at this time, it’s coherent. Riffs fit together and make sense, even if a kind of pidgin. Rhythms mate effortlessly yet have enough variation to give depth to the compositions. Much of this is pure chromatic, but it captures the momentum of a good riot or fistfight. As a result, it’s easy to listen to and yet maintains its intensity throughout. If you can get over expecting something of emotional profundity like World Downfall, and instead look for the Terrorizer equivalent of Napalm Death’s Fear, Emptiness, Despair (or even Aura Noir’s Black Thrash Attack), you will find in this album a guilty pleasure. It throbs with aggression and yet by not attempting anything too complex, always manages to deliver. There is no attempt here other than to make an energetic, fun, musically-competent grindcore album and Hordes of Zombies rages supreme in this area. Oddly the only new influences seem to be a later Swedish death metal melodic tendency, and a study of riffs from the recent post-death metal era in which the punk riff and the recycled speed metal riff have crept back in. Wisely however Terrorizer keep their music extremely basic, along the lines of the first Brutal Truth album, but give it compelling rhythms and an underlying furor that makes us tune in to see how such violence can also be so much fun to listen to.

1 Comment

Tags: , , , ,

Divine Eve preview of 2012 album

We were fortunate enough to hear a preview of the new 2012 album from Texas doom/death occult conjurers DIVINE EVE. The result is resonantly good: further developing the sounds of their last EP, Vengeful and Obstinate, the band have filtered their classic material through its own influences and brought out a stronger, clearer version.

In particular, the bulk of the material heard here are classic CELTIC FROST-style droning verse passages. These are complex and follow the rhythms of the lyrics with several variations. Even when uptempo riffs, reminiscent of CIANIDE, carve their way into each passage, the overall mood of a pervasive and inexorable doom is maintained. On top of this the band pile dark choruses straight off an early CATHEDRAL record and exchanges of death metal riffs that give meat and density to each song, and PARADISE LOST-style lead melodic riffing that drapes each song in an aura of mystery and potential.

What makes this material more advanced than past DIVINE EVE is its consistency. Each part relates to every other part, no matter how simply. There is no extraneous material, or riffs fumbling around for a place in a stream of similar riffs, which gives these tracks more of the early metal feel of NWOBHM or 1980s doom metal. Some of the pacing has a NYHC feel as well, which when played against the CELTIC FROST-style trudging riffs gives the material an almost industrial but apocalyptic and mystical feel. From the sound of this preview, the DIVINE EVE album for 2012 will be a crushing odyssey of doom/death metal.

No Comments

Tags: ,