Well, this is quite impressive. “The Black” is the second album from post/black metallers Second To Sun and it’s a stunning piece of work filled with lush soundscapes and bleak moods, but also darkness.
“The Black” is an ambitious piece, with lots of intricate ideas and approaches woven into the music, and it’s a very rewarding listen as a result. It seems like on every listen, there’s another little element that you pick up on because there’s so many layers to Second To Sun’s sound. It’s just so atmospheric and well-constructed, and it really draws you in as it progresses.
A good element of the album is that there’s certain groove riffs and ideas that span over the entire length of the album, really helping the piece to worm its way into your head, and there’s just so many good songs to contend with.
All in all, “The Black” is a pretty solid release. Second To Sun have really made it count with this album, and it is memorable for all the right reasons.
A 12-piece experimental rock ensemble, The Mercy Stone has launched a new studio performance video for the song “Wail Song” taken from their album Ghettoblaster. The video is available on YouTube.
Founder of the project, guitarist and composer Scott Grady stated, “‘Ghettoblaster’ uses many different genres/styles of popular music with elements of classical composition. With ‘Wail Song,’ I was looking to take The Mercy Stone into a jazzy/funky musical space. A lot of the musical ideas come from the fact that I play a little bit of many different instruments. Once I had a good idea of how the piece would unfold, experimenting and improvising on strings, winds, and percussion helped generate many of its melodic and rhythmic elements. This is one of the most challenging and most fun pieces that we play. Much of the piece fluctuates between meters frequently, so it keeps us all on our toes. Getting everyone in the band to really groove through all of the rhythmic challenges definitely took some time.”
The Mercy Stone was founded by Grady in 2016. After spending several years studying music composition in an academic setting, he sought to put his composition chops to work within a project that would have the substance and sophistication fitting for a contemporary-classical concert stage as well as the accessibility that would be palatable to rock audiences. After finishing a master’s degree in music composition in 2015, he spent the next year and a half exploring how to achieve this synthesis. Understanding the pitfalls of music fusion, Grady wished to create a classical/rock hybrid style that was organic, drawing inspiration from his years of absorbing, studying, and performing all flavors of popular music (classic rock, pop, reggae, metal, funk, psychedelic/experimental rock), world music (West African drumming, Flamenco, Eastern European dance music,) along with the Western art music he studied through his years in academia.
The Mercy Stone recently started work on their sophomore full-length release.
“While ‘Ghettoblaster’ was entirely instrumental, this new album will have several tunes with vocals. It will be exciting to share a very different side of The Mercy Stone when all is finished,” Grady commented.
There’s really no reason to fault Moscow alt rockers Remark for wanting to ride the flannel-clad ‘90s bandwagon. It’s certainly a nostalgic commodity as of late, sure, but the five-piece execute those thick layers of guitar with the least conceit or egotism. Instead of marring their production with slight shoegaze elements, they keep their crisp arrangements muted and poised, letting the songs surge and sway with a more reflective and thoughtful tone.
Remark don’t really rage, either — two author tracks on the band’s new EP “Keep Running,” ‘Comeback’ and ‘Purple Haze’ come close to disrupting the album’s overall mud-tempo chug, while singer Yanas airs his grievances with a tuneful voice instead of falling into any aggro dramatics. But it never happens — “Keep Running” sternly approaches its dreary mood with just a dash of atmospheric distortion, letting its sepia-toned gloom flourish with a controlled tension. It’s grunge for a new generation, though you get a sense these guys would see that as a compliment.
Here is an excellent album from the debutants on the progressive rock scene: a French group DID put out their debut full-length release entitled “Dissociative Identity Disorder” in November last year, a concept record which in the band’s own words tells “the story of a man.” DID, in its core, operates as a quartet featuring Regis Bravi on drums, Didier Thery on bass, Patric Jobard on acoustic and electric guitars, and Christophe Houssin on keyboards. They are joined by a number of guest vocalists who helped them to tell the story. These include Michael Sadler of Saga, Marco Glühmann of Sylvan, Oliver Philipps of Everon, Alan Szukics of Opium Baby, and Maggy Luyten (Ayreon, Nightmare).
Allow me to truly begin by stating that many instrumental sections on “Dissociative Identity Disorder” are dazzling and intriguing and that the instrumental portion of the album is incredibly well-arranged. Talented solos and arrangements from the band members are easily the album’s highlights with tracks like “The Sun” and “Lock Up” presenting themselves as easy standouts.
The performances here are exceptional, both instrumentally and vocally, and sound natural despite the host of guests at band’s disposal. Diehard prog fans will relish the back-to-back synth solos.
With “Dissociative Identity Disorder,” DID has put attention on themselves as a group to look forward to within the progressive rock scene. While not necessarily groundbreaking, it’s exceptionally refined given how big its ambitions are, and it boasts some impressive production values. If nothing else, DID offer a work that balances instrumental and vocal performances more equally than on some of the releases of the similar orientation. It also manages to have just the right amount of camp and compelling drama, making it perhaps the most intriguing prog releases of 2018.
Forest God is a relatively new project coming from Aalborg in Denmark who recently release a new EP entitled Back to the Forest. The project is led by composer Peter Kiel Jørgensen, who is joined by a number of guest musicians throughout the record.
Back to the Forest requires careful listening in order to be fully appreciated. It is definitely not the kind of stuff you can put on as a soundtrack for other activities – complex music, full of twists and turns, yet not unnecessarily complicated, or weird for weirdness’ sake. In fact, the music has a beautiful, natural flow, a clarity and melodic quality. Even though guitars make up a prominent part of the sound, they never get to the point of overwhelming the other instruments. As in most experimental music, however, the foundation of the EP’s sound lies in the rhythm section, especially in the jaw-dropping drumming patterns provided by Martin Haumann (Myrkur).
Head-spinningly complex without being cold and sterile as other efforts in a similar vein, Back to the Forest can easily be listed as one of the top releases of 2018. In fact, the sterling musicianship, coupled with an admirable sense of restraint, focuses on creating cohesive, highly listenable tracks rather than pointless displays of technical skill.
French deathcore five-piece Bloody Rabbeat answered our questions about their recent EP “Use Your Head,” and more.
Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?
Hi! Well despite the current situation in France in 2018 and our personal preoccupations, Bloody Rabbeat still brings us together as friends and in a positive and constructive atmosphere!
Speaking of new music, you have an EP. What can people expect from “Use Your Head”?
The EP was indeed released in May 2017. It is made of 4 deathcore-oriented tracks and lasts around 20min total. These four songs deal with self-reflexion and hindsight regarding oneself, it allows us to tackle issues which are dear to us with a twist of humour all the while remaining faithful to the metal universe.
You can expect our music to sound like some kind of atypical deathcore with other influences kicking in at times as well as elaborate compositions conjuring up different atmospheres. You will also hear a special guest on the last track, I’m thinking Ricky Myers from the band Suffocation.
What was it like working on the EP?
It was a rather natural process. We sought the right kind of compromise between our budget and our expectations. It was recorded at home so there was no pressure for us; once the recording phase was over and done with we forwarded the tracks to Mobo from Conkrete Studio who did a great job with the mixing and mastering. Jeff Grimal worked on the artwork in parallel then we took care of the marketing side ourselves, which turned out to be rather tedious!
Are there any touring plans?
We did a tour in France in late 2017. It was a terrific experience and we would gladly do it again. In the meantime we’re working on the next instalment and on upcoming shows.
While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?
Ideally we’d like to go on tour quite about everywhere; but if we are to be reasonable why not go and visit a couple of European countries now that we’ve played in many regions in France. The only problem is that it’s rather time-consuming and the logistical side is also demanding, all the more so since we do not have a tour manager, also we’re quite busy with our respective jobs.
Who and what inspires you the most?
We draw inspiration from many things from our daily routine to write and compose. We’re also influenced by a certain number of bands that we like, the main ones being As Blood Runs Black and All Shall Perish for the more deathcore side of our music.
What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?
We all have different tastes: some listen to classical, jazz, trip hop, others prefer trap and all of this nourishes our music.
I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?
Well first of all thank you very much for the interview! Come and follow us on social networks where you can keep up with the latest news, watch our videos, check our tour dates… You name it!
Russian trio Lautreamont were brought to life to assault the senses, striking the listener continuously with discordant walls of pandemonium and persecution. “Evil” causes this immediate impact with extremely huge basslines and hypnotizing strident guitars before breaking. The instruments almost decline, slipping away delicately into descent before launching an avalanche of dissonant guitars and a frenzied attack of blast beats, signalling a chaotic finish. If there was ever an assertion of what Lautreamont are about this first track is surely that.
“Father” may be a more brutal and destructive track. Moments shatter into an uneasy state whilst others fall into a decay where its nothingness consumes your very being. Lautreamont have showcased an adept mastery of the sickening malady that this genre elicits, packing on layer upon layer of abhorrence, neurosis, and absolute cruelty as is further explored in tracks such as the title song. The unendurable pressure of its soundscapes is at times unfathomable. A song-by-song dissection is of no use, as each song displayed here pursues the same code of sweeping disarray, assembled to be music that demands to be swallowed as a whole.
Whilst not the most severe in spatial terms the drumming by Vladimir Fomenko on “Silence of the Deceased” is near perfect. Lautreamont play smartly, often settling on for ear-shattering cannonade of noise rather than counting on the blast beat to strike desolation.
The sound of “Silence of the Deceased” simply destroys; the mix is completed with as much intricacy as can be absorbed. Lautreamont can take you into contemplation and then let you down in your own decay in just a few seconds. This is intelligent metal.
“Silence of the Deceased” is out on May 7th; pre-order it here.
Technical death metal perfection. That’s pretty much all that need be said about Nafrat’s brilliant new release “Abnegation.” From the moment that you lay eyes on the terrific album art until the final notes of album closer “The Axis of Perdition” leave you jaw agape, this album takes you on a journey through ethereal beauty and Earth-shaking brutality.
The musicianship is astounding and inventive. Even in the moments of calm in the eye of this storm, Nafrat never let you forget that this record is HEAVY in nearly every conceivable sense of the word. Stream below the full album while you’re reading through the review.
Nafrat is a Singapore-based band and “Abnegation” is their second full-length offering. Their previous releases, “Invoking the Masses” EP (2005) and “Through Imminent Visions” (2008), were nothing short of a masterful display of technical death metal musicianship. “Abnegation” ups the ante to dizzying heights. This record edges other death metal releases from 2018 due to it’s sheer inventiveness. Furthermore, I believe that it has actually accomplished the task of ranking right up there with the best overall metal album of the year.
This is where I usually list the highlights of the record. In this case, the entire record is the highlight. DO NOT miss this album if you are a fan of technical death metal and insanely great musicianship.
What the Beijing-based post black metal band Asthenia, formed by Asthen, delivers on this wonderful album is exactly what the band moniker describes—something truly personal and I would add exception. As cold as the melodic, fuzzy, atmospheric black metal musical world is, it is also richly layered and meticulously planned.
Take a listen to Asthen’s vocals. They are harsh and scratchy, and yet they achieve a remarkable harmony with the droning chord progressions, icy notes, and underlying vocal melodic drifts sang by Yiti.
Nucleation has no fewer than five superbly, specifically memorable moments, which, particularly for an atmospheric black metal album, is a tremendous accomplishment. The melodic progressions are exquisite, sometimes bringing into the fold just enough of what is best about Progressive music, and other times embracing gigantic, ocean-like melodies.
Nucleation‘s genius is in how it is both chainsaw black metal and an expression of moving, titanic, weeping melodic beauty. The parts are all simple, but together, they are magic. One of the best albums of the last year.
Founded in 2012 and initially intended to indulge the band members’ love for emotional black metal, post-metal and depressive rock, Ukrainian act Devildom has since become its own monster. Releasing their debut album “Curse of Flesh” in January, they look set to take things up another level with their absorbing, genre-straddling release.
“Curse of Flesh” examines the eternal cycle of life and death by way of chugging riffs, tender interludes, atmospheric soundscapes and an impressive array of vocal deliveries.
Atmosphere on “Curse of Flesh” is built meticulously and carefully in each of its eight tracks, with amazing attention to detail. You get pulled along on the crest of this dark and emotional wave as the songs build and fall. It really is very clever and an intense and brilliant listening experience.