Art Imperial/Northern Forest – Nagando Nas Brumas Do Noctivago Crepusculo cd-r
Ever since hearing Art Imperial's Look at the Moon... a few posts back, I've been dying for them to release some more stuff. So, when I saw they were doing a split with Brazil's prolific Northern Forest, you know I had to snag a copy. I was hoping for more of the progressive, ambient black metal that was on the demo, but instead Art Imperial has gone full out ambient. Now, don't get me wrong, it's good stuff with a spacy vibe, it's just that I really dug their earlier sound. Northern Forest's half of the split consists of a short ambient piece with twangly electronic organs, a massive 16 minute atmospheric track that incorporates some nature field recordings, and finally a 10+ minute track that starts out black metal and fades into melodic sounds. Although the Art Imperial half wasn't what I was expecting, this still a still a solid album worth checking out.
Smell The Stench
Darkosis – Darkosis cd-r
Here's the thing about the whole raw, blackened noise sub-genre, even though it is dissonant and chaotic, you still have to some musical talent to pull it off. Most of the groups involved in this scene are just making a racket and trying to pass it off as kvlt noise. This is why I'm digging Darkosis so much, because while incredibly disharmonic and harsh, you can tell there's skill in the maniacs behind the instruments. Honestly, this won't be appreciated by many, probably not even by a large amount of black metal fans. But, for those who do enjoy this particular sound, Darkosis will be greeted with hails.
Gross Bite – Yod c46
Gross Bite is one of those acts where it's tough to provide a concise explanation of their sound and tempting to just pigeonhole them under the banner of experimental. The unifying element throughout Yod is the percussion. Mostly it's vaguely ethnic, world-music sounding drumming that guides pulsating synths, found sounds, and rumbling noises to create an impressive field of sound. Eclectic, interesting, and recommended.
Köhn – Stay Away From The Towers c90
No joke, this might be the electronic prog burner to end all 'em all. So, get this kids, this tape consists of two side long, live synth jams. That's right: no studio magic or edits or anything else. And it's so fucking incredible that if it didn't say it was a live recording, you wouldn't believe it. The synth action just drips kraut psych vibes and the sound is constant morphing and expanding. It's awesome and nothing I manage to bang out about it will do Stay Away From The Towers justice. Absolutely a must have.
V.A. - Lonely Christmas Vol.2 cdx4
Yowza, I could probably spend the entire entire post just reviewing this massive release. Consisting of four cds which contain 36 songs from 36 projects, Dark Meadow has really out done themselves here. As the title of the cd suggests there's a Christmas or winter theme to most of songs here. Anyhow...
Disk 1: The stand out tracks from the first cd came from i AM esper, Ars Sonor, and 3Music. i AM esper's track seems to mark a stylistic shift, as it's noticeably harsher than his other works I've heard. It's still guitar driven, hypnotic drone, but with a dose of mechanical reverb. I'm not particularly a fan of this style, so the fact that I'm digging it speaks volumes for the track. The cold, wind-swept ambient piece from Ars Sonor is like the soundtrack to being abandoned on the tundra and makes me want to check out more from this artist. Finally, 3Music composes an unusual experimental piece that mixes piano, rhythmic samples, and field recordings. Now, as for the groups I found interesting, but not quite my deal, there's Senon & 21 Grams, who remind me of an industrial version of Type O Negative, Blood, with a weird, slow drum n' bass with pitchshifted vocals things, and the minimalist electronic sounds of Murmurists. There also harsh drone tracks from Elizabeth Veldon, Nuclear Nation, and Mists of Poveglia, but, as I said, I'm not really a fan of this sound and these acts paled in comparison to the esper track.
Disk 2: The 2nd cd kicks off with a dark, grimy slab of minimalist drone from Misantronics. Yea, buddy. Ian Holloway follows with a rad little track composed of sampled and spliced church bells. Dark Isle is up next with a track of laid back, low key beats; not really my scene, but I found myself nodding along to it. Then there's a plodding, go-no-where, lounge-y, jazz track from Jared C Balogh, which was one of the two tracks on this cd that I just couldn't get into. Luckily, that buzz kill is followed by an epic lute driven, medieval piece by My Silent Wake that reminded me of Basil Poledouris' soundtrack for the original Conan The Barbarian. After that Abysmal Dirge leaves you feeling more frozen than Hoth with an ambient track of coldwave synths. Next is the other track I couldn't get into, from After [Life]. It's that terrible style of techno filled with shitty space ship noises over the same repeating beat. The cd concludes on a high note, with some mechanized drone from Syrinx and a track of shoegaze with electronic percussion from Nathan Watson.
Disk 3: This one was probably my least favorite of the four cds. Things start off great with a sick selection of metal; there's digital noisecore from Word or Object?, some interesting raw black metal from Lykankult, and death grind from AngelFuck. Unfortunately, these tracks are promptly followed by some jangly dubstep from Alexthymia. It picks up a little with the contemporary, piano fueled piece from Life's Decay and a mesmerizing soundscape from B. Lone Engines, but a track of pointless rumbling from Dao De Noize quickly harshes the sonic vibes. Then there's Noise Injury with annoying, static-y beats and finally Grim Funeral Techno, who's music sounds just as stupid as the name would suggest.
Disk 4: Drone and ambient dominate the final cd. There are ambient jams from Total Solitude, Back Yard Ghost & The Spirit Dies, Playing With Nuns, and Pollux that run the gamut from spaced out trance inducers to menacing soundscapes; all rad stuff. As for the drone acts, it's on the harsher side of the spectrum with a crushing Syrinx remix from Pink Venom and rather unimpressive pieces from Cumshot in Snow and Mystified. There's also a dose of black metal on here, with an old school sounding track from Ràzakél Krièg and an unholy onslaught from Baalberith. Niiiiiiice.
In conclusion, why haven't you scored a copy of this yet? Lonely Christmas is fucking outstanding. Between the diversity of music on here and the insanely low price, there's no excuse you can come up with for not getting a copy. DO IT!
Dark Meadow Recordings