Friday, August 16, 2019

an interview with Mammoth Storm

I've been shilling for Sweden's Mammoth Storm for years now - their debut EP is one of the heaviest slabs of stoner doom to be released in the last decade; and with their subsequent releases (2015's Fornjot and the recently released Alruna) the band expanded their sound while retaining their commitment to rumbling low end. Bassist/vocalist Daniel Arvidsson was kind enough to answer my questions about the band's history and their latest album.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Prava Kollectiv

Untethered from Fallen Empire Records (who have ceased operations), the clandestine group known as the Prava Kollectiv have begun issuing new releases through their own Bandcamp page. As with the kindred spirits at Mystískaos, Prava has immediately become a hub for avant garde black metal and "name your price" downloads.

Perhaps the most confounding project to come out of the collective, HWWAUOCH is the sound of nightmares and bad drug trips. The sophomore album Into the Labyrinth of Consciousness continues where its predecessor left off, with haunting screams and a cement mixer production that ratchets up the claustrophobia induced by its unrelenting death/black onslaught.

Where most of the bands under the Prava banner keep their atmospheric black metal rooted in the second wave's emphasis on vicious speed, Mahr slow things down a crawl. The simultaneously (yet separately) released Soulmare I and Soulmare II mine the fertile delta where shoegaze, doom, and black metal meet, with each part comprised of a single twenty minute track of simplistic chord progressions, phantom guitar lines, and reverberating shrieks. The two parts are yin to the other's yang -  Soulmare I is slow and minimalist, verging on drone, and Soulmare II is filled with fast and chaotic sections, with frequent time changes throughout. For extra-sensory overload, try playing both at the same time.

Voidsphere is a reminder that most of black metal's popularity is based on ludicrous speed. As with the project's previous releases, To Exist | To Breathe contains two bleak instrumental paeans to the void, each one composed with enough mid-paced sections to make the blasting impactful and not repetitive.

The latest star in the Prava constellation, Pharmakei is as deserving of attention as any of its sister bands. The self-titled debut recalls the dissonant likes of Abyssal and Ulcerate by letting its percussive riffing and psychedelic interludes build tension before exploding into no frills speed.

Friday, August 9, 2019

an interview with The Odious

I've been writing about The Odious for years now; the Portland band was one of my first Bandcamp Picks. After a long hiatus, the band's third release Vesica Piscis came out this past June, completing a trilogy they started with their first release in 2011. Since I have a soft spot for small bands with big ideas, I reached out to The Odious to find out more about their history and their latest album; lead vocalist Patrick Jobe was kind enough to answer my questions.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Mixtape 95 - Toby Driver

Here is the 95th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring an interview with Toby Driver of Kayo Dot, Vaura, and maudlin of the Well.

[Cover photo by Casey Mathewson]

Listen on Apple Podcasts (IOS)

Listen on Stitcher Radio (Android/IOS)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Cherubs, Sick Gazelle, Deflore, Rainbow Grave

Five albums into a career that has spanned 3 decades (and which imploded before their second album was released), Austin's Cherubs are making up for lost time with their Relapse debut. Noticeably more restrained than the band's Nineties work, Immaculada High sees the band layering shoegazing guitars on top of the noise rock sound they helped cultivate, cross-breeding two of the Nineties' least embarrassing styles. [$10]

Bringing together Yakuza saxophonist Bruce Lamont and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, Sick Gazelle's experimental bonafides are beyond reproach. The sedate Odum employs Lamont's sax t0 maximum droning effect, giving a jazzy dimension to atmospheric post-rock. [$10]

It's been years since there was a new Killing Joke album, so Jaz Coleman's collaboration with Italian duo Deflore was a welcome surprise. The three-song EP Party In The Chaos is not at all dissimilar from recent Killing Joke albums, being a bleak, bass-driven  industrial rock affair that puts Coleman's dark prophecies front and center. [€2.50]

Nic Bullen, best known as vocalist on Napalm Death's Scum (Side A) returns with Rainbow Grave. Far from the ludicrous speed he pioneered with Napalm, No You is mid-paced, feed-back drenched, and largely improvised - more AmRep than Earache. But with Bullen's pedigree, any similarities to those widely revered (and stubbornly lo-fi) Hellhammer demos are probably not coincidental. [£5]

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mixtape 94 - Cherubs (Part Two)

Here is the 94th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring the second part of my conversation with Kevin Whitley of Cherubs.

Listen to part one here.

[Cover photo by Jason Meade]
Listen on Apple Podcasts (IOS)

Listen on Stitcher Radio (Android/IOS)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mixtape 93 - Cherubs (Part One)

Here is the 93rd installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring the first part of my conversation with Kevin Whitley of Cherubs.

[Cover photo by Jason Meade]
Listen on Apple Podcasts (IOS)

Listen on Stitcher Radio (Android/IOS)

Monday, July 22, 2019

catching up with Darsombra

It wasn't that long ago that I hung out with "trans-apocalyptic galaxy rock" duo Darsombra during their South East Asian tour; but since their next album Transmission will be out in a few weeks, I hit them up for the deets. Ann Everton and Brian Daniloski were kind enough to answer my questions over e-mail.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Abyssal, Tomb Mold, Superstition, Nucleus

Having expanded from a solo project to a full band with a handful of festival appearances under their belt, the UK-based Abyssal are only slightly less mysterious than when they started. Their fourth album A Beacon In The Husk elucidates why the band stands out in the increasingly crowded world of dissonant death/black metal - with extended ambient interludes, unpredictable song structures, and I have no problem saying that this is the best and most interesting metal band to emerge in the last decade. [$8 CAD]

Don't be fooled by their name - Toronto's Tomb Mold are more than just another old school death metal band. At odds with its cement mixer production, Planetary Clairvoyance displays a thoughtfullness to its songwriting, packing the songs with multiple time changes and even the occasional acoustic interlude. It may be a stretch to call them "progressive", but Tomb Mold are potentially the next Gorguts in the making.  [$7.77]

Currently touring with Tomb Mold, New Mexico's Superstition also present a thoughtful tweaking to the old school formula. The thrashy death of their debut The Anatomy Of Unholy Transformation verges into psych rock terrain, thanks to its heavily reverbed production and the unusual lead work of Ash Borer/Vanum guitarist Kyle Morgan. The gulf between Chuck Schuldiner and Roky Erickson got a little smaller. [$7.77]

With their second full-length, DoC friends Nucleus show that "raw" and "progressive" aren't mutually exclusive. Filled with unorthodox time signatures and discordant riffs, Entity is as raw as you'd want a death metal album to sound, and as inventive as the genre should be. A cosmic opus of Demilich-meets-Voivod strangeness. [$6]