Sunday, October 13, 2019

Episode 103: Paul Masvidal

Here is the 103rd episode of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring an interview with Paul Masvidal of Cynic, Onward With Love, and Aeon Spoke.

[cover photo by Ekaterina Gorbacheva]

Listen on Apple Podcasts (IOS)

Listen on Stitcher Radio (Android/IOS)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Bandcamp Picks 183 - Nightfell, Mortiferum, Graveyard, Skullshitter/Bleeding Out

Even without knowing that Todd Burdette (of Tragedy and His Hero Is Gone fame) was half of Portland duo Nightfell, there would be no ignoring the similarities to his past bands. The mid-paced doom/death of A Sanity Deranged revolves around his solemn, post-punk influenced guitar lines - the kind that reshaped hardcore and created the "dark crust" movement. That said, Burdette's vocals (which were always remarkably guttural, even during his time with HHIG) are at their most inhuman here, and show that he should have started a project like this decades ago. Crossover of the best kind. [$7.77]

After their making waves with their 2017 demo, Olympia's Mortiferum are ready to take their doomy death metal to a wider audience. Their first full-length Disgorged From Psychotic Depths keeps it old school and filthy, but wisely employs regular tempo shifts and acoustic interludes to avoid the monotony that most bands of this ilk get mired in. I'm generally not a fan of this style, but this is a surprisingly well-crafted album. [$8 CAD]

There's no confusing Barcelona's Graveyard with the Gothenberg band using the same name - though the Spaniards arguably sound more Swedish. Hold Back The Dawn (their 4th album) is classic death metal through and through, with plenty of salutes to the frantic thrashings of early Entombed, Hypocrisy, and Merciless. As former flagbearers abandon the old school revival in droves, the Spanish Graveyard's commitment is as admirable as their music is enjoyable. [€7 EUR]

Skullshitter return with another dose of brain-damaging deathgrind. On their new split release, the NY trio traffic in unpredictability and psychedelic freak outs, bringing back pleasant memories of the sorely missed Brutal Truth (who were clearly ahead of their time). The back half of the split features the debut of Toronto-based Bleeding Out, the new band from Fuck The Facts guitarist Johnny Ibay. The project's first 8 songs reign in the genre-hopping of Ihay's previous band, but still include enough thrash and hardcore flourishes to elevate Bleeding Out above generic grindcore. [Name your price.]

Friday, October 11, 2019

an interview with Consummation

With a line-up that includes former members of Impetuous Ritual and Weakling, Brisbane's Consummation should be on the radar of anyone with a soft spot for darkness and evil. Since their first album The Great Solar Hunter and a compilation of their early recordings were both released this year, I reached out to the band to find out about their origins. Guitarist/vocalist Craig Young was kind enough to answer my questions.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Bandcamp Picks 182: Exhumed, Cloud Rat, Drugs of Faith, No One Knows What The Dead Think, Rank and Vile

Having proved that they can be conceptual and cinematic with their previous album, gore metal pioneers Exhumed strip everything back to basics on their newest release. With most of its songs flying in under the two minute mark, Horror is the most condensed, concise album in the band's decades-long history, rivaling Repulsion's Horrified as the most direct expression of furious death/grind whilst retaining Matt Harvey's sizeable thrash influences and knack for catchy hooks. The Carnage, Master, and Genocide covers included as bonus tracks perfectly encapsulate the old school vibe. [$9.99] 

[Listen to my interview with Exhumed here.]

DoC faves Cloud Rat have been making strides due to their tireless work ethic, both in the studio and on the road. Pollinator is set to capitalize on that work ethic, turning in the best version of the trio's chimeric mix of grindcore and screamo: A seamless meld of dissonant melodies and frantic speed which never lets any song settle on a single tempo. Released concurrently with the album is a bonus EP that explores the band's interest in ambient and electronic music, as well as their hopes of uniting disparate music scenes. [$10]

[Read my interview with Cloud Rat here.]

Are Drugs Of Faith grindcore? With Richard Johnson of seminal Virginia grinders Enemy Soil leading the band, there's only so far they can run from the label, even if the unvarnished vocals and sparing use of blastbeats place the trio more in the realm of noisy hardcore. Their new 7" Decay retains the brevity and immediacy of grind even as it channels Deadguy's chuggy discordance - in short, an abrasive and angry affair. [$5]

[Read my interview with Drugs of Faith here.]

No One Knows What The Dead Think reunites Discordance Axis vocalist Jon Chang and guitarist Rob Morton for the first time in almost 20 years; and with Defiled's Kyosuke Nakano taking over the drum stool, their eponymous debut is as frenetic and unpredictable an addendum to The Inalienable Dreamless as one could hope for. Like the best grindcore albums, it's over almost as soon as it starts - but anyone wanting to emulate Chang's piercing screams can do so with the instrumental "karaoke" reprise of the album included at the end. [$8.99]

Is there too much HM-2 pedal in metal? Not if you're Portland's Rank and Vile. Their first EP Redistribution of Flesh delivers eight short slices of power violence-inflected death metal and a healthy amount of groove, all pulled together by the guitar tone that has had Stockholm garages shaking since the late Eighties. Bonus points for keeping the vocals guttural - something that's often lacking from American bands who venture down the Left Hand Path. [$8]

Thursday, October 3, 2019

catching up with Grey Skies Over Rapture

It was almost exactly a year ago that I met Grey Skies Over Rapture at the Symbiotic Metalfest in Wellington, New Zealand; since we last spoke, the band issued their long-in progress first album. Guitarist Andrew Collett, drummer Jake Forster, and vocalist Richard Matthews took turns answering my questions about their self-titled debut.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Episode 101: Bones (Chicago)

Here is the 101st episode of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring an interview with Jon "Necromancer" Woodring of Chicago death metal band Bones.

Listen on Apple Podcasts (IOS)

Listen on Stitcher Radio (Android/IOS)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

an interview with Rainbow Grave

Nic Bullen has always been on the vanguard of heavy music - as the original vocalist of Napalm Death, he was a grindcore pioneer; and with Scorn, he and Mick Harris expanded their sights to include experimental and electronic music. His newest band Rainbow Grave contains some of the abrasive and experimental facets of his previous bands, but employs them in a noisier, less structured manner. Nic was kind enough to spare a few words about the project.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bandcamp Picks 181: Darsombra, A-Sun Amissa, Aidan Baker, Aarktica

DoC friends Darsombra are back with their fifth full-length opus of "trans-apocalyptic galaxy rock". Self-released by the band themselves, Transmission consists of a single 40-minute track - building chants, bells, and synths around Brian Danislowski's shape-shifting riffs. Far from the monotony that typifies your typical drone metal, the piece encompasses many emotions, ultimately ending on one that few drone albums do: Uplifting. [$5]

The (mostly) solo project of Gizeh Records owner Richard Knox, A-Sun Amissa has spent the majority of its recording history creating atmospheric ambient music. But For Burdened and Bright Light contains its heaviest moments yet, using guitars and electronic drums in a way that recalls the drone metal of Nadja and Jesu. Not sure how Knox feels about his work being described as "metal", but these two songs are as oppressive as ambient/experimental gets. [£5]

Speaking of Nadja, Aidan Baker has two new simultaneous releases out to join his extensive discography. The Forever Tapes delves into his downtempo interests, layering shimmering guitars over driving bass lines and trip hop beats; meanwhile, its companion release strips out the rhythm section to re-imagine the same songs as ambient noise. Two discs for a double dose of this trippin'. [€5.99/€5.99]

Aarktica is the brainchild of LA-based Jon DeRosa, who has resurrected the project for the first time in 10 years. [Anyone curious about DeRosa's metal influences should investigate his exceedingly serious Danzig cover.] Occasionally borrowing the twangy solemnity of Earth, the mostly-instrumental  Mareación combines DeRosa's guitar over spacey new age synths and sound effects, leading to an immersive album that straddles the line between neo-folk and ambient music. Inspired by "plant medicine", it's probably best enjoyed with the same. [$8.99]

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Bandcamp Picks 180: Kostnatění, Serpent Column, Arnaut Pavle


Even if Fallen Empire's fires have been doused, the embers refuse to fade. Releases from their former roster and associated acts - as well as brothers in darkness Mystískaos - continue to trickle through Bandcamp and beyond.

Case in point: the full-length debut of Kostnatění, whose demo Fallen Empire released last year (and whose sole performer I mistakenly assumed was from the Czech Republic - he's actually from Tennessee). Written to channel the author's fears of mortality, Hrůza zvítězí  is a discordant, unorthodox affair that outdoes its predecessor in noisiness and discomfort, and should come packaged with a box of Advil. Fallen Empire's legacy of avant-noire craziness is preserved. [$3]

I'm not quite sure what to make of the one-man band Serpent Column. Though labeled a discordant black/death metal project, the second album Mirror in Darkness bears more resemblance to the noisy hardcore of Converge and Orchid - albeit with an emphasis on speed, and stripped bare of any groove or acquiescence to the pit. Beyond genres, though, this is an unabashedly chaotic record that always sounds like it's about to careen off the a good way. [Name your price.]

Taking their name from an alleged real life vampire, Finland's Arnaut Pavle are a fitting addition to the Mystískaos roster. The self-titled debut makes no bones about its influences, delivering a raw and unadorned take on second wave black metal so pure, so cold, that it'll have Fenriz on the phone with his lawyers. Transylvanian plunder. [Name your price.]

Arnaut Pavle didn't come out of nowhere; the project emerged in 2013 with a demo that Mystískaos also recently re-released. Confusingly self-titled as well, the demo is even rawer than its eventual follow-up, and shows that in six years the band hasn't progressed so much as refined their attack. [Name your price.]