Sunday, March 4, 2018

Bandcamp Picks - Special "Fallen Empire is Awesome" edition

[All these releases were labeled as "name your price" downloads at the time of writing. That could change, so it's best to grab them ASAP.]

Based in Portland, Oregon, Fallen Empire Records has quickly become my favourite record label due to a regular stream of Bandcamp releases that break the mold but not the bank account.

The label has re-released the epic split Sol for the benefit of people like me who missed it back in 2013. Opening up with the half hour "Sol Orobouros", Portland's Mare Cognitum recalls Dawn's sweeping masterpiece Slaughtersun before their savagery morphs into a droning soundscape. Athens' Spectral Lore takes a more psychedelic approach with their own cosmic black metal epic, "Sol Medius". The split finishes with the ambient track "Red Giant", wherein the two bands combine their talents for atmosphere and experimentation. I'm proud to share a name with a work of such soul-crushing darkness.

Hailing from the Czech Republic, one man band Kostnatění brings an eclecticism to their music that I've come to expect from Czech metal bands. Konec je všude is a throwback to the raw early days of black metal's second wave, combining folky riffs with dissonance and thrashing drums, trading refinement for an exuberance that can't be faked.

I know very little about Arkhtinn, except for a slew of two-track releases where they navigate between punishing speed and transcendent drone. Album VI  (their 5th release in just 2 years) continues the band's tradition of not only numbered releases, but pairing an epic black metal track with with an ambient one. Cosmic keys to cannabinoid times.

Featuring members of the same musical collective that produced Arkhtinn, Mahr shares many of the same facets as its sister project. At turns ethereal and claustrophobic, Antelux is a median between Arkhtinn's bludgeoning and ambient impulses. Credit to Fallen Empire for putting the "fear" back into "atmospheric black metal".