Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Birthday boy's "rock out with your cock out" party mixtape

June 29th 1989 was the first day I left my mother's womb and smelled the filthy air of this world. 27 years have passed from that significant date and once again I'm one year closer to my own death but hopefully a bit wiser, better looking and still kicking. Damn living feels good! Happy birthday from myself to myself and here is a 12 track mixtape I made to keep you, my reader, entertained. And because I'm in Norway again - Skål!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Nomads, amps and shit-ton of speakers

My nine days long vacation started off with a blast. Jucifer were in town and our own ununseptium-balled experimental post-rockers Tesa opened up for them. I have tremendous respect for the headliners as they've kept it true and released the music they wanted and when they wanted it for nearly 25 years. Top all of that with being constantly on tour for more than a decade and you'll get a band that doesn't just make music but actually live it. Have you ever felt slightly irritated during a summer festival for not having the comfort of your own bed at night? Well, fuck you - this loving couple (yes, they are actually married) have been living a nomadic lifestyle for a longer period of time than the lifespan of your recent pet. I must admit that I had my doubts about seeing Jucifer live this year because their latest release District of Dystopia is just not quite my cup of tea, it has its moments though. Their previous album on the other hand was very far-reaching. Needless to say I consider it being their best work to up-to-date. So long story short, when I heard that Tesa were to open for them, I instantly bought the tickets.

Running late for not more than 15 minutes late Tesa started doing their thing on the Nabaklab's tiny stage. It was packed with a shit-ton (and yes this is an actual measurement unit) of Juciferian cabs and amps making the musicians' performance a bit more intimate than usual by narrowing down their playing space close to minimum. After they finished playing what seemed to be the heaviest live version of the song G from their masterpiece of an album GHOST, it turned out that Jancis, the drummer, had sliced open his finger probably hitting it on one of the cymbals during his ferocious performance. He just took some duct tape while his bandmates Dāvis and Kārlis were making awesome ambient noises, taped his bleeding finger, manned the fuck up and continued on with the show like a boss. I got totally lost in their sound that night even not being high and I think it is safe to say that they stole the show. 

So to put this mildly...shit the bed. The guitar sound was so gain and bass heavy, so cut in the mids that every single fucking riff turned into an unrecognisable, thick and heavy muck of uninterrupted visceral buzz. To paint a slight picture of how it sounded, imagine sticking your earphone jack into the electrical wall socket, cranking up the volume and bass all the way up. Now add some awesome drumming  on top and listen to slight changes in the current's frequency - here you go, that was what Jucifer sounded that night. I was really disappointed to say the least, they can do a lot better and here is the proof. Same tour, same year, same month, same gear, different sound!

Gain is good and all, but sometimes you just have to dial it back a bit to make room for at least some distinction between the notes. That night I heard stuff from the fans along the lines of "that is the sound they are going for here". I call bullshit on this one - sounding ugly and huge is one thing, sounding like utter shit and making fart noises is something completely different. To the people who said that this is what sludge is supposed to sound like, I say that you are tone deaf and retarded. I hope that this was just a one time fuck up - too small of a venue, too shitty front of the house rig, equaliser settings not suited for the unconventional room, too much gain or just everything put together. It might seem that I'm bashing them but in reality I'm actually trying to give some constructive criticism. That said the drums sounded amazing and the visceral experience of having a wall of sound coming from the speaker wall and just melting away your face was pretty epiche, not quite the SUNN O))) experience but nevertheless epiche.

As a tribute for the latest two albums by Gazelle and Edgar I would just like to add - never forget that 1913 was the year when the bad guys took control over the United States and 1917 was the year when the bad guys took control over Russia.

Nomads, Saturnian and the friendly neighbourhood gig organiser guy. 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Call them to black flame

June 17th, another trip to the insane asylum - figuratively speaking. Just in case you didn't know Terra Tenebrosa released The Reverses yesterday. 3 years have passed since the release of  The Purging and I was starting to miss these mysterious and horrifying Swedes.

Terra has always surprised the shit out of me when it came to the originality of production, and this album takes it to a whole new level. Imagine if you were to listen to music in a long narrow cave and the sound would come from deep beneath the surface: echo of the cymbals, unclear demonic vocals coupled with ever nauseating, whirling sound of guitars make it easy to get lost in here and create a completely unique listening experience. Drumming on this record is so heavy that I bet the drummer had to change what has been left of his drum sticks after every recording take. The amount of power with which he hits the snare drum is completely mental. It feels like taking a hit to the face with a heavy, blunt object every single fucking time and reminds me of drumming style Tesa's Jānis Burmeisters has. The integrity of the album is not broken by any of the songs, Reverses is a piece of a art, a very sinister art, from the start of the record till the very end. This dire album is worth every hard earned cent I paid for it and I suggest you do the same. So now if we were to pretend here for a moment that my ratings actually mean shit in the metal society then I would rate this album a solid 47 out of 10.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The bloodiest

Just the other day I was listening to Bruce Lamont's solo album and live performances because my chronic depression required me to do so. One thing let to another and soon I discovered Bloodiest - a sextet hailing from Chicago and fronted by Mr Lamont the saxo-pants himself. Speaking of which, this is pants-down one of the best finds of the decade for me here. I've been listening to them nonstop for a few days straight now - like, literally not figuratively. I shit you not. Last time this happened to me was in my late teens when I discovered Neurosis (and I still quite often have my Neurosis listening sprees).

So what happened? What is the reason for it being THAT good? The answer is simple - I've no idea. It's different, it's fresh and I managed to forget about my own surroundings completely losing myself in the soundscapes these guys create. This happens rarely. Usually when I play or write my own stuff, but practically never when I listen to other people's music. That said there is something unexplainable and even transcending here - almost like an out of body experience. You just listen to it not applying much thought as if the music itself was a living entity that you had developed a mind connection with. This might sound a bit bizarre, but it is probably the best possible way I'm able describe it.

I had serious trouble finding favorite tracks on these two records - everything is close to being perfect and songs just tie into one another letting the record flow uninterruptedly and flawlessly. Listen to "Coh" and "Pastures" as an example (they are two consecutive tracks from their release called Descent):

Vocals are astounding and Bruce sounds like a Native American who is chanting lyrics to his ancestors. The instrumentation is... well I'm actually quite speechless... let's just say that Bloodiest is music the same way Chopin's Nocturne No. 20 is music. I'm curious what these both albums feel and sound like with a widened perception...

To those of you who hear of Bruce Lamont for the first time, have a special treat and enjoy!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Midsummer meditations

Last few months have been excessively loud, teeming with experiences to look back upon in retrospect. I sincerely enjoy brief moments of silence when I lay in my bed in the mornings staring at the ceiling, drifting between the reality and the dream realm. This usually means one thing - I'm mentally exhausted and probably require tranquility to refill my long dead batteries. This in turn boils down to the fact that the post itself is going to be shorter than usual...and I mean, a lot shorter. It's just this find is too good to be kept all to myself.

Ruhr Hunter - meditative, droning and minimalistic folk experience, that in the vein of Wardruna and Forndom, and as my mate Yuriy sometimes says: "MUCHO RECOMMENDADO!" Huge thanks to Ms Kim Kelly for having this in her collection. I guess enough has been said already so listen, retrospect and repeat.

Before you go and start looking for previous releases by this guy, be warned as "Torn of This" sounded too synthetic for my taste and it also didn't possess the right naturey vibe. If I were you, I wouldn't even waste my valuable time on it...

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Rotten flesh is its dominion

Sanford Parker, Sanford Parker, Sanford Parker... he is probably one of the most featured producers and sound engineers in my music collection. Buried At Sea, Lord Mantis, Indian, Yob, Leviathan and other amazing acts have crafted their musical gems with the help of this man whom I consider being a legend and the godfather of Chicago metal music scene. You can hear his signature mold from afar - if it sounds dirty, rough, claustrophobic and it comes from Illinois, chances are Parker was sitting by the mixing board.

Good metal music is not dead, you just have to know where to search for it. If you have ever collected bugs when you were a kid then you know that walking around the garden and just looking for them in the grass, on the trees and whatnot will yield you poor to zero results. But however, if you start looking under big rocks, you'll find hundreds of them. Different shapes, different colors, different sizes and different jaw strength (yes I was bitten and stung a lot). Same rule applies to metal. You might find a band or two that are good on a plain sight, but if you are able to find these "rocks" then my friend, the flood gates will open and vile things will crawl in every direction before you. A few of my "rocks" to which I continue to return time after time again are Neurot Recordings, Profound Lore records, Housecore records and Sanford Parker, needless to say I'm always able to find something noteworthy or even incredible there.

So - COFFINWORM. And for fuck's sake don't confuse these vulgar and gritty death sludgers with the generic, long-haired boy band that goes by the name of Graveworm. By the way, it should have been called Gayworm. Yes, I know there is a woman in that band and no, it doesn't make them sound any better than Nsync or whatever the fuck that crap was named. If Dragged Into Sunlight and the previously mentioned Lord Mantis ring any bells in your head then checking out COFFINWORM is a must. These guys basically have taken death metal, slowed it down, added grooves, grim atmospheres and sparse distorted vocals. Man, the vocal effects are simply amazing. They have also removed all of the things that make death metal silly and over-dramatic - the excessive use of shitty in ya face growls, fretboard wanking, useless 300+bpm drumming and crystal clear production. You know, all the things that kill music and make it a giant circle jerk of virtuosos and scale-whores. Anyhoo, crank up the volume and let the dirt flow through you. Horns up my friends! Stay vile, stay true, kill the trends, worship amps, live life!