Friday Full-Length: Enslaved, Ruun

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

My dominant memory of best online resume writing service dissertation de philosophie mthode powerpoint on resume writing for high school students doctor faustus essay secondrate magician Enslaved during the http://www.ieslasenia.org/apple-writing-paper/ - All sorts of writing services & custom papers. Leave your assignments to the most talented writers. Let specialists accomplish their Ruun era was — perhaps unsurprisingly — seeing them live for the first time. By Spring 2007, the Bergen, Norway, progressive black metallers were on their ninth album and had been around for 15 years, founding guitarist go here by Bryan Greetham, writer and philosopher, official Website Ivar Bj√łrnson and bassist/vocalist Dissertation In Geography - Get started with essay writing and compose the best essay ever Quality and cheap essay to ease your education Cooperate with Grutle Kjellson having over time built a lineup that included Narrative Essay Writing - Perfectly crafted and HQ academic essays. All sorts of writing services & research papers. 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal on guitar — still with the band — as well as drummer Asking "Write my essay for cheap online"? Hire the blog here and get your work done in an hours. Special December Offer. -50% OFF Cato Bekkevold and keyboardist/vocalist 10,642 How To Write Essay Papers jobs available on Indeed.com. Service Writer, Freelance Writer, Service Advisor and more! Herbrand Larsen. ContentSkrift is one of the most popular organization in the area of is it safe to buy a research paper online, Professional Content Services, Technical Content Services. Ruun was their second full-length to receive US distribution and promotion through From time to time, I get letters from people thinking seriously about becoming words to help in essay. Some have no idea how to start; some have started but want to know how to get better. I usually respond with a hasty email, so that I can get back to figuring out for myself how to be a science writer. Candlelight Records in the US behind 2004’s So in case there are any points needed to be clarified, please feel free to contact your personal homework helper for that. Our Writers. As we have already mentioned, we provide our clients with the this page of the best quality, which is reflected in the properly written and formatted papers. Isa, which introduced Short Personal Statement - work with our writers to get the top-notch report meeting the requirements Fast and trustworthy services from industry leading Larsen to the fold and in so doing brought a major change in the band’s sound on both fronts. Surely, Need an essay? Professional college essay writer on EssayPay.com. This is the best way to hop over to here online! Enslaved had been pushing in a more progressive direction for several years at that point, with records like 2000’s Iím Nancy Peske. Iíve been working in the book business since 1987. I am a top Dissortation. Iíve ghostwritten bestsellers. As a Mardraum: Beyond the Within, 2001’s EssayTown.com http://cheapessaywritings24.com/online-essay-writing-help/ online essay writing help - Term paper help service for dissertation essay writing and college research papers. Contact Smart Monumension and 2003’s help with homework for kidss - confide your dissertation to qualified writers engaged in the service 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of exclusive essays & papers. Below the Lights showcasing an increasing breadth of influence, but employing a full-time keyboardist and clean vocalist to complement Kjellson‘s signature rasp was a significant step. It began to show just how much on Isa, but it was with Ruun that the complexity really came to fruition in the songwriting.

Enslaved did not have to forsake their black metal origins in order to take on more stylistic range — they simply added to what was already there. Thus Ruun still has its raging stretches, whether it’s the beginning charge of “Fusion of Sense and Earth,” the later twists of “Api-Vat” or even the opener “Entroper,” which seems to spend its six-plus minutes building to this massive swell of scream-topped push, but ultimately cedes the apex to Larsen, signaling the evolution taking place in Enslaved‘s approach. With backing growls from Bj√łrnson behind Kjellson‘s verse lines, even a riffer like “Path to Vanir” demonstrates an uptick in the depth of the arrangements, as Enslaved were able to bring a wash to their sound as they’d only hinted toward since bringing in their first keyboardist, √ėyvind Madsen (Vulture Industries), in 2002. Still, it’s with vocals that Larsen was able to make the greatest impact on the band, and in the break of “Path to Vanir,” he shows how. His voice is somewhat tentative and would grow more confident over time, but the softness of his singing style and the contrast it brought to the blackened churn surrounding helped make Enslaved all the more unique as they reached beyond the bounds of genre traditionalism.

This was also a band who knew the power of a riff. “Fusion of Sense and Earth” remains a hair-standing-on-end catalog highlight for the band — it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever written. Moving from its¬†Enslaved Ruunheadbang-ready thrash, it opens wide to release tension first in a pre-chorus transition led by keys, then shifts through growls to an instrumental hook that is the stuff from which air-drumming legends are made, the double-kick intricately keeping up with the nuances of Bj√łrnson‘s riff as the lead enters and the band rightly rides that groove to oblivion. That’s hardly the only instance on Ruun of standout riffage, as the title-track subsequently reminds, with its outright departure for prog rock, back and forth clean and harsh vocals and heavy-in-spite-of-itself rhythm; a precision of chug that still marks them as extreme metal, but is decidedly outside of the black metal norm. They bring it around, but “Ruun” ultimately resolves in a wash that includes acoustic strum, and it’s built around that initial riff with keyboards adding melodic breadth and Larsen and Kjellson coming together on vocals. “Tides of Chaos” is meaner, its chorus clean, but engulfed by screams and growls, and Kjellson coming across like he’s committing an atrocity against his vocal cords during the verses. It is demented and glorious, and pairs brilliantly with “Essence,” where the melody is more center and the call and response more direct, the band finding a middle ground that hints at what psychedelic black metal would become largely in their wake before straight-up thrashing the song into the ground, leaving “Api-Vat” to pick up the pieces and renew the sense of structure before closer “Heir to the Cosmic Seed” rounds out with a hypnotic epilogue.

The shows, which may or may not have been their first US gigs — I honestly can’t remember — were at SXSW, I think in 2007. The first was in a tent at night and the second was during the day. They may have played others — it was a long time ago and I was very intoxicated. I’m pretty sure Mot√∂rhead were also on the daytime bill though, and I remember¬†Enslaved only got to play three songs because they only had a half-hour set. “Fusion of Sense and Earth” was one of them, and there I was, headbanging outside Emo’s¬†at like 11AM, still hungover from the night before and probably a couple beers already into the day. One did what one had to do in order to survive down there.

Soon enough,¬†Enslaved would sign to¬†Nuclear Blast and their touring North America would become a matter of course. 2008’s¬†Vertebrae pushed the impulses of¬†Ruun¬†further, while 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini¬†(review here) pursued rawer fare, 2012‚Äôs Riitiir¬†(review here) brought ferocious grandiosity, 2015‚Äôs¬†In Times¬†(review here) boasted their most progressive style to-date, and 2017’s¬†E (review here) introduced new keyboardist H√•kon Vinje in place of Larsen and showed how yet again they were able to expand their sonic reach.

In October, Enslaved will release their 15th full-length, Utgard, through Nuclear Blast and by what I swear is pure coincidence, the band just posted today a video for the track “Jettegryta,” which is the second single taken from the album. Where the prior “Homebound” showcased the work of new drummer/vocalist Iver Sand√ły, “Jettegryta” focuses more on Kjellson‘s voice and even features some clean singing from him with harmonies behind, as well as what sounds like some pointedly experimental guitar in its second half. The lesson, such as it is, is to understand just how dynamic Enslaved have become as a band, and I assume that when Utgard arrives — I’m not cool enough to have heard it in full yet — just how much it will see them revel in the multifaceted nature of their particular vision of extreme metal. Here’s that video, just for the hell of it.

Enslaved, “Jettegryta” official video

I hope you enjoy that, and Ruun as well. As always, I thank you for reading.

Enslaved is one of those bands who I can rely on to get just about no response when I write about them. They’re crazy popular, of course, but for whatever reason, every time I put something up about them, it gets about no feedback. Crickets. Rest assured, I blame my own lack of insight, but it’s true of several others as well. Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Anathema. I guess at least I’m consistent.

I wasn’t looking for privacy though in writing about¬†Ruun, just something that I knew I’d enjoy, and really, the timing of that new video was coincidental. I didn’t even know it was up until it was pointed out to me while I was putting this post together. I’ve watched it once.

I hope you had a good week. The Patient Mrs. and I hit a really good working rhythm this week. The Pecan in daycare for the morning helped make Wednesday and Thursday easier, work-wise, but even Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, we had it pretty much down. I fed him breakfast, we went for a run every other day, and then we hung out and played and read books and all that stuff while she worked in the morning, then I picked up after that and worked while she kept him for lunch and into his afternoon nap. She was able to get some research work done, I was able to do the Quarterly Review — which, again, thankfully, was a breeze full of good records — and we both kept our heads reasonably above water.

Of course, it was only a couple posts per day, but I was glad to do stuff like that Crystal Spiders premiere, hosting the Swarm of Flies track and that Candlemass review, which was worth it solely to get a comment from an old friend who I haven’t seen in a long time.

Need to catch up on email and messages this weekend, which will take some doing, and I’m going to review the Forlesen album for Monday, which is a little bit of brilliant. Tuesday a premiere from TOOMS, Wednesday a special feature I’m very much looking forward to putting together, and Thursday, a video premiere from The Brothers Keg. Friday, I’ll review that YOB live record they did to benefit the Navajo Nation Covid Relief Fund. Here’s a preview: “Duh. YOB are great. Great great great great. Duh.”

Seven bucks well spent on that, either way, and I love that music isn’t existing in a vacuum.

New Gimme show. You know the drill. 5PM. http://gimmeradio.com

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I wish you good fun and the utmost safety. I let The Patient Mrs. go into Whole Foods yesterday, which was a little nerve-racking, even though it’s a new store so everything is well spaced out. In a few minutes I’ll split out and head to Coscto on my own. That place is like a free-for-all, so yeah. I told her maybe next year on that one. She’s apparently going back to campus to work in August though, which will be interesting.

But hey, almost 60,000 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, huh? Anyone tired of all that winning yet?

Alright, time to put on my mask and go buy a block of cheddar cheese. Oh, and apparently we’re getting a puppy this weekend?

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Crystal Spiders Sign to Ripple Music for Debut Album Molt; Premiere “Trapped” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

crystal spiders (photo by Jay Beadnell)

North Carolina’s Crystal Spiders will issue their debut album, Molt, through¬†Ripple Music on Sept. 25, and to mark the announcement of the signing and the album below, they’re premiering a video for “Trapped” made by¬†Chariot of Black Moth as the first single to come from the record. And quite a first impression it makes.¬†Crystal Spiders¬†have pared down from the trio they were on their striking 2019 demo (review here) to just the two-piece of vocalist/bassist¬†Brenna Leath and drummer/vocalist¬†Tradd Yancey, and with “Trapped” they — bolstered the production from C.O.C.‘s¬†Mike Dean, who doubles in¬†Lightning Born, also on¬†Ripple¬†— recall some of the low-end largesse of the first¬†Year of the Cobra¬†album even as¬†Leath‘s voice keeps them steeped in a classic rock mindset. That’s the rock. The groove of the song itself is the roll.

I haven’t heard the rest of the record yet — September is so far in the future my feeble brain can’t even conceive it — but preorders are up now if you’d like to save yourself the trouble later. Needless to say I’m thrilled to host the premiere of the track and the video and I’m sure there will be more to come before the release date gets here.

Until then, I won’t keep you. Find the video below, followed by the announcement itself.

And please enjoy:

Crystal Spiders, “Trapped” official video

CRYSTAL SPIDERS – Debut album ‚ÄėMolt‚Äô out on September 25th through Ripple Music.

European preorder: https://en.ripple.spkr.media/ripple-music/crystal-spiders-molt.html

US preorder: https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/crystal-spiders-molt-deluxe-vinyl-editions

It didn’t take long for North Carolina’s Crystal Spiders to draw attention. The early poise of their self-recorded 2019 demo caught the attention of Ripple Music head honcho Todd Severin, who decided to put out their LP before he even heard the mixes.

Their devotion to riff-worship drives the invigorating sound of Molt. Crystal Spiders fits within the lineage of Sabbath-bred influences ranging from Fu Manchu to Kyuss, from Weedeater to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. But their broad scope ‚ÄĒ which pulls eagerly from classic rock dynamics and hardcore punk intensity, psychedelic texture and bluesy swing ‚ÄĒ pulls the band closer to contemporaries like Heavy Temple and The Well, who build upon well-trod templates to forge new territories of their own.

This rebuff of genre conventions has been a steady current in past and concurrent projects. Leath‚Äôs affection for classic metal and hard-rock is as apparent in her charged rock ‚Äėn‚Äô roll outfit The Hell No as it is in her doomy proto-metal band, Lightning Born, and Yancey lends a heavy swing to the psych-seared doom crew Doomsday Profit.

For Molt, the band pulls elements from across genres to create an album that traces the band‚Äôs full spectrum. Early songs like ‚ÄúTigerlily‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúTrapped‚ÄĚ find new complements in brand-new cuts like ‚ÄúChronic Sick‚ÄĚ and the title track. With a production assist from Mike Dean ‚ÄĒ Corrosion of Conformity bassist and Leath‚Äôs bandmate in fellow Ripplers Lightning Born ‚ÄĒ Molt finds Crystal Spiders at their most powerful.

Following a year of consistent gigging and short runs alongside The Well and Omen Stones, Crystal Spiders are looking to up the ante in 2020, with confirmed appearances at Raleigh Deathfest and the Maryland Doom Fest, as well as ranging further along the East Coast and into the western US.

Riding the momentum of their first year of shows and the strength of a potent debut, it’s a safe bet that Crystal Spiders will soon take space in the minds of fuzz-addicted legions far and wide.

Members:
Brenna Leath – Bass/Vocals
Tradd Yancey – Drums/Vocals

facebook.com/crystalspidersinmymind
crystalspiders.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Crystal Spiders, Demo (2019)

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Friday Full-Length: Type O Negative, World Coming Down

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It had been probably a decade since I put on World Coming Down, the fifth album from Brooklyn, New York’s Type O Negative, but I still knew every word to every song. That’s a special record.

Type O Negative — principal songwriter Peter Steele on bass/vocals, Johnny Kelly on drums, Kenny Hickey on guitar/some vocals and Josh Silver on those oh-so-essential keys — were coming off an absolute masterpiece in their prior offering, 1996’s¬†October Rust (review here), which saw them transcend the goth metal stereotype to which they’d been lumped in part rightly and truly bask in the possibilities for what they might offer in their impossibly-individualized¬†blend of¬†Black Sabbath and¬†The Beatles. In a time when metal was beating its chest to the¬†Panteras of the universe,¬†Type O Negative¬†was apologetically sexually transgressive, and they defined their own course and their own career on¬†October Rust.

Yeah, all well and good, but then you have to make another record, right? Throw that pressure,¬†Steele‘s well-under-way cocaine addiction, various personal losses and traumas, and the result is probably the darkest work Type O Negative ever released. Sure, songs like “Who Will Save the Sane?” and “Creepy Green Light” and “All Hallows Eve” seemed to speak to some of the same post-goth elements as¬†October Rust, but when you put those alongside “Everyone I Love is Dead,” “Everything Dies” — who the hell let both of those on the same record? — and the slog of an opening that the album gets with “White Slavery,” and the affect is just miserable from the outset.¬†Type O Negative had certainly trafficked in downerism to this point, but¬†World Coming Down — even its 11-minute title-track, which is high among the best songs this band ever produced — felt more real, more personal, and at times the weight it seemed to put on the listener could be a lot to take.

A product of its era, it runs 13 songs and 74 minutes long with a¬†Beatles medley at its conclusion after “All Hallows Eve” and “Pyretta Blaze” — which one might accuse of being a cynical redux/answer to the likes of “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” or even “Be My Druidess” from the prior album — and is peppered with death in the three interludes “Sinus,” “Liver” and “Lung,” which of course allude to cocaine, drinking and smoking. If this was the band’s excesses catching up with them, then fair enough, but the difference on World Coming Down is that what was gallows humor is instead just misery. If that seems like a fine line,¬†Type O Negative¬†demonstrate clearly by the end of “White Slavery” that it isn’t. Of course,¬†Steele was still a songwriter at heart, so the clever chorus, “Let me say, Pepsi Generation/A few lines of misinformation/Watch your money flow away oh so quick/To kill yourself properly coke is it,” is just that — clever. And catchy. But the underlying message isn’t lost just for being couched in an accessible package, and, even the uptempo piano lines of “Everything Dies” can’t mask the plainness with which¬†Steele delivers, “Now I hate myself, wish I’d die.” This, right before the flatlining of “Lung.” A radio hit about hair dye, it ain’t.

type o negative world coming down

There was no question that¬†World Coming Down¬†was informed by¬†both the creative and the audience success of¬†October Rust. From “Skip It” at the outset pulling a prank on the listeners to the lushness of melody in “Everything Dies” and “Pyretta Blaze.” The pre-medley closer “All Hallows Eve” seems to echo the sparseness (at least initially) of “Haunted” from the album before it as well. Each¬†Type O Negative¬†record was its own beast, from 1991’s¬†Slow, Deep and Hard to 2007’s¬†Dead Again, but neither were they ever shy about self-awareness, and that manifest throughout¬†World Coming Down¬†as much as anywhere. Even with the title-track as the centerpiece, it’s not a record I’d reach for before, say, 1993’s Bloody Kisses,¬†October Rust, or maybe even¬†Dead Again¬†or 1992’s¬†still-formative¬†The Origin of the Feces, famous as much for its cover art as for any of the songs it actually contained. That’s not to say¬†World Coming Down¬†doesn’t have an appeal, just that, again, it can be a lot to take in. It is an album of meta-heaviness. They sound no less weighted down than the guitar or bass tones.

When¬†Type O Negative¬†were at their most ‘goth,’ on¬†Bloody Kisses, they were tongue-in-cheek about it. There are some moves made to have the same perspective on¬†World Coming Down, but somehow the humor is undone by the surrounding sincerity. As¬†Steele intones during a break in the the title-track, “It’s better to burn quickly and bright/Then slowly and dull without a fight,” paraphrasing¬†Neil Young in the process, it’s hard to know whether he’s working to convince himself or the listener of what he’s saying.¬†World Coming Down¬†is a gorgeous record, make no mistake, but its beauty has the arduous task of finding expression through a range of pains that comprise the recurring themes: death, addiction, inability to cope, etc.

The¬†Beatles medley, with pieces of “Day Tripper,” “If I Needed Someone” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” is fair enough ground for¬†Type O Negative to tread, having made no bones throughout their career of being influenced by — or as they might put it, “ripping off” — that group at various points. They also did a number of¬†Beatles songs live, including “Back in the USSR.” And their penchant for matching parts of different songs together could easily be seen as an extension of the individualized takes they brought to “Hey Pete” or their version of “Paranoid” earlier in their career. It’s a little out of place on the album, tacked onto the end, but if I’m not mistaken,¬†Roadrunner¬†Records had a mandate at one point that everything they put out had to have a cover on it.¬†Fear Factory did “Cars.”¬†Type O Negative¬†did “Day Tripper.” Fair enough.

Thinking about¬†Nine Inch Nails‘¬†The Fragile (discussed here) last week — which came out the same day as¬†World Coming Down; Sept. 21, 1999 — prompted a revisit here, and while the context of¬†Steele‘s death in 2010 adds a spin of tragedy to everything¬†Type O Negative did, as someone who was a fan of the band at the probably-too-tender age of 11, and who called Q104.3 so many times to request “Black No. 1” that they knew my name, I’m glad for any excuse to listen to them when an excuse to do so happens along.

We’re in Connecticut, came up yesterday. I’ve got to wrap this up in like 10 minutes so we can hit the road. Dropping off The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan at her mother’s, then driving north into Rhode Island about an hour and a half to buy chicken from a farm up there, then back down to grab them and back down again to NJ, hopefully all by naptime, but we’ll see. It’ll be a busy day.

Next week — Quarterly Review. I’m supposed to watch the Candlemass live stream this afternoon and review that too. It starts at 2PM. That should be up Monday, but other than that, it’s QR all the way. Not much news lately, so it’s a good time for it. Of course I say that and next week will probably be flooded. Whatever.

But since I haven’t even managed to brush my teeth yet — already changed a poopy diaper, made the kid breakfast (admittedly half-assed), and got two posts up! — and there’s still packing to do, I’m gonna call it. The Gimme show is a repeat this week, but if you feel like listening, it’s always appreciated.

It’s 4th of July weekend. I don’t have much to say about it, but if you’re proud to be an American in 2020, you’re either fooling yourself or an asshole. We should hang our heads and mourn the unnecessary dead this year. Have fun at the fireworks.

Whatever you do with it, a day off is a day off. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy yourself from a safe distance.

FRM.

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Deathwhite Post Lyric Video for “Among Us”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

deathwhite

This is exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. I’m completely serious. Not only was I thinking about how badass this record was just the other day and hadn’t had a chance to put it on again yet, but I feel like Deathwhite‘s Grave Image (review here) perfectly encapsulates the restless and wrenching melancholy of this year so far. “Among Us” is one of the record’s many deceptively catchy tracks, and it just hits that perfect spot somewhere between Anathema and Paradise Lost for me where melody is priority but there isn’t a corresponding sacrifice of impact for that. It’s like if Katatonia had never developed that keyboard fetish. As we move into the second half of this wretched 2020, I still consider Grave Image — the Pittsburgh-based band’s second offering for Season of Mist behind 2018’s For a Black Tomorrow (review here), about which I felt much the same — one of its best albums.

Further, I know that for whatever reason, whenever I write about something even vaguely informed by death-doom as Deathwhite are, it tends to get a pretty barren response. Well, fine. If I’m 100 percent honest, I’m not posting this video today for you. I’m doing it for me. And I’m not hitting play on the Bandcamp stream of Grave Image because I have to out of some perceived obligation, or because I told PR I’d write about the album, or because it was on my fucking calendar — it wasn’t — but here it is. The video showed up just when I needed it and I’m posting it because it’s something I genuinely enjoy. There. That’s it.

The link in the PR wire info takes you to where you can buy the record through a bunch of digital/physical outlets. One of those portal things. Buy the album or don’t. Give a shit about it or don’t. Even as I listen to it now for the first time in a couple months, I’m swept up in it, so whatever you want to do fine. This is all the impetus I needed and I got it.

Here’s the video:

Deathwhite, “Among Us” official lyric video

Enigmatic dark metal outfit DEATHWHITE has shared a brand new video for the song “Among Us.” The video was made by Guilherme Henriques.

DEATHWHITE comments: “As we are often wont to do, many of the songs on ‘Grave Image’ were revised and tinkered with until we were satisfied, but no song received a bigger overhaul than ‘Among Us.’ The song’s original tempo was half of its current state; it was doomy, perhaps excessively so. Common sense ultimately prevailed and we were able to not only speed the song up (a term we should use loosely in this context) but also work in a somewhat basic chorus by our standards. The song itself has a fairly simple message: Ignorance, falsehoods and gaslighting are not to be tolerated. Unfortunately, these people are still ‘among us,’ spreading their untruths and grievances in very public and far-reaching forums. May it all fall on deaf ears.”

“Among Us” is taken from the band’s latest album, ‘Grave Image,’ which was released earlier this year. ‘Grave Image’ can be streamed/downloaded/ordered at THIS LOCATION.

Deathwhite, Grave Image (2020)

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EMBR Premiere “Where I’ve Been” Video; Debut LP 1823 out July 17

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

embr

Birmingham, Alabama, atmospheric doom four-piece EMBR will release their debut full-length, 1823, on July 17 through New Heavy Sounds, and if you stick around until the end of the new single “Where I’ve Been” taken from the seven-song/40-minute offering, you’ll catch a vicious scream from vocalist Crystal Bigelow. That’s a theme to which the band returns throughout the offering, but the most significant impression of 1823 is also right there in the same track’s blend of tonal heft and melody. Guitarist Mark Buchanan and bassist Alan Light crunch out weighted riffs and chug as Crystal‘s voice careens overhead in the mix, drummer Eric Bigelow anchoring the proceedings and rolling them forward from one verse to the next.

Opener “Prurient,” which directly precedes “Where I’ve Been” on the album, is more immediate in its execution, but if EMBR are quick to showcase their breadth early on in the record, that’s something that only continues to serve them well as the rest plays out, the sprawl early on in the subsequent “Stranger” giving way to an especially massive lumber before receding again, demonstrating an awareness of structural variation as well as an ability to simply shift between levels of aggression, tempo, and so on.

Those with a veteran experience of New Heavy Sounds‘ output might be tempted to hear “Where I’ve Been” and liken EMBR with Welsh outfit Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, and granted some of the melodic float is a shared aspect, but aside from a lack of sci-fi thematic throughout, certainly the growls and screams that intertwine in the verses of “Powder” are a distinguishing factor, and one Crystal uses fluidly to add richness to the material. She works in layers on “Powder,” and though it’s one of just two tracks under five minutes long on the album, it earns its place as the centerpiece both through embr 1823its sheer impact and through the shift it represents in style.

With “Eyes Like Knives” unfolding with an emphasis on patience after, EMBR bring out some synthsizer to further bolster the melody as 1823 works into its second side, and though they weren’t exactly daring monotony up to that point, neither does it feel like too much, the depth of the mix allowing plenty of space for the additional element. “Eyes Like Knives” resolves in a memorable hook with the line, “Come and take it all away,” repeated, ahead of a last crash and amplifier hum transitioning into the quiet start of “Your Burden,” which surges forward before its first minute, the guitar finding a melancholic place that is both familiarly doomed and distinct in its conveying of mood. The verse opens and Crystal enters over quiet guitar, bass and drums, but naturally the chorus picks back up, and surprisingly, “Your Burden” doesn’t recede again until the close.

Harmonies at the outset of closer/longest track “Vines” (6:50) offer a false sense of security for the harshness to follow. Atop backing growls, Crystal‘s rings out, lines delivered atop sustained shouts in a repeating cycle, dramatic and of considerable presence. A tolling bell and nastier screaming takes hold after the midpoint, and the song caps with a final melodic stretch giving way to leftover guitar and ambient noise, speaking as did the harmonies throughout to a progressive bent that, even after three prior EPs, EMBR seem to be just beginning to explore.

As 1823 ends its run, it characterizes EMBR somewhere between doom and ambient sludge or post-metal, but one of the most encouraging aspects of the album is that it’s less about conforming to style than it is about offering its own take through largesse and range alike, the changes in structure and arrangement adding to the focus on craft that is so prevalent throughout. These aren’t days for making predictions, so I won’t take a stab at what it might lead to, but fortunately 1823 offers a satisfying enough listen that one has no real need to leave the moment.

The video for “Where I’ve Been” is premiering below. Beneath that is more background from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

EMBR, “Where I’ve Been” official video premiere

Pre-orders: http://smarturl.it/Embr1823

Within the genre of heavy metal there can be an abundance of variation, color, texture and tone. There are many different shades and many different categories within that catch-all phrase. It’s not all about throat ripping vocals or Neanderthal riffage. As many who are not drawn metal’s immediate charms may perceive.

Heavy music can encompass a whole panoply of sounds, moods and ambition. It can surround you with emotional elegance and distressing chaos. There can be subtleness, thoughtfulness and deep introspection even when things get exceptionally heavy.

This is why New Heavy Sounds is thrilled to unveil our latest signing. We have partnered with four musically kindred spirits from Birmingham, Alabama, collectively known as EMBR. EMBR tick all the boxes overhead and beyond. We are very excited to be releasing their debut full length album ‘1823’.

EMBR already have 3 mighty EP’s under their belt. ‘261’ released in 2016. ‘271’ released in 2017 and their last EP titled 326: Spiritual Dialysis’ released in 2018. All 3 got them on the heavy underground radar.

After these 3 releases EMBR spent most of 2019 writing 7 new songs for ‘1823’. The album was recorded by Matt Washburn at Ledbelly Sound Studio (Mastodon, Royal Thunder) in Dawsonville Ga.

At this point, it is worth stating that the title ‘1823’ has special significance. It’s not just a numerical title, it has substance. Eric Bigelow (drummer) has been on the list for a kidney for around 4 years.

Eric received a kidney transplant in May of 2019. This happened right in the middle of writing the album. The kidney was from a deceased donor and all Eric and Crystal Bigelow (singer and Eric’s wife) know about the donor is that it was a young woman between the ages of 18-23. The album is dedicated to the donor and the surgeons at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville TN. And what a fine tribute it is.

Musically ‘1823’ could be categorized as ‘Doom’. However, on this debut it’s obvious that EMBR have range, drive and a desire to add to the genre, to broaden it whilst staying true to its core fundamentals.

Rest assured, the band have all the nuts and bolts in place. Mark Buchanan (guitar), Alan Light (bass) and Eric Bigelow (drums) keep everything tight and weighty. Massive drop-tuned guitars, chest rattling low end, pounding drums, fuzzy distortion, it’s all there. But they also add in synths, a bit of grunge and alt rock flavors.

‘1823’ is set for release on New Heavy Sounds on July 17th 2020.

Like all NHS releases there will be a deluxe vinyl LP, in 2 color Black/Blue cosmic swirl vinyl. With printed lyric inner and full download. CD 4 panel digipack, with lyric booklet. Also available on all digital platforms.

Artist: EMBR
Album: 1823
Record Label: New Heavy Sounds
Release Date: July 17th, 2020
01. Prurient
02. Where I’ve Been
03. Stranger
04. Powder
05. Eyes Like Knives
06. Your Burden
07. Vines

EMBR are:
Eric Bigelow, drums.
Crystal Bigelow, vocals.
Mark Buchanan, guitar.
Alan Light, bass.

EMBR, 1823 (2020)

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Friday Full-Length: Nine Inch Nails, The Fragile

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Nine Inch Nails The Fragile

The Fragile came out on Sept. 21, 1999, as the third Nine Inch Nails album. I’ve owned it since that day and just not listening to it to write this piece I managed to hear a detail of light atonal guitar strumming at 2:47 into “The Day the World Went Away” that I’ve never heard before. Following the gripping pop-industrial-metal of 1994’s¬†The Downward Spiral, which produced hits “Closer,” “March of the Pigs” and its subdued atmospheric finale “Hurt,” was no easy task and auteur/frontman¬†Trent Reznor managed to change the entire scale and framework through which the band functioned.¬†The Fragile is as cinematic as it is aggressive, petulant in its emotionalism at times but ferocious in its delivery — Reznor‘s line about being “Too fucked up to care anymore” in opener “Somewhat Damaged” echoes “Nothing can stop me down ‘cuz I don’t care anymore” from the prior album’s “Piggy” — and its scope was like nothing the band had done, topping an hour and 43 minutes and comprising two individual discs, ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, and 23 songs in its original incarnation. It is the kind of record that, 21 years after the fact, one might just put it on and hear something new even after listening to it enough times that it seems to run through the body at the same speed as one’s own blood.

Like most double-albums, it has material that could be easily cut for time. Some of¬†The Fragile‘s instrumentals and experiments — beginning with “The Frail,” “Just Like You Imagined,” “La Mer” and the militaristic “Pilgrimage” on ‘Left’ and including “The Mark Has Been Made,” “Complication” and closer “Ripe [With Decay]” on ‘Right’ — might feel superfluous to a cruel editorial process, but they nonetheless serve a function in enhancing the atmosphere and underscoring the absolute all-in nature of the album itself. The rhythmic chains in “The Fragile,” the electronic zapping noises set to the rhythm of “Into the Void,” the drone that backs “I’m Looking Forward to Joining You Finally,” and the way the twisting melody of what might otherwise be a guitar solo in “Even Deeper” so perfectly suits the jazzy beat behind it; with all of these and so, so, so many more, The Fragile becomes an album of richness and detail unmatched by anything¬†Nine Inch Nails did before or has done since.¬†Reznor‘s work since has developed an ambient side and continued the style of hooks one finds manifest in¬†The Fragile cuts like “The Wretched,” “We’re in This Together Now,” “The Fragile,” “Even Deeper,” “Into the Void,” “Where is Everybody,” “Please,” “Starfuckers Inc.” and “The Big Come Down” as much as those songs continued a thread from¬†The Downward Spiral¬†and the prior 1992 EP,¬†Broken, and 1989 debut,¬†Pretty Hate Machine. But¬†The Fragile represents an intersection between perfectionism of craft and unmitigated mania of self-indulgence. The prior album was certainly the commercial breakthrough, but it’s¬†The Fragile where¬†Reznor demonstrates the truest reach of his project. Every tone, every sound, every second of it is considered.

That extends even to¬†The Fragile‘s most cringe-worthy inclusion, which is unquestionably “Starfuckers Inc.,” which seems to be¬†Reznor doing his best impression of then protege¬†Marilyn Manson — who as I recall appeared in the video — and even with the would-be sexually transgressive lines, “And when I suck you off not a drop will go to waste/It really isn’t so bad once you get past the taste,” doesn’t say nearly as much as the phallus-as-weapon comment on masculinity in the prior album’s “Big Man with a Gun,” but being over-the-top with teen-angst-esque lashing out against the commercial ecosystem in which the album would inevitably reside is the point. The fact that “Starfuckers Inc.,” with its signature weighted-buzzsaw guitar chug and driving chorus, is one of¬†The Fragile‘s catchiest songs — and that’s saying something — is not happenstance either. Like everything else around it, there’s a point being made, even if it’s more rudimentary-feeling than the spaces cast forth in “The Great Below” or “The Day the World Went Away” or some of the many transitional drones and elements that bring one song into the next throughout.

Neither is “Starfuckers Inc.” the only point of immediacy on¬†The Fragile. “No, You Don’t” picks up from its atmospheric introduction to a straight-ahead riff and quick-arriving verse, and though it’s more mellow in its impact, “Even Deeper” is as effective as it is in no small part for its willingness to return to the chorus, likewise “We’re in This Together” and “The Fragile.” Between ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, the former proves the more structured and the latter more abstract at least in the general listening experience — true enough to “left-brained” and “right-brained” — but while¬†The Fragile essentially reads are two distinct entireties, each with its purposeful beginning, middle and end, the time it spends flitting between different sounds and styles throws open the bounds of expectation, and¬†Reznor and producer¬†Alan Moulder execute and bring the material to bear with such a feeling of control that, in combination with the high grade songwriting on display — the fact that many of these tracks are still pop songs — the album remains accessible even to the moderately adventurous listener.

I’ll happily argue for¬†The Fragile as the peak-era of¬†Nine Inch Nails. It would be 2005 before the band returned with the strikingly toothless¬†With Teeth, and proceeded into atmospheres and craft that, while interesting for someone operating at the level of attention¬†Reznor invariably would receive, were largely void of innovation. Nothing lasts forever. And in that regard, it’s all the more fortunate that¬†The Fragile is as long and as comprehensive as it is — an expanded edition showed up some years ago as well — since this glut of material represents a deep place of personal expression to which even¬†Reznor has said he’s not willing to return. Fair enough. More than two decades on,¬†The Fragile stands out not only from its era — to wit, it came out the same day as Type O Negative‘s¬†World Coming Down — but from what would follow in its wake. It was the end of one century and the beginning of another, and¬†The Fragile didn’t so much paint a vision of the future as it did reconcile the present with what was about to be.

I love this record. I hope you enjoy it too.

Blueberry picking in Manalapan? In the back of the car, The Pecan calling out the names of different trucks, mostly accurately, and narrating the drive. “Going this way. In the grey car. Cement mixer round and round!” He’ll be three in October. There was a time we were worried about his speech. That is less the case now.

So anyway, we’re on our way to Manalapan. To pick blueberries. I don’t eat them — too much sugar — but The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan will enjoy. We found fresh strawberries last Friday after going to Space Farms, so this feels like an appropriate follow-up. Elsewhere, and not that far away, people are dying. People are marching for long-overdue freedom. We are going to pick blueberries. It is important to remember the context in which one’s actions take place.

This week was hard. Not as hard as it would be if I had COVID-19. And not as hard as it would be if I was marching for long-overdue freedom. But hard. Living in my head with Bad Voice hard.

The Patient Mrs. and I discussed this week when we might go places together again. New Jersey is starting indoor dining next week, which seems absurd and dangerous to me. I said another two weeks at least to see how things shake out before, say, she goes to a grocery store. It’s been since March, so if she’s antsy to do a thing — anything — I get it. She leaves the house plenty but doesn’t see a ton of people, and she’s much more of an extrovert than I am. The Pecan being back in part-time daycare the last two weeks (they’re off this coming week) has eased the general tension level some, but I remain an impatient, miserable shit, so I expect basically to continue ruining whatever positivity might surround me at any given point, including that emanating from my beautiful wife and child.

A contaminant, then.

New Gimme Radio show today — they’ve started calling it Gimme Metal instead of Gimme Radio, presumably because they’re branching out — Gimme Country, etc. — and I guess that makes sense. But if Gimme Radio is the umbrella under which Gimme Metal resides, the show’s still on Gimme Radio. The Obelisk Show isn’t especially metal, most of the time. I don’t know. Maybe I need to listen to more metal.

Anyway, 5PM Eastern if you’re up for it. If you’re not, that’s fine too but don’t tell them I said that. Playlist is here. Listen here: http://gimmeradio.com

Nos habitant stultitia.

Great and safe weekend. Be careful. Be well. FRM.

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Worship Premiere “Without” from Tunnels LP out July 17

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

worship without

Californian sludge aggressors Worship will issue their second full-length, Tunnels, on July 17. “Without” is the third single from the album to make its way to the public ahead of the release — handled directly by the Salinas (about an hour south of San Jose, near-ish to the coast) trio — and in following the title-track and “Searching for Light,” it brings a particular kind of angularity and tonal weight that my East Coast ears can’t help but relate to¬†Swarm of the Lotus. This is a comparison I make neither lightly nor often, but while¬†Worship touch on post-metal ambience in “Tunnels” itself and “Searching for Light” resolves in blastbeats and a charging insistence of riff, “Without” — premiering in the video stream below — brings apocalyptic chug and vocal intensity to bear in repetitions that feel like punches to the side and the harshness of the presentation overall, yeah, that takes me back.

Maybe¬†Worship know that band and maybe they don’t — it’s not impossible since they were on Century Media for a hot minute there, but Neurosis and Converge also make sense as common root influences — and as the three tracks show together, the entirety of Tunnels holds more than just aggressive, physical push in store. I haven’t heard the full record as yet, but I find the combination of weight and depth in what Worship are doing enticing enough to be on board anyway, and the idea of seeking in “Without” — a reckoning with the lack of the divinity one was raised to believe in — is especially suited to the catharsis of the resulting anger in those screams. I’m gonna try not to wax poetic about it, but hey, if you’re looking for god and you come up empty, you might end up sounding like this. Not that I’d know.

Tunnels is up for preorder now from¬†Worship‘s Bandcamp. Do it while you’re thinking of it.

Enjoy:

Worship, “Without” visualizer

Andrew (vocals) on “Without”:

Without is about finding god. Growing up loosely Catholic I always thought the idea of a traditional god was unsettling. Once I found Slayer all bets were off and I took the “fuck god I’m an atheist” position. In my 20s I tried to fill that void with alcohol and sex but still ended up empty, even after getting sober. At 30 I started practicing buddhism. The combination of meditation and mindfulness changed everything for me and I realized that god, or whatever you want to call it, can be found in that stillness inside all of us.

“Without” from our new album coming out July 17th on streaming platforms and vinyl.

Preorders available at: https://worshipcult.bigcartel.com/

Lyrics:
Where have you been?
Been searching for you all my life
in this maze of false endings
believing I was there
Believing I was with you

I thought I’d found you
in crowds
in people
in moments

but it was emptiness
It was temporary
I was numb

I found substance
I found love
I found sex
but still without

I was a fool
It has been
all along
right here
inside of me
in my heart
in the quiet

It’s inside you
It’s inside you
Its inside you
Its inside

now my search for god is over
its inside me
in the silence

Track List:
1. Serpents
2. Paralyze
3. Tunnels
4. Without
5. Searching For Light
6. The Cave

Worship is:
Josh- Guitar
Andrew- Vocals
Kyle- Drums
Richard- Bass

Worship, Tunnels (2020)

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Psychlona Premiere “Blast Off” Video; Venus Skytrip out Aug. 21

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

psychlona

Bradford, UK, kebab aficionados and groove purveyors Psychlona will release their second album, Venus Skytrip, on Aug. 21 through Ripple Music (CD/DL) and Cursed Tongue Records (LP). It is the follow-up to 2018’s Mojo Rising (discussed here) and sees the four-piece upping their game thematically and in terms of songcraft, presenting eight tracks across 49 minutes that won’t be pushed when they don’t want to go and yet seem to have no trouble whatsoever finding momentum when it suits them. To wit, the seven-minute opener, “Blast Off” — video premiering below — has a head of steam almost before you realize it in listening, and yet even as the subsequent “10,000 Volts” explodes in volume from its quiet beginning, setting up trades back and forth across its eight-minute span, Psychlona in no way sound rushed or out of step with what best suits the song.

“10,000 Volts” takes off in its second half, pushing out out out until finally it recedes to end quiet, and from there the beast that is Venus Skytrip unfolds a succession of shorter pieces, with “Blow” (6:05) making its presence felt through a combinationPsychlona Venus Skytrip of earthbound chug and swing and airy vocal melody while the each-under-four-minutes pair of “Star” and “Edge of the Universe” seem set to motor full-on terrestrial desert-style until the latter winds up in atmospheric hypnosis for a stretch in its second half. They bring it back around — to their credit — but the journey’s a joy just the same, and more shifts between languid stoner vibes and massive volume play out through “Resin” and “Tijuana” seems to bring with it a new level of tonal fullness in following, so the band readily break out a series of tricks along the way before they get around to rounding out with “The Owl,” which fills the last nine minutes of Venus Skytrip with a purpose somewhere between heavy psychedelia and hard-edged stomp, at least until the riff builds into its crash just after five minutes in, the bass takes hold and leads into and out of the record’s last build, which like the thing itself, is a trip well worth taking.

If flashing lights, colors or ladies dancing in silhouette isn’t your thing, I guess maybe “Blast Off” is best left to play in the tab so you can listen while you go back to checking the news or staring at other people’s pretend lives on social media or whatever it is hu-mans do these days on their phones. Gotta be something. Maybe you caught a glimpse of Psychlona in Freak Valley‘s consolation stream last weekend. The band showed up to say hi and that they were already confirmed to appear in 2021, so that’s something to look forward to, and one expects they’ll do much supporting of Venus Skytrip when the opportunity presents itself, as surely it will sooner or later.

Until then, there’s nothing like starting an album with a launch sequence, and yes, “Blast Off” has one. I’m happy to host the premiere of the track and the video below.

The band give their own view on things after the player, and you should read that because it rules.

Please enjoy:

Psychlona, “Blast Off” official video

Behind The Trip – Psychlona on Venus Skytrip:

After the unexpected memorialisation (hmm) of our debut, we started to think about where we should go boldly with the next one. We knew we didn’t want to lose too much of the rawness and homespun vibe that defined the scratchy fun of the first album, but we also wanted to go one step further with this effort and really focus the sound. So the two-step plan would be number one: make it heavier and two: turn up the spaciness to the nth. As is tradition around these parts we hunted down a stack of the area’s finest grilled kebabs and various fermented beverages, descending on The Cave Рa place of pure tyranny and filth, but also home Рfor writing sessions taking place between October and January (a leisurely pace was also integral to the process, natch).

The songs were coming on nicely, we had fallen upon a winning formula that was something along the lines of more chilli = better song, but we needed to decide on a venue to match our aspirations of ‚Äėgoing nuclear‚Äô. Step forward Andy Hawkins and The Nave. We were made aware of Andy by our regular sound tech who had recorded his band‚Äôs last album with Andy and recommended we work with him. Instantly Andy ‚Äėgot‚Äô us and with a punk rock pedigree to boot we knew he was our guy – regaling us deep into the night with chaotic tales of Captain Sensible and traffic cone theft (events may or may not be true).

Anyway, come February Andy began putting us through our paces and by way of the incredible live room at The Nave – an old church hall – we were able to capture some truly huge drum sounds (see The Owl). Technical wizardry abounds (Andy), fuzz pedals galore, sausage rolls and a cauldron full of Yorkshire Tea later guitars, bass and vocals (real tape echo, obvs) were all down. Notwithstanding a much welcome intervention from a global pandemic, we emerged from the back door of the church stumbling towards the light – battered, bruised and with a suspected case of rickets among the maladies – clutching a grubby acetate of spaced out hard rock jams.

So there it was, behold, an album, eight tracks of new Psychlona. When the fog receded from our scorched minds it appeared we’d taken a year long ride through space taking in Venus and Mars before doing a quick lap of the Sun (Blast Off), encountered 27 club rock ‚Äėn‚Äô roll tragedy (Star), drifted around in a smoke fuelled beachside dream (Resin) before taking a lengthy acid trip courtesy of The Owl himself. Who knows where chapter 3 could take us?

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