Author Archives: RiffRaff
Since I received the promo for the debut record from Myrkur I believe I have hit a record for the amount of times I have written and then deleted my review. This is by far from saying that there is little to say about the album. In fact, there are lots to say about this groundbreaking record. I just didn’t want to fall into cliché over-emphasizing that the record is a one-Woman project nor under-emphasize a solid female voice in black metal. I didn’t want to beat the dead horse of picking on the kvlt elitists I’ve seen saying not such nice things about any black metal that isn’t Mayhem or Burzum (and then pretty much becoming no better than the elitists themselves). I also didn’t play into Myrkur’s image which forgoes sexuality but delivers some much-needed femininity because it kept turning into a diatribe for a more balanced female voice in metal and that would be better left as a separate rambling and not a review. I wanted to say how much I love the shamanistic and ethereal nature of M but that kept becoming a love letter to the finer facets of modern black metal and over-emphasizing Garm from Ulver’s involvement in the creation of the record. I wanted to quote one of my favorite The Big Lebowski lines, the one where Maude talks about ‘vagina’, but it just felt hammy. I would have liked to touch upon some of the alien and almost Lovecraftian nature of the heavier moments but just wasn’t able to clearly get my point across.
There was a lot I have to say, but lack of an angle I could commit to and some writer’s block just made me say fuck it. However, a record this good should not go unrecognized regardless of my difficulty in writing up a review nor did I want to spend so much time on something and not produce anything. So I decided to just shoot some words from the hip and post it up as one of my ever-so-famous Tales From Bandcamp posts to let you readers out there an opportunity to discover this great entry into the pantheon of black metal. Give it a listen, share it with your friends, toss some money at the artist, and let us know what you thought. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Location: United States
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Release Date: July 24th, 2015
Length: 1 hour 13 minutes
Studio Albums: An Absence of Clarity (2011)
One modern trend I will probably never tire of is the astral themed black metal records. Agalloch with The Serpent and the Sphere, Vattnet Viskar with Settler, Krallice with Years Past Matter, and so on. It seems that each time a trippy post black metal album uses the stars as inspiration an album its scope and berth are as wide as the glittering sea above us. Keep the Astral Metal coming please.
Catching my eye on the Bandcamp homepage with a beautiful photo taken by the Hubble Telescope I was easily compelled click to preview Isolate by Australian band Mesarthrim. What I did not expect was that it would cut so heavily into my Ghost listening time; an album I’ve been frothing at the mouth for and was released today.
Dear Astreria! This album is outright phenomenal. Heavy doses of reverby keyboard notes and major keys give the music such a triumphant sound that is as big as its subject matter. There’s that overwhelming sense of positivity that you get from power metal but without all the cheese, superfluousness, and…. ummm.. well, power metal. Nearly every moment here is just so uplifting. The ambient moments are equally relaxing and introspective and add so much to the ponderous nature of the songs. They perfectly compliment the mystical nature of the core of black metal.
This is a monumental album and should be given some love and attention asap. Best part is the band is only asking for a single dollar for this beast. You really can’t go wrong taking a chance here. This album will transport you to a far away place, give you peace, and when you return you will be a happier person. As always, tell all your friends about the music if you like it and let us know what you though in the comments. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Release Date: 24 Jul 2015
Length: 64 Minutes
Genre: Thrash/Power/Progressive Metal
Studio Albums: Symphony X (1994); The Damnation Game (1995); The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997); Twilight in Olympus (1998); V: The New Mythology Suite (2000); The Odyssey (2002); Paradise Lost (2007); Iconoclast (2011).
Location: NJ, United States
Some bands evolve, some metamorphose. If you look at a butterfly you can still see the remnants of the shriveled caterpillar body still hanging around but for the most part the entirety is changed after a brief cocooning period. Unlike evolution where the change takes place over a huge period of time and many key features are still kept in tact, metamorphosis yields something quite different from its original and the process of change is quite abrupt. You could say a band like Opeth evolved into the prog rock powerhouse they are today slightly changing it up album after album. And Clutch took metamorphosis path when they injected some gospel/blues rock into their sludge metal sound on their self-titled sophomore record (the cocoon phase) and then fully embraced it on their third album, The Elephant Riders, where the metal edge was heavily toned down but still had a glaring presence. With both bands, if you listen to their latest in contrast with their earliest works, they are almost completely different bands but still maintain their cores. Metamorphosis is, however, a much more pronounced change. For their fifth full length album, High Country, The Sword have metamorphosed into something quite different from their sludgy doom metal beginnings.
Feeling the need to zone out and relax these days? Then check out this neat instrumental atmospheric folk metal record The Mist Bearer. Taking cues from the nature themed sections of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Soar, and Agalloch this one man band from Vólos, Greece writes ethereal compositions that personify they majesty of the rolling mountains and lush land that surrounds his homeland. The lack of vocals, bar some hypnotic chanting, really drive the relaxation factor of this record into zen territories. It also makes me want to finally get around to visiting Greece.
As always, dig in your couch or the back seat of your car and toss this man some change (he’s only asking €0.50), share with your friends, and let us know what you thought. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
For as much as I love doom metal one sect of the genre I’ve never really been able to get into is funeral doom, bar an exception or two. It’s just a style that has to be particularly fresh and engaging for me to be able to sit through at attention as 10 plus minute long songs plod along. So forgive me for remaining ignorant to the thunderous majesty know as Ahab for over a decade. Self-proclaimed as nautical doom metal these Germans stay true to their Melville-ian namesake and produce dirges which require patience and a hearty pair of sea legs to really appreciate the payoff of a gorgeous, well-crafted world. Slow and sludgy Ahab’s new album, The Boats of Glen Carrig, looks to be the bands most accomplished record to date. Going back and checking out their earlier releases as reference points (Holy Shit! The Call of the Wretched Sea is a beast!) it also sounds as if the band is pushing their sound into uncharted territory. That may or may not be a good thing depending on how slow you like your doom metal.
A handful of years back Goya’s album 777 kicked my fuzzy stoner metal loving ass all over the place. Hazy vocals, dissonant guitars, laid back drums, and crunchy grooves man. So you’d be correct if you said I was looking forward to checking out Goya’s follow-up. And here we are with Obelisk and Goya knocks it out of the park again.
This time we get a band that has taken a genre that can very quickly get stale and boring and livened it up with just enough bong rips to entertain us who no longer habitually partake in the inhalation of the sacred herb but still like the dank smell (and the occasional J). Tighter and more varied songwriting hypnotize and captivate and big tripped-out, bluesy guitar solos and punchy drums add a beautiful contrast to the lazy drone of the riffs. This is one hell of a trip into a well-crafted, surreal soundscape and shouldn’t be overlooked by any fan of the stoner rock/metal genre.
You know the drill, give the record a listen, dig in your couch for spare change, give the band money, tell your friends how much Goya kicks ass, drop us a comment or something, go about your busy day. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
I’m not the type of person who often remembers their dreams. However, I do remember a few. One of them was from when I was a teenager or something. Probably after watching The Blob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I had this dream where I was trapped in a dank sewer trudging through the sludgy sewage while Charon floated in his boat behind me and whacked me with his oars. Listening to Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird reminds me of that dream. It’s dark, sludgy, and smacks you around. Elements of black metal and thrash round out this roughly 30 minute romp. The artwork is pretty rad too.
Check it out, share with you buddies, toss some couch change at the band, and let us know what you thunk. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
In my free time when I’m not attached to some video game or repeatedly listening to whatever album I’m currently hot on I like to scour through Bandcamp and Metal State’s Haulix promo pile (for those who don’t know, Haulix is a commonly used streaming/downloading platform for giving reviewers access to promo albums) and see if anything catches my ear. With literally hundreds of records to choose from at any given moment I don’t have the time nor the will to listen to everything. So, what do I do to narrow down my selections? Well, first there are certain P.R. reps we have a good rapport with as well as the very rare, well written review request (for another article, but, independent bands, proofread your shit, keep it short, and use Bandcamp or some other super easy streaming service). Otherwise, I break a Golden Rule. I judge a book, errr, album by its cover.