Posted by RiffRaff
Italy is known for many things: Food, culture, food, friendly people, food, women, food, wine, food, fashion, food, beautiful seas and landscapes, and food. If you happen to be a fan of cinema, Italy also has got you covered there, especially if you happen to be a fan of the horror genre. From Dario Argento and Joe D’Amato to Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava you could almost say that gore and suspense were practically invented on the Big Boot. Italy is also home of two of the most controversial horror/suspense flicks ever made (Cannibal Holocaust and Salò: 120 Days of Sodom, neither are safe for life). If you have ever seen the Fulci classic Zombi (or known as Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters in some places, same movie, it’s confusing, roll with it) you no doubt remember one of the finest scenes in horror movie history, Zombie vs. Shark in a battle to the death. What makes that scene so special goes beyond its ridiculousness and it’s shot straight-faced. It creates this unique dynamic of art house, horror, and comedy that modern Zomedy directors could only wish to achieve. With this particular approach to horror/suspense it’s always amazed me that metal bands rarely channel this particular sect of horror, especially given its massive influence on the genre that maybe too many metal bands take their inspiration from. Enter Japan’s Sigh, a band that has not even once followed anything close to ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’, and their new record Graveward.
With equal parts avant-garde, black metal, ambient and industrial music the second album from Pyramids is quite an adventure. Pyramids favourite thing to do is experiment with collaborations (too many to list here) and remixes, on this release we find artists such as Colin Marston (Gorguts/Krallice), Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord) and William Fowler Collins. Fascinating and endlessly beautiful, “A Northern Meadow” embraces you warmly with floating clean singing and a claustrophobic touch in the melodies, as if it desperately tries to hold you close while slowly pushing you towards the edge of a deep, bottomless shaft. As strange as it might seem, that really appeals to me. Give it a listen!
Release Date: January 30, 2015, Version Studio Records
Tracks: 9 tracks, 52 minutes
Previous releases: The King of Everything 2007, Zenith 2010
Recommended for fans of: Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Aoria, Anathema, Agalloch
Posted by RiffRaff
Throughout my childhood there have been many films that have captured my impressionable imagination and then warped and raped it. The Secret of Nimh, The Dark Crystal, The Brave Little Toaster, Labyrinth, Dumbo, Watership Down, etc. They were all able to lure me in with colors, cuteness, and imagination and then rip the rug up from under me and show me the dark, seedy underbelly of the world in all its twisted glory. I don’t know why, but I always tended to gravitate toward this style of film in my young age (and well into my teenage years and adulthood). Sitting at the top of horrifically cute films lies the 1971 cinematic masterpiece Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring the great Gene Wilder in the role he was born to play; the magically mad Willy Wonka. From the colorful cinematography to the densely dark under-themes of consumerism and greed the film didn’t shy away for a moment from the fact it was luring young kids into its mind-rape Ford Econoline van with pretty colors and promises of candy.
Another aspect of Willy Wonka that cements it as one of the greatest cinematic achievements is its soundtrack. From happy and uplifting ‘Pure Imagination’ to nightmare inducing boat ride song the music of the flick covered just about every reachable aspect of places ones imagination can go. And I’ll be damned if they weren’t catchy songs. Don’t tell me you don’t find yourself humming the Oompa Loompa songs from time to time. It was simply a quirky, fun, and occasionally dark bit of music. And do you know what else is quirky, fun, and occasionally dark (ok, a bit more than occasionally)? The long-standing oddball band, Primus.
Label: Scarlet Records
Release Date: 21 January 2014
Songs: 8 Length: 55:40
Genre: Progressive/Experimental/Post metal
Studio Albums: Ordinary Days, 2008
Location: Toulouse, France
For fans of: The Ocean, ISIS, Nami, Tool, Katatonia
This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Release Date: November 11, 2013 self-released
Tracks: 11 Length: 48 minutes
Genre: Cinematic, ambient post-rock/experimental
Recommended for fans of: Sigur Rós, Enigma, Massive Attack, Olafur Arnalds, Daniel Tompkins
Challenging, heavy, unpredictable and fun. One of my favourite releases this year.
Release Date: October 13, 2013 on their own label Realising Media
Length: 35 minutes
Genre: Not easy to describe. Experimental, prog/math metal, post-rock
Previous releases: Split EP 2009, debut album Senjyu 2010, Memories, Voices EP 2012
Recommended for fans of: Challenging, interesting, unpredictable music
Description: On Cyclamen’s Bandcamp page it says: DIY-To-The-Core and I get a sense that those words were written with a feeling of great pride and accomplishment. After hearing the new album and seeing Cyclamen live (and meeting them after the show, such great people!), I understand why. This is a fascinating and very different album, with influences from things and places I can only imagine in my mind.
“It’s extremely liberating in the digital age to approach composing and creating in this manner.
Infinite paths to explore, reinterpret and re-present.”
Release Date: August 27, 2013 on Puscifer Entertainment
Length: 60 minutes
Genre: Alternative, industrial rock, experimental, electronic
Don’t Shoot The Messenger EP, 2009
“V” is for Vagina, 2007
“C “ is For (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here) EP, 2009
Conditions of My Parole, 2011
Donkey Punch The Night EP, 2013 and three remix albums
Recommended for fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Tool, A Perfect Circle, electronic music
“Eternity in the midst of profound dusk, projected endlessly through this void
As a veil, as an aura, as an apparition, to awaken the world from its dream of itself”
Release Date: June 25 2013 on Relapse Records
Length: 48 minutes
Genre: Post rock/Industrial/Black/Ambient
Previous releases: Debut full-length ‘Drenched Lands’ 2009, ‘Territories’ 2010, ‘The Crystal World’ 2010, ‘The Clearing & The Final Epoch’ 2012, ‘New Dominion’ 2012
Recommended for fans of: Ambient, post rock, drone, industrial, experimental, atmospheric black metal
The Swedish duo The Moth Gatherer’s debut album is quite interesting with its unconventional style of experimental/sludge/post metal. They have created an ambitious and tasteful mix of different music styles combined with lots of effects, which results in heavily atmospheric songs that aren’t always an easy listen. This is haunting and hypnotic music suited for fans of ISIS, Cult of Luna and Neurosis. It’s very difficult to describe it due to the pure emotional nature of the songs.