With Hologram Temple, the infamous quartet presents its fourth work, characterized by industrial nightmares.
For more than 60 minutes, the journey goes through alien underground dungeons, where meat hooks dangle in chains and sharp, metallic torture tools lie in plain sight, alarmingly close at hand and ready to be used. The resounding sound of your insecure footsteps, echoes between dark, murky walls, stained with tar-like stains of coagulated blood. The exit is probably sealed, but the tunnel in witch you find yourself, as you are thrown right into this lifelike nightmare, is still just a part of a complex maze of fear and pain.
The lyrics are based on technological visions of the future, where coincidences can constitute the difference between utopia and dystopia. It still feels as though Stellar Master Elite has constructed an architectural dimension from hell in the basement beneath the Hologram Temple. A parallel world designed in dreams - manifested in some unreal quasi-reality.
Roaring, doomy guitars riff heavily and jagged to thundering rhythms and ominous industrial sounds of a non-terrestrial presence. A bit like the atmosphere aboard the star ship Sulaco after the macabre entrance of a certain stomach-tearing parasite.
I'm a bit confused when it comes to certain aspects of the vocal, which is shared between three guys. In addition to wielding the drumsticks, M.S. is also listed as vocalist. E.K. who dealt with most of the vocals on the previous album, is listed as a permanent member on the band's social media platform, but still only credited as a guest on two songs according to the press release. S.K., who did vocals on the songs The Circle and Elyon on the debut, does session vocals on three songs. I'm confident he's the one reeling of the sick slaying black vocals on Freewheel Decrypted. I'm not sure, however, who does the deep, forceful and ultra-dark growls in the opening songs Null. The vocals do change a bit throughout the album, without this being a problem. The variety rather gives a lot of nifty spices in the black cauldron. E.K. is by the way one of two members of the band who also plays in Ichor, and one of two members who are part of Der Rote Milan.
Admittedly, I could do well without the final track Tetragon, which largely consists of industrial, ambient sound collages. And just to make it clear; the sound of power tools isn't creepy unless you've had some traumatic experience in the garage or something. Leaving this final sequence out of account, Hologram Temple is a reasonably fiery, dystopic treat that almost land at a top score. Rating: 5+
Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, 01.02.19 Pensées Nocturnes released their first record ten years ago.
On Vacuum, the band mixed sore melancholy and relatively depressive black metal in a slightly jazzy manner.
The following year, they blended neoclassical elements into their increasingly psych metal, while the extreme parts became more intense. Grotesque can probably be recommended for those who thrive in a padded cell and straightjacket.
Thereafter, I missed out on the three following albums.
In 2019, evolution has taken the band in a far more psychedelic direction. As the cover suggests, there is a lot of circus to be traced on Grand Guignol Orchestra. The music is a reckless cocktail of avant-garde madness, where elements from the band's past blend with waltz, tango and a variety of indefinable genres. There's nothing to fault on the technicalities.
The music gives associations to Diablo Swing Orchestra, but is definitely darker and more aggressive. This form of music is undoubtedly a matter of taste and requires patience and engagement from the listener. For those with a predisposition for such, the music probably has enough schizophrenic variation to avoid growing old too soon. I would think that the album grows considerably over time, but for me, this insane and burlesque cabaret becomes like a 48 minute carousel ride, where the carousel spins in triple speed while headless clowns juggle sword swallowers and disillusioned elephants shoot bearded ladies out of canons.
If you can get through the album without dizziness, blurred vision and a balance system on the edge of breakdown, you are automatically eligible for a new round or ten. If the feeling of having eaten too much candy floss quickly emerge, and the stomach content threatens to come back up, then Grand Guignol Orchestra is probably not for you. Therefore, an objectively ambivalent rating.
Svart Records, 26.04.19
The album with the long title Abstract Principles Taken To Their Logical Extremes, was originally released in 1995.
When the album is now re-released, almost 25 years later, it can be a good example of the fact that there will always be music in the underground that one has yet to discover.
Some will consider the London, UK band's only full length as a hidden gem. Others will just call it a messy clutter.
Dark Heresy mix death metal riffs with a schizophrenic hybrid of contemporary music, jazz, folk rock and classicism.
The sound has been restored and remastered for the occasion in Orgone Studios by Jaime Gómez Arellano (who, among other things, provided new sound on last year's version of Grand Declaration of War).
Personally, I'm rather sceptical toward this dry production, the cardboard drums and the schizophrenia, but it's a strange album, and I'll rather leave the judgement to you.
Disclaimer: Mini-reviews are impulsive and based on short time spent with the music.
Incorrect impressions may occur. Listen and form your own fucking opinion!
Memento Mori, 22.04.19
American Filtheater has the present decade as its domain.
Put another way, the one-man band has been active since 2010. Blight of Sempiternal Putrefaction is Filtheater's first album, after four EPs and a split.
The band, consisting of multi-instrumentalist Jared Moran, plays filthy death metal with abundant eeriness and hints of chaos and dissonance.
Besides predictable lack of originality, the death metal is entirely passable.
The biggest drawback is the turbid production and the at times terribly clacking drum sound.
As the music don't stand out either, I see no reason to spend more time on this debut. But as sole member Jared wrote to me, “to each its own”.
PS: Edited 24.05.19, after discovering that Filtheater don't consist of four members.
From Rochester, the city with the British-sounding name north of the state of New York, the melodic band Ancalagon returns two years after the album Gateway Specter.
The band still performs an extremely melodious offspring of extreme metal, with black elements.
This time, however, the music feels more like a hybrid of folkish heavy metal and extreme metal.
A bit like melodic pagan, without the strongest feeling of Nordic forests with Viking ships on the horizon.
It still sounds as if Ancalagon may have had a slight horn of mead. Though in moderation. They may as well have had a drop of Persian wine, as on the previous album. This time mainly in the song Glaurung The Golden Basilisk. The most surprising thing after all, is that the band has chosen, and succeeded at, going in an even more melodic direction than on the debut album.
There's still a bit of darkness to be traced. The riffs are still pretty hard, despite all the melody, and the vocals are still black and sharp. The vocal is also still quite uniform, and thus reasonably humdrum in the long run, but in spite of that, it doesn't bother me noteworthy.
Noctopoth is an unusual album, as was its predecessor. And it gradually grows stronger.
Check it out if the description arouses curiosity.