Swallow Me Leaden Sky consists of two songs with a total playing time of 44 minutes, which, with a decent margin, also makes it the shortest album from the band.
Luna's orchestral version of funeral doom, as usual speak to the listener without the use of words. The music is instrumental and conveys its message through the moods it builds in the listener's more or less conscious mind. In the case of Swallow Me Leaden Sky, DeMort's idea has been to create a symphonic ode to “the darkness of the night, the grandeur of nature, and human passions”.
When the music soar heavily, monumental and bombastic through the mind, sweeping the soul along like a magic foehn wind, it feels like thunder clouds of bottled up despair looking down on grandiose landscapes in admiration and respect. The band's heavy and majestically resounding music is shrouded in grieving resignation. The music is heavier and darker than ever, but does not attempt to impose on others its gloomy nature. With sorely tried courage, and inherent concern, it tries instead to draw attention to the beauty that, after all, do exist.
The flow feels natural, and so does the flattering sonorous sound. The variation slides slowly but surely, and a few faster rhythmic elements have even been added, among other in the middle of the title song. Both this song and first track, Everything Becomes Dust, is music of the suggestive kind, and both songs have the high quality I've come to desire and expect from Luna. Thus, Swallow Me Leaden Sky can safely be recommended to fans of leaden symphonic tone poem that, much like great-grandparents, takes all the time needed to complete their storytelling. Rating: 5-
Naturmacht Productions, 28.10.17
What I initially know about Dauþuz, could be written on the back of a postage stamp, still leaving room for a short incantation or two.
The band comes from Germany, and plays wretched melancholic black metal located somewhere between dsbm and atmospheric black metal on the grimy map.
The band has recently released its second album on CD, while the vinyl waits until the effect of the solstice can without a shadow of doubt be demonstrably witnessed with the naked eye.
A little bit of research also reveals that the band is a duo that started out last year, and that their first record was released a year ago.
Die Grubenmähre (The Mine-mare) is a phonetic manifestation of autumn depressions, with saddened melodies, shuddering vocabulary screams, distorted guitars and hammering drums. That doesn't sound so bad, and it's not terribly bad either. The downside is that it ain't all too rewarding either. Sequences with good melodies, and passages with tough drifting riffs and rhythms do occur, but a strong feeling of having heard the equivalent ad nauseam does prevail. However, the impression improves after a good number of attempts.
The rasping black vocal that's used at times, is of an approved ilk, but vocalist Syderyth often uses high-pitched, shrieking vocals with the balls caught in a vice. It's probably meant to accentuate desperation and sadness, but becomes a bit forced. It does the trick to a certain degree, but can also become a bit tiresome. A little bit of becomingly male Viking choir also occurs.
The instrumentation is absolutely A-okay, without calling for extraordinary attention in any way. Syderyth plays acoustic guitar, while band-mate Aragonyth handles the remaining instruments. The band sounds like many a German band in the underground, and Die Grubenmähre doesn't become the work that'll place Dauþuz on the map once and for all.
On the 49-minute record, you'll find one and another interlude with sad, lightly medieval tones. Here, the sound is crystal clear. In aggressive black sequences the sound is adequately raw, but round, with some unnecessary crackling here and there.
Those who can't get enough of obscure black metallic misery, should check out Die Grubenmähre. The album is alright, if not a whole lot more. For my part, Dauþuz don't stand out enough to raise sufficient interest in the long term. The album does grow till gradually appearing as comfortable and spiteful, though, so I refrain from defining it as all generic and mediocre.
Bigger fans of black metal's more atmospheric expression might be likely to find greater joy (or sorrow) in Die Grubenmähre, for the music ain't bad at all, especially when the right frame of mind finds piece of mind and a sensation of relaxation dawn on you. And if you find that the music pleases, and you prefer the vinyl, the LP seems to be released just into the new year. Rating: 3+
After a few hundred hours of therapy and a renewed faith in life after finally accepting that the visions from the abyss were merely delusions, I am anew thrown into swirling maelstroms of spine-chilling, terrifying horror.
The demons are real, and I'm most certain they're coming to flay me alive.
In my empty mind, an otherwise copious violent horror movie is played out, with monologue and plot replaced with even more sinister scenes. Revenants, eerie figures, cold-blooded killers, possessed children and dolls, evil spirits, and other ghastly presences haunt my warped imagination. I try to scream as decaying hands carve their way out of the couch, trying to get their claws in me, but I find that my lips are sewn shut, with crawling maggots left on the inside.
Only the imagination puts an end to the horror allegories that can be used as description of the creepy and malign moods Deliverance from the Godless Void conjures up. The unusually ominous tone of the album is further enhanced by sadistic vocals whose goal, to all appearances, only is to harm and hurt you.
As before, L.L. has created all the music and recorded all the instruments, and for those who wonder, it can also be mentioned that the genre is a blood-dripping hybrid of black and death metal drenched in lurking doom. As before, the task of chilling every last active blood cell into a frozen, viscous slush, falls to Mr. Hellwind Inferion and R.S. (both in Sargeist et al.), with their devilish ghoul vocals.
L.L. has - again, as last time around - left parts of the production to Dan Lowndes (Cruciamentum, Imindain), who has mastered the nightmare in his Resonance Sound Studio. And as before, the responsibility for cranking the volume up to an indecent level, is left to the listener. When Desolate Shrine offers sonic horror, a fully dynamic sound that encloses the listener like an intimate poltergeist equipped with razor-blades, is obviously a part of the package. The dynamic range is no lower than impressive DR10.
From all hell breaks loose with Lord of the Three Realms, it takes a bit of time for the mood to start seeping out, but take your time. Headphones might help conjure up the ghosts too. Before you know it, you are surrounded by malicious spirits while the temperature drops, the light starts flickering before going out, the wallpaper gradually ages and cracks and the photographies on the walls weep blood and follow you with their eyes. Heavy, dragging steps are heard from what should have been an empty attic and the sound of crying children coming from the basement is perceived ever so clearly. With close to an hour available, it apparently never ends.
Welcome to your worst nightmare! Welcome to hell! Rating: 6
Season of Mist, 10.11.17
Last year we discussed American Cloak's second release, a self-titled EP, only preceded by a demo. In that connection, I offered a reward of the highest rating to the band if they repeated the success over an entire album. However, as the observant observer observes, the material on To Venomous Depths ain't fully as rock solid as that of last year's Cloak.
The two songs from the EP, The Hunger and In the Darkness, the Path are brought onward to the full-length, and the remaining seven songs are basically of a fairly steady calibre.
For those who have already heard the music, it might come as a surprise that the band's habitat is in the Dixie, specifically in Atlanta, Georgia. If I were to guess, I'd probably consider Sweden as a reasonable nation for candidacy.
The band states such different influences as Dissection, Deep Purple and Fields of the Nephilim as sources of inspiration. I don't have much knowledge of the latter, but I can vouch for the legacy of Dissection, without the similarity being too blatant. I have bigger difficulties finding traces of the British hard-rockers. Various reviewers have named Tribulation, Watain and Young And in the Way as references. I belong, as you may have already noticed, to those who hear a considerable amount of melodic Swedish black metal in the American's expression, but that doesn't mean that Cloak don't have a more complex expression.
The quartet combines its dark melodies with a rich arsenal of rather subtle influences from the outside. It doesn't sound schizophrenic, and it's not really something I think about when the music runs its course. The different elements of their groovy and detailed mix are adapted to a coherent appearance. The music becomes targeted and directionally focused as a streamlined projectile, without splaying in all directions like a shot in the dark shotgun discharge. Admittedly, the quality varies from song to song, and the span between the best and the more trivial songs makes the rating (which may be a bit kind) land somewhere in the middle.
In addition to the band's four members on regular instruments, musicians from bands like Withered and Royal Thunder are engaged to wield piano and cello on To Venomous Depths, more piano in Passage and further refill of Cello on Deep Red, in addition to a guitar solo on Within the Timeless Black. The band's own guitarists, Max Brigham and Scott Taysom, also reel off a lot of nice guitar works, as well an occasional solo. The latter's rasping voice is otherwise one of the significant reason for associations to Watain occurring.
Also in the soundscape, Watain of more recent date is an obvious reference. Where the EP was a bit rougher, the sound is now a bit rounder 'round the edges, albeit not too polished. The sound still got punch, but the volume has unfortunately been cranked up a bit since the last time, something that compromise the dynamics.
Rather than offering an inept attempt at describing everything that takes place in the band's expression, I'll provide you with the most important aspect; the insight that the almost an hour long disc has material with well-structured depth and diversity, where the listener constantly detects new details in the grooves. That's what we call substance. I leave the task of surveying To Venomous Depths to you. Only three songs are streaming thus far. The remaining pieces will probably fall into place come the weekend. I also attach the EP as a bonus. Bon voyage! Rating: 5-