Thursday, 10 April 2014

New Sounds: Trap Them- Salted Crypts

Furious Hardcore/ Sludge/ Metal riff lords Trap Them are back with an absolute monster in the form of 'Salted Crypts', the first track to drop from their upcoming full- length 'Blissfucker'. I was a HUGE fan of the band's last full- length, 2011's 'Darker Handcraft', and to say this track has whetted my appetite for its successor would be an understatement. 

The track entails pretty much everything we've come to expect from Trap Them, but in many cases it amps it up to 11. The doom- laden, crushing progression that kicks the song off is as bone- breakingly heavy as always, and the cavernous backing vocals add some distant, unnerving atmosphere. Soon the track breaks from its hold and bursts into a skull- burstingly abrasive, raw and frantic Hardcore meltdown. The track keeps in check with the Converge/ Dismember influences that have always been prevalent in the band's sound, but melds them together with a renewed sense of vitality. Another notable thing is the production. On 'Darker Handcraft' the general sound was massive and more considered, but on 'Salted Crypts' it reverts back to the gnarlier, much rawer sound of their 2008 debut. 

All in all, it's the kind of track that makes you want to neck beers and smash tables, and thus is everything it should be. 

'Blissfucker' is due to be released on June 10th via Prosthetic Records. 

Catharsis Absolute

Artist: Avichi
Album: Catharsis Absolute
Record Label: Profound Lore

Enough has been written about the influx of creativity and diversity in Black Metal since the first Wolves In The Throne Room album, but there's plenty of blastbeat conservatism being bandied about too. One man BM project Avichi's new album 'Catharsis Absolute' is one that merges both ball- parks, and thus should appease fans of both. 

There's the old- school darkness of 'Flames In My Eyes', the Agalloch- baiting melodicism of 'Lightweaver' and the 13-minute repetitive magnificence of 'All Gods Fall' to boot. The sinister piano lament of the title track will also conjure reminiscences of Mayhem's more ambient moments. All in all it's a largely wholesome, cascading beast. 


Key track: All Gods Fall
For Fans Of: Cult Of Fire,  Agalloch

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

New Sounds: Brian Eno & Karl Hyde- Daddy's Car

Music and production deity Brian Eno and legendary synth group Underworld's Karl Hyde have teamed up for a collaborative album entitled 'Someday World' which is due to be released via Warp records on May 5th, and 'Daddy's Car' is the latest cut to drop from the joint. The track is not a particularly dextrous affair, but it is utterly joyous. It patters along with the kind of robust, jangly beat that later era Radiohead worship and is joined as it progresses by intertwined keyboard and piano bass melodies and bright, effervescent horn manouvres. What it doesn't necessarily offer in depth it makes up for by guaranteeing to put a smile on your face. 

Present Tense

Artist: Wild Beasts
Album: Present Tense
Record Label: Domino

On their 4th full- length Wild Beasts slip into the modern era with full- hearts and a gorgeous synth- heavy sound

There are few bands who have really managed to capture the attention of sects of the alternative music press quite like Kendal- via- London quartet Wild Beasts over the last few years or so, and with good reason. Their spectral, fractious yet succulent art- rock fused with their (un) healthy obessesion with the most fleshy and naturalistic of human rituals has seen them carve a void the size of the Grand Canyon through rival groups of music fans. In the 21st century that void is appreciated and acknowledged more than ever before, and it's exactly that enhanced version of time and understanding that Wild Beasts make their raison d'etre on 'Present Tense', their 4th full- length. 

A bit like Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells wonderful 'Everything's Getting Older' a few years back, 'Present Tense' is an album that finds itself completely entangled within the confounding rush and speed of modernity. That's not to say that it's an entirely different aesthetic or dynamic to what the band have done before. However, this new understanding of the ever- more electronically- deviated age, although dabbled in on 2011's 'Smother', is cemented on 'Present Tense.' Guitars are largely a rare occurance in favour of enormous, cinematic and layered synth swells, sometimes reaching greater heights than the band have ever done before. 

Opening track and lead- off single 'Wanderlust' is one of the finest examples of this. The lyrics adhere to both a new found political reference ("they're solemn in their wealth, we're high in our poverty") as well as their typically seedy fervour ("don't confuse me with someone who gives a fuck/ in your mother tongue, what's the verb 'to suck?'') but it's the meandering, glorious synth arpeggio rises that give the track the feeling of standing on mountains. 

The following track 'Nature Boy' revels in the bolshy sense of humour that rocked 'All The King's Men' previously. "The things she said she'd never do/ a little fun for me and none for you" croons co- vocalist Tom Fleming righteously but it's the track's depth- ridden and dark, layered bleepery that assures it comes across as an off- cut from the darker recesses of Depeche Mode's catalogue. 'Mecca' returns to the succulent heights of the opening track as a gorgeous faded-in-and-out synth groove leads proceedings and Hayden Thorpe brings his deeply philosophical touch to the motion as he sings "we move in fear, we move in desire". A glacial guitar solo brings the track to a close statically but beautifully. 

'Daughters' manages to be one of the most sociological and sobering things the band have ever done. It stares into the future and a dystopian, Harry Brown- esque bleakness stares back as both Thorpe and Fleming assert "all the pretty children sharpening their blades, when my daughter passes only ruins remain". 

It's not all so futuristic; the lovelorn piano balladry of 'Pregnant Pause' and the subtle, late summer evening funk of 'Past Perfect' would fit nicely into the mould of the second half of 2009's 'Two Dancers', but they work just as well within the context of 'Present Tense'. 

The penultimate track, 'New Life', in all its gorgeous, engulfing Oneohtrix Point Never haze seems to be the assertion of a new way of not only thinking, but operating and indeed living. So indeed, 'Present Tense' does not present a total reversion of dynamic for the band; it rather finds them adapting to their modern surroundings and fitting in seamlessly. Wild Beasts have never been a band incapable of capturing the wondrous, and on 'Present Tense' they slide into their new mentality with effortless brilliance. 


Key Tracks: Daughters, Mecca, New Life
For Fans Of: Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Foals

Monday, 7 April 2014

As The Stars


Artist: Woods Of Desolation
Album: As The Stars
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions

The inevitable wave of Deafheaven- imitators in the wake of 'Sunbather' hasn't quite been as prominent as one may have feared, and Australian Black Metal crew Woods Of Desolation's latest 'As The Stars' is more than just Metal for hipsters to throw their patronage upon. From the cascading beauty of 'Unfold' to the rollicking, mid- paced 'This Autumn Light' and the instrumental epicness of 'Anamnesis' the sound is immensely pretty if not heftily original, although the character- filled vocals are sometimes spine- tingling. It may not be entirely their sound, but Woods Of Desolation are certainly putting their own spin on it. 

Key Track: Unfold
For Fans Of: Deafheaven, Austere


New Sounds: Trois Vanguard- Searching


Elusive New Orleans MC Trois Vanguard and I have been in touch over the past year or so, and with every new track he's sent me he seems to prove his worth a little bit more. The latest track to drop from his arsenal, 'Searching' is a titanic track that revolves around a layered, epic and beautiful trap- style beat headed up by some gorgeous orchestral arrangements and rhythmic synth bleeps. As always though, it's Trois' wordplay that makes him stand out. Not only does he ride the beat well, but his distinctly poetic, somewhat philosophical delivery is almost always captivating. "Taste the boiled wishbone, down to the marrow, push the titanic through an alleyway that's narrow" he raps, before asserting later on "angles, getting strangled here in Babylon, just like dreams get tangled here in Babylon." 

I've still not heard any word about a full- length album or mixtape from Trois, but I certainly hope it'll be coming soon. You can stream the track via the youtube link below, and make sure you do! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

New Sounds: BADBADNOTGOOD- Can't Leave The Night

Ace Canadian instrumentalists BADBADNOTOOD have dropped 'Can't Leave The Night', the beautiful first cut from their upcoming third album 'III.' Famed for their jazzy interpretations of Hip Hop beats on their previous two full- lengths, 'Can't Leave The Night' is a wonderful nugget of original material that embraces all the dark and mysterious character the title suggests. The deliriously tight drumming is well back in the fold, and the song is lead by both surreptitious organic bass playing as well as wobbling electronic bass hums and revolving synth bleeps. Over it all cascades the star- gazing, euphoric but somehow creepy lead keyboard melody. All the time the band cement once again just how great with dynamics they are, as they constantly flit between steady calm and explosive climaxes. 

'III' is due to be released on May 6th via Innovative Leisure Records. 

New Sounds: Ought- Habit

Eccentric Indie rock quartet Ought are releasing their debut full- length album "More Than Any Other Day" on April 29th and as a precursor to the release they've premiered the track 'Habit'. The track is a gorgeous, slightly spectral and wordy 6 minute piece of excellence that's as sumptuously charming as it is attractively narrative. A shimmering, fractious but summery guitar melody resides over a subtly driving bass and strong- armed drum rhythm, although it's frontman Tim Beeler's lyrics that take the fore here. His half- spoken vocals are laced with David Byrne- esque wit and character and he sounds more deranged as the track continues, repeating "I FEEL A HABIT FORMING" wildly over a noisy wilderness as the track closes. 

"More Than Any Other Day" will be released on April 29th via Montreal record label Constellation Records. You can stream 'Habit' via the soundcloud link below. 

The Satanist

Artist: Behemoth

Album: The Satanist

Record Label: Nuclear Blast

Behemoth's latest opus is an absolutely stunning album in which the Polish legends encapsulate emotion and power like they never have before

It's an observation lost on no one that some of the greatest inspiration for any form of art comes from pain. From William Blake to Sylvia Plath to My Dying Bride, obsessions with the morbid and deranged, whether inspired by real life events or not, have proceeded some of their most potent work.

Polish Blackened Death Metal veterans Behemoth (who to any fans of extreme music are unlikely to need an introduction) have spent 25 years bringing their darkest yearnings to the fore in increasingly extreme fashion, but on 'The Satanist' the roots of their ascension run much deeper. The record was written in the aftermath of frontman Nergal's battle with a horrific implosion of Leukemia a few years ago. 'The Satanist' is an album that not only palms Nergal's struggle for emotional, heavy handed effect, but also uses it to see the band garner a renewed sense of clarity, vision and power. In short, it's an absolute monster.

One of the things that has made Behemoth such a groundbreaking force over the years is their unassailably brutal fusion of Black and Death Metal, a fusion which in their hands has often been seamless. As their career has continued though, the grandiosity of the Black Metal inflection has become ever sharper, and that can be defined no better than by some of the compositions on 'The Satanist'. Songs like the furious 'Furor Divinus' and 'Amen,' with its terrifying background thug of synth and machine- gun kick drum antics represent Behemoth at their most unrelenting, but it's the enormity and melody of most of the songs here that make them so towering.

Lead off single and album opener 'Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel' is laced with thunderous atmosphere. "I watched the virgin's cunt, spewing forth the snake" offers Nergal, immediately showing that he's lost none of his enthrallment to the dark powers that be. After a tirade of vicious blastbeats the song is drawn to a close by a genuinely beautiful, glacial brass- fueled overture.

'Messe Noir' flits between a slow, pummeling crawl and a dizzying, head pounding blitzkrieg and ends on a soaring note, whilst 'Pro Ora Nubis Lucifer' revels in melody via its teeth gritting pace and gorgeous tremolo picking. "For thine is the kingdom, and the power... Forever" bellows Nergal in righteous fettle.

Nothing savours impact quite like 'In The Absence Ov Light' though, which is at all turns moving, furious and cathartic. "It burns with fever, deep within my soul" howls the frontman painfully in reference to his feud with cancer. The song's mid- section is an excursion imbued with a distant, beacon- esque saxophone, and although Nergal delivers the spoken word vocals in his native Polish, it utilizes all the presence and atmosphere available to it.

The closer 'O Father O Satan O Sun!' cascades and soars with all the enormous hope of a man who has climbed out of a deep pit with a new, level- headed clarity. The monologue that closes the track is similar in character to Hamlet's last dialect and thus borders on melodrama, but it's a fitting end to an album that truly sounds like it was forged by Satan (or some other divine darkness) himself.

And so 'The Satanist' draws to a close and one finds themselves breathing a deep sigh; not a sigh of relief, but of absolute breathlessness in the presence of such musical and emotional power.


Key tracks: In The Absence Ov Light, Ora Pro Nubis Lucifer, Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, The Satanist
For fans of: Vader, Marduk, Satyricon