Monday, December 30, 2013

best of 2013 - part one.





crafting end of the year lists is frustrating, especially because there are always a few critics and bloggers who decry the given year as one of the worst ever for new music.

but incredible music comes out every year, and if you don't believe that, you're just not looking hard enough.

here are my favorite splits, cassettes, and non-extreme albums that came out this year.

each list is in no particular order.

my top twenty metal and noise releases will follow tomorrow.


top ten splits.
1. ames sanglantes / alberich
2. akitsa / ash pool
3. aylwin / stellar descent
4. a pregnant light / deeper wells
5. the rita / caligula031
6. sun worship / unru
7. vestiges / panopticon
8. torturing nurse / the rita / safe / vomir
9. botanist / palace of worms
10. mare cognitum / spectral lore


top ten cassettes.
1. cremation lily - it's ok to say no
2. the rita - retrospective two
3. werewolf jerusalem - curse of the crimson altar
4. paysage d'hiver - das tor
5. vomir - en dehors, en rien
6. dressed in streams - the search for blood
7. various artists - svn okklt
8. blodvite - falskt spektrum
9. various artists - frozen in time
10. a pregnant light - domination harmony


top ten non-extreme releases.
1. the uncluded - hokey fright
2. queens of the stone age - ...like clockwork
3. autechre - exai
4. man's gin - rebellion hymns
5. vatican shadow - remember your black day
6. boards of canada - tomorrow's harvest
7. run the jewels - run the jewels
8. shane carruth - upstream color original soundtrack
9. lux interna - there is light in the body, there is blood in the sun
10. croatian amor - the world





Thursday, December 26, 2013

various artists - frozen in time.



Various Artists  - Frozen In Time: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman

1:54:51

 73.48 MB + 73.46 MB + 74.46 MB

1. Persistence In Mourning - Dualitet (A Modernist Horror)
2. Fear Konstruktor - Walls Of The Mind
3. Swamp Horse - Reflections Of A Life Wasted
4. Terence Hannum - I Dreamed That I Was Sleeping
5. Terence Hannum - I Dreamed That I Was Dreaming
6. Ryan Unks - Untitled
7. King Dude - Untitled



from the moment I heard about this release, I thought it must have been created solely with me and my blog in mind. obviously that isn't the case, but I knew I'd have to share it with all of you nonetheless.

this compilation comes courtesy of black horizons, a label specializing in the noisier side of dark ambient. musically and aesthetically, this whole package is absolutely first-rate - the booklet is absolutely beautiful, the music is dark perfection, and it all coalesces in a way that few releases could even dream of.

but the most special aspect of this release is that each side doubles as a score to twenty minutes of a separate ingmar bergman film. and since my love for bergman's work is well-documented, if that isn't right up my alley, well, I don't know what is. included in the liner notes are the the times at which to begin these secondary scores and I highly suggest you all give at least a couple of them a shot.

and even if you have no desire to ever sync any of these tapes up with their respective films, the music and packaging themselves are more than worth the price. terrence hannum is a member of locrian, swamp horse released a tape on handmade birds a couple of years ago, and persistence in mourning were also featured on the séance compilation from worthless recordings that I posted back in february.

easily one of the most thought-provoking and beautifully designed releases of the year, this one deserves a place in every metallic imagery reader's collection.


(buy a copy from black horizons.)



(sides a and b.)

(sides c and d.)

(sides e and f.)




Sunday, December 22, 2013

ostots - arantzen putzuan.



Ostots - Arantzen Putzuan

21:17

40.61 MB

1. Arantzen Dorrea
2. Basiliskoaren Putzua
3. Bakardadearen Iluntasuna Aztertzen
4. Ekaitz Bortitzen Sentimenak



I've been a fan of one-man spanish band ostots ever since first hearing their split with black howling that was released by legion blotan in 2011. they have a great raw sound filled to the brim with catchy riffs played at a breakneck pace.

but the music always feels controlled and exact, and this lets those riffs and melodies shine through that rawness with a real radiance.

this tape, their first for fallow field, was released in september and quickly sold out. a few distros copies became available through total black, and that's how one finally ended up in my hands.

although I've heard that at least one copy contained several skips and drop-outs, my copy seems to be free of any defects and as such, I've made it available for all of you. there are three meaty compositions followed by one instrumental outro track that brings it all to a surprisingly mellow close.

if you've somehow missed out on ostots up until now, track down as much of their past material as you can get your hands on - this is a great band that will only get better from here.

the same goes for fallow field - do not sleep on anything this label releases. both the music and packaging get very high marks and everything I've heard so far has been well worth the effort.




(for preview purposes only.)




Sunday, December 15, 2013

the rita - shooting sharks.



The Rita - Shooting Sharks

9:45

18.64 MB

1. Untitled
2. Untitled


it's the rita - what more do you need to know?

"all source sounds sampled from european westerns and shark hunting films."

of course you'd never know that just listening to it - everything here is completely decayed far beyond recognition.

this is ten short but brutal minutes from a master of the genre - don't hesitate.

copies are available for not-unreasonable prices on discogs.



(for preview purposes only.)




Thursday, December 12, 2013

:m: - la nauseé.



:m: - La Nauseé

37:25

72.54 MB

1. Memento Mori
2. Inanity
3. Wipe The Existential Slate Clean
4. Malaise


another tape from the first batch of december fusty cunt releases, here is "la nauseé" the debut full-length recording by :m:. unlike most fusty cunt tapes that feature brightly colored collage-style artwork, this release features completely different packaging altogether.

each copy of this album comes inside a small black ziplock-style bag with a card adorned with track titles, all tucked inside of a black envelope. it's an excellent package that not only compliments the music perfectly, but helps get you in the right state of mind before pressing play.

the music itself is harsh but hypnotic, not unlike a lot of HNW. make no mistake, this is not HNW, but it definitely does bear a passing resemblance - tracks two and three, especially.

copies should still be available directly from the label, just shoot them an email with which tapes you want and you'll get a prompt response. it's not easy as buying from a web store but it's much more personal, and I think that's the point.

this is an excellent release with some great packaging, and as with any fusty cunt release, you'd all be foolish to pass up the chance to grab one.



(buy a copy from fusty cunt.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Friday, December 6, 2013

âmes sanglantes - a refusal to bow down to mankind.



Âmes Sanglantes - A Refusal To Bow Down To Mankind

23:53

46.3 MB

1. Culmination Of A Gradual Distancing From God
2. The Mortal Life Is A Probationary State



an obvious gem from fusty cunt's first batch of december releases, "a refusal to bow down to mankind," is the latest from pierre-marc tremblay's âmes sanglantes project.

it goes without saying that I'm a huge fan of p.m. tremblay's many different projects, so I couldn't pass up the chance to grab a copy of his newest release.

and it certainly does not disappoint. this is nearly twenty-four minutes of incredibly harsh and brutal power electronics, the likes of which I have not heard in a while. tremblay does away with any hints of melody from previous âmes sanglantes releases and kicks the noise level up to eleven.

this is power electronics of the highest caliber, and I strongly suggest you all pick up a copy. it's yet another essential release from an essential artist on an essential label.



(buy a copy from fusty cunt.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Friday, November 29, 2013

vice wears black hose - part 6.




Vice Wears Black Hose - Part 6

1:58:53

110.99 MB + 110.96 MB

1. Untitled
2. Untitled
3. Untitled
4. Untitled


this is just the latest entry in sam mckinlay and richard ramirez's long-running collaboration, vice wears black hose, released in a gorgeous double cassette package by new forces in 2011.

obviously, you all should know those two men from the rita and werewolf jerusalem, respectively, as well as dozens of other projects and collaborations. along with vomir, they truly define this sound and anything they put out is guaranteed to be worth your time.

check out a few clips from a rare live performance here, and do your best to support not just this project but the artists' others as well - even if it's only through second-hand purchases on discogs. and also be on the lookout for anything from new forces - they put together great packages from a variety of artists.



(sides a and b.)


(sides c and d.)




Saturday, November 23, 2013

recluse - demo.



Recluse - Demo

13:23

25.08 MB

1. Exsanguinary Purification
2. Erect Holy Strangulation
3. No Way Out


the first demo from recluse is finally upon us, and boy does it ever slay. I had heard this was in the works a while ago, and thankfully my friend ben over at black metal and brews informed me that it had in fact been released.

it should come as no surprise that this demo is absolutely fantastic - but what else would you expect from a group that contains key members of loss and cobalt, both standouts on profound lore's incredible roster?

cobalt's representative here is phil mcsorley, who turns in a much more raw but no less furious vocal performance than with his primary band.

the other half of recluse is mike meacham, better known at the vocalist and guitarist from loss, whose debut full-length was released by profound lore two years ago.

as much as we'd all love new records from both loss and cobalt, one listen to this demo is enough to (momentarily) put those desires on hold, replaced by a need for this new project to truly come to fruition on a full-length. there's a staggering amount of potential here and I really hope that meacham and mcsorley continue to explore this new path they've created.

copies are still available from the label, so grab one immediately from the link below. while graceless recordings might not sound immediately familiar, they put out the first edition of the incredible lycus demo, so they obviously know their stuff. plus, their distro has a great selection of imports from artists like verglas and clandestine blaze.

don't hesitate, just buy a copy of this tape for your collection - it's easily one of the best demos of the year.



(buy a copy from graceless recordings.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Sunday, November 17, 2013

an innocent young throat-cutter - it kills and devours the male.



An Innocent Young Throat-Cutter - It Kills And Devours The Male

3:03:35

 170.66 MB + 170.81 MB

1. Hanno Cambiato Faccia
2. The Smile Of The Hyena
3. At The Front Of The Pool
4. Death Calls At Ten



it kills and devours the male, a brand-new collection of HNW from richard ramirez and cristiano renzoni, comes courtesy of meaning corrupted, a new label dedicated to the most extreme audio around. they've already released material from blue sabbath black cheer and pig heart transplant, and have upcoming releases from werewolf jerusalem and black leather jesus.

this double cassette from ramirez and renzoni's an innocent young throat-cutter is easily the most epic of meaning corrupted's first dozen releases - I mean, did you see that time up there? this is more than three hours of completely unforgiving harsh noise wall spread across two cassettes.

textures run the gamut from soft to jagged to everything in between, and the last track is definitely my favorite - it has a warmth to it, as if there's a really distant synth tone operating on a subconscious level beneath the waves of static.

a true endurance test, it's going to be tough for most people to make it through this whole album in one sitting - after all, each track could be an album in and of itself - but for fans of ramirez's other work, as well as fans of renzoni's work as alo girl, this is an obvious purchase.

this one is long sold out from the label, so get in touch with ramirez to grab a copy for yourself. it's a great value and your hard-earned dollars will help to support an independent artist and a fledgling label.

don't pass this one up.



(sides a and b.)


(sides c and d.)




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

various artists - field tales.



Various Artists - Field Tales

2:36:45

98.51 MB + 99.73 MB + 92.38 MB

1. Mania - Natural Feelings Of Repugnance
2. Satori - Re-Infect
3. Whorebutcher - The Simplest Truth
4. Control - Abduction
5. Streicher - Teutonicus Furor
6. Diagram: A - Demonstration #9
7. Circuit Wound - Everything Turns Grey
8. Atrax Morgue - Myself As A Corpse
9. Priest In Shit - Language In Shit
10. Âmes Sanglantes - Strikeback
11. Macronympha - Harvest
12. Furisubi - X
13. Grunt - Fist Of Attention
14. The Teeth - Hidden Sex
15. The Urge Within - Rostov Killing Fields
16. The Grey Wolves - Mile High Suicide Squad
17. Slow Death - Skin Penetrating
18. Survival Unit - Born Into Slavery
19. Stegm - Chanteuse/Spring Thaw
20. Disease Management - Breadwinner
21. Prurient - Afflicted With Disease
22. Control - Demise
23. Nicole 12 - Teen Romance



I'm sure many of you have heard of this compilation, but I'm sure not nearly as many have actually heard the wonders contained within. released more than a decade ago by a very familiar, very excellent record label, field tales is a crucial document in the history of not only that label, but of modern noise music as well. I'm proud to say that I finally own a copy and I'm unbelievably excited to be able to share it with all of you.

just take one look at that track list - further encouragement shouldn't be necessary. mania, atrax morgue, prurient, âmes sanglantes, nicole 12, grunt, macronympha - honestly, what else can I say to make it more obvious that this is an essential release? the sounds here range from harsh to ambient, and the sequencing, as with all compilations from this label, is perfect.

released in 2002, this compilation spans three c60 cassettes that all come in the standard thin vinyl case we all know and love, with an insert featuring collage-style artwork. if you've got the cash, don't hesitate - buy a copy right now.

a couple are sitting on discogs so grab one before they disappear.



(sides a and b.)

(sides c and d.)

(sides e and f.)




Sunday, November 10, 2013

year one: a retrospective.




so it's officially been one year since I started this blog. 

I don't even know what to say.

in some ways it feels like I've had this blog forever; in others it feels like I just started it yesterday.

I've heard so much great music and made so many new friends in the past year that it's almost staggering. no, not almost - it's genuinely staggering. and I'd like to thank every reader, every fellow blogger, every record label, and every artist who's supported me and helped this blog to not only garner more than fifty thousand views over the last year, but to truly make me feel like a member of the community.

seriously, thank you.

all of this writing has also forced me to take a deeper look at not just the music, but the films, books, and artwork that I enjoy as well. I've become more engaged with all of the art that means so much to me and that's definitely something I didn't anticipate.

things have changed for me quite a bit since I started this blog. my girlfriend and I have left los angeles and moved back east, and I've really reconnected with why I started making art in the first place. I have a job that I love, I feel good, and all of you are a part of that. one of the downsides to all of these positive changes has been the lack of posts lately, and for that I simply can't apologize enough. but here's the catch: I'm actually making real money now and can afford things that I previously couldn't - rare things, things not available digitally.

rest assured that those things will be coming soon. 

and I can't wait to share them.

the purpose of metallic imagery remains unwavering - to help share the best music that's not available anywhere else online, to share my own art, and to share other works of art that mean so much to me. I'm proud to have stuck to this raison d'etre for the first year, and I'm genuinely excited for all that the future holds.

I can't wait to share some of my own work that has been gestating for entirely too long, and I can't wait to share more incredible material from all of the labels and artists that I've gotten to know and come to love so much.

creating and maintaining this blog has opened my eyes in so many ways. I hope it's done the same for you.

and continues to do so.

for a long time to come.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

atrax morgue - esthetik of a corpse.



Atrax Morgue - Esthetik Of A Corpse

50:31

91.75 MB

1. Esthetik of A Corpse
2. Talkin' To A Decapitated Head
3. Post Mortem Attack
4. Necroactivity 2
5. Talkin' To A Decapitated Head 2
6. Sex Organs In Formaldeide
7. Dr. Rosenberg Report
 8. Bloodbath For My Cock
9. Dedicated to Karen G.
10. Dissektion
11. Negative Forces
12. 5x Eyeballs In Her Mouth
13. Untitled
14. Last Orgasm Before Death



marco corbelli was an italian noise pioneer. he put out dozens of releases over more than two decades via his own slaughter productions label before killing himself in 2007.

if you're unfamiliar with him and his work, remedy that right now. several of atrax morgue's full-length tapes have been recently reissued on vinyl by urashima. they're all sold out from the source but check discogs and various independent distros.

I think all current links for this one around the web are inactive, so here's a new one for anyone who doesn't already have this landmark release.



(for preview purposes only.)




Sunday, November 3, 2013

formative films double feature - lost highway & mulholland drive.
















Lost Highway (1997) & Mulholland Drive (2001)

Dir: David Lynch


yes, I couldn't choose between either of these films.

but since they're so thematically similar, one might even say that one is the natural evolution of the other, I felt it fitting to post them together.

and they were both instrumental in my development as both a cinematologist and a filmmaker.


------


after I first saw lost highway on VHS in 1997 and the ending credits began to roll, I had absolutely no idea what I had just seen.

really.

granted, I was only thirteen - but this was the first time I had finished a film and felt that I knew even less about it than when I started. actors changed, names changed, timelines changed and, perhaps most terrifying of all, marilyn manson made a cameo appearance.

but, more importantly, I wanted to know more. I wanted to figure out this puzzle, the pieces of which david lynch had scattered before me. and thanks in large part to its' great soundtrack, lost highway stayed with me for many years.


nearly five years later, lynch released mulholland drive, and for the first time since lost highway, I again felt completely bewildered when leaving the theater. except now I was older. now I was taking film as an art form more seriously. and I took it upon myself to solve the puzzle.

and the key to both films' puzzling plotlines is the difference between the people we all want to be, and the people that we are.

both lost highway and mulholland drive revolve around characters who desperately wish, with every fiber of their beings, to be different people with different lives than the ones they've found themselves in. they wish they were more physically attractive, more charismatic, more talented, more of anything that would help them feel more fulfilled and happy with their lives and themselves.


and lynch's true gift is taking that internal desire and translating it in a way that affects each character's external world. fred madison doesn't literally turn into pete dayton - it's all just externalized wish-fulfillment. in both films, though, this desire for a new self is never strong enough to deny reality.

always pushing in, always getting closer, reality slowly invades both dreams worlds and eventually forces them to come crashing down. sometimes it's a person, sometimes it's just an object - a simple key in the case of mulholland drive - but those recurring reminders jam themselves into the psyche's cracks, forcing themselves deeper and deeper until the illusion just doesn't hold up anymore.



that brings me to yet another reason why I love lynch's films so much - no matter how weird or esoteric the situations and characters become, the desire to be someone better than who you are is a universal fantasy, hard-wired into the brains of every human being.

no matter how successful you are or how happy you are with your life, everyone's had at least one situation that they'd like to do differently, or one aspect of who they are that they'd like to change. some people daydream about being more assertive in their professional lives, some fantasize about following their dreams, but we all want to better in some way.


it's precisely this discrepancy between reality and fantasy that lynch dramatizes and explores so brilliantly. he stretches it to extreme levels until it consumes his characters and they end up destroying not only themselves but too many others in their lives, as well. these characters aren't necessarily bad people - they just push themselves deeper and deeper into difficult situations until there's no other way out.

as such, neither of these films has a happy ending. and if we wanted to add yet another layer to this discussion, we can look at the film that lynch made between lost highway and mulholland drive: the straight story, a G-rated film about a simple man with none of the frustrations that possess any of these other characters. the result is a heartwarming film, a stark contrast to the anger and self-destruction that runs through so much of lynch's other work.


there's a very logical conclusion to be reached here: lynch is presenting these films as cautionary tales about how insecurities can only hinder who we are and, at their worst, result in the pain and suffering of those we love. so instead, we must let these daydreams remain just that - momentary fantasies and wishful thinking.

become comfortable with the person you are; don't let yourself be consumed by the desire to change traits that are immutable.




(buy a copy of lost highway on dvd from amazon.)


(buy a copy of mulholland drive on dvd from amazon.)




Thursday, October 24, 2013

herukrat.




it's been a few months since I mentioned the first digital-only release by herukrat, one of the founders of the svn okklt blog. since then, he's not only put out three more releases, but two physical cassettes as well.

while similar in some ways, both cassettes have some striking differences that show not only a wide range of influences, but also a wide range of talents that combine to make herukrat a name to watch in the noise scene.

and he's got the approval of the rita's sam mckinlay, so what better endorsement could you need?

_____



Herukrat - Alleviation Prayer

45:01


the first cassette, alleviation prayer, collects tracks from the second demo and places them alongside several all-new recordings. packaged as a single cassette in an oversized case with an insert, alleviation prayer was the debut release from the new svn okklt label.

I don't know how or why, but for some reason it's not yet sold out from the fallen empire store, so grab one ASAP - there are only ninety-three in existence.

_____



Herukrat - Anna Karina

28:31


the second physical release, anna karina, replaced the previous power electronics material with a more vomir/the rita-inspired harsh noise wall approach. much like mckinlay's work, this recording takes audio from various sources, then decays and degrades them until they become coarse, multi-layered waves of static.

with a classic fixture of the french new wave as it's subject, this release will not only appeal to the harsh noise wall fans out there, but the film fanatics as well who are searching for new ways to view the material they've loved for so many years.

this package is unfortunately long sold-out, so keep an eye on discogs and maybe one will show up.

_____


be sure to stop by the herukrat bandcamp page to stream and download both of these releases, as well as the first two demos. everything is available on a pay-what-you-like basis, so if you're not going to buy a physical version, please throw at least a few dollars toward the artist to show him your appreciation.

every little bit helps to encourage him to not only keep creating, but to keep releasing his work to the public. and this is a project that we should all hope continues for many years to come.

lastly, check out an interview with the man himself here.




Saturday, October 19, 2013

venus star - nigredo expulsion.



Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

31:54

60.9 MB

1. Trans-Plutonic Traffic
2. Dark Feathers
3. Extrance
4. Underworld Splendour
5. New Aeon Comes
6. Resume the Bestial World
7. Breathing Diamond Sky
8. Ash and Fire
9. It Is Not There
10. Daggers



after hearing recommendations from both fallen empire and analog worship, I knew I had to seek out venus star's newest LP. but since I haven't had a permanent address in close to two months, I couldn't order a copy. fortunately, I was lucky enough to grab one of the last copies from hell's headbangers and it arrived at my new apartment just a few days ago.

it took a few different rips to arrive at this version, but it was worth it. this is an excellent record, and side two (tracks 6-10) is where it really picks up. this finnish band knows their way around a riff and it shows here more than ever before.

this one unfortunately seems to be sold out everywhere, but a few copies are available on discogs.



(for preview purposes only.)




Monday, October 7, 2013

la vierge de nurembourg.



Torturing Nurse / The Rita / Safe / Vomir - La Vierge De Nurembourg

35:06

66.77 MB

1. Torturing Nurse - Eliminate (Part I)
2. Torturing Nurse - Eliminate (Part II)
3. The Rita - Diving Knives
4. The Rita - US Divers Vulcan/US Divers Aqua Lung
5. Safe - The Cooling Earth Trail (Part I)
6. Safe - The Cooling Earth Trail (Part II)
7. Vomir - Nothing Is No Title (Part I)
8. Vomir - Nothing Is No Title (Part II)



this four-way split comes courtesy of ireland's dot dot dot music, a record label specializing in the harshest of noise. run by paul hagerty, a member of safe, dot dot dot has been putting out releases on and off for close to ten years now, including material from merzbow and prurient.

but this one, in my humble opinion, is their crowning achievement - four translucent red 7" records inside of a slim plastic case with a full-color insert.

at least a couple of these artists should need no introduction - vomir and the rita have been featured and discussed here ad nauseam. so instead of wasting anymore time, just pick up a copy asap. honestly, don't even bother listening to the rip I've posted below.

just buy it and be proud to own this fantastic collaborative work.









Wednesday, September 25, 2013

dommedagssalme - terra.



Dommedagssalme - Terra

38:19

71.73 MB

1. Nadir
2. Ruins
3. Deathwill
4. Terra
5. Flesh


please allow me to apologize once more for the lack of posts recently. at first it was because of our cross-country move. but then only two weeks after getting back, I got a new job...definitely didn't think it would be that fast.

anyway, said job is extremely time-consuming, strenuous, and stressful, especially with two large events on the horizon. paired with a three-hour commute, I've had little energy to devote to music at all, let alone ripping, listening, and writing. and that doesn't even touch the longer film-related pieces. the material is there, I just have to get to it...and I will. once the job settles down and we move into our new apartment, I'll not only have more time but more energy as well.

and that (fingers crossed) should be no more than two weeks away.

---

dommedagssalme is a perennial favorite here and one listen to any of john marshall's releases should tell you why. his simultaneously conventional yet fresh approach to black metal just sounds great - little hints of melody, epically tormented vocals, and great arrangements all combine to bring a new sound to what is otherwise a very traditional formula.

his work on terra, a demo released in 2008 via legion blotan, brings a slightly different sound and production value than was heard on the more recent tape that I last posted. the mix is drastically different, with the guitars (and synths?) right up front, then the vocals, then the drums that seem to be buried particularly deep.

the resulting sound bears a striking resemblance to drone and *gasp* shoegaze. but this is still black metal at heart, with plenty of fuzzed-out riffs, furious drum parts, and tortured vocals. copies are available via legion blotan at the link below - just scroll down a little, everything's in alphabetical order.



(buy a copy from legion blotan.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Monday, September 16, 2013

werewolf jerusalem - curse of the crimson altar.



Werewolf Jerusalem - Curse Of The Crimson Altar

1:30:22

168.91 MB

1. Crimson Cult
2. Craxted Lodge
3. The Arrival
4. Lavinia Morley
5. The Witch House
6. Burned To The Ground


I've been waiting so long to post this one, and I'm glad the time has finally come.

this massive triple cassette box set comes courtesy of the one and only total black, and the sound contained within is so much more harsh and unforgiving than the previous werewolf jerusalem release I posted that it's almost staggering.

these three cassettes come in a vinyl clamshell case with an insert. the stark black and white imagery is a perfect compliment to the HNW contained within. as I stated above, this is an hour and a half of some of the most brutal and unforgiving noise I've heard in a while, and it absolutely demands to be listened to on a great pair of headphones.

each track has a completely different mood and tone than the last which, let's be honest, isn't frequently the case with harsh noise wall. some tracks are incredibly dense, others are much more sparse. but regardless of the specific track, there's an omnipresent sense of doom, despair, and darkness. a feeling of foreboding, that danger is closing in. it's that very aura that makes me both love and fear this album, and also why I keep returning to it over and over again.

so do yourself a favor - first, buy a copy from brett at total black. then pop the first tape into your deck, put on a good pair of headphones, kill all of the lights, and press play. you'll be pulled into an almost psychedelic world of sonic distortion and destruction from which you will not emerge unscathed.

if this isn't one of the best harsh noise releases of the year, I don't know what is.




(buy a copy from total black.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

maussade - trouver la paix.



Maussade - Trouver La Paix

27:54

52.07 MB

1. Trouver Le Paix


my third release from NSN, maussade's trouver la paix ((tr: "to find peace") is another slab of epic harsh noise wall, right along the lines of en dehors, en rien.

it's nearly thirty minutes of dense, heavily textured noise. listening to this over headphones reveals a lot of layers here, almost too many to process, but in the end it's a great release. on a slight tangent, now that I'm back in new york city (and working, I might add), I've been listening to everything on headphones much more frequently. maybe it's because I'm so drained from my much more busy schedule, but harsh noise wall has taken on a much more psychedelic quality, inducing what might be auditory hallucinations. I hear little details, melodies, and voices that are probably not there, instead invented by my brain based on the influx of disparate sounds these recordings provide.

needless to say, be sure to listen to this and any other harsh noise wall recordings via headphones whenever possible.

moving on...my only complaint, and it's not with the album or artist at all, is that NSN's releases are just too hard to find. criminally hard to find, in fact, and if it wasn't for total black's small but excellent distro selection, I wouldn't have heard two of the three that I've posted here.

regardless, always be on the lookout for anything from this stellar label. two are available via discogs, so do what you can to support them until mailorder resumes.



(for preview purposes only.)




Saturday, September 7, 2013

qulielfi - forgetter.



Qulielfi - Forgetter

39:39

75.71 MB

1. The Black Earth Will Hide You
2. Hekas Hekas Este Bebeloi (Phibionite Orthodoxy)
3. The Bees Are In My Head
4. Plain Of Aletheia Plain Of Truth
5. Where There Are Men There Are Devils
6. Elemental Energies Of An Extremely Hostile Type
7. The Lost Kala



this one definitely caught me by surprise. a relatively new release from universal consciousness, "forgetter," the debut recording from qulielfi, is an interesting beast - a partially electric, partially acoustic black metal album.

and I don't mean acoustic interludes or passages, I mean tracks of almost full-on acoustic black metal. there are a few electrified riffs buried under the static, but the overall sound is pervasive, otherworldly, and strangely enthralling.

there's a very tribal quality to the drums as well that give the entire album a very hypnotic feel - it quickly lulls you into a trance and before you know it, the tape is over. and I mean that in a very positive way - it's something that I immediately wanted to return to and investigate further.

the sound is so familiar yet so alien. I'm sure there are other acoustic-oriented black metal bands out there, and maybe I've even heard some of them, but "forgetter" made me "forget" all about them (pun very much intended).

as with all universal consciousness releases, this one is gorgeous to behold. copies come with either a gold or purple cover, with the artist and title both letter-pressed on. the tape is clear with on-body print and clearly labeled sides. all in all, it's a real class act.

I believe copies are still available through the label so be sure to grab one. and while you're at it, pick up whatever releases you might be missing. universal consciousness has yet to disappoint.



(buy a copy from universal consciousness.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Monday, September 2, 2013

werewolf jerusalem - hand of the gallows.



Werewolf Jerusalem - Hand Of The Gallows

39:42

73.61 MB

1. The Door With Seven Locks
2. Death Drums Along The Rivers



with four new releases, monorail trespassing remains one of the strongest noise and avant-garde labels in the game. excellent packaging, quality tapes, and artists ranging from veterans to newcomers all combine to make for a very strong label.

this release is by noise veteran werewolf jerusalem, also known as richard ramirez. while I haven't posted any of his work under this moniker yet, I have posted some of his work as black leather jesus and an innocent young throat-cutter. any fans of ramirez's previous work as werewolf jerusalem will be familiar with the style of this tape - droning, minimalist static. it's not quite harsh noise wall, but it's close; there's a little more variation to the noise here than, say, works by vomir or the rita.

it's a little more ambient than the other werewolf jerusalem recordings I've heard and thus would make great background music for whatever you might be doing.

I don't think it's available on the monorail trespassing site just yet, but it should be soon. if you're desperate for one now, though, get in touch with ramirez himself and he might be able to send you a copy.

and don't forget to check out the man's bandcamp page - it's filled with recordings spanning many years and many different projects, and there are hours upon hours of material to keep your ears occupied.

also, I've got another werewolf jerusalem post coming soon...so, you know, stay tuned.



(buy a copy from monorail trespassing.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Thursday, August 29, 2013

violent pink - in currents.



Violent Pink - In Currents

27:31

51.94 MB

1. Father/Pasture
2. Cambridge/Letter
3. River
4. Dalton
5. Currents
6. Sister



released by waterpower in 2011, violent pink's in currents is nearly thirty minutes of stirring and grating power electronics. squalls of static merge with caustic, hate-filled vocals over this double-cassette box set to form a troubled, apocalyptic vista.

the artwork and packaging are up there with the other waterpower releases - stark, minimal black and white artwork with an equally minimal insert.

I really don't have too much to say about this one. if you've enjoyed any of waterpower's previous releases, this is a no-brainer. and if you're somehow unfamiliar with the label, this is as good a place to start as any. fans of cremation lily, as well as prurient's more harsh work, will feel right at home here.

it's sold out from the label but check out discogs - it's surprisingly affordable.




(for preview purposes only.)




Sunday, August 25, 2013

wet nurse - victim of apology letter.


Wet Nurse - Victim Of Apology Letter

9:49

18.26 MB

1. A Rose Amongst Thorns
2. Deflowered


winnipeg-based noise label male activity isn't shooting to the top quite as quickly as, say, total black, but this still-fledgling label is slowly but surely churning out some really solid tapes with increasingly excellent packaging. after being pleased with the previous tape I picked up, my friend at black metal and brews reviewed a couple of the newer ones and inspired me to make another purchase.

this tape, limited to just twenty copies, is a short-but-sweet ten minutes of haunting noise with some nicely layered vocals. the first track has an industrial edge, with male and female vocals in a call-and-response pattern. the second track is a little more ambient and features only the male vocals, and compliments the first track perfectly.

the packaging, as mentioned above, is excellent. the tape and info card come in a sealed, oversized envelope with a handful of dried flower petals and stems. it perfectly captures (and adds to) the mournful, depressed atmosphere of the music.

there are two other wet nurse releases on male activity, one of which is available from the label, the other of which is sold out and thus only available on discogs. this release, and many other male activity tapes, are shockingly cheap and would all make great additions to any collection.



(buy a copy from male activity.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Thursday, August 22, 2013

house of leaves - a critical analysis.



House Of Leaves

by
Mark Z. Danielewski


as promised a few days ago, here is a look at one of my favorite books. much like any of my "formative films" or any album that left an indelible mark on me, I remember exactly when and where I first experienced mark z. danielewski's house of leaves. as luck would have it, this was also around the time that I started listen to heavier and more extreme music. my own art, while always dark, began to take on a much more deliberate and calculated nature, not leaving anything to chance or circumstance.

but my personal connection to this book and it's influence on my own work is not the subject of this post. instead, I'm going to take a look at what the book itself says about the fields of film and literary theory and criticism. through the use of varying typography, footnotes linking to obscure and diverse philosophical texts, and critical interpretations of "the navidson record," what is danielewski saying about the world of academia? what is he saying about those who critique instead of create?

like any great work of art, house of leaves can be taken at face-value and appreciated as nothing more than a fantastic, multi-layered story filled with complex characters and a mind-bogglingly creative setting. when one begins to peel back the layers, not just those of story but those of structure, the book slowly reveals itself as a critical reaction to the varied fields of art criticism. as any fan of danielweski knows, the guy is smart. and not just in the "tortured genius artist" kind of way - he's incredibly well-read, and knows every different class of film theory, from psychoanalytic to apparatus to auteur. having studied literature at yale and cinema at USC, he has no excuse not to know these differing theories. but unlike most cinematologists and literary critics, he's a creator, not just an interpreter. 

the foremost problem with most theoretical and critical disciplines is simple and yet frighteningly important: most critics do not create. they learn to analyze, interpret, hypothesize, and reach conclusions without any idea of what goes in to the actual creation of that piece of art they're so quick to categorize. as a cinematologist myself, I can attest to this firsthand: while at tisch, in the cinema studies department, there are no required production or dramatic writing classes. every core class is based around theoretical interpretations of genre, director, era, you name it - but it's just theory. there's no significant look at the tools (and people) that go into the making of these films and, as such, no one ever learns about authorship. 

as anyone who's made a film, feature, short, or documentary, knows, there is rarely a single author on a film. there are obviously exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, anyone who is given money by someone else to make a film doesn't have complete say over that film. unfortunately, too much criticism is dependent on a film having a single "creator" who is solely responsible for the shots, the mise-en-scene, the writing, the direction, and the overall message of the work. 

and this is rarely the case.

having studied the theory as well as actual filmmaking, danielweski saw the disconnect between the two and, at it's core, house of leaves is an analysis of that great chasm in addition to simply being a great, endlessly creative story.

whether or not the house itself is a metaphor is not at issue here. in fact, I'm going to proceed as though neither the house nor navidson's actions nor any of the actions within the "film" represent anything other than a superb story of vulnerable characters coming to terms with surroundings they cannot possibly begin to comprehend.

instead, we need to look at the criticism and commentary provided by zampanó and his primary (and secondary) sources. because it's that criticism, as I'm sure danielewski discovered, that can pervert and change (or seek to change) what is nothing more than a great, well-told story.

right from the beginning of zampanó's analytical tome, we're introduced to the footnotes that will run throughout the duration of the novel, some of which even compete with the novel for the reader's attention. structurally, the footnotes echo the narrative arc of the novel - as the paranoia intensifies, so do the abstract, rambling quality of the references. but the layout and structure is not nearly as important as what the footnotes say about the world of academia.

the reference material all too often seeks to interpret the house and reinterpret the views of others regarding the house. but these statements, often in the context of deep philosophical insight, often stand in stark contrast to the events of the film themselves. they assume a directorial and circumstantial control that, as danielewski makes blatantly obvious, the filmmakers do not have. but this never stops the critics from reading the source material in the most pretentious ways possible. as academics are wont to do, they view minute details as overarching metaphor where no such thing exists. 

what amazed while I was in school was the unfortunate fact that no theory is ever really wrong - when buffeted with proper evidence, any theory, no matter how ludicrous to the casual observer, is accepted into the zeitgeist of criticism without hesitation. I can't even begin to tell you how many completely absurd readings of films I was subjected to, all backed up by misinterpreted references, that were each lauded by published professors. these critics, these academics, it's almost as if they are, themselves, desperate to invent a reason to exist, to prove that their ideas are new and different.

but unfortunately new and different bear absolutely no relation to correct or even rational. this doesn't mean that many filmmakers don't leave certain details and themes up to interpretation - they absolutely do, and that's something that I strive for in my work as well. that ambiguity is essential to bring viewers back over and over again, to find new details and meaning as their own lives and thoughts change.

those who purport to make a living philosophizing on the meanings of completely insignificant details and actions, however, are instead doing just the opposite: killing the ideas and meanings they seek to illuminate. I'm not here to propose that critics are inherently detrimental to the work they critique; with the deluge of creative work coming at us from all mediums in the modern age, it's important for consumers to be able to sift through everything in an effective manner. but, and I think this is the point that danielewski is trying to make, critics overstep their boundaries in a desperate attempt to add to the work itself. instead of merely commenting and letting the end user arrive at his or her own conclusions, these critics are desperate to contribute something, anything, to the conversation that it almost doesn't matter what they say - just that they are heard.

it's too bad that this usually involves adding layers of meaning to works of art that simply aren't there. and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them viewed it as a game - how absurd can I make my theory and still "prove" it to the reader? and house of leaves takes this little game and ups it tenfold, exploring and subsequently mocking these critiques, theories, and philosophies be demonstrating that much of the time, they simply aren't true. at this point I'd point to specific lines and instances in the text itself, but, honestly, that's pretty much the whole book.

the way in which danielewski contrasts the facts with the theories is nothing short of revolutionary, an artist finally striking back against those who (deliberately or otherwise) misinterpret the very work they seek to understand. but like the house itself, there's no end to this criticism, and stepping into the world of academic criticism and philosophy is very much like stepping into that first long, dark hallway - you're now in a different world with different rules that bear very little resemblance to the reality you once knew.



(buy a copy of house of leaves from amazon.)




Sunday, August 18, 2013

mors atra crucis - one.



Mors Atra Crucis - I

15:33

29.17 MB

1. Plague
2. Pestilence
3. No Feeling
4. Plague II


two quick notes before this tape: first, this is my one hundredth post. wow. wasn't sure I'd make it this far. I meant to have a special critical analysis of one of my favorite books, but that will have to wait until post number one hundred and one. that's because, and this is point two, my girlfriend and I are in the process of moving across the country (again). we're leaving the vast, culture-less wasteland of los angeles and returning to the best city in the world, new york.

this has been the cause of the lack of posts over the last month or so, and I apologize...I don't even have my tape deck nor my record player right now, as they're both in transit. I have a couple more tapes already banked, but when I'm back up and running I'll be posting releases from monorail trespassing, legion blotan, universal consciousness, rhinocervs (if rh-16 ever actually ships), and a couple more.

and now, without further ado, we return to our regularly scheduled programming...

____


a new project from white medal's george proctor, this is the first (and currently only) demo from mors atra crucis, released through proctor's own legion blotan label earlier this year.

regular readers of this blog should be familiar with legion blotan - they've been releasing quality material from a wide variety of black metal-oriented acts since 2008. proctor himself has a whole host of projects he's a part of, which I won't even attempt to summarize here...suffice to say that everything I've heard from him has been worthwhile.

this new project and demo features the same roaring vocals that proctor is known for, as well as some fantastic, head-banging riffs that wrap up in just fifteen short minutes - this is definitely the kind of tape you'll want to listen to on repeat in order to absorb everything. it's his typical brand of excellent, death-oriented black metal.

copies are available from analog worship, the legion blotan webstore, and discogs, so grab one however you can. this is a great start - hopefully they'll release another demo before the year's end.



(buy a copy from analog worship.)


(for preview purposes only.)




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

soft option killing - s/t.



Soft Option Killing - S/T

39:16

72.54 MB

1. Untitled
2. Untitled
3. Untitled
4. Untitled
5. Untitled
6. Untitled
7. Untitled


here's some fine industrial-tinged noise from soft option killing, released in 2010 by a certain excellent noise label.

originally self-released, this reissue every bit as well-packaged as the aforementioned label's other releases. I haven't been able to track down any of soft option killing's other releases, but they do have a pair of releases on unrest productions that I'd love to check out.

there's a lot of atmosphere on this release - everything almost sounds as if it was recorded live in a large, empty room. it's extremely effective and makes the noise seem that much more real, that much more present. there's also a great balance between the higher and lower ends of sonic spectrum. too many artists rely on either really high-pitched, sharp sounds, while others rely on lower, more subliminally-unsettling sounds, but soft option killing land right in the middle, incorporating both to great effect. and, when paired with just the right amount of ambience, you have a release that manages to stand out for all the right reasons, even amongst the label's heaviest hitters.

copies are available on discogs. other than that, I don't know - I haven't found a legitimate digital version, nor have I been able to track down any info on soft option killing besides what's on their discogs page. but if anyone out there has any info (or a rip) they'd like to share, well, I'd be much obliged.



(for preview purposes only.)