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Gavin Turner "Manbeast Warmachine" (Leeds)

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Price: £16.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Celeste - ANIMALE(S) - (96%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Animale(s) (Audio CD)
Legendary, infamously weighted blackened sludge metallers Celeste return with a double album so heavy and chaotic it could do with being stamped with a health warning. Something along the lines of "Do not listen to Animale(s) if you are prone to dizzy-ness, nausea, back pain or are on a course of heavy sedatives".

Coma inducing grooves won't stop, with these gargantuan chords creating the densest, bleakest and most dreadful atmospheres - when the pace is vamped up, the sludge is more identifiable as black metal energy, with the dissonance and kinetics combining to inflict a, quite literally, judging wall of sound on me. I feel every chord change like the acidity of my stomach is becoming more concentrated, if I'm not careful, by the end of the 70 minutes, I can be left quite anxious and confused.

Where with bands like neurosis, their sadness is a warming melancholy, birthing a sort of internally educating emotional response, Celeste go further than that to the nihilistic, misanthropic point of just cutting away at the listener with their unrewarding negativity. Unless you can't tell by my score, I consider this a most note worthy achievement.

The song (X) is in-arguably this years crowning masterpiece song - The structure of the dirging build up in the second half, with flickers over to the only hopeful chord on the whole album before the band's partiality to devastation comes back in like being hit in the side of the knee with a baseball bat.

Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sigur Rós - Kveikur - (96%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Kveikur (Audio CD)
Taken from my last fm journal -

I waited and waited for the mood to take me. I needed something special to accompany listening to Kveikur. The hills began to roll under my feet, as my legs became rigid pendulums, carrying me through the thick hot air on our warmest day of the year.

The album sang as I knew it would and my aura began to ring with the same colour omitted by the rural tapestry that stretched out as far as my tearful eyes could reach. I felt free, effervescent, fluorescent, Omni-present.

The haunted industrial tones, pop like compression, a voice with such emotion merely baring witness is like being rained on while cocooned in an intensely vital sepulchre. Stormur made me cry in the first 30 seconds. I washed my face in a natural spring and my feet continued to pound on.

How Sigur Ros lost a key member, but delivered one of, if not the best album any of them have ever produced mystifies. I'm reminded of how terrifyingly consistent Takk was on first listen, they're injecting every bar with something unique and genuinely magical, alien and still to this day without comparison.

Nom D'Une Pipe
Nom D'Une Pipe
Price: £12.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Pensées Nocturnes - Nom d'une Pipe ! - (96%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Nom D'Une Pipe (Audio CD)
Pensées Nocturnes should need no introduction... and yet ashamedly, I have to admit that until now I have only ever indulged in thumbnail sized sonic bites of their output and never quite felt encouraged enough to explore their secrets.

`Nom d'une Pipe !' is an album that won't allow me to enjoy its treasures from a distance and instead completely immerses me in the disturbing world its private exhibition births. Enveloped in sorrow, mischief, anger and play - I am experiencing music with the same sort of uncontainable excitement we usually stop feeling after the passing of our youth, when the nature of our musical spirit was primitive and easily satisfied.

I frequently listen to music while commuting at unearthly hours. And so quite often I start to doze - usually sleeping very lightly. However, on two occasions I've actually dreamt while travelling and listening to this LP. This has never happened before. On the first occasion I had a `waking dream' where someone was explaining to me the mechanics of successfully executing a stabbing, while offering his own body as target practice for me to demonstrate my understanding of his imparted techniques.

The second time I dreamt I was viciously scratching a tattoo into a persons elbow and lower arm against their will, then trying to rub a powdered ink into the wound? Both dreams were extremely uncharacteristic for me, but thinking about it scientifically, I'm sure it'd be an amazing coincidence for the music not to have had something to do with the brutal and vivid actions carried out in my semi-conscious state?

This French roasting pot of tantalizingly dark musical elements, from vaudeville brass band sections, to achingly glorious black metal, to jazz, to reggae influenced ideas; is at the omega of avant-garde. The true genius is in successfully binding the whole work together in an extremely tight and cohesive vision. Sometimes the atmosphere feels like a burlesque melding of what people outside of France might see as French culture, mixed with the post apocalyptic steam-punk aesthetics exercised in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children and Micmacs).

Teethed Glory And Injury
Teethed Glory And Injury
Price: £10.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury - (96%), 11 Jan. 2014
Since this Irish bands humble conception, they have slowly amassed the favour of being a fore founder of the post black metal genre. With furious live performances and a series of totally unique releases, the band headed by James Kelly, brought their legacy to a pivotal moment before closing the gates once and for all earlier this year.

`Teethed Glory and Injury' has stirred up many feelings and divided crowds rather drastically - from scathing knee jerk reactions, to utter bafflement and wonderment. I sit in the second category. Monochromal, static and overwhelming guitar parts fill this heinously creepy production with a naive feeling of exploration and catharsis through the very most basic of violent expression.

Using producer/engineer/musician Jamie Gomez, who has worked with massive names in heavy music including three of Ulver's recent releases, was a fantastic choice for embellishing on the haunted and incursive, glitchy atmosphere. You feel the collaboration at work with James Kelly bringing these artistic ideas to the live room and Jamie Gomez picking up on where some extra programming would work a treat. A lot of that is in and around moments that might have just been feedback and some drums building up on previous albums.

My favourite track is Burnt Year. It is literally painful to listen to. The torment in the voice, and the immense pulse created in the off beat percussion. The song seems to be a very honest recollection of unthinkable tragedy. I can relate to some of the subject matter, which is probably why the song has a very strong effect on me.

I always loved Altar of Plagues most during their more minimal moments with either yelped or even sung passages over a thorny bed of distant drums and toothless cacophony, before often the bite returns in a scintillating, uniform but totally individual firestorm of modern, urban and introverted sonic malcontent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2015 4:00 AM BST

Erlen Meyer
Erlen Meyer
Price: £16.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Erlen Meyer - Erlen Meyer - (94%), 11 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Erlen Meyer (Audio CD)
Erlen Meyer remit emotionally disarming sludge with a devastating attention to tone capitalized by expressive down-tuned chords, conveying decadence in a stacked up sonic incursion.

The band is from France, and their geographical gene pool's influence can be heard from the spat-out `spoken word' sections, wutheringly charged with intensity - To the urging and punitive grooves which ascend to meaningful plains with discordant chords shepparding and asseverating the bands emotional infirmity.

There are some fantastic moments where the bass riff is tied tightly to fluttering and progressive kick drum patterns while the guitars suck away any joy that could be gained from this display with ethereal plumes of atonal exploration, a dirge purveying so much smog it could be used in chemical warfare.

When albums are this ferocious, I usually like letting the whole thing wash over me in one psyche sabotaging hit, but Erlen Meyer have some tracks that shine to a point where I find myself returning to them for an individual listen. One such track is `Bec et Ongles'. That beast gets stuck in my ears and I end up spending whole days humming the tragic melody and imagining that immense rhythm convulsing underneath.

The sorrow felt in each hit of the snare, change of chord, and spat syllable is extremely tangible in Erlen Meyer and this harrowing reflects on the tragedy which befell the group when shortly after recording - the bands drummer died suddenly in a traffic accident. The maudlin spirit of the friends and band mates left behind are honoured in each passing phrase of this music, which needed no pretext to utterly devastate its listener principally.

Eldir Nott
Eldir Nott
Price: £17.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Fyrnask - Eldir Nott - (93%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Eldir Nott (Audio CD)
Fyrnask is a black metal solo project from Germany. Creator 'Fyrnid' waxes his bow with nature, folklore and ritual to create some of the deepest felt timbres and passages of music inflicted on listeners in 2013.

Instances that haunt you, instances that hunt you and instances that heal you, lacing sections of ambience with found sounds and sound design to literally drag your ear out into the wilderness. A massive variety of feels to the smartly programmed rhythms and a host of playing styles in the guitars keeps the experience alive and vibrant from one minute to the next.

Outside the atmospheric outro, closing track Síaiða is an absolute feast for the imagination, with a recurring melodic theme running through it's rotten core, and finally absolving in a huge fluttering, rhythmic riff.

That Day Last November
That Day Last November
Price: £14.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Our Ceasing Voice - That Day Last November - (93%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: That Day Last November (Audio CD)
This truly outstanding post-rock band (with a difference) hail from Austria and wield the ability to emotionally possess their listener with an enchanting use of dynamics and songs paced so patiently and tenuously that carry through serenity, only occasionally to arrive at a ferocious climax.

Some bands have a strange immediacy - when this occurs I can end up putting off writing their review for a while. It's hard to really verbally excavate the effect `That Day Last November' has on me, knowing music is such a personal thing and that the special elements here might not move another's spirit in the way it seems to manhandle mine - as if it were a newborn child at it's seasoned, paternal loving hand.

Everything is expertly thrown into the mix during the longevity of a track like `One of these Nights' with interesting sound design, muttered spoken word, synths, piano, steadily tempering drums. This sounds like nothing else in my music collection, despite lending from music, which is usually flawed through its ubiquitous conventions. All this is largely helped by a glistening production which allows the deep synth chords so much space and clarity melodically, and speaking of melody - the success of this band quite simply comes down to impeccable chord sequences.

With each listen (this album has been on repeat since its release date!) I notice new and special details used to build and flow their compositions to the tear jerking heights they're capable of. I've been mentally and emotionally compartmentalising this album in the same storage space as Anathema - the quality on display here holds me close and still in the same way.

Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
Price: £12.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER - (92%), 11 Jan. 2014
Taken from my Last Fm journal at -

I don't think anyone would dare suggest Neurosis exercised restraint during the creative process of `Times of Grace', but supposing their barren and apocalyptic heaviness could've ascended? RLHT could supposedly answer a question, that without hearing their self titled LP, a person would be forgiven for thinking the very nature of such a proposal was a trick or some kind of rhetoric.

The blackened vibes to this eye-pealing, groove leaden, gorgon of sludge could deteriorate the will of a starving predator, or galvanise its helpless prey! The scope of this album's appeal is huge, as the heavier riffing practices that slack and open stringed tone (honed by Meshuggah), while an upper part smatters darker, more dissonant arpeggios akin to Ved Buens Ende's avant-garde.

The vocals are a high point, sounding so irksome and enraged, as is the drumming, which is just perfectly suited. We've had some crippling snow here in the UK this week. This perfect accompaniment couldn't have dropped into my inbox at a better time as I was shut in and absorbing this until I just had to go outside and plunge my fists into the snow, channeling some of the latent aggressive energy Regarde Les Hommes Tomber seem to imbue.

I rarely comment on an album's artwork, but I found this piece alluring and discovered it was produced by the intoxicatingly peculiar (meant in the nicest possible way) team of French graphic designers at Førtifem.

Price: £11.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Inter Arma - Sky Burial - (91%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Skyburial (Audio CD)
You'll be forgiven for admitting sky burial is an experience, truly without comparison. With death doom vocals rattling in unadulterated pleasure, over a mixture of pummellingly slow, tooth looseningly fast, progressive rock, blackened sludge, stoner doom and even skeezy blues jams.

And yet more central than any other band mixing conventions in this realm, Inter Arma stay discordant, wise, physical, overwhelming and emotional, absolutely never straying from a very focused musical goal. The only way to succinctly picture this is to imagine Ancestors and Gorguts combining creative forces.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terra Tenebrosa - The Purging - (91%), 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Purgin (Audio CD)
Terra Tenebrosa are an enigmatic collective from Sweden, whose debut album `The Tunnels' had all the makings of a genre defying musical milestone. The Purging takes all the twisted, energised, decaying sound signatures to heavier, more depraved depths.

If you imagine Virus, but replace the rock elements with a cold industrial feeling, like the creepy automated atmosphere Blut Aus Nord integrate. This album moves swiftly from an ambient intro to three tracks of maddening, spiraling, death rattle riffs, which thanks to a bewitching use of time signatures, never seem to fully resolve and as a result, create truly ear-catching brain food for new music fans.

Groove driven, sludge infused drumming, jumping between straight and syncopated/off-beat rhythms which are full of quirky twists and tumbling turns, compliment the unending cerebral journey in the clashing avant-garde melodies.

A ritualistic break in the middle of the album invites a more ambient and less aggressive arrangement - but this is aural poetry and offers just as dark a perspective as the vast and volatile compositions to follow.

The release of this album was celebrated with a live ceremony, and it is my hope that Terra Tenebrosa intend to create a performance legacy to honour the two glorious albums they've gifted us with so far.

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