On paper, this makes perfect sense. A collaborative effort between Full of Hell and Nothing stand as two of the most creative outliers in their respective genres, and the mission statement of When No Birds Sing (Closed Casket Activities) is to fuse the juxtaposition of their varied sonic palettes. Brace yourself, as Full of Hell is the overpowering force when the album opens.
Do you like to dress in black? Do you prefer a solitary pint of cider in the back of a smoky bar? (the smoky part might be hard to fashion in this day and age) Do you favour wearing a trenchcoat? Do you feel in a state of perpetual ennui? Maybe you are a Berliner! Or perhaps you’re a member of a Darkwave band… maybe both!
I’ve been looking forward to wrapping my ears around Svalbard’s new material after catching snippets of what was to come when I caught them live supporting Russian Circles and Cult Of Luna over in Berlin earlier in 2023. And landing that European tour signified a fine start to a year which has also seen the Bristol based band sign for Nuclear Blast Records, with The Weight Of The Mask their first album for the prestigious new label and their first collection of new songs since the excellent When I Die, Will I Get Better? which was released on Church Road Records backin 2020.
Singer-songwriter Ora Cogan, based in Vancouver Island, has been creating and releasing “cinematic compositions” since 2007. Her ninth album, Formless (Prism Tongue Records), presents a “bizarre sonic Venn diagram” of influences including gothic country, psychedelia, post-punk and more, according to the accompanying press release.
Despite the mystique around the band itself (with the identity of the members largely unknown), musically The Netherland’s An Autumn For Crippled Children have been consistent and mostly familiar. Across the span of ten full-length albums, their sound has hardly deviated at all but has shown signs of refinement in the past, with their brand of post-Rock and shoegaze-tinged Black Metal being both despairing and simultaneously almost comforting with the consistency.Continue reading →
Black Duck can best be described as a supergroup featuring as it does key members of the Chicago music scene such as guitarist/bassist Douglas McCombs (Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day), guitarist Bill MacKay (Broken Things, Sounds of Now), and drummer Charles Rumback (Colorlist, Leaf Bird). I confess to only really being familiar with McCombs due to his involvement in those bands who I’ve listened to for a number of years and hence why my interest was peaked when selecting this album for review purposes.
Brooklyn, New York trio Spotlights (Sarah Quintero – bass/vocals, Mario Quintero – guitar/vocals/keyboards and programming, and Chris Enriquez on drums/percussion/vocals) have been releasing music since 2016 when they debuted with the Tidals album. Since then they have garnered fans such as Chino Moreno and have toured with the aforementioned’s band Deftones as well as Refused,Quicksand, and Mr. Bungle.
Darling the Dawn (Constellation Records) is the debut album by long-time collaborative duo Ariel Engle (La Force, Patrick Watson, Broken Social Scene) and Efrim Manuel Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion) as ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT. For forty-four minutes of vocal-driven electronic droning — combining the melodic tones of Engle with the “noise” (as the credits put it) of Menuck — there’s less of a sense of being taken from A to B, but rather being given the warm blanket of a trance to lie in.
Metal in its various forms has a reasonably long-standing practice of making concept albums based on historical events, and the latest album from Dystopian Future Movies, War of the Ether (Septaphonic Records) continues that trend with what is almost certainly the most intense musical experience I have ever had.