Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Moloch – Humane Too Sheeps (Prison Tatt)

A decade or so in the making  (2003) and very unusual to say the least comes Humane Too Sheeps, a noise based experiment with analogue recordings that was once issued but never in vinyl until now. The first side consists of two tracks taken from the Universum EP, the other side is a lengthy hypnotic noise experiment that results from the blending of two tracks into what superficially feels as one. I’m a fan of dark ambient/ambient/analogue etc. etc. but this is akin to a stripped down version of Richard Ramirez (?) rather than a drone/ambient/dark ambient release so fans of ambient black metal Moloch and black metal Moloch can either take it or leave it, I am the going with the former rather than latter here.

By a stripped down Richard Ramirez I mean that the use of random dissonance and almost music-like sounds is very impressive. There’s actually song structure there that resonates as something that stems far beyond anything guitar based, in fact it’s very death industrial/PE.  I can hear metal clanking and other swoops and wooshes of bass tones, and given that this is actual guitar blows me away. I seriously can’t stop listening to it and being limited to 100 copies this one should go pretty fast.

Prison Tatt:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Steel Hook Prostheses Take a Moment to Reflect on Their Latest Album with DOTD

DOTD: For starters you have a Hell of a discography, can you tell me how you keep the band going and what's new with Calm Morbidity? Perhaps even a few favorite moments in SHP history?

SHP: I've been life-long friends with my partner L. Kerr in SHP. It's been easy to keep things going since it’s just the two of us. We are all electronic based, so we get together every so often and record some jam sessions. We'll then go back and deconstruct the recorded material, manipulate it and start multitracking for songs. It's a lot easier producing music this way. No need for expensive recording studio time. We've been able to produce so many releases over the years using this method.

Calm Morbidity pretty much sticks to the same formula we always use. As we age and gain more life experience it affects the overall tone of the album. We never set out to say.. Hey we want this album to sound like this. We just start engineering tracks and let a natural organic process run its course. It is all based on intuition. Lyrics/Vocals happen last in the process. I will listen to the tracks and let my imagination take me where it will. I try to loosely stick with an archaic medical/occult theme. 

Probably my favorite moments in our history would be the relationships we've formed with peers in the scene over the years. Marco Corbeli (now deceased) of Slaughter Productions in Italy was a big influence in the start. He released one of our early albums. It was a collaboration with Richard Ramirez called Explorations Into Deviance. Also hooking up with Jason Mantis at Malignant Records was crucial to our career. He's released 3 major albums of ours over the years, although we have released a handful of things on other various labels. We consider Malignant our home base and will most likely maintain a close relationship with the label for as long as we can.

We've done some great live performances over the years that were memorable. I'm terrible with dates but Apex Fest in NY was a great one. Live performance is not my favorite aspect of the business. I prefer creating and producing albums in my home studio.

DOTD: I was going to ask about live performance but you pretty much summed it up. In terms of medical/occult themes in your music, where do you find your inspiration specifically? I read that you got hooked on Skinny Puppy in the beginning.

SHP: I just always gravitated towards that type of imagery. I was really into Skinny Puppy in my formative years in the 80's, also really into Carcass as well. I guess I've always been pretty open minded when it comes to extreme music. I was into Metal and Punk just as much as industrial as a kid. My mom worked for the Dallas VA Medical center and would make me volunteer during summer break from school. I saw a lot of nasty medical Shit there in real life that affected me profoundly.
 As for the Occult aspect, I always found it interesting. Coming Up listening to metal and watching horror films only amplified this. I am an avid reader and have read extensively on the Occult since I was a teen.

DOTD: As a long time fan of industrial/HNW/Power electronics it's kinda funny that I don't know too much about how it's made, I’m a straight ahead guitar and bass person myself. What type of equipment would someone need to start doing it?

SHP: You really don't need a lot. Just a recording device and some effects pedals. A synthesizer is a plus. We have ammased a pretty nice collection of synthesizers, effects, samplers and stuff over the years. We use software to record. Software to further manipulate and design sounds. We are sound designers as much as we are musicians. But anything go's. Anything that can be recorded and manipulated in the computer is fair game. The possibilities are infinite with electronic music.

DOTD: Let's talk about some of the tracks on the album. Are there any that stand out in retrospect? Can you personally recollect some of what went into making them?

SHP: This album came together rather quickly. I've been dealing with some heavy duty life changes over the last 2 years. Going through a divorce. Reuniting with an old friend that quickly turned into a serious relationship. Lots of moving parts going on in my life. Some devastating, some fantastic. Music has always been an escape. A release of anxiety, depression etc. When Shit gets weird I always have SHP to escape to. I just let nature take its course and started arranging tracks. I'm in a new place with a new set up.. Sold off some gear and bought some new.. This album literally poured out of me in less than 6 months time. That's pretty fast from how it typically comes together. 

 One track that particular stands out is Cancer Maiden. Someone very close to me found a lump in her breast. Those were some very tense and scary weeks going through testing, waiting and waiting for results. It was gut wrenching. There is simply nothing to do but wait and wonder. Completely at the mercy of a Fucked up, cold and indifferent medical system. The test came back negative.. Thank Odin! But it was the inspiration for the track. The possibility something so insidious can take hold of someone so beautiful and whither it down to nothing.

DOTD: How about some of the collaborations such as Explorations Into Deviance with Richard Ramirez, Crown of Bone, or Tuskegee Syphilis Study with Breaking The Will and Nyodene D, any details on some standouts on those?

SHP: Explorations for sure.... Richard had sent up a cassette I believe of his trademark harsh noise wall sounds. We digitized it and used it as sound source for building tracks SHP style. It was a fun album to work on. We were super stoked to have it coming out on Slaughter Productions and really paved the way for us way back when.
We did another with legendary harsh noise artist Goat called Bloodletting The Altar Of Lies. Same type deal, deconstructing Goat's source material, layering in tracks on top of it. Even some black metal style guitar I recorded found its way on there.

DOTD: Do you have anything you'd like touch base on at this point?

SHP: No plans on stopping anytime soon. Will continue to create and record sound for as long as I'm able. I look forward to a day when I can retire from my real world job and focus only on art. I have a few irons in the fire but nothing that I would like to announce at this time. I'd like to make one thing clear. I don't have the time or the energy to work on things that don't inspire me. It's pointless to produce anything artistically without true motivational inspiration. At this point in life I believe I've earned that luxury.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Stinger - S/T Demo (Prison Tatt)

I just literally stuck this into the tape player and immediately was enamored with it. It’s dark-hardcore with a punk metal vibe, sort of in a similar vein as Ride At Dawn and if the guitar were a bit muddier I’d say it’s black thrash metal demo to be perfectly honest. 

Opening with “In Fire” there’s slight angular riff of sorts and the drums, then suddenly the thing rolls out from under me in a fit of ferocity. I mean GODDAMN!!! There’s some fight in this little cassette! It’s full on hardcore at this point. Then “By the Fang” comes in swinging with another cavalcade of “AAAHH RRRRAAAAAWW” vocals and a barrage of drums. Sounds like a raucous but to me it sounds like fun. They even bust out a thrash-like solo that hits the mark. A lot makes me happy but not THIS happy. “Husk Life” is a little cleaner, not by much though, it has more of a thrash riffage but it breaks up the monotony with a hardcore blitz here and there so I’d say that overall it’s a ripper and leave it that. What a voice though, this guy can shout in this semi-guttural tone that amidst  “Grrrrrs” and words. The last two tracks are in a similar fashion, outrageous, wild and raging.

There’s only 100 copies minus mine so gotta be quick the grab them before they’re gone.

Listen for yourself to "In Fire" here:

Anu- Nighthymns (Wohrt Records)

About as obscure as they come Anu is non-other than Chad Davis (ex-Seven Foot Spleen, Hour of 13, Subklinik…) under the alias Drathrul. The world is littered with his works yet each one is as unique as they come, so when I had thought he was done with the project I got a bunch of tapes from WOHRT a few months back with this one and this was a pleasant surprise to say the least. I really enjoyed the EP III when it came out in 2011 on the same label and was surprised that it sold out so quickly, even my version is the downloaded version.

Much like the EP Nighthymns opens with an ambient track, “Risen…” and to set the ambience of the album, which is wintery and soulful. “Winterfall “ itself is one of the two ambient tracks in which subtleties of synth based blankets of snow fall evenly as a few additional layers unfold underneath it. Instantly I’m reminded of Moloch, with the half to full ambient black metal that is reminiscent of harsh Ukranian winters. One could easily write this one off as more one-man band bedroom black metal, but DON’T. With heretical nihilating screams of angst amidst a bombardment of fuzzy black guitar that cuts like ice against the cold bleak synth work, I can assure you that it’s more than worth its weight in character alone.

The “Shadowlands” kicks in instantly with a tortured cry and rattle of drums/drum machine into a torrential blistering cold. With so much of this out there that tends toward the raw and/or minimal it’s amazing to hear a release that is as composed as this. Take “Nighthyms” for instance where the synth almost sounds like a celestial hymn complete with what appears to be a chorus.  Then finally we end up with “Enter the Chasm”, another violent outburst of maniacal shrieks amidst a blizzard of buzzsaw guitar. What stands out the most here is the vocals are not buried in or behind the mix, they’re out in front and prominent. If you want freezing moonlit skies and desolation look no further. I hope Chad finds it in his heart to produce more Anu, the Encyclopedia Metallum says "split up" but I can't imagine him not producing more when he gets enough material together.

Youtube video of "Enter the Chasm":

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Steel Hook Prostheses - Calm Morbidity (Malignant)

Steel Hook Prostheses (SHP) need no introduction and once again are turning things up a notch releasing Calm Morbidity. As far as Death Industrial goes these guys are dead on target with this psychotic masterpiece of varied drones, synthesizer sounds, and extremely fucked up effected vocals.  
Opening up with “Doused with Acid”, one of my personal favorites, we have classic Death Industrial starting with ramblings of someone, possibly a victim, and then a minute into it you get a heavy loaded background of drone and whirring with the suffocating and terrifying treated vocals of the killer. Whereas “Parathesia”, which is essentially nothing but drone whirs to begin with, until about two minutes in and clanks of metal start knocking, it tries the nerves, then the sound of someone there begins to creep in with the black death eminence that likens to the sound of Lustmord/CMI Black Ambient. While “Deep in the Marrow” starts in with an eerie drone and then leads you down to an underground concrete bunker where an autopsy is taking while the person is alive and awake, although drugged…heavily drugged, but still conscious, the voice of death slowly renders something unintelligible amidst the backdrop of synth washes and grim colors.

With “Cancer Maiden” it’s a stretch of whooshing nestled beneath a spiraling industrial landscape of polluted static, vocals heavily treated and going back and forth between several personalities in an effort to distort the listener into a depth of depravity and unease.  And “Piss Prophet” is another hallucinatory venture into the world of controlled chaos. Its circular pulse of sonar and cloud of static are periodic and controlled but still manage to unleash another sense of unease in the listener, the vocals again being a central part of the soundscape, unintelligible, and an ending being something along the lines of a krautrock (Cluster/Harmonia/Tangerine Dream).

The overall level of malevolence here is heard and insinuated more so than outright, as most of the horror is undeniably in the vocals, whereas with HNW/noise it tends to be the reverse. If your looking for things that tend to be heavy in atmosphere and composition you really can’t go wrong with SHP.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Posts left over from Forbidden Magazine

Album: Satanic Dystopia – Double Denim Shotgun Massacre
Label: No Visible Scars

     Satanic Dystopia are one of those chupacabra bands, a rare find as they are a definitive early black metal sounding band from back when Celtic Frost and Hellhammer were only on tape, Venom on vinyl and tape, no Norwegian scene or sound existed yet, and Quorthon was only known to a handful of folks. So what you get with the Double Denim Shotgun Massacre is a heavy violent thrash black metal with horror, exploitation, occult film themed lyrics of a great death/ grind album and even hints of real industrial (no oontz oontz or synth/ keyboard) buzzing effects. In other words a shitstorm of razor blade hail and caustic tones to a thundering rhythm of addictive aggression that's sure to make crave the slash and burn of this cassette.
      Hailing from the UK, and with a deep penchant for gratuitous violence as much as the exploitation and horror film genres, Satanic Dystopia wage war on the senses and unload 8 hollow tip rounds of black thrashing metal that’s pretty hard, even for the uptight “old school” snobby connoisseur to deny heartfelt appreciation of…and would you really fucking believe it…? !!! We have those types in this type of metal realm now. And what’s even more hilarious is that were Satanic Dystopia around in ’81 or ’85 they would have been one of those glowing polished turds alongside Venom, Bathory, and the Celtic Frost/Hellhammer output. People thought this stuff was noise and talentless crap, even in many metal circles, but it turned out to simply be tarnished gold that merely resembled a crusty fetid shit lump. So fuck the superficial shit huffers that assumed flush this stuff than investigate it.

      And if the cover art and very Goddamn accurate description weren’t enough to give this release some credibility to some still pinching pennies with their (tight) ass cheeks, it also comes in a nice DVD case (pretty packaging always helps for some reason), but because the sound is what ultimately matter most I’m posting videos below for some of the highlights of this album.

Album: Tyrants of Hell - Repulsive Worship
Label: WOHRT

This tape literally just arrived, about 20 minutes ago to be exact, and I so quickly unwrapped it, shoved it into the player, cranked the volume up to an ear bleed inducing decibel level and let it rip…AND indeed it is.  So far it’s a whole lotta Deathstrike/Master hardcore infused death metal grime with a dirty little twang of bass underneath the distortion haze, but I’m honestly getting a stinking suspicion given the rattling bottom heavy thuds of rhythms and the overall clamoring tirade that this is another Florida band like OV, IVES, Vomikaust, etc.

Just looked it up and indeed I’m correct about the Florida roots, but definitely not because they sound like the Primal Vomit bands I’d just mentioned.  Tyrants of Hell are heavy, ugly, and muddy enough with the right aggressive punk scum tinges as those awesome ragged shitstain bands do, but this Demo here is certainly more of a very early thrash death metal infused with legit death grind (think General Surgery, early Carcass) sort of thing. The vocals are more upfront hardcore/thrash based, spewed and grunted, as opposed to guttural burps and gargles, which makes me think early to mid-era Master and Deathstrike, especially when served alongside these dense thrash rhythms which, although still very distinctly hardcore derived carry the groove and push of fists and slamming bodies, but with the mildewed grime thickener of tones that was early death metal. So now with the meat and potatoes portion of this write-up consumed I’ll start to belch up some of the afterthoughts (BTW, the tape is already over).

Overall the Demo is a killer thrill. I really love that early death metal sound that gave so many incredible bands a lot of directions to move in as most of those bands did not all sound the same, before it became Incantation one-offs and contrived bullshit. It’s not everyday, or in my case every year or two that a good new death metal band comes along that works perfectly with my tastes. I guess the only downside for some here then would be the shortness of the Demo which clocks in at under 15 minutes, BUT before some of you begin to squirm away let me inform you that it repeats on both sides so it’s a double-sided sort of single-sided tape which gives almost a half-an-hour of listening (laughs).  Just think of it as a necessary to own 7” but you don’t have to repeat it or flip it every 5 minutes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Anal Drill - Filth (Room 2A)

You can’t go wrong with Richard Ramirez!! Many may try to explore the terrain of HNW and fail miserably = put out a generic tape or two, but for how many do you get the price of one guy and a billion solid aliases. This tape is much of the same as you’d expect, a bunch of analog crackle and swooshes of analog, BUT not so much when you break through the exterior. Unlike most noise, HNW, artists Richard Ramirez dares to actually sculpt and layer base elements into something completely coherent (at times) and dare I say “musical”. Anal Drill is a band comprised of several members, the list varies so I’m not going to say more than that it’s two or three, RR included although according to Discogs it’s just him right now (?).

“Filth (part1)”, imagine if you could a tidal surge of analog, back and forth, back and forth, periodically swinging like a pendulum. Underneath there is a bunch of complex sounds, some audible and some not so much. It’s as if you were drowning amidst a sea of warm analog foam, twisting and turning and calling out only to be heard as an anomaly, barely audible in the midst of swishing and swirling. Occasionally a sound of screeching sheet metal comes through like an oncoming train breaking, but can’t quite penetrate the wall.

“Filth (part 2)” has a feeling of uncontrolled chaos underlying the cascading HNW walls of fuzzy and warm static. It’s like a traffic accident going off and than the point of impact repeating over and over. I hear metal folding over and an actual crash at some points occurs, all the while it’s just underneath the static cloud wooshing and exploding continually like a bomb detonating repetitively in an attempt to hold the noise.

Richard Ramirez

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ophidian Forest/Haeresiarchs of Dis – Darkest Origins Split CD (UW Productions 2012)

Well the split lives up to its title with both bands infusing new blood into some of their unreleased and classic songs remixed that definitely, given the nature of both bands, represent their mystical and occult roots. Ophidian Forest reminds me of a blend of early Satyricon and a VERY raw Summoning on a superficial level. They first deliver the symphonic “Densest Green” , an 8-minute raspy vocals and blistering echoing power chords amidst a phantom mist. You can’t really get more old school black metal than “Densest Green”, “Fear Bloody Wings” , and “Verschwiegenheit”…this stuff will freeze your soul in an instant, especially the vocals on “Fear Bloody Wings” , which almost literally feel as though they are some paranormal sermon evaporating as spoken. There’s just this intangible texture to Ophidian Forest that is spectral and cold, AND beyond physicality. Although Ophidian Forest only contribute three out of thirteen songs on here, they still consume roughly 30 minutes of life as they suck out your soul leaving the mind and body in a limbo of confusion. Very pagan and Very ethereal stuff!!!!

The majority of the nine HoD songs on this split, the first four of which are remixed from the earlier Dis demo, represent a more heavy crunching guitar rhythm tendency that reminds me of the raging pulses and tones of Horna’s Sotahuuto, early to Blood Fire Death era Bathory, Dethroned Christ, etc. That true Heavy Metal meets black metal sledgehammer riffing combination of tinny and distorted early heavy metal rhythms with speed and thrash afflictions creating a vortex that is as nasty and maniacal as say Blood Feast, and even bypassing buzzing swarms of just power chords cranked up on treble for flesh stripping leads and actual rhythm progressions that embody “Kill”.

“Black Prophecies” is a good example of that just said, as is “Choas Plague”, which really breaks up into an avalanche of addicting rhythms sort like Immortal’s “Cryptic Winterstorms” or “Call of the Wintermoon” with the lead guitar portions and vocals laid out in the front of the mix giving them an extra sonic kick and clarity that really gives it a vicious punch. Cernunnos (HoD) has not lost his touch for atmospherics though: “Manifestation” is a classic semi-raw melodic atmospheric storm that will invoke flashbacks of Denunciatus Cinis, but still builds on that template; “Wolfmoon” is a brief keyboard instrumental soaked in weird electronic analog effects like a clip to a classic made-for-tv horror film; “Blood and Souls” is a strange analog horror ambient that sounds like an EVP during a paranormal investigation with some weird organ in the background; and the grand infernal ending of “Circle of Sodomy” with that Emperor meets cleaner production sound and feel, including clean chanting vocals, that adhere the haunting elements together into a possession of the mind as much as the condemned soul. “Circle of Sodomy” is also re-recording of “3rd Movement: Circle” from his Overture debut, which I will have to pick up in the near future.

With this split Cernunnos intended to revisit and reinvest life into his early work and Demo period and ,in my honest opinion, was his best period judging from what I’ve heard of them now and in original form.  HoD should also have another full-length, Thirty-Eighth Sermon of the Unborn, out this fall as well so grab this one…and that one…and the Demo….AND Overture if you don’t have it either!!!! Ophidian Forest’s essentiality is self evident, i.e. MUST HAVE.