Thanks to everyone who responded to last month’s competition and introduced us to some of 2010’s criminally neglected masterpieces. It’s good to know (1) that our readers are good writers, and (ii) that one of you is now the proud owner of the fantastic Blood Revolt album, Indoctrine. Mr/Ms. ‘burial chamber’, get in touch.
Perhaps you’ve banished 2010 from your mind in the rush to keep on top of new releases (in which case you’re probably a music journalist); or perhaps, like me, you’re still working your way through Beau’s compendium. Either way, it’s time to put 2011 on pause and dig into this refreshingly diverse bunch of releases. Enjoy yourselves.
Alkerdeel – de Speenzalvinge (Joost)
“Recorded in a manure-drenched barn in the Flanders countryside, De Speenzalvinge offers a nauseating mix of black metal and sludge. Three songs, running from 15 to 30 minutes, shift from decaying, salivating riffs to driving, fuming black metal, all with the swagger of a seasoned cattle rapist. The vocals are an inconstant, deranged whine that fades in and out of the tracks. The thick, overly distorted bass dominates and suffocates the music. This cross between Lurker of Chalice and farmer’s-pet-project-turned-basement-horror is best enjoyed while rolling in the muck, your flesh and clothes soaked in whisky.”
The Flight of Sleipnir – Lore (burial chamber: winner)
“The absence of The Flight of Sleipnir’s ‘Lore’ from the year end lists is unfathomable. Rooted in doom and stoner/psychedelia but touching diverse genres including jazz, folk, ambient and black metal, ‘Lore’ is atmospheric and melodic with plenty of dark, menacing riffs. The vocals range from scream to clean and a guest female singer adds a nice touch to the closing track. A well produced album with a sweeping vision, ‘Lore’ flows like a journey with some surprising twists and turns. A very rewarding listen that deserves much wider recognition.”
Haeresiarchs of Dis – Denuntiatus Cinis (Nicholas Kong)
“The biggest surprise of 2010. Haeresiarchs of Dis is yet another one-man black metal band from the Bay Area, but unlike the atmospherics of Xasthur or Leviathan, we find top-notch orthodox black metal. This is twisting, hypnotic stuff, marrying Deathspell Omega’s dissonance with Blut Aus Nord’s melody. Cemunnos, the sole member, isn’t afraid to reveal his range, either: folk melodies accentuate the black metal assault, and “Bemoan the Fallen” turns out to be an acoustic pirate shanty. Even the ambient interludes are placed well, providing breathing room between the blasts. A worthy challenger to “Paracletus”.”
Sorgeldom – Inner Receivings (Nico)
“Hailing from Sweden, Sorgeldom writes what one could describe as a blend mix of Ved Buens Ende, post black metal and shoegaze music. Released this year, Inner Receivings is a deep record consisting of haunting and blasted melodies, sorrowful interludes, mainly reminiscent of Silent Hill’s composer Akira Yamaoka (I Väntan Pe Telefonsamtalet is the perfect example)… There certainly are tracks more interesting than others (the Slowdive cover in the middle is certainly weak), but even if this complex album can’t be fully grasped at the first listens, its dynamics are what makes it so unforgivable, just like the title track’s crossed melodies.”
Hesper Payne – Unclean Rituals (Ian Flick)
“Hesper Payne are a doom metal duo, trio live, from the UK. This is the debut album of this group. The music on here is pretty much the epitome of death/doom metal, it’s dirty, slow, and the vocals are weird; but, with all that comes a quirky nature to this album. There’s an angular style that takes you to some weird places. The guitar captures a unique mood, unlike that of a lot of doom records I’ve heard, some spots actually managed to make me feel uncomfortable, hear “The Maiden and The Mariner”. If you’re into doom, check this out.”
Heirs – Fowl (Johan)
“Australian-based post-whatever band, create a mesmerizing tour through an abandoned industrial complex, filled with the remains of humanity.
The record is spacious, the guitars create distant walls of sound at times, giving the impression that none if left inside the building. But the droning, grating, pounding bass reminds us that there is something wrong here. The eerie theremin seems like a distant voice, crying for help amidst the hammering of the machines in the storage room at the opposite side of the building, but what could be produced here, now?
Suddenly you are caught between the machines, the guitars batter on the ears, coming from all sides with both amazing riffing, desolate notes and reverb-laden waves of drone whilst the industrial battering of the drums make sure that nothing will be left standing when you come out.
Near the end, the soothing tones of (Mother) tell you that it’s okay, we made it, but the soothing goes on for too long… did we make it? What is this hallway? And where does that door lead to? Will we get out?”