A blessing of a Remora album, ‘Scars Bring Hope’ sees Brian John Mitchell bring the solo guitar drone project out of lo-fi bedroom recordings and into the studio with Brian Lea McKenzie (Of Electric Bird Noise) at the producer helm, focusing three hours worth of demo tape into a sci-fi themed concept album.
‘Awake, Arise’, thematically based around the resurrection of a soldier, has all the eeriness and creep of previous remora tracks but with a fuller richer sound thanks to some studio magic, the melancholic atmosphere ploughing steadily into ‘Don’t let me Die with a Coin in my Pocket’.
‘Does the Music’ meanwhile provides us with a somewhat off kilter approach to a love song, with the repeated lyric “does the music make you feel close enough to God to want to fuck me” overlaying a haunting organ chime, helping the track stand out from other tracks on the album while staying true to the whole’s underlining experimental outlook.
Similarly ‘Let’s Fall in Love’ channels a whiskey soaked Americana approach to romance, with Mitchell channelling the musical drunken swagger and drawl of Johnny Dowd.
Taking influence from more esoteric elements, ‘We Come From the Sea’ muses acoustically over the Cthulhu mythos, remarkably creating a powerful and poignant track despite its pulp content while ‘Static is Motion’ expresses the end times via a straight forward ambient sound space of low tones and minimal percussion with the fantastically named ‘Angel Falling Through Water’ ending the album with a thirteen minute post apocalyptic soundtrack.
Silber has been releasing content and albums that have always proven them to be a good source of contemporary abstract music, with a sound and style similar to those halcyon days of Industrial Records, here’s hoping that ‘Scars Bring Hope’ helps shine a beacon on an underrated artist as well as an underrated label.
Hotly anticipated by fans previously earned from releases ‘Res Cogitans’ and ‘Without Number’, Boston four-piece Plumerai strike another effective post rock result with ‘Your Guilty Pleasure’, their latest on Silber Records.
Reintroducing listeners to Elizabeth Ezell’s sultry vocals, ‘Strike’ brims with delicate brooding and tight guitar & drum composition, highlighting the level of development and competence the production levels of the band have reached.
Jaunty and melodic, ‘Spinning Landscape’ floats through the air when listened to, smooth and orchestrated to perfection, ‘Empty Graves’ following suit but emphasising a more ethereal, emotive affair with a guitar riff channelling the Madchester sound which gains props in its own right.
‘Painted Faces’ provides yet another stand out track, with guitars and drums playing off the attitude and sensuality of Ezell’s vocal talents, creating a symbiotic link between singer and musician that other bands rarely reach. ‘Your Guilty Prize’ adds to the former with a musical product with such aplomb its surprising to find its cinematic appeal not being exploited in upcoming films.
Bold in its production, striking in its composition, ‘Your Guilty Pleasure’ is easily Plumerai’s best album to date and a fine starting point for anyone who is a fan of female fronted rock (PJ Harvey, Patti Smith) and who, for some ungodly reason, haven’t heard of these guys yet.
Go forth and educate thy selves.
Martin Newman’s Goddak project picks up where his last album left off, with N◦2 providing more ambient post-industrial soundscapes to lose yourself in.
‘A Snowy Walk Home’s canny use of its title helps bring out the air of ominous foreboding inherent in the looped guitar and distortion and sets expectations high from the offset of the audible journey to follow -‘Apples and Lilies’ is subsequent in a similarly mesmerising composition. Meditative and sombre, ‘An Hour of God’ echoes with desolation and emotion equally throughout its thirteen minute duration while ‘Sneguckka’ comes in much shorter but still with all the sober minutiae of its longer neighbour.
A far cry from Newman’s more musical project Plumerai (Check them out!), N◦2 seethes with experimental ideation of a darker and more serious nature and for this concept alone deserves the global adoration of gloomy souls like myself.
Another day, another Black Metal album, this time from some disturbed brethren of Norway; Throne of Katarsis.
‘Ved Graven’ meaning ‘At the Grave’ provides pretty much what you’d expect BM to provide; harsh, bitter lyrical contents, lo-fi analogue sounding thrash drums and guitar riffs speeding headlong and hurriedly into the void.
Don’t get me wrong, ‘Ved Graven’ is a fucking awesome album to play at nasty volumes, ‘Helvete Kaller’ is so primeval and sordid in manifestation that no black metal fan could listen without producing a shit eating grin of satiation, while Hieronymus Bosche paintings would do worse than to be accompanied by the horrific noises of ‘The Holy Remains of the Weak’.
Hells yeah, these guys know how to rip shit up and yet…and yet after the thrill of the ride that Throne of Katarsis brings, with other acts more prominent and more pronounced, it will be a hard sell to return with much enthusiasm. It’s not so much that ‘Ved Graven’ doesn’t give as good as other acts; tracks such as the viscerally bleak ‘Apne Alle Sar’ and ‘The Unholy Shrine’ prove that they are on top of their game. However when acts such as Gnaw Their Tongues, Yoga and Lurker of Chalice are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with BM, you are left hankering for something a lot more mean spirited to pollute the airwaves with.
Gripes aside, this still kicks arse and then some; need a soundtrack to burn down that church built on old Nordic holy ground? My friends look no further!
Officially on hiatus since 2001, San Jose’s Sludge outfit Nootgrush were, for those in the know, a force to be reckoned with in the now overtly popular subgenre, constructing brutally heavy tracks that only went to prove how depressing it was when they bowed out of the circuit, unsung heroes of the scene.
Ten years later and Southern Lord are the heralds of Nootgrush’s return, with some reunion shows scheduled for Autumn 2011 as well as the release of ‘Live for Nothing’ a one hour twenty minute compilation of two radio broadcasts from 96 & 99 respectively.
Abrasive riffs drip from amplifiers from the offset, with tracks like ‘Junland Wates’ and ‘Erode the Person’ highlighting in their own right the trio’s influence on contemporary acts of today, some having ventured little distance from the sound of Nootgrush and their peers at the time.
‘Derrell’s Porno Track’, provides a faster, sleazy composition that aptly applies itself to the task set by its title with ‘Procreation of the Wicked’ creating a hallmark doom track infused with sludgy bleak bass and hellish vocal utterances.
As an introduction to Nootgrush goes, ‘Live for Nothing’ may pale in comparison to their original releases, being better suited to initiate young bloods, however for the hardcore fan this little doozy fits snugly into people’s record collection and with the vinyl of ‘Live for Nothing’ due in early November Nootgruh are sure to moisten old fans appetites for any new studio projects they may (or may not) have in store.
Megaton Leviathan hail from Portland Oregon and as their name no doubt suggests are creating sounds of a loud and coarse nature.
Indeed Megaton Leviathan infuse occult sentiment with slow and sludgy doom, encapsulating that black magic feeling that has been married so well with groups of a similar ilk before.
So what does this behemoth named group offer that’s new and refreshing? Well to be fair this is pretty much staple diet stuff, ‘Water Weath Hell on Earth’ is heavy, slow and hypnotic, doing all the right things to be a great track but at risk of sounding too similar to bands that are already secure in the scene (Ramesses comes to mind, for example).
‘Guns and LSD’ meanwhile is entwined with old school doom sentiment while at the same time powerfully contemporary in its uncompromising volume, with ‘Time Fades’ showing off the group’s ability to create an impressive wall of sound with a whirlwind of guitar, ethereal vocals and drums.
It ain’t that these guy’s aren’t good, far from it; rather that while the scene is lavishly inundated with new group after new group, Megaton Leviathan may get lost in the abyss of obscurity. That said with the band releasing their material on their own label and being very much grass roots doom, Megaton Leviathan deserve all the adoration that comes their way and then some.
‘Beneath Black Robes’ is Silber’s offering of remixes and re-imaginings of Detroit, Michigan virtuoso Sarah June’s latest album ‘In Black Robes’ and as an added bonus the majority of these remixes come courtesy of Remora’s Brian John Mitchell and Brian McKenzie of Electric Bird Noise.
‘Brand of Bitterness (Shoegaze Mix)’ expertly combines the drones and dark ambience of Remora with June’s childlike ethereal voice (reminiscent of Katie Jane Garside) creating a dreamlike, eerie atmosphere that complements both artists without one overshadowing the other.
‘Shadows Too’ however puts a stop to all that doom and gloom nonsense from before and channels ‘Moldy Peaches’ style simplistic lyrics and guitar chords. Sure, this track was recorded for a kids TV show and its light hearted jaunt is well intentioned but for the embittered cynics such as yours truly this was a long 1:37. ‘Bluesy Melody (Ridiculous Stereo)’ provides a similar irk too though by no means an un-listenable track, merely out of place and pale in comparison to the other remixes present. ‘Stagefright’ then works perhaps as the antithesis of ‘Shadows Too’, simplistic in its composition, it none the less simmers with passion with the distorted guitars’ repetitive riffs, making this live track hypnotic and spellbinding.
‘Ghost of Chevrolet’, mixed by Brian McKenzie, by far the most surreal rendition is also perhaps the most straightforward with the majority of the work coming from slowing down the track to turn June’s usually soft effeminate voice into a deep, slow moan, while a heavy bass guitar riff oppresses the environment with its lumbering tones.
Silber would do well to keep hold of this artist, and maybe, just maybe, filter out the lighter elements as the mix of dark gloomy music and June’s voice is something pretty fresh and enthralling.
A soon to be sought after reissue for those who missed out on the original in 2000 and the limited edition LP version that came earlier this year; Neurosis’ Sovereign EP is an exceptionally crafted release that has lost none of its power despite being over a decade old.
“Payer” works as a great opening track, with layers of vocals and drums increasing methodically with the teasing notion that a guitar crescendo is on the horizon, however the group, ever unpredictable, decide against this generic motif.
“Flood” follows in similar vein, adding menace and power behind each note, a feeling that slides effortlessly into the eponymous track of the release with disciplined sludge guitars and drums that explode into powerful noisy eruption with expert synchronicity.
Fans will be pleased to see with this re-release not only new cover artwork from Isis’ Aaron Turner but also a brand new track, ‘Misgiven’, which melds well with the older tracks on the release while still providing an invigorating six minutes of contemporary Neurosis noise proving once again why and how they continue to be heralded as masters of the craft.
Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, ‘From Autumn to Oceans’ create heavy, brooding post metal soaked in a nostalgic air of early 90’s alt rock/grunge sentiment. Their new EP; ‘The Flood/ The Fall’ (each track on the EP named accordingly) grabs your attention straight away with ‘The Flood’, nine minutes of loud shoegaze rhythms and distortion, evoking My Bloody Valentine and Isis simultaneously which no doubt will turn heads from fans of both.
Lastly ‘The Fall’ ups the ante by introducing speedier drums and louder riffs but still in keeping with the melancholic atmosphere of the previous track, ensuring that the two tracks do not seem disjointed.
Shamefully too short even for an EP, ‘The Flood/ The Fall’ has left me like a jonesing heroin fiend. Two tracks and I’m hooked; desperate for more, luckily Silber will oblige me with an upcoming new studio album ‘Oath of Eternals’.
Despite dozens of appearances with Silber’s acts on compilation albums and live shows, this is officially the very first album released on Silber by Brian McKenzie’s experimental post rock outfit, filtering ten years worth of output into thirteen choice cuts of instrumental madness.
With two minuscule tracks as openers it is ‘Proti Village- Meteora-Odeon of Herodes Atticus’ that really begins the album proper, mixing barking dogs, bells and guitar instrumentation to create a unique musical experiment that is both amusing and off kilter in equal measure.
‘Onward! (Too)’ is more a straightforward instrumental post rock affair, with powerful and emotive crescendos that any fan of the genre will recognise and appreciate despite its somewhat cookie cutter approach.
‘Six Ligertilly’s for Elena’ & ‘Christmas with Reilly’ change proceedings yet again, this time channelling dream pop/shoe gaze sounds that create a tranquil and defined piece and help highlight McKenzie’s chameleon-like abilities through his different genres and styles on show here in what essentially acts as a Silber retrospective. ‘Brian’s Theme’ follows in good stead with the theme of tranquillity and good will from previous tracks though from a more organic, acoustic standpoint.
Leaving the fuzzy warm feelings as quickly as they arrived, ‘February 23rd’ provides warping guitar sounds that will loop around the listener in a disquieting fashion, while ‘Fall of the World Trade Centre’ in name alone comes through as a sombre affair and lastly, ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’ is just pure Lycnhain gold in its distorted synth laden rendition of the crimbo jingle.
If you’re new to Electric Bird Noise, this is as great a place to start as any while for those already familiar with McKenzie’s outfit, ‘The Silber Sessions’ will free up valuable time that may have otherwise been spent on Indiana Jones style quests collating these odds and sods from various sources. For that also, this release deserves praise.