Obsequiae “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” Review

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When I heard Obsequiae would be coming out with a new album I was so excited to hear what Tanner Anderson has created. I can safely say that he has created a potential album of the year candidate for 2019. The album is consistent, unique, and beautiful there is not a weak part to be heard in “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings”. When I first heard of Obsequiae, I was very much intrigued because I thoroughly enjoy Tanner Anderson’s project Celestiial. Listening to the epic sound found in Celestiial I was itching to hear a pared down version that was succinct but still had that immense feel to the music, and that is how I found out about “Aria of Vernal Tombs”. I purchased the album right away and immediately got into the ethereal and medieval world of Obsequiae. After experiencing the beauty of “Aria of Vernal Tombs”, I could not wait to hear what “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” had in store for me.

The album begins with an amazing instrumental by Vicente La Camera Mariño, “L’autrier m’en aloie” this is song is astonishing in its beauty and really paints the listener a picture of natural landscapes with ruins scattered across green craggy islands. The instrumental ends and the sounds of wind, and birds take over; then the first chords kick in for the song “Ceres in Emerald Streams”. This track hits all cylinders and rips but has a subtle dreamlike vibe to the guitars that somehow eases the tension completely in the song. “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” has this sound going on throughout the album, which makes it incredibly consistent.

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The next aspect of the album that really is a highlight is the muffled screams of Tanner Anderson, it really adds a mystique to the overall sound of “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” his vocals sound like they were recorded on a cliff side overlooking rivers, lakes and castles in disrepair. It gives an overall natural vibe to the music that fits the themes conveyed in all 12 tracks perfectly. In addition, the lyrical delivery in the songs is top notch and gives a sense of longing for the ancient world before technology took over. The lyrics show a deep yearning for places with overgrown hedges, vast gardens and mysterious woods nearby.

Another thing that makes this album brilliant is how atmospheric and crunchy the guitars are, I picture a bard somewhere in an old church playing electric guitar summoning the ancient spirits of old. There is such a sense of melody and beauty in the riffs and leads. I imagine in my head these songs playing while I ride horseback from the mountains, rivers, and through the misty meadows of Avalon. Each track on the “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” has this mystical, and fey-like imagery found throughout every menhir, sepulcher, and dark/dusty castle corridor. If you are itching to hear an album that will take you to different worlds, this album does it in spades.

In conclusion, I feel this album is brilliant, the imagery, overall sounds and vibe of the album hits all the right emotional notes. As I progressed through the album, I felt such wonderment and even a bit of sadness. There is a sense of longing for worlds lost to time and technology throughout the entirety of “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” it is album that allows you to journey inward to experience a world where your ancestors once walked and the sorrow they felt when man’s folly caused the impending doom of the natural world. “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings” is the millions of voices lost to time and decay, please listen to their message.

Rating 9/10

Bandcamp: https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/the-palms-of-sorrowed-kings

 

 

Fen “The Dead Light” Review

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Fen has released a new album called “The Dead Light” it is their next opus in their extensive and consistent discography. I had the pleasure to listen to the album and wanted to say that it is good but there are some moments where the album gets a bit repetitive. Instead of covering themes of nature and the ground beneath our feet Fen have decided to take the listener skywards to the stars and planets above. The album takes me through this journey in a wonderful way. I picture ancient populations before civilization ballooned looking up at the night sky in wonderment and mystery. I think the lads from Fen have constructed an album that really conveys these feelings.

The album starts with an instrumental that paints an image of wandering a meadow at night stargazing. There is a calming vibe with the song but as it progresses, it builds to the first song “The Dead Light (Part 1)” and as the first chords kick in I now see myself sitting on an asteroid shooting through space and time. This song is very progressive in nature, and a bit chaotic in a way to. This is the first major difference from Fen’s prior releases they get much more proggy in their song structure. I think this helps “The Dead Light” but hurts it a bit too. I have not been the biggest fan of prog metal because I feel it meanders too much and gets a bit too technical for my liking. Some moments in the album go in that direction, but Fen are able to balance it out with much more beautiful post metal passages.

As the album continues we are then introduced to another instrumental bridge “The Dead Light (Part 2)” that reminds me so much of Morgion’s instrumental “Solinari” it has this very mystical and ethereal vibe going on with it that is perfect transition to one of the stand out tracks “Nebula”. This is a really well written and beautiful song by Fen, they go straight up black metal meets post rock meets shoegaze in this song. It shows how versatile they are as songwriters because you get a sense of chaos and kinetic energy in one song and now introduced to a very dreamy/introspective tune to balance it out. I think “Nebula” is probably the closest sound to their work off “The Malediction Fields” with an even greater emphasis on clean vocals.

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The last four songs off “The Dead Light” are very different from one another and this where things end up getting a bit repetitive on the album. The first track “Labyrinthine Echoes” is a good song and epic in nature. It sounds like an extended version of Enslaved’s “Return to Yggdrasil” with many movements both heavy and quiet. The next two songs “Breath of the Void” and “Exsanguination” are where the album gets a bit rocky. These songs sound very similar to one another and just bleed into one another. Nothing really stands out about these tracks compared to other amazing songs on the album I have heard so far.

The final song on the album “Rendered in Onyx” is an amazing song and a great closing opus to end the album on a high note. The images in this song are stunning, dreamlike and hopeful. When I hear this song, I picture myself floating in the Milky Way with stars, and planets surrounding me. The millions of suns warming my face amidst the peace and quiet of the interstellar silence. I feel “Rendered in Onyx” is a healthy mix of “Bereft” and “Winter III (Fear)” it has that specific hook that really hits all the right emotional buttons. The combination of clean vocals and The Watcher’s screams makes this song super interesting. It successfully takes you down so many paths both aggressive and calming.

“The Dead Light” is another great entry in Fen’s discography. There are plenty of highlights to be heard on the album there are just some areas that didn’t impress me as much as the songs from Fen’s prior releases, specifically, “Winter” and “Carrion Skies” . If you have been a fan of Fen, you will enjoy this album and may even love the songs I did not enjoy as much. Fen is one of those bands that know how to write consistently good music and I am glad to hear the experimentation found on the album. Eventually the different paths Fen takes with their music will lead to even more interesting and adventurous albums in the future.

Rating 8/10

Bandcamp: https://fenuk.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fenofficial

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FenBandUK

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Alcest a Retrospective 2012 to 2016

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At this stage of Neige’s career, Alcest started gaining more momentum. Their popularity started growing and growing. More and more fans have gotten a chance to stumble upon the beautiful soundscapes Alcest evokes. Also in this age of Alcest, they went into very different avenues with their music. They started visiting the worlds of dream pop and pure shoegaze as the band progressed, which not only brought in a new type of fan but also showed how versatile and creative Alcest can be. In my opinion, the years between 2012 and 2016 were a mixed bag. The one thing I can say is Alcest’s music still is able to flood my mind with feelings of nostalgia and longing.

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Les voyages de l’âme 8/10

I would say this is my second favorite album by Alcest; there are some great songs on here that really hit the feels. The album is very sunny and warm in nature but still has this cold breeze blowing through it. There are still some amazing black metal moments in “Les voyages de l’âme” where Neige really belts out some really bone chilling screams and shrieks. However, what makes the album stand out a lot to me is how much it puts me into a blissful mood. The music is soft, ethereal and just hits all the introspective bits in my mind. As the album closes, we start seeing a preview of what is to come in the song “Summer’s Glory” for a future divisive Alcest album in 2014. Best songs: Autre Temps, Là où naissent les couleurs nouvelles, and Faiseurs de mondes

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Shelter 9/10

For me Alcest’s album “Shelter” is an absolute revelation. Neige has decided to stray far away from the black metal origins of Alcest and decided to create an album of pure moody dream pop/shoegaze. To cap it off Neige enlisted the talents of Neil Halstead of Slowdive to contribute some vocals and guitar to this album. Surprisingly the song “Away” is one of the best songs on the album. It is moving, warm, relaxing and utterly spellbinding. The bulk of this album is incredibly consistent with the most beautiful package of songs I have heard in a long while. Each track evokes imagery that is positive, alluring, and dreamlike. Usually metal albums tend to be dark and dreary, “Shelter” on the other hand is one of the most positive and life-affirming pieces of music I have got to hear. Best songs: Opale, Away, and Délivrance

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Kodama 6/10

When I first heard that Alcest was going to be working on a new album called “Kodama”, I was once again super eager to hear what direction they were going to take the band. When I got the album, I was not impressed with it like some of Alcest’s earlier works. It seemed like Neige was kind of going with the motions in the writing of “Kodama”. The album seemed lackluster to me, and I only enjoyed about three songs off the album. I also thought the album ended too soon and left me wanting more. I was worried that Alcest’s creative genius was starting to wane with “Kodama”. I felt like I spent more time hearing early works then “Kodama” when the album came out. Best songs: Kodama, Je suis d’ailleurs, and Oiseaux de proie

This concludes my mini reviews of the latter half of Alcest career. As I mentioned above it was a very mixed bag in regards to the albums introduced between 2012 and 2016. The one thing I will say is Neige and company are able to still write amazing pieces of music that really brings out both feelings of joy and sorrow in each subsequent album. I still highly recommend giving them a listen if you want to experience music that is achingly beautiful but also brings out so many feelings/nostalgia with frequent listens.

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Bandcamp: https://alcest.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official

Official Page: http://www.alcest-music.com/

Alcest a Retrospective 2005 to 2010

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I recall a while ago that an old friend of mine introduced me to a band called Alcest out of France. He let me borrow a CD with beautiful artwork of a mermaid, sleeping man, and the full moon in glowing blue hues. I come to find out that this album is “Écailles de Lune” when I first put the CD into my car stereo and drove home the music absolutely floored me. I never heard anything like Alcest before and I have yet to hear any band like Alcest even now. This was the first moment in time that I was enraptured by Neige’s genius, and as the years passed, Alcest became part of my top five bands of all time. I wanted to take this time to do some mini reviews of Alcest’s discography. They have developed a really interesting and eclectic series of albums that are all different in their own unique ways. With the impending release of their new album “Spiritual Instinct”, this is a perfect time than ever to introduce you to the hidden, beautiful metallic world of Alcest.

I am going to split my reviews into two distinctive eras of Alcest. To begin Alcest began its journey with an EP simply called “Le Secret” followed by “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” and then capped off with the seminal album “Écailles de Lune”. This era of Alcest was very diverse; there was a lot of experimentation happening earlier in Neige’s career and I think the first half of his discography had so many different and unique dynamics happening.

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Le Secret 10/10

When Neige first described his experiences as a child visiting the “Otherworld” “Le Secret” was the album where we see Neige’s at his rawest and most vulnerable. This two song EP effectively invoked images of dreamlike worlds where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. The music had a hypnotic and serene type of energy through every note and vocal choice. There is a strong feeling of nostalgia and memory with the musical arrangements and it really puts your mind into an otherworldly atmosphere. When I first heard this album, I was floored at how good it was for an EP, especially with it being Neige’s first album running with the shoegaze and black metal formula. Even to this day I give “Le Secret” a spin and I am still blown away at how simply gorgeous the album is. Best Songs: All of Them!

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Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde 7/10

When “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” was released, I never heard any metal album like it before. I would even say it is not a pure metal album at all. There were some riffs and blast beats that are sprinkled throughout the album, but the bulk of the music was driven by shoegazing music. I was hearing more My Bloody Valentine or Cocteau Twins compared to Darkthrone or Burzum. This is what really intrigued me when I first heard “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” it’s a unique, fresh and very a different take on metal. The thing with this is album is it starts very strong then it loses my interest. The first four to five tracks put me into such a blissful mood because of how beautiful/evocative the music was. Then as the album progresses the tracks got weaker. The one thing to keep in mind is Neige had to write this album in order to build this metal/shoegaze hybrid into some amazing future records, while building a new genre of metal called “blackgaze” along the way. Best Songs: Printemps émeraude, Souvenirs d’un autre monde, and Les Iris

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Écailles de Lune 9/10

“Écailles de lune” was the first album that introduced me to Alcest. Still in my eyes, this is the best album out of their discography. The beauty in this album is beyond words and the images and feelings conveyed in this album have always resonated so deeply with me. I spent many nights driving around during full moon nights and have “Écailles de lune” blasting from my car speakers. It puts so many images in my head and really brings out a lot of clarity. When my mind is foggy or I am, feeling down I would listen to this album to help me get out of my funk. Every time I hear “Écailles de lune” it helped with my mental health, and gave me a new perspective of my existence in this world. Regardless of the lyrics being in French you know exactly what Neige is trying to convey in this album. The musicianship is warm, introspective, and very dreamlike. The vocals are more ethereal compared to punchy/upfront, and the screams/rasps heard in Neige’s vocals chills you to the bone. It is the perfect album of moods and emotions. There is no room in this album for dry technical work; the album purely thrives on the nostalgic thoughts and feelings we all experience as human beings. Best Songs: Ecailles de lune I, Ecailles de Lune II and Sur l’océan couleur de fer

Here concludes my reviews of the first half of Alcest’s discography from 2007 to 2010 there was a beautiful monster stirring in France at this time. In addition, as this monster rose from the depths a genuine tidal wave of blackgaze bands emerged and yet still Neige and company were way ahead of the pack for quality and consistency from 2012 until 2016.

Alcest

Bandcamp: https://alcest.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official

Official Page: http://www.alcest-music.com/

A Review of “Salt” by KHôRADA

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When the news came out about the emergence of KHôRADA I was super excited and intrigued to see what direction Don Anderson, Jason Walton and Aesop Dekker would go with the inclusion of Giant Squid’s brainchild AJ Gregory. To me this was quite the dichotomy of styles and influences that could in turn create an album so unique and mammoth that it would be genre-defining than genre-rehashing. I think this has always been the motivation of these talented musicians over the years, when Agalloch was an entity they always challenged themselves and went to higher levels of creativity, the same can be said about Giant Squid. What I see in KHôRADA’s album “Salt” is that Don, Jason, AJ and Aesop do not believe in a mediocre product, they have crafted a piece of music that is relevant, challenging and absolutely crushing. The heaviness in this album is beyond words, there is so much riffs that are doom-laden and just bleak. The sounds erupting from all the instruments absolutely engulfs you in suffocating, strange and otherworldly ways.

When you are first introduced to “Salt” there is a sound of distant horns heralding the end of the world. As the song progresses the helpless, and emotive vocals of AJ Gregory arise from the watery depths. His voice prophesizes the end of the world and the birth of the sixth mass extinction. After reading the lyrics of “Edeste” I came to the conclusion that “Salt” is going to be a hopeless, fatalistic, and nihilistic journey. As the album progressed the themes and emotions in music continued to grow and grow into utter despair and despondency. This may sound negative but I guarantee this is a positive, KHôRADA’s “Salt” is a tiring but important journey of the heart and soul. After multiple listens I was thinking more and more about mortality of not only myself but the whole of mankind. The guitars, bass, drums and vocals put the listener through a series of inner trials and tribulations and you come out of the fog with a different view of life and the inevitable doom that will follow.

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Photo Credit: Cody Keto Photography

As the album progresses the songs get more and more dense/evocative. As I am listening to all the nuances I am hearing snippets of Agalloch and Giant Squid. The guitar work of Don Anderson is always a stand out, the solos and leads he incorporates are very distinctive and melancholic. AJ Gregory’s guitars are a lot crunchier, and it really gives KHôRADA a unique identity. The one thing that really impressed me more than anything else is the bass and drum work of Jason and Aesop. The foundation they have built together really gives “Salt” such depth, intensity and heaviness. The drumming is just outstanding and there are a ton of bass leads and lines that are right at the forefront that makes the tracks all the gloomier.

The one thing you will notice above all else about “Salt” is the very apparent political statement found throughout AJ Gregory’s lyrics. He specifically said in the conception of “Salt” that it is a protest against the Trump-era and how this era will expedite the inevitable end of the world. There is such a sense of anger and hopelessness in the lyrics that it makes you really concerned about the future especially for future generations. Surprisingly enough AJ Gregory, Don Anderson, Jason Walton and Aesop Dekker tend to develop music at the most relevant times which increases the impact and weight of “Salt”. Truly this is a testament to the talent and skill they all have, I am really looking forward to seeing what type of album they will come up with next. When you have such gifted musicians in a project like KHôRADA the next album will inevitably be impactful and genre-defining. In the dark ages we are in now as human race a band like KHôRADA is the light found in the darkest recesses of the abyss.

Rating: 8/10

Official Site: https://www.khorada.com

Bandcamp: https://khorada.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/khorada/

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Photo Credit: Cody Keto Photography

A Review of Eneferens’s: “The Bleakness of Our Constant”

 

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I have spent a seemingly long time trying to figure out my place in this world, so much has happened in my life and I started seeing myself getting lost in indifference. The world buzzed by while I was stuck in a nucleus of numbness, and loss of self. I know I could always turn to metal to help through these movements in life. But lately I have started to feel indifferent about the music I have been listening to lately. The music didn’t move me as much as it used to do. And then when I thought there was no turning back for me I found a solo black/doom metal project called Eneferens.

The brainchild behind this project is Jori Apedaile out of Minneapolis, MN. I was first introduced to Jori’s mindset when I heard him talk on Jason Walton’s podcast “I Hate Music” his taste in music reflected my own tastes and when I learned more of his solo-project Eneferens. I heard a track off his album “In the Hours Beneath” and I had this illumination that this is a project I needed to dive into more. I purchased both his albums “In the Hours Beneath” and the “The Inward Cold” and spent a good chunk of time really being floored by the emotions, thoughts and feelings found in the music. There were feelings of anger, regret, indifference, mortality, nature and most importantly a resonating sense of love lost and love ignored. Every single one of these elements in these albums fit me and the struggles I have been dealing with for a couple years now. As I got lost in the music and looking into my inward self I had a chat with Jori and he mentioned that he was working on a new album and it will be coming out soon. This album ended up being his newest opus “The Bleakness of Our Constant” and this album came out at the right time for me.

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I have been dealing with deaths in my family, boredom at my job, searching for love, and being constantly reminded that the person I care deeply for has no idea how much I do care. I have found myself in a place that is just darkness, and loss that is both unfamiliar and confounding. My thoughts were all jumbled up like a jigsaw puzzle without corner pieces. I could not find rationale or reasoning behind these thoughts in my head. Then, like a sudden thunderstorm “The Bleakness of Our Constant” came out and as soon as I heard the first guitar chords in “Leave” I got lost once again in the brilliance of Enferens. Every song hit every feeling and thought I had about this current moment in my life.

The thoughts of loss, and wishing for something that cannot be while longing it to be. I can picture in my head while hearing tracks like “Awake” and “Weight of the Mind’s Periapt” a woman of beauty that is positive, energetic and just seems like the right fit even though you cannot put your finger on why you feel this way about her. Though instead of her there by your side she is in the distance, aloof and hazy. You are trying to make her aware but because of second thoughts, and your own insecurities she will never know how you truly felt about her. “The Bleakness of Our Constant” really hits home on these thoughts, images and feelings. If you have ever been in this type of situation this album will really help you understand how to navigate it and find closure even if it seems so far away.

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Listening to a “The Bleakness of Our Constant” can be painful but profound. Being reminded of past failures and the guilt surrounding it helps you grow like it did for me. I am still in a daze most nights and days and as I piece together these threads in my life I hope to be whole again. The music, vocals, lyrics and imagery in “The Bleakness of Our Constant” hits highs and lows as well as darkness and light. It is an album that gives imagery of misty woods, old houses, mourning lovers, unrequited romance and the sadness found in being ignored. This is a very personal, vulnerable and thought provoking album and as soon as you complete it in its entirety you will come to find out that you are not alone in these feelings. I highly suggest you give not only “The Bleakness of Our Constant” a listen but pay a visit to Enferens’s other brilliant albums “The Inward Cold” and “In the Hours Beneath”. As you get lost in these beautiful albums you will start to find a way out of the darkness through the cold light of the stars above.

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Rating 9/10

Bandcamp: https://eneferens.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eneferens/

A Review of Ulver’s Album “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”

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One of my first forays into the black metal genre was Ulver’s trilogy from the 90s. I was first introduced to Ulver because of my love for nature-inspired black metal. “Bergttat”, “Kvledssanger” and “Nattens Madrigal” blew me away with stunning black metal and folk music. Also these albums were revolutionary in the progress of black metal. I was so excited to find this band that I wanted to hear more. Since those albums Ulver always changed up their style from intriguing (Perdition City) to boring (any of their electronic albums). I kind of stopped listening to them after Perdition City. Then I was reading one of my friend’s posts on Facebook and he gave his top albums for 2017 and to my surprise what came first on that list was Ulver’s new album “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”. So I listened to the album and was utterly floored by the music in it. I have been diving more into synthpop/new wave music and to see Ulver go in this direction was intriguing.

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After multiple listens the more the album grew on me. There is some excellent stuff in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” and it once again made Ulver accessible to me. There is still some weird and fascinating moments in the album that harken back to their electronic days, but instead of boring electronics it was interesting electronics instead. The best way to describe the music in this album is driving in a haze after a rainy night recollecting the highs and lows of life. It is a relaxing, introspective and morose album. The overarching highlight to me is the vocals of Garm, I have always respected Garm’s vocal style over the years and really missed hearing him in a bunch of Ulver’s newer albums. The tones, style and imagery he conveys in his vocals really makes “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” stand out to me. His vocals are versatile and really compliment the synth sounds and beats found in the songs. These is sense of darkness, beauty and longing all put into one package.

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I was even more impressed with the electronic and synth work in this album. There is warmth and coldness abound in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”. I feel like I am listening to a movie reminiscing about the nostalgia and history of the 80s. The album’s lyrical content is very intriguing and thought provoking, Kristoffer Rygg seamlessly blends imagery and information about two different historical contexts and makes it into his own version of history. What really makes the lyrics interesting is how he takes these seamlessly random moments in history and compares them to the darkness and emotions of the human condition. I feel this album is especially relevant to the current events of today in a wide variety of ways. This disillusionment is real for us as humans these days.

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To conclude I consider this to be a heck of an album that could really tap into a wide variety of music lovers. I think Ulver’s has bridged the gap of obscurity to relevance. I feel this album could touch anyone who loves and appreciates music. There is something you can always relate to in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” be it the lyrics, imagery, vocals or music. There is an undeniable catchiness to this album and it will continue to get consistent listens if you appreciate music that is dark as well as pop-driven. Ulver has crafted an album that has turned heads but also unlocked the potential they could still go for in future albums.

Rating: 9/10

Ulver Official Page: http://jester-records.com/ulver/ulver.html

Bandcamp: https://ulver.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ulverofficial/

A Review of Mathias Grassow & John Haughm’s Album “Aurae”

 

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When one first hears the word “drone” the first images that come to mind are soundscapes that meander and lead the listener to a lull of catharsis and introspection. The tones and sound effects put the listener into a waking sleep, and helps the listener expand their imagination to even greater depths. One thing you will notice about drone music is the fact that you cannot “rock out” or dance to it. All you can do is listen and let your mind wander to the outer reaches of the universe.

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Photo By: Veleda Thorsson

Mathias Grassow & John Haughm’s latest collaborative effort “Aurae” deliberately gives this effect when you hear it closely. I have been super interested in their project for years now because I have an appreciation for the work Haughm has done through Agalloch and Pillorian, and after multiple listens loved the work of Grassow. There are moments in life when you just need to relax and forget about the chaotic world around you. The music found in “Aurae” is a perfect soundtrack to calm these moments in life. I have never heard an album that has immediately relaxed me and intrigued me in balanced doses. There is an unwavering sense of expanse and infinite when hearing “Aurae”. I see images of empty, rolling landscapes of green and wind-touched stalks of wheat blowing in the breeze that parallels with my own heartbeats. There is sense of wistfulness while being lost in the fog of shadows and light in the music. And the bleak, barren landscapes the music invokes gives glimpses of doorways that lead somewhere else to a place beyond the body and even soul.

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The brilliance of this album is that it gives listeners different experiences, one person could feel an emotion different to another person when listening to “Aurae”. When one could feel peace and serenity the other could feel suffocating anxiety. Drone music has this kind of effect which makes it such a fascinating sub-genre of music. There have been some drone albums that made me feel uncomfortable or even disturbed while others made me feel pensive and relaxed. This dichotomy is one of the key components to a successful drone album, and “Aurae” effectively does this seamlessly. The calm, tranquil art of Grassow melded with the oppressive darkness of Haughm’s music delivers an album that puts your mind through millions of emotions/feelings and somehow puts you into a better state of mind after multiple listens. If you are looking for something unique and different to listen to I would give “Aurae” a chance, if you want to journey into the astral plane “Aurae” will guide you there.

Rating: 8/10

John Haughm Bandcamp: https://haughm.bandcamp.com/

Mathias Grassow Bandcamp: https://mathiasgrassow.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Imperium Dekadenz “Dis Manibvs”

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I have spent a ton of time trying to find new things to listen to. I love all of the albums I have in some way or another but I just needed to hear something new and unique. I heard about the band Imperium Dekadenz from one of my friend’s and started listening to some songs by them. After hearing their music with much greater attention to detail I was immediately staggered by how good these guys are. Hailing from Germany Imperium Dekadenz arrived through the fogs and mists of the black woods and have created an epic album called “Dis Manibvs” that came out in August of 2016.

The best way I can describe the overall vibe of the album is sorrowful, ancient and triumphant. The songs seemingly blend into one another like a tapestry of stars and planets. The vocals remind me of yearnings for times of old and final breaths of stars dying into the black of space. There is a cosmic, polytheistic and natural energy when every note is played. There is strong feeling of melancholy in the way the instruments harmonize and crescendo. There are multiple things that standout in “Dis Manibvs” one of them standing out above all others is the drumming of Vespasian. They are powerful, emotional and thunderous like the heavens, blast beats sound like oaks growing and expanding in the rain, and the cymbal crashes remind me of bolts of lightning turning the night sky white. There is a real feeling of the gods speaking when you hear some tracks of “Dis Manibvs” and whatever they are saying is being conjured through Imperium Dekadenz.

imperium-band

I can say when I hear this album my mind goes into a different place entirely, all the negativity and pain of life disappears and I feel like I am lost on a battlefield after Ragnarok. I see corpses around me, blood in the grass, mud and destruction everywhere. But I am not looking at the ground but the sky above. I can see stars clear and bright, clouds passing through the moon and treetops. I can see the dull light of dawn on the horizon and the ghosts of the dead wandering aimless among the piles of the dead. I know even after the brutality and violence of the battle that I lived and the gods had plans for me hidden from my view. I could only find the answers by moving forward and leaving the death behind me. My eyes scan to the east as I see the sun rise and notice glimmers of light as the sun shines over the vast raging river cutting through hills and valleys, a place to be cleansed of the blood and filth of the night before. These are the images and feelings “Dis Manibvs” evokes when listened to and it stays with you long after.

The songs that stand out most on this album are “Still I Rise” a triumphant, hopeful song about letting the past rot and being only aware of the present and seeing the future in a gauze of ether. The guitars are incredibly bombastic and immediately invoke these feelings and it just stays with you as a fond memory of the past you do not want to lose. The next song that is incredible is “Dis Manibvs” a slow, doomy black metal track which cascades like waterfalls and a steady warm rain. There is a sense of longing in this song, it is almost depressive in nature but it nonetheless is a song that can help with feelings of guilt and grief. The final song that stands out is “Volcano” it reminds me thoroughly of an old Emperor song it sounds like chaos melded with calm and develops images of a civilization on the brink of collapse through utter natural destruction. There is a sense of closure in this song, after the eruption and screams of thousands there is silence and it permeates through everything and leaves you utterly speechless in where the album will go next.

Imperium Dekadenz - Ragnarök 2014

Captured by Dvergir Photography

When the album ends the feelings, senses and thoughts stay with you like a vivid dream. You see yourself floating aimlessly in the infinite sky and see the god’s beckoning you to paradise. You find yourself at peace after the destructively beautiful sounds and images of “Dis Manibvs” and just want to play it again and again. The story Vespasian and Horaz crafted with such care, diligence and passion is something that will remain in your memory long after listening. An album that allows you to always hear new things and experience new visions is an album worth listening to. Be blown away by the utter perfection of this album and let it stick with you for the rest of your days.

Rating 9/10

Bandcamp: https://imperiumdekadenz.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImperiumDekadenz/

Homepage: http://www.imperium-dekadenz.de/

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