Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

Month: August 2022

Verletzen – Evil Will Triumph (2021)

Verletzen – Evil Will Triumph (2021)

As I covered in the review of the band’s demo, Verletzen are a local black metal band to me here in South Wales. The demo was great, with a very traditional yet clean approach to weaving tunes of blackest misery and grimness. Evil Will Triumph continues this trend much in the same vein as the debut demo, but with a bigger studio sound. For the most part, this works quite well, and it is nice to see Verletzen developing as songwriters. However, the drums are quite poor, if I’m honest. This seems to correct itself as the record goes on, but in the opening track the blasts are so sloppy that it is really distracting, which is a shame.

Esion – For The Shit Hits The Fans (1.5″, Lathe) (2013)

Esion – For The Shit Hits The Fans (1.5″, Lathe) (2013)

Quite possibly the stupidest thing in my record collection, which is definitely the whole point of this thing. I remember, in the early 2010s, a race amongst the noisecore / experimental projects and labels to release the smallest record possible. Technically, RxTx’s Bleached Anus takes the win, being fully playable (if only for a few seconds) at 1.5″ in size. Esion’s 1.5″ however, is actually not playable at all, and is in fact, designed to destroy your needle. Gorgonized Dorks did something similar earlier on in their career, with a full sized 7″. I got this not long before Mike passed away, and that’s probably the only reason I’ve kept it (that and the fact that it probably have zero intrinsic value to anybody else). RIP Mike. Don’t do heroin, kids.

VRV – 2008 (2008)

VRV – 2008 (2008)

VRV are one of those projects that is fairly awful on record but absolutely amazing live. Unless you have a particular penchant for drum machine fuelled noisecore with no direction or purpose, then please do not let me stop you. This 2008 CDr (I believe, from the man himself when I bought the VRV split with Agathocles) contains 2 sessions of improv madness, followed by an unlistenable live final session.

Behemoth – Satanica (1999)

Behemoth – Satanica (1999)

I had this when I was a kid but I don’t know what the fuck I was listening to because that was some 2 x CD set I pirated off a Russian website that had tons of bad demos and crappy synth passages. Satanica, not to be confused with The Satanist by the same band (way to go for original album titles, Nergal my guy hahaha), is none of the above, instead it is, of course, a slice of what the band are known for: lightening precise blackened death metal. I have no complaint here but no doubt a lot of black metal fans do not find Behemoth “trve” enough. Although, I guess that would apply to the band as a whole and not just this album. So yeah. To sum up: technically brilliant, but there were no stand out tracks for me.

Godflesh – Messiah (2000/2003)

Godflesh – Messiah (2000/2003)

Low key, posthumous release from Godflesh during their initial break up, or just before. I think it was recorded in the early 90s originally. Anyway, here are 4 tracks of stunning introspective industrial metal, followed by 4 dub remixes of those same tracks. It gives Messiah a circular feel, as themes you hear at the start are reprised in the dubs at the end. It’s a great mix of stuff.

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails…… (2021)

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails…… (2021)

Stunning recent outing from Darkthrone, with a robust yet natural production and the usual predilection for slaying riffs. Expect slightly longer songs, I suppose Eternal Hails is not a million miles from Old Star, but the vibe is much different. The closing track here in particular is a tidy slice of epic metal. Long live Darkthrone.

The Locust – The Locust (1998)

The Locust – The Locust (1998)

This “album”, at just over quarter of an hour long, marks – for me – the point where The Locust “became” The Locust we all know and love. Granted, the line-up which made some of the greatest records of all time didn’t solidify until 2001, but this self-titled record is an absolute explosion of grinding synthesizer madness. It is hard to explain really, but there’s just something about the frantic energy of The Locust that hits different compared to a lot of bands in this vein. There is just so much energy and power in the sound. The Locust 1998 boasts the bands best production to date, allowing those bizarre synthesizer sounds to really come through in the fold. But, please do not take my words too literally – this is still a challenging and dense listen.

The Locust – The Locust (1997)

The Locust – The Locust (1997)

This is the first of two self-titled releases the band did. The first is called, technically I guess, just Locust rather than The Locust. As a historical listener, the most striking thing for me about this 7″ is how the band’s sound develops from the more rudimentary powerviolence approach of the 1996 splits into what we could consider the more recognisable Locust sound. Hydra-headed jackal-like vocal attacks punctuate intense stabs of grinding noise. Most importantly, a thick, tar-like layer of bubbling analogue synthesizer envelopes the whole thing in audible insectoid goo. Brilliant.

Streets Of Rage 4 (Game) / V/A – Streets Of Rage 4 OST (2020)

Streets Of Rage 4 (Game) / V/A – Streets Of Rage 4 OST (2020)

I’ve been meaning to check this out for a while, and to be honest it wasn’t bad, give or take the fairly weak story line. Musically, I think the soundtrack manages to strike a good balance between modern and nostalgic, with more callbacks to the original run of 90s games happening in the gameplay rather than in the audio. On the downside however no particular artist here stands out, especially as I pored over the closing credits looking to remind myself of stand-out contributions and composers, none sprung to mind as worth noting down, which is a shame. Hey, it’s a good soundtrack. It just didn’t really excite me, personally.

Wongraven – Fjelltronen (1995)

Wongraven – Fjelltronen (1995)

A beautifully composed album from the mid-90s, led by Satyricon’s Satyr Wongraven (I guess this dude loves naming bands after himself, huh?). Discogs credits Norwegian percussionist Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen as having contributed to this record, as well as Ihsahn from Emperor, but for the most part, this is a solo outing. What we get is a solid 30 minutes or so of excellent ambient / dungeon synth music (before the term really existed, remember) that has that intense Nordic feel and atmosphere. The record shares a cover drawing with Carpathian Forest’s Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods, both taking Theodor Kittelsen’s excellent, evocative pencil drawing (I think it’s pencil at least). This art really is perfect for the music on show here, and helps whisk you away to a world that, for the most part, sadly no longer exists.

細野晴臣 (Haruomi Hosono) – 花に水 (Watering A Flower) (1984)

細野晴臣 (Haruomi Hosono) – 花に水 (Watering A Flower) (1984)

I was recommended this off the back of finding Lunar Womb’s Planets record. There I was in awe of the vaporwave-decades-before-vaporwave sound mixed with dark ambient (or dungeon synth to you modern kids). Watering A Flower is however, a different creature. There is a similarity in floating synthesisers and dreamlike pacing, but otherwise Haruomi Hosono invokes an entirely different listening experience. One I admittedly enjoyed in all its minimal, trance-inducing goodness, and I will seek to unearth further Hosono compositions as time and life allows.

Dimmu Borgir – Godless Savage Garden (1998)

Dimmu Borgir – Godless Savage Garden (1998)

Godless Savage Garden seems like something of a stop-gap after Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. I see it as more of an EP than an album, but its not a million miles away from CoF’s From The Cradle… EP or stop-gap Bitter Suites record. It would perhaps be callous to call these songs leftovers from the Enthrone… sessions but they do have the similar excellent, spoopy vibe with plenty of reverb. The band in this time dealt in some intensely melodic guitar work, and Shagrath’s vocals are savage too. Throw in a crappy cover and some half-baked live recordings to run-up the total time and you’ve got yourself Godless Savage Garden. Not the best thing Dimmu have recorded, but the first few studio tracks are the start are well worth checking out.

Feminazgul – No Dawn For Men (2020)

Feminazgul – No Dawn For Men (2020)

I feel dirty because a few of the black metal related things I’ve touched recently have leaned more towards the unsavoury (both Clandestine Blaze and Deathspell Omega which I’ve covered contain the unsavoury Mikko Aspa), so it was almost with a sigh of relief that I remembered I had a Feminazgul record to check out. I can’t decide if the name is pure genius or just downright awful, but either way, it certainly turns heads and grabs attention; mixing fantasy and reality together into a melting pot that if anything, sums up RABM quite nicely. I love how RABM has risen as a reaction to the shittier end of the black metal stick, namely NSBM or those who flirt with such, and I can’t help but feel proud of my fellow lefty brethren for their fire and moxy in spawning a whole genre in reaction and disgust to the status quo. As readers may have noticed, I do cover some unsavory acts here on LIW, from black metal to porno grind, but for every post about a record of moral dubiousness (lol), you’ll find five Agathocles posts to balance it out. No, seriously though, personally I stand firmly on the left, but I also disagree massively with cancel culture or censorship, in any way shape or form. If you censor something, you make it taboo. And by doing that, there’s a certain subset of people who are immediately drawn to that. Censorship is not the answer. Pretending entire scenes or genres of music do not exist, is not the answer, and it’s certainly not something so heavy that I expected to get into here on my blog so I’ll wrap this up quickly and get back to the review of No Dawn For Men. Regardless of your politics, this is some absolutely stunning black metal. In fact, it is some of the best black metal I have ever heard. It has an intense, repetitive progressive edge – almost something that dare I say is altogether more Swans than anything like, say, Deafheaven. The songs fall into these ruts, like a record falling into a locked groove, and the keyboards, guitars and everything else just ends up falling over itself and back on itself, like waves in the ocean or folding steel into a sword in metallurgy. Honestly, this is truly beautiful, and I need to get myself a cassette of this thing ASAP because damn, absolutely 10/10 to Feminazgul. I hope they do another record soon.

Nargaroth – Spectral Visions Of Mental Warfare (2011)

Nargaroth – Spectral Visions Of Mental Warfare (2011)

I downloaded a bunch of Nargaroth records 7 years ago when they were coming to my town so it’s probably a good idea if I actually listen to them. Spectral Visions… is as much introspective electronic music as it is dingy black metal. When the metal does flow, the songs are slow and atmospheric. Personally, I prefer the electronic passages here, which come across like a techno version of Tangerine Dream drowning in dusty dungeon synth cassettes. An interesting combination.

Sulsa / Cystoblastosis – Split Tape (2018)

Sulsa / Cystoblastosis – Split Tape (2018)

This was originally recorded and released digitally in 2018 but the tape eventually came from Haunted Hotel Records in 2020. Sulsa are at the absolute peak of what decent goregrind should sound like. There’s a little mince stomp (only just), but otherwise this is punishing gore with a fat, disgusting bass leading the way. The vocals are putrid as all hell, and I cannot recommend this band heavily enough. Cystoblastosis have some good old school riffs, from both the grind and death camps, mashing it head on into their goregrind aesthetic, with CBT-grade pitchshifted lows and tight drumming. All in all, this is a solid goregrind split which is well worth checking out.