Mini-Reviews XIX

We’ve had a bunch of interesting new material, this week: new Art as Catharsis release, some folk atmospheric black metal, some powerviolence. Get ready!
Gendo Ikari is a grindcore/powerviolence band from the United Kingdom, and Unit 1 is their first EP, at just under ten minutes. It reminds me somewhat of 黒い樹海, which is not a bad thing at all. The whole thing is gone as quickly as it came, but it’s a brutal assault full of riff shredding and drums blasting. And it’s available for pay what you want on their label’s bandcamp.
The Silent Opera is a new album from The Conjuration, and I must say I’m not impressed. The one-man project seems to rely too much on their pre-established paradigms and ideas that were developed in the band’s earlier releases. The result is an album that wants to sound schizophrenic, creepy, and – dare I say? – edgy with its lyrical content, but that only manages to make something rather predictable and expected. If you’re new to The Conjuration, you might like it for its differentness to other bands, and if you wanted more of the same from them, you’ll be served.
… And the Night Swept Us Away / The Devil Within is a compilation album from Wildernessking that includes the two EPs mentioned in the title plus two bonus live in-studio recordings of “… And the Night Swept Us Away” and “Decay”. It’s a rather good atmospheric post-black metal collection of songs, but the nature of it makes it unnecessary, unless you really want those two bonus in-studio songs. Or maybe you were looking to buy these two EPs anyway, and now you’ve got some sort of discount on the package.
islnds is the newest project of Chris Letchford, and they just released their debut album, The History of Robots. This so-called “electronic project” is instead much closer to atmospheric rock, sometimes post-rock, with some elements of electronica. Unfortunately, these electronic elements sound cheap and are assigned the back seats, which is somewhat uncanny for a project that calls itself electronic first and foremost. Instead, at the foreground, we find minimalistic guitar intervals and chords that desperately try to create some sort of captivating atmosphere, but ultimately fail miserably.
Here’s a thing I’ve been awaiting eagerly: Ḥashshāshīn‘s debut album, nīhsāhshsaḤ. The Australian experimental progressive drone trio, led by a bouzouki (!), crafts wonderful melodies and Eastern European atmospheres that also can infringe on Middle-Eastern territory. It oddly reminds me of Spectral Lore’s Gnosis EP at times, which is great by the way, and the compositions truly have a Turkish or Persian vibe to it, thanks in parts to carefully-chosen scales, but also to the peculiar timbre of the lead instrument. Songs like “The Ascetic” let the prog side shine, while “Levitation” is almost pure drone / post-metal, but there is always some portion of each throughout the record. It’s an amazing album, and I recommend you pre-order it now (for $1) or wait for its release to get it on a pay what you want basis.
Atmospheric progressive black metal bands Haar and Ur Draugr collaborated on this four-track split release. While the former contributes three quarters of the number of tracks, the latter graces us with their longest one by far, at almost twenty minutes long. Haar is a new name for me, but I’m glad to say I will be going through their previous releases soon. They play a very visceral brand of atmospheric black metal, with some elements bringing them closer to dissonant black metal. Ur Draugr have excited us with their debut album, The Wretched Ascetic, but With Hunger Undying was less enthralling. Fortunately, “The Vista Profunda” is the band at their best with a progressive, atmospheric and dissonant black metal epic. Don’t miss it!
Evergreen Refuge is an atmospheric folk post-black metal band, and Anima is their latest album. Comprising of only one song split into two tracks, the fifty-six-minute journey goes through the depths and into the heights of animism. Gregorian-sounding choirs, overly-distorted guitars, flute, and mandolin make for a unique experience. While the almost sixty-minute long runtime might act as a deterrent to some, it’s something that I find captivating, and the band succeeds in making it feel like a trip rather than a chore. It’s a great release for black metal, and you should give it a try.
From Germany, Aeons End just released Imago, their debut EP. Beside the little disagreements between the cover art and the track titles – one being in Latin and featuring the æ digraph and the other being in English and writing a and e separately -, the album is a rather harmless reiteration of the alternative djent EP. The melodic vocals are imperfect but generally work well enough, and the compositions sound lifeless and rather generic. If you’re desperately in need of new music in that genre, then go ahead, but, if not, it’s quite unimpressive.

On September 22 2016, this entry was posted.