1) The debut album by Blood Revolt, entitled Indoctrine and out now on Profound Lore Records, is an absolute fucking FACE-MELTER. The barrage of equal parts black and death metal (thanks to the instrumental prowess/degradation of former members of Canadian outfits Revenge and Axis Of Advance) is profoundly (har har) disorienting, but in a manner that always seems intentional. The vocals of Alan Averill (of Irish pagan/black metallers Primordial) are a real treat, displaying not quite the same epic, soaring melodicisms of Primordial, but a broader range of spoken word, faster lyrical phrasing, and an all-around more aggressive vocal approach.
I suspect that I’ll be writing up an actual review of this album once it’s been given time to sink its gnarled teeth a bit further into my skin. The real comment that I wanted to make here, however, is just to note how much of a pleasure it is to listen to an album whose pacing has been very thoughtfully constructed. What I mean is, this album’s eight tracks seem to have been very intentionally arranged so that even when played on CD, the first four and latter four tracks play like sides A and B of an LP. It’s a very nice symmetry which only works to enhance the nicely understated ‘concept album’ nature, as well as giving the listener the smallest of chances to catch his or her breath in between these slabs of furious metal onslaught. This is definitely not to be missed.
2) A little while back, I was whinging on and on about nostalgia, and about never having the opportunity any longer to be well and truly surprised by music (e.g., the time I bought my first Dream Theater or Swans album, never having heard of either). Well, just a few days ago I was shopping at Reckless Records down in the loop, and happened to spot two (2!) brand new albums up on their ‘New Releases’ wall that I had not even the slightest inkling were being released.
One of these was a brand new album from David Tibet’s wonderfully cryptic and singular Current 93, entitled Baalstorm, Sing Omega. So recent are these purchases, in fact, that I haven’t even listened to it yet. I really just wanted to register my glee at having found this brand new full-length statement, fully formed and ready for the embrace of my earnest dollars.
The second is the debut (and eponymous) album from a project called The Blood Of Heroes, which features Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh/Jesu/&c./&c.) on guitar, Bill Laswell (of, well, a fuckload of stuff) on bass, electronic artists Submerged and Enduser on, well, electronics, along with other electronic, live drums, and vocal collaborators. I’ve only spun the thing once so far, but it’s a pretty interesting fusion of some of latter-day Godflesh’s dub-inflected experimentation, some of Jesu’s yearning melodies, with a bit of noise rock, not-quite-dancehall-but-close vocals, and a tasteful dollop of the slightly-less frenetic side of the breakcore/IDM/drum ‘n bass/whatever scene.
I mean, clearly this is not exactly the same thing, since I already know (more or less) what Current 93 sounds like, and although The Blood Of Heroes is a new project, knowing a fair bit about several of the contributors gave me a pretty good sense of what the overall vibe might be. Still, point is: Surprises are still possible in this here world of ours.
Or, maybe the moral is: If you don’t try and pay attention to every goddamned thing in the world of music, you’ll stumble across these gems, these bolts from the blue, more often.
3) On that same trip to Reckless, I came across a used copy of Summoning’s Dol Guldur in the clearance bin for $0.99. Nothing much to add there, other than ‘Fuck yeah!’ These Austrian synth-obsessed symphonic/black metallers are equally obsessed with JRR Tolkien, so I’m just downright pleased as punch to have gotten so much Middle-Earth bang for my Regular Earth buck.
4) Overwrought expressions of grief always end up being more insulting, so I will just say that I offer my condolences to the family, friends, and band mates of Makh Daniels, vocalist of the promising band Early Graves. Daniels was killed in a car accident earlier today while on tour. The music world should mourn the loss of a very talented musician, but of course that all pales next to the real, human loss of those who knew him.
Ave atque vale.