Triptykon—Shatter

Triptykon, Thomas Gabriel’s musical home post-Celtic Frost is one powerful band.

Shatter, from the Shatter EP, is an amazing slab of heavy, experimental metal very much in the vein of Celtic Frost. I could (and have) listen to this track on repeat for hours.

This is one of my favourite music videos ever.

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PREVIEW: Haema—Insurrection EP (2017)

Haema—Insurrection EP (2017)

Haema—Insurrection EP (2017)

About

Debut EP recorded at Initiate Audio & Media by Neil Hudson (Krysthla/Gutworm).

Originally due for release in July 2017, but on 7 August Haema announced on their Facebook page that they have signed to Slipstick Records for the physical and digital worldwide distribution of this their debut EP.; see Slipstick Records for more details.

Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Band

  • Jordon Calderwood—Vocals
  • Andrzej Jakubiuk—Guitar
  • Scott Stephenson—Bass
  • David Flitt—Drums

Tracks

  1. Eden
  2. Free Man
  3. Insurrection
  4. Thirte3n
  5. Two Minds

Review

So the email arrives and asks me if I’d be kind enough to review Haema’s forthcoming EP Insurrection. Sure! I’m always up for listening to new music. And then I listened to the preview. BLOODY HELL! THIS IS BRILLIANT!

Haema, a four-piece from Northamptonshire, UK, describe themselves as an experimental, industrialised, groove metal band. But that really doesn’t do them justice. Think: Rage Against the Machine meets Senser meets Circle of Dust meets Clawfinger. But heavier. Okay, let’s throw in some Fear Factory. Brilliant!

The EP opens with Eden (track 1). “What is the point of your existence?” a man asks. “To feel […] without love, without anger, without sorrow, breath is just a clock ticking.” A woman’s voice speaks above a soundscape. Then the riff kicks in. It’s tight and heavy. Jordon Calderwood’s vocals fluctuate between a Zack de la Rocha-style rap/rant and a metalcore-style bark. The song is both in your face and ponderous. There is space, plenty of space, plenty of depth and width to this song. It stops and starts and never ceases to be interesting.

Free man (track 2) rides a bouncy riff right from the get-go that morphs into a rap. “Now you can see / I’m not a puppet on a string / You know, I’m a free man…” The song is aggressive and melodic. It has an urgency and integrity that makes me believe without a shadow of a doubt that he is free.

The title track Insurrection (track 3) opens with the sound of an alarm—if Depeche Mode were in the alarm sound design business. Then a more traditional metal-style riff bursts in. It chugs along, steadily. And every time my head bounces in time to the beat. The vocals in this song remind me at times of early Mordred. There is a fragility about it, which is echoed in the guitar solo about three-quarters of the way through.

Damn! I could listen to this EP all day.

Thirte3n (track 4) is probably the most in-your-face metal track on the EP. It has a repetitive, blast-beat riff that sounds like someone is drilling through granite. The verses have this machine-gun burst riff. It’s interesting and gives the song movement. Then over the top of the carnage there is the most fragile and subtle of light melodies, like a butterfly floating across a battlefield.

The final track Two minds (track 5) is slower, more ponderous: a call and reply style riff that gives way to another RATM-style riff. It starts and. Stops. As it. Twists and turns. Following the. Rhythm of the. Vocals.

Conclusion

Haema EP coming soon

From my first play through of this extraordinary EP I’ve loved this collection of music. Sure people are going to make immediate comparisons to Rage Against The Machine and Senser, as I have done.  But that doesn’t detract from the quality of the playing, or the songwriting, or the production. Listen to the first two albums from Slayer—they wanted to be Mercyful Fate and King Diamond; Metallica played their first few years of gigs passing off Diamond Head and Budgie songs as their own until they found their own voice.

Given the chance Haema will also find their own distinct voice. But as a starting point, this is nearly perfect. I haven’t felt this excited by a not-entirely-metal release in a long time. I had the same burst of adrenaline and excitement listening to this as I did listening to Senser’s Stacked Up album in 1994. This album makes me smile and nod my head along to it for all the right reasons.

More like this please.

Review score: 100%

Bonus video

Disclaimer

In mid-June, Scott Stephenson (Haema’s bassist) contacted me inviting me to preview this EP.

I have no connections to Haema or any related companies or individuals; although I am a big fan of producer Neil Hudson’s previous work. I’m not being paid to review this.

Many thanks to Scott and the rest of Haema.

Sloth—A Whole Other World of Fun, aka 13 Songs 13 Samples (2007)

Sloth—A Whole Other World of Fun, aka 13 Songs 13 Samples (2007)

Sloth—A Whole Other World of Fun, aka 13 Songs 13 Samples (2007)

Details

Thanks to At War With False Noise and Paul of Suma. Released in 2007.

Encyclopedia Metallum

Band

  • Ubersloth—Vocals, guitar, drums, electric organ
  • Uberneecie—Vocals
  • Derek Erdman—Guitar, vocals, noises
  • Mr Bearbomb—Guitar, vocals, electric organ
  • Picnic table—Guitar, vocals
  • Sam Pitts—Bass, vocals
  • Dan Pitts—Piano
  • Wedge—Drums, vocals, percussion

Tracks

  1. 1
  2. the wooleybear looked at you?
  3. 3
  4. stak ’em up
  5. 5
  6. a night at the park
  7. 7
  8. i farted
  9. 9
  10. derek’s song
  11. 11
  12. at the laundromat (you can have fun)
  13. 13
  14. your record collection
  15. 15
  16. pika flower shop
  17. 17
  18. b. bob
  19. 19
  20. wrestling quiz
  21. 21
  22. ufo zombies
  23. 23
  24. political song
  25. 25
  26. lagoons

Review

There is something about this album of random snippets and samples, integrated with sludgy, stoner-style punk tracks that is wonderfully affirming. In a world obsessed with global celebrity, there is an honesty and a fragility about this collection that I really warm to. It reminds me in so many ways of something raw like Nirvana’s debut album Bleach.

The thirteen samples —the suitably odd tracks — which appear to be lifted mostly from films and TV have no common theme, but they do a nice job of connecting one song to the next. I did wonder if they would get annoying but listen after listen I quite enjoyed their randomness.

The thirteen songs are varied in style, though all feel loose and laid back but all very different, for example, “the wooleybear looked at you?” (track 2) reminds me of something punky like Black Flag. “stak ’em up” (track 4) is a bit bluesy. “derek’s song” (track 10) has a very Primus feel to it: repetitive and a little atonal and whiny.  “at the laundromat (you can have fun)” (track 12) is a riff on the chord progression A-F♯-G. “ufo zombies” (track 22) reminds me of The Misfits, not necessarily in style but vibe and attitude.

Conclusion

I really rather like this album. It is odd and quirky and unique and interesting. I would definitely choose to listen to this again.

Review score: 85%

 

Opaque—The Cult of Survivors: Unreleased tracks 1997–2007 (2007)

Opaque—The Cult of Survivors (2007)

Opaque—The Cult of Survivors (2007)

Details

Four CD set released by Kovorox Sound to mark ten years of Opaque. Features unreleased live and studio tracks spanning the entire history of Opaque. each disk has been professionally duplicated with on-disk printing and is individually packaged in its own sleeve. the four volumes are packed inside a heavy weight plastic wallet with printed outer sleeve.

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Pure sleaze food
  2. Agony blizzard
  3. Luggage
  4. Slow burning intrusion
  5. Razorwire katatonika
  6. They didn’t seem to appreciate the horror of it all
  7. The plexus of gore and grime and crime
  8. Absence
  9. Queue jumpers water torture

Disc 2

  1. All knowing
  2. Cannabalism, cookery and blood drinking
  3. Cold mist
  4. Consumating axe
  5. The cult of survivors
  6. Masochistic gut rumble
  7. Poured upon the fornicators
  8. The audience was over
  9. The cauterized stumps
  10. The tree on the hill

Disc 3

  1. Home made sauna becomes sweltering tomb
  2. Screams. stabs. aorta. death
  3. Beneath the awareness of mother culture
  4. No depravity taboo
  5. Rupturing organs laughing
  6. Crepitus
  7. Under the knife, under the spell of the anesthetic
  8. The illusion of petty individuality
  9. Spontaneous medical equipment
  10. Veiled assertations

Disc 4

  1. Super-k bills
  2. Anger screams
  3. Inside the voices
  4. Animal blood
  5. From deprivation
  6. Under guise of consolation
  7. The perfect wrongness
  8. Lice infested tea house

Review

More noise. And squeaks. Noise and squeaks.

Squeaks and noise. For girls and boys.

And then some pretty ambient tones.

And then back to noise and squeaks. And some ambient noise. And some ambient squeaks.

Four discs worth.

Conclusion

All very admirable and artistic, and skilfully executed. But not really for me. Sorry.

Review score: 20%

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Details

Released on At War With False Noise Records, 2009. Limited to 500 copies.

Bands

  • Tracks one and two, all sounds and dictaphonics by John Cromar
  • Track three, all sounds by Adam Cresser

Tracks

  1. Friede in den gedanken (13:30)
  2. Amusia (22:37)
  3. SSilence (33:10)

Review

More experimental, ambient drone.

The packaging is curious. It comes with, what the record label refers to as “reverse art”, so the front cover is on the back, and vice versa.

Both experimental artists Noma (John Comar) and Rejectamenta (Adam Cresser) hail from Glasgow

The record label described Noma’s contributions to this split release thus:

He takes on two tracks here, the first is a slowly-building tone-fest. Very ambient, and hauntingly beautiful…bascially what Noma does best. Next track “Amusia” is a little atypical of what most people will expect. Imposing thuds are interjected by what sounds like some form of screeching metallic machine being thrown down some stairs, electronic blasts. Surreal, bizarre, unpredictable….very Noma.

Rejectamenta’s solitary track represents only his second ever release. The track here “SSilence” is a follow up to “SServant”. This is clearly not a silent track. It is, to quote the press release, 33 minutes of a “total overload of a billion circuit-bent instruments all melded together into one massive orchestral binary cacophany”

 

Conclusion

There is something intriguing about these sounds. But I’m not sure I’d choose to listen to this terribly often. But it is quite grand, like a soundscape.

Review score: 60%

Neil Jendon—Invisibility (2008)

Neil Jendon—Invisibility (2008)

Neil Jendon—Invisibility (2008)

Details

Performed and recorded May to August 2008 by Neil Jendon. Released on BloodLust! (Chicago), 2008.

Band

Neil Jendon—Everything

Tracks

  1. First invisibility (2:32)
  2. Second invisibility (18:38)
  3. Third invisibility (5:28)
  4. Fourth invisibility (21:58)

Review

While I was listening to this album I asked two of my kids what they thought of it. “Is this music?” I asked. One replied yes, the other no. It’s definitely art, then.

This is very much an experimental electronic album, in the same ballpark as Mike Patton’s 1996 album Adult Themes for Voice. It’s a fusion of noises.

This is the sound of the apocalypse. It is noisy and confusing, it is jarring and relentless.

“First invisibility” made me feel like I was in a submarine, silently passed through a battle that was raging outside. The calmness is rudely interrupted by “Second invisibility”, an exercise in white noise that resolves to a hum, like the ringing of a handful of Buddhist prayer bowls.

“Third invisibility” sounds like how I imagine being trapped in a storm in Antarctica. It is relentless white noise.

And lastly “Fourth invisibility”, which lasts for a little over 20 minutes, is the most experimental and internally varied of all the tracks. It bubbles and pops and gurgles through its duration. This is the soundtrack for crash-landing on an alien planet. Though, to be honest, if I chose to do that then I think I would prefer to listen to Mozart or Palestrina while doing so.

Conclusion

This isn’t an album for every day listening. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s an album for any day listening. Still, it has structure and dynamics and I do find it rather intriguing.

Each time I’ve listened to it, when it has finished and the silence returns like the tide rushing in, I do know that I’ve listened to something. It’s not easily forgettable. That has to say something for the impact of this work, I guess.

Review score: 65%

Koreisch—This decaying schizophrenic Christ complex (1999)

Koreisch—This decaying schizophrenic Christ complex (1999)

Koreisch—This decaying schizophrenic Christ complex (1999)

Details

Recorded in the year of your Lord MCMXCIX [1999] in Sheffield, north England. Calculated Risk products. Catalogue number: Risk #3.

Band

  • Koreisch — Lyrics, music, noise, tape hiss, backward programming, experimentation and improvisation

Tracks

  1. Justification by faith
  2. Forced attrition
  3. Submerged Tao fixation
  4. A premonition of life’s erosion
  5. 1 inch stab wound
  6. Caress this violation
  7. Eclectic powder burn
  8. Preordained incarceration
  9. The Kevorkian solution
  10. Evolution through pessimism
  11. Archaicathodemission
  12. 4,000 years of suppressed dissection
  13. Bleed like Christ
  14. The eating of food sacrificed to idols

Review

Encyclopaedia Metallum classifies Koreisch as “doom metal/grindcore”. But not in the traditional sense are they. While this album contains elements that lean in the direction of doom and grindcore, it is predominantly an experimental album.

I think I have only one other CD in my collection that comes close to the experimentation that permeates this release and that’s Faith No More / Fantômas / Tomahawk front man Mike Patton’s 1996 album Adult themes for voice.

My four year old, Isaac describes the music as “naughty music”. He said while cowering in the corner of the room, through hands protecting his face. “Put it off! It’s horrible!” he exclaimed.

To be fair, I did play him perhaps one of the creepiest tracks on the album “The Kervokian solution” which sounds like a series of Jurassic Park dinosaurs break through a plate glass window while a motorbike purrs in the background, only to discover themselves in a choir rehearsal.

The album is a hotchpotch of noise, hiss, screams and shouting, blasts and riffs. It’s more art than music, at times it feels like it’s almost verging on therapy.

Conclusion

The compact disc itself has a white label with a black ink scribble. This seems to be also a perfect analogy for the music it contains.

It’s certainly not an easy listen, and as much as I appreciate what they’ve done I’m not sure I would choose to listen to this terribly often.

Review score: 50%