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). Due for release in July 2017.

Facebook | Soundcloud (nothing there yet!) | 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.

Advertisements

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%

 

Resignation—1897 (2009)

Resignation—1897 (2009)

Resignation—1897 (2009)

Details

All music by NG Ekholm and HN Björkk. Recorded December 2008 to January 2009 at Villa Bohult. Post production and mastering by HN Björkk. Layout by aDhDesigns. Released on 205 Recordings. Exclusively distributed through Old Europa Café.

Band

  • NG Ekholm
  • HN Björkk

Tracks

  1. I
  2. II
  3. III
  4. IV
  5. V
  6. VI
  7. VII
  8. VIII
  9. I (2)
  10. I (Rmx)

Review

Ah, yes! I thought. Because that’s what you wnat to listen to on the train to London: an hour long album of ambience. And then I fell asleep and had the best snooze on a train that I’ve had for a long time.

I woke with a jolt as though I was unconsciously aware that everyone was looking at me. I wasn’t dribbling, that was a good thing at least. Had I been snoring?

Ah well…

Resignation.

This is a beautifully paced piece of music that seems to ebb and flow like the tide. Perfect for lying down to in a darkened room.

The tracks wash into one another. A throbbing heart beat gives the songs life. Listening hard you can hear layer upon layer of sounds, blending together, playing off one another, giving the tracks depth and complexity.

Conclusion

This isn’t a metal album by any stretch of the imagination. But it is beautiful and I look forward to exploring this work further.

Review score: 80%

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%

Manes—[view] extended play (2006)

Manes—[View] Extended Play

Manes—[View] Extended Play

Details

Tracks 1, 3, 5 and 6 recorded at Godt Selskap Studio, 2005. Remixes by Cordell Klier and DJ Don Tomasso. Limited to 999 copies. Produced by Manes. Mixed and mastered by Emil Sporsheim. Additional mixing by Rune Hoemsnes. Released February 2006 on Code666 Records.

Website | Encyclopaedia Metallum | Facebook | Twitter

Band

  • Asgeir Hatlen—Vocals
  • Tor-Helge Skei—Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
  • Eivind Fjoseide—Guitars
  • Torstein Parelius—Bass
  • Rune Hoemsnes—Drums, Percussion
  • Tor-Arne Helgesen—Drums

Tracks

  1. cinder alley (16 horsepower cover)
  2. terminus rmx [DJ Don Tomaso remix]
  3. the neoflagellata revision
  4. terminus deconstructus [Cordell Klier remix]
  5. knife and kleenex
  6. title [“somewhat inspired by Duran Duran”]
  7. terminus dei profundus [Cordell Klier remix]

Review

Manes started life as a Norwegian black metal band in the 1990s. But to be fair, as far as I can see that’s an almost obligatory starting point for any rock band in Scandinavia. They evolved into what Wikipedia describes as “a hybrid of jazz, trip hop, electronica and metal with clean sung vocals and many progressive overtones.”

The EP opens with a cover of American alternative country band 16 Horsepower’s song “cinder alley”. I haven’t heard the original but I really like this cover, which doesn’t sound at all country. It has more of an alternative rock feel to it — think somewhere in the region of Smashing Pumpkins.

“terminus rmx” is a completely stripped down and remixed version of “Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” from Volisophe (2003). Every ounce of metal has been removed by DJ Don Tomaso. It actually reminds me a lot of the Rockabye Baby remixes: laid back and gentle. I liked it, but not as much as the original, to be honest.

Next up is the first original track on the EP, “the neoflagellata revision”. It’s a bouncy electronic rock anthem. I really like how the simple keyboard melody weaves its way in and out of the guitars, drums and vocals, like a thread being sewn throughout a garment. About two minutes in the song opens out into a more dance track, that put me in mind of Killing Joke or Crowforce.

“Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” is treated to another remix by Cordell Klier in “”terminus deconstructus”. This is an even bleaker version of the song. It could be the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Original track number two, “knife and kleenex” has quite a remixed Depeche Mode feel. It bounds along quite pleasantly, like a train carving through the countryside.

“Title” claims to be “somewhat inspired by Duran Duran”, which is exactly what I thought when I listened to it at first in my car. But like many of the other tracks, there is also a Depeche Mode feel to it — which isn’t surprising given the band’s use of guitars and keyboards. It’s a really good track.

“Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem” remix number three, “terminus dei profundus” also by Cordell Klier is little more than pops and crackles and white noise. It is a profoundly deconstructed metal song, reinterpreted as electronic noise. This is real pop music. It’s not an easy listen, but if you like it do pop it on after listening to The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle (1977) and Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice (1996)

Conclusion

This is a curious EP from Norwegian experimental band Manes. It touches a little on their past, reinterpreted by their present and offers something for the future.

If I was to listen to this EP regularly I expect that I would reorder the tracks: group the covers and new tracks and perhaps even hide the last one, which stands more as an example of art rather than listen-able music.

Review score: 85%