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2019-07-29

LINGUA IGNOTA - Caligula

Heilige Scheiße, jetzt wird's monströs.

Ganz unvorbereitet hat mich das neue Album von Kristin Hayters Ein-Frau-Projekt Lingua Ignota  zwar nicht getroffen, zumal ich dieses Jahr bereits eines ihrer geradezu schmerzhaft intensiven Konzerte erleben konnte.

Doch wie sehr es ihr gelungen ist, diese einmalige Energie auch im Studio einzufangen und noch darauf aufzubauen, damit hatte ich ehrlich gesagt nicht gerechnet.



LINGUA IGNOTA - Caligula (CD) (2019)

Da "Caligula" ein sehr gesangszentrisches Album ist, möchte ich mich der Gesamtstimmung des Werkes hier einmal über einige Titel und Textfetzen seiner elf, wie ein einziger bitterer Koloss zusammenhängenden Tracks annähern:

"Spite Alone Holds Me Aloft" / "If The Poison Won't Take You My Dogs Will" / "Butcher Of The World" / "Fucking Deathdealer" / "Sorrow! Sorrow! Sorrow!" / "Everything burns down around me, everything burns down" / "How do I break you before you break me?" / "Life is cruel and time heals nothing" / "I don't eat, I' don't sleep, I let it consume me" / "May failure be a noose with which to hang you" / "Make worthless your body so no man can break it" / "All I want is boundless love. All I know is violence".

Nein, dieses Album enthält keine Sekunde leichte Kost. Hayter kanalisiert das aus Missbrauch geborene Trauma, die Hilflosigkeit und vor allem den unbändigen gerechten Zorn in einem maßlosen, zerstörerischen Exorzismus, an dem sich unmöglich unbeteiligt vorbeihören lässt.

Die Philosophie der gesamten Produktion ist dabei zweifellos ganz oder gar nicht. Wenn die Künstlerin, die neben Gesang, Texten und auch allen hervorragend in Szene gesetzten Cover- und Booklet-Fotos neunzig Prozent der Arrangements von Lingua Ignota zu verantworten hat, sich in Extreme begibt, dann nur mit vollem Einsatz. Darauf deutet auch schon die Auswahl ihrer Gäste hin, die ansonsten u.a. in so unnachgiebig unfreundlichen Gruppen wie Full Of Hell oder The Body ihr Unwesen treiben.

Stilistisch lässt sich Lingua Ignota am ehesten aus Mischung aus Neoklassik, Industrial und Noise beschreiben, doch jede Schublade kann hierfür eigentlich nur unzureichend bleiben.

"Caligula" ist mal pompös und bombastisch wie Anna von Hausswolffs "Dead Magic", mal fies wie Pharmakon. Es ist ein Album ohne Gitarren, doch so viel mehr metal als Metal, dass die meisten Otto-Normal-Wackengänger hier schlotternd die Das-ist-keine-Musik-mehr-Karte ziehen werden.

Große Teile des Albums werden instrumental tatsächlich nur von minimalistischen Klaviermelodien à la Angelo Badalamenti ("Twin Peaks") getragen, doch Kristin Hayters exzentrisch klagender, auch mal operettenhafter oder regelrecht hässlicher Gesang entlässt den Hörer nur selten für wenige Herzschläge in die Entspannung. Hayter singt, als wäre Lady Gaga, mit der neben der offensichtlichen äußerlichen Ähnlichkeit tatsächlich auch die grundsätzliche Stimmfarbe gerade in tiefen und mittleren Lagen teilt, von Diamanda Galas besessen. Vermutlich sogar noch wesentlich theatralischer und gepeinigter als dieser Vergleich nahelegt.

Lingua Ignota live auf dem Roadburn 2019
Und dann sind da noch diese geradezu obszön in überschäumender Kakophonie badenden Lärmexplosionen, zu denen sie wie am Spieß schreit wie eine ganze Horde Amalie Bruuns im ärgsten Black-Metal-Modus.

Neben diesen vorhersehbaren Abstürzen in die Hölle arbeitet die Produktion allerdings auch mit gemeinen dynamischen Tricks. Die Instrumente, vor allem aber der Gesang sind jederzeit frei, sich im Raum zu bewegen und einen in tückischen Jump-Scare-Attacken anzufallen.

Nun ist "Caligula" gewiss nicht das einzige Musikalbum in meiner aktuellen Rotation, welches hemmungslos krachverliebt, fordernd und anstrengend ist. Doch ob ich nun in den "Mandy"-Soundtrack von Jóhann Jóhannsson oder Big|Braves "A Gaze Among Them" lausche. gegen diesen Ungetüm sind sie fast noch zahme Welpen. Selbst das zwei komplette Bands auffahrende Mehr ist mehr ist mehr des Waste Of Space Orchestra kann sich nur mit Mühe gegen diese Intensität behaupten.

Und doch ist Lingua Ignota sehr viel zugänglicher als z.B. das ähnlich um Text und Gesang kreisende "Create Christ Sailor Boy" von Hypnopazūzu oder die fußnägelbiegend sperrigen The Poisoned Glass.

Denn mit ihrer barocken Großspurigkeit und den an jeder Stelle zitierfähigen Texten ist dieses zunächst so unanhörbar scheinende Biest doch erstaunlich kurzweilig und mit zahlreichen Stellen gesegnet, die ich in beinahe jedem anderen Musikreview als Ohrwürmer bezeichnen würde. Begrifflich passt das aber irgendwie nicht mit der ernsthaften Theaterhaftigkeit Lingua Ignotas zusammen.

Was allerdings auf jeden Fall passt, ist "Caligula" als Meisterwerk zu benennen. Und zwar mit Sicherheit eines der relevantesten des Jahres - gerade auch angesichts des rapist-in-chief und dramatischer gesellschaftlicher Rückschritte im Kampf um die Selbstbestimmung über den weiblichen Körper.
Das Album ist das Aufbegehren gegen einen persönlichen Alptraum und die Machtumkehrung darin, aber es ist genauso auch ein Zeugnis seiner Zeit.

Und es ist monströs gut. 






2019-07-13

CTHULUMINATI - Reliquideus

Here's a little evil something from the Netherlands, the country primarily known for being the world's epicentre of mystical secret societies and regular invocations of the Ancient Ones.

Didn't know that? Your bad.


CTHULUMINATI - Reliquideus (2019)


Ok, I think we can all agree that band name and album title are already winners. Same goes for the comic style artwork which sells the idea pretty much one to one.

Musically this six track album comes as a very eclectic and exuberant  mix of several extreme metal genres.
Especially the black metal infused parts reminds me of a straighter  and less psychedelic version of Oranssi Pazuzu.

Other bands which come to mind in certain parts are old Samael and modern Behemoth. Some passages cry prog metal, while even more spread a dirty black'n'roll vibe.

Does this work as a whole? I would say: predominantly yes.

It's quite a huge chunk of ideas which Cthuluminati are throwing against the wall here. Most of them stick, but a couple land in the dirt. So "Reliquideus" doesn't come without a vocal line I can't stand here or a rather reduntant riff there. Most of the album however is a mighty, crushing, creative and fun, all in all pretty awesome neck breaker.

"Reliquideus" is available as stream/download and on CD.


[Disclaimer: This review was brought to you by dark, all-seeing fraternities and entities, which stand behind everything. E v e r y t h i n g ! So even though I swear that it's written in pure truth and honesty, you shouldn't believe a word of it.] 





YAZZ AHMED - A Shoal Of Souls

And here comes a little bit more jazz yet again, since an amazing track has been dropped on Bandcamp:


YAZZ AHMED - A Shoal Of Souls (download) (2019)

Well, let's keep this short and sweet, since after all we are only taking about six and a half minutes of music here.
However "A Shoal Of Souls" feels much longer - and by that I definitely don't mean that the track is boring. No, there's just so much happening that you're surprised it hasn't been at least ten minutes.

The composition almost feels as if the essence of the "La Saboteuse" double album had been compressed into one song. So yet again the British-Bahraini trumpet player has unleashed a stunning and seamingly effortless piece of genre-transcending modern jazz fusion with strong arabic influences. Her combination of yearning brass and vibraphone melodies with exciting action-packed drumming is just one of a kind. 

There has also been a campaign to press this track on vinyl with a formidable Sophie Brass artwork for the cover and edged B side. Surely a beautiful piece of art, but my wallet told me to just stick to the download this time.




Ok, since we're only talking about one single track here, just do yourself the favour of exploring Yazz Ahmed's discography further!

"La Saboteuse" is a masterpiece, yet the remixes on (surprise!) "La Saboteuse Remixed" - while taking thins into a radically different direction - are also very worthwhile:




2019-07-07

just a bunch of 2018 vinyl (re)releases (from DAVE BRUBECK, STAN GETZ & CHARLIE BYRD, THE END, KANAAN, KHEMMIS and LOUISE LEMÓN)




As you may or may not already know, I commonly only review music which I have obtained and which has been released during the same year as the review. Otherwise it would just be too much. Of course I make some exceptions for stuff I really want to say something about. And I decide from case to case whether I do write-ups about re-releases or represses.

That being said here are a couple of recommendations for albums from last year which I only bought maximally a couple of weeks ago. And yes, other than being released (or re-released) in 2018 that's the only thing all records in this seemingly random set have in common.







THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET - Time Out (orange vinyl) (1959/2018)

Ok, I've had this one on CD for years, but I wanted to hear it on vinyl too and liked the orange. Probably my first coloured jazz record. If you prefer black, just choose among the bazillion other pressings which are out there!

This Waxtime In Color pressing has a strange unexplained bonus track ("Audrey") from five years earlier. The band had different members on bass and drums and there's no connenction to the album concept. But somehow the mood fits and the saxophone on this track is especially beautiful.

Needless to say much about "Time Out", since it's not only one of the most important albums in the history of jazz, but in modern recorded music in general, since like the crucial works of Miles Davis it probably had repercussions on as good as everything which followed after.

Remember the time when jazz was the undisputed popular music, but it was stuck in 4/4 beats (and the occasional waltz) for decades? That was before Dave Brubeck (piano) and Paul Desmond (sax) dedicated this whole album to odd time signatures, which are now pretty commonplace in many genres.

In fact the 5/4 Desmond composition "Take Five" became on of the most famous jazz tunes of all time and it still sounds fresh. Listen to the arrangement of "Blue Rondo à la Turk", where the quartet borrowed from Turkish folk music, and you'll finde structures which sound very much like what prog rock or metal groups would create years later.

Essential as fuck.







STAN GETZ & CHARLIE BYRD - Jazz Samba (transparent yellow vinyl) (1962/2018)

Play this to my early 1990's self and he would probably say nah, thanks. That was of course the time when I really got into death metal and shit. And so my personal gateway to jazz - albeit with a very long pause until I actively followed the interest further - had been a small selection of extreme advantgarde stuff and some jazz rock / fusion albums a couple of years later.

This classic by saxophonist Stan Getz and nylon string acoustic guitar player Charlie Byrd  however is a rather easy listening which doesn't really translate in any way to teenage angst. And of course it's also way too commercial, haha. Even if you neglect jazz as a whole, you will probably have heard everything on here somewhere in some context. Especially the opener "Desafinado", which has been interpreted in countless instrumental and vocal forms is a parade example for a household tune.

The album title "Jazz Samba" is pretty self-explanatory, because that's exactly what you get. It was the first Bossa Nova album by North American jazz musicians, with each song based on a traditional Samba, on top of which the soloists play their improvisations.
It's an astonishingly great sounding album (recorded in just one day in a church) on its own, but it also has a huge significance as the primordial cell for all forms of latin fusion.

The performance with a double rhythm section (two drummers and two bass players) to achieve the right Brazilian swing has also been seen many times since then. Just think of Santana, whose body of work seems unlikely without this early predecessor.

Like "Time Out" this transparant Waxtime In Color pressing of "Jazz Samba" also comes with a bonus track, which makes more sense in this case, since it is a big band version of the album track "Samba De Uma Nota Só".







THE END - Svärmod Och Vemod Är Värdesinnen (LP) (2018)

Fast forward more than five decades of musical evolution and what the holy fuck what has happened?

Well, tons of fusion, experimentalism, advantgarde. And also the whole history of rock music so far, including nifty subgenres like noise rock or grindcore.

The debut album of Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson's band The End seems to pick from all the all the sickest, most experimental forms of either jazz and rock music and melts them into a surprisingly consistent whole. Ninety-nine percent of listeners would probably call this "not music anymore", but who cares, this is not meant for everyone. My before mentioned early 90' self would have loved this, and I love it too, just as I did, when this amazing ensemble played at Roadburn Festival this year.

There's no way I can even get close to thoroughly descibing als the chaotic stylistic twists and turns the two saxes, guitar and drums go through on this albums. It's mind-melting, brutal, amazing musicianship on all levels. Let's just leave it at that.

But as if the instrumental insanity wouldn't be enough, there is singer Sofia Jernberg, who comes across like a mixture of Diamanda Galas, Mike Patton and Youn Sun Nah. From soft soothing traditional vocal jazz over operatic voices to weird overtone singing and all kinds of mad screams, screeches and noises, her performance is a tour de force you can only believe when you hear it.

Her endless jazz rant about the state of the world in "Don't Wait!" alone is worth owning this album. This passage makes we wish that Kendrick Lamar would record a full-blown experimental jazz album and invite her as a guest.

Fuck yeah, this record is absolutely bonkers in all the best ways. Had I bought this last year, it would certainly have made it onto my 2018 album top list.










KANAAN - Windborne (transparent blue vinyl) (2018/2019)

Too much challenging whatthefuckery? Ok, let's dial the crazy back a little bit - but not too much.

My new favorite El Paraiso Records band (which admittedly is a very fluctuate title given the label's quality roster) Kanaan is strongly inspired by the early days of jazz rock while also featuring elements of kraut rock, power trio hardrock and seriously heavy doom.

More than anything else "Windborne" clearly is a rock album, yet there are only few moments on its five instrumental tracks without at least some kind of jazzy sensibility shining through, and be it only the almost constantly wild drumming of Ingvald Andre Vassbø, who drives the music forward with a billy cobhamish energy, which perfectly compliments the sometimes quite john mclaughliny lead guitars.

Following that observation the easiest formula to pin down Kanaan is to say that they are a crossing of Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Danish psych trio Papir. That doesn't give a complete picture, but it aptly describes chops, energy and feeling inherent in this young band.

As a bonus to the awesome music El Paraiso design guru Jakob Skøtt has once again outdone himself with the cover artwork.

Sadly the postage from Denmark is ridiculous, so if you see this somewhere for a good price - don't hesitate! And of course catch Kanaan live if you get the chance. I just recently saw them on the very first date of their first European tour and it was a spectacular blast!














KHEMMIS - Desolation (LP) (2018)

In case you are really not into jazz at all: Congratulations that you've made it this far! As a reward you surely deserve some pure metal. I hereby swear that Khemmis' "Desolation" is a hundred percent jazz-free. Promised!

It's strange that I could do without this album for such a long time. But with so much good stuff being released all the time it comes easy to dismiss a new album - even if you loved the previous works of the band - for rather minor reasons.

I guess in this case it was the choice of the first single and its video which rubbed me the wrong way. Or was it that Nuclear Blast Records isn't my most favorite record label these days?
It surely has something to do with the once-in-a-lifetime-experience that was the Waste Of Space Orchestra show at Roadburn last year. Because after that - even though they were not bad at all - the straight-forward melodic doom of Khemmis just fell a little flat.

Now that I finally gave "Desolation" the listens it deserves I must admit that the third album of the US band has absolutely no reason to hide from their previous efforts "Absolution" and "Hunted".
It starts with Sam Turner's unmistakable fantasy artwork, which features the same characters at another stage of their story. All three album artworks together really work like covers of an ongoing comic series. At this point you really wouldn't even need the band logo on the cover of the next record to recognize them.

The general musical direction hasn't changed either, but their mixture of heavily distorted doom with  Thin Lizzy hard rock / Iron Maiden metal twin lead guitars and occasional shredding has become so dense that it ultimately transcends subgenres. Khemmis are just really damn good fucking metal band. With sad themes, very charismatic and never overdone melodic lead vocals, and some harsh black and death metal screams here and there, that is.

But first and foremost the six songs on "Desolation" are just rippers!

Not sure if I would place this album above "Hunted", but without a doubt it's great and among the best metal records of 2018.











LOUISE LEMÓN - Purge (LP box) (2018)

So much for metal. But no, not back to jazz, so please bear with me! We're keeping it quite doomy and gloomy as we finish this with death gospel, as Louise Lemón self-describes  her music.

Released just one year before her current masterpiece "A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart" her first album "Purge" has a lot in common with it. Starting with the slightly excessive packaging in a box, even though there's no other content than the LP and a photo/lyric sheet. But at least it is graced with an interesting cover artwork.

But also the dark soulful songs - somewhere between Chelsea Wolfe, the darkest Lana Del Rey tunes and even some Florence And The Machine upbeat ("Let Me In") - are almost equally as strong as on the successor. The choruses are not all as compelling yet, but then music isn't all about the chorus, right?

"Purge" presents at times maybe a bit formulaic, but always supremely beautiful dark music with a singer who reaches right into the listener's heart.

Just like on "A Broken Heart" the production was helmed by Randall Dunn, certified expert for everything droning, so that a super rich low end is guaranteed.

With this album and the next Louise Lemón has accumulated an astonishing amount of hits within a short span of time. Rightfully this material should make her a star. So us friends of small clubs and overseeable stages - let's be glad she is not.

Yet.












So my last TAU CROSS review is getting clicks now ...

... and I wonder why.



No shit, I know why.

So should I write something about it or not?


Fuck, no. Not much at least. I really can't add anything to that disappointment.

So apparantly Rob Miller has duck too deep in his research for conspiracy-themed lyrics and became a nutjob, who gets inspiration from Holocaust deniers, in the process. That's just sad.

It's sad for him and it's even sadder for his unsuspecting (ex-)band members, who  now have this shit stain on their résumé.


I just wish he would stop insisting on continuing the band and just drop and bury the name Tau Cross, so we can all at least fondly remember the first two albums and the live shows in a healthy way.

But I guess for now he's still caught in the cycle of writing drunken facebook rants, then sobering up, making the Tau Cross page invisible and then drinking again and writing another weird victim text...


Fuck, man. This is embarrassing.





2019-07-02

VNREST - III

Boah, ey! Langsam! Also nicht langsam, macht ruhig schnell, aber was ist denn da passiert?

Kaum ist es gerade mal etwas mehr als (boah, ey, auch schon wieder so lange...) ein Jahr her, dass man mit den zwei bekloppten Extreminstrumentalisten von Vnrest die Bühne geteilt hat, da sind sie auch schon zu dritt, sind die ganze Zeit am Brüllen und singen, und die Tracks haben statt römischen Ziffern nun auch  noch - Sakrileg! - Songtitel!

Mann, mann, mann.


VNREST - III (download) (2019)


Ok, jetzt wirklich mal langsam. Die Illuminaten haben mir von den Pyramiden gepfiffen, dass sich in der digitalen Diskographie der Kieler ein übergeordnetes Konzept entfaltet: "I" war nämlich ein von Drummer Jannek komplett alleine eingespielter, halbstündiger Track, "II" eine Kooperation mit Jan Moritz an der Gitarre, "III" ist nun zu dritt entstanden, und ich denke wir können uns jetzt schon darauf freuen, wenn auf "XXIII" eine komplette Big Band am Start sein wird.
Ab "XXXV" empfehle ich dann allerdings, sich von der Band abzuwenden, da sich zu dem Zeitpunkt hinter den meisten Bandmitgliedern in Wahrheit Fischmenschen verbergen werden!

Tatsächlich sind die drei Stücke auf "III" allerdings wieder Solokompositionen von Jannek und alle Instrumente außer Bass (Olli) von ihm eingespielt, während der Gitarrero sich darauf beschränkt Teile der cleanen Gesangsparts beizusteuern.

Vnrest live in Heide
Das Resultat ist immer noch  vorwiegend rasend schneller technischer Turboboostdeathmetal mit Bezügen zu anderen Extremmusikrichtungen von Post Hardcore bis zu advantgardistischem Black Metal. Im Vergleich zu "II" kommen mir die Songs hier instrumental bei aller hyperaktiven Panik ein wenig geradliniger vor, was aber vor allem dazu dient, dem Gesang Raum zu geben.
Welcher wiederum die Panik verstärkt, aber auch ein wenig mehr Gefühl in das Gebollere injiziert.

Insgesamt klingen Vnrest auf "III" schon sehr wie englischsprachige Version der Extremmetal-Anteile von The Hirsch Effekt. Das kann man sehr geil finden, muss man aber auch.

Doch doch Jungens, was ihr hier abgeliefert habt, das gehört schon ganz klar zum Schönsten, was das sickeste Bundesland der Welt musikalisch in den letzten Jahren so abgeworfen hat!

Schade nur, dass man schon nach etwas über einer Viertelstunde von vorne Hirnbangen muss.






2019-07-01

RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON - Bliss

Hummmm. Wrrooommmm. Bzzzzt. Zischhh. Droooooooooooooooooneeeee.

Ich sagte es ja bereits mehrmals, das Thema "musikgewordenes Dröhngebrumm" ist hier so schnell nicht durch! Der neueste Beitrag stammt aus den Niederlanden und manifestiert sich in einer EP von RMFTM aka Radar Men From The Moon.





RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON - Bliss (yellow vinyl 12" EP) (2019)


In drei Tracks, die es sekundengenau auf dreißig Minuten Spielzeit bringen, zeigen sich die Radar Men weniger von ihrer wohl düstersten Seite.

Nach Selbstauskunft sind die Stücke "an experimental exercise in ambient, drone and dark electronics", und diesem Statement ist kaum etwas hinzuzufügen, außer dass in "Übung" vielleicht eine leichte Untertreibung mitschwingt.

Der gewohnte, eher flotte Roboterpsychrock macht hier Platz für zumeist langsamer schwelgende Töne. Synthesizer und Elektronik nehmen eine größere Rolle ein. Rhythmik und Struktur werden darüber allerdings nicht vernachlässigt. Man kann "Bliss" bequem zwischen RMFTMs Kollaborationen mit 10.000 Russos oder Gnod (=Temple Ov BBV) hören, ohne dass Langeweile aufkommt.

In ambienteren Momenten könnten fühle ich mich an Ulvers Drone-Aktivitäten erinnert, wobei der Ansatz der Radar Men From The Moon allerdings an allen Ecken etwas fieser, uriger, direkter, härter ist.
Gerade die Maschinenbeats in "Naked" oder dem Titelstück der EP könnten so auch von JK Flesh stammen.


"Bliss" bietet dreimal erstklassiges Krautgewummer, gepresst auf schwerem gelben Vinyl, geziert von einem Coverartwork, welches eigentlich alles verkehrt macht (sprich: es ist zum Niederknien), dazu wie immer beim Fuzz Club ein Downloadcode.


Also alles was ein normaler Mensch braucht zum Glücklichsein.