Most posts are in german, yet sometimes I switch to english. The title of this blog changes from time to time.
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2021-04-11

ANARKHON - Phantasmagorical Personification Of The Death Temple

Okkulter lovecraftscher Old-School-Death Metal?

Ok, da ich momentan neben diversen Extremlärmspielarten eh recht viel Schwarz- und Todesgeballer höre, leihe ich dem Download, den mir Debemur Mortis Productions zu meiner Bestellung (u.a. neueste Vinylauflage des letztjährigen Ulcerate-Hammers "Stare Into Death And Be Still") beigelegt haben, doch gerne ein Ohr!

Und ja, dieses Album, welches ebenfalls sein Genre im Titel trägt, macht alles richtig!


ANARKHON - Phantasmagorical Personification Of The Death Temple (2021)

Wer die ersten Werke von Sepultura kennt, der weiß, dass gruftig verwaschener Sumpfhall zu den brasilianischen Extremmetal-Urtraditionen gehört. Und wo, außer vielleicht im Funeral Doom,  kommt ist so ein aus der Tiefsee zu gurgeln scheinender Gesangssound besser zur Geltung als in einem fett, aber dennoch natürlich roh produzierten Weltuntergangsdeathmetalinferno?

Ganz so apokalyptisch und technisch herausragend wie bei den deutschen Lovecraftianern Sulphur Aeon geht es hier zwar nicht zu, doch das heißt natürlich nicht allzu viel, außer in erster Linie, dass der Anteil an gradlinig stumpfscheppernden Frühneunzigerdeathmetalriffs, die zwischen den Blastattacken und frickeligeren Parts durch die atmosphärisch erstaunlich dichte Suppe bollern, hier im Vergleich deutlich höher ist.

Und das ist auch gut so. Mit "Phantasmagorical Personification Of The Death Temple" haben Anarkhon nämlich eine verdammt abgründige, todespartytaugliche Dampfwalze des Bösen aus der Unterwelt auf uns losgelassen.

Von meiner musikalischen Sozialisation her, ist das Ding hier im Prinzip nostalgisch machendes Komfortzonenfutter, doch es stecken genügend über reine Garstigkeit hinausgehende Kreativtät und Abenteuerlust in diesem Album, um es auch im jetzigen Jahrzehnt relevant zu machen, vor allem als Gegenpol zum klinisch keimfreien Teil der permanenten Veröffentlichungsflut.




2021-04-05

DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINITE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND - Rejoice

Ein neues Blutharsch-Album war in der Post, und ich hatte mir sogleich zwei Vorsätze für die Rezension gemacht:

1. keine flachwitzigen Wortspiele mit dem überlangen Bandnamen
2. das Ding schnell und spontan nach ein paar Durchläufen von der Leber schreiben


Punkt 1 kann noch was werden, aber an Punkt 2 bin ich gnadenlos gescheitert: Hier keine Zeit, da gerade keine Lust, dort was anderes vorgeschoben. Zwischendurch hatte ich im Grunde schon den halben Text im Kopf, doch dann auch wieder irgendwann vergessen.

Die gute Nachricht ist aber, dass ich "Rejoice" nun schon viel häufiger gehört habe als erwartet. Und ich leide noch nicht an Ermüdungserscheinungen.


DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINITE CHURCH OF THE LEADING HAND - Rejoice (CD) (2021)

Dabei geben sich Tastenmann Albin Julius, Sängerin Marthynna und der Rest der unendlichen Kirchenbande durchaus Mühe, einen zu zermürben, bestehen die meisten der sechs Tracks noch vor allem aus Spannungsaufbau, aus dem Warten darauf, dass endlich irgendeine Form von Auf- und Erlösung kommt.
Doch stattdessen hören die Stücke irgendwann einen in der Luft hängen lassend auf und das Spiel beginnt mit der nächsten Nummer erneut.

Dabei bedienen sich DBATICOTLH durchaus in jedem neuen Anlauf einer anderen Klangfarbe ihres über die Jahre aufgebauten Repertoires.
Der Opener "Coming" (ja, wann kommt es denn? aaargh!) wird von neoklassischen, beinahe marschierenden  Streichersounds dominiert.

"Fear" ist von Toms, dumpf dröhnenden Rhythmus- und jaulenden Leadgitarren getrieber Psych Rock.
"Darkness +" mischt einen behäbig schleppenden Beat der neuen Swans-Generation mit morriconescher Westerngitarre, lynchig entrücktem Flüstern und einem Hauch Flöte. Das Ding könnte ich mir so ähnlich auch von SQÜRL vorstellen.

"Darkness ++" führt das Swans worshipping dann etwas treibender und auch gesanglich fort, ehe im Titeltrack "Rejoice" dann endlich das große Aufatmen angesagt ist.

Ein flotter, gerade durch die ständig über allem herumträllernde Querflöte für Blutharsch-Verhältnisse schon beinahe fröhlicher Krautrockjam, welcher mich rhythmisch an Bowies "Beauty And The Beast" erinnert. Hallelujah! Das Album hat wirklich auf diesen verdienten Moment hingearbeitet.

Danach folgt mit dem Abschluss "Burn" noch der längste Track, der einen Teil der hoffungsvollen Energie von "Rejoice" weiterträgt und mit der bedrohlicheren Ästhetik der Albummitte ringen lässt.
Auch hier wird wieder vor allem Spannung gehortet, bis die Musik irgendwann zerfällt und sich per Sample Satan verschrieben wird.

Das war also das Ziel der ganzen Reise? Ok.


"Rejoice" ist ein schlau aufgebautes Album, dessen Einzelbausteine vor allem dem Ganzen dienen, für sich alleine allerdings auch durchgehend stark sind.

Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand sind natürlich wie immer irgendwie etwas kauzig und speziell, doch wenn man ihren Sound grundsätzlich mag, dann wird man auf "Rejoice" erstklassig bedient.




Gar kein BANDCAMP DAY diesen Monat?

Doch, klar.

Allerdings habe ich diesmal keine reinen Digitalveröffentlichungen, sondern "nur" vier Tapes abgeerntet, die alle einen langen Überseeweg vor sich haben.
Und da ich mir tendenziell angewöhne, in bestellte Tonträger erst richtig einzutauchen, wenn ich sie in der Hand habe (auch wenn bereits ein Download verfügbar ist), widme ich ihnen hier entsprechend später ein Segment. 




DEAD NEANDERTHALS - Rat Licker

Patience is a virtue.

And boy, I had some patience with Dead Neanderthals!

Bought digital EPs, CDs, cassettes, LPs, even checked out numerous other projects in which Rene Aquarius and/or Otto Kokke were involved, all in the naive belief, that one day the Dutch disaster duo might possibly come around, embrace its inherent talents and finally deliver some decent, listenable music.

And now with this seven inch bearing the romantic title "Rat Licker" that day has finally arrived.

Fans of catchy, poppin', swinging (but still moderately performed - so the children can sleep in the next room) barbershop tunes, rejoice!


DEAD NEANDERTHALS - Rat Licker (7" album) (2021)


Nah, I probably had licked on those rodents too long.

So seriously:

On this album, which is disguised as a single (or is it the other way around?), Dead Neanderthals go back to the roots of their own journey and also to the influental classics of the grind jazz genre.

On twelve tracks with lengths from eleven to one hundred and twenty seconds, just sporting drums and saxophone, they pay loving homage to John Zorn's legendary extreme bands, in which he either let jazz musicians play grindcore (Naked City's "Torture Garden") or the pioneer grind drummer Mick Harris of Napalm Death play jazz (PainKiller's "Guts Of A Virgin" and "Buried Secrets").

And what can I say? Even though Dead Neanderthal's instrumentation is a little more stripped down in comparison and they don't even try to get into the ten-genres-in-five-seconds complexity of peak insane Naked City, "Rat Licker" is just pure brazen and unhinged filthy fun.

Ironically this might actually still be one the easiest listenings for anyone who wants to get acquainted with the godfathers of the New Wave of Dutch Heavy Jazz.
For a group which usually tries to stretch minimal concepts to maximum effect, often resulting in monolithic, challenging long tracks, there is quite a lot of changes and shit happening in the snaplike run of this fast little fucker.

Delicious!

"Rat Licker" has been released last Friday by the band plus eight record labels simultanously. So if it's sold out at one source - which it probably already is - maaaybe there's still a chance to find it in another place.






2021-04-02

NAOKO SAKATA - Dancing Spirits

Anna von Hausswolff knows best.

My suggestion is that you just take that as a given fact and trust her when her label Pomperipossa Records releases an album of pure piano improvisations. It's not that have too many enlightening words to say about what Naoko Sakata does on this record anyway.


NAOKO SAKATA - Dancing Spirits (golden vinyl LP) (2021)

During the first two (of seven) improvisations which the Japanese musician performed inside a church in Gothenburg I sometimes find myself waiting for Tori Amos' vocals to kick in, which in itself is already one of the biggest compliments I can give to a piano player.
There are indeed a lot of similarities to Tori in tone and melody surfacing everywhere in the highly dramatic flow of the free-form pieces.

Later a more eerie darkness creeps into the movements, partly akin to Anna's droning organ atmospheres, but delivered with the nightmarish touch of Diamanda Galas and the brutal attacks of Sašo Vollmaier on his "Kind of Laibach", combined or alternating with ever present light speed arpeggios sparkling into every conceivable direction.

Naoko Sakata is without a doubt a wunderkind with a mind-melting technique, who can immediately express every thought and feeling she has with her fingertips in a way which lets average mortal spectators drop their jaws on the floor.
Her background is obviously classical, but it's pretty sure to assume that she is no stranger to keys in jazz, rock or whatever. The genre-defying nature of her performance at least strongly suggests that.

Yet even though she has - and uses - major league technical chops, Sakata seems less concerned with showing off than other (both amazing, don't get me wrong!) contemporary players like Hiromi Uehara or Jordan Rudess tend to do from time to time.
The virtuosity just seems to be something that happens on the way, while a feeling or story is explored. In the end she really puts her everything into the emotion. This can't be proven better than by the utter stunning beauty of "Improvisation 7", which gives me vibes of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" era quintet, above all makes me want to start the whole wonderful experience of immersing in this album again.

The only thing about this release which leaves something to be desired is the pressing quality of the hand-numbered golden vinyl edition. It looks great, but it really could use a bit less surface noises. Not the first Pomperipossa release where I had issues with that...


You can't kill the magic of the music though.

So overall "Dancing Spirits" still earns my full recommendation. It's just amazing. 




cassette craze chronicles II (feat. A/LPACA, ANGEL OLSEN, DHIDALAH, HIERONYMUS DREAM, LANA DEL REY, SOW DISCORD and THROWING BRICKS)

 


Still nothing to see here. Just a bunch of recently bought tapes, including some purchases from last Bandcamp Friday.


But let's start this with an emotional double whammy of my almost-namesake Angel Olsen:



ANGEL OLSEN - All Mirrors (2019)

I've had this one on my long I-should-get-this-one-day-list since it came out in 2019. Since that was before I started using this medium again, I surely wouldn't have bought it on tape. But now with a song titled "New Love Cassette" did I even have a different choice anymore?

Having released several works between the realms of reduced, almost folky singer/songwriter material and equally guitar-centered indie rock, "All Mirrors" was the album, where Olsen dialed up bombast and production to the maximum. The larger than life big sounds and strings could almost wash a lesser artist's performance away, but Angel Olsen sits in it very comfortably and uses especially the epic vintage arrangements to her full advantage to create a sparkling experience which channels the emotional integrity of Emma Ruth Rundle through the lens of Shirley Bassey.
Sincere, cinematic, huge!










ANGEL OLSEN - Whole New Mess (2020)

As big, shiny and glamourous "All Mirrors" had been, the album never fully relied on its fassade, but was rather an experiment in how far Angel Olsen could takes the songs, which were initially written just with her voice and guitar, into this aesthetic direction without "losing" them.

The raw and intimate "Whole New Mess" seems like the radical counterdraft. A break-up album, recorded inside a church, using the room's acoustics to create distorted, dirty echoes. Even though it's technically a rather stripped-down recording of mostly the same songs with slightly altered titles, the sonic imperfections and underlying depressive tone make it feel much heavier than "All Mirrors".

In fact the recording of "Whole New Mess" predates the previously released work, so you could view this as a demo version. The term could be misinterpreted as diminishing though. Which would be a shame, because this is in no way a "lesser" version. Just a very intense, different take. I think I might actually even like this a little more. Both albums are great, no question.










A/LPACA - Make It Better (2021)

There's also no question that the debut album from these punky Italian krautsters ist great, because d'oh, I just reviewed it two weeks ago. I broke my promise to order it on violet vinyl though. You know why. If you dig Karkara, Slift and the "Nonagon Infinity" direction of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, do yourself a favour and through this into your tapedeck!










DHIDALAH - No Water (2017)

The five year old tape from the Japanese power trio Dhidalah, which I was lucky to find an affordable copy of in the Discogs shop of Burning World Records, feels familiar for different reasons, as these two heavy stoner doom metal spacerock crossover jams refresh the memories of a killer Roadburn show in 2018. Ripper!









THROWING BRICKS - What Will Be Lost (2021)

And now lets get just a megaton angrier with a recent release I ordered on last  Bandcamp Friday from the leading tape label in my young collection, Tartarus Records.

The sludgy, droning blackened post hardcore doom quintet Throwing Bricks proves that Dutch shit smells the nastiest. The nine tracks of "What Will Be Lost" are a journey through everything distorted and oppressive. Oathbreaker, Cult Of Luna, Mizmor, Sunn O))), Vattnet Viskar, their label mates Farer and in their melodic moments also Alcest are all names this multi-faceted ferocious beast brings to mind. Crushing, noisy, desperate, overwhelming. A punch into the face which disintegrates it like the one on the cover artwork.










SOW DISCORD - Quiet Earth (2021)

Continuing with the punishing art of discomfort, the list of bands from which the industrial black noise project Sow Discord recruits its guest musicians on the dystopian (or probably rather realistic/pragmatic) stocktaking "Quiet Earth", already reads like the promise of a world of pain: The Body, Primitive Man, My Disco. Fuck!
Somewhere in the sweet easy listening spot between JK FleshMerzbow and early Laibach vibes, yet with their own variation of dark spoken words vocals, this album want you to rightfully hate humanity and does a pretty good job at it. But come on, David Coen, the man behind the rusty spikey curtain, is also the electronics guy of Australian doom steamrollers Whitehorse. So what else can you really expect but brilliant bleakness!









HIERONYMUS DREAM - Clairvoyance (2020)

Too much oppression now? Need someone to lift you up again?

Just when I thought I had already spend enough money on Bandcamp Friday and the week before, here come the sodding Psych Lovers on facebook guiding my attention to a special super-limited re-release of last year's debut EP "Clairvoyance" from the Greek instrumental band Hieronymus Dream, which included not only the "Weird Beard Tapes" strip for braggers, a beer mat and a nice t-shirt with a depiction of said beer mat, but above all with "Second Trail Of Alcyone" a new 13 minute bonus track on the B-Side.

What made me immediately buy this however is the sweet crystal-clear and warm sound. This floyd-fueled kraut engine runs so smoothly... you just tie yourself to its rear with a yarn thread and float in its wind like a happy kite in love. "Dream" in the band's name approved!








And while we're already up in the air now...




LANA DEL REY - Chemtrails Over The Country Club (2021)

Damn, eight tapes is a lot to talk about for such a little collective review. And after all that experimental and krauty and noisy mainstream stuff, I'm glad to finally support the underdogs once more and close this post with the new tape of a promising young American singer, who I really believe will one day be selling her albums also on CDs and vinyl all over the world.

It's a new Lana Del Rey album, so the expectations are pretty much set - and met. "Chemtrails Over The Country Club" starts close to where "Norman Fucking Rockwell" left off, with Del Rey's hightened pop persona equally ripened to a state that expertly balances the naiveté of her ex-lolita image and her typical piling of pop culture references with a healthy dose of cynicism - and above all a flawless vocal performance and damn good instrumental arrangements, which leave nothing to be desired and feel even more like one consistent band throughout the whole album this time.

The "features", which were a mixed bag on "Lust For Life" are back again, but this time Lana's three singer/songwriter sisters Nikki Lane, Weyes Blood and Zella Day, who join her on "Breaking Up Slowly" and even close the album on the Joni Mitchell cover "For Free", fit right into the organic, dreamy, nostalgic folk ballad appeal of this once again perfect summation of how great pop music can actually be.

There are brutal earworm battles being fought between Lana and Angel Olsen in my head right now for sure.