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cassette craze chronicles V (feat. GOLD, GRAVE MIASMA, KNOLL and PUPIL SLICER)

My journey on the tape trail continues with its fifth installment, beginning with two cassettes which albeit ordered during the last Bandcamp Friday (until the continuation of this tradition in August) also feel like delayed souvenirs from the Roadburn Redux merch table:

GOLD - Optimist (2017)
GOLD - Why Aren't You Laughing? (2019)

After orbiting around in my musical cosmos on stage and digitally for a couple of years now, finally owning something from Gold in physical form was long overdue.

Often described as "post everything" these two albums present the Dutch group as exactly that. With the reserved yet emotional, fragile yet determinant voice of Milena Eva in the center, honestly yet also sarcastically dealing with relatable, heavy personal topics, everything around it - though clearly catchy and easy to grasp - can only be categorized in post terms: post punk, post rock, post metal and even post black metal.

Even though the roots in the scene around the Devil's Blood circle, to which I would also count Dool, are undoubtly present, Gold have developed a truly unique and  always evolving personality.

Both albums are great, but you can't deny a remarkable growth from "Optimist" to the masterpiece "Why Aren't You Laughing?" - a trend which after Roadburn Redux only promises to be continued.

Until then I will very much enjoy these two tapes, whoch both not only sound, but also look good. Even the lyrics are printed in a readable font and colour.

KNOLL - Interstice (2021)

Directly from the Redux merch stall (as in: ordered after seeing their stream) comes this dirty crusty gem of grind goodness made in the US.

Being the band with the youngest members on the festival bill, Knoll surprised me with how classic and at the same time fresh and energetic their sound was. Their death metal-infused grindcore was the purest, unhinged old school Napalm Death worship.

On tape it's a little bit more obvious that there's also some of the swansy / industrial stuff, which later Napalm Death loved to work in here and there too, as well as a big chunk of electronic noise noise, which lets in fact a third of the twelve tracks (the album is a little bit longer than half an hour) drown in swirling and droning static. It's fabulous!

"Interstice" is a banger which fans of extreme metal old and new should not miss out on - even though you might not get this tape, which was limited to 50 copies.

PUPIL SLICER - Mirrors (2021)

Transatlantic brothers and sisters of Knoll from another mother are Pupil Slicer, who seem to follow a similarily charged ethos, yet package it in an even more frantic and panicked musical framework of the most brutal and brain-wrenching mathcore insanity imaginable.

"Mirrors" is the heaviest shit of The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Hirsch Effekt, spiced up with the same raw and primal grind relentlessness which Knoll are utilizing. And because that mixture wasn't already fucking you up enough, guitarist / vocalist Kate Davies seemingly threw the dice on which millisecond passages of each riff landed in the trash before recording.

The result is highly unpredictable, wild, unsettling - and an immensly cathartic, neckbreaking experience. And when they get more immediately accessible like in the epic midtempo finale "Collective Unconscious" it only makes the album even better, because it  undoubtly confirms that everything here happens a hundred percent by coice.

And I can in no way imagine how the its heavy as fuck production could sound any better.

Bandcamp made a bit of a wave about this trio (which is how I found them too), and rightfully so. If Pupil Slicer can pull this lunacy off live, then they are clearly one of the hottest brutal acts of the coming years.

"Toxic green" is the exactly appropriate colour for this cassette. There are already half a dozen differently coloured tape and vinyl editions sold out by now though.

GRAVE MIASMA - Abyss Of Wrathful Deities (2021)

And finally here's yet another flavor of classix extreme metal brutality!

Did I compliment Gold on the readibility of their lyrics? Well, you can't say that about the print of Grave Miasma's "Abyss Of Wrathful Deities" tape edition. The whole layout looks good on first sight, but is just slightly off.

Luckily that doesn't diminish my love for this British death metal band. I cannot say that I listen to them very regularly, but they indisputably have a special place in my heart since my first contact with them at Hell Over Hammaburg 2017, where they unleashed a sulphuric maelstrom to the netherworld that instantly became one my favorite death metal live experiences of all time.

Stylistically this new album brings some - at least to my knowledge - new shifts in atmosphere and disharmonics to the table, yet mostly still cultivates all familiar trademarks and qualities I already know from 2016's "Endless Pilgrimage", and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's old school Florida / Vader / Nile death metal, sick evil riffs, howling Morbid Angel lead guitar duels and all, which disguises its technical flawlessness under thick layers of reverb on the vocals, giving everything a chaotic "Seven Churches" feeling, without actually relying on youthful really bad timing like Possessed on their landmark debut.

High quality evil!

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