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2021-07-24

cassette craze chronicles VI (feat. BLINDFOLDED AND LED TO THE WOODS, BLUT AUS NORD, CLIPPING. and NÁRODNÍ DIVADLO)






Let's talk tapes again! This new installment of my little look-what-I-got series starts with a couple of sensational albums which I had missed in previous years:



CLIPPING. - There Existed An Addiction To Blood (2019)
CLIPPING. - Visions Of Bodies Being Burned (2020)

Right now there are very few albums which I play on maximum volume as often as this conceptually directly connected double whammy of John Carpenter meets power violence and noise horror story hip hop. The experimental, often minimalistic, yet sometimes astonishingly sprawling and epic electronic instrumentals could carry most of both albums alone and would build a fantastic soundtrack to an imaginary murder flick.
But then there's of course the rap, which is said movie. Daveed Diggs' performance is absolutely breathtaking. I can't even comprehend how you can spit bars in this tempo with such a precise pronunciation. Even though the occasional vocal guests are also talented as fuck, this guy just runs the show on Kendrick Lamar level. And it really seems that everything is woven around and fitting to his rimes and the rythm and general musicality of everything bends and burns according to his will. It's amazing stuff.

As far as I know the vinyl versions of both albums are missing the atmospheric interludes between tracks, which are quite important for the overall impression and help establishing the murderous mood of everything. The tape version of "There Existed An Addiction To Blood" on the other hand is missing the whole twenty minutes long D-side track "Burning Piano". Which is indeed just the sound of a piano burning, haha.

Still think that I got the more complete versions here. Masterpieces.










BLUT AUS NORD - Hallucinogen (2019)

Never underestimate the power of a bad band name! But then, even if I wasn't a native German speaker and "Blood from North", this weird weather forecast from hell, which admittedly sounds more natural in English, wouldn't make me cringe a little, chances are actually pretty slim that I would have taken notice of Blut Aus Nord in the first half of the 1990s, when they started, because I was only listening to two-and-a-half more-or-less black metal bands back then anyway.

So without being able to put the new tape edition of their latest release from 2019 into the context of their discography, I just enjoy it for what it is. And that is a sprawling, melodically layered trip, taking black metal to its most psychedelic form while rarely cross-breeding it with actual psychedelic rock - like Oranssi Pazuzu or Aluk Todolo are doing it.
With all its ambient sounds and faint choral vocals "Hallucinogen" also falls into the blackgaze category, without really sounding like Alcest or any of their epigones either. One reason for that may be the way more classic doom/death influence reminscent of Paradise Lost prevalent in the lead guitars.

All in all the whole weirdly enrapturing nature of this album makes we wonder if this is what Botanist could sound like if they were a "normal" band using guitars instead of hammered dulcimers.
But then on the other hand Blut Aus Nord's transcendent metal beyond genre trappings is the kind of stuff which just makes me close my eyes in meditative bliss and stop thinking at all.










BLINDFOLDED AND LED TO THE WOODS - Nightmare Withdrawals (2021)

Now to some recent clobbering, which would have perfectly fit into my last cassette craze segment with Knoll and Pupil Slicer.

Just like those bands Blindfolded And Led To The Woods from Christchurch are rooted, but not trapped in the early days of deathgrind, So of course there have to be aspects clearly reminiscent of Napalm Death. Especially the vocals are quite barneyish. Musically however this goes more into the classic Carcass direction, especially since there's not only riffs and blasts, but also lead guitar madness and sick melodies, which point to Swedish melodic death metal, but also - just like the production of "Nightmare Withdrawals" - acknowledge the existence of modern dissonant death metal bands like the fellow New Zealandish countrymen Ulcerate.

Yet what I've tried to describe so far is just the brutal base of this album. It would be enough to make it a very good extreme metal ride, but Blindfoldes And Led To The Woods keep it interesting beyond that by weaving in other sounds like Cynic style latin fusion here, post rock guitar textures and epic synthesizers there - or of course some post Dillinger Escape Plan mathcore madness. All with unwavering focus on crushing neck and bones devastation.

From the three albums I put into context here, this sounds to me like the one which has the most potential to "make it big", as far as this is even possible in this genre in general.
The only thing missing for a perfect release is an extended J-card which includes lyrics (yes, "The White Of The Eyes" cites from the Twin Peaks season 3 cult episode "Gotta Light"), since otherwise not only the cover artwork itself, but also the fully printed design of the cassette are a thing of utter beauty.











NÁRODNÍ DIVADLO - Antropecén (2021)

Even though neither the artist nor the album are household names, Národní Divadlo's"Antropecén" is an album, which almost every band in the world has played in varying versions. Or at least every band should have played this during rehearsal sessions, as the spirit displayed here is indicative of a healthy band chemistry.

In a dozen tracks adding to a bold, not to say demanding running time of seventy-five minutes, the Czech trio is basically celebrating chaotic Jedermann's experimental jazz. Just do something! Don't burden yourself with musicality! Just throw somethimg out! Do it and see what sticks!
There's a certain low-fi aesthetic about this (and maybe the use of an acoustic instead of electric guitar along the bass and drums helps with that), which makes it impossible to guess with or without how much planning they went into these free improvisations.

Very often Národní Divadlo are even hitting that sweet spot where you cannot be sure if they are talented, skilled musicians just letting go of everything and going completely wild - or if they are just very lucky dilettants yanking out some mad magic of the moment which they couldn't possibly explain to anyone including themselves afterwards.

I'm a simple man. I'm just  highly entertained by this kind of sick shit.

Only 50 copies of this cassette from Stoned To Death Records are out there.










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