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I'm running out of introductory texts for these. Seriously.

Well, here's the last Roadburn merch haul item I want to feature here - plus three more great cassettes I've purchased recently.

GREY AURA - Zwart Vierkant (2022)

The band name and the colourful cover already provide a certain amout of cognitive dissonance. Do these belong together? Judging from the music the answer can only be yes, because Grey Aura are obviously having great fun pairing unexpected elements with each other.
The base of their sound may often be an old-school, almost speed metallic brand of black metal here, a blasting disharmonic approach there. They may often also bring you strong Celtic Frost and Behemoth "The Satanist" vibes, but then there are also a lot more crazy prog ideas, upbeat jazz, rhythms which almost remind you of ugh... I can hardly say the word... ska, French chansons or an Italo Schlager music influence similar to Spiritual Front. The language of all screaming and crooning however is Dutch. The whole fuck you and your expectations attitude is presented in a charmingly antisocial way that reminds me of La Muerte. Just like the opening riff of  "Sierliijke Schaduwmond" reminds me of a certain Opeth classic. And why not? At least some familiar parts cannot hurt in this craziness.
It definitely was the right choice to grab this album from the merch table after their Roadburn surprise show!

BLUT AUS NORD - Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses (2022)

On the nose album title being on the nose. Not as if that would be something completely  new, since Blut Aus Nord's last release "Hallucinogen" already performed that stunt. And of course disharmonic elements have always been an important element of this black metal project. The way in which they are celebrated on this album however is remarkable.
Just like its predecessor "Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses" heavily relies on the trinity of melodic guitars, keyboards and vocals, which primarily function as yet another atmospheric layer in this very maximalist amalgam. But where this mix provided a dreamy haziness and even transformed into meditative beauty on "Hallucinogen", it now becomes a thousandfold voice of pure lovecraftian horror - a permanent maelstrom of wailing and swelling, a demonic nightmare orchestra howling over the relentless blast of the black metal inferno. All in all this album is just pure overwhelming evil in an incomprehensible scale - and yet it's amazingly listenable without any extra effort. At least if you're accustomed to extreme avant-garde metal bands like Imperial Triumphant, Oranssi Pazuzu, Ad Nauseam that is. Coincidently those are of course all influenced by the long-lived Blut Aus Nord in the first place. My favorite ultra-abrasive metal album of the year besides "There's Always Blood At The End Of the Road" by Wiegedood so far, but in a very different way. Masterpiece.

BLOOD QUARTET - Root 7 (2022)

Next up I have another group with "blood" in its band name, but the Blood Quartet doesn't have anything to do with hellish apocalypses and only very little with metal. No, this is more like Hills meet Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble in Northern Africa to celebrate Miles Davis. Or in other words a jazz rock fusion of rock instrumentation with trumpet, ranging from psychedelic tunes with twangy guitars to experimental free flowing jams, while also incorporating some heavy distortion here, Arabic elements there - or even a little dub, when it feels like it.
A very intersting album which lets you discover way more new details during each time you listen to it than you would expect. Loving it!


BEES MADE HONEY IN THE VEIN TREE - Harvestmen (live) (2022)

How did I describe this band last year after I had seem them live the last time? Shoegazy drone doom with post rock elements. That still encapsulates a lot of what the Stuttgart natives are doing. But since they like to switch it up a little on each of their longtracks, the list of references and possible influences never really seems completely comprehensive. But no matter if they are closer to stoner rock and Melvins, channeling Thom Yorke singing to a an epic Russian Circles piece or rather in a psychedelic Causa Sui mood, Bees Made Honey In The Vein Tree don't need to hide from anyone in the respective genres they are touching. 

As the title suggests this is a live recording. It features "Sail Away I" from their debut "Medicine", the two tracks "Craving" and "Dionysus" (the latter over three minutes longer than the studio version) from the great 2019 album "Grandmother" and the new, extra desert doomy track "Threatening", which promises that this band's creativity won't wane soon. Awesome stuff!

Additionally to the orange cassette version I was also gifted the CD digipak, which contains the lyrics of all four tracks. If you're not into tapes - get that one!

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