Our new series continues. Of course! There is just so much great music, that we have to share with you! Middle of each month, our head honcho Thorsten and I give you six short reviews each. Less than 150 words on each record that we love but didn’t have enough time to review properly. But because of reasons that are bigger than life AND even music, you’ll just have to make do with me this time. (Bear hugs to my big man!) Here are my thoughts on Gravesend, Pénitence Onirique, Ragana, Afterbirth, Forest Swords and Aho Ssan! This selection is as diverse as the one before. From gutter brawls to organic collaboration, everybody will find here what each of you might need right now. Just take a look…
Gravesend – Gowanus Death Stomp Blackened Grind , War Metal | 20 Buck Spin | 2023-10-27 | Martin
If there is an album that fits to our shortsharpshock -format like a glove, then it has to be Gowanus Death Stomp from Gravesend. It takes you back into the violent, desolate past of one of the most industrialized parts of NYC, Gowanus. 16 tracks across 36 minutes, it is primal and savage, unrelenting in-your-face aggression with pounding drums, vicious vocals, and blistering guitars, while synths and audio samples further enhance an fittingly filthy alleyway -atmosphere. The mixing and mastering by Arthur Rizk keeps their ideas catchy and audible enough, not too loud or too overwhelming. Cleanse yourself with music straight from the gutter. What a joy!
FFO Antichrist Siege Machine, Caustic Wound, Vermin Womb, Jarhead Fertilizer
Pénitence Onirique – Nature Morte Melodic Black Metal | Les Acteurs de L´Ombre Productions | 2023-11-03 | Martin
Modern Melodic Black Metal at it´s best. Dynamic and mostly operating at high tempo, the melodic arcs create a majestic mood without the use of overpowering synth-work. This mysterious French five-piece combines progressiveness with grandiose epicness to achieve a soaring and dense sound, much like the last masterpieces from Celeste and Gaerea. It is a seven track long opus regarding the desires and inherent flaws of men. Relentless, repentless with a powerful presence spread throughout, you cannot help being swept along filled with energy and determination.
FFO Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Sacramentum, Celeste, Mare Cognitum, Gaerea
Ragana – Desolation´s Flower Blackened Doom | The Flenser | 2023-10-27 | Martin
There is a lot going on in the world these days, that can leave you dehumanised and numb. War, politics, predatory capitalism, social media excesses…Desolation´s Flower reflects on modern bleak times in a stripped back approach, but crushingly heavily soundwise and emotionally. With long, immersive dirges, that can suddenly veer into beautiful alt-rock melody, as also anguished screams providing the much-needed cathartic release. This duo from Olympia, Washington delivers their art, straight from/to the heart, sincere and in the spirit of DIY punk and anarchism. A perfect marriage of grief and rage. Shed tears AND take action thereafter!
FFO Divide and Dissolve, Thou, Vile Creature, CHRCH, Big|Brave
Afterbirth – In But Not Of Technical Brutal Death Metal | Willowtip Records |I 2023-10-20 | Martin
Afterbirth describe themselves as ”heavy, complex guitar work; atypical bass rumblings; skillful and groovy drums; otherworldly vocals” and this is an massive understatement. After all we´re speaking of prog-enhanced brutal death metal with masterclass musicianship and gurgling non-pitch shifted guttural vocals, that sent your imagination into deep space, to a really dangerous place full of advanced technology and psychedelic substances. Nobody mixes beauty into brutality like Afterbirth, and with In But Not Of they´ve taken this ability to a new level. Sneakily but profoundly incorporating elements of space-/alt- and post-rock into their music, while retaining every ounce of sheer heaviness. Recommended, heavily!
FFO Artificial Brain, Cynic, Lykathea Aflame, Wormhole, Voivod
Forest Swords – Bolted Dark Electronic , Psychedelic Dub | Ninja Tune | 2023-10-20 | Martin
Dark and beautiful. Forest Swords music is like early Bjork meets Burial meets Massive Attack. Industrial clashing with sounds of the Middle East. Bolted is sort of a return to his roots, recapturing the vibes of his revered debut album Engravings (2013). It is a very textured record with a lot of inspired sound design. At once uncanny and ordinary, fleeting and endless, sharp and soft. But Bolted is more than a mere amalgam of expertly curated beats and noises designed to set you on edge. It is a coherent listening experience that is dark and ancient while sounding modern and abstract at the same time. It is one of a kind!
FFO The Haxan Cloak, Huerco S., Lorn, L´usine, Burial
Aho Ssan – Rhizomes Experimental Electronic Music | Other People | 2023-10-06 | Martin
Like its title, Rhizomes is a underground stem system that fosters connections between various organisms and allows them to flourish collectively. The focus of this release is community. Growing and strengthening it. To achieve this collective growth, Niamké Désiré aka Aho Ssan has invited a diverse slate of seasoned experimental musicians: Nicolás Jaar, Resina, Angel Bat Dawid, Moor Mother, clipping., Nyokabi Kariuki, 9T Antiope, Lafawndah and many more. The collective output is as diverse as it is cohesive. Spanning deconstructed club music, slam poetry, avant-garde jazz, sound art and ambient. Harsh yet contemplative post-industrial electronics. The future is here! And it is dark, but oh so intriguing: collaborative, cross-cultural and genre-fluid.
FFO Tim Hecker, Abul Mogard, Nicolás Jaar, Flying Lotus, Ben Frost