Records_special The_short_sharp_666_decembre

Various Artists - The Short Sharp 666 December 2023


The short reviews of our Short Sharp 666 December-issue have something in common, even though the styles, genres and the (place of) origin of the albums reviewed are very different to each other. They all take you on a journey into the unknown. Thus we shall do the same. I would like to guide you to some of the recent highlights of the Northern European sonical hemisphere. Are you ready? So fasten you seatbelts! It will be an adventurous ride. And here we go…

[Note for everyone - Thorsten will deliver his part of the Short Sharp Shots soon and he has a different, less-travelling perspective for you!]

ØXN – CYRM Experimental Doom Folk | Claddagh Records | 2023-10-27 | Martin

How about an adventurous journey across the Northern European musical landscape of late 2023? Let´s start our trip in Ireland. A beautiful country, which history has often been overshadowed by conflict. There is an emotional weight, a undercurrent trauma, in Irish society that is fed over centuries by war, famine and catholic religion. But it has led to a rich musical history, too. Especially it´s folk music being worldwide known, emigrating to far away places, but still deeply rooted in Irish culture. So what happens when you connect both strands and transfer them to this modern era? The result is a mesmerizing fusion of traditional Irish folk with dark and atmospheric Drone and Doom, creating a sound that is both enchanting and unsettling. Featuring members of the renowned Irish drone-folk band Lankum (i.a. fantastic singer Radie Peat!), ØXN´s debut album CYRM may even surpass False Lankum in the new wave of experimental doom folk category this year. A utterly captivating listen!
FFO Lankum, PJ Harvey, Low, Neu!, later-era Scott Walker

John Francis Flynn – Look Over the Wall, See the Sky Avantgarde Folk | River Lea Recordings | 2023-11-10 | Martin

Before we head to our next destination, I should highlight a second masterpiece out of Ireland and it´s very interesting current folk scene: John Francis Flynn´s second album Look Over the Wall, See the Sky. Sonically more reminiscent to trad folk and a bit more subdued than Lankum or ØXN, it similarly breaks the old mold with influences from Drone, Electronics and off-kilter sound effects. The Ireland we think of, is transformed into an alternate reality. Avantgarde-minded arrangements creating a tension, that keeps you highly engaged throughout the whole album. The old turned to something new, reflecting the present at the same time. Wonderfully refreshing for the ears. Expect the unexpected.
FFO Lankum, Richard Dawson, Gilla Band, Radiohead

Cruciamentum – Obsidian Refractions Abyssic Death Metal | Profound Lore Records| 2023-11-24 | Martin

After Ireland our journey continues, but suddenly comes brutally to a halt in England. Oasis, Spice Girls and ”Football is coming home” are far away right now. Cruciamentum is here to rearrange all the Top 10 Death Metal 2023 lists already compiled. After eight years of abstinence we are greeted with dense, energetic and groovy Death Metal of the darkest kind. There are most probably some nice horror-inducing caves in England, and Obsidian Refractions has to be one of them. Across six tracks a diverse, multifaceted sound world unfolds, capable of expressing senseless aggression alongside surprisingly meditative melodic threads. It seems we are slightly moving away from cavernous surroundings towards Gateways to Annihilation. No problem for me at all!
FFO Grave Miasma, Dead Congregation, Krypts, Incantation, Immolation

Spidergawd – Spidergawd VII Hard Rock | Crispin Glover Records |I 2023-11-10 | Martin

But we don´t find the Gateways to Annihilation after all and luckily so! Otherwise we wouldn´t have the possibility to enjoy this gem of a Hard Rock and Heavy Psych album that is Spidergawd VII. We´re now in Norway and it is time for some energetic riff-o-rama by the Motorpsycho -adjacent band Spidergawd. Anthemic fists-in-the-air rock bangers are presented here, boosted by fantastic vocal performances and some stunning guitar playing. Spidergawd only keeps reinforcing itself as one of the most quintessential modern hard rock bands, and one that you definitely need to check out.
FFO Thin Lizzy, Motorpsycho, Coogans Bluff, Bokassa, Horisont

Surut – Unelma Blackened Hardcore | Suicide Records | 2023-12-08 | Martin

Our short trip comes to an rousing end. In the land of the thousand lakes and the most metal country of the world with the highest metal band per capita rate worldwide: Finland. More known of Black, Death and Symphonic Metal, it has also a thriving hardcore scene. So it´s no suprise to discover a great blackened hardcore band there. The sound of Surut (”Woes”) from Tampere is a wonderful amalgam of Post-Hardcore, Screamo, Blackgaze and Post-Rock. Balancing out frantic, cathartic outbursts with ethereal atmospheres and tackling the dark and destructive parts of all of us. To understand, to forgive and to free ourselves. What a dream (”Unelma”) of an album!
FFO envy, Oathbreaker, Loma Prieta, Deafheaven, Svalbard

Krypta – Outo Laakso Occult Rock | Svart Records | 2023-11-03 | Martin

But wait, speaking of dreams, there is something hidden behind these northern woods. A strange valley (”Outo Laakso”) where nothing is what it seems – is it your mind and your delusional thoughts that lead you down paths you never expected to take? Or just Krypta´s music, where occult and Finnish rock meet in a new way. Very melodic and guitar-driven, a bit mystical and rough around it´s edges, grabing you with irresistable hooks similar to early Ghost. And while you are still wondering how the hell you ended up at such a strangely familiar but Finnish-singing band in the first place, their sound takes you already on the next journey to new musical discoveries…
FFO Blue Öyster Cult, Ghost, Deep Purple, Freeman