Monday, March 20, 2017

Misanthropic Forest - "demo" (2017)

Misanthropic Forest - "demo"

Year: 2017
Genre: Depressive Black Metal
Country: Finland

  1. Nothing but Whores
  2. Purging Fires of Mars
  3. Before Men There Were Others
  4. Victories over a Time There Was

As long nights close in, and winter's teeth are slowly bared by a snarling autumn, you could easily imagine the raw, visceral howls of this Finnish DSBM project carrying through a darkened forest in the blackest reaches of the night. A harsh, uncompromising paragon of underground black metal spirit, the debut release of Misanthropic Forest is challenging and grim. As part of their demo submission, they sent me a statement, as follows: "political issues are irrelevant in our context. Misanthropic Forest is about hatred towards human life and we refuse to be categorized as red, anarchist or any other politically motivated music." They explained their lyrical themes as being "about nature and misanthropy how humans are destroying world and how this planet will be better place without mankind". 

 The band originally recorded these tracks in 2014, but errors made in drum tracking led them to decide they could do better and that the songs needed reworking, and they hope to have a new album out, including improved renditions of the songs on this demo, within a year. That being said, their spokesperson made it clear they're in no rush, and want to really do the music justice. This demo was released so that the original recording would be available, to not let the session go to waste. They also declined to make their lyrics public at this time, as part of a conscious effort to allow the final album release to define the songs, as they plan to reveal some of the lyrics then.

Musically, the guitar work is fast, ferociously so in places, but carrying undeniable melody. The drumming is hard and aggressive (although I understand why they thought the recording quality let down the songs a little, even on a lo-fi underground release it needs improvement), and the vocals are desperate, lower and rougher than on some black metal releases, more in the vein of Hate Forest than Wolves in the Throne Room. The opening track of the demo, "Nothing but Whores", is tempered with a sorrowful ambiance, less outright harsh and confrontational than the other songs, surprisingly beautiful even in the midst of misanthropic melancholy. "Purging Fires of Mars" steps up the pace, allowing frenetic and aggressive guitars to the fore to build an atmosphere of violence and hatred. 

"Before Men There Were Others" is a harsh continuation of their establishing sound, with fast guitar and blast beats hammering through your ears, which drops off suddenly into the gentler, slower lead-in to "Victories over a Time There Was", which has the feel of "Nothing but Whores" far more than either of the tracks between. For all they are gentler bookends to the middle songs, offering a subtle contrast to the nihilistic ferocity that comes across unbridled elsewhere on the album, they are by no means gentle songs - they carry much of the same depression, rage, and sorrow of the rest of the album, only a little more restrained. Hopefully their full-length will be out before too long, so we can appreciate their music unhampered by technical issues. I'm looking forward to it.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Through Chaos & Solitude - "The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun" (2017)

THROUGH CHAOS & SOLITUDE "The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun"

Year: 2017
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Country: Germany

  1. The Intransigence Of The Soul
  2. A Heart Of Eternal Winter (And The Longing For Your Warmth)
  3. If This Is The Best We Can Get Then I Am Disappointed

As I'm writing this, autumn is beginning to set in. It's been raining all day, and the dark pines lining the valley where I live are stark against the close grey sky, wreathed in mist. It's the perfect backdrop for the gradual unfolding of this brilliant demo from Through Chaos & Solitude. From the project's solo member, Tim Rule - "The thawing winds of the morning sun is us. Mankind. We are our own blessing and our own curse. We are the stroke of wing which causes these winds to blow. We try to become god ourselves while declaring him for dead and still we deny our nature. We subdue the earth and it's children and still we strive for more. By now we already realized our purpose and we willingly choose to neglect it. We're flying directly into the sun and still we're accelerating..." 

The album opens with sampled winter winds and gentle guitar work, a soft lead in to one of the best albums I've heard all year. The guitar advances into a faster, tremolo-picked melody, and then the vocals hit. The pace and sound of the first two minutes, and the mournful atmosphere they evoke, are to me the perfect example of the real beauty of black metal - sweeping, cold, building a vision of nature in all her bleak glory. 

When I was very young, my grandfather built me a tiny cabin at the back of his heavily forested block of land. Recently I've not had many occasions to visit it, but the last time I made the trek it was a fight through trees violently overgrowing the path, brambles snarling out through the light rain, until I reached the cabin. It was nestled back into a forest that seemed more imposing than it had when I was younger, and the blank windows conveyed a strange sense of nostalgia, loss, and somehow the end of innocence. The lyrics of that first track, "The Intransigence Of The Soul", read as a conflict born out of the same feeling - seeing your innocence disappear as you grow and learn, and suddenly the world is more complex than you can understand, everything makes you afraid and confused, and your mind has snarled itself beyond hope of escape in seemingly impossible contradictions. "Intransigence" deals in this way with a sense of existential dread, both a fear of and longing for death, a struggle building intensity through the song, and ending with a desperate series of unanswered questions, screamed out at the universe, the gods, nature, whoever, in fact, might be listening to souls lost in the winter. 

The next track, "A Heart Of Eternal Winter (And The Longing For Your Warmth)", opens peacefully, again, with gentle guitars, before my only minor sticking point with the album appears, in the form of the sung vocals.While the screaming is harsh, imposing, but somehow ethereal, and the spoken passages perfectly underscore lyrical points of importance, for me the clean singing was slightly too muddy to really add to the music. That being said, I'm a bit puritanical when it comes to clean singing in black metal. Strong lyrics, revolving around Norse mythology, delivered through a layered mix of harsh vocals to excellent effect, weave through the guitars and double kick hammering, to build a wonderfully cold and sorrowful picture of a banished god, stalking the forests of Midgard as the three winters close in. 

The final song on the album is where the really heavy central themes of the "The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun" come into play. The guitar eases off, taking on a softer, more ambient feeling, and allowing the lyrics to really come across early in the song, before building back up to an intense finale. "If This Is The Best We Can Get Then I Am Disappointed" considers, as the title suggests, the miserable state of human affairs, the contradictory nature of our philosophies, our ideals, even our existence, in a piece of music that really conveys the tormented and conflicted existence we are privy to. The short section of spoken vocals which close the track, and the album, to me perfectly express the feeling of the whole artwork; 

"I am disappointed in us, I am disappointed in me 
If we’re not here for a reason, what is the existence that shall be? 
Is this really the best that we can be? 
Then please have mercy and let it end with me" 

I look forward to seeing what's next from this excellent black metal project.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Svordom - "För dom som är ensamma" (2017)

SVORDOM "För dom som är ensamma" (For those who are lonely)

Year: 2017
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Country: Finland.
Track List:
  1. Vräker mig själv
  2. Snabb död
  3. En dag i homs
  4. Ovän
  5. Snutjävel
  6. Blodet kokar
  7. All you fascist are bound to lose (cover)

Svordom is a hardcore punk band from Turku, Finland. Formed in 2014.
This is their newest EP called "För dom som är ensamma" (For those who are lonely) and can be dowloaded directly in bandcamp, just like the rest of their material. 

Dödläge - "Ritual Slaughter" (2017)

DÖDLÄGE "Ritual Slaughter"

Year: 2017
Genre: Metallic Crust
Country: USA

Track List:
  1. Sanctuary rites
  2. Internal crisis
  3. Victims of drug war
  4. Draconian law
  5. Starving for change
  6. Overdose of reality
  7. Pride of manipulation
  8. Architects of pression
  9. Hidden graves
  10. Enslaved profit
  11. Neohumanity
  12. Passive observers in a violent world
  13. Bloodsport
  14. Merciless onslaught
  15. Ritual slaughter
  16. This is bliss

Dödläge is a band from Portland, OR. That has been featured on our blog before and you can check it here.
This is their newest album with a very agressive sound, take the time to listen.