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  #11  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:30 PM
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Will be one of the best threads for 2012 reviews. Looking forward to reading every bit.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:33 PM
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If it wasn't accompanied with such great expectations it might have made my list, fair or unfair.

I half expected the Sigur Rós album to not be as good as their others given their hiatus and (intentional) change in approach. Jonsi as much as said they didn't intend to follow up Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, and that Valtari was something they "needed to get out of their systems."

But I really thought Alcest would follow Écailles with something very similar in structure and approach, especially since they started on it so quickly after Écailles was released. I think they did try to follow it up, and forced too much and just did a really bad job.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:44 PM
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BEST DEMOS:



#1 Tardigrada - Widrstand

Pictures of tapes are from my very own personal collection . When first listening to "Uftakt," the two-minute intro, I swore I thought I was getting ready to listen to a post-rock demo, which would be... different. It sounded like something off an Aesthesys album. Then the two minutes passed, the sound faded out, and melodic black metal took over. But in a beautiful way. There is a ton of melody and atmosphere in this demo. Aside from the screeches and the rawness, there is a lot of beauty, and that mesmerizing guitar tone always manages to reappear throughout the tracks and heighten the sense of melancholy. Examples being at the 2:50 or so mark and 5:45 mark in "Hoffnunglos." I also love the 5:00 minute mark in "Widrstand." That same note slowly strummed a few times...
The quality is very nice. It sounds good. It's not one of those "grab that practice amp and that guitar and we'll record it on a tape player" types of releases (even though it comes on a tape). Dynamics are a must for any type of black metal to work, and this demo has them. Track this down or visit the band's bandcamp here and give this demo a listen. I can't wait for a full-length from these guys.



#2 Bruja - Twisting and Convulsing

Bruja's first demo in 2011 was an hour and six minutes in length. This one is a mere thirty-five minutes. I haven't listened to the first one, but judging from this one, this band needs to be done with the demos. This isn't spectacular or anything, but this band has the potential to put out a really good album. Very unapologetic, very gritty and heavy, muddy, doomy.



#3 Witch in Her Tomb - Witch in Her Tomb

Usually I don't like this type of blistering black metal, but for this demo I'll make an exception. The sound is raw and poisonous, the guitar is crunchy (the first part of "II"), the atmosphere is suffocating, grim, and black, but under it all lies melody, which is usually enough to make any kind of sound worth listening to. There's also a piano and a violin used on this demo (the end of "II"). I do despise when bands only use roman numerals for track titles. It's not as bad when it's a demo, but still, it seems uncreative and uninspired. Or like Krallice's new album... what the fuck is up with that?

The ghost inside my head will never cease to exist
You are forever apart of me, regardless of my will
I will never forget you, and you will die within my heart
Along with me




#4 Maléfices - Povr le Sangs

"This tape is a huge FUCK OFF to all the posers who forgot that black metal once was an audial weapon forged of pure evil and total darkness. Fuck off your mainstream crap, your useless webzines, and your pathetic so-called symphonic bullshit. The fakes and the weaks will be crushed!!!" -Maléfices, as written on the inner part of the j-card, provides a description as accurate as any.
Putting aside that one statement about "symphonic bullshit" - some of which I happen to like - being crap, and the overall portended intolerance of this band toward anything not pure evil, I happen to like the demo. It's definitely a remedy to the Alcest's and Enslaved's of the world. The sound is okay for a demo. I've heard much, much lower-fi stuff, but this still definitely maintains an underground feel that's required for releases like this.



BEST SPLITS:



1. Enth/Amarok

Halo of Flies Records has put out the best split of the year, featuring two bands I was completely unfamiliar with coming into 2012. Enth, a funeral doom band from Poland, and Amarok, a sludge/drone/doom band from California, have created quite a record with this, and I have to say at some point into my first listen of Enth's track, "Cavern of Advices," I thought I'd struck gold. Enth's track is rooted in My Dying Bride and Corrupted style doom, using long loping riffs, drawn out piano passages, and a violin for the outro - all of which go extremely well with this style of doom. It's extremely somber and melancholic, and it's 18 minutes of some of the best music of the year. I don't like Amarok's track quite as much, but it's definitely worth listening to. It's much more thick, droning, and heavy... kind of like Thou with multiple vocalists.



2. Sorrows/Graad

Interesting cover art of a man tied to a moon with a face, with the moon's nose boring painfully into the man's scrotum. Honestly, "Mephestora," the track on this split by Graad, is one of my favorite songs of the year. It can be heard here:
http://graad.bandcamp.com/album/sorrows-graad-split
Absolutely brilliant instrumental black metal with lots of melody and sense of direction.



3. Alaric/Atriarch

This features some of Atriarch's best stuff yet. One of the songs on this split, "Offerings," was put on their full-length, but this version is better. It's longer and more drawn out. I dig the atmospheric doom metal + death rock.



4. Graad/Kepsah

Another awesome song. And I just discovered it a few days ago when I revisited Graad's bandcamp. "Summoning" actually has vocals, which start out as Middle Eastern - sounding chants, but eventually turn into black metal screams. Listen if you're a fan of noise BM that moves along at a slow grinding pace.



5. Barghest/False

Barghest is fused punk and death metal without any bass, and it's a side project of members of Thou. Which screams "this will be fucking awesome." Except it was underwhelming and pale in comparison to the False portion of this split, which is 17:38 of devilish atmosphere and meticulous ferocious black metal. I haven't heard Barghest's debut, and I doubt I'll bother. False, on the other hand... at some point I'll get around to listening to their untitled debut EP, with high expectations.



BEST SINGLE:



1. Ghost Society - Your Hands

"I don't feel it..."
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  #14  
Old 12-16-2012, 11:58 AM
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#25 té - ゆえに、密度の幻想は綻び、蹌踉めく世界は明日を『忘却』す。(Thus, the Illusion of Density Comes Apart at the Seems)

The title is a stab in the dark. I threw it in Google Translate and got this, but I've also seen "The Convulsive Beauty Within Sound is the Feral Tremble of an Idea Realized" and "The Convulsive Beauty Within Sound is a Savage Shiver That Overtakes the Flesh Transcending any Conception." té is a Japanese instrumental quartet that plays aggressive, energetic "math rock," somewhat in vein of 65daysofstatic, though less electronicy. It's infused with hardcore punk and progressive rock. Guitars and bass are right in your face. They use obscure time signatures and rapidly shift dynamics. This makes a lot of technical death metal sound amateurish, it's pretty damn impressive. It's pretty metalish for you metal lovers, too. Post-rock embodies such a wide scope of sound.
HIGHLIGHT: "音の中の『痙攣的』な美は、観念を超え肉体に訪れる野生の戦慄。(The seeker, the inhabitant of the chromatic scale world, wandering in the relative events of the "middle tier")"
Also, "té" means "tea" in several romance languages. In Japanese though it means "hand."



#24 Sektarism - Le Son des Stigmates

The first song, "Prelude," is exactly that - a prelude for the rest of the album, which sets us up for the very distasteful, uncomfortable, disturbing, perverted two twenty-minute tracks that follow. We hear some lazy drumming, some vocals that start off as murmurs/chants/groans that evolve into screaming, and some very ugly primitive sounding guitars, all of which create an atmosphere early on that's just... unsettling. It's not funeral doom, but I guess it would be classified as some type of doom/drone. When I listen to this music I envision rituals, so maybe ritualistic doom. It sounds much more ritualistic than a lot of occultist albums. It also sounds very improvisational. At times it actually appears that the musicians aren't really playing together at all. There's nothing technical or accomplished about this album, it's very grisly sounding, there aren't any riffs or harmonies to fasten onto, and in fact it lacks all qualities that make music "good." But damn I like it. "Le Testament" is a little more structured than "Hosanna Sathana," bot both tracks are pretty wicked and sick sounding.
The bassist, Crüxvheryn, played in French black metal band, Fornication.



#23 Dødsengel - Imperator

At two and a half hours in length, this black metal odyssey is pretty intimidating, and I probably devoted more time to it than I should have. It walks the fine line between being interesting, contemplative, diabolical and maybe even genius, and being too drawn-out and monotonous. Even though the songs themselves aren't monotonous, they're very interesting, it's the length that makes it that way. Very rarely does an album this long need to be this long; there comes a point where the material becomes circular. There's really a lot to say about this album... it features a lot of different vocal styles (female included), it encompasses a lot of different ideas but not necessarily different genres, it's hardly uniform and it transcends beyond stereotypical black metal, it's easy to assume this band genuinely believes in preaching the word of Satan and tearing down anything holy, it's very authentic and "real" feeling, and it would definitely appeal to someone looking for a very progressive, creative or experimental edge to black metal. Regardless, it's ridiculously hard to digest and it packs a wallop.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Asphyxia," "The Serpent's Head," "Momentum: On The Devil & Death," "Upon THE BEAST She Rideth"



#22 Witchrist - The Grand Tormentor

The slow, chugging opening riff of "Into the Arms of Yama" lead me to believe this was death/doom, not blackened death. The first five minutes of that song are some of my favorites on the album, and it's not until the midway point that the pace picks up and resembles blackened death a little more, and vocals appear. That slow riffing comes back after the 7:00 mark. A lot of these tracks are definitely more up-tempo ("The Grand Tormentor," "Exile," "Beyond Darkness and Death," "Tandava," "Wasteland of Thataka"), but my initial belief that the album might be death/doom didn't entirely vanish. It wasn't really until "The Tomb" that the slow, monstrous pace from "Into the Arms of Yama" made a reappearance. The vocals on this album are pretty mediocre. The production is very nice. Check it out if you're a fan of the mucky sludgy death metal, or of bands like Asphyx.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Into the Arms of Yama," "Funeral Lotus"



#21 Ides of Gemini - Constantinople

It's nice to hear Sera Timms again - the brilliant vocalist from Black Math Horsemen. Admittedly, I don't like this album as much as Wyllt. It's less trance-inducing and psychedelic, and more rock-y, but still "doomgaze" perhaps. There are some awesome riffs, like in "Resurrectionists" and "Reaping Golden," that are slightly funereal but not necessarily completely joyless. There's a certain weight to this album though that's very, very heavy. If cast into the ocean this music would, as Jack Dawson said in Titanic about the Le Coeur de la Mer, "sink straight to the bottom." The songs have a thick, melodic feel with a dark, murky beauty that hints of occultist themes. I read over on Doommantia that Timms said in an interview, "I believe that all humans are connected to vast inner territories of darkness and light, and the dark unchartered spaces within that subconscious field are usually the ones that I am drawn to." I don't think it's possible for music to better represent that feeling than the music of Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini. Every song in this album's deep, dark black hat seems to conjure some type of dark energy.
HIGHLIGHTS: "The Vessel & the Stake," "Resurrectionists" "Reaping Golden"
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2012, 12:08 PM
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I haven't heard of a single thing you mentioned save that Ides of Gemini record, but I don't think I'm the only one so I'm excused. Number 25 (I'm not even gonna try to retype that) sounded pretty cool though. And I don't know if I could invest time in a 2.5 hour long album.
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BloodoftheKings View Post
I thought the new Alcest was boring. Then again I wasn't really a fan of them in the first place.
This.

I had mad love for that Ides album this year, too - as you already know. Chances are, it'll place even higher in my list (which means that my review of it may not come until after Labor Day 2013).

EDIT: Here is a super-sexy review from some goofball who seems to have loved it as much as I did...
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  #17  
Old 12-19-2012, 11:06 AM
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Yeah, I haven't heard of almost all of these, either. So many of them do sound great based on the descriptions though, gotta check some out.
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  #18  
Old 12-19-2012, 12:27 PM
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#20 Aptorian Demon - Libertus

This is Aptorian Demon's debut, and it is a fantastic release. This band already has a masterful understanding of pacing, song dynamics, song structure and versatility. The opening track begins with a - what sounds to be - priest speaking in a perhaps Scandinavian tongue. The band is Norwegian so perhaps it's that, but I'm a sucker for sound samples. Sound samples are attention grabbers, especially if utilized well, and the opening few minutes alternate between sound samples with a choir/bells background combination and chunky black metal riffs coming in and out. Around 1:50 a buzz-saw guitar rips in, and then some deep, gut wrenching vocals. Vocal styles are all over the place. This is not a run-of-the-mill one dimensional BM record... everything is spread out, diverse and intelligent. There are some very tasty riffs. If one part of a song grabs you, hold onto it, because you won't hear it for long. The last minute of "Ignitus" is a melodic acoustic passage.
Most of the songs are conventionally lengthed, but "Ignitus" and "Libertus" are longer at nine and thirteen minutes (of course making these two the best). The shorter songs are seemingly more atmospheric. Some of this album is very evil and foul, and some of it isn't. "Amir al-Mu`minin," for example, is very soft, clean and upbeat. A poor Youtube selection, but...
HIGHLIGHTS: "Libertus," "Amir al-Mu'minin"



#19 Lunar Aurora - Hoagascht

I've read that Lunar Aurora broke up for good earlier this year, so it's likely Hoagascht will be the last record we ever hear from them. It's really a shame, but it's hard to complain when a band has been as consistently good over such a long period of time as Lunar Aurora. This band has put out a large number of atmospheric black metal classics over the past few decades before hanging it up temporarily in 2006 for reasons I'm not sure about (to be honest I'm not sure what musicians are were in the band when they recorded this album). Andacht was a phenomenal album. This one isn't as good as I hoped it'd be after six years of silence, and it's certainly not as varied or up to par audio quality-wise with Andacht, but it's still a fine record. The riffs are strong, the atmosphere is fairly cold and old-world feeling, synthesizers and guitars are blended very well, and overall it's a solid effort by an awesome band that's been around a long time. I do wish Lunar Aurora had tried to branch out a little and throw in some different vocal styles or something, but even though they're basically doing the same thing on every track, the album still has a really cool sound to it. "Nachteule" is one of the catchiest and riffiest tracks on the record; the last two minutes are bliss. Due to the reduced guitars, the atmosphere is pretty essential, which is partly created by the reduced guitars. And with synths, the result is something that doesn't sound dark and depressing, but rather, mystic and rustic.
All the song titles and lyrics are in a German dialect that's spoken in Northern Germany - where the band members are from I believe. And the album title translates into "homeland" or "home garden" or something of that sort, so it would seem the band has ended it's career by returning to the place it loves most.



#18 Furia - Marzannie, Królowej Polski

Furia's third full length is not quite as multi-layered or intricate as Deathspell Omega's brand of black metal, but the disjointed guitar melodies combined with the overall avant-garde atmosphere definitely appear to be influenced by Deathspell at times. But to be honest, I enjoy this more. This is some cold, hazy BM. This album actually has a few upbeat passages throughout though, something that's unusual for a lot of black metal - especially Polish black metal that's long had a reputation for being harsh and unforgiving. The opening riff in “Wodzenie,” for example, and the repetitive (and almost psychedelic) overtones threaded throughout “Sa to Kola,” are some examples. With all its rhythms and dissonant atmosphere, it's very obvious Furia’s core is still firmly rooted in "old school" classic black metal. The melodies lay the groundwork for most of the tracks, the dynamics shift quickly at times, and there are moments throughout the album that are downright heartfelt - even if only for a few seconds before a blistering blastbeat tears it away. There's something very genuine about this kind of music, and the same goes for Lunar Aurora and Mgła's as well. These musicians are pouring their souls into it, and I'm not sure they're trying to get anything in return besides the gratification of somehow managing to manifest their feelings into this ugly, fractured music.
HIGHLIGHTS: "_," "Skądś do nikąd" (the quality is real bad on that last one)



#17 Atriarch - Ritual of Passing

Atriarch is a fairly young band signed to Profound Lore that just released its debut album, "Forever the End," last year. They did a split with Alaric earlier this year that has a different version of one of the tracks on this album on it (a better version), and now this album, and these three releases comprise Atriarch's discography to date. The opening riff in "Parasite" that's played behind the spoken vocals is pretty killer. The vocals throughout the record are pretty annoying (coming from someone who has little use for punk and hardcore), I would have preferred it if Lenny Smith had stuck to chanting, spoken vocals, and black metal screeches. But the sound of the music is very interesting. The guitar tone often reminds me of a doomy Celtic Frost. The punk influence is definitely there, but so is gothic influence, so the blackened, sludgy doom that is Atriarch is born from different roots than most other bands in its genre pool. They're not trying to clone popular or classic doom metal bands, they're trying to carve their own niche and make their own way with a sound that's unique to them. hb420 analogized them to a Darkthrone / Candlemass fusion... that seems pretty accurate.



#16. Sentimen Beltza - Zulo Beltz eta Sakon Honetan

Oindurth SaVinitta is Sentimen Beltza, this is his third full-length, and the only way from here is down. Zulo Beltz eta Sakon Honetan is one of those albums that had me hooked almost immediately because of the first track's melody. Twelve minutes of beautiful, depressing melody. "Mendi Urdinak" is one of my most-listened-to songs of 2012... a soaring, depressive, epic black metal anthem that's more emotional than almost anything else that's come out this year. The entire album is not up to this caliber, though. And that's the only reason Zulo Beltz eta Sakon Honetan is not higher on my list. "Neguko Goiz Bat" is also a catchy, epic track that reaches the album's pinnacle state of psychadlic-like hypnosis. The guitars are raw and dissonant even though the production is stellar, the pace varies but it's often on the slow side which just enhances the depression, the atmosphere is very alive but dead at the same time, most importantly though... this album is so, so emotional. The negative charge in this album is something special. Few artists can take inner conflict and create music out of it as well as SaVinitta can. Black metal enthusiasts looking for only blistering riffs and blastbeats need not look here. "El Tiempo Bajo Polvo" is one of the few tracks where the pace really speeds up permanently, to the delight of the average BM listener. Otherwise prepare for a long haul of varying tempos - usually mid to low - and music full of anger, hate, sadness, conflict, inner-torment, etc.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Mendi Urdinak"
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  #19  
Old 12-19-2012, 12:31 PM
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blahblabhlahblahbalh"LITTLE USE FOR PUNK AND HARDCORE"blahblahblah

What a shame.
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  #20  
Old 12-19-2012, 12:35 PM
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Cherry-picking reading perhaps?
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