DESERT STORM SEND HEAVY OMENS

MAY & JUNE REWIND: FINNISH PUNISHMENT, FUTURISTIC FOLK, HARDCORE TRASH AND OTHER NEW SOUNDS FROM MAY AND JUNE

Fancy a bit of Triptykon in a summer solstice heatwave? Nope. Not. At. All. But, now that the clouds and monsoon squalls have returned AND THE NIGHTS ARE DRAWING IN, we’ve got a brief opening to revel in some typically darkened heft from Thomas G Warrior and ensemble. Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019) is the full Requiem suite, live with the Metropole Orkest, completed specially for a one-off performance at the Roadburn festival. The new piece is the centrepiece: the half hour Grave Eternal, pitched black and long between parts I and III, Rex Irae and Winter. Heavy as a funeral.

Oxford behemoths Desert Storm launched their new album Omens in May. The previous album, 2018’s Sentinels, wasn’t just Desert Storm’s best album to date but one of the best metal releases of the last two years – file under Grizzly Bastard Rage and Groove. How does the follow-up follow that? It might be asking too much of anyone, and on first listen Omens sounds sombre, maybe even serious. Definitely less of the outward bodyrock vibe, if that makes sense. But it is loaded with commanding riffs and starts to reveal itself after a couple more listens. Desert Storm do not fail, more words will follow.

Away from metal, here are some other standout tunes from the past couple of (still weird) months.

TERRACE MARTIN – Pig Feet

OK, this ferocious track got priority status in the Lockdown Music: Week 12, but its power has not waned, even though the news is moving on. Mandatory listening and viewing, I reckon. For all of us.

HELEN MONEY – Coil

Cellist, composer and, on this track at least, post-rock gnarly dronemaker, Helen Money’s Coil takes Thee Silver Mt Zion’s delicate grandeur and smears it with King of the Slums’ canal-water dank. Doesn’t it? Definitely getting a whiff of Manco Diablo in there. But where KOTS linger at street and below, this track also soars way above the grime.

CASPAR BROTZMANN MASSAKER – The Tribe

Continuing the Southern Lord reissues, none of which I’ve got round to yet, The Tribe is another reminder of Brotzmann’s wild noise rock guitar assault from the 80s and 90s. Sheets of noise and moan. Whether we can last a whole album of longer tracks is a different story.

C DIAB – Street Scenes

There’s something both ground-level loco-motive and mountain-high questing about this instrumental, percussion-less voyage. When you learn that C Diab is Canadian and based in Vancouver, you paste your own visions of infinite plains and towering geological spectacle all over it, no matter how reductive that might be. Sigur Ros-ian swirl with tension-built motion.

SHARRON KRAUS – Tell Me Why

Folk melodies, naked vocals, delicate instrumentation … so far, so traditional. But there’s an ish. When the gentle electro (is it?) oscillation pulses ‘neath the acoustic, it somehow transforms the track and turns it into a part-ancient/part-sci fi hybrid that’s wholly addictive.

[struggling to find a Bandcamp link so scroll down here]

ORANSSI PAZUZU – Kuulen aania maan alta

The vocals might be ripped from a ragged black metal hand-me-down, but the beats, drones and processed fuzz on this track nod to Blanck Mass more than black metal. Maybe. Then again, what do I know? Anyway, this one plays out like a rapid exit from a carnival spiked with the bad stuff … metallic psyche with nightmare visions.

SCANNER – Step Ahead

Dreamworld travelscape. Whispered words and constant movement. Spectral flames and stretched realities. Or maybe just a fucking gorgeous slice of semi ambient Scanner. Yeah, that’s it. Transport yourself here.

TRASH TALK – Something Wicked

New hardcore needed ? Here’s a nice little 89-second wakey-wakey. Never heard them before, despite their 15-year life, but seeing that Thomas Pridgen – Pinnick Gales Pridgen, ex Mars Volta – plays drums is pushing the intrigue button a little harder.

’til next time!

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

DOES THIS MUSIC SMELL FUNNY?

JANUARY REWIND: NEW EXPOSURES FROM NORWAY AND SOUTHERN LORD, AND A BRACE OF WINTER SOUNDTRACKS

If wild instrumentals are the way to blast those Jan-Feb blues, check this trio of wordless other-worldlies and set your radar to stun, scorch and shift. Verse-chorus-verse they are not. Don’t know anything about the bands (yet) so excuse mon ignorance and lack of detail, just feel the buzz instead. Much to trip on.

HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO – First Thing to Pop is the Eye

STUN. Heavyweight new-jazz post/prog artillery from Norway. Dazzling. HM3’s First Thing… fairly fires up a wintry night with urgent, hypnotic bass loops and guitars that strike with small-hours cool. Musicianship absolutely not in question, neither is the r.o.k. attitude, and that’s more than enough to keep us happy BUT… check the drumming. Is that a player or what? New album Smells Funny is out now on Rune Grammofon.

CASPER BROTZMANN MASSAKER – The Call

SCORCH. OK, not new – 31 years not new, since you ask – but reissued right now on Southern Lord and, of course, Casper packs the same ferocious intensity on guitar as dad Peter does on sax. What comes to mind? A splatter of King Crimson Red to start maybe, but mostly a Killing Joke wall of fury roughed up by free-forming six-stringer squall. Primal psssyche out.

SONAR – Vortex

SHIFT. Why? Because of the mood. Because of the tension lurking from the opening Tortoise lope. Because of the pristine dark urban space conjured by metronomic polyrhythms, slow-rising urgency and part-glitch percussive energy. Get a shift on – enter the vortex with Sonar right here.

WINTER AMBIENCE FROM 2018 LEFTOVERS

By leftovers, we mean the 2018 music bought late last year – like ace albums by Clutch, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Donny McCaslin and Pijn – that have fed the new year and which we’re only just digesting. And for some moody atmos on grey-day hibernations like these, you can do a lot worse than sink into these two highly-recommendeds. First, https://annavonhausswolffmusic.bandcamp.com/album/dead-magic Magic by Anna Von Hausswolff. Drones, possession (spiritual) and pipe organs (massive) from Sweden make for a gothic mood piece that signals a storm’s arrival, though it never does. The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra comes close, but its rock-solid haunt is more of a summoning. File next to your Sunn O)))/Ulver crossovers. Or Myrkur. Or your pipe organ collection. Or maybe even this lot …

.Low. Can’t get enough of critics’ favourite Double Negative at the moment. Even when you flick your hype-alert switch on after the gushing reviews, all that talk of noise, crackle and avant is just too seductive … can Low really be pushing it that far out, this far into their career? So you give it a go. And nothing prepares you for just how outside Double Negative is. Something very special, disorienting and rare at work here … semi lucid states, heavy distortion and fractured warps, cloaked by unshakable Low-floating harmonies. In and out of focus. One for dark nights, immersion and submission. The beauty is buried deep.

BULLY FOR DRORE AND DESERT STORM

Friday 1 February, 2019 – Drore and Desert Storm at the Bullingdon, who needs a headliner? Not them, but there is one anyway: Conjurer, on the Holy Roar label. Metal Hammer have said good stuff about their Mire album, let’s see what they’re all about.

’til next time!

P.S. Desert Storm and Drore review done, see next post

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind