Friday, 30 September 2016

A very short review..... Insomnium have just released Winter's Gate and below (in full) is the track listing as taken from the album cover:

1: Winter's Gate (40:02)

Yep, that's right, one track based on a Norse Viking saga. So what do you think it sounds like?
Think Tubular Bells with way more guitar and death metal growling - This is just absurdly epic

As an aside  it appears the best format to listen to such excess is the CD.

The CD allows you to hear the whole 40 minutes in one track as it should be whereas the vinyl, for obvious reasons, has to be split in to two tracks. I-Tunes however take this even further and in their stupidity have the album listed for download as seven separate tracks, all under 7 minutes. The rationale I guess is that the sort of people who only download have the attention span of a goldfish and therefore can't comprehend the idea of a lengthy piece of music but that is their loss.....

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Now this is weird.... I have a new album from the New Model Army nd it's not my go to album of the moment. This says more about the abundance of fantastic albums around rather than a comment on how good Winter is

I think also the last album Between Dog and Wolf was the best ever sounding NMA album. For that recording they broke with tradition and utilised a studio fully with multi tracking of drums and a full on sonic polish from Joe Baresi (Tool, Apocalyptica). For this album they have resorted back to a band in the studio recording and whilst there is a live energy to the music it just sounds flat compared to Dog and Wolf

But to the music - the opener is helpfully called the Beginning and stretches to nearly 7 minutes which in NMA terms is a lifetime ! It builds slowly but never drags before the crescendo. Burn the Castle is the most direct political song they have done for a while, Vengeance for the 21st Century with a chorus that just needs to be shouted.

Echo November is a short 3 minute blast of melody with added female backing vocals but the absolute jewel is Born Feral... What seems to be a brooding tale of what it's like to be the hardest man on an estate who can see the end of his supremacy. It builds on a loping beat before turning into a pulsing tribal rhythm and is easily the highlight of the album.

Lyrically it's as good as anything Justin Sullivan has written in the last 22 years - check out the acoustic Die Trying and it refugee tale

I still think 13 tracks is still too long for an album and  if it had cut 2 tracks for use as B-sides the album wouldn't be any worse for it. However that is just nit picking and what is just another fantastic set of NMA songs done in their own inimitable style.

Friday, 2 September 2016

So you walk into the boss of your Record Company and announce you want to record an acoustic black metal album. With a female choir. In an unlit tomb. And live……
Normally such thinking would be laughed out of hand but thankfully an executive somewhere though “why not” and so Myrkur got to record Mausoleum
It shouldn’t work but it is utterly, utterly captivating.  Firstly the sound – You can actually hear it’s recorded in a cavernous mausoleum, all echoes and reverb.
There are only nine tracks with just two  lasting 4 minutes so it’s more of an EP than an album but it suits the stripped bare nature of the music 
The first few tracks are played only on piano and are reworked tracks from the debut album. The massed female voices work brilliantly and there is a delicious chill to the sound
Towards the end of the album the piano is replaced by an acoustic guitar (courtesy of Ulver) and it possible get even better – The Bathory cover of Song to Hall Up High and  Dybt I Skoven end the album in triumphant fashion
The black metal traditionalist will probably hate this but it is a simply breathtaking piece of music