Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi’

Abrasive Audio 2020- Part Four

black metal gif

As the year blossoms as too does the onslaught of extreme audio. At this point I’ve given up trying to keep track of it all, it’s a worthless endeavor (well it’s not worthless) lest all else; responsibilities, family and career, falls to the wayside. So rather than try I’ll merely report on that which I recently found to be entertaining and worthy of praise. Without further waffling on all manner of things which one doesn’t wish to be made aware of let’s just say we get started…

January Releases-

faidra

Faidra (Sweden) – Six Voices Inside

https://faidra-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/six-voices-inside

Release- January/26/2020

Northern Silence Productions.

ARTWORK- 83

A classic image which puts me in mind of Archaic Decapitator’s EP (I’m thinking a little research is in order here) wizened monks, Greek philosophers and bearded doomster peddlers. A bronzed effect only adds to its intrigue.

FIRST TRACK- 89

Atmosphere aplenty and an undeniable doom malevolence all topped by a hypnotic black metal majesty. I’m still a stranger to this realm but this is oddly comforting much like unexpectedly finding a blanket on a cold winters night when the heater has abruptly decided to go on strike.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Exquisitely crafted arrangements and hauntingly deep rhythms accompanied by atmospheric choruses, synth effects (in instances, and in part, described by “blips and bloops” which in fact isn’t that far off) and an undeniable (somewhat traditional) black metal aura. The description sounds somewhat odd, in fact as though all the ingredients shouldn’t interact, even in protest. But they do, and this is astoundingly impressive. Mesmeric is a good word but it doesn’t come close to what the all-encompassing experience here offers. An audio package complemented by commendable production values far from what fans of the mentioned influences (below) might expect, however this element only serves to heighten the experience resulting in an album which delivers each and every time its placed into the senses. More impressive still is that this is yet another example of what a single, solitary, mind can visualize, produce and bring to full realization. Do not miss out on this!

Favorite Tracks; Not a bad passage from start to finish, prepare to sink into atmospheric black depths which will result in the minutes passing and days woes dissipating.

FFO; Burzum, Hermodr, Mist of Misery.

proscrito

Proscrito (Spain) – Llagas Y Estigmas

https://proscritoyolvidado.bandcamp.com/album/llagas-y-estigmas

Release- January/27/2020

Momentous Mori

ARTWORK- 83

“Hey Mabel, would you look at this. Some silly bugga has flipped this cross over.”

– Yea, it was a bitch getting it to behave and stand up straight.

“…Mabel!!”

FIRST TRACK- 88

A melodic otherworldly doom introduction leads the listener into realms they might not expect. Throaty vocals, at times seeming to issue from more than a single orifice, somewhere between death and black metal (with an obvious similarity to a vocalist any fan of the roots of the genre will instantly be able to name), elevate this far and beyond traditional Doom territories and spiralling across what many perceive as the boundaries of death/doom. The music and vocals combined form a soundscape that’s both harrowing and nightmarish though is unique in that it strays from utilizing the more familiar vehicle in order to get there. An intriguing introduction to both the band and their ‘take’, their invocation, of a genre which has become stale as of late.

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

The cover might scream Black Sabbath (taken to the extreme) but this most definitely isn’t. Obviously, the influence is there. This is mammoth riddled riff Doom, though it’s what’s “added” that might not appeal to the traditional purists. Think plodding menace in a blender with Tardy throat issuances from Obituary. Add to that undeniable groove, a thick ominous nature occasionally traipsing into cinematic depths, nods to traditional heavy metal influences, distortion laden rhythms which touch upon sludge waters, atmosphere melodies to leave any old school fan of Paradise Lost in need of a new pair of pants and an overall infectious nature and you’ll be close. The vocals here aren’t for everyone; this is death /doom with an emphasis on vocals plucked from the cavernous death arena. Although for those with an appreciation for the slightly different, in effect audio which clings to familiar structures whilst adding/embellishing upon their dimensions, this will about hammer home all the nails! With that I’m mind stay tuned to the album’s final moments for the cherry on the proverbial cake. Huge thanks must be given to @gregorywjkelly on Twitter for reminding me of this (when I only remembered the covers image) He has an infinitely better memory than my own!

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Obituary, Paradise Lost, Novembers Doom.

malignament

Malignament (Finland) -Demo I

https://malignament.bandcamp.com/releases

Re-release January/31/2020 (originally October/21/2019)

Purity Through Fire

ARTWORK- 80

Another image which panders to my weaknesses; the macabre and black and white inks. (Yea I know it’s not white but rather ‘open space’ and I also know the artist isn’t pandering to my whim, but this sounds good. I’m going with it!)

FIRST TRACK- 88

Majestic yet melodic with a splash of folk, discernable rhythms which are downright infectious all complete with surprising production values which showcase each instruments role. This is Black Metal I can subscribe to without even trying. A fantastic opener!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

(Note; Originally released with the first two tracks, the third was added for the tape fornat and this unleashing). For a demo this shines with a wicked, undeniable, appeal. The production is surprisingly decent, it fits the genre perfectly, and the tracks highlighting the musician’s knowledge (of the scene) and stellar abilities both in the composition and talent department. Cold, somewhat traditional, riffs are complemented by atmosphere, groove (yes “groove”) to incite movement and lyrics which make one want to dive into the physical releases accompanying text/lyric sheet. All in all an outstanding offering which should leave fans eager, salivating for more. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the scene but this made an impression instantly.

Favorite Tracks; Call to Arms, Wolf and the Moon.

FFO; Arctos, Dissection.

February Releases –

plague album

Plague (Greece) – Portraits of Mind

https://plague-gr.bandcamp.com/album/portraits-of-mind

Release – February/14/2020

Redefining Darkness

ARTWORK- 91

A wicked collage of skulls, eyeballs, bones and rot with exquisite colors to boot. An amazing image. If the audio is half as good as this, we’re in for a treat!

FIRST TRACK- 91

A typical introduction including Doom laden riffs, a little piano tinkering and a few bass chords leads into what I’d like to term “utter old school bliss”. Familiar yet fresh this channels riffs, phrasing and arrangements those of us who have a rabid hankering for the roots of the scene will instantly be able to appreciate. Melody, pacing, even the vocal cadence and delivery evokes the golden era of the genre – I’m hooked! Suffice it to mention if the remainder of the album plays out like this my headphones will most probably have to be forcefully pried from my head come days end.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Trust those (talented) Greeks to take something good and add upon its appeal. This does just that! Manipulating the familiar, twisting it and tossing in composition genius this album serves up an experience which might divide the camp. I for one appreciate its ability to make me reminisce upon that which brought me into the arena of extreme audio while others might comment that it’s too much like celebrated releases I can see part of this argument though I’ll also add that its becoming increasingly more difficult to be 100% original and or unique without the fear of acceptance.

With this release Plague have somehow managed to insert old school values, sensibilities and stylings into the foundation of a framework which might at first appear all too (instantly) recognizable but upon further inspection is a new take on a vintage design, utilizing talent, ingenuity and obviously undeniable homage as the mortar of said structure. Expect to see this mentioned again, multiple times, as the year draws to a close.

Favorite Tracks; An (old school) eargazm from start to finish!

FFO; mid era Death, mid era Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Pestilence, Immolation, early Gorguts.

invocation

(A last-minute entry)  Invocation (Chile) – Attunement to Death (EP)

 

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/invocation-attunement-to-death

Release – February/21/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK – 80

An array of forms left to wither to dust. From this image one might wonder if the last vestiges of life are seeping away in the form of smoke. An interesting image which invokes bleakness and a dismay aura making great use of grays, black and white to highlight certain areas.

FIRST TRACK – 82

A bout of heavy breathing (a meditative concentration state deep in diabolical predicament I’m thinking) brings about the first riffs and the album begins offering a rolling suffocating dirge assault with a vocal accompaniment which seems distant thought equally as sinister as the musical style employed. There’s groove here too but it’s the aura which is impressive; cavernous and saturated in occult themes. An impressive start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Hardly the typical chuggery many might think when the genre comes to mind this utilizes a constant pulverizing assault. Though not the type employed by either Origin or Nile but rather an aura which seethes with an underworld motif; a highly-effective cavernous saturation bringing about images of ancient locales forgotten by humanity at large, though still employed by robed denizens of the underworld for ritualistic purposes one would rather remain ignorant of. In short, an excellent representation of doom/death drenched in pitch darkness and slathered in an ominous nature that’s palpable. Hardly audio for the whole family but I’m over this like white on rice (does that sound right?)

Favorite Tracks; Impressive from first to last note!

FFO; Tomb Mold, Incantation, Krypts, Funebrarum.

theophagist

Theophagist (Luxembourg) – I Am Abyss

https://theophagist.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-abyss

Release – February/22/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 87

A hand reaching for help. Look closer and you’ll soon discover this hand is much like a Siren bringing many to their doom. This image can be interpreted many ways to include several mental conditions and possibly the word “toxic” but seems as I don’t wish to write a dissertation, I’ll leave my thoughts brief.

FIRST TRACK- 82

A fantastic build leads into pummeling riff territory and an intriguing introduction to the bands style. Providing many layers, multiple twists and turns and a variety of tempo changes, far from one trick pony/genre chuggery ville, this bodes well for the remainder of the album and certainly tips the hat to a smorgasbord of influence plucked from a wide radius of genres. An execution bolstered by top notch musianship and production values.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

When I think of Luxembourg honestly nothing comes to mind.  But in experiencing this, that will now be brought to a screeching halt. For my virgin foray into what the country offers by way of extreme audio I left with a sizable smirk upon my chops. “I Am Abyss” provides a myriad of mixed styles, primarily melodic death sporting a decipherable vocal style (occasionally a twin pronged attack much like what Trevor from Black Dahlia Murder provides) but also other elements, exquisitely interwoven, plucked from genres as wide afield as Deathcore, thrash, melodic black and even groove with pinches of Djent tossed in for good measure. The addition of cellos and bass as an instrumental is a great touch putting me in mind of the brilliance supplied by Apocalyptica. I was left wondering if Ville Valo might add his trademarked sultry voice at any moment. Overall, this provides more than one might assume, boasts great production, plentiful riffs and terrific rhythms to make even the most stubborn of head bob in appreciation. A damn good debut, even if it did take four years to come to fruition but I’m glad it finally did and it only leaves me eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; Cannibal Preacher, The Awakening, Terrors from the Deep, R.I.S.E, Apocalypse (redux).

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Abysmal Dawn, Amon Amarth, Gojira.

But let us not forgot that which we may have missed (Huh?)

Short Sharp Bursts of 19′

Kharma

Kharma (Venezuela) – Chronicas Deletereas I (of 2!) EP

https://kharmagrind.bandcamp.com/album/cr-nicas-delet-reas-l

Release-July/13/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 92

Lady Liberty, tentacles and a bunch of skeletons writhing in eternal torment. What’s not to like? But seriously, the tone and colors here are quite amazing. If you’re reading this guys, where can I pick up the shirt?

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Grinding death, groove and lyrics I can’t understand one word of. But it works and this near twelve-minute slab of brutality is one I’ll gladly recommend to fans of grindcore mixed with brutally melodic death… and did I mention groove? There’s plenty of it and plenty of excellently orchestrated rhythms to move to. These guys need more attention!!

subservience

Subservience (UK) -Ascending from the Abyss (EP)

https://ukemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-from-the-abyss

Release- May/25/2019

UKEM Records

ARTWORK- 75

Something is making itself known, slowly but undeniably, but will it ever make it way to the shores of mankind? And of it does will it be mistaken for z loofah and sold by the thousands? This remains to be seen, until then I’m hitting play…

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Clocking in at under nineteen minutes these Brits show us that, although they don’t add much to that which has gone before, they can still deliver audio of a caliber which shouldn’t be ignored. This EP provides rhythms, riffs and passages which take instant hold of the listener proving that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, especially if your brand of the wheel is of such a high quality as this. Surprisingly there’s a slew of influence here at varying degrees which doesn’t in the slightest detract from the composition on offer, but rather adds to its appeal. Suffice it to say I’m eager for a full-length as too should fans of brutal melodic death which keeps the excitement of the genre alive.

infernal conjuration

Infernal Conjuration (Mexico)- Infernale Metallum Mortis

https://infernalconjuration.bandcamp.com/album/infernale-metallum-mortis

Release- June/6/2019

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK- 88

Grandiose and classical. I’m of the belief this is a depiction of the landscape of a birthday cake for a God, an entity for which the number of candles cannot equal the amount of years. It’s a losing battle, how about a gift card instead?

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

Like the most wicked mashup of vintage Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Death (and to a lesser degree a few others) sans the all too frequently utilized and all too obvious copycat vibe. Executed with precision, diabolical flair, savage fury and undeniable revenance resulting in a slab of audio whose appeal should be akin to the ravenous onslaught of a populace devastating virus (sans the boils, general listlessness, hemorrhaging, seepage from every orifice, loss of life and grieving loved ones) if there’s any justice! Old school dipped in diabolical menace draped in homage to the chaotic black. Call it what you wish, but it’s best not to disagree on semantics rather enjoy the brilliance and talent on offer here. I’ve had this lined up for some time (since early 19′) but up until now haven’t hit the play button, I can’t for the life of me fathom why. Don’t be like me, leap upon this, ears first, at the next given opportunity, you can thank me later! This is a top of the year list addition for sure. Is it too late to perform a “last minute edit”?

allagash

Allagash (Canada) – Cryptic Visions

https://allagash.bandcamp.com/album/cryptic-visions-2

Release – May/6/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 84

A fantastic image depicting a cave in which Neanderthals encounter aliens. It’s like a mashup of Nell and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I only wonder who would stand victorious in a (best of three) game of Checkers.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

The music on display here is fluid. Reminiscent of traditional heavy metal yet with more a speed metal approach putting me in mind of a slew of German acts under the Power/Speed genre umbrella. The vocals are a little harder to get into. Various online comments have likened them to those associated with Brocas Helm but not being a fan of their work, I can’t tell whether I fully agree with this. They do however take a little getting used to, but once ‘over the hurdle’ this develops into an album which puts the listener in an entrancing spell, whether it be through admiration of what’s on offer or the album’s nostalgic qualities, a slew of albums/acts/tracks, attached to names which might not quite reach the tip of the tongue, will pass through the memory banks as this plays out. Sound bites add to the albums intrigue (good old Ronny Reagan pulls in the listeners from the get go) and the theme interwoven throughout, (strangely Blood Incantation comes to mind during the albums more mystical passages) which the covers illustration covers sublimely. In conclusion this was a damn sight better than I expected, to be honest I was thinking black metal at first based on the bands moniker (explained much later in the album via a soundbite), it delivers throughout, supplies a great more than merely I can incoherently gush about and should not be missed especially for those of us with a soft spot for traditional Heavy Metal accompanied by pace (sans brutality) and atmosphere of remarkable scope. Do not let this pass you by undiscovered, I’m in awe even to the point of stating that the final track “Eagle Lake”, a fourteen-minute instrumental, is one of my fave tracks from 19′ (albeit belated).

warbound

Warbound (Brazil) -Behind the Unreal

https://thrashordeathrecords.bandcamp.com/album/behind-the-unreal

Release – September/21/2019

Thrash or Death Records

ARTWORK- 84

Raw black and white imagery depicting savagery and all manner of sin, suffice it to say I’m left curious as something that’s quite curious indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Energetic old school thrash coupled with heavily accented vocals. If only it were that easy to summarize. Truth be told this has more to offer than just that as the riffs showcased here are both ferocious and melodic. The album’s atmosphere is surprising, a great addition, remember this is thrash and not death or black and the result; an album I’m surprised isn’t talked about more. This isn’t a ground-breaking feat but it does its job damn well and will spark interest in the vast majority of thrash fans where aggression reigns supreme in their listening habits! Add to this to your high energy playlist, alongside Whiplash, Destruction, Kreator and Sodom. But before hitting play put away all the breakables, this will make you move!

mix tape action

Keep it up Cult, at this pace you’ll drive yourself into an early grave!

And that brings another mammoth installment to its climax. I’ve barely managed to get this out in time. Hopefully I’ve succeeding in including diverse enough audio for most tastes, as always feel free to drop me a line with any comments, queries, suggestions or with any wishes to contribute. Seriously your grammar can’t get much worse than mine. And this is usually where I say “Don’t fear discovery” and there it is.

Your slave to audio (and celluloid) in many of its extreme guises,

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Part Twenty – two

head explosion abrasive audio header

Not much clever to say or add this week, other than I wish I had more time to offer up in support of those worthy of recognition. (Ever feel like you wanted to add a few words on metal releases and or genre themed cinema? Drop me a line). Onwards, to that which has graced my ears in the past few days.

Void King – Barren Dominion
(USA)
Release – September/13/2019
Off the Record
Clawhammer PR

void king

https://voidking.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 79

Vivid and a little chilling. The Grim Reaper against a crescent moon, and those piercing eyes.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Huge riffs, drums and a voice that pierces the soul with its range and power. A splash of Danzig and something else against a distortion amplified doom/stoner rock backdrop. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest, but I’m diggin’ this more than I thought I would.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Took me a while but now I’m thinking the raw, unbridled, emotion-laden vocal style is a hybrid of Staind (Aaron something or other) Channel Zero (although my only experience is the album “Unsafe”) and Danzig it’s highly effective against the slow to mid-tempo rhythms (which change direction more than one might assume) presence, the combination is nothing short of powerful and utterly mesmerizing. The fact that this is radio friendly should not deter one from giving it a fair few spins. An altogether brilliant slab of doom/stoner rock with Southern rock touches. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; A Lucid Omega, Burnt at Both Ends, The Longest Winter.

FFO; Danzig, Staind, Soundgarden, Corrosion of Conformity.

dead sould alliance

Dead Soul Alliance – Slaves to the Apocalypse (cassette)
(Canada)
Release – August/16/2019
Dawning Septic Productions
Dewar PR
https://deadsoulalliance.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 72

Raw black and white DIY imagery (with a dystopian, Sci-fi, oppressive societal, edge) reminiscent of art from the earliest days of the scene. I’m detecting a grind/crust vibe here, anyone else?

FIRST TRACK – 82

Intriguing pace (which adds presence) combining death and doom and stylistic elements (old school European in nature) with an initial soundbite that grabs the attention makes for a track which bodes well for the album ahead. This is far from mere chuggery and blast beat mania.

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Only six tracks here but that’s more than enough to comprehend that these guys know what they’re doing. Combining ‘Meat & Potatoes’ (I can’t claim that, the phrase is courtesy of Void but probably isn’t trademarked) styled death, mid pace, maniacal passages and a death doom aura rather than all out brutality. DSA (an obvious abr.) have created audio which manages to toss the listener gleefully back to when death was simpler, sans progressive and technical elements complete with nods to vintage Skinless in regards to the effective utilization of soundbites. Obvious is the bands disdain for religion but rather than simply state such they have inserted thought-provoking snippets in effect adding another level to an audio collective which is a fantastic introduction to the band.

Favorite Tracks; Act of the Sycophant, Forged in Forfeit, Slaves to the Apocalypse, Formula Misanthropia.

FFO; Benediction, Gorguts, Deeds of Flesh, Morgoth.

Casket Robbery-The-Ascension-rerelease

Casket Robbery – The Ascension (EP) (expanded edition; signed, hand numbered. Tour/online only) (USA)
Release – September/6/2019
Independent
Dewar PR
https://casketrobbery.bandcamp.com/album/the-ascension
ARTWORK – 64

This looks like a freshly plowed field. However, with that in mind it also has an undeniable menacing aura about it too.

FIRST TRACK – 73

I’m getting a Slipknot mixed with Gossow era Arch Enemy vibe with more than a liberal splash of Djent, with a sprinkle of atmosphere. The whole shebang is a little less heavy on the skin pounding (this term sounds darkly erotic, right?) action than the aforementioned style but not by much. An intriguing start.

INITIAL LISTEN – 72

Bouncy, energetic and exciting the rhythms here are crushing, bordering at times on Slam sensibilities. Accompanied by surprising atmosphere and slightly abrasive vocals this is one which’ll get the listener moving though isn’t quite brutal enough to be far from the interest of thrash/death enthusiasts.

Favorite Tracks; The Ascension, Lillith.

FFO; Suicide Silence, Arch Enemy, Meshuggah, Slipknot.

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds
(Russia)
Release – September/27/2019
Lavadome Productions
Mind Eraser PR
https://lavadome.bandcamp.com/album/cursed-seeds
ARTWORK – 92

Influence and pressure come in many forms and this image depicts many of those. From a loving matriarch (who seems to be hiding something behind her thinly veiled guise) through horrific demons spiked with weaponry and spite. An exquisite image which hints at audio with intricacy and many facets. I’m intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 92

Dissonant, spiraling, riffs lead the listener gently into an engulfing storm, a full-on assault of the senses. Brutal though controlled the nature swirls with technical elements yet never delves too far into wizardry depths for the sake of it or gets away from the main theme. Infernal audio with plenty of directional changes which instantly grabs ahold and keeps it. An amazing introduction.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Brutal with just the right amount of black elements, atmosphere to spare and chaotic technical passages to keep the listener enthralled. Melody and groove take a backseat to the menace and furiosity on display though it’s still apparent albeit in frenetic doses. The constant timing and rhythm shift as well the musicianship on offer and the booming vocal cadence elevate this above the herd. A dark nightmarish, punishing, narrative is what’s on offer here and I’m taking the trip again.

Highly Recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Cursed Seeds, Age of Madness, Sunset, Face of War.

FFO; Gorguts, Nile, Origin, Vital Remains, Deathspell Omega.

apokalyptic raids

Apokalyptic Raids – The Pentagram
(Brazil)
Release – October/11/2019 (re-release)
Hell’s Headbangers
https://apokalypticraids.bandcamp.com/album/the-pentagram
ARTWORK – 77

A goat’s skull entwined around a pentagram with a pair of swords spiking the whole shebang in (not quite so) perfect symmetry. Simplistic yet vivid.

FIRST TRACK – 81

Celtic Frost worship is obvious, front and center. This seethes with a wickedness, a raunchy nature, part NWOBHM (obviously Venom in tone) and part old school roots of the black scene (though this should come as no surprise to those who have knowledge of this band), overall this is criminally infectious. And it’s hitting the spot!

INITIAL LISTEN – 82

Undeniable groove runs rampant throughout alongside a mid-tempo which hints at doom sensibilities, a playful mischievous nature and undeniable homage. The inclusion of atmosphere and breaks from an all-out assault (which one might expect) are surprising though work well to add to that which the album offers. CF and HH worship yes but there’s something else to be found here amidst the album’s raw nature A maturity? Probably not, perhaps more an exploration. Incorporating the same rock-solid foundation (a raw dirge vibe) only adding to it with a smorgasbord of other influence, a radius that blankets Bestial, War, traditional heavy metal, thrash and speed metal realms, molded to the bands specification. It works!! But I can’t shake the feeling that Paul Speckmann (Master, Death Strike) is pulling vocal duties.

If you’ve yet to submit your senses to Apokalyptic Raids this is an ideal place to start.

Favorite Tracks; Necromaniac (is back), Victory Beyond Imagination, My Triumph, Keep my Grave Open, The Story of Pope Joan.

FFO; Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Whipstriker.

ingested filth album cover

Mutilatred – Ingested Filth (EP)
(USA)
Release – August/30/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://mutilatred.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 86

A medieval grotesquery image depicting an unlucky gent literally losing more than merely his shirt. Poor fellow. I’m left wondering if those angel types are Govt. tax agents or something entirely more sinister altogether.

FIRST TRACK – 77

Dense and filthy. This isn’t crisp and clear but rather dirty and “gutteriffic” (I do believe I just invented a word). A tone which is suffocating with drums that add a grindcore bounce of sorts and well-suited vocals which add to the fun. A great package!

INITIAL LISTEN – 79

Pummeling, punishing, obliterating death is what’s on offer here. Whirling dervish in intensity and uncompromising in assault these six tracks deliver with an axe to grind to leave the listener dazed and the genre reignited. Barely short of fourteen minutes of ferocity to carve a smile on any (old school) fans face who’s left furious by the invasion of “melodic” into a realm which by moniker alone should be, by nature, far from it.

Favorite Tracks; Fuck Everything, Ingested Filth, Tortured, Scooping out the Brains.

FFO; Suffocation, Skinless, Defeated Sanity, Immolation.

superterrestrial

Superterrestrial – The Void That Exists
(United Kingdom)
Release – August/16/2019
Green Flaw Productions
Dewar PR
https://greenflaw.bandcamp.com/album/the-void-that-exists
ARTWORK – 81

A cold stark landscape with two moons… wait what-? It looks familiar, yet not so much. There’s definitely something going on here, and I’m about to investigate.

FIRST TRACK – 87

Majestic yet tinged with a foreign nature of a definite bleak, yet epic, cosmos leaning. The riffs here are striking with instant effect, infectious, unforgiving, intense, yet frigid. The vocals are low in the mix, a howling effect which strangely suits the audio. A fantastic start and introduction.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

Familiar, yet not so much. “The Void That Exists” exhibits a certain fluidity about it which is captivating. Varied dark synth interludes add stunning atmosphere to the mix (an industrial audio landscape breathing with alien menace) and serve to break up that which might turn monotonous; rhythms which are unforgiving, often suffocating, yet seethe with undeniable primal nature. Not being a huge fan of the genre, an opinion that’s changing the more I’m allowing my senses entry, I can honestly say this held my attention rapt throughout, although I will mention it felt like some of the same riffs and rhythms were a tad over-utilized.

Favorite Tracks; Collapsar, Tidal Disruption Event, The Morton Wave.

FFO; Emperor, Dissection, Satyricon.

IATT

IATT – Nomenclature
(USA)
Release – September/27/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://iattblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/nomenclature
ARTWORK – 87

This overflows with an ancient ritualistic vibe. The awesome use of colors give this a bronzed effect as well lend it leathery textures to give off an aged persona.

FIRST TRACK – 76

IATT lay it all out in the line within no time whatsoever, within the first minute in fact. Theirs is a blackened style shrouded by progressive elements, which the cover art might not suggest, spoken word elements and frequent rhythm transformations oozing in melody are plentiful here. An epic track to start things off one that’s draped in raw emotion and ferociousness.

INITIAL LISTEN – 87

Truthfully, it’s taken me several listens to get into this one. It wasn’t what I expected. But once over the initial foreign aura its nature has grown on me, starting its enthralling conquest of my senses. ‘Progressive Black’ isn’t honestly a genre I hear that much of, usually more black or blackened death/speed though this is a fantastic amalgamation of both combining the unbridled ferocity of black and the sweeping emotional qualities of progressive. Epic tracks are to be expected with the genre moniker in mind and this album doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Nor does the style; taking the listener through landscapes both sweeping majestic and horrifying. An unpredictable journey with a great deal to delight the senses, a tableau showcasing a myriad of vistas one might not expect, passages flirting with folk and heritage rhythms as well traditional heavy metal stylings and naturally the obvious; a darkness which glues it all together. Classical elements are a fantastic part of this release too, Gothic and synth natures can’t be ignored and fit the albums narrative perfectly. In short, this will appeal to those with an open mind whose penchants run to blackened realms as well arenas which are often referred to as a tad experimental. Though fear not as this stays this side of ‘too much’ and offers that which will delight though warrant several spins in order to fully digest. With over an hour of audio on offer this is far from what one might have initially assumed, but be prepared for you’ll want to lose yourself in its grandeur again and again. Highly recommended!

Favorite Tracks; Realm of Dysthymia, Molynexus Problem, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Yersenia Pestis, Blade of Trepanation.

FFO; The Faceless, later era Death, Between the Buried and Me, Atheist, The Odious.

That’s it for yet another extreme drenched audio installment. Until our paths of audio interest cross again, keep those ears open

Cult

eyeballs header
Scorching the Retinas
Alien Party Crashers (aka Canaries) (US, UK, Wales, Vietnam) 2017

Canaries Poster

 

Writer/Director – Peter Stray
Runtime – 84 minutes
Devilworks
Mapledragon
High Octane Pictures

Tree resin, disco strobe lights, an international investigation in a freezing English forest and a prone body, which is perhaps Vietnamese in origin (as it comes complete with a traditional triangular hat), gets this slice of celluloid out of the starting blocks. A segment of found footage investigation in Vietnam hot on the heels of an alien abduction several years later adds to the films intrigue level. The strangeness continues. Peculiar goings on at Martha’s Vineyard, around the same time, showcases a deceased Norwegian, his death resulting from a fall from several thousand feet up. Investigators are perplexed as personal belongings indicate he’s been missing for several years and was last seen several continents away.

(trailer courtesy of Psychosylum)

Cut to another location where apparently something uncanny is about to happen again. This time however, it’s been proposed and several have been invited as witnesses. More a department, namely black Ops with the moniker The Canary Project. An agency which doesn’t officially exist with a budget which is as equally as minuscule in stature. The proposed location in question is a small town in Wales the name of which probably most will have difficulty pronouncing; Lower Cwmtwch. A name which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as easily as say Bath, Bristol or Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (which translates as “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave”) another town, ironically, found in Wales.

At a local level a DJ is introduced Steve- the menace- Dennis (played by Craig Russell) has somehow found a calling far from his roots but returns home in hopes to raise some investment cash (for a proposed night club venture in the Welsh Valley) whilst hosting what he anticipates will be a successful shindig of sorts to celebrate New Year’s.

canaries cast and crew

So, uh…what do we do for fun in these parts?

An element which the viewer will immediately notice is that dialogue and character interaction is rather clever. Steve is somewhat of a weasel, often finds himself in awkward situations, is well-known around the area and is only out for his own benefit. And although his friends, a pair from the Valley, know this they are still willing to tag along, if only to plug their local businesses (“if you want skate (a fish of a type), he’s your mate!”). Pugh, a local and Steve’s closest friend, turns belligerent after a few and starts to pick fights for no reason other than the fact that he’s drunk and frustrated; Steve has managed to leave the valley, has transformed his accent, an origin he should be prouder of, to better fit in with the London scene and he’s invited a pair, an ‘old flame’ and her “loaded” brother, from the area to laugh upon the locals (or so he believes).

Fireworks showcase a sudden shift in mood amidst the paltry gathering, as the ‘countdown’ nears zero a thump upon the roof transpires into the revelers taking their celebrations outside. An object removed from the roof, an African spear from centuries previous, stuns the party goers into silence (“What the hell is going on in Wales?”). Moments later a body falls from the same roof after a little prodding “A dead black man just fell outta the sky onto my house, well it’s not actually my house but…”

One of the party goers, travelling all the way from London, has prior experience with Steve, the honor of having the rich brother and a mysterious background in both anthropology and strange goings on. An impromptu face time, behind closed doors, with her enigmatic employer brings about a personal standpoint that time travel doesn’t exist and nor do aliens but the look on her face shows that she isn’t convinced and several questions still remain unanswered.

Sudden “incidences” of an audio manner bring about raised eyebrows and a slew of quizzical glances, there’s something afoot and it isn’t at all right. Continents away, in a sequestered hotel, members of the Canary Project discover more about the predicament at hand, and similar incidences which have plagued the globe for decades, but are held at bay under orders to merely observe and report. Frustrations understandably arise but their hands are tied.

canaries-sci-fi-comedy

Hah, behind me you say? I’m not falling for that!

The appearance of various humanoid types with extended fingernails (blue work gloves with talons to be kind though later explained as’ replicated’ members of a fishing boat from out of Mass. USA) in yellow rain slickers, comically referred to as ‘vampire fisherman’ (with no relation to the movie IT in which a yellow raincoat/slicker also appears) add a slasher approach (slathered in comic relief) to the film and the township becomes the location of an extraterrestrial invasion, albeit one with a sluggish pace accompanied by oddly abrupt rain showers.

On the run our heroes find themselves navigating the small townships hilly gradients and streets in search of an internet connection so that they might be able to connect with others “in the know”.

Later conversations, all on a need to know, highly classified, basis, shed light on the possible reasons for the rain slickers (which aren’t props left over from a recent Stephen King novelization) but questions still remain, do the antagonist have an Amazon account or a frequent shopper card at ‘Rainslickers R’ Us’ where they might have a significant discount for buying in bulk?

Canaries - aw fer fucks sake

Aw, fer fucks sake!

Our heroes soon find themselves surrounded, (just how big was the crew on that fishing trawler?) in the company of a friend of a friend and under the looming shadow of a myriad of UFOs. “Aw, fer fucks sake!” about covers it! And the movie is through with the legend, to be continued…, boldly emblazoned across the screen.

Understandably this is somewhat an unusual approach for me in reviewing a film, draped in spoilers. I’ve added perhaps more than I should in regards to its synopsis, though not merely enough to spoil the viewing experience. Alien Party Crashers, or Canaries (which ever one chooses to call it, dependent on their location) has a great deal going for it. It boasts likable characters, the flirtatious vibe of Hannah Daniel (playing Agnes D) comes to mind as well characters no miniscule town should be without, namely a grizzled, grumpy, ancient type in this case appearing convincingly in the form of a bar-owner, ex school teacher and local cop Jenkins (portrayed by Robert Pugh). Naturally Steve and his antics steals every scene though Sunita, his former love interest (though its up for debate by both parties involved) portrayed by Sheena Bhattessa and Tsilala Brock in her role as Marcie Gillman, a Special Ops intern, add a sense of gender reversal/female empowerment to the film that’s refreshing and isn’t too blatantly over the top.

Canaries female empowerment

So, you’re telling me you know how to use that!

The films pace is enjoyable and its premise intriguing in a playful and promising manner, as opposed to a technical and overtly scientific one. To put it another way, this has the power to appeal to most everyone regardless of education level or status in ‘geekdom’. At times however the approach misses the mark, plot holes are gaping, and I can only hope that a sequel will perhaps help to tie up loose ends and expand upon others which have been hinted at as there are, as it stands, more than a few. One, the inclusion of a character who appears in the party with zero introduction other than her liking for cold beers (I can only hope I didn’t miss something) though who secures a prime hiding spot later as our vivid colored jacketed friends appear on screen.

The soundtrack/score (courtesy of Marengast) complements the film and adds just the right amount of atmosphere and appropriate mood when required, the choice to utilize this throughout rather than snippets of popular songs in places is applaudable in my opinion, a risk that pays off as obviously the familiarity of tracks which are embedded in the psyche due to over-exposure (from radio play, etc) brings about instant emotion and mood whereas a score might not, but this one works.

Alien-Party-Crashers Canaries

The US release “look”

In conclusion, yes, this movie could have been better, though it could also have been much worse (I’ve seen shoddier efforts with superior budgets). What saves Alien Party Crashers are its characters, their interactions, its humor which doesn’t always hit the spot (again this is probably dependent on one’s sense of humor) and the films pace though not necessarily its effects. I was admittedly hoping for more, though if truth be told I’m probably spoiled based on my admiration of Bad Taste, Brain Dead and similar films from the same undisputed B arena slathered in gratuitous, unflinching, tongue in cheek carnage. Here’s to a sequel, a larger budget, better utilization of likable characters and the tying up of loose ends.

Alien Party Crashers is currently available Stateside on DVD and VOD From High Octane Pictures.

Cult

exploding alien head

Extraterrestrial (2014)

USA
Directed and Written by The Vicious Brothers
Runtime – 96 minutes
Vicarious Entertainment, Manis Film, Pink Buffalo Films, Twin Engine Films and Cargo Entertainment.

Extraterrestrial-film-2014

Yet another in the series of films in which a group of teens head to a cabin in the middle of “noplace”. ‘ET’ (for short, but in no way the lovable alien who has a penchant for raising a finger in defiance to British Telecom and their attitude towards long distance calling plans) features a number of elements which might be expected, based on that which has gone before, in numerous instances. However, it also includes a myriad of elements which might not be so predictable.

Naturally this film revolves around visitation (Whitney Strieber texts anyone) or so the cover synopsis would lead us to believe. With plenty of well-lighted spacecraft on display and numerous long-limbed “greys” with plenty of attitude on screen early on (I’m not spoiling anything, it’s all on the cover!) the film has a pace which is faster than most. It boasts an introduction which adds to the intrigue. Whose mind doesn’t begin to spin when a telephone box suddenly descends from the skies.

john saxon the herbist

Those were the days.

The acting is believable throughout, and there’s even an actor included here who’s famous for surviving the advances of a killer shark (incidentally a movie released the same year I was born), and battling intergalactic, over-sized, bugs. But, more importantly, he’s assisted a martial arts legend defeat a weapon handed tyrant. In this movie however he’s a cultivator, of sorts, and a character who believes there’s ‘something (more) out there’.

Obviously, there’s a little drama, the main characters being early twenty-somethings and a partying montage. But, true to form the cabin soon offers a locale which transforms. Blue, pink, purple and an array of blind g lights signify something is very much awry and kids are whisked into the sky at a rate which would make the creators of The Wizard of Oz rather envious.

Just when one might start to think it’s all over the film takes on a ‘Skyline’ tone and introduces the viewer to the alien spacecraft’s guts and various intergalactic torture/information methods (yes, there’s an anal probing, stop asking!)

extraterestrial growl

All I’m asking for is a goddamn wet wipe. Is that too much to ask?

But it doesn’t stop there. The films finale is surprisingly unexpected making for a viewing experience which is predictable up to a certain point until it plunges into realms which make it stand out.

Make time for this, although the majority of the film is so-so it sports a good pace, a fantastic light show set up, great effects and a climax which is unexpected.

 

Cult