Fuck the Facts break free, pour weirdness into mauling, wholly captivating new ‘Desire Will Rot’

FTFThere is nothing inherently wrong with a band playing within its genre boundaries and trying to perfect that formula. Good, reliable bands are made that way. But I find it more interesting when artists go beyond the fenced-in yard in which they’re supposed to play. Why not mix and match and pour different inspirations into what you do?

Again, I won’t hold it against anyone for not being more daring as long as they deliver solid goods, but when a group finds meaningful ways to break out, damn, that’s exciting stuff. That’s why I’ve always held Fuck the Facts in such high regard because, while grind may be their base, it’s not their be-all, end-all. They’ve always had interests that go beyond the grind territory, and never has that been more apparent than on their new ninth full-length excursion “Desire Will Rot.” It’s heavy and relentless and, yes, completely grinding, but there is so much more going on. In fact, the way the record is put together almost feels like a part one and part two. The first six songs are a little more classic FTF, while the final five tracks branch out into something wild and exciting in a different way.

FTF coverThe new album is their first outside the Relapse banner in many years and is being put out on their own imprint Noise Salvation. The band has remained intact for the past several years, with Mel Mongeon on vocals, Topon Das and Johnny Ibay on guitars, Marc Bourgon on bass and vocals (he and Mongeon basically share duties now), and Mathieu Vilandre on drums. As this band is wont to do, they’ve remained busy since their last album, 2011’s “Die Miserable,” with a few EPs, a couple of splits, and a wide array of live shows keeping them busy and firing on all cylinders. This new record, like any of their smaller releases, is a true DIY effort with all songs produced and mixed by the band, and they sound as channeled and adventurous as ever.

“Everywhere Yet Nowhere” gets the record off to a hammering start, with guitars wailing, the bass chugging hard, and Mongeon and Bourgon trading off lines, hers more a diabolical shriek while his are guttural death grunts. It makes for a good pairing. “Shadows Collide” just goes off, with punishing guitar work, the tempo rising and falling, and the song re-erupting later, threatening to tear off faces. “The Path of Most Resistance” has a bit of groove to the guitars, with the dual vocals providing menace, and later things get scuffed up and murky. Doom sentiments arrive and color the rest of the track in morbidity. The dual “La Mort” cuts are up next, with the first simmering in filthy riffs and noise pollution, with Mongeon howling into a haze of classic metal guitars. The second part explodes, with the band raging forward and the singing feeling monstrous. Noise squeals out of the end, and that bleeds right into “Prey” and its heavy rumble. The song is pure demolition, with cool lead work bursting through, the drums being crushed, and the vocals showing zero relent.

“Storm of Silence” has melody situated behind the tumult, with both Mongeon and Bourgon wailing hard, while the band lets more atmosphere into the room than usual. It’s the first hint to things changing on the second part of the album. “Solitude” delivers darker guitars and a doomy feel, but the playing also is a little weirder and spacey, while still managing to scrape and crush what’s in its way. “False Hope” runs 5:47 and has drowned-out drums leading into the body, with speedy riffs emerging. The track crashes and burns, feeling like it’s going to throttle you from start to finish, but then things change. The tempo gets dirtier, the guitars get muddier, and the final minute or so is more reflective and echoey. That sets up “Circle,” the 7:55-long oddball of the bunch. The first section is eerie and spooky, with distant singing coloring the background. Keys trickle in, strings sweep out, and the bottom drops into a doomy mauler. The cries sound pained and damaged, letting you feel a little terrified for a stretch, and the remainder of the song floats like a ghost setting off to eternal damnation. Closer “Nothing Changes” gets a little heavier again, with gang shouts ripping out, and later the guitars going to thrashy and damaging. That goes on for about half the run time before shadowy clouds return and block out the light for a stretch, then the song completely transforms with guitars stabbing, blood pouring forth like a deluge, and swirling melodies tying everything up and ending the journey.

It’s great after all of these years to hear Fuck the Facts still challenging boundaries and making art that’s vital and heartfelt. “Desire Will Rot” is their most interesting album on their sturdy resume, a collection that refuses to compromise or stay in one place very long. It’s inspired, heavy, and all the proof you need that FTF are one of grindcore’s most versatile, fiery bands.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.fuckthefacts.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.fuckthefacts.com/#!shop/c1ypz

PICK OF THE WEEK: Dreadnought’s dreamy mix of metal, doom, prog spills over on ‘Bridging Realms’

DreadnoughtI don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying the percentage of metal record that truly are interesting through and through are on the low side. I don’t mean there aren’t a slew of very satisfying, really good records and bands out there, but ones that really gab your attention and take you places you rarely travel are in small numbers.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Not every record can be a cinematic wonder, and if you had a ton of bands trying to push all of the boundaries, it might get a little insane out there. Plus, it’s better that we leave all of that mind expansion to bands who do it right such as Denver-based Dreadnought. There are going to be people out there who question whether this band is metal at all, and I can understand that. Sort of. As things get heavier and more aggressive (to a ridiculous point sometimes), we forget that classic bands didn’t have to go full throttle all the time. They stretched out, added new colors, and proved their might in many ways other than volume. Same with Dreadnought. There are elements of doom and black metal simmering here, but those aren’t dominant traits. There also is jazz, spirited prog rock, and even elements of indie pop on their stunning new record “Bridging Realms,” and it was during a drive home from a show one night, on a repeated listen to this collection, that it struck me just how powerful, moving, and flat-out interesting these five songs are. I got caught up and swept away, making that drive home feel like it took one minute instead of 30.

Dreadnought cover“Bridging Realms” is the band’s second record, with their first “Lifewoven” having landed in 2013. This group could reach out a slew of music fans especially the ones whose collections lean to the metal side but contain a little of everything. This band—Kelly Schilling (guitar, flute, vocals), Jordan Clancy (drums sax), Kevin Handlon (bass, mandolin, lyrics), and Lauren Vieira (keys, clean vocals)—kind of sound like how it might is ISIS and Eisley smashed together and formed a union that also fed off a hankering for Kate Bush and the Moody Blues. There is plenty of volcanic stuff here and vocals that savagely go for the throat. But there is so much texture, psychedelic skies bursting with colors, and epic peaks staring down at hellish valleys that each moment of the journey is riveting and exciting.

The record begins with “Ode to Ether,” a song that clues you in right away that this band is something different altogether. There is brassy exploration at the front end of this 10:22 mission, later letting voices flutter and the atmosphere to stretch out like a dream. It opens up fully about halfway through, with harsh shrieks raining down, guitars getting daring, and a proggy transmission poking through the storm. Things chill a bit, with clean singing leading the way, only to enter into a total psyche haze that’ll have you seeing colors. The track keeps bending and progressing, leading into windy sentiments and finally being swept off into the distance. “Odyssey” is the longest track at 14:01, opening with pianos drizzling and adventurous singing marching through, paying dividends on that Kate Bush comparison. The track keeps bounding over strange fields until the guitars fire up harder and the vocals turn to deadly growls. The next few minutes, hammers are dropped continuously until they make way for another cool front and angelic vocal harmonies. The section takes on a New Age enlightenment vibe, like you’re searching for your real self in your mind, as the song winds down and flutes carry you off to distant clouds. “Minuet de Lune” is the “short” track of the bunch, clocking in at 6:12 and building itself on smeary keys, a gentle flow, a prog-groove section that pops out later, and a, dare I say, hippie sentiment that implore you to haze out but also give in to the churning guitar work and space zaps that splash in at the end.

“Transpiration” starts its 10:32 run in a dreamy fashion, as the song feels like it coasts over the skies, letting you first see the vast array of ground below before you meet up with murky fronts. Gritty guitars start to boil, even amid a jazzy counterbalance of melody, but then that all comes to a head and halts for a blinding infusion of saxophone. From there, the track flows fluidly and with more breeze, feeling rather sophisticated and letting the members truly explore their entire space. Things build to a head, and sounds burst, with glimmering, soaring playing, intoxicating madness, and cosmic spoils that feel like stardust is raining down upon you. The 11:31-long closing title cut has a jamming start, with the band stretching their limbs and settling into a misty, dexterous bit that precedes the gut-wrenching guitar work emerging. We get another deep psychedelic mind explosion, complete with unhinged wails that dig deep within, burly riffs, and before it becomes raucous and damaged again, a jazz-infused cloud cover settles in. The final moments of the track let all elements grow volcanic, with guitars charring serenity, the playing prodding, and beams of earthly and space light tearing through and illuminating all. It’s a rousing finish to what’s a triumph of an album.

Even if I really like a band’s record, I don’t become a fan of every group I write about. Dreadnought unquestionably is one that has me in line as a devotee. “Bridging Realms” is an unreal experience, a record that never gives you the same confrontation twice, and a collection of songs that shows this band coming into their own. Dreadnought are writing their own story, allowing in the influences that move them (and not the masses), and have a huge future ahead if they keep making music like this. Metal doesn’t always have to be wall-to-wall brutal. It can live, dream, and breathe, a lesson we all can learn from the awesome Dreadnought.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/dreadnoughtband

To buy the album, go here: https://dreadnoughtdenver.bandcamp.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://sailorrecords.com/

Lychgate’s horrific new record ‘An Antidote for the Glass Pill’ mourns our societies, psyches

Lychgate

Photo by Kris T. Therrian

I’m completely convinced that there are forces everywhere who know what we’re doing at all time and can report anything undesirable back to whoever needs to know. Actually, I think I just mean that we all walk around with spy devices that can be used to track us and mark our every move (you know, our phones). That’s why the Edward Snowden story didn’t shock me in the least and kind of didn’t bother me. It seemed kind of obvious these things are going on.

I don’t know if that’s quite what Lychgate were thinking about when they created their cinematically terrifying new record “An Antidote for the Glass Pill.” But when sifting through the biographical material accompanying the music and indulging in the music, it’s where it took me in my head. The record is a concept piece that examines the negative aspects of post-modern life, especially psychologically and ho society has devolved, drawing upon Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon prison structure as inspiration, as well as Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian nightmare novel “We” and Polish writer Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’s brain-washing story “Insatiability.” In fact, the album’s title combines elements from each story and drives us headlong toward a terrifying vision of constant surveillance and being numbed into all-consuming, never-thinking sheep who sleep, work, eat, repeat. It’s something a lot of us probably don’t want to think too much about lest we stumble onto what’s really going on out there.

Lychgate coverWhile together as a band officially for the last few years, the band’s music was born as a concept nearly a decade ago. Vortigern, who handles guitars, vocals, and chants, is the one responsible for the words and music you hear on this record (opener “Unto My Tempest” aside), and he is joined by a notable cast that includes vocalist Greg Chandler (Esoteric); drummer/percussionist T.J.F. Vallely (Macabre Omen); guitarist S.D. Lindsley; bassist A.K. Webb; piano player F.A. Young; and organist K.J. Bowyer, who has a massive role on this record. The band weaves together a classically horrible tale, one that would be best shown on screen in a cobweb-draped, black-and-white setting, as the band’s gothic, dramatic black metal rains down and forces you to confront the story.

Introductory track “Unto My Tempest” raises the curtain on the album, with orchestral swirls, doom bells chiming, and weird playing that spills into “Davamesque B2” and its dramatic, shadow-drenched horror. The song is spooky and echoey at the start, turning into gurgly growling and sweeping playing, cinematic stretches that feel morbid, and finally ending in a bed a gigantic organs that make it seem like the beginning of a funeral mass. “I Am Contempt” continues the terror, with vicious, shrieked vocals that pierce and guitars that start to burn heavily and hover over the scene. The melodies swagger as the song winds down, with charnel bells once again striking and bringing a pall to the atmosphere. “A Principle of Conclusion” has keys fluttering and leading into pure savagery. The track is a wild menagerie of dark organs, journeys into proggy waters, and eventually a heavily hammering assault that aims to destroy. Keys create a fog and spiral out, leading toward “Letter XIX” that has chimes, boiling guitars, and harsh howls, with the song churning and bleeding and later delivering blinding lightning strikes. This song is huge enough to be presented on a major theater stage, with every member playing their part to weave the dark plotline.

“Deus te Videt” opens on a hypnotic noise loop, melting everything around it and turning it into lava, while a haunting choral section appears and opens up the door to apocalypse. The back end of the song is violent and turbulent, paving the way for “The Illness Named Imagination,” which fires up the huge organs again and growls that just wrench. The melodies pulsate and get in your bloodstream, while the band paints the corners with goth-bloodied brush strokes. “An Acousmatic Guardian” lets the keys blow in and toss papers and dust asunder, with gruff vocals grinding away and the music sweltering hard. The song plods along, taking its time to spill its guts, and right after keys sweep in and soak the ground, the track rips open and gives one more tough beating. “My Hate to Burn Forever” has guitars spurting, going back into proggy territory that makes this thing even more compelling. The track is allowed to boil lightly, with anguished screams disrupting and pastoral organs slamming closed the door. “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus” is a quick, 2:59-long closer that ties up all ends, acting as a perfect summary with dramatic dashes, clean singing, and a moody, rainy sentiment bringing the final splashes of morbidity.

Lychgate have created one of the boldest, most riveting metal albums of the year from a content standpoint, and the music sounds unlike anything else out there right now. “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is one of those terrible stories in which you can get utterly lost, as you see everything unfold and realize that you’re a part of the plotline. There’s a lot more to our world than we’ll ever know, and Lychgate is trying to give you a glimpse into the minds of those who don’t exactly have our best interests in mind.

For more on the band, go here: http://lychgate.eu/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.blood-music.com/store/store.html

For more on the label, go here: http://www.blood-music.com/

Swedish death crew Wombbath return from the dead, deliver devastating ‘Downfall Rising’

WombbathA weird thing happens when you get older. You start to meet people or work with people or whatever, and you realize that the era in which you went to college, started your first job, and made your first horrible decisions, these people were just being born. It’s mind-blowing, yet it’s just a natural part of the passage of time. New people come in to exist alongside and eventually replace the old guard.

I also got to thinking about that whole thing when tackling “Downfall Rising,” the first full-length from Swedish death crew Wombbath since 1993. Think of all the things that took place just in metal since that time. The rise of death metal to major-label status. The burning down of the second wave of black metal. The absolute scourge on humanity that was nu metal. The weird twists and eventual returns to glory for metal legends Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. New generations were born and died since the time Wombbath delivered “Internal Caustic Torments,” and a lot has changed within Wombbath’s ranks itself, as one might assume with that much time passed between albums.

Wombbath coverThe 2015 version of Wombbath claims but one original member, that being guitarist Håkan Stuvemark, who has been at it from the start and saw the name on to this point. There have been a lot of members go in and out the doors, but the ones we have for this brutal second record are bassist/vocalist Jonny Pettersson, guitarist Al Riglin, and drummer Henrik Åberg, who make for quite the force. The band remains in the same vein they always have, meting out furious, melody-twinged death metal in the same vein as Bolt Thrower and Entombed (among others), and this album never fails to scratch that itch. Over the course of eight tracks and about 32 minutes, the band reclaims their glory and delivers hearty, tried-and-true death that’ll make you envision clouds of smoke and dust on an old battlefield.

“Intro” gets things off to a proper start, with eerie sounds swirling and the cries of millions of souls being extinguished being smeared in front of you. Then it’s onto “Under Apokalypsens Svarta Vingar,” a grimy, stampeding song that goes right for the throat and refuses to let go. The vocals are properly gruff, and the pace causes pain and misery. There’s a nice, crunchy chorus that will get etched in your head, and the band spends the bulk of this violently announcing their return. “Underneath the Rotten Soil” lights up right away, with the growls belchy and a little slower, and the riffs later helping this thing blow open and flatten its enemies. The last bits delve into doomy waters, with the guitars channeling the hopeless fog. “I Am the Abyss” has a stirring orchestral synth opening, leading into unforgiving mauling, with Pettersson howling, “I have reached the end of the line.” The track swelters and burns from there, taking you into battle-tested guitars and a smothering, hammering finish.

“Fall of the Weak” is the longest track of the bunch at 6:44, starting with static spitting, clean guitars trickling, and the track crumbling into doomy power that wields a thick sword. The growls are throttling and powerful, while the guitars conjure great glory and fire, leading to a scathing final march that dissolves into killer chugs. “Putrid and Bound (By the Seed of Satan)” has guitars swirling, an uneasy sense of things surrounding you, and later some work that pokes at classic death metal and thrash from the era they helped create. Later, the drums erupt, with sludge pouring in and creating nothing but havoc. “Paid in Blood” is the fastest thing on the record, just ripping by and doing as much damage as it can along the way. The vocals are savage and shrieky, while the music feels like it’s pouring tons and tons of cement as recklessly as possible. Closer “Abandonment Furthermore” is the shortest cut at 2:16, and it’s also the weirdest. Synth strings create mystery, while that element sits behind all the heaviness here. In fact, it gives the song a goth feel, as it trucks along, burning out in a haze of smoke.

Wombbath may have had their journey cut short a long time ago, but the passage of time has only caused their fires to burn more dangerously. “Downfall Rising” sounds fresh, relevant, and if we’re being honest, totally needed here in 2015 when much of death is losing its luster. These guys are driven to clobber, and hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for record three. If we do, hell, a lot of people in their audience might be dead!

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Wombbath

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

Clay Davis unleash grindcore and powerviolence in 11 killer minutes on demolishing ‘B.C.G.C.’

Clay DavisIn the old Robocop movies, the Mediabreak spots used to promise, “You give us three minutes, and we’ll give you the world.” It’s a smart suggestion knowing that people’s time is precious and that they want to get a full serving of everything they need to know in as little time as possible. Especially about the Robocop. I can’t stress that enough.

That idea doesn’t always transfer to metal, though. Typically you’re in for a good 45-minute, one-hour trip that takes ups and downs and devastates you with a nice, generous helping of sound. Not all bands operate that way. Take Nails, for example. They have two full-length efforts to their name, combining for about 22 minutes of music total. Hell, Gridlink, who just wrapped up their savage run, also had a knack for short records over in as much time as it might take you to shower. Um, depending on your showering habits. Well, out of that line of thinking comes new grind duo Clay Davis (naturally a reference to the corrupt state senator on “The Wire”) with their tremendous, ridiculously compact full-length “B.C.G.C.” that blasts you with 10 tracks that last about 11 minutes combined. You don’t have time for that? Who are you, the president?

Clay Davis coverClay Davis, who are comprised of bassist/vocalist Thor and drummer/vocalist Mike, play a smothering brand of grindcore and powerviolence, and as indicated, they don’t waste their time trying to be pretty or weave long epics in order to get their point across. You get bludgeoned about the head and torso with these tracks, as they try to do whatever they can to draw your blood. Grimoire is releasing “B.C.G.C” digitally and on cassette, while the vinyl (a 7-inch, seriously!) will be drummed up by Fake Crab Records. Either way you go, be prepared to get mauled in a stupidly short amount of time.

Much of this record flows into each other, making it feel like one large whole, so that can help the track count blow by before you realize it. “No Crew” starts off blistering and punishing, with Mike and Thor trading off vocal duties and mixing deep growls with wild shrieks. That’s a commonality about this whole album. That spills into “Vacant Block” and its wild feedback whir, sludgy pounding, and authoritative vocals that totally command. “Hooker Money” has an old hardcore feel to it, especially with the vocal barks, while it also digs deep into thrash, heading right into “Poser Disposer” that actually simmers more into doom pools. Of course it eventually rips open, with the vocals menacing and the pace flattening. “Hollow Chest, Empty Nest” blasts by in no time at all, with wild howls and terrifying violence.

“Roach” changes things up a bit as it crawls by slowly at first, letting them stretch out and choose their shots. It’s 56 seconds of barbarian shit, dealing massive punishment and just about humiliating you. “Hit With a Brick” is aptly titled, as that’s what you’ll think happened to you once it’s over. It’s muddy and heavy, with death growls bubbling, the song later erupting, and yelling and shrieking blending together. “Six Stitches” has deep, belchy vocals, making it sound like blood and mucus are being gurgled, while the band hammers ahead with pure brutality. “Trench Mouth” is fast and fiery, feeling like the music is going off the rails and out of control toward the next unfortunate target. Finally, we get to the “epic” of the bunch, the 2:30-closer “Construct of Ruin,” which is thrashy and shifty. The aura here is grim, with the music going the calculated, clubbing route and the back end getting a noise-glazed finish that will have the room spinning on you, as every muscle in your body challenged.

If you don’t have time to take in Clay Davis’ “B.C.G.C.,” then seriously, consider taking some vacation days. Clearly you need to breathe a little more. This record smashes and smothers over its 11 minutes, and it’s a nice portrait of grind that doesn’t take itself crazy seriously and just delivers what it needs without the unneeded bells and whistles. This is perfectly dosed grind, and it’ll tear off your head.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ClayDavisGrindAssault

To buy the album, go here: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/b-c-g-c

Or here: http://fakecrab.storenvy.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords

And here: http://fakecrab.sexy/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Hell returns as Gnaw Their Tongues deliver scary ‘Abyss of Longing Throats’

Gnaw Their TonguesI’m not asking you to understand what we’re talking about today. We’re going throat deep into a cesspool of depravity, torture, and psychological torment. We’re not talking metal so much today as we are discussing complete physical and mental destruction. Riffs won’t be here, nor will power and glory. But blood and pain definitely will be present.

It’s been three years since we got a new full-length from Dutch abomination Gnaw Their Tongues, the work of artist Mories, who also has a host of other projects swirling out there in the worst sections of hell. But it is here, with Gnaw Their Tongues, that he gained his notoriety, terrifying unsuspecting audiences and causing faces to go deathly white over his monstrous black metal/noise/industrial creations. You want to air-guitar some shit in your car? This is the wrong place. You want something to make you feel alive inside? Again, you’ve guessed wrong. But if you want to wallow in filth, confront the most perverse thoughts and feelings that ever have crossed your mind, and yes, feel a great deal of pain, you’ll get all of that on Gnaw Their Tongues’ eighth full-length “Abyss of Longing Throats.”

Gnaw Their Tongues coverThis is one of those projects where it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the immense body of work. A flurry of splits, a ton of EPs, a recent comprehensive collection, and seven other full records, the last being 2012’s “Eschatological Scatology,” make up Mories’ work here under this banner, and recently he’s even taken Gnaw Their Tongues from a studio-only project to live performances. As time has gone on, this project has only grown more savage and deranged. You have to be the right type of person to wrap your head around this, and you have to be prepared to be terrified and baffled. Over the course of seven tracks, Mories digs out the worst, most profane of humankind and spreads all over his work, lets it rot in the sun to stink, and forces you to confront what’s left.

“Lick the Poison From the Cave Walls” can be a wake-up call from title alone for anyone who stumbles upon this record without prior experience, and it is built with a noise haze, riveting beats and banging, and menacing howls that haunt. Twisted wails turn into whispers, while bells chime and suffocating sounds swamp. Synth hisses lead to a funereal ending, and that spills into “Through Flesh” and its terrifying growls and fierce strings. The growls crawl and gurgle, with orchestral sheets pelting and thick sounds bubbling to the surface. The title cut blows open immediately, smashing and horrifying the senses but then blending into murky and dark melodies. The track halts, switching tempos and leading into a passage where a female voice calls out Bible passages, and from there the blood flows again and delivers solemn madness. “From the Black Mouth of Spite” has noise spitting, doomy fog arriving, pained cries, and the feeling like what you’re hearing is emanating from puddles in a torture basement. Weird singing sprawls over the calmer portions of the song, while the final moments are dramatic and grind to an abrupt halt.

“The Holy Body” has sore moans that lead into slow-driving menace, with a dark, moody section arising and the vocals absolutely wrenching. The sounds simmer and burn, while the ghostly expressions that float over fade into bizarre fogs. “And They Will Be Cast Out Into Utter Darkness” buzzes and whirs from the start, making you feel a relentless vertigo that has you trying, and failing, to steady yourself against the wall. Noise wafts and gets ripped apart, while maniacal vocals drive you right to the heart of a vortex. Closer “Up Into the Heavens Down Into the Circles Of…” ends this morose document with keys dripping like spit and blood and vocals that sound painful to emit. Parts of this gets washed out, like a dream you’re watching through glazed eyes, and when the elegant synth breezes in, it’s a mere blip of calm before hell bursts through the Earth’s crust again and sucks you into its tornadic fury, never to be heard from again.

Gnaw Their Tongues likely never will leave the dark, terrible corner it inhabits simply because full-spread acceptance seems like such an absurd thought. Yet, the way society has devolved and the way humankind disregards each other, perhaps something like “Abyss of Longing Throats” should be something we should confront. Our world is as ugly and sickening as these songs, and maybe we’d be better off staring that in the bloody face now and again.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.devotionalhymns.com/gnawtheirtongues/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.crucialblastshop.net/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.crucialblast.net/

Germanic metal force Kalmen pack cosmic atmosphere, chilly dreams into debut ‘Course Hex’

KalmenI was out walking in the sun the other day, amid temperatures that were just about perfect, when it dawned on me that these days are numbered for the year 2015. It will only be a couple of months until the chill returns to the air and days of damp coldness return to our region to choke out all of the fun, warm days.

It was with that thought in mind that I dissolved into “Course Hex,” the debut full-length from German force Kalmen that just recently dropped into our hands. Talk about a cold, dreary, overcast album, the perfect kind of thing that could soundtrack walks through piles of damp leaves as cold winds cause your lungs to choke. The band’s hefty mix of doom, post-metal, black metal, and heavy drapes of darkness combine to make something heavy and imposing. Yet, along with all of this, comes a pretty rich atmosphere. The cold autumn is not to be feared, after all, and some of the cloud formations and sky colors of that time of year can be breath-taking, which this music made me remember. Weird to say here at the beginning of August.

Kalmen coverThis band formed out of the scrapes of Down in Shades, and its ranks boast bassist/vocalist Marc, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Schmidt, guitarist Jana, and drummer Orpheus. Kalmen have been together about six years now and initially offered an introductory demo way back in 2011. Not sure what’s gone on in the interim, but the band grouped together to create the stunning “Course Hex,” a six-track, nearly 44-minute debut that’s hefty, adventurous, and cold. In fact, the record’s so impressive it caught the ears of the esteemed Van Records, who are releasing the album to the masses.

“Sol Devina” begins the record mystically, with a gazey pocket of sound that eventually breaks open and unleashes the elements. Vocals are initially howled, later turning into grisly growls, while the melodies surge until they meet a blast of savagery. That hellish strikes eventually subside, leading the song back to the front again. “Gizeh” has a burly opening, with colors infused into the song and scary growls firing hard. The song then hits a calculated pace, as the band takes its time stretching muscles, with the mood growing darker and murkier. Doomy moments land, with the vocals smearing and the song coming to a shadowy conclusion. “My Soul Is Black” starts to bubble to the surface, trudging hard with the vocals delivering force. Dark riffs roll underneath the thing, landing in muddy, sticky terrain, before the track spirals off into the cosmos.

“Katharseas” is quite the journey, as it begins mesmerizing and causing you to do the thousand-yard stare, before they bring you back to reality with menacing shouts, agitated playing, and a heaping dose of fury. The playing feels fluid, with the guitar work extending and covering great amounts of ground, traversing where they please, with the final minutes landing bruising death blows. “Naitrider” is the longest cut at 11:29, and it’s a massive one, starting with black metal-style guitars pouring down, leading into murky, choppy seas, and letting guttural cries be unleashed. The song gets hypnotic and infectious, with the noise dashing you, cosmic hiss stabbing, and the pace stomping through the mud. At times, my head was swimming listening to this thing as I got caught up in the massive crushing, spellbinding melodies, and spacey finish. Closer “- -“ is a brief instrumental epilogue full of cold, trickling melodies, making it feel like you’re sinking to the bottom of the dark sea, never to rise again.

Kalmen’s debut is a strong one, and considering this style of music goes down pretty easily with me, I’ll be sure to follow their path wherever it takes them. “Course Hex” is an impressive, atmospheric record that has plenty of substance, energy, and imagination, and it’s something that’s going to stick with me long after summer passes and I’m drowning in layers trying to fight off the chill.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Kalmen.doom

To buy the album and more on the label, go here: http://www.van-records.de/