Just My 2¢: The Florida Shooting and Our Need to Broadcast Literally Everything on the Internet

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So, in the latest installment of Let’s Give Liberals Another Reason to Not Shut the Fuck Up About Gun Control, another dude lost his shit and went on a shooting spree in Florida (no surprises there) and blasted 17 innocent students to their deaths and landed himself into police custody and probably the wet dreams of edgy, autistic teenage girls. Only the latest in a seemingly never-ending string of shootings that have occurred, one right after the fucking other in the last few years, this one being the 18th… 18th one this year so far. Need I remind you that it’s only February. It’s even getting to the point where it’s not as impactful anymore as it was a decade ago when it happens. Barely anyone expresses any real shock anymore, because it’s so frequent now. Call me crazy, but at this point, I feel like shootings are quickly becoming just another part of modern American culture. It’s on the road to becoming such a normality here, that soon enough, it’ll probably be what terror attacks are sadly becoming for Europe. I don’t know if i’m alone on this belief, but boy oh fucking boy, does it look like that’s where we’re headed. You can blame what you want for it: mental illness, terrorism, whatever, but I don’t see what can really be done at this point. I’m personally all for owning a gun and being armed, but I do think you should have a license and a background check done to own one, but that’s just me. That’s a whole other rant, though. What I really want to talk about here, what REALLY prompts me to write this, is one particular thing that ALSO seems to be well on it’s way to becoming a cultural norm here in the good ol’ US of A.

During the fiasco, one student, while hiding in a classroom, posted a video of it to his SnapChat story, with the caption “OUR FUCKING SCHOOL IS BEING SHOT UP”… because that’s exactly what my first thought would be if some gun-welding maniac was running rampant and I had to run for my life and hide in a fucking closet, to take my phone out and record the whole thing. This is something that I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while now and I feel like this is a good opening to do so. We’re living in a world now where EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING has to be broadcasted on the internet. Every little facet of our personal lives needs to be plastered on our timelines, newsfeeds, stories, whatever for the world to see. Even our most intimate, vulnerable and frightening moments can’t be private anymore. It’s honestly getting really annoying. Now to be clear, this isn’t an anti-social media rant by any stretch of the imagination, if you know me, you’ll know that i’m the furthest from opposed to it. I do however, feel like people take it way the fuck too far and feel the need to make it their second reality. Social media has become so normalized and ingrained into our culture that it’s become our library to document all of our successes, failures, dramas and trials & tribulations into a pubic file cabinet for any Tom, Dick and Nancy to open and look into at any time. Even the things that are none of their fucking business and belong behind closed doors. Evidently, this is also true for times where our lives are in fucking danger and our phone will serve no help to us whatsoever. There’s also this example: a man who has his daughter with him recording a Walmart lockdown after another unstable misfit shows up looking to shoot people.

Now, I don’t ever plan on having children, but on the off chance that I do, and I find myself in this sort of situation, call me old fashioned, but i’d be MUCH more worried for my child’s safety than recording the ordeal for a YouTube video. I understand that part of this comes from a place of wanting to spread awareness of what’s going on and all that, but at the same time, there are certain points where making sure your own safety and the safety of those around you is more important than taking out your phone and recording everything. There has to be a line drawn, especially when it comes to something like this. It’s going to get massive media coverage for days anyway. People will know about it regardless. THEN we have this…

If you’re a racist and you’re going to go on tirades like this, whatever, your business, but if you’re going to put it on the internet for all to bare witness to, then you damn sure better be prepared for the shitstorm that will immediately fall upon you right after. Same goes for that Air Force woman who did the same thing a couple weeks ago. (By the way, I only used a Young Turks video here because it was the only video that had this girl’s rant uncensored, I don’t like censoring shit here so I just said “fuck it” and used it. Fuck the Young Turks otherwise).

Now… let’s get to the thing that irritates me the ABSOLUTE FUCKING MOST out of all of this. The thing that really got my wheels turning to write this rant. The thing that i’m sure many other music dorks like myself will agree on.

People going to shows and putting the ENTIRE goddamn thing in their SnapChat or Instagram story.

I’m sure some of you have Instagram and SnapChat accounts and have encountered this before. There are always these people who go to shows and while there, the only way they can enjoy the fucking thing is if they take their phone out and record it for their stories. The entire show. Every last second. To the point where they have over 500 snaps for you to sift through to get through their story. To me, it’s one of the most annoying fucking things that I encounter on social media. Going to shows is great, taking a few pictures and videos is fine, but if you’re so technologically dependent that you can’t put the fucking phone down and just enjoy the show after taking those pictures or videos, then maybe you shouldn’t be going to shows at all. You’re not going to get much out of it if you’re just watching it through a monocle. Then you want to wonder why guys like Maynard James Keenan want to ban that shit at their shows. It’s gotten way out of hand and I can’t really argue with their decisions. Put the goddamn thing down and just enjoy the experience. It’s not hard and much more rewarding that way, ESPECIALLY if you have the privilege to go to every single goddamn show that comes to your area. Rich fucks.

Another instance of this lunacy was on Facebook a few days ago. A dad who’s son died of cancer, posted a picture of himself cradling his kid’s dead body while crying (not going to put that picture here out of respect). I understand the sentiment, I do, it’s a sad and devastating thing to go through, but do people really need to see that? Do your family and friends really need to see your kid after he’s passed? His grandparents? Aunts and uncles? Cousins? Anybody? Again, to me, things like these are far too intimate to be shown to the world. social media has given us the ability to turn our lives into these big, dramatic sideshows for everyone to watch. It lets us make our lives look more interesting than they really are and it’s instilled this mentality into us that we need to show everything to everyone at all times to stay connected. It seems like the line has been dramatically blurred between what we share and what we keep private. There doesn’t seem to be any boundaries anymore. The harsh reality of this is: No one actually cares about your personal life. If it doesn’t involve them, then it means nothing to them. People have their own lives to worry about and your dramas and personal woes are not for their entertainment, they’re for you to keep private and resolve!

Again, I don’t mean to sound like an old man yelling at a cloud, i’m not anti-cellphones or anti-social media or anything like that. Also, i’m not downplaying what took place in Florida, all i’m saying is there are just points in life when the physical world is far more important than the cyber one, and the Florida shooting is a prime example of that. If putting the situation in your SnapChat story is the first thing on your mind instead of protecting yourself and helping the ones around you, then maybe you need to take a look at yourself and wonder if you’re obsession with social media is more detrimental than you think. I’m not going to talk about gun control or what caused this to take place, that’s a whole other can of worms that I choose to stay away from, but I really felt the need to speak up on this because it’s been an annoyance of mine for quite some time now and what went down in that school besides the firing of those bullets that claimed those lives is a perfect example why.

So please, folks, leave your SnapChat stories for shitty selfies, leave your racist rants for the dinner table and leave dead kid pictures for BestGore. Life will be much more enjoyable that way.

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Album Thoughts | The Black Sorcery: …And the Beast Spake Death from Above

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“Bestial Black Metal”, “War Metal” and various other variations of those words are terms that you’ll hear quite a bit in your lifetime as an Extreme Metal fan. It usually refers to a style of Blackened Death Metal that’s played in a more ferocious way than usual with the addition of Grind to the mix. The bands most commonly associated with those terms are some of the most familiar names within Blackened Death Metal, like Revenge, Conqueror, Black Witchery, Teitanblood, Proclamation & the OGs of it all, Blasphemy. While those are the most common names brought up while talking about this style, a ton of other names have emerged within this realm over the last few years that are worth mentioning; Antichrist Seige Machine, Morbosidad, Profane Order, Pig’s Blood, Caveman Cult, Nyogthaeblisz and Tetragrammacide to name a few, all of which i’ll be talking about on this blog in the near future. While a lot of what these acts have to offer may seem a little generic and samey-same to some, all of these bands that I just mentioned, in my opinion, are diamonds within the mine of this sub-genre. They all bring a degree of uniqueness and a deeper level of brutality to the table, especially in terms of dissonance and noisiness. Because as we all know, Noise enhances everything.

What this review is about, however, is another budding project of this variety that is just starting to get off the ground that I trust will go places, considering the parties involved. The Black Sorcery is the latest project of Lörd Matzigkeitus of The Projectionist and Thy Sepulchral Moon, who I’ve talked about here before, both of which offer up some excellent Black Metal. This entity, as you might have already guessed by now, takes things into Bestial War territory and showcases Lörd Matzigkeitus’ brand of punishing Grindy Blackened Death that absolutely pummels you with ruthless authority and remorseless force and doing it in a unique way, much like it’s counterparts do with Black Metal, and it’s debut outing, …And the Beast Spake Death from Above is solid proof of that. If there’s one thing I love, it’s riffs that sound massive and crushing; that’s exactly what this album exhibits from the very beginning with Ancient Dialects, which in the intro alone, wastes no time in trampling you in a monstrous fashion with a stampede of muddy blast beats, frantic, freight train-like riffs spiraling at you like tomahawk missiles on steroids and topped off with Matzigkeitus’ guttural bellowing growls. This is ungodly bestial fury at it’s highest degree. This is a relatively short album, clocking in at only 29 minutes long, but much like the last album I just talked about, that’s all it needs to dish out the hammering that it does.

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Most bands within this realm tend to go for an approach of blatant worship of the more pioneering acts like Blasphemy or Beherit, which gets annoying at a certain point, but this definitely goes on the same boat… well, tank as the aforementioned bands mentioned above who add a good deal dissonance and hyperaggression to the table and make their sound as massive and barbaric as humanly possible. This is the auditory equivalent of a nuclear holocaust and your limbs will undoubtedly be scattered across the battlefield once it’s done with you. It’s one of the better pulled-off War Metal outings that I’ve heard in quite a while. Other stand-out rippers in this batch are Frost Veined and Splintered Glass Arsenal, which do the best job of bludgeoning you with their thick, crushing tone and insanely frantic pace. The closer, Helgeist is another one, it’s a quick and painful last few batterings the album gets in before finishing it’s assault, like a war criminal using some extra bullets on civilians. Good fucking stuff.

This whole album is a punishing and devastating onslaught of blasphemous wrath with just enough of the primal aspects of the War variety of Extreme Metal to classify as such, but enough creativity to it to distinguish itself as it’s own entity. Some will still probably scoff at it and shrug it off as generic, especially the older crowd who are way into this style and know more that I probably even do, but it does deserve a good shot or two and I think it has the ability to stand out a good bit. Especially coming from the man behind Thy Sepulchral Moon and The Projectionist, it was bound to be something interesting. So if you’re a sucker for this kind of stuff like I am, give this a listen! No genericness or pioneer-worship here at all (aside from the Black Witchery-esque name and artwork. No complaints though), just absolute bestial supremacy! Nothing less.

Album Thoughts | Mammoth Grinder: Cosmic Crypt

After realizing how much Death Metal I missed last year, I swore to myself not to make that same mistake this year and going forward. Just in time for that proclamation came the news of some quality deathly jams already coming down the pipeline for 2018. Portal being one, Genocide Pact being another and the newest outing by these Crusty Death Metal hooligans being the latest one. This is the fourth full-length outing by Texas purveyors of Crusty Hardcore Punk-laced Death Metal of the gnarliest variety, known as Mammoth Grinder. This is another album I was looking right the fuck forward to since it was announced late last year and with good reason. Whenever they rear their ugly heads to unleash a new batch of jams onto the world, you can bet your sweet ass that they’re gonna bring a good hammering down on you. You can expect riff after riff after dirty, rotten, face-pounding riff and all the fast, ripping Punk-infused Death Metal ferocity that your eardrums can endure. That’s what we’ve gotten from the first 3 albums and you can expect no different from this one.

Cosmic Crypt is a slightly different approach to the band’s style than previously, as the last two albums were much more heavily Crust and Grind-influenced, which showed in the production, vocals, riffs and overall ferocity of their sound. This album is a lot more heavily influenced in old school Death Metal and has a bit of an early Obituary meets Gatecreeper feel to it with the murky, hazy atmosphere coupled with the sharp, abrasive riffs, bellowing growls and muddy, ripping drums, injected with the same Crusty, Grindy attitude that was present on the previous outings. It even reminds me a little of Vallenfyre with the Crust element, which is a plus considering the banger they just released, it’s not too far off either. This is just a continuous slew of chthonic and explosive tracks with a seemingly endless supply of filthy, Thrashy riffs that are blasted at you incessantly under a grimy, mucky atmosphere that pervades you like a mudslide as the attack goes on. From the moment Grimmenstein blasts through the gate and goes right for the throat like a vicious caged animal, no chance for a breather is given as each following track effectively follows the same formula. Some tracks are more aggressive and exhilarating than others, like Blazing Burst, which to me is the heaviest track on the album, and Molotov; just an absolute fucking ripper. These guys, much like Gatecreeper, Bombs of Hades, Black Breath and the likes, do a fine job of blending Death Metal with a great deal of Hardcore, Crust and Thrash in such a seemingly faultless way and making something absolutely face-ripping out of it without any element overshadowing the others. It’s what made me such a huge fan of Gatecreeper after hearing Sonoran Depravation for the first time and it’s putting Mammoth Grinder in the top tier of this section of Death Metal the same way.

As relatively primal and straightforward as the band’s style is, it’s still very well crafted and continues to evolve and intensify with each album. The old school Death influence makes it even better. The atmosphere and ugly, in your face vibe just further enhances the viciousness of the riffs and harshness of the overall sound. While the main purpose of this may be to just simply beat your face in and tear your eardrums asunder, it does it with style and never strays from that very motive. It’s simple, short, sweet and to the point but it makes sure to drive that point through your fucking skull in the mere 28 minutes it has to do so. That’s all I ever really ask for when it comes to Death Metal; just a straight up assault of filth-riddled riffage and nothing else. Save the fancy shit for the Tech-Death crowd (some of you are cool too tho, not hating).

I honestly hope that this wave of excellent old school Death Metal continues and 2018 is filled to the fucking brim with it. The last few months of 2017 really opened my eyes to what I was missing and got me invested again in the genre more than I’ve been in the last few years. It almost feels like a renaissance of sorts that’s happening with OSDM and if it is, i’m all in! This album and the next good few that are coming are just a few examples of quality Death Metal filth that’s dwelling the underground right now, waiting to be discovered. If you’re willing to dig deep enough, you’re bound to come across something that floors you, even if you’re an old, jaded fuck. Anyway, bottom line, Mammoth Grinder have yet to disappoint me, and by the looks of it, it’ll be a good while before they do. Excellent stuff for seekers of all things rotten.

Album Thoughts | Portal: ION

One of my most anticipated albums of the year thus far has finally dropped. I’ve been waiting to review a Portal album on this blog for quite a while and the opportunity has finally presented itself. After the announcement of this album back in October, it became one of the first things to look forward to 2018. Especially with the insanely jarring teaser that came with the announcement.

Needless to say, I was pretty goddamn exited for this one. So when it finally came time to indulge in what I was hoping to be another masterpiece of mind-bendingly horrifying Death Metal, riddled with trance-inducing atmospheric chaos and cacophonous fuckery with weird, raucous riffs that spiral at you like a tornado on speed, frantic, muddy drums that sway from one pace to another like their having violent mood swings and distant, almost whispered vocals that sound like they’re flowing through your headphones straight from the cosmic void, I was as exited as a pig in shit. This band has created some of the most disturbing and intriguing sounds in Extreme Metal in the last good number of years now, with albums like Swarth, Outre and Vexovoid, so I thought this one was bound to be no different, something that would grab me by the throat and drag me into a black hole of vociferous madness and spit me out when finished. Well, is this how it turned out?… In all honesty, it’s hard to say.

ION is a step in a new direction for sure, just not in the direction I was hoping for after hearing that teaser. In fact, much of what makes this band what they are is mostly stripped away. Of course, the first thing i’m going to question is the production. That foggy, murky atmosphere and otherworldly vibe that these guys are usually known to create is gone in favor of a cleaner and most straightforward sound. This totally took me off guard. Now, I’m not saying that this is a bad album at all, as I did enjoy it for what it was. To me, it’s a solid Technical Death Metal album with some experimental elements blended in, like the whispery vocals and odd, eccentric riffs and drum patterns. It actually got me on a bit of a Tech-Death kick for a couple days and led me to re-discovering some other quality stuff like Ulcerate and Visceral Bleeding. So it served that purpose at least. However, I just wish they continued what made them so unique and terrifying to begin with. After a brief intro, ESP ION AGE starts this off and sets the tone for what you’re in for perfectly (and no, I didn’t listen to the first couple tracks put out ahead of time. I try to avoid that because I like going into albums spoiler-free). It starts off with Portal’s usual display of wacky, psychotic riffs and blasting drums under those signature foggy vocals with random, controlled shifts in tempo and unpredictable twists and turns at every corner. Despite the lack of murky production, the music itself is still very aberrant and scattershot and it still makes for a nerve-racking ride of a listen.

Husk and Phreqs are probably the two best examples of the more eccentric and straightforward side of this album with their non-stop chaotic hammering of one psychotic riff after another and constantly shifting drum patterns all throughout. Then comes Crone and Spores, which both take their time to build some tension for a good minute or two then just explode into a blast-beat-laden assault on your ear cells with the same eccentric style of techy auditory fuckery that preceded in the previous tracks. They at lease end this on a merciful note with the 9-minute closer, Olde Guarde, but not without having the final pummeling last a good while before breaking into a weird but settling ambient passage to close it out. Again, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was satisfying nonetheless and had it’s own style of freakishness. It’s not as nightmarish as their previous offerings, but this one is no slouch when it comes to invoking a feeling of uneasiness and knowing how to control tension and keep you on your toes.

So, if you were disappointed at this one, I wouldn’t argue with you, I can totally see why, but you can still do much worse. This definitely isn’t a significant disappointment… like Deicide since In Torment in Hell-level disappointing, but I understand why it may put off some who were expecting that Outre or Vexovoid kind of sound. I don’t blame ya, but to me this is still a very decent slab of Experimental Technical Death Metal with some familiar tropes still present that we know and love from Portal. So for me, this gets a pass. If anything, this is testament to how good they really are, where even in their more sub-par moments, they still aren’t half-bad. True artistry right there.

Quick Album Thoughts | Last of the Leftovers 2017

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So as you know, January has pretty much become to me what it is for Hollywood and shitty Horror movies. It’s my dumping ground for albums that I never got to review during the year that just ended. I’ve already dropped 6 reviews for albums that I felt really deserved a full review, although the year is dead and buried. After a month-long break, it was very refreshing to get back into my writing grind and get my reviewing on again. There aren’t that many new albums coming out this month aside from a few, some of which there are reviews coming for, but right now, there are just a few more outings that I want to talk about real quick before I put 2017 to rest for good. These are the 10 albums that I deem the best 10 that I just never got to review nor have much time to now. Some stuff that I slept on, some stuff that I discovered a bit too late and some stuff that I want to give more recognition to. These are leftovers that I’d actually fucking eat if they were food. 2017’s late best.

So, here they are! My 10 last best albums that 2017 had to offer.

Paradise Lost: Medusa

United Kingdom’s legends of Doom return with a solid follow-up to their refreshing return to form that was The Plague Within. Much like it’s predecessor, this is Death Doom at it’s finest with a little Type O-reminiscent melody thrown in for kicks. Heavy riffs, crushing drums and the recognizable swampy growls of Nick Holmes that serves as the essential ingredient to make Paradise Lost what it is (and made Bloodbath better too). Fairly clean on the production, but impactful nonetheless. This is Paradise Lost as their tried and true selves and it’s leaps and bounds above anything they’ve done after Draconian Times up until now.

Iron Monkey: 9-13

Raw, loud and face-pounding Sludge from the swampiest and filthiest trenches of the genre in the vein of Eyehategod and the likes. Ferocious riffs, muddy drums and devastatingly nasty snarls that rip you apart from the click of the play button. This is classic style Sludge at it’s best that can teach the Hipsters who have invaded the genre a thing or two on how to do it right. Great fucking stuff that I truly regret sleeping on.

Ascended Dead: Abhorrent Manifestation

Dirty, rotten and ruthless old school Death Metal that I HIGHLY regret missing. Muddy production, evil as fuck riffs, grimy vocals and hazy, pounding drums that serves no other purpose but to ravage your hearing abilities with it’s sheer aural force, the way Death Metal should. No frills, no fancy fuckery, just plain brutality from front to back. If you like Contaminated, you’ll enjoy this.

Anarchos: Invocation of Moribound Spirits

Some more dirty, crushing Death Metal from a rather overlooked act, from what I see. This is more ruthless and chaotic Death with super sharp, scathing riffs (Gatecreeper style, if I had to compare it), harshly loud production, classic-style growls and muddy drums. This is old school Death at it’s ugliest and unfriendliest and it’s another reminder of how I slept on so much good shit last year and I promise it won’t happen again. Death Metal is alive and well and hopefully this is only the beginning.

Gorephilia: Severed Monolith

Closing off the Death Metal section of this list, we have the sophomore outing by these Finnish purveyors of hellish Death Metal ruthlessness. Fast, ripping and intense with riffs galore, fast, briskly drums and muffled growls that add that old school flavor like a fine seasoning on a steak. Great stuff from the cold land of the Fins.

Perdition Winds: Transcendent Emptiness

On to the last great contributions of the grim and frostbitten. This is one that came out relatively late in the year, but fuck it’s a good one! This is loud, vicious and epic Black Metal, also from Finland (one of the best countries breeding BM, even still today). Full of ruthlessly sharp, scathing riffs, blast beats everywhere and intense, howling vocals that pierce through the air like a long, sharp hunting blade. The production is fairly clean but maintains a good hint of atmosphere to add to the chaos. This is excellent fucking stuff and it’s nothing to sleep on. Finland, I love you!

Hades Archer: Temple of the Impure

Another one that came out pretty late, but still deserves a spot on here. This is fast, ripping and hyperaggressive Chilean Blackened Death Metal that crosses slightly into War Metal territory. Blast beats allover the place, harsh, muddy riffs and raspy, monstrous shrieks that tear you to shreds from start to finish. Very intense and unforgiving stuff that’s worth a good listen. The War Metal influence isn’t prominent, but it’s definitely present, so if you’re into that, check this out.

Moral Void: Deprive

One of the many Hardcore albums that I never got around to reviewing and one of the few that I thoroughly enjoyed. Moral Void is a rising gem of a band within the Blackened Hardcore realm and they finally have a full-length album to show for it. This is intense, furious, cold and chaotic Hardcore with a heavy influence in modern Black Metal stylistically and aesthetically. Just fast, harsh and in your face with hyperaggressive guitars, ruthlessly fast drums and super harsh bellows that creates this beast of an album that grabs you by the throat and forces you to hear what it has to say without loosening it’s grip until the very last second. This is perhaps my favorite of the few Hardcore releases of 2017 that I didn’t get around to reviewing and that’s why I chose it out of the bunch.

Aosoth: V – The Inside Scriptures

Probably the most notable Black Metal outing that I missed in the last few months of the year. Aosoth return with their latest offering of ugly, vicious and strident Black Metal straight from the land of cheese and catacombs. I was going to give this a full review, but time just caught up with me on it, so I just put it here instead. Maybe in the future it’ll get one. This is just intense, ripping, creative and precise Black Metal that engulfs you like a storm with it’s muddy fury. Full of grimy riffs, blasting drums and echoed bellows, the whole works, this is another great outing from one of Frances best. Give it a listen and totally support!

Utzalu: The Loins or Repentance

Last but definitely not least, one of my favorite Raw Black Metal acts of the current day and their latest ear-ripper of an outing. This is raw, dissonant and unfriendly Black Metal that doesn’t know the meaning of the word “production”. Full of harsh, Punk-driven riffs, grimy, muffled drums and some of the most intense shrieks you’ll hear by any modern vocalist. These’s even a good bit of Harsh Noise blended in. Great stuff that I may give a full review to in the future. The folks at Vrasubatlat have yet to disappoint me.

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So, there you have it. Those are my shitty January Horror movie albums for 2018 (except they’re not shitty at all). It sucks That I missed these, but such is life. Don’t always have time for everything. As shitty as it was for the rest of the world, 2017 was a badass year for music with much more good than bad. Some disappointments, of course, but not enough to winge over. Check all these out of you haven’t already. Especially the lesser known stuff. It’s all well worth it. You know I wouldn’t lead you astray of quality jams. *grins*

On to the future and may 2018 not fail us.

Random Recs | Absolver

When Extreme Metal and Noise merge, the result is usually something pretty crazy. When you look at bands who’ve incorporated Noise into their sound, the good usually outweighs the bad, at least in my opinion. Bands like Full of Hell, Enbilulugugal, Luciation, Marvargr, Gnaw Their Tongues and more recently, Nyogthaeblisz all come to mind when i’m looking for something that’ll make me deaf by 30 with it’s marriage of dissonance and brutality. If done right, the two can go together like peanut butter and jelly… if people still even eat that. I’m a fan of all of those acts mentions above and the reason I bring this up is because I have another name to add to this list; a name that does this in a more unique way than most. The name you see at the top of this piece is Absolver. They’re a budding new act coming out of the swampy, humid land of Florida who describe themselves as Blackened Noise Doom, and it’s a pretty accurate description. What they play is cold, seething and Sludgey Blackened Doom laced with harsh, piercing soundbites and programming that enhances it by putting an uglier tint on an already ghastly sound. I found this band mid-last year through Instagram, which led me to their Bandcamp, which led me to their debut outing, Oscillate thy Tongue (and Howl at the Sun), which at the time, I didn’t have much time to review, but included in my first Bandcamp Roundup post, but I feel like it deserves more recognition and more than just a small paragraph. So here we are. Since then they’ve released an EP as well, which also delivers greatly and i’m going to include that here too.

So without any further jibber-jabber, let’s take a trip to the volcanic wasteland that is the world of Absolver!

When I first heard this album, my immediate description for it was a Doom version of Full of Hell. The overall sound is slow, crushing and thick Black Metal-laced Doom with pounding riffs, muddy, dragging drums, echoey shrieks and a dismal atmosphere surrounding it. The noise influence is peppered in and well-utilized and even further intensifies the hellish ferocity of their sound. It was my first time hearing noise incorporated into Doom Metal and it was refreshing after hearing it done countless times with Black Metal and Grindcore. It was intriguing to find out what it would sound like mixed with the slow, dense and cold sound of Blackened Doom rather than the fast, ripping and chaotic style of the two other aforementioned genres. I was undoubtedly pleased with what I heard. I’m sure without the Noise influence, it would sound just as ugly and unforgiving, but it’s a nice touch. The sound of the slow, almost droning guitars is grimy as all hell and reminded me of something you’d hear from Nortt or even bands within the darker fringes of Drone Doom like Black Boned Angel.

The reason I described this bands sound as a volcanic wasteland is because that’s the kind of atmosphere it gives off. It sounds like it could serve as the soundtrack to a nuclear disaster that leaves a land barren and depleted with it’s remaining inhabitants deformed and with only each other to eat (basically The Hills Have Eyes, but cooler and more fucked up). It’s dirty, it’s vile and it’s unfriendly for ears sensitive to dissonance. This is a great slab of Sludgey Blackened Noise Doom that I highly recommend if you’re a fan of Full of Hell or anything dismal and loud. Give it a listen below, as well as the next one.

Ashen Ritual is their first EP and it’s not too different than it’s predecessor as it continues the pattern of Blackened Sludge Doom seasoned with Noise and electronic and it’s just as good, the only difference is that the atmosphere gets a tad more dismal and abyss-like. Which is a plus. Only 4 tracks, 2 of which being remixes of the first 2, but still just as effective as the album was. It’s dirty, noisy and precise in style and delivery. I can’t say much about it that I have already said about the album, but I recommend it just as much. So give it a listen below.

So if anyone who follows the blog and sees this, give these guys a listen and your support if you dig them. This is unique stuff if you like your music dissonant and foggy, or if you just like Doom or Sludge and are looking for something new. It’s well worth a shot. Also, give them a follow on Instagram. They’re pretty swell dudes. I’m looking forward to what comes next from them and you can bet your sweet ass it’ll get a review. For now, just enjoy the dystopian madness as is. This is only the beginning.

Album Thoughts | Shining: X – Varg Utan Flock

Ahhh, Shining. The ever so controversial, ever so infamous and ever so hyped Shining. Perhaps one of the most notorious acts to come out of Sweden today, who some love and some love to hate. Their reputation can mostly be attributed to frontman, Niklas Kvartforth and his wacky, almost GG Allin-like antics, on and off record and stage, attracting the ire and/or intrigue of the Metal underground, even stirring up some controversy last year on their No More Safe Space tour with Revenge and Wolvhammer with his erratic behavior and some other shit that was alleged. You can look all that up yourself. Google is your friend. Just don’t use wack-ass MetalSucks, that’s bad for you. Anyway, however you may feel about Mr. Kvartforth and his ways, his band is quite a weird case for me. Starting out as a solid old school style Black Metal band in their early days with gems like I: Within Deep Dark ChambersII: Livets AndhållplatsIII: Angst – Sjalvdestruktitetens Emissarie, this is where my highest adulation for the band lies. Really dark, cold and ugly stuff. Then as they grew and evolved and delved into the more melodic and progressive realm with the albums that have followed since, my liking of them has dissolved quite a bit. IV: The Eerie Cold & V: Halmstad are good too, but not my favorite of their works, then after that, they fell into Progressive Black Metal Hell and never really did anything interesting with it (until now). My biggest issue with their newer and cleaner material is that they sound way too much like a Black Metal version of Opeth. I don’t know if anyone else hears that, but that’s how it sounds to me; like they’re trying too hard to emulate them. I do like Opeth (up until Heritage, yuck), but I don’t need anther one. So everything after Halmstad just never did anything for me. With this album, however, things have changed.

This was a morbidly curious listen for me. I was on the fence as to whether or not I was going to approach this one. I ultimately decided to give it a listen and review because hey, if it sucked, at least i’ll get to tear it a new one and it’ll be fun. Well, if you follow me on Instagram, or took my hint in the first paragraph, you’ll know by now, that that is NOT the route this will go. I was pleasantly surprised with this one and I enjoyed it. This is the most original and creative I’ve heard yet out of Shining doing this style. Instead of the dull, cheap Opeth imitations we’re used to getting, this album is much more aggressive and unique in style. The riffs are more vicious and Thrashy in some parts, the drumming is more ruthless and tight and Niklas sounds more angry and intense than ever, vocally. This is a total breath of fresh air from what this incarnation of the band usually offers. I feel like they finally hit their stride with this style and it actually works this time. I was taken back by the blasting ferocity of Svart Ostoppbar Eld as it opens this beast with it’s savagely catchy main riff and Thrashy drum pattern as Niklas’ raspy, throaty yells rip through it with assertive force. Things are then slowed down to the usual Shining-like pace, but the intensity still remains. These tracks are dynamic and never stay in one place, but the aggression and passion behind them that’s been missing for a long time now is finally found again and exceptionally executed. Gyllene Portarnas Bro is another favorite of mine on here, with this long, wailing main riff that treads throughout the intro and between each verse. It’s another slower track up until the last minute or so, when it bursts out into a blast-beat ridden assault. This is the sort of cathartic, unpredictable viciousness that in my opinion, has been missing since Halmstad. I’m still not a Progressive Black Metal fan, but I think I can make an exception with this one.

Another favorite on here is Tolvtusenfyrtioett, which might be the best instrumental I’ve heard in a while. It’s a quick piano piece that’s a perfect mix of sad, creepy and calming. I hear a lot of Lifelover influence on this album as well, especially Erotik era, which is also a plus. This won’t go down as my favorite Shining album, not by a long shot, but it is a refreshing and significant step up from the last 5 duds from the last 9 or so years. Especially the last one, which I heard and thought was their worst ever and the final nail in their coffin. It seems like they finally took the time and initiative to craft something that actually stands out and put the energy into it to up the aggression and intensity and make something impactful. It doesn’t sound complacent or uninspired. This doesn’t mean that I’ll dive back into the last few albums and give them another try, but this one will be on repeat for a good while. It sure as shit won’t be the best Black Metal album of 2018, but it is a pleaser in my book.

So, regardless of how you feel about this band or Kvartforth himself, and I totally understand on both sides, I’m just here to say that whichever side you’re on, they pulled something good off here. So, if you’re not totally out of tune with them, you should give this at least one listen. I know it sounds like i’m fucking gushing over this album, but it really was a shock to me how good it turned out, going into this expecting another boring dud, especially coming from me, who doesn’t care for Progressive Metal of any kind. So take this however you will. Again, still not my favorite Shining album, but an improvement in this style nonetheless. If they keep going this route, there may be a chance i’ll be back on board completely, who knows.