It’s been a rough month. Once the Wrestlemania craze was over, things got hectic for me. Tons of work to do, including moving tons of heavy furniture to other rooms around the house due to getting new floors in my living room. That plus a bunch of other things I had to tend to. During this time, I did have a bunch of good stuff to help me through the ridiculousness. I started the month off re-discovering some good Gothic Metal that I haven’t heard in quite a long time. No, not the corny, overproduced, squeaky clean shit like Nightwish or Within Temptation, I mean the classic, harsher stuff like the two albums mentioned below. Also, lately I’ve been really immersed in Atmospheric Black Metal. So much so that I’ve re-discovered some good shit that I drifted away from a while back, plus cranking out some other stuff that I love and will never drift from. Plus, we got some good old Thrash to top it all off.
So, anyway, here they are. This month’s selections.
Starting off with this gem of the Gothic Metal variety. The early works of Poland’s Darzamat are very dark, but beautifully written pieces of Black Metal-laden old school style Gothic Metal in the vein of Diabolique or Theatre of Tragedy. The dual vocal dynamic, created by the harsh shrieks of Rafał ”Flauros’ ‘Góral and the somewhat monotone but moderately operatic vocals of Agnieszka ”Nera” Górecka coupled with some sweetly evil riffs and well done keyboard symphonies make for a really good listening experience from start to finish, as all their earlier albums do. Very dark, very well structured and highly recommended if you’re looking for quality Gothic Metal that doesn’t fit in with the polished, synthetic teeny bopper style that plagues the genre today.
Next we have possibly the best album by possibly the most notable band within this genre. Wolfheart, the debut album of the one and only Moonspell, is one of the main landmarks within the territory of Gothic Metal and one of my go-to’s when i’m in the mood for it. Even back in the day. This album is a bleak and melancholic yet beautiful and spellbinding journey of a listen filled with great gothy riffs that would make Dracula headbang and dueling harsh, almost Death-like growls and haunting Peter Steele-esque clean vocals, all well structured and well executed. This album, as well as the three that followed it, in my opinion was Moonspell’s highest point before they sadly became a cheesy shell of their former self. This is a fantastic album and one of the very few that save Gothic Metal from being total ass and balls. Highly recommended!
On to the Thrashy goodness of this month…
Municipal Waste: The Art of Partying
After hearing the latest offering by Iron Reagan a few weeks back, I decided to re-visit some of the more notable works of Tony Foresta & company in the infamous band that’s gonna fuck you up, Municipal Waste. The Art of Partying is perhaps their most recognized album and my favorite of theirs back before I drifted from them. So I gave it another shot and to my own surprise, I enjoy it again. Crossover Ministry made me realize that Tony Foresta isn’t as bad as I thought he was after losing interest in this band and reminded me why I enjoyed him in the first place. The energy he brings with his eccentric style is part of what makes the Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan style so fun. I guess I just forgot about that for a while. Whatever.
Anyway, the album itself, like I said is a very fun listen, which it’s meant to be. The lyrical content is mostly humorous and focuses on partying and getting as inebriated as humanly possible (hence the coining of the dumb genre dub ”Party Thrash”) but the music itself is good enough to still be taken seriously as quality Crossover Thrash. I’m glad to have given this another chance and I thank Iron Reagan for making me do so. This is a classic.
Merciless Death: Realm of Terror
On to the darker side of things. Here we have a serving of super old school and super aggressive and evil sounding Thrash straight outta Cali. This is a style straight from the 80s/early 90s complete with dirty production, sinister riffage and just outright nastiness all around. A straight up Thrash Metal classic that puts most of the “retro” shit to shame. Nothing fancy, just straight brutality. Highly recommended to anyone looking for something old school and true to the art and not a cheap knockoff.
Blood Tsunami: Thrash Metal
Continuing on the dark side of Thrash, we have the debut by one of my personal favorites in the Blackened Thrash department. Blood Tsunami, much like Merciless Death, offer up dark, nasty and super vicious Black Metal-seasoned Thrash that is more modern in production but classic in soul and spirit that knows how to tear a hole through you with it’s sheer ruthlessness and sinister nature. Nothing much different to say about it that I haven’t already said about Merciless Death, but it’s just as good and just as effective.
Winterfylleth: The Dark Hereafter
As I said in the intro, I’ve been quite a fiend for Atmospheric stuff in both Black and Death Metal lately. I’ve also been jamming out some Portal and Impetuous Ritual as of late, but I left them out of this one, as it would be a little too much for one post, so maybe i’ll save those for next month. Anyway, this is the latest offering by one of the more notable acts within this style. Winterfylleth bring to the table a slightly run of the mill but very well done style of dreary, hazy, nature-impassioned Black Metal that you can easily listen to around a campfire in the Poconos, the Himalayas or any other vast and peaceful location. Again, nothing too new or different than most of what you can expect from Atmospheric Black, but if you’re looking for blast beats, tremolo riffs & shrieks under dreary, epic production, this isn’t a bad place to start.
Continuing this pattern, we have the debut from one of the lesser known, but just as capable acts within the sub-genre, Saor. Again, nothing too innovative, but still very well done. This is an excellent offering of melodic and epic Atmospheric Black Metal with a little bit of a Folk influence. Not overly done to the point of overshadowing the core BM sound, but done just enough to where it adds to it. Without sounding corny too. This, just like most good Atmospheric BM offerings is a lovely yet exhilarating listening experience and if you’re looking for something that will give you that effect, this is the right place to come.
Summoning: Old Mornings Dawn
Next we have the latest from perhaps one of the most recognizable and unique bands in the genre. Summoning are known for their style of rhythmic, Folky and absolutely epic sounding style of Black Metal laced with almost cinematic soundscapes that create such an incredible listening experience, especially if listened to with quality headphones in a calm and peaceful setting. This album is no different than the rest in their catalog. If you think what Fen are doing now is unique and great (and it is), Summoning are the originators of slow, intricate and gripping Black Metal that J.R.R. Tolkien and dorks alike would fall in love with. It is a required taste and it may take some time to grow on you at first, but once it does and you get to fully grasp and understand it, it’s fantastic. Same goes for all their other releases.
Xasthur: To Violate the Oblivious
Call it Depressive, call it Atmospheric, call it both (like I do), either way, if you know Black Metal, you know of Xasthur and what he’s all about. From the late 90s up until he decided to play Dark Folk instead, he has churned out some of the darkest, harshest and most unapologetic and misanthropic form of Black Metal in existence. Similar to what Black Cilice is doing, which I talked about earlier, this guy has a nak for producing some of the creepiest, most dismal sounding form of music out there and this album is a primary example of that. It’s a Black Metal classic that every fan of the genre is bound to come across along with the other usual suspects like Darkthrone and Burzum. This album is perfectly dark and extraordinarily creepy and highly recommended for fans of anything from within the deepest, darkest corners of the genre.
Forteresse: Thèmes Pour la Rébellion
Wrapping things up, we have the latest from Canadian outfit, Forteresse. I first came across this band with the release of this album last year and the widespread praise it garnered. I gave it a listen and very much dug it. This was before I started this blog so I didn’t get to review it, so fuck it, i’ll just talk about it here. Again, we have ourselves a very well done offering of Atmospheric Black Metal, similar to Winterfylleth, but a little more on the aggressive side. Their sound is dreary and epic but vicious at times as well. The vocals are super harsh, the riffs are super loud and blastbeats galore. These guys may be one of the more underrated bands in this category. This one could please fans of both Atmospheric and straight up Black Metal, if you’re specific about style. Aside from Revenge, Canada has always been a bit under the radar when it comes to Black Metal and Forteresse could help get them over that hump if they can build enough notoriety. Hope so. Anyway, this is another excellent album by another excellent band and another reason my kick of this genre happened. Recommended!
That’ll do it for this month. I said last month that I’ll have more and better recommendations for this month, so hopefully I delivered. Things have been crazy, so I did need some crazy shit as a soundtrack. So I hope it helped. More to come in May, folks! See you then.
Now that that’s done, I just want to give a little update on what’s to come in the next couple weeks once the chaos is all settled.
First, there will be 2 reviews of two albums that I’ve really been anticipating for weeks now. They will be revealed when they’re posted.
Then, i’ll be doing another big catch-up week with more new albums and will be posting a special two-part Quick Album Thoughts piece on those. 12 albums in all.
Plus, i’ll be reviewing 2 Horror flicks that I’ve been wanting to check out for a while now in a special double Movie Mumblings post.
Also, there will be a 2 new Sorry Not Sorry posts. I’ll keep those a surprise. It pisses people off more when it comes out of nowhere. And finally, FINALLY, I’ll be posting the latest Discography Dialogue! On whom, you ask? You shall see.
That’s all for now folks. Hope you’re all having a great month. At least better than I’ve been having. Home improvement is a bitch.
Until next time.