This is where I chain-smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, listen and discuss about the latest underground metal jamz, and write about stuff that is currently clogging up my FB newsfeed or whatever is swirling around in my brain at the moment. Grab a chair and have a seat….this is going to take some explaining to do.
So yeah there’s another celluloid travesty being made and it’s official this time. See for yourself:
This modern day exploitative abomination has been in production hell since roughly 2009 as stated on Wikipedia. That right there is false and fake news. Rumors of said piece of shit had been circulating the internet ever since I developed an addiction to opiates in the early to mid 2000’s. And my feelings towards it have stayed the same since then:
Fukking Hollywood Kunts
What gets my fukking goat about this dumpster fire of a film is all it is trying to do is capitalize off a fukking book that for one was based on tabloid headlines, and politics (so much has changed then huh? I’m looking at you Metalsucks :sips white wine:). ANYONE who was of age in the 90’s and was a legit fan and part of the much smaller scale Black Metal sub-culture will tell you it (meaning the book) was the worst thing that really happened to the entire genre. Not just Norway mind you, but the entire fucking thing. It wasn’t so much of a Catch-22 situation even as much as I wish it was, no it was the opposite THING of that. Some of us who were chemically fukked-up saw past the bullshit that it was with a grain of salt while a lot of others took it as an invitation into the genre/culture that would now be referrred to as modern-day tourism. Meaning people with absolutely ZERO fukking clue who’s brain chemistry aren’t as screwed up as the rest of us to come in and gawk and awe and think they were ever part of it. Now that might sound somewhat “elitist” to some of you reading this, but you’re talking to someone who WAS there and as a 35 year old and has seen the direction black metal has gone in the time since then. Basically what I am getting at is this: people want to be Norway Black Metal but when it comes down to the mentality and attitude – they simply fucking cannot comprehend that long forgotten ghost of a fire that once burned brightly. Especially people now who are so goddamn offended and politically correct. They wouldn’t last 2 seconds. Hell, not even one.
On top of people simply not getting it(as that’s always been the case ever since the days of bands like Venom and Hellhammer), they are also the type to cast their stones of modern day political correctness much like the newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs that throw shit at the genre and that particular scene. That and treating it as a corny VH1 Behind-The-Music special where a bunch of stupid metalheads did a bunch of drugs, banged some skanky groupies and all got platinum records and have these stupid epic cut-scenes where they’re all on stage in front of thousands of other stupid metalheads. Or there’s also the possibility of the movie turning into some lame-ass TLC Sunday afternoon movie where it’s about heartache and relationships and the ending is a misty eye-inducing tear jerker….some lame shit like that. It’s re-visioning of the past in the worst of fucking ways and it waters down that said fire that raged out of control.
The only good thing about this entire thing is that all the Norwegians themselves and loudmouth aging assholes such as myself are distancing themselves and telling the director to go fukk himself. Basically anyone with any sense of dignity is seeing this for what it is: Hollywood/Mainstream America coming in, cashing-in, exploiting it and selling this shit to bovine Machine Head fans who wouldn’t know what fucking metal is without Kerrang/Metal Hammer holding their clammy moist hands. Yes I know what I said completely contradicted my statement there considering that Kerrang did that whole article in the 90’s that was the world’s first view into this group of mentally-ill teens playing in the snow in Norway and talking about trolls…..but mind you that Kerrang then thought it was a joke and now they are alllllllllllllll fukking for it. Much like how the rest of the world has come around to making Black Metal normal, and politically correct and more inclusive and all that other shit that in truth churns my stomach at the end of the day. Completely watering it down where we end of with shit like Sacred Son or Deafheaven. We were forced to trade angry hearts, depression, sociopathic tendencies and general misanthropy for swoopy haircuts and 5 star reviews and song lyrics about not living in upper middle class Malibu and being able-bodied and culturally insensitive and god-knows-what-else.
For fukked-up individuals such as myself as a teen in the 90’s, that fire lit something rather primal under my young ass, scorching my prepubescent nut-hairs that the spirit itself still does. It was a rather nihilistic revolutionary mindset that went past previous version of rock ‘n roll rebellion and took it probably to it’s absolute extreme. Just basically short of starting some sort of Helter Skelter race war or inciting small groups of young teens to start fukking dead animals. But it WAS the 90’s and I wouldn’t be too surprised if someone was inspired to do such back then. In fact if word caught wind and screwed-up people such as myself would have heard about that sort of thing, we would have been all for it in this bygone sense of shock and over-the-top shit that kids THESE days claim to be “edge.” All I have to say about that is that what made men out of us ok? We weren’t allowed to talk about things such the virtue-of-the-week or standing against sexism or had any idea or concept of the gender pay gap.
And may be that’s what makes me so damn ornery about this film of Donald Trump-esque proportions. Ever since then I have yet to see any form of rock-based rebellion or even teenage rebellion that comes anywhere near close to what once was. At 35, I see teens/young adults online posting the dumbest of memes and/or talking about fantasizing and jerking off to online clips of Japanese anime tits on Xvideos.com. When in reality they should be out TP’ing their neighbor’s house on Halloween night. Or doing whippits. Or stealing their parent’s porno mags. Fucking doing something other than whatever their form of teenage rebellion is. Did I go too far off course with this one? I don’t know honestly, and nor do I care. Much like I haven’t really given a shit about Norway/Varg/etc in the time since. Going on any further about this makes me want to just drop all that I am doing and take up that Tide Pod challenge the more I think about it.
Bottom line: “Lords Of Chaos” is the SLC Punk movie meaning it’s the type of movie that your friends who weren’t really into metal wanted to watch with you. Some things are best left alone in the past and should have remained in obscurity.
Hello all and welcome to a new year of new jamz, new ramblings, new angry Florida Man rants, new ways to sign that bat signal on bullshit that tends to clog up my social media newsfeed, and more. I just want to take a time to talk about a few things that will be happening in 2018 for EC.
First everyone who knows about the latest news that I am now married. My wife and I are expecting our beautiful baby daughter to arrive to us in April. So if and when that happens you don’t see as many postings or blogs about whatever, it’s me doing Daddy stuff and taking care of my kid. With that said, I will try to stay as frequent as posting and reviewing jamz, and whatever else that pops into my ADHD brain.
Hailz to Dad Metal
Second, seeing how there isn’t many releases coming out in the month of Janurary or Feburary except for a few, I’ll instead use this time to go back to last year and review albums that I either overlooked, missed, OR actually started reviewing but didn’t get a chance to finish the drafts because life was going at a very rapid pace and I was very busy kicking ass for the most part. Also finish up that Dungeon Synth series that I started and never finished which I haven’t gotten to the bad part of that one yet.
Third, thanks to everyone who has shown support(you know who you are), and are still sticking around to read and take a crack at my caffienated brain-pickings. Your support will never go un-noticed nor will I never not give the hails you deserve.
With all of that said, I your trusty angry Florida Man, will be keeping a bottle of white wine and a pack of Camels on hand to be ready at all times. Keep your eyes and ears open.
:wiggerish hand movements intensifies:
No less than roughly 24 hours ago, Guitarist/Singer Robb Flynn of Machine Head pulled a Suicide Silence and threw a decent-sized online childish tantrum on Machine Head’s official Facebook page. Why am I talking about this? Because it serves him right. It serves him right after his entire career of confusing and duping would-be metal fans into believing his music was ever good in the first place. Or that he was the second coming of groove metal. Or that he had any sort of talent that extended past the first two legendary Vio-lence albums. Let’s take a moment to look at what this overgrown poser cried about shall we:
First thing’s first: I cannot extend my congratulations and hails enough to Decibel Magazine. The gentleman there are real supporters of the underground and have a good record of calling out bullshit when bullshit appears. The fact that Mr. Jeff Treppel had the courage to call out Machine Head for what they are is a shining light in these biased times. For too long toilet paper magazines such as Kerrang and Metal Hammer and any over-the-hill Euro rock/metal magazine has hyped the fuck out of Machine Head for some unknown reason that even I cannot understand. The fact is that Machine Head have only been popular in Europe and Robb Flynn’s behind-the-scenes coattail riding and grandiose dreams of being the next tough guy behind the mic is a shtick that even long-time Machine Head fans are starting to wisen the fuck up and be ‘woke’ about.
Second and this is directed at Robb Flynn; If you cannot take any sort of criticism then just stop releasing music. Also don’t bite the only hand that feeds you and gives you any sort of magazine print coverage here in the States. Your Euro circle-jerk may have blown your Californian ego up in the 90’s in the UK, but you have a terrible history of not only trend-hopping, but doing every goddamn thing you can to gain the same level of mainstream success as whatever goofy mainstream metal band is currently having. Reacting the way you do to any sort of criticism reveals your true insecurity not only as a musician but also towards the very music you create. When Pantera were huge, you jumped on top of of those groove metal riffs and bastardized them with terrible Biohazard breakdowns. When Nu-Metal got big, you have bleached blonde liberty spikes and wore a baggy orange Jnco jumpsuit and look straight cut out of Insane Clown Posse minus the make-up. When Nu-Metal died and that god-fucking awful New Wave Of American Heavy Metal got popular on the Ozzfest/MTV circuit, you grew your hair back out and started claiming to be buds and an influence to bands such as Trivium and Killswitch Engage. Then when that died down you resorted to the good ol’ fashion “I’m REAL Metal” shtick. Now after loosing that verbal round with the ragin’ Cajun frontman of Pantera, Mr. Phil Anselmo completely cold-cocked you back into 1998, back to your Nu-Metal era minus the image. What’s next Rob? Going to start citing Djent/Deathcore and make an album inspired by that? That’s one trend you haven’t tried to capitalize on. Yet.
The saddening thing is that Robb Flynn IS capable of writing good solid music. He WAS the guitarist of the Bay Area band Vio-lence for fuck’s sake! Let it be known for the record that as far as US Thrash Metal bands go; Vio-lence were one the only US bands next to Dark Angel, Demolition Hammer and Morbid Saint that could stand-up proudly next to the global greats such as Kreator and Sepultura. That’s one thing I will never take away from Robb was his riffs on those first two Vio-lence albums. Don’t believe me? Listen to this sample cut from the face-fucking Thrash Metal riff-o-rama beast of a debut album:
Riffs. Lots of them.
But ever since leaving Vio-lence, he has done nothing but sully and soil of all his god-given talent. Trading riffs in for whatever was flavor-of-the-month in the 90’s/2000’s. And for a guy that worshiped the ground that Pantera walked-on, he sure picked the wrong fight with Phil Anselmo of all people. At this point, the Decibel Magazine album review of “Catharsis” is spot-on. And it’s poetic justice to a whining overgrown crybaby man dude in his 40’s/50’s. It’s just deserts for a gentleman that thinks he’s perfect, and pious that uses every opportunity to open his fucking mouth much like Corey Taylor. And truth be told, I personally couldn’t be happier. For someone to be surrounded by a bunch of Yes Men in his camp, it’s refreshing to hear someone speak the truth about not just Robb Flynn but Machine Head even if it IS the unpleasant truth that Robb Flynn does whatever he can to stay relevant and charge his fans $45 for a fucking Affliction-looking t-shirt at concerts.
Closing statement: Robb Flynn should take the energy that he used to throw a tantrum and put that to help promote the fundraiser/benefit concert to his former band mate and vocalist Mr. Sean Killian in Vio-lence. That would be more positive than throwing stones in a glass house and accusing other lead singers as racist or whatever.
Hey Robb, cheers mate! :sips white wine:
Into the void itself with this year’s list…..better grab a pen and piece of paper.
2017 for the most part has been a life-changing year for myself. So much has happened after the 1 year anniversary of starting this blog it feels like I’m now starting life all-over again. It’s fucking great though. I’m sure a few people are wondering why I haven’t been more ‘vocal’ about things lately. Truth be told I’m tired at trying to drive a nail through a concrete bunker wall. I haven’t given up on this by any means, I’m still working at it. But for now I’m re-assessing my priorities because bitching and whining about what he-said/she-said and then coming in with my two cents doesn’t exactly help the idea of civil online discourse especially when I drop an F-bomb every five seconds in typical black Irish fashion. If anything I add on to the ever-growing online social media dogpile that happens whenever someone says something. And may be I’m finally growing…..older…..not old. I’m still 34 for fuck’s sake. But hurtling towards 35 with a kid on the way is showing me that there’s more to life than trying to stay on top of the online bitch fest. That part has gotten old by itself. So if you don’t see me adding my 2 cents on to whatever someone says, I’m simply not giving them the attention and clicks they deserve. I say just let ‘them’ be blissfully unaware at the lack of their logic and reasoning and continue to indulge in their utopian pipe dream all while completely ignoring history.
With that said, again it’s been nothing but positive change and personal growth for me. I can honestly say as 2017 has had it’s challenges, what with hurricanes and surgeries, part-time jobs, scoring my ever first professional interview for Noisey of all places, meeting and talking to a lot of cool people (both in-person and online), etc. It’s been keeping me on my toes. Most of all I found the love of my life. My wife and I are now building our lives and expecting our very first child within the upcoming year. So I am grateful. I’m grateful that everyone has helped supported Esoterica Codex be it by spreading the word via mouth, sharing, clicking that like button and commenting on my shit as well as checking out the bands I talk about and also giving me hails. With that said….here are the top 20 jamz to help make 2017 a pretty kick-ass year.
1). Paradise Lost – Medusa (Nuclear Blast)
This should be no secret by now. Anyone who knows me personally knows how much I am a massive fan of the UK’s lords of Doom. In PL’s case, it’s the case of the old dog improving on old tricks and showing the young puppers what the to do when the master summons for thy bidding. With the exception of the other Doom Metal-related bands on this list, this album alone wiped the slate clean of shitty Sleep-worship stoner rock bands having the audacity of calling themselves “doom metal.” And a proper return to their Death-Doom roots of 1991’s “Gothic” and 1992’s “Shades Of God.” Depression never felt so euphoric.
2). Ulver – The Assassination Of Julius Caesar (House Of Mythology)
Shocked to find this artist on the list towering over the rest of the rather gloomy, subversive, and doom-laden? Well, reason why this is so high is the significance of this album and how it pertains to being the soundtrack to my life having such a dramatic change. Ulver doing Depeche Mode synth-pop with proper justice. It’s the album that has helped me at various times relax and clear my head that is swarming with obsessions over music and my blog and helped me pause for a minute and enjoy life. Not a lot of albums make me do that.
3). Drab Majesty – The Demonstration (Dais Records)
I keep coming back to this album for so-many unexplained reasons. Who knows why. For me it’s like a memory of a youthful feeling that’s so far away that trying to grasp it is depressingly out of your reach even though it’s already in your hands. I don’t know if that makes any sense. But I do know what makes sense: this album is fucking sweet. I constantly get lost in this album. Alongside Ulver, Drab Majesty are currently making the sweetest non-Metal jamz to seriously fuck with.
4). Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing (Dark Descent Records)
Hype! That’s all I hear. But then who ISN’T hyped these days? I can name some but I refuse to give those ‘artists’ the attention of time of day. Spectral Voice was the unexplained Old One that Blood Incantation was summoning with 2016’s “Starspawn.” I’m not sure what it is they were trying to summon, but it’s weird and pissed-off whatever it is.
5). FIN – Arrows Of A Dying Age (Folter Records)
If I can pin-point on a US black metal band that does the old-school sound with justice and no bullshit Euro-worship gimmicks, it’s Chicago’s very own sons of darkness, FIN. They totally capture the days of all of us here in the States listening to Painiac/Sombre Records releases and then throwing our North American take on that. It’s deadly, it’s an agressive, manic, pissed-off middle finger to everything that is false. It’s old-school, it’s melodic, and yet it’s a perfect snapshot of how black metal in 2017 SHOULD sound like as opposed to it trying to be something it’s not which is ‘post-modern. Fucking yuck. Support for FIN is total support for US Black Metal showing what the fuck it can do when it properly flexes it’s muscles.
6). Haunt – Haunt (Independent/Self-Released)
Truly the most disgusting and NECRO fucking black metal record of 2017, and quite possibly some-time. Haunt is like if you dug up the corpse of Mayhem’s Dead, Euronymous and Bathory’s Quorthon, put them in some dank, wet basement with a 4-track recorder to capture the spirit of what once was. But enhanced the cold and grave-like atmosphere with a weird digital/white noise edge to the guitar riffs and overall sound. Taste the grave dear readers, it’s been waiting for you.
7). Loss – Horizonless (Profound Lore Records)
The lords of US Funeral Doom are back with their second album and all the pain and misery in the world. There isn’t words enough to justify just how this album overshadowed the entire Doom Metal genre of 2017 at the right moment and at the right time. Prepare to suffer.
8). Immolation – Atonement (Nuclear Blast)
The classiest band in Death Metal are back with a new record with their old-school logo from their classic 90’s albums. Fuck yes.
9). Chaos Moon – Eschaton Moon (Blood Music)
Comprising of members from Krieg, Skaphe‘, Conqubine, Esoterica, Martrod, etc. this album is a beautiful example of how to do modern-day atmosphere correctly for a U.S. black metal band. Also included is the nightmarish artistic visions of Jef Whitehead who help paints the hymns to the end-times. Extremely fitting for 2017.
10). Forgotten Kingdoms – Crowned In Forlorn Darkness (Tour de Garde)
If there was one thing I thought would never come back to bring some form of joy in my more mature years, it was the worship and appreciation of the dark ambient snyth work of Norway’s Mortiis – or as it is now officially called “Dungeon Synth.” And out of all the Dungeon Synth material I have listened to in 2017, this one hit a mark that nobody else did. Where most other DS projects and artists are doing their best to frolick thru the shire to take the ring to Mordor, Azgorh channels the dark ambient synth of old-school Beherit and stretches it out to an entire demo-length. Highly fukking recommended.
11). Integrity – Howling For The Nightmare Shall Continue (Relapse Records)
Integrity goes black metal? That’s what a low of people have said, but not really. But what I do know that this is by far their best fucking album since 1996’s “Humanity Is The Devil.” It’s an album that showcases all of not only their strong-points but how the band is still able to think outside of the proverbial Hardcore/Metal/Punk box and show what REAL crossover music CAN be.
12). Full Of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy (Profound Lore Records)
Returning from the mines of that rusted out area of Central Pennsylvania, FoH come blazing back with another fucked-up mixture of Grindcore/Death Metal/Hardcore/Noise/Electronic and god knows what else that managed to sneak into their young but lively and thriving mixture of genres.
13). Spirit Adrift – Curse Of Conception (20 Buck Spin)
I wish I could put this album higher than where I’m putting it. It’s just that goddamn good of a fucking classic/traditional Doom Metal album. Again, no stupid fucking Sleep-stoner worship. No ramblings about smoking pot when though the riffs on this album ARE dank as fuck. Nope, just a side-project of the boiz in Arizona’s Gatecreeper laying down some of the best riffs/melodies outside of the like of Greg McKintosh of Paradise Lost and Kirk Windstein of Crowbar. Don’t worry….it’s more traditional/epic Doom Metal than in it is Sludge-y NOLA-style. Do not miss out on this.
14). Old Tower – Spectral Horizons (Vinyl re-issue of demo via Tour De Garde)
I would have given this spot to Fief, another excellent DS artist but I felt this was the closest that could come next to the high mark that Forgotten Kingdoms hit. This is about as close as one wants to get to actual old-school Mortiis-worship without being called ‘worship’ or the dreaded ‘rip-off’ label. As it stands, Old Tower are one of the torchbearer’s to a newly-founded sub-genre that sure to stay around for quite some time.
15). Impetuous Ritual – Blight Upon Martyred Sentience (Profound Lore)
Metal fans didn’t get a new Portal album this year, so this will perfectly do and take the crown for the Cavernous-sounding Death Metal album of 2017. It’s a spiral down into the abyss itself. WEEEEEEEEE!!!!
16). Chis Stapelton – Traveller (RCA Studios)
Here is 2017’s “Wild Card Album.” I know what you are thinking, so there is no need to say it. I do that for you; what the fuck is Chris Stapelton doing surrounded in this list of Metal and god-knows-what-else. And an album from 2015 of all things? Well in case any of y’all start to forget, you’re favorite blogger IS a long haired/bearded/tattooed Florida man from the great state and bayous of Louisiana. With a newly-found family that extends up to the hills of South Carolina. That said, I AM going to be a little bit of a loud-mouth redneck minus waving the confederate flag( unless you get some white wine in me 😛 ). I’ve always preached to never forget your roots under any circumstances. And if you wanna know where I tend to get my highly opinionated and middle finger to everything politically correct…..well now you know. Besides, I enjoy me some good-ol’ shit-kicking redneck jamz. Good shit to drive around to while giving your finger to ‘the man.’
17). Rope Sect – Personae Ingratae/Proselytes (Iron Bonehead Productions)
2017 has been a quiet year for Post-Punk/Death Rock. With the exception of the latest Grave Pleasures album, it seems like the end-of-the-world party soundtrack has ended and now the hangover and reality of a world truly teetering to it’s end times madness is coming into fruition. Nobody said it was going to be pretty. And so isn’t Rope Sect. This compilation of both of their 2017 releases shows that may be it time to stop partying and start getting down to serious business.
18). Drowning The Light – Varcolaci Rising (Dark Adversary Productions)
I was a bit late to this one this year. This is one of a limited handful of black metal releases this year that managed to stick around. Azgorh of DTL/FK is on a fucking roll this year with not 1 but 2 releases that I feel are a culmination of the best parts of his music/career in a very long time. Considering how much this dude puts out, it’s great to see that there is more of a filtering process. That’s not a slur or sign of disrespect either. I just feel that the gentleman is getting better even though I still enjoy some of his older material. Can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
19). Necrot – Blood Offerings (Tankcrime Records)
Death Metal the way it’s supposed to be fucking play. End of discussion. Total fukking support!
20). Undergang – Misantropologi (Dark Descent Records)
Last but not least and rounding out this year is Denmark’s Undergang. I caught them in Tampa live at The Brass Mug this past summer for the support of “Misantropologi” and it was pure fun. That’s really how I can sum up Undergang is just a no-thrills fun death metal band to enjoy live.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (more jamz that you should seek out and give no-less of total fukking support to):
Convulsing/Siberian Hell Sounds – split (Art As Catharsis Records)
Future Terror – We’re All Fucked (Black House Industries)
Poison Blood – s/t (Relapse Records)
Tchonorbog – s/t (Fallen Empire Records)
Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore Records)
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord Records)
The Lurking Fear – Out Of The Voiceless Grave (Century Media)
Kreator – Gods Of Violence (Nuclear Blast)
Artificial Brain – Infared Horizon (Profound Lore Records)
And that about rounds up this year as far as the jamz go. Until next time, keep on jammin’ in the free world.
Chaos Moon is a band that for those that are perverse and who follow and dwell in the void below SHOULD know by now. If not at the very least have at least some knowledge about. And that’s based on primarily on the key players in the band who have their filth spread and soiled various spots in said underground void. Two of which being Guitarist Alex Poole (Esoterica/Skaphe/Krieg/Lithome/Martrod) and vocalist Eric Baker (Conqubine/Mantheren). We’ll get more onto these two primary musicians in the band later. But for now let’s focus on WHY Chaos Moon is and should be very important for all maniacs of all shades of the absence of light.
First the title of the album “Eschaton Memoire,” can be dissected into many different meanings. Here’s my two cents and personal interpretation: The perspective that this album gives is all summed up with the concept of “the end’. The final omega. The conclusion. Does this mean the band itself will witness it’s own demise? Not at all. If anything it’s the acceptance and embracing of the nothingness and the lack of it substance and form it contains. Only in that spot does the band and possibly listeners will find some sort of closure or peace and accept it’s own mortality. We all have to take that final step into it. Chaos Moon holds it’s chilling, boney hand out to take and guide us. Like Buck Dharma of the legendary band Blue Oyster Cult sang once; Don’t fear the reaper!
Now onto the music itself which is a miasma of plague-inducing riffs, passages of melancholic atmosphere, and deafening-inducing drums that help paint that portrait of the futility of existence. Let it be know for the fucking record that guitarist Alex Poole is by far one if not the most accelerated/advanced guitarists in Black Metal. Not just the North American scene by any means. He’s up there next to other virtuosos of black metal velocity and trailblazers such as Jef Whitehead (Leviathan/Lurker Of Chalice/Twilight), Snorre W. Ruch (Mayhem/Thorns) and Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost/Triptykon). In fact I would definitely put him in this current generation of musicians who are tampering and blurring/burning the current lines of black metal guitar playing. Not to hog the spotlight by himself, we also have vocalist Eric Baker who is able to appear on this particular album. I have heard Mr. Baker’s vocals in his other projects, but I think the combination of his vocals and Alex Poole’s riffs gives the music an new dimension of infinite possibilities. That and the music itself gives Mr. Baker more room to stretch his larynx to it’s maximum output more-so than Conqubine. Which don’t take that as a slur or insult because I legit enjoy Conqubine. But with Chaos Moon, Eric Baker is pushing himself and the result show of his abilities and possibilities to be more recognized and justifiably so.
Speaking of the devil himself, Jef Whitehead lends his amazing artistic abilities to paint another horrifying vision of everything that man fears. Let’s take a look shall we?
Dali-esque nightmare provided by none other than Wrest a.k.a Jef Whitehead.
Clocking in at 40 minutes and 33 seconds, “Eschaton Memoire” is an LP that drags the listener through a chasm of riffs, synths, drums, screams, and everything that makes Black Metal worth listening to in the first place. It’s quality music that makes you face the failings and fuck-ups of this modern world and the sickness of it all. The complete miserable on-going process of suffering all processed through the hallucinogenic prism are felt in both the two-part songs (“The Pillar, The Key” and the title track) which respectfully adorn the beginning and ending of the album. The second song and middle part of the album (“Of Wrath And Forbidden Wisdom“) represents this beautifully depressing calm that brings a sense of joy and adoration to the entropy-like process. The breaking-down. The rot and decay that gradually deteriorates everything to a stench-inducing muck and slime.
On a personal note, not too many black metal releases have caught my attention this year outside of a few including old guard-defending FIN with their “Arrows of A Dying Age” LP and Drowning The Light‘s “Varcolaci Rising.” Chaos Moon ranks comfortably in between those mentioned as a highlight in 2017 as far as jamz to fuck with and an album that should get more recognition that it has already just based on it being a example of how to do modern-day Black Metal correctly.
“Eschaton Memoire” is now available on vinyl via Fallen Empire Records . You can pick-up a physical copy of it here at Chaos Moon’s official Bandcamp page. You can listen to it digitally via Apple/Spotify/Youtube. Also, follow Chaos Moon via Facebook and give them hails as well as voicing how much you hate Bobby Walker. Because fuck Bobby!
2017 has been a rather doomy year for the majority of people in the U.S. of A. At the moment, a majority of the masses don’t have high hopes for the future while some are delusional that the clocks are going to somehow magically turn back to their boring fucking childhoods. But at least with these miserable turbulent times, 2017 has given us good jamz to fuck with. New albums by Loss, Paradise Lost, Spectral Voice, Bell Witch a new Evoken on the way, and currently the debut album by Arizona’s Spirit Adrift. Spirit Adirft is a solo-project which features none other than our boiz in current Death Metal riffers Gatecreeper. A solo project by GC guitarist Nate Garrett who has released by far one of the more refreshing and shockingly up-lifting Doom Metal album in not just this year, but in recent memory.
That’s some pretty sweet friggin’ artwork.
“Curse Of Conception” is a Doom Metal album that tells you to drop your worries, guilt, and sorrow, and forces you to bang the head that does not bang. That and to worship the power of not just the riff, but to loose yourself in the melodies as well. A solo project started by GC guitarist Nate Garrett, the gentleman has released by far one of the more refreshing and shockingly up-lifting Doom Metal album in not just this year, but in recent memory. His debut album “Chained To Oblivion” would be considered a one man band deal. Now on “Curse Of Conception“, he is joined by his fellow band mate’s vocalist – and CEO of Red Bull Energy Drink – Chase Mason. Chase backs Nate up with providing bass which gives Nate a bit of backing muscle. I would hate to leave out other guitarist Jeff Owens and drummer Marcus Bryant. Those gentleman do an excellent job as well.
The one thing I as a newly converted fan to Spirit Adrift am fond of is that Nate chose to NOT go down the Stoner Doom path. In 2017, in my humble opinion, it’s overdone to death. So many bands trying to sound like Sleep and never even come close to the originality that made Sleep special in the first place. Either that or the music is watered-down to the point where their’s no sense of genuine feel to it. What Nate does with SA is go the more traditional Doom Metal route and even at times creating a traditional/epic Doom Metal style. Think of bands such as Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus with hints of Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus. But don’t call Spirit Adrift ‘old-school’….if anything it’s closer to the modern-day likes of Pallbearer which is NEVER a bad thing. Riff-wise, I can even pick-up hints of Crowbar and some of the most beautiful and epic guitar melodies this side of Greg McKintosh of Paradise Lost. I wouldn’t even call SA sludgy at all. It’s just really epic-sounding no-bullshit Doom Metal, but the ace up it’s sleeve is that it feels….positive? Yeah. This is not as down-right depressing as some previously mentioned bands. Quite opposite. But there is that sense of struggle that keeps the feet of the music planted firmly on the dirty streets.
Spirit Adrift: Doomy boiz
It’s really hard to pick a certain song on “Curse Of Conception.” “Earthbound” starts off with a more up-beat version of Warning(UK) and it’s here where the first-time listener will be automatically be fucking hooked. Nate Garret’s and Jeff Owens just pound out riff after fucking riff of Doomy goodies. The title track opens up with a riff/melody that for a minute reminded me of Kirk Hammet’s solo to “Fade To Black” but then actually DOES fade to fucking black with the tortoise-like tempo. A hearty Tom G. Warrior “OUGH!” is heaved forward and then goes into a nice NOLA-like swinging Crowbar riff which always get the spirits up. “Graveside Invocation” is a total ripper that commands you to raise some sick fucking horns. “Onward, Inward” is were we see more NOLA sludge oozing through as the album’s farewell with a thrashy mid-part that makes you wanna push-mosh into oblivion.
If this album doesn’t get anymore coverage than it has or at least ends up on Decibel’s Top Albums of 2017, then I’m going to loose faith in not just fans of Doom Metal but the genre as well. If anything not only have previous bands I have mentioned that have also released new albums this year, but Spirit Adrift can prove that one can put the over-priced bong down and be sober enough to make Doom Metal worth keeping around without a bunch of hippies trying to out-smoke Sleep’s “Dopesmoker.”
“Curse Of Conception” is available now on 20 Buck Spin. You can listen to it via Spotify/Itunes as well as support the band by visiting their official Facebook page and buy stuff from them at their official Bandcamp page. Support them brothers, they are worth your hard-earned cash.
Upon first doing this short series, I won’t lie and admit I was a bit hesitant. Why? Various reasons. None negative, but for the most part I sadly felt that this was a new fad that would shortly start going the usual route of so many before. But then having a few of my close friends basically elbowing me and saying “Dude, check this shit out!” I more or less let go of all pretenses and started listening to this new form of synth music while at work with an open mind. I don’t know what happened in my warped dank mind still reeling from my surgery and dealing with the aftermath Hurricane Irma. May be it had to do that I finally didn’t have to listen to terrible Top 40 Pop/RnB/whatever type of music blaring thru the overhead speakers at work. But I almost felt a certain wave of nostalgia hit me that I haven’t felt in a good while. Not bad nostalgia, but the good kind when one remembers discovering something for the first time and it leaves such a huge impression on you that it sadly guarantees you to never get laid for the remainder of your life. At least for me at that particular pre-Internet time frame. I got to re-discover something that I had locked in the dusty old attic that is my mind. In a way it helped me use my imagination in a way that I haven’t used it in quite some time. So may be there is something healthy to doing such.
First part of this series I started to go into the roots of Dungeon Synth discussing about several pieces that would go on to influence the now what seems like over-night explosion of Dungeon Synth. But I didn’t really talk or discuss about one massively important artist to the sub-genre. Upon first writing this, I found myself wanting to talk more about his music than just 3 or 4 sentences. I felt that this was a good time to really delve into the gentleman’s discography and give you a good representation of what it was like growing up as a black metal-obssessed teen in the 90’s pre-Internet times. I don’t have keep you in suspense or myself so ladies and gentleman, the moment that both you and I had been waiting for; the man with the pointy ears, hook nose, batwings, and chainmail, and Norway’s most famous troll and Blix’s brother: MORTIIS!
Let’s start at the very beginning with his 1993 demo “The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost.” Released on cassette form in June of that year, Mortiis did something completely fucking different. He released an entire demo of dark ambient synth music with zero vocals. That had never been done before by a (former) black metal musician. Be it Norwegian or otherwise. I had noted in the previous part that his fellow Norwegians in Mayhem and Burzum did 1 or 2 songs, but never a full demo. Another big thing was that of the direction he took: minimalist, cheaply-made, and Medieval-sounding. This gentleman was living in 2017 while everyone else was stuck in 1992. By dropping the bass guitar in Emperor and doing a solo project with a Casio keyboard, he would go on to record entire albums of dark ambient music that even in 2017, the influence of his early visions can still be felt.
Mortiis’s 1994 debut album “Født til å herske” is ground zero for Dungeon Synth Music. Released on Malicious Records, and then re-released under his own label Dark Dungeon Records. Hell even the genre name itself is a respectable wordplay on Mortiis’s very own label. Mortiis went straight for the abstract. Not only furthering the medieval sounds but also adopting the imagery of a mythological Norwegian troll/goblin placing him way beyond your typical panda corpsepaint. It should be noted that even his Norwegian troll/goblin costume would also change from album to album but still managing to keep a complete mystique about him that was just scream “Fuckin’ sweet!” It’s an LP with one long song divided into two tracks and the first time we hear vocals in Mortiis music. It’s Dungeon-y and medieval sounding but when Mortiis’ vocals finally make themselves known it turns into this weird hypnotic ritual-esque chanting. For a debut, I absolutely personally love this one.
Mortiis released his second full length LP, titled “Ånden som gjorde opprør” on the now legendary and defunct Cold Meat Industries in 1994. It’s right about here where Mortiis is in full control. The maestro to his very own opera creating landscapes with the flick of a wrist. The artwork shows actual Norwegian landscape and gives Mortiis vision a physical location. It’s also noted that this is what a lot of Mortiis fans consider their favorite album from his classic Era 1 period.
“Keiser av en dimension ukjent” is the next album by Mortiis released in 1995. If anything this is a sister album expansion of “Ånden som gjorde opprør.” It also the transitional album to the next compilation album that most people still consider a full-length. By now Mortiis had done not only Emperor, and his main solo project, but two other side projects that included Vond and Fata Morgana. Both of which are more extensions of his particular form of dark synth music even going in a more Darkwave direction.
“Crypt Of The Wizard” is what many consider to be Mortiis’ grand opus. This album is not so much a full-length, but a compilation of ten songs gathered from no less than five EPs all put out through Mortiis very own Dark Dungeon record label. These five EPs which all contained two songs each combined with the adorning artwork by well-known Swedish artist John Bauer. Put together and you have a compilation that at the end of the day might as well be considered a full-length. Regardless of what you consider this LP to be, “Crypt of The Wizard” is the album that got many people here in the states to take notice and was the first ever bit of exposure of Mortiis to 90’s teens such as myself. This is what started many of us on our own personal quest to find out more about this mysterious artist who looked like Blix from the 80’s Tom Cruise film “Legend.”
Taking a break from his music, let’s look a bit at the brilliant and original imagery Mortiis displayed in the 90’s while the majority of his countrymen were looking like sad pandas:
I first saw this same image in Metal Maniacs in ’97/’98. Suffice to say it was the coolest fucking thing I had seen up until that point in my entire life. Mind you black metal imagery was one thing….Mortiis was on a completely different level and made just basically everyone else seemed not-so sincere to their choice of musical craft. On top of a compilation LP, he also made a limited-edition home video (2000 copies total) of him walking around in a Swedish castle outside of Gothenburg in full Mortiis goblin attire and costume. For a peak into the past and pre-Internet era, check this video clip out:
Very spooky stuff
After the release of the “Crypt Of The Wizard” compilation LP, Mortiis made the big jump from both Cold Meat Industry/Dark Dungeon Music to Earache Music. At this time, black metal was as huge as it had gotten. Certain big name record labels were all cashing in, and Earache wanted a piece of the pie, so they picked up Mortiis. The album “The Stargate” was released and more and more people picked up on what he was doing, particularly in the UK. It should be noted that the music contained on “The Stargate” is the last full length album he did that contained full on dark ambient synth music. But here, there’s other sounds added to the pallet such as female vocals, and possibly the most “full” medieval soundtrack you’ll find outside of “Lord Of The Rings” soundtrack. “The Stargate” is basically the end of of what Mortiis himself referred to as Era 1. What he did next after completely doing away with the troll-y nature of the character and music he created was not just the most shocking thing he had done up until this point, but possibly his most criminally underrated album ever:
He decided to go straight Industrial/Electronic.
“The Smell Of The Witch“, while not only signifying the second Era of his music but a completely overhaul of not just the image and look of Mortiis, but the sound. Gone are the dark ambient synths, and in place is loud, noisey Industrial/Goth dance music with guitars. And in all honesty, at the time, it was much needed. Had Mortiis keep going on with his Era 1 type music, he would have ended in self-parody like KISS or something corny of the sort. Mortiis stepped out from the darkness of the dungeon and onto the dance floor and shocked everyone that for one he has a good voice. So if you’re open-minded enough, you will appreciate “The Smell Of The Witch.” I know I have for years. As far as the rest of discography past this point? Meh. I don’t exactly register myself as a fan of those albums. Nothing negative to say about those other than it’s his music and he can do whatever he wants to with it but for me…..I’m staying in the dark dank dungeons of Norway somewhere in ’97. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Or so you would believe that it would. This year Foreign Sounds/Children of The Night released a BEAUTIFULLY made limited edition wooden cassette boxset that contained the first Mortiis demo and the first three Era 1 albums on cassette tape. Complete for nerdy fanbois such as myself. Did I get one? You bet your sweet ass I did. Take a look for yourself:
These box sets sold-out within an hour of being posted online. I barely lucked-out but thankfully I did. Out of all the things I own in my personal music collection, it’s probably one of my most valued.
Wrapping all this discussion and talk about Mortiis up, to say that I’m a fan is a bit of an understatement. For all intents and purposes, Mortiis made a huge impression on me as a teen and his music still lives on in 2017. These days his Era 1 music is still fascinating. Even for a time period that I wasn’t listening to his music, I wouldn’t deny the impact he had on my ever-growing tastes from that particular time period of my youth. He provided more of a classic sense of escapism and at what better time in pre-Internet social-media based clusterfuck dumpster fire of the current year? In the 90’s that was the goal. And I’m sure that now more than ever escapism is still a much-needed thing but the depressing part is that I’m at an age where I don’t experience it as much as when I did when I was younger. Yeah I can totally isolate myself in my house and listen to music, and read books, or do whatever….but is it the same effect? Not really. Time then stood still forever, and now nearing 35, time is going by faster. But it is nice to come back to certain things that you remember completely shattering your world and concept of what an actual ARTIST should or should not be. If anything, Mortiis defined art in the most absurd way possible through synths, noses, batwings, daggers, dungeons and all. I would hate to sound cliche and say something to effect of “If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.” But it’s true. Believe it, Comrades. If you need further proof, Decibel writer/Krieg frontman and online grouch Neill Jameson did an amazing fucking interview with Mortiis himself that goes further into the mythology that he created himself and his views on the music he’s created during his lifetime.
Next part of the Dungeon Synth series, I’m going to talk a bit about what made a lot of people start walking away from the synths and completely rebel against something that was rebellious in the first place. This part of the history of Dungeon Synth gets really fucking cringe-worthy.