Enter The Tombs of Oregon’s Haunt

Do you feel that? The cold chill in the air. Do you see your breath in front of your face? Do you smell the formaldehyde preserving your blue-ing shell of a human body. Do you taste the moist dirt in your mouth? Do you hear the cries of your loved ones saying their final goodbyes? If you do, then prepare yourself for the worst part of all…..the grave-robbing fiend know as Salem, Oregon’s Haunt.

Spooky visual aside, you would think to yourself “Oh this is just more death metal” based on the book cover. Nope. This is hands-down the most rotting black metal I have heard in fucking forever. Take the best parts of old-school Mayhem, demo-era Gorogoroth, and throw in a shitload of Bathory riffs to measure and you have something that while on paper seems like total textbook black metal. But actually listening to Haunt is a completely different experience all together. For one can we talk about that sound production? It’s the very definition of black metal. It just sounds like it was recorded in some dank mausoleum in the middle of a graveyard in the middle of a chilly Autumn night. The riffs combined with the sound production give it a complete and total reminder of “The Return…” by Bathory and other old-school ‘necro’ Black Metal albums.

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Vocally-speaking, the gentleman sounds like Dead of Mayhem reincarnated. At times I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t listening to Mayhem. Listen to the gentleman in Haunt and then listen to Dead’s screaming in the legendary “Live In Leipzig” album, and the comparison is pretty fucking spooky. On top of one of the best killer combination of vocals, riffs, and sound production, you also get some creepy and eerie instrumental/sound clips of z-grade grainy horror films from the 70’s/80’s which gives the Haunt’s version of black metal a very rotting and spectral feel to it, which is definitely outside of the usual subject matter that black metal deals with. I would usually complain that a band like Haunt is doing nothing different than what has come before….but for 2017 this is pretty radical stuff. Where as most people have tried in vain to re-capture the sound and spirit of the late 80’s/early 90’s Black Metal sound, Haunt perfectly captures it. Captures it to the point of it seeming like a time-capsule suddenly dug up out of the earth and freshly exhumed for examination.

I can’t say enough about this band. Truly something special. Check out Haunt on Bandcamp and support them.

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Artist Spotlight: Neill Jameson of Krieg

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Neill Jameson: He makes beautiful family-friendly music. I can assure you.

This is something really special that I am glad I got the opportunity to do: Decibel Magazine ranter, Krieg frontman, and all-around black metal father figure Neill Jameson is having a rather busy summer. On top of just releasing a new side-project Poison Blood thru Relapse Records, he just recently announced that he was re-releasing music from Krieg as well as new music from other bands under his new label, aptly called Black House Industries. So in light of all those releases, I decided to do an artist spotlight reviewing the releases he’s been hacking away at. Starting this spotlight will be the first release under his record label. For the uneducated, this isn’t the first time Neill has released music under his own record label. He originally ran Blood Fire Death Records starting in 1998 and unleashed a slew of releases by artists such as Xasthur, Loss, Demoncy, Pest, Archgoat, Lugubrum, and a few others. Fast-forward to 2017; in typical Neill fashion, he announced the first release of Black House Industries in a rather bluntly and sarcastic-like fashion that he is known to . Already he has one release that is going to get the ol’ razzle dazzle treatment on his label. Me being a long time fan of Mr. Jameson was granted the honor of reviewing these various releases. Admittedly, I started boofin’ pretty hard whenever I got the promo(s) in my Gmail account. But enough of my fanboy nerding-out and let’s see what jamz he has prepared to be shat in everyone’s ear canals during this extremely humid and stormy summer shall we?

Future TerrorWe’re All Fucked (2017) Black House Industries

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First up we have the very first release on his new label which is Future Terror, a Hardcore Punk band based out of Richmond, Virgina. Without listening to the actual music and judging by the artwork, I already knew what I was in for: Hardcore Punk in the vein of Discharge/Tragedy/Extreme Noise Terror/Doom(UK). I’ve been on a bit of a Hardcore drought since last year’s excellent “Never” LP by Withdrawal. That album and the new Integrity LP are the only albums that have registered on my radar in the past year or so when it comes to that specific genre. But within the first 10 seconds of the wonderfully and sardonically-tiled “Conned By God,” I am lost within the noise. Not in a bad way by any means. Whenever I loose myself in music, it’s always a good thing. It’s there that I personally feel at peace with the current tense climate of a dysfunctional society. Understanding that the UK-influenced US band might not exactly be doing anything as outside of the box as Withdrawal pulling in post-punk/goth rock influences, or even Integrity dabbling in black metal influences. But then again I’m not some stickler for needing something original each and every time I listen to a new band. Hell, I am just happy there are still bands like Future Terror carrying on the traditions and ethos of the UK noise-making bunch and act like they have a sense of urgency. An urgency that screams either play riffs or die and get the fuck out of the way.  Especially when you take into account with a song title such as ‘You Think You Are So Special.” A total un-PC iron fist-in-the-face of modern-day society. Bottom line: This is the shit I like and would highly recommend these jamz to anyone who is needing a good shot of adrenaline-speed Hardcore Punk. Definitely made for those who are still pissed at the last Amebix album for not being crusty enough or not sounding like it’s 1985. “We’re All Fucked” will be released this Friday, September the 8th and is limited to 100 copies on clear yellow cassette w/1.5″ pin.

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KriegSono Lo Scherno (2017) Inferna Profundis Records

Originally recorded in 1998, but never released until 2005, “Sono Lo Scherno” was meant to be the follow-up to the first Krieg album “Rise Of The Imperial Hordes” but for whatever reason, frontman Neill Jameson decided to keep it in the vaults until sometime later. To be completely honest with this one, I had a copy of this I got waaaaaay back in 2008 or 2009 that I purchased but I never got around to fully listen to. I’ve been very familiar with Krieg since first hearing the US Black/Thrash band Blood Storm name drop them in Slayer ‘Zine issue #15 in the early 00’s. Outside of that trivia bit about myself, I couldn’t give you a legit reason or excuse why I never listened to this album. As I am writing this, I’m experiencing it for the first time, and I’m legit a bit blown away by how it sounds absolutely nothing like what Krieg is known for, especially from the time period it was originally written. It’s weird because listening to this now in 2017, it sounds completely alien yet familiar. There are parts that sound like old-school Krieg as far as the raw production goes. There are a number of samples and ambient passages that provides moments of unique atmosphere among the 90’s Profanatica/Judas Iscariot/Beherit/Bestial Summoning riffs.  The song “Ruin Under The Burning Skies” is not what one might be thinking of in connection of what is found on the legendary “The Black House” LP. It’s the polar opposite. Even some of the song titles such as “Maelstrom,” “Plague Waltz,” and “Hypnotic Decay” sound as if they would be found on an 80’s Thrash album. That’s not an insult or slur, it’s just something I wouldn’t expect from the creative demented mind of Neill Jameson. The entire album for the most part is a giant curve-ball. It’s also noted that this indeed was part of the early years of Krieg and to see how far Neill has come as far is nothing short of the making of one of the father figures in the USBM scene and genre overall. After having enough time to listen to this and take everything in, there is something strangely luring about this album. The more I think about it, the more I am becoming more and more favorable to this offering from Krieg. There’s also a killer fucking Nunslaughter cover included. Overall, it’s something unexpected. It’s different, yet it retains a lot of familiar traits that Krieg is known for. I would definitely recommend this for die-hard Krieg fans and not someone who just picked up a copy of “The Black House” or “The Isolationist.” If you’re like me being someone is more familiar with past Krieg albums and experiencing this for the first time, go into it with an open mind.  “Sono Lo Scherno” will be released on September 25 on Inferna Profundus Records. Pre-orders are up on the label’s official store and can be found here. 

Poison Bloodself-titled (2017) Relapse Records

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I had been meaning to review this album earlier before it was released. Long story short: I was busy with my first Noisey piece and learning the ins-and-outs of becoming a legit freelance writer took up some of my time from making an honest attempt to review this. Seeing how the news from Neill came about, I decided to go ahead and add it on to this as an artist spotlight moment and rectify that issue. Also seeing how much output Mr. Jameson does, it’s falls into the add-on department of this particle review article. Poison Blood‘s self-titled album is probably the rawest thing Neill has done in a good while. It’s a collaboration with Jenks Miller of Horseback that deals with the obsession that Neill Jameson has with the desert landscapes and all the mysteries that lie within the shadows of the wastelands. If anything should be noted is how much ground these two beautiful bastards are covering in such a short time frame as far as a release goes. It clocks in under 19 minutes, but what they accomplish is a perfect balance of both the ugly, depraved, and beautiful. The album starts out right out of the gates of nanna with the song “The Scourge And Gestalt” which is almost like The Velvet Underground covering Beherit in total Rudimentary Peni -fashion; psychedelic, dirty, seductive and black-as-fuck. The Beherit influence is so apparent and so well-done that quite honestly Poison Blood is really the album that Beherit should have done in between “Drawing Down The Moon” and “Engram.” While I don’t dislike the Beherit electronic/ambient albums, if this were an alternate universe that existed, Beherit would have fared better in that that era of their music had they gone the route and played more in the vein of what Poison Blood does. Past the Beherit-isms, what really sticks out the most is the psychedelic textures of the album. The Moog synths of Jenks Miller adds the entire “desert vibe” that Neill Jameson said he was going for with this album and his fascination with it. At one point (“The Flower Of Serpents”) it makes rember all the great ambient synth pieces by Burzum, Neptune Towers, and Era 1 of Mortiis. That’s not to say it’s a rip-off of 90’s Norway, but ambiance-wise for myself it makes me wanna break out all those Casio keyboard songs that were at one point a legit thing within Black Metal. It’s well-rounded and tastefully done on how they really mix it extremely well with the dirty blackened guitar style. If anything it leaves you wanting more. Having just listened to Krieg‘s “Sono Lo Scherno” LP pior before deciding to add this review into the article piece, this side-project seems like a future cousin of it, only slightly less deranged but fucked-up nonetheless. It’s just another testament to how Neill Jameson is able to spread his wings over different types of side-projects and bands and cover so much ground, including past side-projects such as Twilight(RIP), Le Chant Funebre, N.I.L., and a host of others both active and defunct. It’s also a testament that for all intents and purposes, Neill’s words and blackened heart has always been strict dedication in producing some of the more interesting moments in the US black metal geographical location amidst the muck that gets slung around on other Metal news websites.  You can order Poison Blood‘s self-titled LP from Relapse and they also have some killer band merch as well. 

There is also the announcement of the re-issue of the 2013 out-of-print demo from New Jersey’s Hardcore sons of darkness The Banner as an upcoming release for Black House Industries. Anything else Neill decides to release either through Black House Industries or elsewhere will definitely be supported and spread here at Esoterica Codex. If you would like to give Neill hails, do so by checking out and clicking ‘like’ on the official Black House Industries Facebook Page. And if all else fucking fails and none of this interests you, go buy some shit from Neill Jameson on Discogs.com so that he can purchase cat food and kitty litter for his cats. Friendly reminder tho: Just don’t invite them to like your band.

Twisting, turning, and writhing: New jamz from Plaguewielder!

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The name Plaguewielder should not come as foreign to the reader, seeing how I reviewed their rather excellent 2015 debutSuccumb To The Ash” album last year. Keeping in touch with the band via online social media has not exactly been an issue, as I honestly can’t really think of any other band that sounds like them. Blackened Sludge is a sub- genre that has yet to hit it’s explosive period. It has only recently started to come into it’s own within the past several years as a sub-genre with bands such as Wolvhammer, Lord Mantis, and Coffinworm. This is a good thing because this gives Plaguewielder a massive one-up in the creativity department as far as expanding their sound, while also helping forge possible new paths. This could force said sub-genre to discover it’s own potential to become a much bigger beast.

A few days ago, Plaguewielder dropped/posted a new song on their official Bandcamp page called “Writhing In Mental Torment. ” Previously to getting my butt over to listen to it, I had been spending that entire day reviewing and listening to the new Loss album. Before clicking on the ‘play‘ button, I almost slightly hesitated, mostly due to the fact that the new Loss album made me want to die a slow rotting miserable death (in the best way possible). Would the new Plagueweilder song distract my attention away long enough to take notice? Surprisingly, it did. The song “Writhing In Mental Torment” was the complete polar opposite in terms of tempo and song arrangement. It’s shockingly rather short and up-beat with a blackened Punk-like spirit to it. Think of Fenriz playing an off-kilter drum beat cover of “New Rose” off the first The Damned album but in a total urgent “Die or get the fuck outta my way“-type fashion. Combine that with a crusty, oozing, sludgy breakdown towards the end. How this couldn’t motivate more bands/musicians who want to possibly go down this route or play similar styled music to take initiative to bring new things to the table is a question that will be answered best in time. Check it out and Hails reacts only brodies!