Monday, 30 September 2013

Wolvserpent - Perigaea Antahkarana

When Boise, Idaho duo Pussygutt reinvented themselves as Wolvserpent with the release of 2010's incredible debut album Blood Seed, it was more than just a mere change of monicker; it reflected their transition from sparse, abstract dronescapes towards a more structured, malevolent sound that put them within the wide-ranging classification of metal, albeit at the outer fringes.
The blackened doom they conjured with that album held me utterly captivated, so much so that it was the very first album that ever moved me to try to put into words what I felt for its haunting, otherwordly ambiance.
Listening to it again many times after my initial review, I don't think I'll ever adequately describe the feelings it evokes, nor the nightmarish worlds it creates within my mind.

When the Perigaea demo became available late last year it coincided with a dark, isolated period in my life, and quickly became my escapist soundtrack, a creepily comforting collection that I would retreat to time and time again. The band's assertion that the demo was only "the early stages and younger concepts" that would inform the finished work, and that it would be "an entirely different manifestation of the ideas heard on the demo" made me eager to hear where they would take what was already an accomplished recording and concept.

The culmination of a two-year writing and re-writing period, with the finished album recorded with renowned producer/engineer Mell Dettmer (Sunn 0))), Boris, Earth), the release of their sophomore album Perigaea Antahkarana is upon us.

Considering that Wolvserpent is comprised of only two members, Blake Green on guitar, vocals, and keys, and Brittany McConnell on drums, percussion and violin, the way they build up the various layers in each song without them sounding cluttered or over-thought is miraculous, and their use of loops and effects pedals to produce such a wide variety of sounds is especially impressive in a live environment.

At 81 minutes this is not the sort of album you'll throw on for some easy-listening, but if you're willing to dedicate yourself to it, to submit to an awakening of your atavistic instincts, it's one of the most rewarding immersive experiences that metal on the more avant-garde end of the spectrum can offer.

Read my full review over at The Sleeping Shaman...

Tombstones - Red Skies and Dead Eyes

The jagged mountains and darkened forests of Norway may be better known for inspiring the harsh, frostbitten sounds of the second wave of Black Metal, but recently the flux of excellent bands extolling the virtues of all that is low and slow has been attracting the attention of anyone with an ear to the underground. With the release of its third album Red Skies and Dead Eyes, it’s clear that Oslo’s Tombstones are at the forefront of this movement.

From the six tracks of bleakest doom on offer within the grooves to the beautifully presented packaging, replete with stunning illustrations courtesy of Glyn Smyth, Red Skies is one of 2013′s essential purchases.

Read my full review over at Summoning Spirits...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ephemeros - All Hail Corrosion

I'm a sucker for West Coast miserablists like Asunder, Aldebaran, Laudanum, Samothrace, and Anhedonist, so I was excited to hear of a relatively recent addition to this band of happy campers, Portland's Ephemeros.

Comprised of various gloomy luminaries from bands such as Nux Vomica, Graves At Sea, Uzala and Bastard Feast, these guys have a proven pedigree for creating harsh sounds for harsh times, and All Hail Corrosion, their debut offering, is an even more dismal sound than anything they've created before.

The title track opens with the plaintive chime of a lone guitar, before the full band come crashing in, all devastating weight and foul growl. From there it's a slow burner of a track, their guitar harmonies have that beautifully melancholic quality present in all the best funeral doom, that sound that instills an ache in your chest. When done right, as it is here, there's nothing like it.
Ephemeros offer both despondency and redemption in their sound.

All Hail Corrosion is available now on CD via Seventh Rule:

With a vinyl release available for pre-order from Parasitic Records:

All Hail Corrosion, All Hail Ephemeros!