Sunday, September 09, 2007

Deathspell Omega – Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice


Black Metal for me is a unique experience. Something that I look forward to in small measures. Over the years I’ve found few bands from this genre that I liked.

Now, even if the genre once originated with Venom the bands today sounds nothing like them. Black Metal has undergone a tremendous change. From dirty Satan worshipping rock n roll to burning churches to meditations on existentialism and worshiping the self. The music too has undergone a sea change and with it, the tastes of the listening public. Not too many years ago, Ulver shocked the Black Metal horde by releasing an acoustic album. They were derided for straying and then cast aside. Last year Drudkh released an all acoustic album to universal acclaim. The music is changing, the themes are changing and it is becoming difficult for me to tell when something is Black Metal.

Still, I’m not reviewing Negura Bunget here. DsO, while a terrific black metal band are not particularly original. Deathspell Omega play a brand of black metal that is harsh and punishing to the ears. The music is complex, the songs veer this way and that and it is buried in the usual sludge of the kvlt Black Metal album. Make no mistake, my friends. You have been warned. This is as kvlt as it gets. Honestly. Kvlt Site should adopt this album as its mascot.

The band come from France and their lyrics supposedly deal with some musings on existentialism. I can almost picture them drinking their absinthe and exchanging thoughts on the matter. If I could paint, then that is the picture I would paint right now. Deathspell Omega sitting round a table, sipping absinthe and contemplating existentialism. I’ll even paint a copy of Sartre’s Nausea on the table. So you can just about see the title. Come to think of it, that could be their album cover.

But enough! I digress here. I should get back to the matter at hand but the album’s over and now I need to play it all over again.

The album starts with a slow foreboding intro. A doomy guitar riff and vocals that sound like some sort of chanting that you might even hear in one of our temples. Similar melodies anyway. The song goes through the same damn riff over and over with minor ebbs and flows till I’m dropped into an ambient soundscape with the same chanting type vocal line. First Prayer has passed and Sola Fide 1 is a raging death black beast. If these guys had a clean production… they’d sound a million times better. I mean this is the kind of song that Behemoth can only dream of writing. And the song’s barely started. Going of into a melodic section, a staccato riffing pattern and right back into this incredibly heavy death metal riff. The song proceeds to a melodic black metal vibe while sounding nothing like Dimmu. Two songs in, the band sound pretty damn impressive.

Ok, now, I can’t listen to this album twice in a row. I feel like I can’t breathe. Like there’s a pressure round my chest. My humble apologies. I will return.

I’m going to skip a couple of songs now. Not because they’re bad but because I can. In an unrelated aside half my comics seem to be missing.

The album moves on to Third Prayer. A mid tempo black metal song that brings to mind the work of Rob Darken. Perhaps not as militaristic but definitely some Graveland influences happening here. I have no problems with that. Graveland rule \m/.

The title song is pure Immortal. Hell, the vocalist even sounds like Abbath.

Okay, I think I’m getting the hang of this record now. DsO basically take the best bits from all my favourite Black Metal bands, be it Immortal, Emperor or Graveland and then add in death metal parts to keep things just off balance. Off course its all wrapped up in that kvlt production so it sounds like my favourite albums by those bands too. While I am referencing away to high heaven I may as well add this name. The Chasm. I think Daniel Corchado and his boys have had a bit of an unwitting influence on newer black metal bands coming from Central Europe and that bit at the end of the title song sounds like a Chasm song slowed down.

Look. I don’t have the bloody patience to sit through this album right now and really want to listen to the new Alabama Thunderpussy. So if you like all or any of the names that I’ve dropped in this entry and fancy listening to a band that can sound like all those bands in the same song and deal with some hi-funda lyrical concepts then check Deathspell Omega out. Or you could just listen to the other bands mentioned in this entry (excepting Behemoth).
Thank you for your time Dear Diary. I know you’re a busy woman.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

this and that

Orange Goblin is kvlt. There's no better description for this British band. Formed in 1995, the band has over the last decade and more released 5 albums. Starting in the stoner doom tradition, the band evolved by their fourth album to become a noisy Motorhead meets Stoner meets blues rock kind of band. Very original and as can be heard on 2004s Thieving From The House Of God, quite captivating.

I would like to review the new Orange Goblin very much right now. Sadly, words are not happening.

India won today. Terrific victory. Robin Uthappa played a blinder and Sachin played a classic. I'm going to be glued to the telly on Saturday. Also, i have a strong suspicion that this series was fixed. I don't think this Indian Team is good enough to be beating England. That too in such dramatic fashion. Still, watching Sachin bat in the last two games was worth it. Like Sidhu said about Azhar, “ So what if he did it. Lets remember him for the joy he gave us with his batting.”

I don't know why i wrote about cricket. Still i guess its better than nothing.

The new Orange Goblin is fantastic. 5 on 5 for kicking some serious butt. Ben Ward's vocals have become a lot better and the band are just on top gear through the whole album. I think A Beginners Guide To Suicide is the song of the year so far. I still have to hear the new Down and the Deathspell Omega but something tells me Healing Through Fire is going to be as good as it gets for a while. Superb album.

I hope Monster Magnet get round to releasing an album this year. I'd like one. Anathema supposedly releasing a new album this year. I wonder if Mick Moss has collaborated on it.
I got a terrific Matter Of Life And Death poster from the beloved. Very nice. I also got a bunch of boxers. In fact every single boxer i use at this point is gifted by her. I swear, underwear shopping fucks my head.

I think i should sleep now. Tomorrow promises to be a long day. A long tiring day breaking backs and breaking hearts and sitting on the steps at the city's heart and baiting the policemen who beat the streets where south meets north and all is in flux and it is THE place to be.

In other news dear diary, I'm slowly trying to rebuild the collage on my cabinet. I'm off to a decent enough start so far. Still I can never replace the ad for Seventh Son from 1987, Henry Rollins during his Black Flag days and some insane blood smeared Misfits pics. Still, I managed to find a replacement for the Dark Angel Darkness Descends line up pic so all is well and good.

This has to be the most inane post in a while. I can feel Aunty Shame pointing her finger at me and mocking. Just like she did, the time i got out for a duck in the under 13 game against Josephs. Such is the bitch that is Aunty Shame.

I've listened to the new Orange Goblin album about a dozen times in the last 3 days. I can recognize it's brilliance but i cannot describe it. This band has pulled off an absolute blinder. The band has moved from the garage to the same rarefied atmosphere inhabited by the likes of Clutch and CoC. Healing Through Fire is godly.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

hell again

Long time dear diary. How have you been ? Still whoring youself out to the highest bidder ? I thought so.

Life has become strangely apathetic. Or is that, I have become strangely apathetic to life ? I don't know.

I've been listening to some awesome music lately. I've also started writing reviews again. I think I'm better at it now. Check it out dear diary.

Some amazing music that i've heard this year.....
1. Akercocke - Antichrist
2. Antimatter - Leaving Eden
3. Weedeater - God Luck And Good Speed
4. Gorefest - Rise To Ruin
5. Clutch - From Beale Street...
6. Extreme Noise Terror / Driller Killer - Split (Although i'm not sure if this came out this year or the last).
7. Disbelief - Navigator
8. Abscess - Horrorhammer
10. Project: Failing Flesh - The Conjoined
11. Nuerosis - Given To The Rising

I'm sure i've left a few albums out that should be there but this year is looking awesome. All i really need is a new Nevermore and I'm looking forward to the new Monster Magnet which will hopefully come out this year.

The biggest dissapointment this year has to be the new Ministry album. Way too much Tommy Victor in the mix and it just doesn't sound like a Ministry album. Left me completely unmoved and all the samples and anti-republican messages sound a little old on this one. The Last Sucker doesn't suck but its not all that good either. Feels like a very safe effort to go out on. But then I read somewhere that Jourgenson's planning on releasing a covers album sometime next year so in that case this won't be the last sucker at all.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Farewell Dear Mumbai

The man hops along the coach. His stick could be a deadly weapon but it is far more important as a surrogate leg. The dogs are ugly and old. Flies use them for couches but they can still bark. The streets are slushy and dirty, the sky is grey and the atmosphere sticky. The wind, when it deigns to make its presence felt, is in my face. The smells of this city change with every road.

People on the trains stare at me far too much. Most look at me like they want me to smile and acknowledge their stares. Don't smile at strangers. I return their friendly stares with a cold expressionless stare till they drop their gaze. I'll outstare you every single time.

I wrote the above maybe a few weeks after I moved to Mumbai. Now, a little less then 2 years later, when I read this again on the eve of my departure I know that the city has changed me.

I still get the stares but now I smile and get a smile back in return. This city is a friend. Farewell dear Mumbai . I think I'm taking a little bit of you back with me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

2006 and Extreme Metal

I listened to an insane amount of killer extreme metal this past year.

This is my top ten (or eleven) in order of preference.....

Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Magnificent. Evrything that this band hinted at on Remission and Leviathan comes to full fruition on Blood Mountain. It's useless to try and pin this album down because Blood Mountain is far greater than the sum of its influences. Mastodon are at the very top of their game.

Celtic Frost - Monotheist

Fucking come back of the year! It's still Celtic Frost but updated for the new millenium. This is not a nostalgia act. A state of the art of production helps but ultimately its the songs and Monotheist has killer songs from start to finish.

Lamb Of God - Sacrament

Sacrament blew my fucking socks off. Lamb Of God are the true inheritors of a throne left vacant since the demise of Pantera. This is pissed off supremely heavy metal. Listen to this.

Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance

Katatonia have finally made an album thats filled with great songs from start to finish. The doomy atmosphere is still intact but there is a slight change in the sound of the band. The guitars weave and twist and the riffs almost sound delicate. Melancholic without being overly deppresive, The Great Cold Distance is easily Katatonia's most accomplished album in a long while.
Enslaved - Runn

Enslaved have come a long way since Eld. Mixing their Viking extreme metal style with progressive rock, the band have created an absolute masterpiece with Runn. If you liked Below The Lights or Isa then Runn is going to be right up your alley.

Isahn - The Adversary

This album seems to have got a bit lost in the fanfare and sheer expectation levels generated by the reunion of Emperor. The Adversary is a superb extreme metal album. Almost like Isahn satisfied all his avante garde needs with Pecattum and then just decided to record some heavy fucking metal. The songs are well thought out, some great lead guitar playing and embraces different styles within the metal genre. I don't know if Emperor will ever release another album but I hope Isahn does. Super stuff.

Isis - In The Absence Of Truth

If you thought Isis would never be able to top Oceanic and Panopticon, then think again. In The Absence Of Truth sees the band taking a much softer route but the songs still rock. The background drone and the pummeling intensity of previous outings has been replaced in favour of melancholic and at times almost melodic songs that bristle with power. Probably the best doom metal album of the last year without actually being doomy or metal.

The Meads Of Asphodel - In The Name of God Welcome To Planet Genocide

This is the most exciting band in the extreme metal underground today. Mixing a black metal aesthetic with Venom/ Motorhead inspired rock n roll, psychedelia, drum n bass and lead guitars courtesy one Huey Loyd Langton from Hawkwind, The Meads of Asphodel throw everything including the kitchen sink into the mix. This little ep leaves their last full length "Damascus Steel" in the dust. Fantastic.

Sun O))) & Boris - Altar

A collaboration between American drone/ noise band Sun O))) and Japanese loonies Boris was always going to be interesting and Altar lives up to all the promise. Layers and layers of distortion and riffs that crawl along at a snail's pace means that Altar is not an easy listen. Kim Thayil turns up to play lead guitar on Swamp Song but overall this is extreme music. Difficult to digest but worth listening to. Essential headphone music.

Napalm Death - Smear Campaign/ Deicide - The Stench Of Redemption

2 bands from the old school. 2 bands left with nothing to prove and more than 1 seminal album in the bag. Yet Napalm Death's Smear Campaign and Deicide's The Stench Of Redemption have left behind a lot of the younger faster heavier bands. Napalm continue down the merry bludgeoning way set by Enemy Of The Music Business while Deicide's Stench... halts the trend of mediocre albums and almost seems like a follow up to Vital Remains' Dechristianized. 2 terrific albums by the old guard.

Senile ramblings

I'm sitting in a restaurent called Ginger Marie. Mumbai's equivalent of Casa Picola I guess. My new pen writes really well just in case you were wondering Dear Diary. I'm bored. I want to see a movie but nothing i want to catch is on. Little Miss Sunshine at 11:15 pm. I think I'll go watch that.

I have a joint. All rolled up and waiting. Finish dinner, a chicken fettucini pasta Arabiatta. I'm not expecting much. Some semi dry tomato sauce, bits of chicken floating around and the whole thing just drowned in cheese. Lots and lots of cheese cause this is Mumbai and every kind of food you can think of can be served with cheese. Cheese in your dosa and Cheese in your tava pulav. They fucking love it here.

Bangalore was awesome. Maiden, then Scotty's then weed, then beer, food, my room, the company of friends. Bangalore was fucking awesome. The only thing missing was a gas chamber. I think we've all grown up a bit. Tolerance levels have gone down and we all pass out sooner rather than later. The end of an era if you will Dear Diary. The sad bit is, I'm not sure when the end came.

The pasta was pretty good. Spicy, just a sprinkling of parmesan and a nice sauce. I don't know why I didn't come here earlier.

I've just about finished my Hellblazer collection. Almost. Missing Azarello's Good Intentions and Ellis's Setting Sun and Haunted. I think Garth Ennis's contribution to Hellblazer was fucking spectacular. His vision of Satan, Lord Lucifer call him what you will leaves Gaiman's version from Sandman and Mike Carey's version from the spin off in the dust. Ennis's version of Lucifer is just bad ass.

India's out of the World Cup. It was pathetic. I felt embarrased and ashamed. All of my predictions of atleast a semi final berth were consigned to the stuff of dreams. What happens to Indian cricket now is anybody's guess. I'll still watch every game as will millions of my fellow Indiansso the BCCI won't be too bothered. Such a big dissapointment. This country deserved better.

26th March 2007

Iron Maiden was everything I thought it would be and then some. I can't stop smiling. It's been 10 days now and I still can't get over it. I saw Iron fucking Maiden. Fuck everything else. \m/

I'm going back to Bangalore in April.
Farewell Mumbai
I leave my beloved rose in your care.
Treat her well.
Handle her with care.
Don't make me come back.

I have to figure out a lot of stuff. Moving back and all. New job, living at home, and all that. Right now though, all I can really think about is where I'll find the place for my books and music. That's all I can think of. Rome is burning and I'm counting CDs and leafing through Hellblazers.