Saturday, June 13, 2015

Various Artists - Vánagandr Label Compilation

Artist: Various
Label: Vánagandr (V-06)
Limitation: Unknown
Country: Iceland
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2015

I'd like to preface this review by saying that if you're a fan of modern, forward thinking black metal that is nevertheless steeped in tradition, there's no reason not to own this compilation. Vánagandr, however young, is quickly becoming THE go to label for exceptional black metal, Icelandic or otherwise. With names like Sinmara (ex-Chao), Misþyrming, Svartidauði and Naðra, this is by far the best label comp I've heard since the Worship Black Twilight CD-R back in 2009. None of these songs feel like leftovers from their album counterparts (and indeed, one or two are album tracks), and like the Crepusculo Negro collective, the artists share a unity of sound that lends well to the compilation format. I haven't included sound samples for this recording - the artists involved are easy enough to find online - but I highly recommend ordering this tape direct from the label and exploring each of these groups further. If you have any interest in black metal whatsoever, you won't be disappointed.

Highest possible recommendation.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fever Nest - The Mooneyed And Paralyzed

Artist: Fever Nest
Label: Knife Vision (KV-004)
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Black Metal/Punk
Year: 2013

For fans of recent Caligari Records signings, Human Bodies and the killer Mahtowa Death March tape, here is some absolutely evil punk-influenced black metal from my old hometown of Columbus, Ohio. This tape is seventeen minutes of pure hatred and aggression, courtesy of ex-Mouth Of The Architect guitarist, Gregory Lahm. I have to be honest, I've had this tape in my possession for a while now, but it's only been the last several days, coming home (with a more than a little whiskey in me) from a particularly stressful run of dealing with the general public that this album has begun to sink in. This is absolute and complete narcissistic bitterness and contempt for everything that goes on two legs. I'm reminded of a quote, which I'll paraphrase and I'm sure I'll butcher here due to the aforementioned whiskey - "I've never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a great deal of pleasure." Yeah. This music is kinda like that.

Copies still available via Knife Vision...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Subterranean - Illness Of Revenge

Artist: Subterranean
Label: Walpurgisfeuer Productions (VLAD-002)
Limitation: 50 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Death Metal
Year: 2015

Incredibly claustrophobic, murky, lo-fi metal of death (I'll refrain from using the 'cavern-core' descriptor) that walks a fine line with pure noise from the madman behind clothbodies' favorites Nefaria, featuring awesome hand-drawn, old-school art by Moxibuster himself. Adventurous fans of Grave Upheaval's first demo tape take notice. Copies still available from the inimitable CW Productions.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sallow - I: The Great Work & II: Corpses & Ruins

Artist: Sallow
Label: Self-released
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2015

One listen to 'Ashes Fell To Earth,' the opening song off of 'Corpses and Ruins,' (the second of two simultaneously released demos by New York's Sallow) should be enough to convince you that this band is onto something special. From the beautifully harsh tremolo melodies and the completely unhinged vocal delivery to the unique build-up of riffs that make this twelve minute anthem an absolute pleasure to get lost in, this composition is perilously close to achieving sonic perfection. And while this song is indeed the immediate highlight to this set of releases, the other songs follow similar paths of greatness. At this point, little to no information is available on this upcoming act, but I find it hard to believe I'll hear a better debut this year than these two EPs. Sallow won't remain a secret for long.

And oh yeah, seriously - those vocals. Highly recommended.

"Naked in moonlit bliss, drunk on fire..."

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Logo / Potential Patch

New logo for the Clothbodies blog by my good buddy Dustin. I'm considering having high-quality, embroidered patches made (probably a black inverse of the above image) but want to get a read on the level of enthusiasm for potential merchandise first. If this is something you'd be interested in, please leave a message in the post's comment area. If enough people are responsive to the idea, I'm planning on getting rolling on a small batch of these bad-boys as soon as possible. Depending in part on how these go, I'm toying with the concept of intermittently expanding Clothbodies into a small-run, tape-only label in the near future. As always, thanks to everyone who's enjoyed and supported this humble endeavor over the last couple years.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jute Gyte - The Night Door Under Lock And Key / Laocoön

Artist: Jute Gyte
Label: Black Horizons (BH-95)
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Experimental Black Metal / Dark Ambient
Year: 2015

Missouri based Adam Kalmbach's second release on the venerable experimental label Black Horizons finds him exhibiting two different sides of his peerless Jute Gyte project. While previous releases on his own Jeshimoth Entertainment imprint were limited exclusively to either his black metal persona or his more ambient/experimental workouts (albeit both under the same moniker), this release takes advantage of the two-sided cassette format and showcases the best of both his highly eccentric worlds. Side A finds him in full on black metal mode, as much as you can call the methodically atonal guitar workouts and nightmarish noise-ridden sonic environments he creates 'black metal.' Side B, on the other hand, is an exercise in beautifully creeping repetition and minor key melodic ambiance that repeats for the entirety of the side-long composition, leaving the listener with an evocatively strange sense of  melancholic longing. In addition to the high quality of the music on this release, the design aesthetic is impeccable, and makes for a incredibly handsome physical artifact - something I've come to expect from all of Black Horizons' output. Needless to say, this comes with the highest of recommendations.

Lyrics from Joyce Mansour's 'Where The Wound Writhes.'

Friday, May 1, 2015

Circle Of Salt - Suffer The Cold

Label: GreySun Records (GSR-007)
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: Canada
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2014

Yet another amazing offering from the Pacific Northwest's preeminent up and coming metal/experimental tape label, Greysun Records. This time we have a slow burn of beautifully atmospheric mid-paced black metal from the mysterious Canadian horde(?) Circle of Salt. Seemingly emerging fully formed from out of the aether, this cassette-only release definitely has my interest piqued for this all but unknown group. Suffer the Cold delivers two lengthy song-cycles in two parts each that flow together beautifully for the duration of the album's approximately 35 minute run-time. I'm surprised that this stunning release hasn't received more attention from the press - GreySun is synonymous with quality and has yet to put out a release that didn't completely blow my mind. Regardless, I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from Circle Of Salt as the band's (and label's) reputation inevitably escalates. I can't recommend this album highly enough.