March. What can I say? It’s been a great month. So much interesting music has been released; mainstream popular stuff like Napalm Death (good), Rivers of Nihil (great), and Escape the Fate (atrocious), but also a lot of less known stuff which you can see below. These three albums are damn good too, just don’t have time to do a full write up. Woe is life. They pulled me out of my never ending need spiral of GosT’s Possessor and Lazerpunk’s Death and Glory though, so you know they’re good.
Snakefeast – In Chaos, Solace
Before I start, I should mention Snakefeast don’t have a guitarist, nor they do employ any software that mimics a guitarist. They have a crazy technical and jazzy drummer, a bassist, a vocalist, and a saxophonist. Instrumentally, it’s a bit like Shining (Norway), as they tend to marry saxophone and black metal, but there is a presence of atmospheric screamed vocals underneath the pristine croon of the saxophone throughout the album that is quite frankly, utterly unique and absolutely addictive.
This here is the exact album that took me out of my reverie so to speak. I pressed play and as first track ‘Pyre’ finished I was thinking this is a bit weird, even for me. But I couldn’t move – I was hypnotised. ‘Shroud’ kept playing and I could only pull that face of appreciation that all metal heads have as the fuzzy, bouncy bass section continued on and coalesced into a spectacular brass and drum crescendo. From then on, I was hooked. No two ways about it. The atmosphere that the quartet have created is indescribable. I cannot stress enough how much this band has burrowed under my skin, and laid eggs that are hatching into an innate need to have the music surround me non stop.
WuW – Rien Ne Nous Sera Épargné
France is amazing. The amount of crazy music that comes out of that country is bluntly mind boggling. What is going on over there?! Anyway. WuW are an instrumental duo with heavy doom and drone leanings that may have the ability to drown you in their sound. Now hold up, they’re not overly heavy. They’re not overly atmospheric. They’re just… Perfectly balanced. Much like Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You! Black Emperor, their compositions are so interesting that the absence of vocals is not even a consideration. Every texture feels like it belongs there, and has since the beginning of time.
All the tracks on Rien Ne Nous Sera Épargné are lengthy, but they don’t feel it. As a whole, the album benefits from the ominously droning bass and the simple yet punchy drums that underlay the almost mesmeric strings and keys. Second track ‘Vivre à la Splendeur des Crépuscules’ is constructed layer by layer, with little nuances that return in an atmosphere that develops over the nine minutes, coalescing into a soap bubble of tension that feels ready to pop at any moment, which it does, abruptly. You fail to realise just how calming the music is until it stops. And every single song is its own microcosmic journey such as this. Very, very special.
It would seem all the albums this week share quite an atmospheric theme, and this one is no different. However, this Czech and Chinese duo hark back to a post black metal atmosphere akin to Deafheaven or older Ghost Bath. Absolutely harrowing vocals are paired with breakneck and dynamic guitar riffs uplifted by crashing cymbals and thundering blast beats. Single ‘Quiescent’ is a stunning example of all these elements. The vocals are astoundingly violent, calling forth images of isolation in an utterly inhospitable wasteland, and the instruments are no better. They continue to shred and rip at the sanity of the listener, leaving only tatters in its wake.
I also just wanted to draw attention to the art for this one, I think it’s great. So conceptually simple, yet so impactful. A better metaphor for Kosmogyr’s music does not exist. They take the black metal formula of frenetic tremolos and throat blistering howls and intersperse beautiful moments of purity inside their song structures. They’re few and far in between but they’re like crystal drops of water under a harsh sun – beautiful. And I just think that’s reflected abstractedly in the album cover so… Congratulations. Either way, look at it, or listen to it, Eviternity needs to be in your collection.