Pensées Nocturnes – À boire et à manger

My initial reaction to this album was of immense disgust and displeasure. There is such a thing as trying too hard to go for an aesthetic. I understand an album trying to sound french, but there’s a difference between sounding french, and shitting baguettes and snail guts while a mime silently sobs in the background. I could feel myself growing fatter and bitchier, my skin starting to glow pale white, and I had almost completed my full transformation into a high school goth girl while this album played. However as I listened, I began to realize that despite my initial objections, and despite my undying disdain for albums that try too hard to get a certain sound, I had to admit that this shit actually kinda works.

Sure, the saxophones, accordions, operatic female vocals, violins, bass, acoustic guitars, piano, circus samples and so forth was a lot to take in. At times too much. But I had to think, if I were to try to make french boutique black metal, could I really do any better? Objections to the concept aside, taking it for what it is, could it have been executed better? The answer I believe is an honest to god no. As deplorable as the Satie cover could’ve been, it’s probably the best black metal cover a Satie piece I will ever hear. In fact as much as it pains me to say it, that’s probably the best track on the album. Sure there’s the issue of 80% of the album being a variation on the same chord progression, but the kind of music it’s based on is not exactly variable in nature.

I can’t really say I loved this album, but taking it for what it’s worth, I feel like this is an interesting enough take on black metal, that’s done in a way that’s not quite obnoxious enough to be unbearable, and for that, I have to at least give it a seal of recommendation, if anything else for the fact that it’s a curiosity.


7.25/10

Phantom Winter – Sundown Pleasures

I really like the direction the band has gone with this album. Their last record was much more on the heavy sludge side, with some atmo sludge elements, and here they go much more on the atmo sludge side, with very heavy sludge elements. I really enjoy the sort of soaring, climactic approach to a dirty, heavy sludge album. Songs like The Darkest Clan embody this more than anything, giving a sort of grander scale to the album, rather than staying close at home with the heavy sludge riffs. The album just feels larger this way, and the experience is much more unique than if they had just played loud and proud.

Hence why the first track is so inexplicably mediocre. Phantom Winter introduces the album by playing this noisy, chaotic sludge track, that tries to masquerade as atmo sludge. The doesn’t work, and makes the fact that the entire rest of the album doesn’t follow this trend all the more confusing, especially considering the consistent quality of the other 5 tracks. I think all Phantom Winter needs to do is give their 110% for a full album, and maybe up the time to around 45 minutes rather then 40, and they’re be approaching the 9/10 category. Really enjoyed this, some of the best atmo sludge this year.


8.25/10

Thy Catafalque – Meta

I think this album demonstrates a difference between quirky and colorful. Colorful in my eyes is something that elicits imagination, creativity, and certain kind of lushness to the music. It feels like the band put their heart and soul into the record, and as a result creates an album filled with every color of the rainbow, in a truly unique and satisfying experience. Meta is just quirky. Sure it has some weirdness to it, with various electronic and orchestral oddness, but it the melodies are so ridiculously uninspiring that I can’t help but feel both bored and disappointed the whole way through. There are brief moments where I think the album hits (Mezolit for instance), but for the most part it feels like Thy Catafalque through a bunch of related shit together, strung it over the same few melodies, and hoped for the best. Not to mention the album is over an hour long, with a 21 minute track that feels exactly the same as the majority of the album.

Sure Meta has a lot of parts to it, but I would rather have an album with a few well crafted parts that go together, than an album that throws a bunch of different things together that come off as a bit random, and end up sounding the same anyway.


5/10

Kadotettu – Ihmisyyden viimeiset askeleet

Too much black metal honestly. When working as this blackened, surreal and somber funeral doom (though, more just very slow and depressive black metal) record, the artists intentions of creating a look into suicide and evil is realized in a fantastic way. I love the piano, I love the relaxed and cold guitars, and I feel like I’m getting a unique experience. There’s just too many blast beats. I feel like the middle two tracks are just sort of there, more as filler than anything else, and when it gets aggressive, it loses all of what makes the music so enjoyable. The vocals are also a bit subpar, trying just a tiny bit too hard to be harsh I think. The album is a bit uneventful, but when it works, it works well, and I can truly say it’s the only one of it’s kind I’ve listened to this year.


7/10

https://kadotettu.bandcamp.com/

Azaxul – The Fleshy Tomb

Really nice peice of atmoblack. I love how thin the production is, it gives this music a far out, wispy vibe, that at the same time doesn’t sound softer, or really stereo-typically “cold”. It’s sort of just ghostly, spectral even. It’s sort of a unique atmosphere that gives the music some flavor, even though the musical contents aren’t exactly anything new. I feel like it’s too long, especially since it lacks variety, however it was still very enjoyable for what it was.


7/10

http://misanthrophia-discos.blogspot.com/2014/10/misanthrophia-discos-releases.html

Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith

Honestly, immensely disappointing. Tracks 9-11 were great, but I felt the rest of the album was repetitive and uninspiring. The vocals aren’t shocking like the band is famous for, and the riff work was very inconsistent. You had riffs like on the title track, and then you had the entire first half of the album, which felt like one long background buzz of boredom. I feel like there was just no goal with the music, it was just sort of aimlessly hypnotic and dark, without actually succeeding in being either. To top it all off, the album is immensely long, clocking in at 57 minutes and 13 tracks. If this was around 40 minutes, I think I could handle this, but again, the entire first half feels like one extended track, disregarding the 3 pointless intro/outro tracks. I don’t mind repetitive black metal, but there has to be some sort of goal in mind when making music like that, and here I feel like it’s just trying to be aimlessly occult without any of the creativity needed to do so. This album is a large production attempting to dive into a low production theme, and fails as a result.


5.75/10

https://inquisitionbm.bandcamp.com/album/bloodshed-across-the-empyrean-altar-beyond-the-celestial-zenith