Monday, 4 April 2016

Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä

(February 26th, 2016, Svart Records, 20 Buck Spin)

I love the word "cosmic". It's one of those words. You can feel what it means just by the sound of it. It makes you think of distant stars, vast expanses and dark abysses. When we say that something is "cosmic" it really feels like it's from another world, beyond human understanding. Why am I saying this? Because this is the most appropriate word for Oranssi Pazuzu's music. Cosmic. Beyond human understanding, but still within ear's reach.

   Oranssi Pazuzu is a band which clearly engaged in some kind of alien contact with another world from where they got the inspiration to play psychedelic black metal. It may seem like they are from Tampere, Finland, but to be honest, I think their motherland is in some faraway galaxy. They have been on Earth since 2007 and Värähtelija is their fourth long play album. These musicians absolutely found their own niche and are constantly trying to break the genre's, and their own, boundaries. Without any stagnation, ever, since their debut, they are improving their music more and more. 

   Värahtelijä is reaching far into other dimensions and spaces. With every note on this album they are trying to send you into outer space. And they're doing it with success. The new Oranssi Pazuzu album is a juggernaut of a spaceship which will take you on a mind-expanding cruise through galaxies, nebulas, abysses, wormholes and across mystical dimensions. Stunned by the view, you'll probably forget to buckle yourself up. This interstellar journey puts you in a trancelike reverie for an hour on which you might get sensations of absentness and helplessness. The Oranssi crew is specialized in these kind of trips and they won't try to bring you back anytime soon. Eventually you will return to Earth, but will have a strong desire to do it again...and again...and again...

   Värähtelija means "oscillator" in Finnish. I think this is the best word to sum up this album. Regular, deep signals made by a perfect rhythm section upon which other instruments lay layers and layers of these cosmic harmonies. When you press play you can't simply just stop it because you're are just a passenger and these magnificent musicians are the pilots. So the best thing to do is just to give in and let them take you on the ride.

   It is really hard do describe what Värähtelijä offers, so I'm sorry for a bit chaotic and disorganized review but it's kind of hard to write when you're traveling through galaxies in warp speed. If you ever wanted to be an astronaut, or you just want to visit the great void that surrounds us and don't have the money for your own private spaceship fortunately here is SS Värähtelijä and it welcomes you aboard! 

- Tomek


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Sverblôd - Sverblôd

Sverblôd - Sverblôd
(February 1st, 2016, Independent)

   Lately polish black metal scene has grown incredibly fast. If some years ago somebody told me that we will have so many great bands in that genre I would've laughed maniacally and question this person's sanity. But our bands became kind of classic acts not only in polish scene but are also praised worldwide. To be honest, many think we are already one of the countries with the best scene in this genre nowadays. Mgła, Blaze of Perdition, Infernal War, Furia... I could go on and on, but what I want to say - we're pretty strong on that ground. And the best thing about the hype in some genres is the fact that many new bands are getting inspired. Some are good, some are not. Sverblôd is from Kraków and they began their music adventure in 2014. The demo album reviewed below is their first released material.
   First of all - Sverblôd try to connect two differet genres; cold wave and black metal. But don't worry, they're doing it in a very subtle way. It's not some kind of strange genre hybrid with two heads all over the place. The only thing they "borrowed" from cold wave is the atmosphere. In fact, they're playing old school black metal, with some slower parts here and there. Cold wave influence is everywhere but not in a pushy way - you can just feel this specific, cold and metallic sound. In fact, it's the one of the biggest advantages of the demo. I like how Sverblôd decided to keep this mood without any miserable and tearful whining. Void of any unnecessary longueurs they just absorb you in their freezing winter atmosphere. That's what I like. Atmospheric, but not in a theatrical manner. Just classic black metal.

   The most promising tracks? Well, the highlight moments of Sverblôd are "Resztki", "Waldeninsamkeit" and a cover of The Cure at the end (which is also the longest track on the album). It kind of reminds of Carpathian Forest's cover of "A Forest", with a slight difference - Sverblôd decided to cover "Siamese Twins", one of the most iconic songs from Pornography era of The Cure. And they did it in a pretty good way - it's a nice cover. Those were some big boots to fill, so - well done! "Resztki" and "Waldeninsamkeit" are, in my opinion, the most significant tracks on the demo... They're the culmination of the aforementioned cold atmosphere. And the rest of the material is quite well balanced. It's a very decent demo, with practically no flaws. I must appreciate one thing - the lyrics in Polish. I think our language is very fitting for black metal and that polish bands shouldn't avoid it. It's good to hear it.

   Sverblôd released a very nice and a promising demo. I wish them well and I'm going to keep an eye on them... Who knows what will happen in the future. It would be pretty nice to have another good band coming from my country. And for now, I just must say - dobra robota!

- Tomek


Friday, 11 March 2016

Inverloch - Distance | Collapsed

(March 4th, 2016, Relapse Records)

For some reason I was never attracted to doom metal (or death / doom metal in this case) classics like early My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost, etc. And although I now listen to doom bands that are in some way inspired by those early classics, bands that introduced me to death doom (and its sister genre - funeral doom) were Winter, early Cathedral, Thergothon, Skepticism, Evoken, Esoteric... and the mighty Disembowelment. In fact Disembowelment might be the first death doom band I've ever heard. I still remember the feeling when I first listened to Transcendence into the Peripheral. It was probably the most sombre, depressive, melancholic and haunting music I have encountered until then. It sucked me right into that occult, gloomy underworld and I was stuck on that album for months. And to this day it still remains one of my favourite doom records. Unfortunately this great Australian band disbanded after their only album. Two of the members, Matthew Skarajew and Renato Gallina had a very interesting project after Disembowelment called Trial Of The Bow, which sounded nothing like their former band, and wasn't even a metal band. It was beautifully done ambiental ethno music with a lot of eastern influences, not unlike some Dead Can Dance works. They released one EP, Ornamentation, and one full-lenght Rite of Passage.
   Around 2011 Matthew Skarajew and Paul Mazziotta resurrected Disembowelment under the name d.USK, recruited Ben James on vocals and Mark Cullen on the second guitar and started playing songs off Transcendence into the Peripheral. About a year later a new band was born... Inverloch. Their three song EP Dusk | Subside was released in 2012 on Relapse Records. Since I never got over the fact that this great band from the early 90s fell apart after releasing only one (but magnificent) album, news of a new band with members of Disembowelment evoke some serious emotions in me and my expectations were indeed great. Unfortunately the EP was a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, it was a good death doom release, but in my opinion it didn't quite capture the atmosphere and the vibe of that only Disembowelment's full-lenght release from 1993. 
   Now Inverloch's first LP, Distance | Collapsed is here... And did they manage to capture that unique Disembowelment feeling? Yes... They nailed it! And not only that, they, now being older and more experienced, even improved it. Distance | Collapsed has all the ingredients that made Transcendence into the Peripheral such a great album. Their signature, progressive songwriting where slow, heavy parts unexpectedly give way to fast riffing and Mazziotta's unique blast beats, the haunting, brooding and atmospheric guitars, the deep, guttural growls, the immense low frequencies delivered by Chris Jordon on bass and the overall occult and ritualistc ambience of the album are what make Inverloch a true successor to Disembowelment. The production of the album is more polished than the raw, cave-like sound of Transcendece into the Peripheral, but that doesn't make it any less unique or unnatural. The playing is also quite tighter. It is something that is expected by these experienced musicians in this day and age. It still contains enough rawness to satisfy the fans of that specific Disembowelment sound... But what is maybe even more important is that Inverloch isn't just Disembowelment 2... it's a new band, with new members and their further evolution is something we should all embrace. A band should never stay stagnant and should always keep developing, improving, changing and experimenting, and judging by Distance | Collapsed, Inverloch is a band that still has a lot to show us in the future.  

- Luka


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Rimbaud - Rimbaud

(June 5th, 2015, Gusstaff Records)

Slow, cold sound of keyboards is informing you that the album has begun. After half a minute of this same theme you might ask yourself "Is my album broken? Or is that it? That's all?!". And then, suddenly, your ears are blasted with cacophony of twisted saxophone, noises and distorted vocals. You're in another dimension. Dimension where anything can happen and you don't know how or why. Welcome aboard brave listener of Rimbaud. Let me take you on a trip. Abandon all hope.

   Rimbaud is a collaboration between three polish musicians. They're all well known in their genres in Poland, but probably unknown anywhere else. Tomasz Budzyński, leader of punk rock band Armia, Mikołaj Trzaska - avant-garde saxophonist known for input in many bands, and Michał Jacaszek, artist best known in electronic genres. So we have some kind of a polish supergroup here. Although in other cases collaborations are usually well publicized and known, Rimbaud went kind of under the radar even after releasing their album in 2015... And well, it still is very overlooked.    

   So, our three musketeers made a project. They borrowed a name from famous French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. When you hear the album, you'll know that France is pretty important in their case and that there are some kind of references. Why? Because half of the album is in French. Even more, songs in French are mostly the strongest pieces of this album. I can not judge Budzyński's French because I only understand "bonjour" and "j'aime", but recording an album, or just a half of it, in a different language other than your own or maybe English is a very unusual and intriguing move.

   Well, now it's time to answer the question - what is this Rimbaud? I haven't said a word about it yet. But don't worry, there's much to say about it... It's indeed wonderful music. The trio borrowed everything they play in their "mother bands" and very cleverly and subtlely melted it into a mass of avant-garde soundscapes. To make it simple, we can say that Rimbaud are playing dark noise jazz. Beautiful label... I'm sure some are scared already. There are moments of calm ambience, but that can transform into a storm of sounds at any time, just like in this iconic beginning of album's opener "Armata". And above everything, we can feel and hear a dark and heavy atmosphere filled with rain and thunder accompanied by surreal lyrics. Magic of these sounds is just magnetic... It's hard not to listen to Rimbaud on repeat. Especially because it has a magnificent ending. Last track, "Ja To Ktoś Inny", brings all motives from the album into one song. It's a really wonderful move.

   Three mature men, who achieved almost everything in music with their previous bands, projects or solo careers, gathered together and recorded one of the best albums of 2015 and probably one of the best albums to come from Poland ever. This album is a perfect example of experience, maturity and awareness of skills. You can feel it in compositions, in ideas behind the album and in the musicianship. So if you want to spend some quality time with these three gentlemen and are prepared for extremely unpredictable music, filled with unsettling mood, but also very exciting - you know what to do now. 

- Tomek


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc

(January 22nd, 2016, Relapse Records)

Lately, the mastermind behind Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Pig Destroyer got interested in sludge metal. Well, at least it seems like it. Last EP by Pig Destroyer (which, by the way, I didn't like very much) was advertised as a sludge metal album and now Hull is doing the same thing with his first band. Is it better? Well, kind of... It's better than Pig Destroyer, that's for sure. And even if I still think that the "sludge thing" should be recorded as a completely different project, unrelated to this grindcore classic, I must admit - it's a solid album.
   I don't think I must introduce you to Agoraphobic Nosebleed, one of the most known grindcore bands, a classic of the genre, blah, blah, blah... Even if you're not a fan of grindcore I'm sure you heard of them. Arc is a totally different album than their earlier stuff. If you want grindcore - sorry, wrong address buddy. There's nothing grindcore or even grindcore-ish about this album. It's slow, dismal and misanthropic. More like Eyehategod on steroids than anything by Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
   Musicianship is on a high level (which is expected from such a band), the production is really good, and pretty much everything seems well done. As I said, it's better than the Pig Destroyer EP. Looks like Hull really improved his "sludge sound". I haven't noticed anything wrong with these three tracks... There are even some excellent moments, like the second half of "Deathbed". The biggest problem about this album is... Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
   Every time when I listened to Arc I had that feeling. And it was stronger with each new listen. "It's good and everything, but grindcore Agoraphobic was far better"... And if you know their earlier stuff, you must admit, a great grindcore album is better than a solid sludge album. Especially if these were made by the same band. This even leads to a question - isn't this a waste of potential?
   Another problem with the new album is that it's kind of forgettable. I mean, yeah, it's heavy, it sounds good, but after a few listens I didn't feel like it's something I'm going to go back to very often. As I said, it's solid - nothing less and nothing more. It's not an album that will end up in my 2016 top list. Sludge metal has gained some popularity in recent years and I'm sure some fans of the genre will find what they seek in Arc. It's good work, but nothing groundbreaking. It is a stranger in the genre and a little oddity for an average sludge fan.

- Tomek

Friday, 4 March 2016

Zayn - Fields of God

(September 15th, 2015, Independent)

Zayn hail from Croatia, Bjelovar. As they themselves say "Broken industrial city in the heart of Croatia wrapped in depression and anxiety...". This setting clearly influences their music which is often very heavy, dark, and at times quite unsettling. Zayn are an ambitious instrumental quartet since their beginnings. In 2014 they released two albums; the debut, Medeia - inspired by the greek tragedy by Euripides (parts of which were used in a theater play of the same name), and only a month later, the same year, Café Mably, based on "La Nausée" by Jean-Paul Sartre, which was recorded live in a theater in their hometown. 
   Last year they released Fields of God, in my opinion their most professionally written, recorded and produced album to date. Medeia was leaning mostly towards the post-rock / post metal sound, and it seemed Zayn were playing it a bit safe (although it did have quite original moments, especially in the rhythm section), but already at Café Mably they ventured into a very jazzy, psychedelic and experimental direction fused with heavy, monolithic riffs. On Fields of Gold they polished their sound and, it seems, found what they were going for.
   The power of Zayn lies within their fantastic drummer and bassist. These two make a huge and extremely solid backbone for the two guitarists, who also do amazing job in either laying some heavy riffing or creating layered, ambiental sound collages. They often shift between the two showing their good knowledge of dynamics. The unusual rhythm patterns also often change within the songs making the music very unpredictable. Fields of God remind me of a huge, unearthly, everchanging monolith drifting and resonating throughout space.
   This is a very promising band. I also highly recommend checking out their live performance if you get the chance. Expect loud, chest punching sounds executed with high precision. This is not happy, dancable music...this is hard hitting, psychedelic band well worth of your time if you want to hear something new and original.

- Luka


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Pogavranjen - Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem

(February 15th, 2016, Arachnophobia Records)

Seems like Croatia has a very promising predisposition of making music in their own, different way. Croatian scene maybe isn't the biggest one, but definitely among the most original ones. Every Croatian band I know has something very special about it and I often end up being mind blown by the music. True - a clever marriage of crust, death metal and... traditional Croatian instrument, tamburica. Seven That Spells - psychedelia and krautrock merged into one big pool of sonic acid. Johann Wolfgang Pozoj - a very difficult to describe avant-garde black metal with ex members of True... Yeah, Croatian scene really is something unusual. And now Pogavranjen joins this very weird company. And fits in perfectly.
   Pogavranjen are from Zagreb, Croatia, and for now they have two EPs and three LPs in their discography. To be perfectly honest with you - before listening to Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem I absolutely had no idea what to expect because I haven't heard anything by the band before. But now, afterwards, I know that not being familiar with their music was a big mistake. Why? Because this band is a real pearl of black metal. And their new album is the proof. If you read my Aluk Todolo review, you probably know how much I enjoy well done avant-garde black metal. Well, surprise, Pogavranjen aren't only well done avant-garde black metal... it's top-notch avant-garde black metal. First of all, it's really hard to describe their music. And probably that was the purpose. For Pogavranjen "avant-garde" isn't just some label. They indeed mix every single influence of various music in their dark, melancholic, black metal way. This isn't easy listening. But when you grasp it, you can be sure - you'll never forget this album.
   By the way, did I say anything about the atmosphere of this album? Because it deserves a statue. Pogavranjen know their black metal and from the beginning we are surrounded by darkness, sadness and obscurity. It reminds me of Monotheist by Celtic Frost, only even gloomier. Melancholy just hits you in the spine. Also, you may notice the thick cigarette smoke coming out of your speakers. It's because of the very jazzy vibe throughout the album. Pogavranjen know how music is done. They are mixing everything but in a quite subtle way. And that's what I love about them. So many influences could give me a headache, but instead I just have a desire to put this album on repeat. Jazz, psychedelia, everything mixed in a very masterful way... That's how you do a genius avant-garde album. Despite all these influences, they are still a black metal band. They know how to build a specific atmosphere; heavy, depressing and really, really sinister.
   Pogavranjen send you to the deep, dark abyss where you can't find any hope. Jedva Čekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem is a a very dark, ill and unsettling album. But also, it's very ambitious, clever and intriguing. It pushes the boundaries of black metal to something much more. When you compare this to their earlier works you can feel how they evolved and improved their music. In my opinion, Pogavranjen are great. They totally deserve to be put on the same shelf with the best bands in avant-garde black metal. This genre is a real pearl, but making this music is a hard and serious work. Pogavranjen did this and even more. This is probably one of the best albums in the genre. Do you want a mind trip into some dark, horrendous place? Take Pogavranjen as your guide.
   Frankly, this album crushed me into the ground. It's a real masterpiece, and among the best albums in last couple of years. So, if you don't know what to do now, I will tell you... Go to their bandcamp and buy the new album. You'll do yourself a big favour and provide your ears with some really fantastic music.

- Tomek

Thursday, 18 February 2016

God Body Disconnect - Dredge Portals

(January 12th, 2016, Cryo Chamber)

Cryo Chamber, a label led by Simon Heath of Atrium Carceri has been releasing some really well done ambient works from the beginning. Works that truly capture this unbelieveable feeling of traveling through sound. Beautiful cinematic releases, walks through other dimensions, cosmic adventures, dark journeys... Cryo Chamber know it all. One of their latest releases is a perfect example of this. It's called Dredge Portals and was made by one-man project under the name God Body Disconnect. Name of the album ideally captures the meaning of this music. It really opens portals to other worlds, and every world is different with each track. And you know what? It's done perfectly.

   God Body Disconnect is a project of a talented American from New Jersey, Bruce Moallem, and Dredge Portals is his first album. At first I couldn't really believe how mature this album sounds. The record is quite diverse and beside the dark ambient we have little moments of field recordings, electronica, piano and even guitars. There are calm moments, as well as disturbing and unsettling ones. The final atmosphere is built by narration, where the sense of watching a film reaches its climax. Of course, this film isn't visual, so a lot of it is left to listeners imagination. This is really an amazing move... In some sort of way God Body Disconnect pushed the boundaries of dark ambient to something much more. And, honestly, I'm really impressed by this.

   Dredge Portals grabs your body and immerses your mind into its own world. World totally different than yours... a world without everyday worries and troubles. For an hour you feel free, calm and cleansed... You just have to let the waves of this album do all the work and take you on their sonic ride.

   When it comes to atmosphere, Cryo Chamber bands really are something great and this record is a proof. Mr. Bruce Moallem - you surely know how to entertain and blow the minds of your listeners.

   God Body Disconnect had an amazing beginning. To make a such diverse and addictive ambient music in the first attempt is pure art and takes a lot of work and talent. I can't imagine my night soundscapes without this album. Every little moment of Dredge Portals whispers to my ear "Lay down, relax, let me take you on a fantastic journey." And there really is no choice, I must do it. You can't fight the magnetic power of Dredge Portals. You'll find out this yourself if you take a listen to this album.

- Tomek


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Nonsun - Black Snow Desert

(January 6th, 2016, Independent)

Nonsun, an instrumental duo from Ukraine, released earlier this year their first full-length, Black Snow Desert. The band has been active since 2011, and before this album they had two EPs; Good Old Evil and Sun Blind Me. Considering the lenght of these EPs one would maybe think of them as long-playing albums since each clocks well over 40 minutes. But Nonsun have a tendency of writing very long songs, so each of these EPs holds four tracks. Their latest release holds seven tracks which span over two CDs making this monolith of an album almost hour and a half long. However, they don't write long songs just for the sake of writing long songs. These are well-thought-out compositions which heavily rely on dynamics, atmosphere, sonic experimentations and improvisation. The music, although very slow and minimalistic, is quite unpredictable and in some way exciting. Nonsun experiment with dark, droning, ambient music, heavy doom metal riffing and interesting, haunting, chord progressions, as well as somewhat unusal rhythm patterns. Drumming is at times very laid-back and kind of Pink Floyd-ish (maybe even jazzy), but at other times huge, ground-shaking and very solid.

   What differentiates Nonsun from the sea of today's drone, sludge and doom bands is their specific atmosphere. If we could call Earth's music a soundtrack for post-apocalyptic western, then Nonsun's would be a soundtrack for post-Chernobyl disaster. The whole album makes you feel like you're wandering throuh some dark, dreary, barren wasteland with nothing but heavy grey clouds above and land covered with ashes below. The title of the album describes the music quite correctly as does the minimalistic cover art. There is no sun and no life on this forsaken land, only a black, cold desert and grey sky which embraces it on the horizon. 

   Although the description of the music might sound disturbing and depressing, I myself found it quite soothing. It is really an ambiental record more than anything else, but fans of heavy riffing will definitely also find satisfaction, as will the lovers of experimental and psychedelic music.

  Nonsun are a very promising band which should, in my humble opinion, get much more recognition, and Black Snow Desert is definitely their best effort to date. I highly recommend you to give them a listen and take a walk through the ruins of Pripyat.

- Luka


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Garganjua - A Voyage in Solitude

(January 29th, 2016, Black Bown Records, Hibernacula Records)

One day I was aimlessly wandering through the vastness of the internet, randomly clicking on various music links, as I usually do, always hoping to find something new, fresh, exciting... something that will really impress me. And there it was... a youtube link for a full Garganjua album, A Voyage in Solitude. I clicked, expecting very little, because rarely I discover something really mind blowing these days. And then it started... the Voyage. And boy... was I mind blown... blown and swept away by the power of this doom trio from Leicestershire, UK. I was just sitting there jaw dropped for 41 minute and 6 seconds after which I just thought: "Finally!". No, not "Finally, the album is over", but "Finally, someone made an album like this!". 

   Garganjua released a Trip Wizard EP back in 2014. It's a good release, very much influenced by the classic UK doom. Early Cathedral, early Electric Wizard, and, of course, Black Sabbath. And this is pretty much how it sounds. It's not bad, far from it, it's a good doom EP, with some nice riffing, good growls and some decent clean vocals. But it seems these guys wanted to do something much more on their new album. And they certainly did. A Voyage In Solitude is a beautiful fusion of old and new... of traditional and contemporary. A huge palette of sounds is present on this record... From the traditional sound of Black Sabbath, across the early death doom of Cathedral and the epic doom of bands like Candlemass, Solstice and Warning to the modern, more progressive sound of Yob and Pallbearer, these guys blended it all perfectly. Garganjua have no problem taking you smoothly throughout all these doom subgenres, often changing dynamics by incorporating quiet, atmospheric intros and breaks to let you breathe a little in between their huge walls of riffs. Vocals also change... At times you will hear extremely powerful growls (really, it's been a while since I last heard harsh vocals performed with such consistency and clarity), which then give way to, also incredibly well done, clean singing. This shifting between quiet and heavy instrumental parts and harsh and clean vocals is what gives A Voyage in Solitude a distinctive aura and a unique atmosphere.

   A Voyage in Solitude truly is a voyage... a journey which shows us various forms of human states of mind... despair, anxiety, grief, melancholy, but also hope, patience, strenght, endurance, spirituality... And at the end of this hard, long and solitary road, human being eventually experiences catharsis.

   It's a beautifully done album with great cover artwork by Alan O'Neill which suits the music perfectly. Overall production is exceptional; heavy, yet very clear and definitely gives a great final touch to the whole vibe of the album.

   It is evident that these three guys put their whole hearts and souls into making this amazing piece of music, so if you like what you hear give them your support, and keep an eye out on them because I have a feeling this bunch will go far.

- Luka


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Aluk Todolo - Voix

(February 5th, 2016, Norma Evangelium Diaboli, The Ajna Offensive)

It's pretty hard to do a good avant-garde mix of totally different genres. Only really good bands can do this and compose such tracks. Aluk Todolo - and I realise that with every new album - aren't just good... They're geniuses. I'm their fan since Descension and it's a pure pleasure to watch how they still have great ideas for improving their crazy, fantastic music. Crazy? Yes... I can't call a mixture of krautrock and black metal anything different.
   First of all - I love krautrock. Almost every album made within this genre is something special to me. This "weird german progressive rock" was definitely one of a kind because now it's hard to find a krautrock band. Of course, there's a lot of kraut-influenced bands, but rarely anyone plays pure krautrock these days. Is Aluk Todolo pure krautrock? No. It's more.
   Just the description of their music makes my brain wiggle. Aluk Todolo is a blackened krautrock with some jazz influences, very organic sound and a tribal vibe. Now just add some seriously dark, occult themes and here you are... within the brain-melting sonic cauldron of these Frenchmen. I would say this band's sound is one of the most original I've heard in years. Is the new album different than the previous ones? Well...yes and no. Aluk Todolo are still exploding with genius ideas which are perfectly delivered on Voix. The album is a bit more jazz influenced than their other releases which means they're definitely still evolving their sound. It's more psychedelic and even more darker. It is also a very addictive and entertaining album when you get into its twisted atmosphere. With every new listening I'm discovering new things in it. I would say it's a "signature move" by these French geniuses because every album had the same feeling of conquering something totally crazy and new. Voix is their fourth long-play and it seems like they are not staying in one safe place but constantly improving their sound... And this really is something special. Voix is a perfect example of experimental music and, seriously, if you think you listened to everything and that nothing can surprise you anymore - try Voix friends, and expect your mind to implode. There is still a lot to say in music and Voix shows us that perfectly.
   I was doing this review for quite some time... I wanted to be objective as much as I could. But it's just impossible. I love these guys, I love their music and I want to admire them as long as I can. Objective or subjective - new album is a monster. Perfect monster... And, at least for me, quite possibly the best album of 2016. Yes, even this early into the year. Some say that love is blind. Maybe, but definitely not deaf.

- Tomek

Friday, 5 February 2016

Litovsk - s/t Demo Tape

 (April 1st, 2014, Symphony of Destruction)

Post punk isn’t a genre where you can say something new. It had it’s boom back in late 70s and ended in early 80s. Since 2000 we have a little revival going on but it’s definitely not the same. Now, post punk is pretty much dead. Some classic bands are still recording but slowly waning and waiting for things to end, young bands are nowhere to find... And in this post punk wasteland suddenly appears a new hope. Some Frenchmen from Brest definitely forgot about last three decades and they’re still thinking that post punk is great and alive... Their band is called Litovsk and they started their career back in 2014 with a self titled demo. I’m skeptical when it comes to resurrecting dead genres but when I heard that they are playing on a punk festival near me, I immediately checked out their demo. And I sank in...

   Let's make something clear - I'm not a fan of revival post punk. I like it but I don't feel these classic vibes in it. The revival is closer to brit pop rock. Post punk was meant to be agressive, avant-garde, a step forward from punk, but with many similarities. And this is the recipe for Litovsk music... They describe their music as anarcho post punk and I must agree. It's very pissed off music but without crossing the borders of post punk. We still have this characteristic guitar sound, deep rhytmic bass, and mechanical sound of percussions. With a slight help from great (for a demo) production and really fantastic songwriting skills we get eighteen minutes of great, primal, old school post punk. The demo is very cathcy, some of the songs were stuck in my head for a really long time.

   The best ones are "Negenst" and "Eindeloze Winter", but the whole album is very well done and it's pretty hard to find a bad moments in this music. The reason might be the lenght - eighteen minutes are long enough to show your best bits, but maybe not long enough to show your downsides. But I don't really care. What matters is that this Brest crew is doing surprisingly good post punk.

   Every band must begin their journey in some way. Litovsk's beginning is really, really good and I can't wait to see them live soon. And of course hear some new material. After a demo like this my hopes are quite high.

- Tomek