Tag: Reviews

Nexus Kenosis - ElsewhenNexus Kenosis
Progress Productions


"Elsewhen" finds longtime Swedish audio terrorist Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (MZ.412, Nordvargr, etc.) taking on the esoteric industrial sound of "Last rights"-era Skinny Puppy, a period defined more by abstract sonic skull-fuckery than direct songwriting. This approach definitely raises the barrier of entry, but hardy listeners will be rewarded by a rich and complex tapestry of sound, one that's far more concerned with mood and texture than anything resembling typical verses or choruses. Definitely not for everyone, but strongly recommended for fans of the genre and/or anyone seeking out more adventurous music.
- Avi Roig

Spiders - Flash pointSpiders
Flash point
Crusher Records


Spiders have always had a great sound and a killer frontwoman, but the quality of their first few releases was hampered by mediocre songwriting. "Flash point", the band's debut full-length, thankfully makes marked improvement in that department, though it still falls short of the band's surface potential. A few solid jammers to be sure, just not enough to keep me coming back for repeat listens.
- Avi Roig

Tobias Hellkvist - Everything is connectedTobias Hellkvist
Everything is connected
Home Normal


Tobias Hellkvist makes such lovely drone music. I tend to listen to so much stuff in a more "dark ambient" style that I forget just how pretty this kind of music can be, but Tobias is always there to remind me. "Everything is connected" is his fourth full-length I believe and probably his most abstract to date -- I keep listening to it in an effort to single out highlights or pick out individual melodies, but the compositions always manage to escape me, float on by and lull me into a blissful meditative state. Bear in mind, that is by no means a complaint; simply a comment on how the record so easily envelopes me and my thoughts. And then, each time it ends, I find myself surprised at the sudden silence. For music that doesn't really "do" anything more than drift like tendrils of fog, it's a compelling experience and one well worth seeking out.
- Avi Roig

Bombs of Hades - The serpent's redemptionBombs of Hades
The serpent's redemption
Pulverised Records


Old school Swedish death metal is the order of day from this Swedish four-piece. It's all simple enough stuff, quite reminiscent of a less-tech Tribulation in places. "The serpent's redemption" likes to groove a lot and it makes this album sound something along the lines of old school thrash meets old school death 'n' roll. It's nothing really to write home about, but at the same time it's littered with cool parts from start to finish. Sadly, those cool parts are too short-lived and strewn between endless average sequences that often outstay their welcome. The title track is a prime example; a no mark main riff that's drawn out for way, way, way, way, way, way too long. So: there's nothing new, the riffs are average (at best), everything lasts too long and the good parts are few and far between. It's hard to see how anybody in tune with this particular scene would want this over the plethora of other releases out there. Sorry.
- John Norby

Missbrukarna - Zooma in en zombieMissbrukarna
Zooma in en zombie
Skrammel Records


Essential first-wave Swedish hardcore that's raging fast, surprisingly melodic and also a heckuva lot of fun. Even better, the rare tracks culled from various cassette releases, live sessions and so on are every bit as good as the band's all-too-few official vinyl recordings, limited to a mere split 7" with fellow Swedes Panik and the first volume of the "Really fast" comp series. Hopefully most folks who fit the target audience for this LP will have already picked it up by now, but for dabblers there's always Spotify.
- Avi Roig

Pitchfork reviews Enslaved

Pitchfork likes the new Enslaved album "RIITIIR", but perhaps not quite as much as some folks: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17147-riitiir/

Hombre Malo/Desert Icons - SplitHombre Malo/Desert Icons
Nooirax Producctiones


Yep, the crusties will love this! Hombre Malo kick off proceedings off and, to be honest, they do take a while to hit their stride. Once they do though, they just click and you're right in there with them, tearing shit up. The first three tracks are essentially punked-up stoners while closing track "Burial ground for a past life" showcases the Oslo-based sludgers at their finest. The punky stuff might sound cool and all, but when Hombre Malo hit mid-pace before slowing to a drawn-out, doomed halt, it's as pummelling as a bag of pool balls to the cranium. More of this in the future will level cities.

I take it Spain's Desert Icons have listened to a fair bit of Thin Lizzy in the past. The bits on here that do sound like a metalized Lizzy are the downers here. They just lift and brighten the atmosphere a bit too much in something that has the potential to be dark and nasty... in an outstandingly metal way. Out of three songs, opening track "The search" is Alchemist meets Thin Lizzy and the second song, "Animal rage" is Immortal meets Thin Lizzy. And the Lizzy bits are everywhere in both. Closing track "Time for the storm" is the best of the bunch here by miles and it's killer. And there's no Thin Lizzy in it at all! It showcases a band with an identity of their own who sound so fluid when they just run with it rather than trying to show people that they can play like Thin Lizzy. NB. I think this is the most I've ever written Thin Lizzy in my life.
- John Norby

Seremonia - s/tSeremonia
Svart Records


Ghost and Jess & the Ancient Ones have a lot to answer for. Between them they seem to have started this classic rock-tinged occult psychedelic thing where the next, more underground generation think that loose 'n' lo-fi is the way to go. Although Seremonia sound nothing like fellow countrymen Beherit, they have gone for an odd production choice similar in ethos to "Drawing down the moon". The difference is that going out on a pre-planned lo-fi limb like that really worked for Beherit back in '93 and resulted in a legendary album. Here it sounds too gimmicky. It's like, "Oh, we're so loose and chilled out when we're playing that we just go with what flows from our inner souls." In reality it comes across as either a get-out clause that makes excuses for sloppiness or a deliberate attempt at sounding genuinely nekro. This lack of integrity in the sound kills the vibe completely. If you want something with an authentic form of the off-kilter atmosphere that Seremonia strives to achieve you should get your hands on Black Hole's "Living mask".
- John Norby

Pitchfork reviews Efterklang

Pitchfork is not too impressed by Efterklang's latest: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17087-piramida/

Pitchfork reviews Iamamiwhoami

Pitchfork praises the new audiovisual album/DVD from cryptic Swedish pop act Iamamiwhoami: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16722-kin/

Still Single reviews Giglinger

Since I've totally failed to cover this record myself in a timely fashion, allow me to redirect you to Still Single's assessment of Finnish noiserockers Giglinger's latest 7": http://still-single.tumblr.com/post/31841845298/giglinger-red-7-ep-king-penguin

Switchblade - s/tSwitchblade
Trust No One Recordings


As usual, this latest offering by Switchblade is tough going. We're six minutes into what has to be classified as a pretty boring opening track ("Movement I"), before things kick off in earnest and -- luckily -- what does kick off is nothing short of psychedelic uneasiness, more down to the vocals than anything else. This album has some great moments; every song has some part that really, really kicks ass. The problem is that Switchblade take so damn long to get there every time that it comes across as boring in a lot of places. It's heavy; there's no denying that. But if we take it at face value, around half of it is "wow, killer" and half of it is "yeah, whatever."
- John Norby

Pitchfork reviews Hooded Menace

Pitchfork is lukewarm on the new Hooded Menace album "Effigies of evil", their first for US-based label : http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17076-effigies-of-evil/

Pitchfork reviews The Raveonettes

Pitchfork is not too terribly impressed with The Raveonettes latest record "Observator": http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17027-observator/

Dusted reviews Mika Vainio

Dusted gives praise to Mika Vainio's latest solo record "Fe3O4 - Magnetite": http://dustedmagazine.com/reviews/7348