† And then the Curse swept the Earth

quinta-feira, 22 de maio de 2014

Woman Is The Earth "Depths"

In this year so far, we have been gifted with a great amount of awesome releases. Within the black metal spectrum, we were gifted with great offerings from bands like Woods Of Desolation, Thantifaxath, The Great Old Ones and Sun Worship, just to name a few of my favorites so far.

However, among this hall of releases coming from widely known bands, there's always room for one more gem coming from the underground to shine. And that gem is precisely the band that I'll talk about next: Woman Is The Earth. Presenting us, this year with their second full-length entitled "Depths".

Woman Is The Earth is a black metal band formed by brothers Jon (drums), Andy (vocals, guitar,bass ) and Jarrod (guitar). This project, based out of the Black Hills of South Dakota, started back in 2007 and since then, the band has put out three releases: "Of Dirt" demo in 2009, their first full-length "This Place That Contains My Spirit" in 2012 and this year’s "Depths". Woman Is The Earth has always kept a low profile, playing live occasionally in their hometown and in the surrounding areas. Another aspect of Woman Is The Earth is the solid DIY atittude they put out in everything they create. Whether by masterizing or producing their own music, these boys put all of their blood, sweat and tears on everything they do. “Depths” is no exception. It was entirely produced and mastererd by the band itself. Featuring three tracks only, it delivers roughly 24 minutes of great atmospheric and passionate black metal.

The band caught my attention through their first full-length "This Place That Contains My Spirit" that although, soundwise speaking, had some rough edges that needed to be trimmed, the quality presented back then already reflected great talent, both in song-writing as in the performance itself. But here, the major factor that stands out in "Depths" is really this new sound presented. We witness a huge leap from what the band has made before. I assume that “Depths” is the band’s shout-out from the underground, where they have been lurking all these years, proving that they deserve a spotlight within the actual USBM scene.

However beware all trve fans of black metal. Do not expect to find here and 666 inverted crosses drenched in goat’s blood and unlimited devotion to the Great Horned One... no. Woman Is the Earth is one of those black metal bands in a totally different strain which separates them from the rest of the black herd. The atmosphere felt here leads us to a complete devotion to Nature and all living elements surrounding it, fauna and flora framed in a more esoteric almost surreal scenario.

"Crown & Bone / Dreamer" begins with a short atmospheric intro and it doesn’t take long until we are blasted by the black metal barriage lead by the harsh vocals of Andy followed by his crew, completely ripping off the whole atmosphere in the most powerful way as the continuously progressive riffs give shape to this whole melancholic and bleak atmosphere.

Soundwise, I can’t help noticing this brutal evolution that, in conjunction with the production, result in a very professional sound quality, having in mind that this was all created under a very tight DIY ethic by the band. Not being picky (but I am) I just wished that the drums could be a little bit higher but at the same time, it appeals to me as it is , the guitars and bass are perfect and the vocal treatment is the icing on the top of this cake. If you seek some comparisons, after a first audition it immedeatly reminded me the last Woods Of Desolation, although it’s clear that Wolves In The Throne Room is a strong reference in WITE’s sound.

But back to the track.

Intentionally or not, I find this track to be divided in two acts (the title of the track ends up by suggesting that too). In the first part we have "Crown & Bone", that progresses to the 6:47 mark and from there the darkness strikes down upon us in "Dreamer", creating a daunting atmosphere filled with those beautiful mesmerizing details created by the guitar.

Right in the middle of "Depths" we are gifted with the beautiful instrumental "Lifted". It’s one of those kind of instrumental songs that leads in our head to the deepest and ancient woods where we take refuge in complete solitude. In search of an insight or simply admire nature and their children.

The album closes with "Child of Sky", another colossal track where it opens with a chorus of voices setting the tone for the voracious guitars and relentless drums. Once again , we are carried away by this wonderful melancholy soaked with atmospheric black metal, blasting furious blastbeats through layers of melodic and progressive riffs.

In overall, "Depths" it is an excellent record that marks a notable evolution from Woman Is The Earth. Specially when the entire album was created from scratch by the band and what they have achieved here is in fact a brilliant record to be taken into account within the albums released this year. Undoubtedly one of the best kept secrets within the current USBM, that are now seeking a place in the Sun. Great songs, impeccably played, excellent production. Negative aspects of this one? To me, I just have to point out the little amount of tracks presented. I just wanted more, more, more from these guys.

If you’d like to order the CD, just throw an email to the band directly at: although you can also get it from Init Records.

A vinyl release of "Depths" is also planned to be released in a near future through Init Records, so if you're a vinyl lover, keep an eye open. In the meantime you can buy/stream "Depths" on the link below.

domingo, 11 de maio de 2014

Cursed Altar "The Light Shall Die"

"The Light Shall Die" is probably Cursed Altar's most angry, pissed, heavy material to date. The band seems to try something new from time to time, they took a giant leap from what we've heard on their Demo back in 2011. I'm all into favor of evolution and progression in music, as long as the band keeps putting the stake up high, delivering new and interesting music. In "The Light Shall Die"we face new aspects in sound. It's way more raw, capturing that almost "live" sound and the vocals are simply brutal, just listen to "Broken Backs and Crippled Words" for example, there's black metal of course but I also feel some doom or I dare say, some death metal vibes here. On the other hand, "Once Again I am Defeated" drinks up from the influences of punk and crusty hardcore (I'm fine with that). I really enjoyed this new turn on Cursed Altar, and my advice is for them to keep up along this path. The negative aspects on this release? The tracks are way too short. More please.

sábado, 3 de maio de 2014

Serpents Lair "Demo MMXIV"

Fresh new black metal straight from Denmark. Serpents Lair are a "mystery band" that make their first appearance straight from nowhere with their "MMXIV" demo. I really feel some Svartidauði and some Deathspell Omega influence here and besides that Serpents Lair sound reminds also a bit of Iceland's Carpe Noctem.

When you'll listen to both track on this Demo, you'll see what I mean. When I started hearing the tracks, I was afraid this was another copy-cat of the bands aforementioned, but the more I sank into them, the more I felt this is really Serpents Lair sound and identity. And to be honest, I really like their sound, the whole construction of the tracks, the whole unexpected turns within the tracks, from a more slow and agonizing moments to a crescendo of brutality that leads into pure misanthropy.

Great debut from Serpents Lair, look forward to hear more from them in a near future. Besides that, a shout-out to all labels, the band is seeking someone interested in releasing this great Demo in physical format (tapes specialized labels take note!) so, if you're interested, get in touch, follow Serpents Lair through their Facebook page.

sexta-feira, 2 de maio de 2014

Threshing "Threshing"

Another great offering that landed in my inbox in the past days. Threshing, a doom band from Tallahassee, Florida introducing their self-titled EP. These songs were recorded live in town by David Settle of Ex-Breathers. The field recordings used on the album were recorded on documentary film jobs by member drummer Joe. Some cool buddhist chants and windy docks adding to the overall abysmal feel of the album. After a first audition I was really pleased with it. All of the elements result really well as a whole. The sound quality is quite good too, keeping in mind it's a live performance coming from an actual underground and unknown band. The tracks themselves are really great, starting with the sluggish and melancholic instrumental "Church Warden", to the sorrowful, painfully dragged "Dross" to the evil and haunting yet amazing "One or Several Wolves?". I really can see a bright future for Threshing. If they keep on delivering like this, soon they will be on the mouthes (in a good way) of every doom fanatic. I really loved this sample, it's one of those releases that I will surely be hearing on the next few days, weeks! Recommended for fans of: Bell Witch, Alkahest, Batillus. 

Stream it, or download it, below.