† And then the Curse swept the Earth

quinta-feira, 19 de fevereiro de 2015

Monocube "Blue Dusk/Red Dawn"

Most of you know that I'm all about the atmosphere in music and the one that music can also create by taking us to the most surreal and dreamy landscapes within our mind and in our subconscious. This next release that I'm about to talk about is the perfect vehicle to transport me into another dimension, another world. Monocube "Blue Dusk/Red Dawn" does that perfectly. 

The title immediately suggests that the perfect time of the day for you to experience this is at dusk or dawn, although to me, the perfect scenario sets at night. I find myself working in front of my screen with just a dim light on and this album echoing on my headphones. The first track "Blue Dusk" gently invades my ears with these ethereal, hauntingly waves of sound that takes me into such scenarios as the deepest woods, filled with thick fog where thin ray lights pierce like swords throughout the mist. A fantastic and mysterious haze lies within "The Sun That Never Was" which follows the same path left by its predecessor. Ghostly notes wave around us in fragile layers of sound, that seem to circle between themselves and all around us. Soundwise speaking, there's no major evolution, just an eerie, calm and ethereal atmosphere that numbs our senses. 

We reach the other half of the record with "Red Dawn" that introduces another vibrant energy, more instruments are thrown into the mix, more layers of noise and samples as some what it seems guitar notes, tingling from very far. In the midst of it, suddenly it evolves to some kind of martial rhythm until before falling back into the same lingering and sinister atmosphere, very much à la Raison d'Étre kind of record. The album closes with "Sea Salt", the dark ambient takes over again wrapping us with its repetitive rhytms and carries us along its twelve minutes of length throughout layers of sound as if each note has a light, a glow of it's own. And i think this is the best way to describe Monocube's music. 

Imagine it as if every sound is a ghostly entity, that glows in a very dim light in the Dark. This is just the perfect soundtrack for those who seek a piece of solitude into their lives. Listen to this, you won't regret. There's a lot of drone, dark ambient acts out there, but one thing I can guarantee you: very few are as memorable as Monocube, the prodigal child of Andrzej Gladuszewski. "Blue Dusk/Red Dawn" comes in a very amazing special edition with some remarkable photos, that you can preview on the links below.

Buy it here. And follow the artist here.

domingo, 15 de fevereiro de 2015

Mizmor/Dross "Split"

I was stoked to hear that Mizmor had another split on the works, this time with Arizona's blackened doom band Dross. For Mizmor, this is the final split in a trilogy of splits while this is Dross' first split release. I've been tracking Mizmor since day one, besides being a huge Hell fan too, I absolutely every single thing A.L.N. puts his hands on.

Mizmor's side features "IX - Crestfallen Usurper", a fifteen minute track that marks it's beginning with a blood chilling inhuman scream, as the environment thickens creating the perfect atmosphere for the ritual we're about to face in the next minutes. It doesn't take long until we're throw into the middle of this black metal vortex summoned by Mizmor. Raging blastbeats open way thru this nefarious wall of distortion totally controlled by the harsh and haunting screams of A.L.N. that once in a while, through the track, pulls off these insane squeals that are simply out of this physical world. Right in the middle of the song, the harsh and brutal rhythms open way to a more paused, and crushing doom-laden atmosphere. That kind of atmosphere that only Mizmor know how to do and got us used to in all of its previous releases. Although I feel there's a clear evolution on Mizmor sound, that grew naturally since the self-titled or "The untitled Winter EP", the black metal spectrum is getting stronger and it's becoming more present on every new release although it walks always hand in hand with the doom spectrum.

Nevertheless, the percentage of black or doom being used on this formula here, you can always hear it and clearly identify it as Mizmor's unique sound. And the sound recording on this track is just amazing. It presents us a more, let's say, expansive or kind of wider sound for the instruments, giving us a full audio experience with "IX - Crestfallen Usurper" that fills completely our eardrums and reaches every dark corner of our brain. This is the outstanding result of a collaboration with A.L.N. itself with Sonny DiPerri, a long time Hell and Mizmor fan, who mixed this track for this split.

On the other side, we have Dross with "Verdant" a thirteen and half minute track of the most bleak black doom. To me, I think that this band/track fits perfectly here along with Mizmor, since both tracks belong in this pallet of depressive doom that is constantly splattered with hints of black metal. "Verdant" has  this kind of live recording sound, almost as if it was recorded in a very bleak and cold environment, that's what exactly this track passes to me. From the rhythm it moves on, really slow paced to the sound of the instruments itself. And I must say that the vocals, oh the vocals... always creeping out from the background almost as if the instruments are playing right in front of us and the vocalist is one or two rooms below, so he has to shout his lungs out in order to those phantasmagorical screams be heard. The main thing on "Verdant" is the atmosphere. The stifling and claustrophobic atmosphere, that the band successfully manages to make it reach into our inner-selves.

This is a split release between Mizmor's A.L.N. and Cloister Recordings. 150 copies (already sold out!! Urrgghhh..) with locally printed art on metallic card-stock, featuring the artwork done by one of my favorite artists, Bryan Proteau (Cloven Hoof, Natvres Mortes), all hand-numbered. Each tape comes wrapped in parchment with a very good looking wax seal, half sealed with ALN logo, half sealed with Cloister Records logo. So good to see artists concerning also with the aesthetics of their releases, making these tapes a very unique item in our collection. Both tracks can be streamed below.

Old Witch "Come Mourning Come" Special Edition

Old Witch. I've talked about this band some years ago, some of you might remember that. I ended up by making a full review of the amazing "Come Mourning Come" for Cvlt Nation after, here:

Bleak, depressing, anguished, tormented. All of these are adjectives that I could use to describe this next album I’m about to introduce. A blistering mix of black, drone and doom layered with some beautiful atmospheric parts, all blended perfectly that will leave you under the spell of Old Witch.

“Funeral Rain”, the track that opens the album, appears charged with an immense negative energy, like a dark cloud on the horizon approaching increasingly stuffed with drone noises that completely transform the landscape, darkening it and giving rise to a bleak and desolate scenario now dyed in tones of gray, dominated under a powerful doom that crawls at a snails pace. The rough voice fits perfectly in, this record, and judging by the band’s name I almost imagine it coming from the mouth of a an old mystical and sinisterly contorted figure, forgotten by time, wandering painfully through this forest made of anguish. From here, and during the next half hour we are about to lose ourselves in the dark old forest that is “Come Come Mourning“.

Tracks like “This Land Has Been Cursed” that lead us to the territories of a painful drone sounds and that thick and buzzing doom that drag us through scenes of desolation and sorrow, always bearing a very negative energy within, not showing any light of hope or joy. “God Ov Wolves” which is inarguably one of the best tracks of this album, and personally speaking, one of the best doom tracks I had the pleasure of hearing this year, begins immersed in darkness as the voice whispers almost an ancient prayer to the Old Spirits of this Earth:


Although Old Witch’s music may sound dreary and negative, it carries great and powerful emotions, and the band passes that successfully throughout the whole album. And this track is a perfect example of that, an extremely beautiful composition that pulls great similarities to the work of bands like Salem’s Hell or even Thou in their slowest tracks. An authentic catharsis of emotions wrapped in mystic and black outlines. Just the beginning of it, gives me goose-bumps.

In the middle of the album we are gifted with the instrumental “Leaves Fall in Autumn“, a beautiful track, filled with instrumental details that remind me a little bit of “Tomhet” by Burzum, unveiling a slumber atmosphere that appeal to solitude. Another highlight of this album is the brilliant track that closes the album “Olde Spirits Haunt The Thickets“, in which the notes slowly emerge throughout this fog that dwells in Old Witch’s dark and old forest. A track that moves sinuously through rather slow and atmospheric rhythms carrying a huge burden of an almost mournful, melancholy feeling, that makes me stare at the picture of the album cover and for a few seconds it’s like your mind is actually there. Brilliant.

The way that Old Witch fuses all of these drone, doom and atmospheric black metal influences in their cauldron is extremely well executed; adding to that formula a very good sound production, this album is undoubtedly one of the most interesting must-listen drone/doom albums that all avid fans of the bands that I’ve mentioned above (and of course, of this gender) must hear. Old Witch’s “Come Mourning Come” is a dark, mystical and beautiful journey into the vast and unknown territories of heavy music.


The reason I decided to unbury this again is due because of this fantastic tape edition developed and crafted by Octobers Ritvals. Besides featuring the whole album, on side B there's an extra. The B Side features a contemporary take on the HP Lovecraft classic, "The Picture In the House", as read by Glen Hallstrom and scored by the mind that created Old Witch and is exclusive to this version only.

I was super stoked because someone FINALLY had put that magical album in a format and with all the extras it really deserved. It's so fucking great to see people like Chad (Yhe mind behind Octobers Ritval), that are truly devoted into this art. Giving all their sweat, money and time to create these unique pieces, these artifacts in order to give us not just only an audio experience but a whole full sensorial experience as well. This amazing tape edition comes in this screen printed velvet pouch that holds many secrets inside. Basically it contains the tape (of course) inside a painstakingly handmade screen printed and multi-layered "O" card with a die cut and a very awesome wax seal with the logo of OR. It also includes two spiral transparent art pieces which, when placed over accompanying tea candles and nag champa incense cone, will be set into spinning motion, casting shadows and eldritch symbols onto your ceiling and walls, creating an overall experience. Below is a photo taken by me preparing the ritual.

This pack is just beautiful. I mean, it has got to be one of the best I have right now on my tape collection. It's amazing to see that are still persons like Chato from Octobers Ritvals putting all their effort in creating these amazing pieces for our pleasure. Amazing work here.

But there's more.

It seems that some copies of this release will be buried in the Chicagoland and Southern Wisconsin areas and later on posts with pics and directions in riddles will be shared on the Facebook page for you to try to find them. Really awesome idea, right?

For more info on this, please head to Octobers Ritvals Facebook page, and check the Bandcamp as well.

NOTE: In case anyone is still looking for one of our now SOLD OUT First Ritval Old Witch Cassettes, Medusa Crush Recordings has got a few available.

sábado, 14 de fevereiro de 2015

Godhole " Self Titled Double EP"

Holy fucking shit. Think of Mind Eraser. Think of His Hero Is Gone. Think of Full of Hell. Think of Man Is the Bastard. You're getting there? Good. Godhole play fucking brutal powerviolence with some hints of black metal and crust from Edinburgh, Scotland. Perfect soundtrack to those days where everything seems to just fail... or not.

Sareth Den " Arcadian Wanderer Demo"

Sareth Den is a enigmatic act from Dahlonega, Georgia whose sound can be described as dark ambient drone as we can hear in the opening track "Wanderer Through Static Fields", an obscure track that leads us into the most abstract and hazy corners of our mind. But he doesn't simply closes its circle there and also branches to some black metal like in "Sunlight Burns My Eyes", where we are feasted with this thick harsh wall of black metal noise sound until we are thrown back to another complete different record in "Riverside Evening Suite", a more dreamy and atmospheric fifteen minute track that lifts up our soul by letting some rays of light into this dark colored pallet. One of the members plays in the ambient/drone band Outer Gods, whom I've talked about too here on Forever Cursed. Please check both bands out.

Wreaths "Demo"

Wreaths from San Antonio, Texas are a black metal band that with this Demo, introduces us to four themes of some really great and quite interesting style of black metal that can be really rabid and straightforward, as heard in the track "Nightmare Perpetual" to the most shoegaze/90's-style-emocore like we can hear with "From All Light". The band plays definitely black metal but also injects into it some really solid shoegaze influences. I'm pretty sure this won't matter to the most fundamentalist/close-minded fan of black metal but fuck.. I really liked this Demo from Wreaths. Quite refreshing and interesting. Check them out below.

quarta-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2015

Sonance "Blackflower"

I must begin by saying that the hardest part for me here was thinking on how could I begin this review. I could start in so many ways... but I guess I'll just open my chest out for you and try to explain in some words the impact this new album, "Blackflower", from UK's atmospheric sludge band Sonance had (ands still has) on me.

I clearly remember the day when Ben (Sonance) messaged me saying they had a new album out. I was stoked. Mostly because their debut album "Like Ghosts" left some deep scars on me. "Like Ghosts" was a beautiful beast, an amazing chimera that left me in complete awe and my expectations on a sequel to their work, clearly left me very anxious. Mostly because I didn't know what to expect from them. What really overwhelms me is the perfect timing how, no matter how low or high you might be, how that specific album or music can really touch so deep into you that leaves goosebumps all over your body. This was my case. At this point, due to several aspects in my life being happening at the same time, I was struggling inside, trying not to breakdown. Until "Blackflower" showed up. 

The first thing I noticed was the number of songs, five. Unlike "Like Ghosts" where we had only two colossal tracks. This raised even more the bar for my curiosity. The songs I got from Ben were in no particular order, so I started by listening to "Belgium". Outside my window, the day was cold and gray, and rain poured endlessly and as the first notes started to pour down into my soul that was already with slits it almost shattered into one thousand pieces.

I was absolutely carried away by the gentle power and melody embodied in the guitar notes that embraced by the warmness and caressing string arrangement, completely hit down inside of me and mirrored exactly what I was feeling at that point. So it was hard to keep my posture. The atmosphere in "Belgium" is smooth and beautiful. It feels almost like, for those who have the sensitivity to it, as looking into this beautiful painting. It sparkles these thin, warm rays of light, soft and melancholic notes that create this cozy and warm feeling inside. At the same time I immediately realized and thought to myself: "These blokes did it again." 

But this album is not all about melancholy, sadness and other related and inherent feelings. No. 

What I really enjoy about Sonance, besides their brilliant knack in creating and performing music like this, is their ability to balance the heaviness of genres like sludge and doom, that is basically the core here, with the melody pulled out from the most post-rock, atmospheric side of metal. What I'm trying to say is that aren't many bands making this type of formula nowadays. I can remember bands like Mouth of The Architect or even Rosetta for example. But Sonance are absolute brilliant in taking all of these influences and shaping them into the music we can find in "Blackflower". 

The main track of the album is "Belgium/Blackflower", a 15 minute maelstrom that just like a misty morning, begins by slowly unveiling the light within. It features the same notes as the instrumental "Belgium" but here it acquires another shape, more complex, more structured. We're just simply carried by it along its slow, gentle notes that oscillate building up into this crescendo where layers of instruments are added almost every single minute, the guitar, the drum, the bass, the strings until they're all in line and everything collapses into this fierce curtain of decibels, pulling us from that warm and cozy initial landscape where we started from, to this crushing, dark storm. Within the realm of sludge, where we are now, I dare say that the main influence here, soundwise, are Neurosis. It's inevitable not thinking of them, if you have well trained ears, when you hear the whole set of guitars, drum and bass all perfectly aligned together marching and crushing, pointing at the same direction. The vocals are relentless as they spew all that despair and rage as expected in this kind of record, on top of that wall of decibels creating this thick mass of sludge metal. 

Another of my favorites is "Attachment". Once again Sonance, pulls off those amazing feelings of sadness, solitude and melancholy. This time all wrapped up into layers of drone guitar. No drum or any kind of beat marks its presence here. There's just no need. It all evolves into this crescendo of strings, where anguished screams can be heard from very far away, culminating into this climax that give way to "Conical". The pummeling and almost industrial beat marks the rhythm, crushing our eardrums with these slabs of thick and ugly sludgy riffs. It feels like we're inside of some kind of bestial mechanism that moves at a very sluggish pace, crushing everything and everyone in its path. 

And the best way to close the way is nothing more than with "Tearce". A more introspective and atmospheric track. No vocals, no drums, no rage. Just a haunting wall of atmosphere. A side of Sonance that they seem quite to appreciate, as we heard it too on the Side B of "Like Ghosts". This band truly nurtures a feeling for experimentation as they're not afraid to try new things. And the thing is that works really well into their sound. This track is quite drone almost making me think of some The Angelic Process or Nadja track. 

Once again the band outdid themselves with "Blackflower". An amazing album that joins the best of two worlds, the melody and heaviness. This formula isn't new, it's true. But the real secret lies on how you blend them and how is the final result. The gentle and the beast. Smiles and tears. The Yin and Yang. The tracks are simply beautiful, they fit all perfectly in this record and I love them all as an only son. I must also underline that this album was all produced by Sonance themselves. So to them I take my hat off. Stellar job lads. 

I truly hope this gets a physical format soon, I know it will. To seek more information about Sonance, just head over to their Facebook page. Sonance will perform also on Temples Festival later this year, so it's another reason for you to not miss them live. In the meantime, stream or download this amazing album on the link below and support the band by giving any donation, buy merch. They truly deserve it.

sexta-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2015

About Reviews, Requests, Etc....

I've decided to not accept any more requests for reviews from now on. Inertia has taken over the blog it's true, in the meantime, all the requests I got to date have turned into a giant snow ball. The ones who sent me some requests, sorry for the delay, some are in work as I speak. There will be around 4 or 5 reviews in a near future and that's it. I'm still thinking at this point if it's still worth carrying on with Forever Cursed, all my brothers in arms have fallen (The Living Doorway, Midnight Mass, Coffinpsalms, etc.) so I guess this is the tendency for some music blogs. Thank you all.