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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover DEATHPROD 6 Track (Rune Grammofon) 10" 25.00
Ultra limited, vinyl-only 10" record collecting tracks from various sources as remixed by legendary producer and dark ambient dronelord Deathprod. It sounds like the idea here was to take the already impossibly dark and doomy originals and attempt to make them even more gloomy, murky and black. And the results are quite gloriously grim. Tracks from Nils Petter Molvaer, Murcof, Larsen and Deathprod himself get reworked into utterly bleak and dismal doomscapes, still warm and thick but equally oppressive and desolate. Cavernous slow motion rumbles, smeary black ambience, all suffused with black hole desolation and utter sonic abjection. Two of the tracks do manage to reach out from the murk, but just barely. The first, by Cloroform, is still minimal and murky but it's wrapped around a muted percussive soundscape, like an underwater slow motion pipe fight. Soft shimmery clank and clatter beneath an ocean of dark ambience. The other, another track from Nils Petter Molvaer, is dreamy and slightly more melodic with slowed down rhythms, and distant keening melodies drifting gently a slowly shifting ocean of subsonic rumbles and whispery whirs. Quite beautiful.
Minimally packaged in an all black gatefold sleeve and with an oversized 10" booklet with liner notes and lots more blackness.

album cover DEATHPROD Box Set (Rune Grammofon) 4cd 49.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Good news, lovers of weird drone electronic experimentation -- the Deathprod box set is back (again!)! At least, for a while. Rune Grammofon has done a SECOND, limited, one-time-only (hmm?) repressing of this popular item, that first came out in 2003, was repressed in 2004, and didn't stay in print quite as long as we'd have liked either time. So here's your third chance for as long as it lasts this time. Here's the review we wrote originally of what remains definitely a big AQ fave:
Deathprod is the solo experimental audio project from Supersilent and Motorpsycho member Helge Sten of Oslo, Norway. Previously the only work by Deathprod we stocked here at Aquarius was the split cd with Biosphere on Rune Grammofon in which the two artists reworked fellow Norwegian Arne Nordheim's electronic compositions. Having enjoyed that disc very much, we were pretty excited about the mysterious looking matte black four CD box by Deathprod that arrived at our laboratory recently. If the black box was evocative enough to pique our interest, the music the music contained within surely did not betray our hopes. Working with old magnetic tape recorders, hand made delay and sundry other electronic devices, Helge Sten manipulates fragments of sound -- such as a two note melodic interval or a final orchestral cadence -- into brooding dark soundscapes, rich with overtones from feedback and often overlaid with guest performances from fellow Supersilent members. Often it is the very limitations of the equipment that Sten uses that become the sources for the beautiful timbres he produces: an oversaturated tape input, a primitive sampler that never reproduces the same note the same way twice, or the uneven decay from primitive tape delays. The tracks on these four discs were recorded between 1991 and 2000, and while some of the material was released by Sten on cassette through his own label (also titled Deathprod), much of it is previously unreleased or was super limited in number. Two tracks in particular, a six minute narration from American born Oslo resident Matt Burt and a couple tracks of an organ, vibes and drum trio not unlike Sagor & Swing stick out in this four disc set. More typical are tracks which blossom out from a single cell of an idea: one chord, or one blast of noise. At times Deathprod sounds almost like an attempt at recreating Thomas Koner's soundscapes using the audio palette of Mauricio Bianchi. On Imaginary Songs From Tristan da Cunha, Sten went so far as to record tracks on a Nagra deck, transfer them to wax cylinders and then transfer them once more to digital media. The result are authentically old and decaying tracks which are hauntingly beautiful as well. Other tracks feature deteriorating blasts of what sounds almost like a fog horn progressively decaying into grinding metal; throbbing drones and eerie female chorus -- a la Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna" from 2001 -- building with layers of feedbacky washes of sound. The four tracks that make up Sten's most recent album on the set -- Morals And Dogma -- are possibly his best works yet: icey, bleak soundscapes of drones. Any of the tracks here would make an excellent soundtrack. On "Dead People's Things", the most sorrowful of melodies is played on a Theremin over a foundation of delicate, scratchy bowing of violin and a deep bass throbbing drone. "Orgone Donor" consists of a slowly shifting chordal drone of whispy violins, harmonium and saw, with each instrument leading and then resolving the chord in turn.
MPEG Stream: "A Shortcut To the Stars"
MPEG Stream: "Reference Frequencies #8"
MPEG Stream: "Treetop Drive 3"
MPEG Stream: "Stony Beach"
MPEG Stream: "The Contraceptive Briefcase II"
MPEG Stream: "Orgone Donor"
MPEG Stream: "Cloudchamber"

album cover DEATHPROD Imaginary Songs From Tristan Da Cunha (Rune Arkiv) cd 17.98
Deathprod is the solo experimental audio project from Supersilent and Motorpsycho member Helge Sten of Oslo, Norway. Back in 2004, we were totally blown away by the mysterious looking matte black four cd box by Deathprod. If the black box was evocative enough to pique our interest, the music contained within surely did not disappoint. Working with old magnetic tape recorders, hand made delays and sundry other electronic devices, Helge Sten manipulates fragments of sound - such as a two note melodic interval or a final orchestral cadence - into brooding dark soundscapes, rich with overtones from feedback and often overlaid with guest performances from fellow Supersilent members. Often it is the very limitations of the equipment that Sten uses that become the sources for the beautiful timbres he produces: an oversaturated tape input, a primitive sampler that never reproduces the same note the same way twice, or the uneven decay from primitive tape delays. Here, we have one of those discs from the boxset reprinted individually.
Imaginary Songs From Tristan da Cunha was Sten's graduation project from art school, inspired by the remotest inhabitated island in the world - Tristan da Cunha, located nearly 2000 miles away from the mainland. Here, Sten went so far as to record tracks on a Nagra deck, transfer them to wax cylinders and then transfer them once more to digital media. The resulting sounds are authentically old and decaying tracks which are hauntingly beautiful as well. But the bulk of this disc is comprised of the live recording of "The Contraceptive Briefcase II" with a large ensemble of vocalists who are also apparently playing glass. Sten's composition of dramatically minimalist dark loops whose phrasing is damn close to what you'd hear on Morals & Dogma, progressively decaying into grinding metal; throbbing drones and eerie female chorus - a la Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna" from 2001. Stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Burntwood"
MPEG Stream: "Boatharbour Bay"
MPEG Stream: "The Contraceptive Briefcase II"

album cover DEATHPROD Morals and Dogma (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
It's a bit tough to recommend buying this CD... Not because we don't like it -- au contraire, we do like it lots -- but because, for a bit more moolah, you can get this CD along with three other excellent Deathprod discs by buying the box set which we're also listing this week. Apparently those three other discs are not going to be released individually, so if you do end up really digging Deathprod and want more, you'll have to buy this disc again with the box set. An abridged version of our review of the box set will thus do for this item: Deathprod is the solo experimental audio project from Supersilent and Motorpsycho member Helge Sten of Oslo, Norway. Working with old magnetic tape recorders, hand made delay and sundry other electronic devices, Helge Sten manipulates fragments of sound -- such as a two note melodic interval or a final orchestral cadence -- into brooding dark soundscapes, rich with overtones from feedback and often overlaid with guest performances from fellow Supersilent members. Often it is the very limitations of the equipment that Sten uses that become the sources for the beautiful timbres he produces: an oversaturated tape input, a primitive sampler that never reproduces the same note the same way twice, or the uneven decay from primitive tape delays. The four tracks that make up Sten's most recent album Morals And Dogma are possibly his best works yet: icey, bleak soundscapes of drones. Any of the tracks here would make an excellent soundtrack. The first, "Tron" is a shimmering plane, the source material for which sounds like short wave radio noise processed in such a way not entirely unlike John Duncan's Phantom Broadcast. On "Dead People's Things", the most sorrowful of melodies is played on theremin over a foundation of delicate, scratchy bowing of violin and a deep bass throbbing drone. "Orgone Donor" consists of a slowly shifting chordal drone of whispy violins, harmonium and saw, with each instrument leading and then resolving the chord in turn.
MPEG Stream: "Orgone Donor"
MPEG Stream: "Cloudchamber"

album cover DEATHPROD Treetop Drive (Rune Arkiv) cd 17.98
Deathprod is the solo experimental audio project from Supersilent and Motorpsycho member Helge Sten of Oslo, Norway. Back in 2004, we were totally blown away by the mysterious looking matte black four CD box by Deathprod. If the black box was evocative enough to pique our interest, the music contained within surely did not disappoint. Working with old magnetic tape recorders, hand made delays and sundry other electronic devices, Helge Sten manipulates fragments of sound -- such as a two note melodic interval or a final orchestral cadence -- into brooding dark soundscapes, rich with overtones from feedback and often overlaid with guest performances from fellow Supersilent members. Often it is the very limitations of the equipment that Sten uses that become the sources for the beautiful timbres he produces: an oversaturated tape input, a primitive sampler that never reproduces the same note the same way twice, or the uneven decay from primitive tape delays. Here, we have one of those discs from the boxset re-printed individually.
Treetop Drive was the earliest of Deathprod's albums, originally released in 1994. Structurally, Deathprod's brooding scores are starkly minimal, with a solitary loop of a mournful note from a string quartet comprising the base for the first track of Treetop Drive. Around this base, Deathprod sweeps pallid noise and harsh acoustic scrapings, cycling around the track's central theme. It would fit a David Lynch film perfectly, with its distorted sentimentality and violent darkness. The twin note electronic bellows of the second track take the dark ambient mode of Cold Meat Industries to a reductionist strategy of a turgidly slow Terry Riley. The third track reprises those sweeping blasts of white noise from the first track around an incredibly sad melodic drone that sways in the distance. The final track revolves upon quite deep-space beacon of electronics whose darkened frequencies refract into a bleak soundscape.
MPEG Stream: "Treetop Drive 1"
MPEG Stream: "Treetop Drive 3"

album cover DEATHROW Deception Ignored (Tribunal / Divebomb) cd 16.98
There are definitely a bunch of you out there who really dig the crazy technical progmetal stuff, the thrashier and more insane the better. Like Vektor, ferstance. You know who you are. Or rather, WE know who WE are, maybe we should say, since we love that sort of stuff too. We certainly sold a lot of the Confessor demos cd set that Divebomb put out a while back, and so we thought we ought to list this, another mathematically advanced Divebomb reissue. This one's a somewhat obscure tech-thrash masterpiece by the German band Deathrow.
Deception Ignored - what does that title mean, anyway? The deception failed? or it succeeded?? Anyway, Deception Ignored was Deathrow's third album, originally released in 1988. Their first two albums, Riders Of Doom aka Satan's Gift ('86) and Raging Steel ('87), were much more basic and barbaric Teutonic thrashfests, and also pretty awesome, but it was with Deception Ignored that they joined the ranks of such bands as Watchtower, Coroner, Voivod, Anacrusis, and Mekong Delta in the realm of progressive / technical thrash mastery. Probably the evolution had to do with the fact that they'd just acquired a new, more technically-minded guitarist. His chops seem to have rubbed off on the other guys in the band. So grab this and get ready for a dizzying performance. Deathrow on this album are still raging, speed-wise - and lyrically too, it's all sociopolitical subject matter. But their heavy riffage has become intensely convoluted, lashed to equally intense rhythmic complexity. There's a shit ton of weedly-weedly razor sharp guitar shred that's sometimes almost jazzy, spilling (in a precise fashion) all over these stop, start, spin on a dime song structures. Which also feature the occasional atmospheric segue - like the acoustic guitar intro to "Machinery", or the classical touch provided by the moody piano and church organ passage heard at the start of the math-mad epic instrumental "Triocton". Meanwhile, amidst all this incredible instrumental interplay, Deathrow's singer fits in where and when he can, his vocals sometimes shout-growled in an aggro manner, or at other times affecting a higher pitched, more "melodic" whine. Which kinda makes us think of Joey Belladona era Anthrax if they got into a total math-metal frenzy. Also, it sounds not unlike Confessor a lot of the time. So this is definitely for fans of that band, also the others mentioned, especially including those modern day prog-thrash faves Vector!
The cd booklet of this nicely done reissue includes lyrics, an interview with Deathrow originally published in Metal Forces magazine back in '89, and extensive new liner notes by Jeff Wagner, the prog-metal expert who also wrote the liners to that Confessor demos collection.
MPEG Stream: "The Deathwish"
MPEG Stream: "Triocton"
MPEG Stream: "Machinery"

DEATHROW Primordial Lifecode (ISO666) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover DEATHROW / MOLOCH Echoes In Eternity (Tour De Garde) cassette 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We've become a little obsessed recently with Ukrainian one man band Moloch. A quick look at Encyclopaedia Metallum reveals about 30 or 40 releases, 5 or 6 of them BOX SETS! Unfortunately most of them limited to 50, or 40, some even less than 10. So we've been on the hunt for at least one record we could get enough of to review on the list. We have our sites set on a cd full length, which we should be able to have in stock soon, but while we've been searching this little black gem showed up, and thus, will most likely serve as your introduction to the mighty Moloch.
Of his 30 or 40 releases, only a handful are black metal, the rest are split between dark ambient, and noise. So the black metal records end up being infused with both ambient drones and black noise.
But before we get to Moloch, we have Deathrow to contend with, a one man band from Italy, that one man also being a member of Frostmoon Eclipse, Ad Hominem, Kult, Nocternity and a whole bunch of others. For this split, Deathrow offer up some gorgeously lush black ambience, thick roiling clouds of buzzing synth, shimmering organs, pulsing low end rumbles, all woven into slow moving creepscapes, almost like Goblin at 16rpm.
Moloch too chooses a path of blacker ambience, and offers up some grim necro rituals recalling the strange abstract blackened mood music of Abruptum, but far from being harsh, this is a dark and haunting journey through some fog shrouded underworld, all deep sonorous tones, mysterious creaks and thumps, dense swells of distorted low end, streaks of minor key melody, everything blurred and indistinct, distant anguished howls, tinkling marimba like chimes, warm washes of crumbling chordal whir, animal grunts and growls, reverb drenched detuned piano, all super cinematic and soundtracky, conjuring images of boarded up old houses, of black swamps, strange shapes drawn by moonlight filtering through the trees, of abandoned streets, dank cellars, of caves lit by flickering firelight, of nighttime, of darkness, of loss, misery, pain, loneliness, and hell.
WAY recommended. And if all goes well we'll be able to track down that Moloch full length, and you can discover his even blacker side for yourself.

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Drought (Season Of Mist) cd 10.98
Most aQ customers don't need to know anything other than the fact that there's a new Deathspell Omega to send them scrambling for the buy button (or running down to the shop, if they're local folks). One of those rare bands, whose reputation rightfully precedes them. Every record a stunning sonic masterpiece, and seemingly with every record the band continue to not only hone their unique sound, but to push themselves further and further away from black metal, at least the strictures and tropes that seem to keep so many bands from making truly innovative music. And DSO is most definitely innovative, maybe THEE most innovative black metal band out there, and Drought finds them pushing their sound even further out, while not at all abandoning the gnarled blackness that has defined their sound up until now.
The opening track might be the boldest thing they've done, a spare bit of haunting atmospheric doom creep, with lots of space, chords ringing out, notes decaying gradually, sounding like Low crossed with Skepticism or a heavier blackened Barn Owl, the track a sprawl of minor key twang and distant black buzz, that builds to a loping post rocky chug and churn, that had us thinking DSO might have abandoned the black buzz entirely, but that the second songs erupts in a frenzy of pounding blackness, rife with melody, but impossibly noisy and gnarled, the drums insanely complex, the arrangement dizzying, DSO one of those few bands that have even the most musically savvy scratching their hands wondering not only how the hell do they play this, but how do they come up with it in the first place. Heavy, and heady, melodic, proggy, intricate, intense, somehow catchy to boot, the band deftly flitting from melodic lope to impossibly dense black blast and back again.
The Slint influence is still heavy here, but the band don't dial back the heaviness for those post rockier parts, which gives this new ep a twisted ferocity, that barely lets up, instead of switching to clean guitar and spare arrangement, they douse those post/math moments in black buzz, and transform them into something else entirely.
There are some super melodic moments for sure, the final track especially manages to turn a post rock style groove into a dense black sprawl of distortion drenched heaviness, with strange tripped out stretches of just drums and chanted monklike vocals, but bookended by heavy parts that are SO heavy, and yet so hauntingly melodic. In just a little over twenty minutes, DSO manage to accomplish more than most bands do in a lifetime, creating something at once so perfectly embodying the spirit of true back metal, but at the same time forging their own ultra distinctive sonic path, one that continues to lead them further and further afield, into sonic realms where most other bands fear to tread.
MPEG Stream: "Salowe Vision"
MPEG Stream: "Fiery Serpents"
MPEG Stream: "Scorpions & Drought"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum (Ajna / Southern Lord) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
FINALLY! The long awaited brand new release from mysterious French post-black metal horde Deathspell Omega. There are very few bands that instill the sort of worship and awe that these guys do, but it's well deserved. Deathspell Omega have tread a solitary path, twisting the sounds of black metal into decidedly unlikely shapes, culminating in their last record, the classic Kenose, almost more of a post rock record with bits of black metal mixed in.
We had no idea what to expect from this new record, to be honest, we had a slight feeling, that they might abandon metal all together, or at least push even farther into avant rock territory, more sparse and moody meandering postrockscapes, and less full on blackness, but as we should have expected, DSO ended up doing the last thing we expected, and made a sort of slight return to their sound of old.
Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum is WAY more aggressive, relentless and pummeling. Those post rock elements are still very much evident, but the meat of these songs is a dizzying chaotic squall of black blasts, tangled obtuse guitars, minor key melodies, hateful howls and a super 'live' sounding BIG production, making everything sound even more intense and brutal.
The record opens and closes with strange soundscapes of tinkling piano, regal horns, martial percussion, what sounds like some sort of medieval court music, big booming drums, muter trumpets, huge masses of choral chants, almost like an ultra blackened Arvo Part score, or maybe even a strangely melodic piece by Hermann Nitsch.
But then the band launch into some of the most furious, most chaotic material we've heard from them in ages. A churning pit of dizzyingly technical blackness, the guitars are everywhere, buzzing, grinding, the vocals growled and ultra low, but it's the drums that truly destroy. Unlike most black metal records, the drums don't just flip flop between blasts and midtempo jams, they are spastic and wild, fills all over the place, the drums stumbling and scrambling over every spare inch of space, like a continuous drum solo, but every beat, every flurry of kick drums, is somehow perfectly tangled up with some bit of guitar or some convoluted arrangement. The riffs are slippery and swoop wildly within the different parts, the drums pelting them from all sides with a never ending hailstorm of blown out battery. It's the sort of metal that has you gasping for breath between songs. In the store it sometimes sounds like a blur, but with headphones, it's much easier to hear everything that is going on below the surface. Ultra complex, hyper mathy, but strangely hooky too. Little trills of high end guitar pepper the blurry buzz, each song broken into about a hundred different parts.
Most of the tracks have some sort of stripped down bridge, where the metal pulls back to reveal a lonely loping interlude, all clean minor key guitar and simple propulsive drumming, usually wrapped in all manner of sinister black ambience. A post rock meander through some dark forest or across some barren alien landscape before being swallowed up by DSO's massive wall of black sound.
A few tracks definitely remind us of Kenose, the distinctly nineties sounding math rock intro to "A Chore For The Lost" could just as easily be the Dazzling Killmen, with it's guitar harmonics, angular riffage and crushing beats, or the sort of dissonant slowcore opening to "The Repellent Scars Of Abandon And Election", but both of those are just that, merely intros, that soon transform into spiky black beasts, crushing and burning and trampling everything in their path.
The sound of Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum is so chaotic and so schizophrenic, it almost seems like it would just be way too much for the typical black metalhead, it's certainly grim and black and buzzy, but it's also dense and fucked up and obtuse and really really weird.... But if you're anything like us, which we think you are, then that all pretty much perfectly describes what could very well end up black metal record of the year.
MPEG Stream: "The Shrine Of Mad Laughter"
MPEG Stream: "Bread Of Bitterness"
MPEG Stream: "A Chore For The Lost"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum (Ajna / Southern Lord) 2lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
FINALLY! Available on vinyl, the long awaited brand new release from mysterious French post-black metal horde Deathspell Omega. There are very few bands that instill the sort of worship and awe that these guys do, but it's well deserved. Deathspell Omega have tread a solitary path, twisting the sounds of black metal into decidedly unlikely shapes, culminating in their last record, the classic Kenose, almost more of a post rock record with bits of black metal mixed in.
We had no idea what to expect from this new record, to be honest, we had a slight feeling, that they might abandon metal all together, or at least push even farther into avant rock territory, more sparse and moody meandering postrockscapes, and less full on blackness, but as we should have expected, DSO ended up doing the last thing we expected, and made a sort of slight return to their sound of old.
Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum is WAY more aggressive, relentless and pummeling. Those post rock elements are still very much evident, but the meat of these songs is a dizzying chaotic squall of black blasts, tangled obtuse guitars, minor key melodies, hateful howls and a super 'live' sounding BIG production, making everything sound even more intense and brutal.
The record opens and closes with strange soundscapes of tinkling piano, regal horns, martial percussion, what sounds like some sort of medieval court music, big booming drums, muter trumpets, huge masses of choral chants, almost like an ultra blackened Arvo Part score, or maybe even a strangely melodic piece by Hermann Nitsch.
But then the band launch into some of the most furious, most chaotic material we've heard from them in ages. A churning pit of dizzyingly technical blackness, the guitars are everywhere, buzzing, grinding, the vocals growled and ultra low, but it's the drums that truly destroy. Unlike most black metal records, the drums don't just flip flop between blasts and midtempo jams, they are spastic and wild, fills all over the place, the drums stumbling and scrambling over every spare inch of space, like a continuous drum solo, but every beat, every flurry of kick drums, is somehow perfectly tangled up with some bit of guitar or some convoluted arrangement. The riffs are slippery and swoop wildly within the different parts, the drums pelting them from all sides with a never ending hailstorm of blown out battery. It's the sort of metal that has you gasping for breath between songs. In the store it sometimes sounds like a blur, but with headphones, it's much easier to hear everything that is going on below the surface. Ultra complex, hyper mathy, but strangely hooky too. Little trills of high end guitar pepper the blurry buzz, each song broken into about a hundred different parts.
Most of the tracks have some sort of stripped down bridge, where the metal pulls back to reveal a lonely loping interlude, all clean minor key guitar and simple propulsive drumming, usually wrapped in all manner of sinister black ambience. A post rock meander through some dark forest or across some barren alien landscape before being swallowed up by DSO's massive wall of black sound.
A few tracks definitely remind us of Kenose, the distinctly nineties sounding math rock intro to "A Chore For The Lost" could just as easily be the Dazzling Killmen, with it's guitar harmonics, angular riffage and crushing beats, or the sort of dissonant slowcore opening to "The Repellent Scars Of Abandon And Election", but both of those are just that, merely intros, that soon transform into spiky black beasts, crushing and burning and trampling everything in their path.
The sound of Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum is so chaotic and so schizophrenic, it almost seems like it would just be way too much for the typical black metalhead, it's certainly grim and black and buzzy, but it's also dense and fucked up and obtuse and really really weird.... But if you're anything like us, which we think you are, then that all pretty much perfectly describes what could very well end up black metal record of the year.
MPEG Stream: "The Shrine Of Mad Laughter"
MPEG Stream: "Bread Of Bitterness"
MPEG Stream: "A Chore For The Lost"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Infernal Battles (Northern Heritage) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The two most recent Deathspell Omega records, Kenose and Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice, immediately became all time AQ favorites, due in no small part to their strange hybrid of classic thrashy black metal, and strange serpentine post rock. Grim enough to satisfy all the true black metal warriors out there, but weird and avant enough to please fans of strange music, metalhead or not. But as with most groups with a strange progressive sonic bent, that sound didn't just happen overnight, they had to grow into it, feeling their way as they went and DSO is no exception. While now they are this ultra mysterious avant garde black metal outift, they started out as an ultra grim, thrashy black metal band, as is evidenced on Infernal Battles, a disc that collects two of DSO's demos (2000 / 2003). This was released a while ago but quickly went out of print and has only been repressed recently so we've finally gotten enough to list!
So while this isn't as far out or weirdly progressive as the more recent releases, in no way does that mean this isn't essential stuff. And even that far back, there were hints as to what the future held for DSO sonically. Overall, this is simple and true and grim thrashy buzzing black metal, furious blast beats and droning riffs, howled vocals, but even in this more traditional classic BM framework, DSO manage to imbue each song with subtly strange melodies and unlikely riffing, surprisingly complex and catchy arrangements, all fitted snugly in that classic BM structure, subverting subtly from within. This one is definitely not for the dabblers who dug later DSO records but for whom the BM angle was more of a novelty -- this is harsh, heavy, grim, brutal stuff, fans of Darkthrone, old Immortal, Mayhem and the like will be in utter hell (which they like), and will gladly wallow in the bleak blackness of Infernal Battles for sure.
MPEG Stream: "Drink The Devil's Blood"
MPEG Stream: "The Ancient Presence Revealed"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Inquisitors Of Satan (Northern Heritage) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally back in stock!
Inquisitors Of Satan was the second album from Deathspell Omega, originally released in 2002 and intended to be vinyl only until a slew of spotty bootleg cds convinced the band to release a cd version. Much like Infernal Battles, IoS finds Deathspell still firmly ensconced in a more traditional grim and true black metal sound, channelling the spirit of Darkthrone and Immortal and Mayhem, but twisting that classic BM sound into their own subtly strange shapes.
A cursory listen reveals all the sonic hallmarks you might expect from any classic black metal record: buzzing blurry riffs, furious blast beats, haunting minor key melodies, gutteral growled demonic vocals, but as on Infernal Battles, DSO seem to be growing tired of just blasting away, and inject all sorts of subtleties that slowly reveal themselves upon repeated listens, riffs are twisted and convoluted, melodies are totally unlikely but in being so, manage to also be completely and extraordinarily catchy. Granted this is still at it's core, pure and evil and furiously brutal black metal, but this definitely hinted even more at the mysterious blackened beast DSO would one day become.
MPEG Stream: "From Unknown Lands Of Desolation"
MPEG Stream: "Torture And Death"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Kenose (Southern Lord) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This totally essential slab of avant / post black metal brilliance was just re-issued domestically by our doomy pals at Southern Lord, duplicating the awesome packaging of the import exactly. So if you missed out last time, thank your lucky stars, you just got another chance:
Metal heads around these parts have been completely obsessed with Deathspell Omega. And rightfully so. The first black metal band in a long while to totally reinvent black metal and make it their own. In a way that managed to turn lots of non-metal folks to the dark side while somehow remaining true and grim enough to keep the hardcore black metal elite satisfied. We mentioned in our review of the last DSO, that the best way to find out about the best bands, is to check out what the other best bands are listening to, and at the time, everyone from Leviathan to Nachtmystium to Crebain to Draugar were singing their praises. So when the word of a new DSO surfaced, we had the SF black metal horde showing up at the store all the time like kids at Christmastime, chomping at the bit for the new DSO. "Is it here yet?! Is It Here Yet?! IS IT HERE YET?" Well, it is finally here, and damn if it isn't even weirder and more intense and fucking amazing than we could have hoped for. Three tracks clocking in at about 36 minutes, of some of the most unique, idiosyncratic outsider black metal you'll ever hear. The first track starts off with four minutes of meandering and spacious post rock, a lilting melancholic soundscape, of finger picked guitars, big simple drumming, creepy whispered vocals, and snippets of ghostly disembodied voices, before the whole thing builds into a super angular minor key black metal burst of buzzing distorted riffing, arpeggiated melodies and blast beats that all sort of morphs into a very Ved Buens Ende sounding loping midtempo metallic groove, seasick and hypnotic sounding. The entire record is peppered with alien sounding melodies, stretches of ambient flutter, some otherworldly slow motion doom, strange industrial clatter and woozy head nodding arrangements, all aligned around and amidst more traditional blasts of black metal. So cool and so weird. This is indeed black metal through and through, but at the same time it's almost more of a weird avant rock record, incorporating lots of BM elements, making it that much more original and that much more timeless. Packaged in a gorgeous digipak with a huge booklet of BEAUTIFUL creepy artwork very reminiscent of Hans Bellmer, along with all sorts of texts, Biblical, apocryphal and otherwise.
MPEG Stream: "Kenose 1"
MPEG Stream: "Kenose 2"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Kenose (Ajna Offensive) 2lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We have very few copies of the lp version, so act fast or be prepared to wait while we try to get more! Metal heads around these parts have been completely obsessed with Deathspell Omega. And rightfully so. The first black metal band in a long while to totally reinvent black metal and make it their own. In a way that managed to turn lots of non-metal folks to the dark side while somehow remaining true and grim enough to keep the hardcore black metal elite satisfied. We mentioned in our review of the last DSO, that the best way to find out about the best bands, is to check out what the other best bands are listening to, and at the time, everyone from Leviathan to Nachtmystium to Crebain to Draugar were singing their praises. So when the word of a new DSO surfaced, we had the SF black metal horde showing up at the store all the time like kids at Christmastime, chomping at the bit for the new DSO. "Is it here yet?! Is It Here Yet?! IS IT HERE YET?" Well, it is finally here, and damn if it isn't even weirder and more intense and fucking amazing than we could have hoped for. Three tracks clocking in at about 36 minutes, of some of the most unique, idiosyncratic outsider black metal you'll ever hear. The first track starts off with four minutes of meandering and spacious post rock, a lilting melancholic soundscape, of finger picked guitars, big simple drumming, creepy whispered vocals, and snippets of ghostly disembodied voices, before the whole thing builds into a super angular minor key black metal burst of buzzing distorted riffing, arpeggiated melodies and blast beats that all sort of morphs into a very Ved Buens Ende sounding loping midtempo metallic groove, seasick and hypnotic sounding. The entire record is peppered with alien sounding melodies, stretches of ambient flutter, some otherworldly slow motion doom, strange industrial clatter and woozy head nodding arrangements, all aligned around and amidst more traditional blasts of black metal. So cool and so weird. This is indeed black metal through and through, but at the same time it's almost more of a weird avant rock record, incorporating lots of BM elements, making it that much more original and that much more timeless. Packaged in a gorgeous digipak with a huge booklet of BEAUTIFUL creepy artwork very reminiscent of Hans Bellmer, along with all sorts of texts, Biblical, apocryphal and otherwise.
MPEG Stream: "Kenose 1"
MPEG Stream: "Kenose 2"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Manifestations 2000-2001 (Northern Heritage) cd 15.98
It's only been a year since we last heard from Deathspell Omega, but it feels like forever. Their last record, Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum, still ranks as one of our favorite black metal records ever. A truly original blast of gnarled avant black metal, as true and grim and buzzy and black as any black metal we've heard, but rife with strange chords, and distinctly non-metal phrasings, convoluted arrangements, an incredible raw black metal record, all tangled up with something much more fractured and experimental. The record before that, Kenose, was even more far out, transforming their black buzz into something approaching a blackened Slint, a strange twisted metallic post rock.
This disc however takes us was back to the beginning of this century, and compiles a handful of super rare splits and compilation tracks, from the disc they shared with Mutiilation, their split with Moonblood, and the Black Crushing Sorcery compilations. The sound here, based on the dates, and the fact that these tracks predate new vocalist Mikka Aspa from Clandestine Blaze and Fleshpress joining the band, are sonically much more in line with their earlier records Infernal Battles and especially Inquisitors of Satan. The first two tracks from the Mutiilation split find the band right at the cusp, clinging to their grim raw roots, but allowing their music to sprawl, the chords get more and more dissonant, the arrangements more complex, the overall sound thicker and more lush, but still rough and black. The three tracks from the Moonblood split go back to 2000 and thus sound much more raw and straight ahead, total early nineties Norwegian BM worship, a definite Darkthrone vibe for sure, but is suits them, the soaring buzz, the blasting beats, all wound up into long epics, peppered with woozy midtempo breakdowns, the riffs slippery and atonal, the overall sound a super smoldering lo-fi blackness. The final track from the Black Crushing Sorcery is more of the same, another solid chunk of classic nineties sounding black metal, insectoid guitar buzz, furious blast beats, even a weird punky Darkthrone breakdown partway through.
Essential and classic, another glimpse into the past, revealing more of the black roots that would eventually take hold and produce the fearsome black beast that is Deathspell today.
MPEG Stream: "Insanity Supreme"
MPEG Stream: "Black Crushing Sorcery"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Manifestations 2002 (Northern Heritage) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
As we wait patiently for a new Deathspell Omega, we have not one, but two archival releases to hold us over, one, reviewed elsewhere on this list, is a collection of splits and compilation tracks, and this one, well, this is the one DSO the troo fanatics have been waiting for.
The music on the other disc, Manifestations 2000-2001, is all previously released, and while most folks probably never got their hands on the way too limited originals, those recordings have definitely been floating around. But the music on this disc, Manifestations 2002, is all previously unreleased, and unless you're seriously well connected, this is essentially a brand new Deathspell album. These tracks were originally recorded for two different releases, several for a split lp with Cantus Bestiae, which never materialized, and the rest, were intended to be DSO's contribution to the Crushing The Holy Trinity comp. For whatever reason, these tracks never made it, and the band recorded a single 22 minute epic to take their place. But thankfully, these tracks were preserved, and are finally seeing the light of day, or rather, the black of night.
And regardless of where these tracks were headed for, they play pretty solidly as a proper DSO album. Filthy and furious, frenzied and relentless, a flurry on insectoid buzz lightning speed blast beats, harsh bile drenched vokills, but it is Deathspell, and this is about the time their sound began to change, so amidst all this buzz and blast, are strange loping midtempo sprawls, slippery woozy angular riffs, notes colliding and shimmering in fields of weird almost-grooves, melodies and harmonies twist and transform, their sound simultaneously demonic and weirdly pretty, but buried under avalanches of black fury, pounding almost punky breakdowns slip smoothly into impossible fast blurs, brief moments of near poppiness surface amidst roiling seas of choppy black grind, but it's still 2002, so instead of defining their sound, those elements become just another part of the heaving monstrous whole, and infuse even the most straight ahead black blasts with the sort of twisted avant vibe that would eventually become the core of DSO's new direction.
MPEG Stream: "Tyrants And Slaves"
MPEG Stream: "Gloria - Diabolus Absconditus"
MPEG Stream: "Monument Of Hate"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Paracletus (Season Of Mist) cd 14.98
What can we write about France's mysterious Deathspell Omega that we haven't already? Pretty much the gold standard of forward thinking avant black metal, every record better than the last, more twisted, more complex, and weirdly enough less obviously black metal.
Paracletus is the final part of the group's epic trilogy, which began with Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice, and continued with Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum; like those records, Paracletus is an epic sonic undertaking, present in smaller doses are the requisite black metal buzzing and blasting, but even more than the first two records, which were already reaching beyond the tired tropes of traditional black metal, Paracletus barely seems black metal at all. It's definitely heavy, and seriously intense, complex, but even the blasting blackness is infused with mysterious melody, and impossible textures. Listening to this, we not only find ourselves wondering how people can make music like this, but how they can even conceive of it?
The opening sub two minute 'intro' is all gnarled melodies, twisted atonal mathiness, convoluted and avant and abstract and somehow totally catchy, the blackest part is the vocals, still delivered in a gruff demonic bellow, but other than that, the sound is in a realm all its own. And when you expect the record proper to kick in, the band do explode in a frenzy of blasting fury, but the riffs sound weirdly clean, and are peppered with all sorts of little bits of filigree and little sonic curlicues, not to mention more of those super tangled and gnarled Greg Ginn-ish guitar parts that band is known for, the song a twisted sonic puzzle, a million parts seamlessly woven into an impossibly cohesive whole which is indeed heavy, and black, but has so much cool weird shit going on, strange melodic breakdowns, laid over frantic blast beats, haunting ascending and descending melodies, atonal and angular, and it never lets up, how a band can play this fast, and this intricate, and definitely boggles the mind. And the whole record is like that, the sound both heavy and harsh, but simultaneously clean and melodic, it seems impossible, and sounds weird to describe, but there is something definitely unique going on here, the tone, the arrangements, the SOUND, it's not brittle or buzzy or grim or kvlt or any of that, it's LUSH, and expansive and epic and majestic, but still fierce and dark and intense, there's bass all over the place too, definitely an anomaly for black metal, adding some serious heft, not to mention melodic counterpoint, clean vocals, intense spoken word, doomy stretches that sound more like Codeine than Mutiilation. Not to totally downplay how heavy and TRUE this is, there is no doubt that this is black metal, it's just so above and beyond everything else, so unique and unlike all the other groups out there. We LOVE black metal, but 99 percent of the time we'd fail a blind name that tune or even name that band sort of comparison, cuz so much BM sounds so similar, but we could pick out DSP in a matter of seconds.
For their sound, but also for all the strange stuff they mix into their BM, like the lurching low slung breakdown on "Phosphene", with it's buzzy gothy fuzzbass, and tortured wails, not to mention the woozy main riff and the strange scrapes and slides, or the glimmering prettiness that is "Epiklesis II", which sounds almost like Mogwai or something, growing more and more epic, it even sounds like there are horns or an orchestra, so totally epic and unexpected, or howabout the insane mathiness of "Devouring Famine", along with the twisted dizzying breakdowns and the warped sounding guitars, or finally the whole of "Apokatastasis Panton", which is an incredible slab of black pop, the drums super complex, the arrangement sprawling and serpentine, but the guitars, soaring and melodic, again building and building to a sort of psychedelic blackened Godspeed style climax.
So incredible, the sort of thing that doesn't just feel like the culmination of the record, but of all three records, of the trilogy as a whole, an explosive and emotional and ultimately cathartic release, the sort of thing you don't get from much music, let alone black metal. Easily our new favorite black metal record, and without a doubt, black metal record of the year. TOTALLY ESSENTIAL.
MPEG Stream: "Epiklesis"
MPEG Stream: "Wings Of Predation"
MPEG Stream: "Abscission"
MPEG Stream: "Apokatastasis Panton"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Paracletus (Season Of Mist) lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally available on vinyl!! Thick gatefold sleeve, presumably limited.
What can we write about France's mysterious Deathspell Omega that we haven't already? Pretty much the gold standard of forward thinking avant black metal, every record better than the last, more twisted, more complex, and weirdly enough less obviously black metal.
Paracletus is the final part of the group's epic trilogy, which began with Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice, and continued with Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum; like those records, Paracletus is an epic sonic undertaking, present in smaller doses are the requisite black metal buzzing and blasting, but even more than the first two records, which were already reaching beyond the tired tropes of traditional black metal, Paracletus barely seems black metal at all. It's definitely heavy, and seriously intense, complex, but even the blasting blackness is infused with mysterious melody, and impossible textures. Listening to this, we not only find ourselves wondering how people can make music like this, but how they can even conceive of it?
The opening sub two minute 'intro' is all gnarled melodies, twisted atonal mathiness, convoluted and avant and abstract and somehow totally catchy, the blackest part is the vocals, still delivered in a gruff demonic bellow, but other than that, the sound is in a realm all its own. And when you expect the record proper to kick in, the band do explode in a frenzy of blasting fury, but the riffs sound weirdly clean, and are peppered with all sorts of little bits of filigree and little sonic curlicues, not to mention more of those super tangled and gnarled Greg Ginn-ish guitar parts that band is known for, the song a twisted sonic puzzle, a million parts seamlessly woven into an impossibly cohesive whole which is indeed heavy, and black, but has so much cool weird shit going on, strange melodic breakdowns, laid over frantic blast beats, haunting ascending and descending melodies, atonal and angular, and it never lets up, how a band can play this fast, and this intricate, and definitely boggles the mind. And the whole record is like that, the sound both heavy and harsh, but simultaneously clean and melodic, it seems impossible, and sounds weird to describe, but there is something definitely unique going on here, the tone, the arrangements, the SOUND, it's not brittle or buzzy or grim or kvlt or any of that, it's LUSH, and expansive and epic and majestic, but still fierce and dark and intense, there's bass all over the place too, definitely an anomaly for black metal, adding some serious heft, not to mention melodic counterpoint, clean vocals, intense spoken word, doomy stretches that sound more like Codeine than Mutiilation. Not to totally downplay how heavy and TRUE this is, there is no doubt that this is black metal, it's just so above and beyond everything else, so unique and unlike all the other groups out there. We LOVE black metal, but 99 percent of the time we'd fail a blind name that tune or even name that band sort of comparison, cuz so much BM sounds so similar, but we could pick out DSP in a matter of seconds.
For their sound, but also for all the strange stuff they mix into their BM, like the lurching low slung breakdown on "Phosphene", with it's buzzy gothy fuzzbass, and tortured wails, not to mention the woozy main riff and the strange scrapes and slides, or the glimmering prettiness that is "Epiklesis II", which sounds almost like Mogwai or something, growing more and more epic, it even sounds like there are horns or an orchestra, so totally epic and unexpected, or howabout the insane mathiness of "Devouring Famine", along with the twisted dizzying breakdowns and the warped sounding guitars, or finally the whole of "Apokatastasis Panton", which is an incredible slab of black pop, the drums super complex, the arrangement sprawling and serpentine, but the guitars, soaring and melodic, again building and building to a sort of psychedelic blackened Godspeed style climax.
So incredible, the sort of thing that doesn't just feel like the culmination of the record, but of all three records, of the trilogy as a whole, an explosive and emotional and ultimately cathartic release, the sort of thing you don't get from much music, let alone black metal. Easily our new favorite black metal record, and without a doubt, black metal record of the year. TOTALLY ESSENTIAL.
MPEG Stream: "Epiklesis"
MPEG Stream: "Wings Of Predation"
MPEG Stream: "Abscission"
MPEG Stream: "Apokatastasis Panton"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice (Norma Evangelium Diaboli) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Deathspell Omega's Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice is most definitely one of the coolest, weirdest black metal records of the last decade, but unfortunately it's been out of print for a while now. But finally, this amazing disc is available again (and at a much cheaper price), so if you missed out the first time around, keep reading, check out the sound samples and be prepared for some of the most intense and innovative black metal you've ever heard...
Our original review from way back in 2004:
The only way to find out about the best bands, has always been to check out who the other best bands are listening to. So when the black metal elite (including our own West Coast wing, Leviathan, Crebain, Draugar, etc) are all singing the praises of a band, then you know you need to check them out. Such is the case with mysterious black metal horde Deathspell Omega. With a handful of impossible to find releases in the past (now in stock and reviewed elsewhere on the AQ site), Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice was the first DO record with any sort of wide distribution. And it was about time too. Deathspell Omega occupy an unholy sonic space somewhere between Burzum, Mutiilation, Leviathan and Xasthur. Droning mostly midtempo black metal (with occasional blast beats), infused with strange arpeggiated minor key guitars, melancholy riffing, super hypnotic ultra memorable songwriting, complex song structures, grim affected vocals, and all sorts of hauntingly beautiful ambient interludes / intros, with martial percussion, liturgical chants and subtle drones, very dark and intensely affecting. Sonically, DO sound a bit like older Enslaved, or early Emperor, but with a strong penchant for unlikely melodies (that subtly surface even in the harshest of musical moments) and hypnotic trance like repetition. One of our favorite new black metal records.
MPEG Stream: "First Prayer"
MPEG Stream: "Sola Fide I & II"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice (Norma Evangelium Diaboli) 2lp 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally available on vinyl. Pretty pricey, but as always GORGEOUS packaging, not to mention one of the most mind blowing black metal records ever, and of course VERY limited.
Deathspell Omega's Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice is most definitely one of the coolest, weirdest black metal records of the last decade, but unfortunately it's been out of print for a while now. But finally, this amazing disc is available again (and at a much cheaper price), so if you missed out the first time around, keep reading, check out the sound samples and be prepared for some of the most intense and innovative black metal you've ever heard...
Our original review from way back in 2004:
The only way to find out about the best bands, has always been to check out who the other best bands are listening to. So when the black metal elite (including our own West Coast wing, Leviathan, Crebain, Draugar, etc) are all singing the praises of a band, then you know you need to check them out. Such is the case with mysterious black metal horde Deathspell Omega. With a handful of impossible to find releases in the past (now in stock and reviewed elsewhere on the AQ site), Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice was the first DO record with any sort of wide distribution. And it was about time too. Deathspell Omega occupy an unholy sonic space somewhere between Burzum, Mutiilation, Leviathan and Xasthur. Droning mostly midtempo black metal (with occasional blast beats), infused with strange arpeggiated minor key guitars, melancholy riffing, super hypnotic ultra memorable songwriting, complex song structures, grim affected vocals, and all sorts of hauntingly beautiful ambient interludes / intros, with martial percussion, liturgical chants and subtle drones, very dark and intensely affecting. Sonically, DO sound a bit like older Enslaved, or early Emperor, but with a strong penchant for unlikely melodies (that subtly surface even in the harshest of musical moments) and hypnotic trance like repetition. One of our favorite new black metal records.
MPEG Stream: "First Prayer"
MPEG Stream: "Sola Fide I & II"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA Veritas Diaboli Manet In Aeternum: Chaining The Kacheton (Norma Evangelium Diaboli / Ajna) cd ep 11.98
Finally, after waiting and waiting, a brand new Deathspell Omega record. Or track. OK, record. Same difference really. One single sprawling massive 22 minute epic with more parts and compositional complexities than most bands can cram into a record three times as long. And it's the perfect blend of DSO's two disparate sides, their grim and gnarled, frosty, thrashing buzzy black side, and their more obtuse, mathy melodic post rock side. In the past, it seemed like the band would lean heavily in one direction or the other depending on the record, Kenose with it's total slavish and apparently unintentional Slint worship, and then FAS, which seemed to ditch those post rock proclivities in favor of something much more old school.
So it was pretty much a toss up where the band would take their sound, and weirdly enough, this is almost exactly what we were hoping for. A perfect hybrid of the two, with no clear delineation, each side, those battling influences, blurring and bleeding into one another, confusionally bafflingly brilliant, bursts of furious grinding black buzz lead directly into warped stretches of spidery clean guitars and lurching impossible rhythms, soft hushed whispered interludes obliterated by thick roiling black riffery, only to slowly melt before our eyes, twisting and almost detuning, the guitar parts very Polvo-esque, strange tunings, almost skeletal sounding, until the band offer up some impossibly dense complicated BM fury, stop start arrangements, INCREDIBLE drumming, the guitars totally unhinged, but still weirdly catchy. Songs this long are always difficult to pull off, for the best of bands, either parts get recycled, the band repeats itself, or it gets tiresome and then it's a matter of waiting for the song to end. But nothing like that here. So many parts, all thematically and musically linked, but all totally unique, the guitars especially, seem to come to life, like some black weed, while the drums inhumanly stay locked in perfectly. The track shifts from intense frenzy, to woozy groove, to lumbering doom, to jagged mathy stutter, and back again, there even seems to be some horns happening, reminding us of later period Gore.
Even as a musician, it baffles the mind, how anyone is capable of conceiving music this dense and complex and subtly melodic, let along performing it. This just might seal the deal, as if it wasn't sealed already, Deathspell Omega just might be the most progressive, most avant, and fuck it most mind blowing black metal band on the planet right now. Period.
DSO's twenty two minute track is actually from a split, released in conjunction with a new record from countrymen S.V.E.S.T., reviewed elsewhere on this list, and equally as essential, and vinyl folks, you are in luck, both the DSO material and the S.V.E.S.T. songs, while released as separate cds, are available together on a single lp!
MPEG Stream: "Chaining The Katechon (Excerpt)"

album cover DEATHSPELL OMEGA / S.V.E.S.T. Veritas Diaboli Manet In Aeternum (Norma Evangelium Diaboli / End All Life Productions) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The long awaited split from two of our all time favorite black metal outfits, Deathspell Omega and S.V.E.S.T.! Weirdly enough, each band's half of the vinyl split was also released on a separate cd, so if you're a digital kind of person, you're gonna have to buy both cds, and believe us it's well worth it, just read on. But if vinyl is your thing, then you're in luck, cuz both halves, all the material from both cds, is contained on this here lp.
Up first, Deathspell Omega:
Finally, after waiting and waiting, a brand new Deathspell Omega record. Or track. OK, record. Same difference really. One single sprawling massive 22 minute epic with more parts and compositional complexities than most bands can cram into a record three times as long. And it's the perfect blend of DSO's two disparate sides, their grim and gnarled, frosty, thrashing buzzy black side, and their more obtuse, mathy melodic post rock side. In the past, it seemed like the band would lean heavily in one direction or the other depending on the record, Kenose with it's total slavish and apparently unintentional Slint worship, and then FAS, which seemed to ditch those post rock proclivities in favor of something much more old school.
So it was pretty much a toss up where the band would take their sound, and weirdly enough, this is almost exactly what we were hoping for. A perfect hybrid of the two, with no clear delineation, each side, those battling influences, blurring and bleeding into one another, confusionally bafflingly brilliant, bursts of furious grinding black buzz lead directly into warped stretches of spidery clean guitars and lurching impossible rhythms, soft hushed whispered interludes obliterated by thick roiling black riffery, only to slowly melt before our eyes, twisting and almost detuning, the guitar parts very Polvo-esque, strange tunings, almost skeletal sounding, until the band offer up some impossibly dense complicated BM fury, stop start arrangements, INCREDIBLE drumming, the guitars totally unhinged, but still weirdly catchy. Songs this long are always difficult to pull off, for the best of bands, either parts get recycled, the band repeats itself, or it gets tiresome and then it's a matter of waiting for the song to end. But nothing like that here. So many parts, all thematically and musically linked, but all totally unique, the guitars especially, seem to come to life, like some black weed, while the drums inhumanly stay locked in perfectly. The track shifts from intense frenzy, to woozy groove, to lumbering doom, to jagged mathy stutter, and back again, there even seems to be some horns happening, reminding us of later period Gore.
Even as a musician, it baffles the mind, how anyone is capable of conceiving music this dense and complex and subtly melodic, let along performing it. This just might seal the deal, as if it wasn't sealed already, Deathspell Omega just might be the most progressive, most avant, and fuck it most mind blowing black metal band on the planet right now. Period.
And then S.V.E.S.T.:
The return of an old favorite, French duo S.V.E.S.T., who strangely enough haven't released a proper record since 2003 (2005's Coagula compiled older demos), but within 30 seconds, we were totally reminded exactly why we loved these guys so much. And they're a perfect foil for Deathspell, their sound equally fractured and convoluted and fucked up, but where DSO go for something darker and moodier and more melodic, S.V.E.S.T. go in the other direction completely, spitting out frenzied swaths of blurred buzz and wild squalls of intense tangled blackness. These three tracks, are so awesome, we almost, and we're well aware of the sacrilege involved here, but we just might like them as much as, if not even more than the Deathspell half of the split.
Their sound is hard to describe. The first track opens with a dizzying swirl of squiggly guitars, woozy riffs, wild splattery drumming, that seems already like it's bordering on total meltdown, yet that's just the intro, and the band launch into a frenzied assault even more fucked up and dense, but pepper it with cool little melodies and parts that almost sound Viking, albeit buried beneath a roiling black blowout. The guitar does these cool little descending trills, the song lurches and stutters, the drums are relentless, mind blowingly fast and heavy and intricate, until partway through, the sound shifts, and there's a bit of doomy crawl, before leaping right back into the fray. Throughout, there are bursts of total drumming chaos, extra guitars howling and adding yet more layers of buzz. It's so thick and heavy and dense, it takes close listening to pick out all the amazing stuff going on beneath the buzzy black surface.
The second track continues on in much the same vein, with the guitars even more twisted and gnarled, the drums still relentlessly mathy and intricate, slipping from total chaotic black noise, to stumbling groove, to cool pounding dirge, the drums leaping out from the mix, the guitars thick and raw, but soaring majestically at the same time. The sound manages to be epic and classic and technical while also murky and lo-fi, the sounds all blurring together, a heaving mass of constantly shifting blown out blackness, still rife with all manner of tangled little melodies, and sweeping epic ambience.
The closer is short and sweet, the weirdest and creepiest of the bunch, beginning with a staccato machine gun burst of drums and riffage, before slipping into a swirling high end guitardrone, all woozy and overlapping, disembodied riffs and smeared melodies, dizzying and mesmerizing, growing more and more intense, the drums barely there, just those high end guitars glowing hotter and hotter, until finally, the drums kick in, and the track resolves in a totally twisted soaring post rock black metal what the fuck epic outro, that fades out WAY too soon. Holy shit. These guys need to deliver a full length ASAP. and we definitely don't want to wait another 6 years.
LIMITED OF COURSE. And it would be hard not to think, even only nine days into the new year, that this wasn't gonna be the best black metal record of '09. We'll see...
MPEG Stream: DEATHSPELL OMEGA "Chaining The Katechon (Excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: S.V.E.S.T. "Et La Lumiere Fut, Comme Un Coup De Scalpel"

DEB PLAYERS Umoja - Love and Unity (Badda) cd 22.00
Repress of the 1978 Dennis Brown produced, Prince Jammy engineered masterpiece of dub, now rendered obsolete by Blood & Fire's much cheaper Umoja / 20th Century Dubwise twofer sold under Prince Jammy's name.

album cover DEBRIS Static Disposal (Anopheles) cd 14.98
BACK IN PRINT! The cd re-issue of one of those albums collectors would trade their first born for. Gladly. This is head-damaged, heavy Oklahoma psych-punk circa 1975, predating the Butthole Surfers by a solid decade but with the same references to Captain Beefheart and the Red Crayola. Not too many bands in the '70s sounded much like this, with maybe Pere Ubu, the Electric Eels and Simply Saucer being the closest comparisons we can make, to these songs full of raw rock, skronky stomp, electronic skree, and frantic vocals. Static Disposal was also one of the rarities on the notorious Nurse With Wound list! As such, utter obscure weirdness that we're amazed made it to the recording studio, and could teach a thing or two to plenty of bands today found on labels like Load and Corleone. Includes a 10 unreleased tracks from rehearsal tapes, and a thick booklet of photos, lyrics and reminiscences, put together with typical Anopheles record geek thoroughness. Recommended, nice to have it available again!
MPEG Stream: "One Way Split "
MPEG Stream: "Female Tracks"

album cover DEBRIS Static Disposal (Anopheles Records) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The lp re-issue (after a cd reish a couple years ago) of one of those albums collectors would trade their first born for. Gladly. This is head-damaged, heavy Oklahoma psych-punk circa 1975, predating the Butthole Surfers by a solid decade but with the same references to Captain Beefheart and the Red Crayola. Not too many bands in the '70s sounded much like this, with maybe Pere Ubu, the Electric Eels and Simply Saucer being the closest comparisons we can make. "Static Disposal" was also one of the rarities on the notorious Nurse With Wound list! Recommended.

album cover DEBRIS Static Disposal (Anopheles) lp 22.00
One of those albums collectors would trade their first born for. Gladly. This is head-damaged, heavy Oklahoma psych-punk circa 1975, predating the Butthole Surfers by a solid decade but with the same references to Captain Beefheart and the Red Crayola. Not too many bands in the '70s sounded much like this, with maybe Pere Ubu, the Electric Eels and Simply Saucer being the closest comparisons we can make, to these songs full of raw rock, skronky stomp, electronic skree, and frantic vocals. Static Disposal was also one of the rarities on the notorious Nurse With Wound list! As such, utter obscure weirdness that we're amazed made it to the recording studio, and could teach a thing or two to plenty of bands today found on labels like Load and Corleone.

album cover DEBRIS INC. s/t (Candlelight) cd 15.98
Saint Vitus guitarist + Trouble vocalist, doing drunken old school punk rock with only a hint of the doom metal they're known for...not what you'd expect (or is it?) but it's fun, and Dave Chandler's guitar sound is Vitusy for sure.

album cover DEBRUIT From The Horizon (Civil Music) cd 16.98
Afro-Booty Musique! That's not just one of the song titles here, that's what this is. French techno producer Debruit makes his debut with this lively disc, that weaves both samples and rhythmic inspiration from various sorts of African music old and new (including stuff from "lost African VHS") into a slightly hip-hopped, drum-machine driven, largely instrumental techno funk full of fat, squelchy bass lines and infectious chants. It comes off like a mad, manic mix of the hyperactive, synthed-out sound of South African "Shangaan Electro" and the funky-but-fucked up approach of another aQ fave style, namely "Skweee"!! Syncopated, surreal like the cover art, exotic and energetic, great for a sweaty dance frenzy or fast driving in the car (simply sitting at home in front of the stereo, maybe that too, but you might not be sitting still for long). And track 7 is called "Zef", so now we know Die Antwoord didn't make that up.
Fans of skweee, of Shangaan stuff (particularly the Shangaan Shake remixes Honest Jon's put out), the electrified thumb-piano "Congotronics" of Konono No.1, and that great Francis Bebey "African Electronic Music" collection on Born Bad, all will hear things they like here, in one chaotic, jubilant, groovy jumble!
Next time, we'll probably have the double vinyl version of this too, plus also a remix 12".
MPEG Stream: "Afro Booty Musique"
MPEG Stream: "Zef"
MPEG Stream: "Quest Wind's Seagulls"

album cover DEBRUIT From The Horizon (Civil Music) 2lp 26.00
Now here on vinyl! Afro-Booty Musique! That's not just one of the song titles here, that's what this is. French techno producer Debruit makes his debut with this lively disc, that weaves both samples and rhythmic inspiration from various sorts of African music old and new (including stuff from "lost African VHS") into a slightly hip-hopped, drum-machine driven, largely instrumental techno funk full of fat, squelchy bass lines and infectious chants. It comes off like a mad, manic mix of the hyperactive, synthed-out sound of South African "Shangaan Electro" and the funky-but-fucked up approach of another aQ fave style, namely "Skweee"!! Syncopated, surreal like the cover art, exotic and energetic, great for a sweaty dance frenzy or fast driving in the car (simply sitting at home in front of the stereo, maybe that too, but you might not be sitting still for long). And track 7 is called "Zef", so now we know Die Antwoord didn't make that up.
Fans of skweee, of Shangaan stuff (particularly the Shangaan Shake remixes Honest Jon's put out), the electrified thumb-piano "Congotronics" of Konono No.1, and that great Francis Bebey "African Electronic Music" collection on Born Bad, all will hear things they like here, in one chaotic, jubilant, groovy jumble!
Next time, we'll probably have the double vinyl version of this too, plus also a remix 12".
MPEG Stream: "Afro Booty Musique"
MPEG Stream: "Zef"
MPEG Stream: "Quest Wind's Seagulls"

album cover DECAER PINGA U-Sound Archives #5: Green Conclusion (U-Sound) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The fifth archival document from Jackie-O Motherfucker's U-Sound series features Decaer Pinga, whose members had previously explored the nether regions of shitnoiserock as Prick Decay. The Scottish duo of Dora Doll and Dylan Nyoukis now have quieted things down a bit, well at least for this album, with some non-confrontational improvisations for erratic, lo-fi electric hums and Neil Campbell guitar flutter (who does make a guest appeance). A bit short at 22 minutes, though., but quite nice.
RealAudio clip: "Track 2"
RealAudio clip: "Track 5"

DECAPITATED Organic Hallucinosis (Earache) cd 14.98

album cover DECAYES, THE horNetZ (Mind's Ear Records) cd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover DECEASED As The Weird Travel On (Thrash Corner) cd 14.98
As do the Deceased. More power to 'em!! If you like metal, you have to like these guys.

DECEASED Behind The Mourner's Veil (Relapse) cd ep 9.98
Virginia's Deceased started as a Voivod-worshipping death metal band, before transforming into a throwback to '80s speed/true metal, featuring denim-clad dual axemen in Maidenesque harmony heaven, and singing drummer/record collector King Fowley belting out his horror-film derived lyrics in a voice uncannily similar to Cronos of Venom. Yet they retain the brutality and complexity of modern death metal. Wow. Anyway, here's a new ep that combines a few new Deceased songs with a bunch of covers, stuff by some of their '80s heroes DRI ("Reaganomics"), Warfare, Tankard, and Anthrax ("Deathrider"). Also includes a cd-rom video.

DECEASED Supernatural Addiction (Relapse) cd 14.98
Melodic death metal with Iron Maiden style guitar harmonies is a now popular style, typified by the likes of In Flames and Dark Tranquility. Deceased can consider themselves a pioneer in the genre, one of the best as well--and they're NOT from Sweden, but the good ol' US of A. Although I'm sure they still worship their heroes Voivod as much as they used to, musically recent Deceased has definitely got more of a "trad" metal sheen to it. Vocalist/drummer King Fowley's vox retain their growling, Cronos-of-Venom styled unclean quality, however. It's still death metal, but with the stress on the METAL. The eight tracks on offer here are all tales of occult horror, taken from fiction and film (from Ambrose Bierce to...The Blair Witch Project! Oh dear).

album cover DECEASED Surreal Overdose (Shrieks From The Hearse Records) cd 14.98

album cover DECEH Fundamental Structure (The Tapeworm) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another batch of new tapes from the UK cassette label The Tapeworm, and even less to go on background wise with many of them this time around. Deceh is apparently a duo, which counts drone combo duo among their membership (of two), which is strange since we were fairly sure that there were at least two members of Eleh. Regardless, this is some hushed, gorgeous ULTRA ULTRA minimal dronemusic. Long form dronescapes woven from Hammond organ and sruti box, or more specifically, according to the liner notes, "A close study of the harmonic composition of a Hammond organ and a sruti box with attention given to the organization of isolated frequencies and the effects of these vibrations on brain activity." Which leads us to believe, based on the near static pulsations, and at times barely audible undulations, that the brain activity in question is some sort of deep deep trance. Soft overtones, barely there slow shifting sonic colorations, at times so simple and austere it almost sounds like it's just the buzz of the tape mechanism itself, but at other times, the compositions blossom into something much more lush, and dreamily melodic. Most often hovering somewhere right in between, layered and lush, a tranquil sea of hum and thrum, underpinned by microscopic pulsations, a barely there propulsion, these lengthy inner space explorations shifting ever so gently from krautdrone new age ambient drift to pure tone sine wave shimmer. Lovely.
LIMITED TO 400 COPIES!!

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE 5 Songs (Hush Records) cd ep 9.98
A not so new EP from AQ faves the Decemberists, although it is new to most of us, since it was originally released in a super limited edition. This curiously titled record (there are actually 6 songs) is another winner from this Dickensian/Gorey-ish troupe of wandering minstrels. A sweetly sour mix of acoustic guitars, brushed drums, lap steel and accordian backing up curious tales of love, loss, drinking, sorrow, loneliness, circuses, family and stolen bicycles. So good.
MPEG Stream: "Oceanside"
MPEG Stream: "Shiny"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE A Practical Handbook (Kill Rock Stars) dvd 15.98
We consulted our calendar and it told us that this month we'd see a new Decemberists dvd, and what do you know, it spoke the truth! Despite the dvd's title which made us think it would be some sort of how-to manual, A Practical Handbook is packed with lots of fan pleasing goodies such as a documentary, a complete twelve song long concert at Roseland Theater in Portland, OR from November 2005, and five music videos for their songs "The Tain", "The Bachelor And The Bride", "16 Military Wives", "The Soldiering Life", and "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect".

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Billy Liar (Kill Rock Stars) cd ep 5.98
Four song ep from our favorite Pogues-meet-Neutral-Milk-Hotel Dickensian / Victorian popsters to hold us over until the next proper record. Two tracks from their most recent full length and two new unreleased tracks. Both gorgeous and melancholy, clever and quirky, with unlikely lyrical flights of fancy, off kilter melodies, vigorously strummed acoustic guitars, drunken Pogues-ish bounce, and frontman Colin Meloy's deadpan faux-Cockney vocals. A nice inexpensive introduction to one of our favorite newer bands.
MPEG Stream: "Everything I Try To Do, NothingSeems To Turn Out Right"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Castaways And Cutouts (Kill Rocks Stars) cd 15.98
Andee seems to always find one thing on the list to rave about. This week is no different, here's
Andee raving about this Decemberists disc:
I can't figure out why I like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like my kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed me and I can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music I hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes my breath away. Especially when I'm not expecting to like it! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put me off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds me a bit of Belle And Sebastian (who I'm not a huge fan of), but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of the Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gaslamps and hungry street urchins and idealised Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that affortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Castaways And Cutouts (Jealous Butcher / Hush) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
NOW ON VINYL.
Here's what we had to say about the cd:
I can't figure out why I like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like my kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed me and I can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music I hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes my breath away. Especially when I'm not expecting to like it! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put me off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds me a bit of Belle And Sebastian (who I'm not a huge fan of), but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of the Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gaslamps and hungry street urchins and idealised Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that affortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Castaways And Cutouts (Jealous Butcher / Hush) lp 17.98
Maybe our favorite record from these Victorian indie rock troubadours, remastered and reissued. Here's what we had to say about this record WAY back in 2003 when we heard the Decemberists for the very first time...
We can't figure out why we like this record so much. On first listen it really doesn't sound like our kind of thing at all. Yet it just sort of grabbed us and now we can't stop listening to it. Which is pretty exciting considering how much music we hear everyday and how seldom something just completely takes our breath away. Especially when we're not expecting to like it at all! The Decemberists play a sort of mutant hybrid of indie pop and folk. And it is a bit twee, which would usually put us off right away. But for some reason, this record manages to claw it's way out of the twee-pop ghetto. The singer has a very affected, sort of British air which reminds us a bit of Belle And Sebastian, but way less wispy and more gritty and world weary. A bit like Robyn Hitchcock or Dan Bejar of Destroyer (and the New Pornographers) The music though sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, all strummed guitars and belted-out vocals, but mixed with the dreamy and pastoral popscapes of Belle and Sebastian and even a little bit of the Pogues sort of Celtic campfire stomp/gypsy street music vibe. Lilting and dreamy, but also really sharp and emotional. The lyrics are very bookish and the subject matter is very Dickensian, evoking cobblestone streets and gas lamps and hungry street urchins and idealized Victorian romance. Heartbreakingly bittersweet and once in a while even sort of funny. Like Edward Gorey drawings set to music. A lot of that has to do with the instrumentation, wheezing almost Parisian sounding accordions, ominous rumbling cellos, ghostly theremins, and droning warbling organs that effortlessly create that sort of late night, empty streets, drunk and bitter, wistful and sort of hopeful, broken hearted aura that so much of this sort of music strives for.
From loping waltzes to bouncing pop to crawling dirges, the Decemberists weave a totally magical spell that totally envelops you and transports you to wherever it is the Decemberists are plying their wares. It's all just so beautiful and catchy and melancholy and absolutely fucking great!
MPEG Stream: "Leslie Anne Levine"
MPEG Stream: "Odalisque"
MPEG Stream: "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Hazards Of Love (Capitol) cd 17.98
We were looking over reviews of all the Decemberists records, and we pretty much raved about every single one, except maybe the last one, the only stinker of the bunch, and heck even that one, featured at least one killer track.
But back around Castaways And Cutouts and Her Majesty, we could not gush enough about these guys and gals, they were like an Edward Gorey drawing come to life, chimney sweeps ands street urchins, tales of Victorian Squalor, frontman Colin Meloy's distinctive voice and his incredible way with words, these guys were tough to beat, every song a super evocative story sung, with characters loveable, loathsome and tragic, truly epic poems set to music.
Besides the Crane Wife, the band's major label debut and one misstep mentioned above, we can't recommend the rest of their catalog enough. Really. We own and love every one. So now we have their long awaited brand new record, a sprawling and epic concept record. And no half assed concept record, this one is carefully plotted, intricate, we've only listened to it a couple times so we're not quite sure exactly what it's about, but it's lyrical and expansive and there seems to be a girl / boy main conflict (hence the title), there are drawings of the main characters in the booklet, the lyrics are total rock opera, male vocals, female vocals, the instrumentation lush, the sound surprisingly heavy here and there. But, and sadly there is a BUT, this is still pretty polished, pretty mainstream, not nearly as raw or urgent as the older stuff, the lyrics while still heads and shoulders above most rock bands, are just not nearly as magical, or clever, or snarky, before, every line was a tongue twister or offered up a clue about some other line, delivered with a smirk and a wink, Meloy was like the narrator of some Tim Burton film about Victorian England (aren't they all sort of), like we said about the Crane Wife, it feels like all the edges have been rounded and dulled. And the amazing instrumentation, here seems lore like filigree, and afterthought, the sound is definitely more mainstream pop. The best moments are when the wheezing accordions come out, which is sadly not nearly often enough. That said, there are some killer moments, a handful of the tracks are really hard and heavy, crunchy guitars, mean lyrics, sure they fit perfectly in the opera, but taken purely as songs, they sort of kick ass, the buzzy chuggy "The Rake's Song", then there's the very Deep Purple-y "The Queen's Rebuke" with thick guitars and heavy heavy organ jams.
So yeah, it's not a mind blower, or a true return to form, but it is a grower, and fans will definitely want this, however they felt about the Crane Wife. For newbies, we'd still have to recommend Castaways, definitely the best Decemberists record, but heck, we like this one more and more with each listen, so who knows, this might be the record that lures you into the Decemberists' squalid Victorian wonderland, and why the heck not, we've missed visiting for sure.
MPEG Stream: "Prelude"
MPEG Stream: "The Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle The Thistles Undone)"
MPEG Stream: "Won't Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga)"
MPEG Stream: "The Rake's Song"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Hazards Of Love (Capitol) 2lp 22.00
We were looking over reviews of all the Decemberists records, and we pretty much raved about every single one, except maybe the last one, the only stinker of the bunch, and heck even that one, featured at least one killer track.
But back around Castaways And Cutouts and Her Majesty, we could not gush enough about these guys and gals, they were like an Edward Gorey drawing come to life, chimney sweeps ands street urchins, tales of Victorian Squalor, frontman Colin Meloy's distinctive voice and his incredible way with words, these guys were tough to beat, every song a super evocative story sung, with characters loveable, loathsome and tragic, truly epic poems set to music.
Besides the Crane Wife, the band's major label debut and one misstep mentioned above, we can't recommend the rest of their catalog enough. Really. We own and love every one. So now we have their long awaited brand new record, a sprawling and epic concept record. And no half assed concept record, this one is carefully plotted, intricate, we've only listened to it a couple times so we're not quite sure exactly what it's about, but it's lyrical and expansive and there seems to be a girl / boy main conflict (hence the title), there are drawings of the main characters in the booklet, the lyrics are total rock opera, male vocals, female vocals, the instrumentation lush, the sound surprisingly heavy here and there. But, and sadly there is a BUT, this is still pretty polished, pretty mainstream, not nearly as raw or urgent as the older stuff, the lyrics while still heads and shoulders above most rock bands, are just not nearly as magical, or clever, or snarky, before, every line was a tongue twister or offered up a clue about some other line, delivered with a smirk and a wink, Meloy was like the narrator of some Tim Burton film about Victorian England (aren't they all sort of), like we said about the Crane Wife, it feels like all the edges have been rounded and dulled. And the amazing instrumentation, here seems lore like filigree, and afterthought, the sound is definitely more mainstream pop. The best moments are when the wheezing accordions come out, which is sadly not nearly often enough. That said, there are some killer moments, a handful of the tracks are really hard and heavy, crunchy guitars, mean lyrics, sure they fit perfectly in the opera, but taken purely as songs, they sort of kick ass, the buzzy chuggy "The Rake's Song", then there's the very Deep Purple-y "The Queen's Rebuke" with thick guitars and heavy heavy organ jams.
So yeah, it's not a mind blower, or a true return to form, but it is a grower, and fans will definitely want this, however they felt about the Crane Wife. For newbies, we'd still have to recommend Castaways, definitely the best Decemberists record, but heck, we like this one more and more with each listen, so who knows, this might be the record that lures you into the Decemberists' squalid Victorian wonderland, and why the heck not, we've missed visiting for sure.
MPEG Stream: "Prelude"
MPEG Stream: "The Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle The Thistles Undone)"
MPEG Stream: "Won't Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga)"
MPEG Stream: "The Rake's Song"

album cover DECEMBERISTS, THE Her Majesty (Kill Rock Stars) cd 14.98
It's a little unfair for me to have to review this now. We've only had it for a week or so, and unlike its predecessor, the immediately accessible and instantly classic Castaways And Cutouts that we raved about earlier this year, I feel like this one is a little less pop, a little more abstract, and may require some -serious- listening, as all great records do. That said, in the last week, Her Majesty has benefited greatly from repeated listenings and is rapidly becoming one of my favorite new records. All of the Decemberists hallmarks we loved on the first record are firmly in place, the Victorian imagery, amazing lyrical wordplay, the wheezing accordian and loping fey folk, the dark melancholia and occasional Pogues-ish drunken cavorting. But from the first track you know this record is going to be a little different. A creepy crawly dirge, with raspy chords wrung from an antique squeezebox, tortured, anguished vocals, with the occasional kick ass waltzy cadenza. And while the record veers wildly from these dreamy mope-y doom ballads to rollicking, ale-hoisting, tongue in cheek upbeat numbers, it's those slower, more sinister tracks that really hold the whole thing together. Doomed and dismal, but never at a loss for a quick witted barb, or pithy turn of phrase. Gloriously and melodically despondent, occasionally playfully frolicsome, but always so so so good!
MPEG Stream: "Shanty for the Arethusa"
MPEG Stream: "Billy Liar"

DECEMBERISTS, THE Her Majesty (Kill Rock Stars) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's a little unfair for me to have to review this now. We've only had it for a week or so, and unlike its predecessor, the immediately accessible and instantly classic Castaways And Cutouts that we raved about earlier this year, I feel like this one is a little less pop, a little more abstract, and may require some -serious- listening, as all great records do. That said, in the last week, Her Majesty has benefited greatly from repeated listenings and is rapidly becoming one of my favorite new records. All of the Decemberists hallmarks we loved on the first record are firmly in place, the Victorian imagery, amazing lyrical wordplay, the wheezing accordian and loping fey folk, the dark melancholia and occasional Pogues-ish drunken cavorting. But from the first track you know this record is going to be a little different. A creepy crawly dirge, with raspy chords wrung from an antique squeezebox, tortured, anguished vocals, with the occasional kick ass waltzy cadenza. And while the record veers wildly from these dreamy mope-y doom ballads to rollicking, ale-hoisting, tongue in cheek upbeat numbers, it's those slower, more sinister tracks that really hold the whole thing together. Doomed and dismal, but never at a loss for a quick witted barb, or pithy turn of phrase. Gloriously and melodically despondent, occasionally playfully frolicsome, but always so so so good!
MPEG Stream: "Shanty for the Arethusa"
MPEG Stream: "Billy Liar"

DECEMBERISTS, THE Live At Bull Moose (Captiol) cd 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

DECEMBERISTS, THE Long Live The King (Capitol) 10" 14.98

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